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Title: Humanistic Studies of the University of Kansas, Vol. 1
Author: Cressman, Edmund Dresser, Hogrefe, Pearl, Croissant, de Witt Clinton, Mitchell, Arthur
Language: English
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following the Footnotes.







         _By De Witt C. Croissant, Ph. D._

         _By Arthur Mitchell, Ph. D._

         _By Pearl Hogrefe, A. M._

         _By Edmund D. Cressman, Ph. D._


  _Vol. I_          _October 1, 1912_          _No. 1_



  _Assistant Professor of English Language in the University of Kansas_




  Notes on Cibber’s Plays


  Cibber and the Development of Sentimental Comedy



The following studies are extracts from a longer paper on the life
and work of Cibber. No extended investigation concerning the life or
the literary activity of Cibber has recently appeared, and certain
misconceptions concerning his personal character, as well as his
importance in the development of English literature and the literary
merit of his plays, have been becoming more and more firmly fixed in
the minds of students. Cibber was neither so much of a fool nor so
great a knave as is generally supposed. The estimate and the judgment
of two of his contemporaries, Pope and Dennis, have been far too widely
accepted. The only one of the above topics that this paper deals with,
otherwise than incidentally, is his place in the development of a
literary mode.

While Cibber was the most prominent and influential of the innovators
among the writers of comedy of his time, he was not the only one who
indicated the change toward sentimental comedy in his work. This
subject, too, needs fuller investigation. I hope, at some future time,
to continue my studies in this field.

This work was suggested as a subject for a doctor’s thesis, by
Professor John Matthews Manly, while I was a graduate student at the
University of Chicago a number of years ago, and was continued later
under the direction of Professor Thomas Marc Parrott at Princeton.
I wish to thank both of these scholars, as well as Professor Myra
Reynolds, who first stimulated my interest in Restoration comedy.
The libraries of Harvard, Yale, and Columbia have been very generous
in supplying books which would otherwise have been inaccessible; but
especial gratitude is due to the Library of Congress, and to Mr. Joseph
Plass, who called my attention to material in the Library of Congress,
which would have escaped my notice but for his interest. I wish to
express my gratitude to Professor R. D. O’Leary, of the University of
Kansas, who has read these pages in manuscript and in proof, and has
offered many valuable suggestions.

                              D. C. C.

  University of Kansas,
      October, 1912.


De Witt C. Croissant



Colley Cibber’s activity was not confined to writing plays. Besides
being a leader in the development of comedy and a skilful adapter in
tragedy, he was the greatest actor of his day in comic rôles; was the
dominant personality in the triumvirate of managers of the playhouse,
so that the healthy theatrical conditions of his time were largely due
to him; was a writer of poetry, some of which is fairly good; was the
author of some of the most amusing and clever controversial pamphlets
of the time; and was the author of a most interesting autobiography.
Today he is thought of by many merely as the hero of Pope’s _Dunciad_.
In some respects he deserved Pope’s satire, but the things he did well
entitle him to more consideration than he has received.

It is the purpose of these _Notes_ to discuss merely his plays; and to
treat these principally from the point of view of what may be called
external relations, with some discussion of dramatic technique. Under
the heading of external relations I have considered the dates of the
various plays, the circumstances of their presentation, their sources,
and their relation to the various types of the drama of the time. I
have discussed the plays in chronological order within the various


Of the farces ascribed to Cibber, only two, _The Rival Queans_ and
_Bulls and Bears_, are unquestionably his, and these two are not
accessible. _The Rival Queans_, acted at the Haymarket, June 29,
1710, printed in Dublin in 1729, is without doubt by Cibber. But in
the collected edition of his plays, published in 1777, the editors
substituted a farce of the same name, which, however, deals with a
different subject and is by another writer. Cibber’s farce was a
burlesque of Lee’s _Rival Queens_; the piece that was substituted deals
with the operatic situation in England.

An adaptation of Doggett’s _Country Wake_ (1696), called _Hob, or The
Country Wake_ (1715), has been ascribed to Cibber, but Genest[1] doubts
his authorship because it was brought out while Doggett was still on
the stage.

_Bulls and Bears_, Cibber’s second undisputed farce, was acted at Drury
Lane, December 2, 1715, but was apparently not printed.

_Chuck_ (1736) seems to have been ascribed to him by either the author
or the publisher without grounds, for in a list of plays “wrote by
anonymous authors in the 17th century,” appended to the fourth edition
of the _Apology_ (1756), there is a note on this play to the effect
that “the author or printer has set the name of Mr. Cibber to this
piece.” This is not proof positive that Cibber did not write the play,
for _Cinna’s Conspiracy_, which is unquestionably by him, appears in
the same list. In _The New Theatrical Dictionary_ (1742), it is stated
that “this piece [_Chuck_] is extremely puerile, yet the author has
thought proper to put Mr. Cibber’s name to it.” This again is not
necessarily convincing argument against Cibber’s authorship, for he was
capable of poor work, as his poems and some of his plays show.

On the whole, it seems probable that _Hob_ and _Chuck_ are not by
Cibber. In any case, they are entirely without value, and it is
therefore a matter of no importance to literary history whether their
authorship is ever determined or not.

Coffey’s _The Devil to Pay_ (1736) is stated in the catalogue of the
British Museum to have been “revised by Colley Cibber.” But the work
of revision was done by Theophilus Cibber, his son, and Cibber himself
contributed only one song.[2]


In common with many of his contemporaries, Cibber attempted operatic
pieces. His undisputed operas are _Venus and Adonis_ (1715), _Myrtillo_
(1716), _Love in a Riddle_ (1729), and _Damon and Phillida_ (1729),
the last being merely the sub-plot of _Love in a Riddle_ acted
separately.[3] Two other operatic pieces, _The Temple of Dullness_
(1745) and _Capochio and Dorinna_, have been ascribed to him.

_Love in a Riddle_ (1729) seems to have been the cause of some
unpleasantness. In the _Life of Quin_ (1766) the following account of
it is given:[4]

  “This uncommon reception of _The Beggar’s Opera_ induced Colley
  Cibber to attempt something the same kind the next year, under the
  title of _Love in a Riddle_, but how different was its reception from
  Gay’s production; it was damned to the lowest regions of infamy the
  very first night, which so mortified Cibber, that it threw him into
  a fever; and from this moment he resolved as soon as he conveniently
  could to leave the stage, and no longer submit himself and his
  talents to the capricious taste of the town.

  “It was generally thought that his jealousy of Gay, and the high
  opinion he entertained of his own piece had operated so strongly as
  to make him set every engine in motion to get the sequel of _The
  Beggar’s Opera_, called _Polly_, suppressed in order to engross the
  town entirely to _Love in a Riddle_. Whether Cibber did or did not
  bestir himself in this affair, it is certain that Gay and Rich had
  the mortification to see all their hopes of a succeeding harvest
  blasted by the Lord Chamberlain’s absolute prohibition of it, after
  it had been rehearsed and was just ready to bring out.”

In this same volume[5] it is stated that the failure of the piece was
one of the potent causes of the dissolution of the Drury Lane company,
though this seems an exaggeration, as does also the effect on Cibber
that is ascribed to the failure.

Cibber denies[6] that he had anything to do with the suppression of
the second part of _The Beggar’s Opera_, and gives as his reason
for writing that he thought something written in the same form, but
recommending virtue and innocence instead of vice and wickedness,
“might not have a less pretence to favor.”

_The Temple of Dullness_ (1745), which _The Biographia Dramatica_[7]
states had been ascribed to Cibber, is in two acts of two scenes each,
the second scene of each act being the comic “interlude” of Theobald’s
_Happy Captive_ (1741). These two scenes have as their principal
characters, Signor Capochio and Signora Dorinna.[8] The other two
scenes, which give the principal title to the piece, are based, as is
stated in the preface, on the fact that Pope in _The Dunciad_ makes the
Goddess of Dullness preside over Italian operas. It is inconceivable
that either Cibber or Theobald would have based anything of the sort on
a hint from _The Dunciad_ and complacently given the credit to Pope,
after the way they had both been handled in _The Dunciad_. There is
nothing on the title page to indicate that Cibber had anything to do
with the piece. The ascription of the authorship of _The Temple of
Dullness_ to Cibber seems to be without foundation, and the probability
is that this piece was composed by a third person soon after Theobald’s
death, which occurred about four months before it was acted.[9]

Concerning _Capochio and Dorinna_, _The Biographia Dramatica_ has the
following note: “A piece with this title, but without a date, is, in
Mr. Barker’s catalogue, ascribed to Colley Cibber. It was probably an
abridgment from _The Temple of Dullness_.” This statement concerning
the source of _Capochio and Dorinna_ would seem plausible from the
supplementary title of _The Temple of Dullness_,--_With the Humours
of Signor Capochio and Signora Dorinna_. _Capochio and Dorinna_ is no
doubt the two scenes from Theobald’s _The Happy Captive_ which had been
used in _The Temple of Dullness_, as is stated above.

Cibber’s operatic writings belong chiefly to the English type of
pastoral drama, rather than to the type of Italian opera. In fact, they
are not operas either in the Italian or in the modern sense, but are
rather plays interspersed with songs appropriate to the characters who
sing them. They show the common characteristics of the pastoral drama
of the time.[10] They possess the court element, have the same plot
devices, and their characters belong to the same general types. It is
noticeable that Cibber here, as well as in his comedies, arrays himself
with the moralists, as is seen in his introduction of a moral purpose
in _Love in a Riddle_. These pieces are in verse of varying meters. In
_Venus and Adonis_ and _Myrtillo_ there is apparent imitation of the
versification of Dryden’s _Alexander’s Feast_; in _Love in a Riddle_
and _Damon and Phillida_ the dialogue is in blank verse, but in neither
case is the verse inspired.

His operas are neither intrinsically nor historically important; they
are merely representative of a vogue which was popular but which left
no permanent impress on the English drama.


Cibber’s seven tragedies appeared in the following order: _Xerxes_,
1699; his adaptation of Shakspere’s _Richard III_, 1700; _Perolla and
Izadora_, 1705; the three translations of Corneille, _Ximena_, acted
1712, but not published until 1719, _Cinna’s Conspiracy_, 1713, and
_Caesar in Egypt_, 1725; and finally _Papal Tyranny_, an adaptation of
Shakspere’s _King John_, 1745. The best stage play is _Richard III_,
but those that make the most agreeable reading are the alterations of

_Xerxes_ (1699), which was a failure, belongs to the type of the
tragedies of the last decade of the century, in which the material of
the heroic play is handled in blank verse, in which there is no comedy,
and in which there is in general a following of French models.[11] In
its presentation of a story of distressed womanhood, it allies itself
with the sentimental tragedy of the school of Southerne and Otway. In
its use of the supernatural, in its puerile use of claptrap, and in the
bombast and extravagance of emotion, it follows the general usage of
the tragedies of the time.

When it was written Cibber was one of the company at Drury Lane,
but the play was refused there, and was accepted at Lincoln’s Inn
Fields only when Cibber guaranteed the expenses of the production.
Notwithstanding the fact that two such great actors as Betterton and
Mrs. Barry were in the cast, the play was a failure.[12]

The common supposition that it was acted only once, is based on
Addison’s inventory of Rich’s theatrical paraphernalia, in which are
mentioned “the imperial robes of Xerxes, never worn but once.”[13] The
play had been acted ten years previously, and Addison is speaking of
an entirely different playhouse and manager so that this testimony, if
it does apply to this play, is probably not to be given much weight.
While the play may have been withdrawn from the stage after only one
performance, Addison’s evidence does not establish the matter one way
or the other.

Cibber’s next venture in tragedy was more successful, for while his
adaptation of Shakspere’s _Richard III_ has not received critical
commendation, it was for over a century practically the only version
presented on the stage and is still used by many actors.

When Cibber’s _Richard III_ was originally acted at Drury Lane in 1700,
Charles Killigrew, Master of the Revels, forbade the first act, because
the distress of Henry, introduced from Shakspere’s _Henry VI_, might
bring the exiled King James to the mind of the people; so that only
four acts could be given. The play was a comparative failure at first,
owing no doubt to the omission of so important and necessary a part of
the revision, so that Cibber’s profits from the third night, as author,
came to less than five pounds.[14] Later, when this act was restored,
the piece became a success. As has been pointed out by Dohse[15] and
Wood[16], Cibber may in making this adaptation have used the chronicles
of Hall and others, and probably was influenced by _The Mirror for
Magistrates_ and Caryl’s _English Princess_ (1667).

In his alteration Cibber has cut down the play to a little more than
half its original length, and of this remainder only a little over a
third is found in Shakspere’s _Richard III_, while the rest is from
a number of Shakspere’s plays or is made up of original additions by
Cibber.[17] The alterations vary from the change of single words,[18]
to the addition of scenes entirely by Cibber. The omissions, such as
Anne’s spitting at Gloster, I, ii, 146, are generally happy; the
lines he has substituted are generally easier to understand, if less
aesthetically pleasing, than those of the original; and the additions
throughout are such as add clearness and theatric effectiveness.

Richard is made the central figure, so that the play revolves more
closely about him than in Shakspere. A love story, more slightly
developed than usual in the adaptations of this period, is introduced
at the end of the play in accordance with contemporary usage. The women
are made less prominent, the lyric chorus effect of the various scenes
in which these women foretell and bewail is omitted, and the whole
action is made more simple and direct. Shakspere’s _Richard III_ is
full of this lyric element which Cibber has excised.

With this curtailment of plot comes likewise a less highly presented
delineation of character. Not only is the number of characters
diminished, but modifications are made in those that remain. Richard
becomes less the unfeeling hypocrite, by use of asides his motives and
character are made more clear, and he is influenced more by love; his
victims are not so vividly presented, and though their weakness of
will and character is not less than in the original, the reader does
not feel it so much. Cibber’s _Richard III_, like his _King John_, is
more play than poem; in it Cibber has attempted to make everything
subservient to dramatic effectiveness.

_Perolla and Izadora_ was acted at Drury Lane on December 3, 1705,
and published the next year. Lintot had bought the copyright November
14, 1705, a few weeks before its presentation, for thirty-six pounds,
eleven shillings, next to the largest amount that he paid Cibber for
any of his plays. Cibber explains that he omitted _Woman’s Wit_ from
the 1721 edition of his plays because it was so inferior a drama, which
was no doubt his reason for omitting _Xerxes_; but why he should not
have included _Perolla and Izadora_, which brought him a good third
and sixth day at the theatre, though it does not appear to have been
presented afterwards, is not clear, unless, as is probable, he included
in this edition only such plays as had gained a more or less permanent
place on the stage.

Cibber shows unusual modesty in his dedication of this play, which
he founded on a part of the story of Perolla and Izadora from _The
Romance of Parthenissa_[19] (1654) by Roger Boyle, Earl of Orrery. He
“saw so many incidents in the fable, such natural and noble sentiments
in the characters, and so just a distress in the passions, that he had
little more than the trouble of blank verse to make it fit for the
theatre.”[20] Cibber has followed the events in _Parthenissa_ very
closely, making few changes or additions. However, he has Perolla and
Izadora in love before the action begins, whereas they do not meet
in the romance until after Perolla has saved the life of Blacius in
what makes the end of Cibber’s second act; and at the close of the
play he unites the lovers, while the story goes on indefinitely in
_Parthenissa_. The characters display about the same qualities; Blacius
is made perhaps a trifle more reasonable and Poluvius a little less so.
The play is much better as a play than the original is as a story.

The play in general conforms to the French classical type; the unities
are observed, the characters are few and noble, it is written in blank
verse, and there are no humorous touches. Only in the two deaths and
the one fight on the stage does the play violate the French tradition.
In the death of the wicked, the reward of the virtuous, and the general
nature of the action, it groups itself with the heroic plays of the
preceding century, but of course it does not conform to that type in
versification. Cibber was here probably writing under the influence of

_Ximena, or The Heroic Daughter_, an alteration of Corneille’s _Cid_,
was acted at Drury Lane, November 28, 1712, when it had a run of about
eight performances;[21] but it was not printed until 1719, when it
appeared in octavo after it had been revived at Drury Lane, November
1, 1718. Cibber explains that he thus delayed publishing the play
because “most of his plays had a better reception from the public when
his interest was no longer concerned in them.”[22] The dedication of
_Ximena_ brought a storm of criticism on Cibber[23] because in it he
spoke of Addison as a wren being carried by Steele as an eagle, which
figure he later applied, in his odes, to himself and the king. He had
the judgment to omit this dedication from the collected edition of his

As in the case of _Richard III_, he added a first act to the _Cid_ in
order that the audience might understand the situation of the various
characters at the outset; a most important and necessary thing if the
audience is not familiar with the story and the situation beforehand.
In his alterations of Shakspere he followed the English method and
presented this information to his audience by action; in his alteration
of Corneille he followed the French method by having his characters
tell each other about it for the benefit of the audience.

Cibber has discussed at length the changes he has made in the _Cid_,
and his reasons for them, in the prefatory “examen.” The main reason
seems to have been his desire to make the play less “romantic” and
the action more probable and reasonable from the point of view of the
eighteenth century Englishman, whose ideals of honor and whose general
characteristics were very different from those of the seventeenth
century Frenchman. Indeed, Cibber explains in relation to one of these
changes: “Here they seem too declamatory and romantic, which I have
endeavored to avoid, by giving a more spirited tone to the passions,
and reducing them nearer to common life.”

_Ximena_, because of its source, would naturally have the general
characteristics of French tragedy, in which almost everything happens
off the stage, and in which the characters appear before the audience
only to tell it what they think or what has been done. It violates the
French canons by having a sub-action, though this sub-action is not
sufficiently important to distract the attention materially from the
main action, and is bound very closely to it. The blow which Don Gormaz
gives Alvarez constitutes the nearest approach to violent action; but
this blow, however, appears in the original play.

Besides the anonymity of _Cinna’s Conspiracy_, the closeness with which
it follows Corneille’s _Cinna_ and the difference in its tone from
the rest of Cibber’s work have led to doubt as to his authorship.[24]
To see that Cibber was not always sprightly and inconsequential,
however, as he is usually supposed to be, one has but to read his
_Cicero_ and his poems. The play was presented less than three months
after _Ximena_, and to bring out another French tragedy translated
by the same hand in so short a time might have subjected Cibber to
the charge of hasty work. Though _Ximena_ apparently had a run of
eight nights, it did not receive critical approbation, and _Cinna’s
Conspiracy_, if known to be by Cibber, was likely to bring further
critical disapproval, so that Cibber may have thought it would have
better chance of success if his authorship were not known. Cibber was
ambitious to be thought wise and serious, as his prefaces and _Cicero_
show, and the lack of success of the play together with its nearness to
_Ximena_ in time of presentation would sufficiently explain his failure
to claim the authorship.

But there is external proof which would seem to be convincing in
support of his authorship. Defoe, according to the _Biographia
Dramatica_,[25] in a pamphlet written about 1713 ascribed the play
to Cibber; and Nichols, in _Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth
Century_,[26] gives an extract from a memorandum book of Lintot,
entitled _Copies when purchased_, according to which Cibber, on March
16, 1712 (O.S.), was paid thirteen pounds for _Cinna’s Conspiracy_. The
play was first acted at Drury Lane, February 19, 1713, about a month
before the purchase by Lintot. The fact that Cibber was paid for the
play so short a time after its presentation would seem to be sufficient
proof that it is by Cibber, even though he apparently made no public
claim to its authorship.

In the alteration of Corneille’s _Cinna_, Cibber has made remarkably
few changes. There is only one of any moment, the account of the
meeting of the conspirators in the second scene of the first act.
Corneille has had Cinna give an account of this meeting to Emilie,
while Cibber presents the meeting itself. This involves the omission
of some narration and the creation of some new characters who have a
few short speeches. Cibber throughout his adaptation seeks to gain
vividness and clearness, and his handling of this incident is probably
the best example of his method in this respect. The other changes
consist merely in the omission and shortening of speeches. On the whole
_Cinna’s Conspiracy_ is almost a literal translation, though a little
free here and there.

The testimony of the critics concerning the source of _Caesar in
Egypt_, acted at Drury Lane,[27] December 9, 1724, published in 1725,
is somewhat confusing. The _Biographia Dramatica_ finds its source in
Beaumont and Fletcher’s _The False One_; Genest[28] says: “The plan
of this tragedy is chiefly borrowed from _The False One_--that part
of it which concerns Cornelia is said to be taken from Corneille’s
_Pompée_.” Stoye,[29] while apparently oblivious of Corneille’s play,
mentions Lucan’s _Pharsalia_ in addition to _The False One_; and
Miss Canfield says:[30] “Taking Beaumont and Fletcher’s _False One_,
Corneille’s _Pompée_, and one or two ideas of his own, he stirred them
all together with such vigor, and so disguised them with his wonderful
versification, that it is an almost impossible task to distinguish the
different elements in the dish.... The general plan and construction
of the play are undoubtedly Corneille’s, many of the best speeches
are literally translated, especially some of the famous ones between
Cornelia and Caesar; and the description of Pompey’s death is taken
verbatim from the French.” This last statement of Miss Canfield’s
comes nearest to the truth, but it leaves out of account the slight
indebtedness to Lucan.[31]

An examination of these three plays shows, in fact, how little Cibber
used _The False One_ in the construction of _Caesar in Egypt_. He was
no doubt familiar with the Beaumont and Fletcher play and used some
things from it, though very little in comparison with what he has
used from _Pompée_. He used it for hints in some particulars[32] just
as he did the _Pharsalia_, from which he apparently took the idea of
having one scene occur before the tomb of Alexander, and from which he
obtained the burning of Pharos.

One incident, the display of Pompey’s head, well illustrates the change
that had come since the days of Beaumont and Fletcher. In _The False
One_, the head was actually brought on the stage; but in neither Cibber
nor Corneille was the head actually displayed. The actual appearance
of the head would probably have been almost as distasteful to Cibber’s
audience as to Corneille’s.

His method of adaptation here is more like that in his alteration
of Shakspere than his method in _Ximena_ or _Cinna’s Conspiracy_.
He has crowded the incidents, has expanded the action and increased
its liveliness, has enhanced the value of the piece as a stage play,
without, however, improving its literary quality. He has a good deal
happen in one day, but manages to satisfy the technical demands of the
unity of time.

He increases the probability by the alteration of certain passages. For
instance, whereas both the _Pharsalia_, as completed by Rowe,[33] and
_The False One_, from one of which he took the incident, have Caesar
swimming from the island of Pharos with drawn sword in one hand and
documents in the other, Cibber has him swim with only the documents.

While this play is essentially an adaptation of Corneille, the general
atmosphere and effect are not those of French tragedy, but are rather
those of the minor Elizabethan tragicomedy. Its beginning and end have
a historical rather than a dramatic interest, so that the play produces
the effect of a love story with an impersonal enveloping action, which
is again more English than French.

_Papal Tyranny_ was acted at Covent Garden, February 15, 1745, when
it had a run of ten nights, and was published in the same year.
Shakspere’s _King John_, which had been played in 1737 and 1738, after
Cibber’s alteration had been talked of and withdrawn, was again revived
on February 20, 1745,[34] with Garrick as King John and Mrs. Theophilus
Cibber, then at the height of her popularity, as Constance. This was no
doubt done both to profit by the publicity Cibber’s work had brought
about, and to take as much credit as possible from Cibber, by showing
the lack of originality in his work.[35] According to Victor,[36]
Cibber’s profits from _Papal Tyranny_ amounted to four hundred pounds,
which probably includes what he received from acting Pandulph as well
as his author’s profits.

The play had been written some years before it was finally acted,
the parts had been distributed, and everything was practically ready
for the presentation in public during the season 1736-7. But so much
criticism was leveled at Cibber for daring again to alter Shakspere
that one day he quietly walked into the theatre, removed the copy of
the play from the prompter’s desk, and went away with it without a word
to any one.[37] It was finally presented, as already stated, in 1745,
when there was a threatened invasion by the Young Pretender, which made
the political and anti-Catholic elements of the play timely.

Cibber says in the dedication that he had two reasons for altering the
play: antagonism to Catholicism, and a desire to adjust the play to
contemporary stage requirements--“to make it more like a play than he
found it in Shakspere.” His additions to the anti-Catholic elements of
the play are inconsistent with the rest of the action, and the changes
in structure have increased rather than diminished the epic quality.
He has, without being conscious that he was doing so, gone back of
Shakspere’s time in introducing the anti-popish element; a quality
of Shakspere’s source which Shakspere had omitted, but which Cibber
reintroduced to the detriment of his play as drama.

The entire first act of Shakspere’s play is omitted, besides which
there are other shorter omissions. The point of view, too, is very
different; for in Cibber’s play Pandulph is the central figure, instead
of King John, as is indicated by the change of title from _The Life
and Death of King John_ to _Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John_.
Various short scenes entirely by Cibber are introduced, the most
noticeable being one in the last act in which Constance attends the
funeral of Arthur at Swinestead, where King John has been brought to

The characters are more changed than the plot; all those which appear
only in the first act are omitted, besides such characters as Peter
of Pomfret, Elinor, Austria, and Chatillon. The part of the bastard
Faulconbridge is very much cut down and softened, for as Shakspere
conceived him he was too “low” and comic for a dignified tragedy
according to the views of the eighteenth century. The rôle of
Constance is much enlarged as well as that of Pandulph.

Cibber’s tragedies are imitative; he showed no creative ability in this
field. That his _Richard III_ has held the stage until the present
is an indication that it is at least a good stage play. The other
tragedies, except _Xerxes_ and _Papal Tyranny_, do not possess any very
positive virtues or defects; they are of average merit as compared with
the work done by Cibber’s contemporaries.

They are alterations of Shakspere or Corneille, except _Xerxes_
and _Perolla and Izadora_. In his alterations of the French he has
anglicized some of the ideas, has had a tendency to present rather
than relate incidents, and generally has tried to make the productions
conform to English ideas. Turning them into English has not made them
romantic or altered in any essential degree their neo-classical quality.

His alterations of Shakspere have not changed the essential
qualities; they are still characteristically English, and display the
characteristics of the originals. He has not altered Shakspere because
Shakspere is too “Gothic,” or too romantic and extravagant, for Cibber
complains that _King John_ is too restrained.

In relation to these alterations of Shakspere one naturally thinks of
the flood of plays about this time which had Shakspere as a basis.[38]
Cibber does not, in _Richard III_ at least, follow the example of Tate
and his kind, but adheres more closely than they to the originals.
It is for this reason, principally, that Cibber’s _Richard III_ was
successful. In this he has not attempted to follow contemporary
practice in adhering to the unities, in the observance of poetic
justice, in the making of the hero virtuous, or in adding the element
of show and pageantry. His addition of a scene of violence[39] is for
the purpose of helping the spectator to understand the play. Even
his borrowing of lines from other plays by Shakspere has saved him
partially from the incongruous or weak mixture of two styles which mars
the work of other adapters. He has told the same story as Shakspere,
and has not done violence to his original either in character, plot,
or, for the most part, in language.

His adaptation of _King John_ is handled differently. This play,
even more than Shakspere’s _King John_, is unfitted for the modern
stage; its plot is not dramatic, and its persons are not modern in
their qualities. Such a play must depend for its appeal on its poetic
qualities, and Cibber was personally incapable of altering the play and
retaining its poetic qualities.

Although Cibber is not unaffected by the sentimental type of tragedy,
as _Xerxes_ and _Perolla and Izadora_ show, he does not seem influenced
by it to any great extent. This is remarkable in one who was in the
very forefront of the movement toward sentimental comedy; though it
is to be remarked that the two tragedies which do show traces of this
sentimental note are the only two which are not based on previous plays.

As Thorndike[40] has pointed out, during this period two influences
are at work--the influence of the Elizabethan romantic drama, and the
influence of the French classical drama; and Cibber rather fairly
represents both of these. _Xerxes_ shows some French influence in the
construction, though it is probably more Elizabethan in the handling
of the material; but _Perolla and Izadora_ and the three plays from
Corneille conform to French usage almost entirely in material as well
as in method. The restraint in _Richard III_--for notwithstanding
Hazlitt, this play is not as brutal as Shakspere’s--is due to the
change brought about through the imitation of French tragedy.

In accordance with contemporary usage, all these tragedies are in blank
verse; but the verse is of no great merit. Cibber’s verse for the most
part is not musical nor subtle, but it has few mannerisms. He sometimes
uses alliteration, but not to an objectionable or excessive degree, and
although his style has been called alliterative, his use of this device
in his verse is so infrequent as to make the term a misnomer.

Cibber conforms to the custom of the time in respect to rime.
Occasionally he introduces a couplet in the midst of a scene, but
this is seldom and for no apparent reason. The exits, except those of
minor importance, are marked by rime. This device, descended from the
Elizabethan drama, where it was probably used to mark more strongly
the ends of scenes because of the lack of a curtain which concealed
the whole stage, is continued during and after the Restoration period
without any valid reason and becomes for the most part a mere
convention, which is not confined to tragedy but appears in comedy
and even in farce. Cibber shows a tendency to increase the number
of couplets with the increased importance of the exits,[41] and in
_Ximena_ and _Caesar in Egypt_ we find several scenes closing with as
many as three.

It has perhaps been made sufficiently evident that Cibber was not a
great writer of tragedy. He lacked any deep philosophy of life, tragic
consciousness, and deep poetic feeling. He was not without power of
thought, but his thought concerned itself with the obvious and the
external, and had an element of friskiness, so that when he turned to
tragedy his work became labored and even commonplace.

Nor does he show originality in his themes. The story of _Xerxes_
is apparently derived from history,[42] and aside from _Perolla and
Izadora_, whose story is taken from a romance, is the only one of his
tragedies which is not based on the work of greater men than himself.
Although _Richard III_ is a better stage play than its source, the
other adaptations are inferior to the originals both as acting versions
and as pure literature.


_Love’s Last Shift_, Cibber’s first play, was acted at Drury Lane in
January, 1696, and was published the same year, when he was a little
more than twenty-four years old. The comedy was accepted by the
managers through the good offices of Southerne, for Cibber’s standing
with the patentees was such that they were not disposed to recognize
ability in him.

So little had been expected of the piece, and so great was its success,
that Cibber was immediately charged with plagiarism,[43] a charge which
he entirely denies in the dedication. He claims that “the fable is
entirely his own, nor is there a line or thought throughout the whole,
for which he is wittingly obliged either to the dead or the living.”
There are, however, some striking similarities in the situations and
the characters in the sub-action of _Love’s Last Shift_ and Carlile’s
_Fortune Hunters_ (1689). Carlile’s Elder Wealthy and Young Wealthy are
closely paralleled by Elder Worthy and Young Worthy, as are likewise
the young women with whom they are in love, and Carlile’s Shamtown
belongs to the same family as Sir Novelty Fashion, though he is much
more crudely portrayed. So too, the jealousy of Elder Worthy in regard
to Hillaria and Sir Novelty is very much like that of Elder Wealthy
in regard to Sophia and Shamtown. So great is the similarity that,
notwithstanding his denial, one must believe that Cibber deliberately
used the situation and characters as a basis for his own, though he did
not copy the language, and has made an entirely new and original thing
out of his source.

So great was the failure of his second play that Cibber refuses to
mention it in his _Apology_ and omitted it from the collected edition
of his plays in 1721. _Woman’s Wit, or The Lady in Fashion_ was acted
at Drury Lane in 1697, but met with a most unfavorable reception,
though in management of the plot it is not inferior to a great many
plays whose success was much greater.

Carlile’s _Fortune Hunters_ (1689) and Mountford’s _Greenwich Park_
(1691) have been suggested as the sources of that part of the plot in
which Young Rakish and Major Rakish appear, but this is only partially
true. In _The Fortune Hunters_ the father and son are rivals for a
young woman, in _Woman’s Wit_ she is an elderly widow; in both, the son
has obtained five hundred pounds from the father. But notwithstanding
the fact that these situations are superficially similar the characters
and the details of the action are so different that it does not seem
possible that there can be any connection between the two plays. There
does seem to be a more valid reason for affirming the influence of
_Greenwich Park_ in the play. The likeness of Sir Thomas Reveller and
Young Reveller to Old Rakish and Young Rakish is so great that Cibber
must have had them in mind, but the differences both of character
and action are such that it seems probable that he was attempting to
portray two characters of the same type rather than trying to copy
them. In _Greenwich Park_ there is not even a superficial similarity
of situation to _Woman’s Wit_.[44] The sub-action of _Woman’s Wit_ was
separated and acted successfully at Drury Lane in 1707 as _The School

_Love Makes a Man_ was acted at Drury Lane in 1701, and was published
the same year. It continued to be played until 1828. It is made from
Beaumont and Fletcher’s _The Elder Brother_ and _The Custom of the
Country_, and is an attempt on the part of Cibber merely to provide
amusement. Ost[45] points out that this play, though it has no original
literary worth, helped continue the literary tradition, and notices
it in connection with the healthful influence of Cibber’s work in the
moralizing tendency of the drama. He adds that Cibber’s plays have more
value in relation to “kulturgeschichte” than in aesthetic interest.
That is entirely true so far as this play is concerned; various parts
have a purely contemporary interest, or are an indication to us of the
state of dramatic taste, and the aesthetic value is certainly often
inconsiderable. When Cibber introduces such references as “hatchet
face” of Clodio, a term which had been applied to Cibber himself, who
played the part, and more particularly in the farcical discussion of
the two playhouses in the fourth act, he is not even attempting to
write anything but horseplay.

By the omission and transposition of scenes, and the introduction of
some lines of his own, mainly for the purpose of gaining probability,
as Ost has pointed out, Cibber has condensed _The Elder Brother_ so
that it forms practically the first two acts, and _The Custom of the
Country_ so that it forms the last three. In the main, the plays, so
much of them as is used, are followed with very few changes, and the
whole makes a sprightly and amusing, if not particularly literary

The change of place and the introduction of an entirely new set of
characters with fresh plot developments are dramatically faulty; but
for the purpose for which the play was written these faults are not
particularly great. To join the plots of two separate plays end on
end without breaking the continuity of the story, and to adjust the
characters so that there is no glaring inconsistency, is surely no
slight feat.

In the characterization Cibber has made some changes. These changes
appear particularly in Eustace, who becomes Clodio, Miramont, who
becomes Don Lewis, and Elvira, who is the sister instead of the mother
of Don Duart. It is difficult to understand how this play could have
been other than a theatrical success with Bullock to interpret the
farcical obstinacy of Antonio, Penkethman to portray the humorously
choleric Don Lewis, and Cibber as the “pert coxcomb,” Clodio. But it is
farce rather than pure comedy.

Cibber has changed these plays from verse to prose, except in the first
scene between Carlos and Angelina, in which the romantic seriousness of
the situation leads him to write blank verse, which is however printed
as prose.

_She Would and She Would Not_, considered by Genest as “perhaps his
best play,” was acted at Drury Lane, November 26, 1702, and continued
to be acted frequently as late as 1825.[46] The striking similarity of
the two plays has caused the suggestion that Cibber’s play is based on
Leanerd’s _The Counterfeits_ (1678). The similarity indicates a common
source, rather than that Cibber drew from _The Counterfeits_. The
source of Cibber’s play was no doubt _The Trepanner Trepanned_, which
is the third story of John Davies’s _La Picara, or The Triumphs of
Female Subtilty_, published in London in 1665.[47]

This play is amusing, is well constructed, and while it is not of
serious import, is such as might be presented today with success.

Cibber commenced to write _The Careless Husband_ in the summer of 1703,
but laid it aside because he despaired of finding any one to take the
part of Lady Betty Modish. In 1704 he again took up the writing of the
play, and in that year it was acted at Drury Lane on December 7; and
it was published in 1705. It was one of the best and most successful
plays of the period.[48] It was charged that Cibber received direct
assistance in writing the play, but he denied the charge, and as no
proof was offered, Cibber is no doubt to be believed. It seems to have
no literary source; but one incident, that in which the wife finds
the husband and her maid asleep in easy chairs, is said to have been
suggested to Cibber by Mrs. Brett, the reputed mother of the poet
Savage, from her own experience.[49]

This is Cibber’s best play of the sentimental type. Its plot is
consistent, has dramatic probability, and is serious enough in interest
to have real reason for being. The characters are well conceived and
well portrayed. In style, too, Cibber is here at his best and the
dialogue approaches the finest of the period.

The Haymarket opened the season 1706-7 under Swiney, and in order to
encourage the new venture, Lord Halifax headed a subscription for
the revival of three plays: Shakspere’s _Julius Caesar_, Beaumont
and Fletcher’s _King and No King_, and the comic scenes of Dryden’s
_Marriage à la Mode_ and _A Maiden Queen_. The last took the form of an
adaptation called _The Comical Lovers_, the adaptation being the work
of Cibber. It was acted February 4, 1707, and was published the same
year. The alteration was the result of only six days’ labor,[50] and
Cibber claims no originality in it. It met with slight success.

_The Comical Lovers_ is another such adaptation as _Love Makes a Man_.
Cibber has merely taken the two comic threads from their serious
settings and interwoven them, first a scene from one and then a scene
from the other, with only the changes necessary to join them, and has
followed his sources almost word for word. Cibber was not under the
necessity of changing verse into prose, as he had done in _Love Makes a
Man_, for the comic sections of Dryden are in prose, according to the
changed convention of his time; and in the scene between Melantha and
her maid, Cibber has not even taken the trouble to alter a single one
of the French words, many of which must have acquired a place in the
language and been in good use by Cibber’s time. So far as Cibber’s part
is concerned, this is the least important of his plays.

_The Double Gallant_ was acted at the Haymarket, November 1, 1707, but
was apparently not successful at its first performance. _The Biographia
Dramatica_[51] says:

  “In a letter from Booth to A. Hill we learn that the play, at
  its first appearance was, as he expressed it, hounded in a most
  outrageous manner. Two years after, it was revived, met with most
  extravagant success, and has continued a stock play ever since.”

Cibber says nothing about any hounding of the play, but ascribes the
failure of the piece to the fact that the Haymarket was too big for
plays; a fact that he thinks caused the lack of success of other plays
as well as his own.

In regard to the authorship, Cibber says:[52]

  “It was made up of what was tolerable, in two, or three others, that
  had no Success, and were laid aside, as so much Poetical Lumber;
  but by collecting and adapting the best Parts of them all, into one
  Play, the _Double Gallant_ has had a Place, every Winter, amongst
  the Publick Entertainments, these Thirty Years. As I was only the
  Compiler of this Piece, I did not publish it in my own Name.”

The title would lead one to suppose that it is taken directly from
Corneille’s _Le Galant Double_, but it is a weaving together of Mrs.
Centlivre’s _Love at a Venture_, which is an adaptation of Corneille,
Burnaby’s _Ladies Visiting Day_, and the Lady Dainty action from
Burnaby’s _Reformed Wife_. In consolidating such parts of these three
plays as are used, the crudities of the first two are polished off,
and certain additions are made to the last. These additions consist in
sections of the dialogue, in the changing of Lady Dainty’s lover into
a more impetuous wooer, and in the addition of the lover’s disguise as
a Russian, by which subterfuge he wins her. The introductory scene,
taken from _Love at a Venture_, is much more lively and entertaining in
Cibber’s play than in the original, and Cibber likewise handles more
adroitly the subterfuge of the hero’s arrest, taken from the same play,
using the same device of decoy letters that he uses in _Woman’s Wit_.
In the working over of Burnaby’s adaptation of the Horner episode,
which he had taken from Wycherley’s _Country Wife_, Cibber has entirely
eliminated the unpleasant features.

This play is the same sort of an adaptation as his working over of
other earlier plays. He has taken such scenes as he wished, changed the
names of the characters, and introduced sufficient lines of his own to
give continuity and connection to the various actions, but has made no
material additions whatever. In this case he has made an extremely
diverting play, very superior to his originals.

_The Lady’s Last Stake_, which seems to be entirely original, was
produced at the Haymarket, December 13, 1707, when it was acted five
times; and it was published probably early in the next year. It
continued on the London stage until 1786, and was last performed at
Bath, in 1813. It is only a fair comedy, lacking the qualities of
style, the originality in the conception of the characters, and the
skilful working out of the plot that had characterized Cibber’s two
earlier plays of the sentimental type. But in whatever way the plot as
a whole may be lacking, the last act has plenty of liveliness; there
complication follows complication and humorous incidents follow serious
with great rapidity.

_The Rival Fools_, published in quarto in 1709 and played at Drury
Lane, January 11, 1709, is an alteration of Beaumont and Fletcher’s
_Wit at Several Weapons_, and was not successful. At its first
presentation it was acted five times, and was revived only once, in
1712, when it was acted twice. _The Biographia Dramatica_[53] relates
the following incident of the first performance, the events of which
may be compared with the reception accorded Thomson’s _Sophonisba_:

  “It met, however, with bad success. There happened to be a
  circumstance in it, which, being in itself rather ridiculous, gave a
  part of the audience an opportunity of venting their spleen on the
  author; viz: a man in one of the earlier scenes on the stage, with
  a long angling rod in his hand, going to fish for Miller’s Thumbs;
  on which account some of the spectators took occasion whenever
  Mr. Cibber appeared, who himself played the character, to cry out
  continually, ‘Miller’s Thumbs.’”

Cibber has followed the original quite closely so far as the plot is
concerned, much more closely than would be inferred from the first
lines of the prologue:

    “From sprightly Fletcher’s loose confed’rat muse,
     Th’ unfinish’d Hints of these light Scenes we chuse,
     For with such careless haste his Play was writ,
     So unpersued each thought of started Wit;
     Each Weapon of his Wit so lamely fought
     That ’twou’d as scanty on our Stage be thought,
     As for a modern Belle my Grannum’s Petticoat.
     So that from th’ old we may with Justice say,
     We scarce could cull the Trimming of a play.”

In spite of this statement by Cibber himself, he adds practically
nothing to the plot, and in the dialogue adds merely a touch here and

As was customary in altering these old comedies written in verse, the
verse of the original is changed into prose, and as is also customary
in all of Cibber’s alterations, the long speeches are broken into

The character of Pompey Doodle is somewhat enlarged in its
transformation into Samuel Simple, and is one of the most amusing
elements in the play. The treatment is distinctly Jacobean in its
exaggeration of character, and the reception by the audience must be
attributed either to the alteration of taste on the part of the public,
or to the personal unpopularity of Cibber, for the rôle is well written
and Cibber was particularly well fitted to act the part, both by
temperament and by physical qualities.

_The Non-Juror_ was acted at Drury Lane on December 6, 1717, with a
prologue by Nicholas Rowe, poet laureate, and was published in 1718. At
the time of its first presentation it had the comparatively long run
of twenty-three performances, and was revived at Drury Lane and Covent
Garden in 1745, when its political meaning was again pertinent.

The play came at a time of great political stress, so that it was but
natural that its strong Whig and anti-Catholic sentiments should arouse
the greatest antagonism.[54] This antagonism was not only voiced in the
many pamphlets issued at the time, but no doubt affected the general
attitude toward Cibber in his later life. Cibber, in his first letter
to Pope, states that one of his enemies went so far as to write a
pamphlet whose purport was that _The Non-Juror_ constituted a subtle
Jacobite libel against the government. He dedicated the play to the
king when it was published, and for this he received a gift of two
hundred pounds. Cibber was not burdened in mind because he had offended
the losing party, and any inconvenience he may have felt was amply
repaid by the pension and laureateship which later came as his reward.

_The Non-Juror_ is based directly on Molière’s _Tartuffe_, though two
plays on the same theme had previously appeared in English: Crowne’s
_English Friar_ (1689), and Medbourne’s _Tartuffe_ (1670), the latter
a direct adaptation of Molière’s play. This _Tartuffe_ was revived
during the summer season of 1718 at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, and was
published while Cibber’s play was still running, with an advertisement
that in it “may be seen the plot, characters, and most part of the
language of _The Non-Juror_.” This statement is true only in that the
two plays by Medbourne and Cibber are based on Molière, and was made to
discredit Cibber’s claim to originality in the adaptation.

Cibber was no doubt familiar with Medbourne’s play, but he used
Molière as a basis, and owed practically nothing to any play other
than the _Tartuffe_ of Molière. Cibber may have derived the suggestion
of the reformation of Charles from the corresponding character in
Medbourne’s play, but his manner of carrying out this reformation and
the difference in the qualities of the characters in the two plays make
this part an original creation.

In the edition of Crowne in the series of _The Dramatists of the
Restoration_, the editors maintain Cibber’s greater indebtedness to
Crowne than to Molière, in a way that makes one doubt whether they had
ever read either Molière or Cibber. So far as plot is concerned there
is absolutely no resemblance, except that in both a priest attempts
to seduce a decent woman. The characters, style, and management are
both different and inferior in Crowne, although some slight similarity
may be discovered in the attempt of Finical and Dr. Wolf to allay the
consciences of the respective objects of their attentions. As suggested
by Van Laun, Father Finical, like Dr. Wolf, is based on Tartuffe.

Cibber has handled his sources very freely, and in some particulars
has improved both the plot and the characters. That is not to say that
_The Non-Juror_ is a greater play than Molière’s _Tartuffe_, for as a
whole it is not. The parts of Dorine, who in _Tartuffe_ is the life and
source of the humor, of Cléante, and of Madame Pernelle, are omitted,
but the part of Mariane is enlivened into one of the best coquettes
of the stage. The other characters and incidents correspond in _The
Non-Juror_ and Molière’s _Tartuffe_, though the dénouement is more
artistically handled in Cibber.

_The Refusal_, an adaptation of Molière’s _Les Femmes Savantes_,
published in 1721, was acted at Drury Lane, February 14, 1721, and
had a run of six performances. Molière’s play had been adapted by
Wright as _The Female Virtuosoes_ in 1693, and this play was revived at
Lincoln’s Inn Fields on January 10, 1721, to anticipate _The Refusal_.
In like manner with the effort to discredit Cibber’s hand in _The
Non-Juror_, though in this case after the run of Cibber’s play was
over, Curll published, with a dedication to Cibber, “the second edition
of _No Fools Like Wits_,[55] as it was acted at Lincoln’s Inn Fields or
_The Refusal_, as it was acted at Drury Lane.”

In his adaptation Cibber has made more changes than is usual with him,
both in plot and in character; and in the dialogue he has anglicized
the idiom to an extent not found in his adaptations of tragedies from
the French.

Molière’s comedy is a satire on false learning in men as well as in
women, while Cibber has added some satire on business trickery, in
the same way that he added political satire in his adaptation of
_Tartuffe_. Cibber has supplied the elder daughter with a successful
suitor, and the dénouement is brought about by different, more
complicated, and more characteristically English means. In the incident
in Molière’s play in which Bélise takes the love of Clitandre to
herself, Cibber substitutes the mother for Bélise, omits the maid,
along with her impertinences, and adds some slight original incidents.

Trissotin, the poet, becomes one of the typical would-be wits of
English comedy, and Chrysale is changed to a typical promoter. In
Molière, Chrysale is a purely humorous character, whose vacillation
and lack of force were no doubt very laughable on the stage; Sir
Gilbert, his equivalent in Cibber’s play, on the other hand, is in no
way a weakling and is in no way admirable or a source of laughter, but
embodies a satire on contemporary business practices.

The directness and simplicity of Molière’s play, the unity of tone and
plot, give way in Cibber to complication of plot and character, in
which the whole piece loses the delightful quality of the humor of the

_The Provoked Husband_ was presented at Drury Lane, January 10, 1728,
and had a run of twenty-eight nights. There was an unsuccessful attempt
on the part of Cibber’s enemies to damn the play on the first night;
the interruptions were so great that during the fourth act the actors
were compelled to stand still until it was quiet enough for them to
be heard. On January 31, Cibber published Vanbrugh’s unfinished play
and his own completion of it. The critics, who had condemned the play
unmercifully, especially the supposed additions of Cibber, found, when
the plays were published, that it was not Cibber but Vanbrugh they had
been condemning. According to Cibber,[56] on the twenty-eighth night
the play took in one hundred and forty pounds, a greater amount than
had been taken in at the last night of any play for fifty years.

Vanbrugh’s _Journey to London_ consists of four acts, the first two
practically complete, but the last two apparently unfinished. Cibber
has used practically all that Vanbrugh left, omitting the trip to the
theatre in the last part of Act II, and adding much of his own to the
whole play. He has interspersed his additions between the parts of
Vanbrugh’s play, and has changed very little of the Vanbrugh part,
except to “water it down” where it had been too strong for the changed
taste of the theatre goers.

Cibber’s additions to Steele’s _Conscious Lovers_ are mentioned on a
later page of these _Studies_.

Several of Cibber’s comedies were translated into foreign tongues: in
German _The Double Gallant_ appeared as _Der doppellte Liebhaber_,
translated by Johann Friedrich Jünger and published in Leipzig in
1786, _The Careless Husband_ as _Der sorglose Ehemann_, published in
Göttingen in 1750, and _The Provoked Husband_ as _Der erzürnte Ehemann
und der Landjunker_, published in Frankfurt in 1753; in French _The
Provoked Husband_ appeared as _Le Mari poussé à bout, ou le voyage à
Londres_, published in London, 1761.

The adaptations, except _The Non-Juror_ and _The Refusal_, seem to have
been produced merely to furnish amusement which should be in accordance
with changed stage conditions and changed taste. They show little
originality, being merely the stringing together of scenes without
alteration, though Cibber in the prologue to _The Double Gallant_ says:

    “Nay, even alter’d Plays, like old houses mended,
     Cost little less than new, before they’re ended;
     At least, our author finds the experience true.”

His method seems to have been to take two plays of an older author,
often plays which contained both a serious and a comic action, to
select such scenes as suited his purpose, and to join them into a
play, either alternating the scenes of the separate plays with link
characters, or putting the two plays end on end, as in the case of
_Love Makes a Man_. This latter method entailed much greater labor, as
many of the characters were made by consolidating two characters from
different plays.

Cibber’s comedies, which constitute his best and most important
work, may be divided into two general classes: comedies of manners
and intrigue, and sentimental comedies. The first class includes two
adaptations from Beaumont and Fletcher which are not strictly comedies
of manners but are more closely allied to the “comedy of humours,”
namely, _Love Makes a Man_ and _The Rival Fools_; one adaptation made
out of two plays by Dryden, _The Comical Lovers_; two from Molière,
_The Non-Juror_ and _The Refusal_, into both of which he introduced
contemporary social and political interest; and three other plays,
_Woman’s Wit_, _She Would and She Would Not_, and _The Double Gallant_,
the last of which takes its title, if not its plot, from Corneille’s
_Le Galant Double_. The sentimental comedies, in which form Cibber was
one of the very first to write, are _Love’s Last Shift_, _The Careless
Husband_, _The Lady’s Last Stake_, and _The Provoked Husband_, the
last being a completion of Vanbrugh’s _Journey to London_. The first
class consists almost altogether of adaptations; the second class is
essentially original.




The fully developed form of sentimental comedy may be said to begin
with Steele’s _Conscious Lovers_ (1772) and to end with the attack
upon it made by Goldsmith, Foote, and their followers. Goldsmith
was “strongly prepossessed in favour of the poets of the last age
and strove to imitate them,”[57] and by his reintroduction of humor
into comedy he exerted a strong influence toward the downfall of the
sentimental type. The end of this vogue is generally well understood,
but the beginning of it has not been investigated with the same
thoroughness. Steele is generally given the credit of being the
innovator who reformed the stage,[58] although Ward and others give
some credit to the work of Cibber. The importance of Cibber in the
development of this form and in the moral reformation of comedy,
the effect of social conditions, and the gradual change from the
Restoration type, have not been fully studied. Colley Cibber was the
most important writer of comedy in preparing the way for the new form,
and practically every element of the later sentimental comedy is found
in his work. But Cibber was not a reformer calling on his age to
repent; he was rather answering a general demand of his time.

Three stages may be discerned in the development of sentimental
comedy: first, that in which the morals of comedy were purified and
the new sentimental material was intermixed with the old humorous
material, represented by the work of Cibber; second, that in which the
sentimental theme is presented with very little comic entertainment,
represented by _The Conscious Lovers_; and third, that in which the
comedy of this second stage degenerates and in which the work becomes
artificial and lifeless, represented by the plays of Holcroft and his

Sentimental comedy as seen in its second phase may be briefly described
as comedy of manners in which the main action tends to inculcate a
moral lesson, in which the incidents no longer deal with illicit
intrigues, and in which the action is complicated by distressingly
pathetic situations. The chief characters are generally serious and
supersensitive in regard to such matters as filial duty, honor, and
the like; and while these persons are in no need of being reformed,
their exaggerated conceptions of honor have caused them to act so
that they are placed in an equivocal position and they appear to the
other characters as vicious. The language is chaste, there is constant
introduction of extremely stilted moralizing, and there is a notable
absence of humor.

Cibber’s work in other lines was conventional and commonplace. It is
true that his _Apology_ is lively and interesting, and his pamphlets in
reply to Pope’s attacks are keen and humorous though vulgar, but the
rest of his prose is extremely conventional. His poetry, except a few
songs, is inexpressibly poor. Aside from one opera in which he takes
the same stand in regard to virtue that he does in his comedies, his
operas are merely the commonplace following of a vogue. His tragedies
are generally imitative; with two exceptions they are adaptations of
Corneille or Shakspere. His farces are about equal in merit to his
poetry, and are devoid of originality.

Nor does Cibber’s life indicate the qualities that appear in his
sentimental comedies. The moral standard he displays in his pamphlets
in reply to Pope is far from high, and from the testimony of his
contemporaries concerning his personal character it would seem that
he was far from being the sort of man who would set about reforming
anything. And in all probability he would not have done so if there had
not been a general public movement in that direction.


But sentimental comedy did not spring full grown from the brain of a
single man. Nor was it the result of a single revolutionary force.
Sentimental comedy resulted from gradual modifications of the drama
of the time, developing from the prevalent type little by little
until it finally appeared as an independent form. The reform of the
stage was not an isolated phenomenon, nor was it directly the result
of the attacks made by Collier and others. Rather are all these the
result of a changed public conscience, which was manifested not merely
in literature and on the stage, but in the Revolution of 1688 and a
subsequent social reformation as well.

Immediately after the Restoration there may be discovered two elements
in the life of the nation which had an influence both on the form and
on the content of literature. On the one side was the court, whose
standards affected both the form and content in the direction of
foreign models. Through the long period of exile on the continent,
Charles and his followers had become foreign in their literary taste
and they had great influence in the direction of a French type as
regards form; and because of the low and vicious standards of living
prevalent at court their influence stimulated the sympathetic handling
of low and vicious subjects.

On the other hand, there were the people, strictly native in their
preference, who influenced the drama in the direction of native
standards in form, and Puritan standards in content. As to the form
of comedy, there was nothing essentially antagonistic in these two
influences; the one could easily combine with the other so that a new
thing, congruous and consistent, might result; but in the material
presented antagonism was bound to arise and soon did arise. In the
development of sentimental comedy from the type which predominated
during and after the Restoration, there was not at first any
modification in structural elements; the comedy of manners was adopted,
so far as form was concerned; the change, which was gradual and was a
direct response to changed social and moral conditions, was at first
entirely in the matter of content. This change first appears in the
sincere reformation of the hero at the end of the play; then in the
attitude towards cuckoldom, which Restoration comedy had treated as a
humorous fact; and then in the character of the language, which was
altered in the direction of moral decency.

Under Charles II and James II the court, on which the theatre depended
for its right to live and also for its patronage, was vicious and
depraved. Its one grace was wit, and that it had in a superlative


The people in general, except the court and those more or less
fashionable classes of society which would naturally follow it,
were not affected by this mode. They learned to despise Charles II
personally because of his lack of honor and morals, and hated his
followers as well as their mode of life. In the city the Puritan
element, which was “at once the most substantial and sober” part of the
community, began to exercise some of the same control of manners and
morals that it had practised under the commonwealth, and checked the
constant disregard of its moral principles by the court.

But even during this corrupt time there were manifestations of activity
on the part of other elements of society, which looked toward the
betterment of conditions. In the life of the state there were events
which made for general progress and a more moral life among all the
people. With special reference to the regulation and restraint of the
theatre, certain elements in Parliament attempted, in 1669, to tax
the playhouses, which were situated in the disreputable part of town
and had become centers of prostitution; but the ministers of the king
intervened and the attempt to compel some restraint was unsuccessful.

In the reigns of William and Mary and of Anne a reaction is seen in the
life of the court, and there appears a still greater progress in all
classes of society.

The expulsion of the Stuarts brought about certain very positive
results which made for progress in all directions. So too the principle
of natural action and reaction was operating; but, considering the
historical circumstances, it was only to be expected that the reaction
toward a more moral and saner view of life should be less marked and
less rapid than the preceding reaction from Puritanism.

Until after the downfall of the Stuarts, the Protestants in England had
never been united; but after that event even Presbyterians joined with
ecclesiastics of the Church of England in public ceremonies on terms of
friendship. Now that the question of political and religious supremacy
was permanently settled, the Protestants were free to turn to some of
the questions which are popularly supposed to be the real objects of
religious organizations--worship and the encouragement of right living.
However far it may have failed to measure up to modern ideas in these
respects, the church now began to be a greater moral force.

The court became a very different sort of place. However far William
might fall short of middle class standards of today, he was a very
different sort of man from Charles or James, and had a very different
influence. As opposed to the Catholicism of the Stuarts, he was a
Presbyterian. Instead of haunting the theatre, where Charles found
more than one mistress among the actresses, William never even showed
himself at the theatre. Because of William’s prolonged absences on
the continent, during which Mary reigned in her own right, the person
of the queen became more important than in former reigns. Mary “had
been educated only to work embroidery, to play on the spinnet, and to
read the Bible and the _Whole Duty of Man_.”[59] “Her character was
unimpeachable, and by the influence of the king and queen the whole
court became most proper, even if it was somewhat dull.” But unlike
her husband, she went frequently to the theatre, where she showed
special favor for Shadwell and where she ordered such plays as _The
Old Bachelor_, _The Double Dealer_, and _The Committee_. It must be
admitted that Mary’s taste in regard to plays did not show great
literary or moral discrimination.

Both under William and Mary and under Anne the court took positive
grounds on moral questions. In Evelyn’s _Diary_ for February 19, 1690,
we read:

  “The impudence of both sexes was now become so greate and so
  universal, persons of all ranks keeping their courtesans publicly,
  that the King had lately directed a letter to the Bishops to order
  their Cleargy to preach against that sin, swearing, &c. and to put
  the Ecclesiastical Laws in execution without any indulgence.”

Mary, on July 9, 1691, wrote to the justices of the peace directing
that they execute all laws against the profanation of the Sabbath, and
even went so far as to have constables stationed on street corners to
capture pies and puddings that were being taken to the bakers to be
cooked on that day. In 1697 and 1698 King William issued two orders
concerning the acting of anything contrary to good morals or manners.
Queen Anne, who never went to the public theatre, made frequent
proclamations against immoral plays, masked women, and the admittance
of spectators behind the scenes, and in 1703 she issued a proclamation
against vice in general.

Altogether, the forces of the court and of the government were
acting in accord to suppress the abuses which their predecessors had
countenanced both by favor and by participation.

But however potent may have been the influence of the court, the real
movement for social reform came from the people, whose will the court
was really carrying out. The movement on the part of the people was
forwarded by the rise of various societies which were established for
moral, philanthropic, and religious purposes.[60]

The Society for the Reformation of Manners, inaugurated by a small
number of gentlemen in 1692, was probably the most influential and
best known of these organizations. It was organized primarily for the
purpose of informing on evildoers, and that there might be no criticism
concerning their sincerity, the fines were paid over to charity. In
addition to carrying on this work of informing, the society established
quarterly lectures on moral subjects, secured the preaching of sermons
on its objects, and in 1699 it claimed to have secured thousands of
convictions.[61] The church was brought into the movement by Archbishop
Tenison’s circular to the clergy encouraging them to cooperate with the
laity in the movement. This movement went farther than the prosecution
of overt acts against morality, for in 1701-2 the players at Lincoln’s
Inn Fields were prosecuted for uttering impious, lewd, and immoral


Collier’s attack on the stage, published in 1698, was no doubt a potent
influence in crystallizing public opinion in regard to the drama, but
it does not stand alone; it is merely a sign of a movement which the
stage had begun to notice and profit by several years previously.
During the year 1698 not less than sixteen books and pamphlets were
published in the controversy. Collier’s book had great influence in
furthering the work of reformation; but, low as was the tone of the
drama at the time, one must confess that in some particulars Collier is
radical and far-fetched in his arguments and conclusions.

Cibber, though he had two years previously written a play with a
distinct reformatory and moral purpose, did not much relish Collier’s
attack or agree with it. In the prologue to _Xerxes_ he intimates that
Collier might prove a good index for those who desired to read immoral

    “Thus ev’n sage Collier too might be accus’d,
     If what h’as writ, thro’ ignorance, abus’d:
     Girls may read him, not for the truth, he says,
     But to be pointed to the bawdy plays.”

In _The Careless Husband_ we find Lord Morelove saying:

  “Plays now, indeed, one need not be so much afraid of; for since the
  late short-sighted view of them, vice may go on and prosper; the
  stage dares hardly show a vicious person speaking like himself, for
  fear of being call’d prophane for exposing him.”

To this Lady Easy replies that,

  “’Tis hard, indeed, when people won’t distinguish between what’s
  meant for contempt, and what for example.”

Perhaps Cibber’s most interesting contribution to the controversy is
contained in his dedication of _Love Makes a Man_, published in the
first edition, but omitted in the collected edition of his plays:

  “But suppose the stage may have taken too loose a liberty? Is there
  nothing to be said for it? Have not all sciences been guilty? Was
  it to be expected in a reign of pleasure, peace and madness, that
  the poets should not be merry? Did not the court then lead up the
  dance? And did not the whole nation join in it? Was it not mere Joan
  Sanderson,[63] and did not the lawn-sleeves, cuffs, and cassocks
  fill up the measure? But since those dancing days are over, I hope
  our enemies will give us leave to grow wise, and sober, as well as
  the rest of our neighbors: Why shall we not have the liberty to
  reform, as well as the clergy, and lawyers? I believe upon a fair
  examination we may find, that prophaneness, cruelty, and passive
  obedience, are now less than ever the business of the stage, the
  bench or the pulpit; and I doubt not, but we can produce examples of
  new plays, lawyers, and pastors that have met with success without
  being obliged to immorality, bribery, or politics ...

  “Now if the stage must needs down, because ’tis possible it may
  seduce, as instruct; the same rule of policy might forbid the use of
  physic, because not only their patients, but physicians themselves
  die of common diseases; or call in the milled crowns, because they
  are but so many patterns for coiners to counterfeit by, or might
  as well suppress the Courts of Judicature, because some persons
  have suffered for what a succeeding reign has made a new law, that
  makes that law that sentenced them illegal: The same conclusion
  might discountenance our religion, because we sometimes find pride,
  hypocricy, avarice, and ignorance in its teachers: So that if our
  zealous reformers do not stick fairly to their method we may in time
  hope to see our nation flourish without either wit, health, money,
  law, conscience, or religion....

  “But this sort of reformation I hope will never be thoroughly
  wrought, while the king, and the Established Church have any friends:
  The stage I am sure was never heartily oppressed but by the enemies
  of both.”

Though Cibber thought Collier extreme and unjust in his criticism,
his own attitude concerning the abuses of the stage was hardly less
censorious than Collier’s, but he blames the audiences for the low
moral standards of the entertainments:

  “However gravely we may assert, that Profit ought always to be
  inseparable from the Delight of the Theatre; nay, admitting that
  the Pleasure would be heighten’d by the uniting them; yet, while
  Instruction is so little the Concern of the Auditor, how can we hope
  that so choice a Commodity will come to a Market where there is so
  seldom a Demand for it?

  “It is not to the Actor therefore, but to the vitiated and low Taste
  of the Spectator, that the Corruptions of the Stage (of what kind
  soever) have been owing.”[64]

His own attitude, which he held from the first of his career as a
dramatist, may be illustrated what he says in the _Apology_:[65]

  “Yet such Plays (entirely my own) were not wanting at least, in what
  our most admired Writers seem’d to neglect, and without which, I
  cannot allow the most taking Play, to be intrinsically good, or
  to be a Work, upon which a Man of Sense and Probity should value
  himself: I mean when they do not, as well _prodesse_, as _delectare_,
  give Profit with Delight! The _Utile Dolci_ was, of old, equally
  the Point; and has always been my Aim, however wide of the Mark, I
  may have shot my Arrow. It has often given me Amazement, that our
  best Authors of that time, could think the Wit, and Spirit of their
  Scenes, could be an Excuse for making the Looseness of them publick.
  The many Instances of their Talents so abused, are too glaring, to
  need a closer Comment, and are sometimes too gross to be recited.
  If then to have avoided this Imputation, or rather to have had the
  Interest, and Honour of Virtue always in view, can give Merit to
  a Play; I am contented that my Readers should think such Merit,
  the All, that mine have to boast of.--Libertines of mere Wit, and
  Pleasure, may laugh at these grave Laws, that would limit a lively
  Genius: But every sensible honest Man, conscious of their Truth,
  and Use, will give these Ralliers Smile for Smile, and shew a due
  Contempt for their Merriment.”

Davies tells us:[66]

  “So well did Cibber, though a professed libertine through life,
  understand the dignity of virtue, that no comic author has drawn more
  delightful and striking pictures of it. Mrs. Porter, on reading a
  part, in which Cibber had painted virtue in the strongest and most
  lively colors, asked him how it came to pass, that a man, who could
  draw such admirable portraits of goodness, should yet live as if he
  were a stranger to it?--‘Madam,’ said Colley, ‘the one is absolutely
  necessary, the other is not.’”

Possibly this inconsistency in personal conduct and public confession
explains why comedies which aimed to teach lessons of virtue were
sentimental and did not ring true. The men who wrote them wrote from
the head and not from the heart, influenced by a growing public demand
and without real sincerity or conviction.


Restoration comedy up to about 1696, while it was essentially a native
development, was influenced both in technique and in content by the
drama to which the court had been accustomed in its exile in France.
The Jonsonian comedy was developing both in the period immediately
preceding the Commonwealth and during the Restoration into the same
sort of thing that we have here, and Shadwell, poet laureate and
especial favorite of Queen Mary, definitely took the work of Jonson
as his model. The Jonsonian satire had thrown emphasis on fundamental
traits of human nature, but in this later type satire is centered
on manners, dress, the non-essential elements of life, though the
characters continue to be embodiments of single traits. Molière, whose
earliest effective follower in England was Etherege, taught the English
writers of the comedy of manners to aim at polish, refinement of style
and dialogue, and his influence confirmed the tendency of English
comedy to follow the unities as they were then understood. Restoration
comedy, then, is native Jonsonian comedy, influenced by the comedy of
Molière.[67] The chief literary sources of its plots are the comedies
of Beaumont and Fletcher, of Molière, of Corneille, and Spanish
comedies and novels.

Though the late Elizabethans had been gross in word, there had always
been in their work a tendency to punish vice and reward virtue, or at
least to make vice ridiculous. But in the Restoration this grossness
becomes grossness of word, character, and idea, and it is not the
violator of virtue that is made ridiculous, but his victim. The
Elizabethan gaiety, spontaneity, healthy overflow of spirits, become a
cynicism which is absurd in its artificiality and deliberate pose. The
Jonsonian reaction from earlier Elizabethan romanticism continues its
advance toward realism.

The Restoration dramatist lacks the power to construct effective
plots. He is able to handle his separate incidents with skill, but
when it comes to sustaining an action through five acts, he fails. His
chief fault lies in too great intricacy, excessive elaboration, and
complexity, which are due to his endeavor to tell too many stories.
In the construction of his plays he commonly takes two, and sometimes
three, plays from Molière, or Beaumont and Fletcher, to form one play
of his own. Hence there is in the handling of the plot a lack of unity.
Furthermore, in his extreme elaboration of single situations, which
one must admit have qualities to make them lively and interesting
on the stage, the dramatist fails in the great essential quality of
probability; if one regards the unity of time, he makes his stories
impossible. Lack of sequence is caused by the constant interruption of
conversation, which is brilliant and entertaining in itself, but has
nothing to do with the story.

The dramatist tends to the elaboration of stock themes, dealing with
the pursuit of illicit pleasure, assignations, and love intrigues. The
typical story might be stated as follows: a young man is entangled with
one or more women, a widow, the wife of an elderly or foolish husband,
or a mistress whom he is keeping or who is keeping him, and while he
is carrying on these intrigues he falls in love with the virtuous
young woman he eventually wins. Sometimes his mistresses object to his
marrying some one else, sometimes they do not, and in the latter case
the opposing force is centered in a rapacious guardian or some other
complicating person or circumstance. There are usually many minor
love affairs, sometimes legitimate, sometimes not, and usually so
complicated that it is difficult to keep the various threads separate.
Collier did no injustice when he said that “the stage poets make their
principal persons vicious and reward them at the end of the play.”

The love is mere sensuality. There is tacit acknowledgment that the men
will be untrue to their wives and a fear on the part of the husbands
that their wives will cuckold them.[68] This fear is not because of any
moral scruples, but is merely because of the ridicule that cuckoldom
brought on the husband. The treatment is frankly gross, licentious,

In a sense this treatment is highly realistic; to this extent, that it
is a general reflection of the standards and manners of the life of the
court. The fashions are contemporary, the manners and morals are those
of the upper classes. The playwrights confine themselves to a limited
section of but a part of the people. Social and religious institutions
are treated so as to make them ridiculous and contemptible.

That any other treatment would have been difficult is seen by
considering the relationship existing between the theatre and the
court. The theatre had its authority for existence directly from the
court, one theatre receiving its license from the King, the other
from the Duke of York, while the companies of actors were known as
the King’s or the Duke’s servants.[69] These licenses were moreover
revocable at the pleasure of those who gave them. Controversies and
differences within the theatre were often settled personally by the
King or Duke, and Charles is said to have suggested subjects to the
dramatists in many instances. With so direct and personal a relation,
anything other than compliance with the taste of the court could result
in nothing but the downfall of the theatre. The theatre’s very life
depended on its selection and presentation of themes that would satisfy
and reflect the taste of the most morally degraded court that England
has ever had.

The characterization in these plays is conventional and often vague.
For example, it may be laid down as an almost invariable rule that a
widow is never virtuous. In the embodiment of a single trait there
is the continued tendency to exaggeration seen in the “humourous”
characterization of Jonson, with the same use of descriptive
names--Courtall, Mrs. Frail, Lady Wishfort, Justice Clodpate--to save
the labor of characterization. The characters are likewise lacking in
complexity and development.

There is the tendency to Jonsonian division of characters into dupes
and dupers,[70] but this division is not so clear as in Jonson, nor is
the division based on the essential qualities of human nature, but is
rather on the basis of wit and power in repartee. The heroes are all
witty, usually wealthy, popular, and their life work is the pursuit of
women. The women are all witty, beautiful, and all rakes, except the
heroine, and even the heroines bid fair to become so in a few months
after marriage. The hero or heroine of one play might be the hero or
heroine of any other play so far as any distinctive characterization is

There is the pretended wit, a simpleton who apes the men of wit
and fashion, who thinks himself most clever, and who is perfectly
unconscious of the fact that he is being made a butt for the wit of
the sensible characters. Such are the Dapperwits, the Witwouds, and
the Tattles. Somewhat similar is the fop who imitates the French,
thinks only of his dress, his appearance, and the figure he makes. He
is all ostentation, is entirely self-centered and simple in his mental
processes, but is really not such a fool as one imagines at first.
Etherege’s Sir Fopling Flutter, and Cibber’s Sir Novelty Fashion--the
Lord Foppingtons of _The Relapse_ and _The Careless Husband_--are two
well drawn presentations of this character. An interesting female type
is the Miss Hoyden-Prue-Hippolyta young woman, who has been kept in
secluded ignorance of the world, but who shows a sudden ingenuity,
knowledge of the world, and desire for the sensual joys of life. There
are, of course, the elderly cuckolds, dominated and fooled by their
wives, and the wives who profess virtue but do not practise it.

That the view here given is not prejudiced by modern standards may
be seen by a description of the characters by one of the dramatists
themselves. Shadwell in the preface to _The Sullen Lovers_ expresses
himself, not without vigor:

  “But in the Plays, which have been wrote of late, there is no such
  thing as perfect Character, but the two chief Persons are commonly
  a Swearing, Drinking, Whoring, Ruffian for a Lover, and an impudent
  ill-bred _Tomrig_ for a Mistress, and these are the fine People of
  the play; and ... almost any thing is proper for them to say; but
  their chief Subject is Bawdy, and Profaneness, which they call _Brisk
  Writing_, when the most dissolute of Men, that relish those things
  well enough in Private, are shock’d at ’em in Publick.”

The dialogue, which often interrupts the movement of the plot, and
often surpasses in interest the more solid quality of representation
of life, is usually marked by the most brilliant and biting wit, by
keenly satiric repartee, and by epigrammatic polish. The dialogue has
often nothing to do with the story, but is merely the exhibition of
the author’s ability in the cynical treatment of contemporary manners.
The attitude is one of satire and raillery against all established
institutions, against marriage, the manners of society, the Puritans,
the newly developing sciences, the court, dueling, the country and
its inhabitants, the opera, the new songs and novels, the affectation
of foreign airs, the adoption of foreign words, poetry and dilettante
writing, polite literary conversation, legal abuses, and almost
everything that one can conceive.

The locality in which the plays are set is extremely narrow at
first, being confined to the town; for most of the plays are set in
London, in localities familiar to the audiences. Within the class
and localities to which the comedy restricts itself, it is a most
interesting social document; but it must always be remembered that it
is no sense representative of the whole people. Sometimes we are taken
to Spain or Italy, but it is Spain or Italy only in name, the people
and the customs are all English. The scene may sometimes be one of the
fashionable watering places in England; but it is never in the despised

Whether one agrees with it or not it is well to keep in mind Lamb’s
defense in his essay _On the Artificial Comedy of the Last Century_:

  “We have been spoiled with ... the ... drama of common life; where
  the moral point is everything; where, instead of the fictitious
  half-believed personages of the stage (the phantoms of old comedy)
  we recognize ourselves, our brothers, aunts, kinsfolk, allies,
  patrons, enemies,--the same as in life.... “I do not know how it is
  with others, but I feel the better always for the perusal of one of
  Congreve’s--nay, why should I not add even of Wycherley’s--comedies.
  I am the gayer at least for it; and I could never connect those
  sports of a witty fancy in any shape with any result to be drawn
  from them to imitation in real life. They are a world of themselves
  almost as much as fairyland.... But in its own world do we feel
  the creature is so very bad?--The Fainalls and the Mirabels, the
  Dorimants and the Lady Touchwoods, in their own sphere, do not offend
  my moral sense; in fact they do not appeal to it at all. They seem
  engaged in their proper element. They break through no laws, or
  conscientious restraints. They know of none. They have got out of
  Christendom into the land--what shall I call it?--of cuckoldry--the
  Utopia of gallantry, where pleasure is duty, and the manners perfect
  freedom. It is altogether a speculative scene of things, which has no
  reference whatever to the world that is.... He [Congreve] has spread
  a privation of moral light ... over his creations; and his shadows
  flit before you without distinction or preference. Had he introduced
  a good character, a single gush of moral feeling, a revulsion of the
  judgment to actual life and actual duties, the impertinent Goshen
  would have only lighted to the discovery of deformities, which now
  are none, because we think them none.... “... When we are among
  them [the characters of Congreve and Wycherley], we are amongst a
  chaotic people. We are not to judge them by our usages. No reverend
  institutions are insulted by their proceedings,--for they have none
  among them. No peace of families is violated,--for no family ties
  exist among them. No purity of the marriage bed is stained,--for
  none is supposed to have a being.... There is neither right nor
  wrong,--gratitude or its opposite,--claim or duty,--paternity or

  “The whole is a passing pageant.... But, like Don Quixote, we take
  part against the puppets, and quite as impertinently.... We would
  indict our very dreams.”


Such had been the conditions surrounding the drama and in the drama
itself before the reformation began. When one comes to look at the
stage and the audiences, one finds very little indication of change
at first. In 1682 there seems to have been objection to _London
Cuckolds_ on the ground of indecency, and Ravenscroft in the prologue
to _Dame Dobson_ (1682) claims to have complied with the objections
which had been raised by making his own play dull and civil. In 1684
appeared Southerne’s first comedy, _The Disappointment_, which he calls
a “play,” and in this we have the serious treatment of the marriage
relations and the preservation of a wife’s chastity. Throughout,
Southerne’s tendency was towards morality.

In 1696 there begins a real and easily discernible movement towards the
moral treatment of dramatic themes. _The She Gallants_ (1696) was so
offensive to the ladies that it had to be withdrawn; in _She Ventures
and He Wins_ (1696) the man who would carry on an amour with a married
woman is exposed and tricked and made the butt; and in Mrs. Manley’s
_The Lost Lover_ (1696) there is the noticeable introduction of a
virtuous wife.

In 1697, the epilogue to _Boadicea_, a tragedy, tells us that

    “Once only smutty jests could please the town,
     But now (Heav’n help our trade) they’ll not go down.”

Waterhouse[71] finds traces of sentimentality in Vanbrugh’s _Aesop_,
which appeared the same year. Then in 1698 matters were brought to a
head by Collier, and we find Congreve’s _Double Dealer_ advertised to
be acted “with several expressions omitted,” while in _The Way of the
World_ (1700) his muse is somewhat more chaste. _The Provoked Wife_
was altered, probably in 1706, so that the clergy might not seem to be

From this time on the changed attitude was increasingly manifest in the
new plays, though the old were still acted with little or no change.

In _The State of the Case Restated_[72] it is contended that the royal
patent to the Drury Lane Theatre was given to Sir Richard Steele for
the purpose of correcting the abuses of the theatre, but that Sir
Richard had not done this; in fact that

  “The same lewd plays were acted and reviewed without any material
  alteration, which gave occasion for that universal complaint against
  the English stage, of lewdness and debauchery, from all the sober and
  religious part of the nation; the whole business of comedy continuing
  all this time to be the criminal intrigues of fornication and
  adultery, ridiculing of marriage, virtue, and integrity, and giving
  a favorable turn to vicious characters, and instructing loose people
  how to carry on their lewd designs with plausibility and success:
  thus among other plays they have revived _The Country Wife_, _Sir
  Fopling Flutter_, _The Rover_, _The Libertine Destroyer_, and several
  others, and it is remarkable, that the knight, or coadjutors, had
  condemned _Sir Fopling Flutter_, as one of the most execrable and
  vicious plays that ever was performed in public.”

The change that was occurring may be fairly illustrated by quotations
from plays by Etherege and Steele, which are characteristic of the
alterations not only as to morals but as to moralizing. In speaking of
marriage Etherege says, “your nephew ought to conceal it [his marriage]
for a time, madam, since marriage has lost its good name; prudent men
seldom expose their own reputations, till ’tis convenient to justify
their wives;”[73] while Steele’s sentiment is that “wedlock is hell if
at least one side does not love, as it would be Heaven if both did.”[74]


Cibber at the very outset of his career as a dramatist, in _Love’s Last
Shift_ (1696), deliberately attempted to reform the stage, and that
the audience was ready for the innovation is shown by the way it was
received, for we are told that “never were spectators more happy in
easing their minds by uncommon and repeated plaudits. The honest tears,
shed by the audience, conveyed a strong reproach to our licentious
poets, and was to Cibber the highest mark of honor.”[75] Davies further
gives Cibber the credit of being the first in reforming the English
stage, and of founding English sentimental comedy. “The first comedy,
acted since the Restoration, in which were preserved purity of manners
and decency of language, with a due respect to the honor of the
marriage-bed, was Colley Cibber’s _Love’s Last Shift, or The Fool in
Fashion_.”[76] Cibber himself makes no claim to decency of language,
nor is it found to any greater extent in this play than in the other
plays of the period. Certainly there can be nothing bolder than the
first act, or the epilogue, which reads as follows:

    “Now, gallants, for the author. First, to you
     Kind city gentlemen o’ th’ middle row;
     He hopes you nothing to his charge can lay,
     There’s not a cuckold made in all his play.
     Nay, you must own, if you believe your eyes,
     He draws his pen against your enemies:
     For he declares, today, he merely strives
     To maul the beaux--because they maul your wives.
     Nor, sirs, to you whose sole religion’s drinking,
     Whoring, roaring, without the pain of thinking,
     He fears he’s made a fault you’ll ne’er forgive,
     A crime beyond the hopes of a reprieve:
     An honest rake forego the joys of life,
     His whores and wine, t’ embrace a dull chaste wife!
     Such out-of-fashion stuff! but then again,
     He’s lewd for above four acts, gentlemen.

           *       *       *       *       *

     Four acts for your coarse palates were design’d,
     But then the ladies taste is more refin’d,
     They, for Amanda’s sake, will sure be kind.”

The main action, that which deals with the reformation of the wandering
husband, seems to be original with Cibber in every respect. It deals
with the reformation of a husband who eight or ten years before has
deserted his young wife for a dissolute life on the continent, and who
returns to England still more degenerate in mind and morals than when
he left, and so entirely depleted in purse that he has not money enough
to buy a meal or pay for a night’s lodging for himself and his servant.
The husband is finally led to return to his wife, whose appearance has
so changed that he does not recognize her, by her pretense of being a
new mistress. This subterfuge is more or less remotely suggestive of
Shakspere’s _All’s Well that Ends Well_ and Shirley’s _Gamester_, both
of which have been suggested as its source; but it owes nothing to them
in the working out of the situation.

The theme is practically that of _The Careless Husband_: the
reformation of a husband not entirely spoiled at heart. The moral
teaching is that there is the same pleasure in legitimate enjoyment as
in the baser and illicit sort.

The innovation consists in the very moral ending of the piece,
particularly in the definite decision of the hero to reform, a
determination which he expresses as follows:

  “By my example taught, let every man, whose fate has bound him to
  a marry’d life, beware of letting loose his wild desires: for if
  experience may be allow’d to judge, I must proclaim the folly of a
  wandering passion. The greatest happiness we can hope on earth,

    And sure the nearest to the joys above,
    Is the chaste rapture of a virtuous love.”

It is to be noticed that the illicit affair of Sir Novelty Fashion and
Mrs. Flareit is made ridiculous and not happy at the end, nor does Sir
Novelty acquire a mistress or a wife who has previously been chaste.
Likewise there is no husband who is made ridiculous by being cuckolded,
and the only amour, if it can be called an amour, that which Amanda’s
maid unwillingly has with Snap, is made right the next morning by the
marriage of the two.

On the other hand, the play, aside from these particulars, exhibits
the technique and the material of the typical Restoration comedy.
The chief incident deals in most frank style with the sex relations
of the hero and heroine, treated essentially in the Restoration way,
with the exception that the audience knows they are man and wife while
the characters do not. The cellar incident is as frank and gross as
anything of the sort in the earlier drama, though in this case the
final outcome is a wedding. There is the same succession of lively and
disconnected incidents, incidents which would go well on the stage, and
which make up five separate threads of story. The substitution of the
name of one person for another in the marriage bond is the same sort of
thing that occurs over and over again in the earlier comedy.[77]

The characters represent the same more or less stiff drawing of
conventional figures. Sir Novelty Fashion is of the same family as Sir
Fopling Flutter; Lovelace and Young Worthy are the same drunken rakes
as those who make the principal characters in the unreformed drama,
with the exception that here they are not presented to us as carrying
on their amours. Snap is the witty servingman who is invariably paired
with the maid of the heroine in Restoration comedy. There is the same
presentation of local scenes, particularly that in the park; there is
the same coarse speech; and there is the same interruption of the story
by raillery.

But the play as already suggested is a very distinct step in advance in
its treatment of fundamental morality, and marks a conscious beginning
of a new mode; not an inconsiderable achievement for the first play of
an author twenty-four years old.

The two plots of _Woman’s Wit_ (1697) are entirely dissimilar in tone
and dramatic handling, and, moreover, have no essential connection with
each other. The main plot, which gives the name to the piece, is in the
Restoration manner, while the sub-plot, which deals with the Rakishes,
is in the mould of the minor late Elizabethans. In its portrayal of
manners it belongs to the type represented by the plays of Brome,
marked by coarseness rather than finish, and implying about the same
standard of morals.

The main plot consists of a series of complications caused by the
efforts of Longeville to unmask Leonora’s unfaithfulness to Lovemore,
to whom she is engaged. She convinces Lovemore that Longeville’s
efforts are the result of a plot, the purpose of which is to alienate
Lovemore and Leonora so that Longeville may have her to himself; and
there then follows one complication after another, until the characters
are at last gathered together and Leonora is made to confess her

The situation on which the main action is based is original and highly
dramatic, but in order to maintain the intrigue Cibber has had to use
incidents which are marked by improbability and dramatic blindness
to such an extent that the action becomes wearisome. Cibber seems to
be groping for something different from the conventional Restoration
intrigue. His conception is worthy of more success than he attained,
but he lacked the dramatic skill and experience to carry it out.

Some of the character drawing is good. Longeville and Lovemore are
rather decent young men, but are no doubt too sentimental for success
on the stage at this time. The Rakishes are overdrawn and farcical. The
women, with the exception of Leonora, are lacking in the spontaneity
and wit demanded of seventeenth and early eighteenth century heroines,
and like the men are possibly too sentimental. Leonora is the intriguer
and is the best drawn and most important personage in the play. Her
downfall is the result of her own character and conduct, and in the
disapproval of her character and actions Cibber has repeated, to some
extent, views he expressed in his first play.

The vulgar sub-plot which deals with Old Rakish and Young Rakish, when
separated from _Woman’s Wit_ and acted in 1707 as _The School Boy_, was
a greater success than the original play. With the exception of the
change in the names of some of the personages, minor alterations of the
dialogue, the omission of parts of the incidents, and the addition of
such incidents as are necessary to make it stand by itself, the play is
verbatim as it appeared when a part of _Woman’s Wit_.

From the point of view of the reformation of the stage it must be
confessed that _Woman’s Wit_ was not of great importance. The moral
tone of the main action is high; at least virtue is rewarded and vice
disgraced, and there are no amours carried on. But the sub-action,
which was later transformed into _The School Boy_, is entirely opposed
to both good taste and good morals, and after a series of low comedy
scenes, ends with the promise of Young Rakish to Master Johnny that he
will take Johnny to the playhouse, where the latter may satisfy his
disappointment in the failure to marry his mother’s woman. Although
notable progress in the morality of the drama had been made, as we
have seen, the fact that this sub-action was successfully presented by
itself shows that the taste of the theatre-going public was not yet
entirely regenerate.

_Love Makes a Man_ (1701) is a rather close adaptation of two of
Beaumont and Fletcher’s plays,[78] in which Cibber does not pretend
to any serious purpose. “For masks, we’ve scandal, and for beaus,
French airs.” And yet his moralizing and sentimental tendency cannot
be entirely restrained, for when Carlos, the hero of the play, does
turn from his books to love, he speaks in a most heightened and
sentimental strain. So too the efforts of Louisa to seduce him are met
with sentiments of lofty morality which are actuated by his sincere
love for Angelina. The Restoration lover would not have hesitated
in the slightest degree to enjoy all that Louisa offered and his
wife-to-be would have taken it as a matter of course, probably would
have joked with her confidante, if not with the hero, on the subject.
But with Cibber not only is the attitude concerning this sort of thing
changed, but in his alteration he has omitted one incident[79] that
would have been a source of great delight to a Restoration audience,
and has softened the language throughout, so that the coarseness
which marks his original has largely disappeared. No one undergoes
a moral reformation, for Louisa has not been evil in her life, and
this one unsuccessful effort at seduction cures her. But the play has
two characteristics of the sentimental type; it is perfectly moral in
action, and it has some expression of sentimental philosophy.

_She Would and She Would Not_ (1702) is probably more in accordance
with modern taste than any other play Cibber wrote. In this regard for
good taste as well as good morals it is significant of the change in
English comedy, and though it is not sentimental, it indicates Cibber’s
readiness to adopt and lead the new mode. In its technique it reminds
us of the Spanish intrigue plays of Dryden; but it is perfectly moral,
and the two lovers do not employ their time, when away from the main
business of winning their wives, in carrying on intrigues with other

_The Careless Husband_ (acted 1704) is Cibber’s masterpiece in
sentimental comedy. In it he has reached greater excellence than in his
former plays in plot and in character presentation, and in the ability
to make his plot and moral purpose work out consistently and logically.
The reformation of Loveless in _Love’s Last Shift_ strikes one as
not in keeping with his character; one feels that his relapse[80] is
quite the natural thing to happen. In this play, however, the hero’s
character is presented from the first in a way that prepares one for
the final reformation. In this particular Cibber rises above his
contemporaries in comedy.

In _The Careless Husband_ Cibber lays claim to deliberate and
serious moral purpose and deals, as he did in his first play, with
the reclaiming of a licentious husband by a virtuous wife. Dibdin
extravagantly says of it that “it was a school for elegant manners, and
an example for honorable actions.” Cibber expresses himself in regard
to his purpose, in the dedication, as follows:

  “The best criticks have long and justly complain’d, that the
  coarseness of most characters in our late Comedies, have been unfit
  entertainments for People of Quality, especially the ladies: and
  therfore I was long in hopes that some able pen (whose expectation
  did not hang upon the profits of success) wou’d generously attempt
  to reform the Town into a better taste than the World generally
  allows ’em: but nothing of that kind having lately appear’d, that
  would give me the opportunity of being wise at another’s expence, I
  found it impossible any longer to resist the secret temptation of my
  vanity, and so e’en struck the first blow myself: and the event has
  now convinc’d me, that whoever sticks closely to Nature, can’t easily
  write above the understandings of the Galleries, tho’ at the same
  time he may possibly deserve applause of the Boxes.”

But in _The Careless Husband_, in contrast with what he had previously
written in this field, the tone of the entire play is moral, not merely
that of the fifth act, the play is worked out consistently, and the
offensive effect of an incongruous mixture of standards is lacking.
It belongs distinctly to the sentimental type, and is the best of the
early school.

In the prologue Cibber gives a summary of the kind of characters that
should illustrate the moral the comedy writer has as his theme:

    “Of all the various Vices of the Age,
     And shoals of fools expos’d upon the Stage,
     How few are lasht that call for Satire’s rage!
     What can you think to see our Plays so full
     Of Madmen, Coxcombs, and the drivelling Fool?
     Of Cits, of Sharpers, Rakes, and roaring Bullies,
     Of Cheats, of Cuckolds, Aldermen and Cullies?
     Wou’d not one swear, ’twere taken for a rule,
     That Satire’s rod in the Dramatick School,
     Was only meant for the incorrigible Fool?
     As if too Vice and Folly were confined
     To the vile scum alone of human kind,
     Creatures a Muse should scorn; such abject trash
     Deserves not Satire’s but the Hangman’s lash.

           *       *       *       *       *

     We rather think the persons fit for Plays,
     Are those whose birth and education says
     They’ve every help that shou’d improve mankind,
     Yet still live slaves to a vile tainted mind.”

In this play Cibber continues the general practice of basing dramatic
technique upon that of the Restoration drama. We find the same
multiplicity of plots, though there is here a material reduction in
their number. But here the various plots are more consistently bound
together and more logically worked out. The hero is a somewhat refined
Restoration character; he has more gentleness and goodness in him, but
the course he pursues is typical of the earlier plays in that he is
carrying on two amours during the play and at the end he abandons those
intrigues; with this difference, however, that the reformation of the
hero of _The Careless Husband_ is felt to be permanent.

The love story of Lord Morelove and Lady Betty, which forms the
sub-action, is in the best style of the comedy of manners. It, as well
as the main action, reminds one in its finished workmanship of the best
plays written during the latter part of the preceding century.

There is a distinct effort to teach the advantage of moral living, in
the unhappy outcome of the illicit affairs and in the happy outcome
of the legitimate. The situation in which Edging and Sir Charles are
discovered asleep, which proved too gross for Cibber’s audience, is
nevertheless handled in a manner to show disapproval; the Restoration
dramatist would have been salacious and humorous. Sir Charles’s feeling
of guilt after this scene, however, is an entirely new note.

Some of the characters are stock figures. Lady Betty is the usual
coquette, is a Millamant type, but is altogether more human and modern;
Lord Foppington is the continuation of Sir Novelty Fashion, whom we
recognize as a type which appears in Etherege and Crowne; and Sir
Charles, until his reformation, is, in his conduct, the Restoration
rake, with, however, distinctly more humanity. His whole-heartedness
and inherent honor make one forgive his lapse in conduct.

Other characters indicate a new mode. Lady Easy is a modest, virtuous,
capable wife, full of moderation and tact, with the gentleness of
the modern ideal woman. She belongs to the patient Griselda type,
and her situation, which contains not a little pathos, is handled
in a way to gain the sympathy of the audience. This is a new and
noteworthy contribution in the direction of the fully developed type
of sentimental comedy. Even in spite of Sir Charles’s defection in
conduct, we recognize an inherent goodness in his nature. Lord Morelove
is the preaching, sentimentalizing type, serious minded and upright,
the sort of character that Cibber has presented in Lord Lovemore in
_Woman’s Wit_ and Elder Worthy in _Love’s Last Shift_; a character
who seldom appears in the Restoration period, or, if he does appear,
is ridiculed. In this presentation of a successful lover, lacking in
wit and inconstancy, Cibber was not following the convention of the
preceding drama, which usually made its heroes witty scamps.

While we still have light banter and raillery, they are primarily
used to display character or further the plot, functions which they
disregard in the Restoration plays. The theme and its working out
not only deal with the reformation of the loose character, but also
endeavor to present an admirable example of womanhood who shows a
proper fidelity to her husband in spite of all his delinquencies. In
the presentation of this high type of character Cibber has again become
an innovator and has made a positive contribution to the drama of the

In his adaptation of the plays by Dryden[81] in _The Comical Lovers_
(1707) Cibber has not attempted any changes, and the play is of no
importance in the development of comedy. It was regarded merely as a
revival of Dryden’s work, and was acted along with other old plays
during the same season, largely because of an antiquarian interest.

The two plays from which this is made go well together and present
something of the best that Dryden did in the line of satiric comedy,
and no doubt the social satire was almost as pertinent in Cibber’s time
as it had been forty or fifty years earlier.

But the moral standard, which is almost always present, even if in the
background, in Cibber’s own plays, is almost entirely lacking here.
Celadon expects to be cuckolded, but would rather be cuckolded by
Florimel (who reminds one very strongly of Congreve’s Millamant even
in the stipulations before their agreement of marriage), than by any
one else. So too in the complications in the second story in the play,
the moral defections are humorous merely because they are immoral, and
there is no disapproval expressed or implied. In Cibber’s own work he
may retain his disapproval until the last act, but the moral standard
always appears in some way or other, so that this play is essentially
uncharacteristic of Cibber’s work.

_The Double Gallant_ (1707) is an adaption of the same sort as _The
Comical Lovers_, derived from Restoration plays,[82] but it does have
more significance. It is marked by the same general tone of moral
irresponsibility and lightness, but without the actual culmination of
delinquencies; there is the same raillery, somewhat curtailed, and the
hero, as in those plays, involves himself in intrigue with several
women at once. There is more respect for morals in the general conduct
of the piece. The change is indicated in the handling of the source.
Burnaby[83] has made use of what is probably the most notorious and
grossest incident in Restoration comedy, Horner’s subterfuge in _The
Country Wife_, but has modified some of the elements of the intrigue.
Cibber has prevented the successful outcome of the intrigue, and has
entirely omitted the unpleasant features.

_The Lady’s Last Stake_ (1707), in the handling of a serious theme,
seems the most modern of Cibber’s comedies; it represents almost an
approach to the modern problem play in the Lord and Lady Wronglove
story and in the theme of the Lord George and Lady Gentle story. It
is a fully developed comedy of the sentimental type of this period,
with its four acts of intrigue, its reconciliation at the end, and its
extremely moral teaching. Cibber makes two statements of his theme,
first in the dedication, and then in the prologue. His statement in the
dedication is as follows:

  “A Play, without a just Moral, is a poor and trivial Undertaking;
  and ’tis from the Success of such Pieces, that Mr. Collier was
  furnish’d with an advantageous Pretence of laying his unmerciful
  Axe to the Root of the Stage. Gaming is a Vice that has undone more
  innocent Principles than any one Folly that’s in Fashion; therefore
  I chose to expose it to the Fair Sex in its most hideous Form, by
  reducing a Woman of honour to stand the presumptuous Addresses of a
  Man, whom neither her Virtue nor Inclination would let her have the
  least Taste to. Now ’tis not impossible but some Man of Fortune, who
  has a handsome Lady, and a great deal of Money to throw away, may,
  from this startling hint, think it worth his while to find his Wife
  some less hazardous Diversion. If that should ever happen, my end of
  writing this Play is answer’d.”

The plot centers around a most lively intrigue, but shows a departure
from the Restoration type. Cibber seems to have devised his own plot
from observation rather than to have taken it from the work of some one
else, though in his characters he shows some imitation of characters
in older plays. Miss Notable is a Miss Prue type, but the action of
the play preserves her virtue and indicates disapproval of the effort
to seduce her. There is a wide difference between this and the course
of Congreve’s character who rushes eagerly to her bedroom followed by
Tattle.[84] So too in the relations of Lady Wronglove with her husband
there enters a new note. Not only does Cibber show her a virtuous
woman, but he recognizes the infidelity of the husband as grave enough
to merit not only condemnation but punishment; and though he does
not carry his story so far as to inflict on him his just deserts, he
recognizes the right of the wife to resent Lord Wronglove’s action,
although he clearly feels her resentment is unwise. Sir Friendly
Moral, who reconciles the various couples, furnishes the somewhat
sentimental moralizings, and seems to be the mouthpiece of the author.

One does not waste much sympathy on either Lord or Lady Wronglove in
their bickerings, and their reconciliation at the end through the good
offices of Sir Friendly is decidedly lacking in probability, in view of
the way in which they have been previously presented. This dénouement
is brought about by a typical _deus ex machina_ device, in which Sir
Friendly, by supplying money to one of the characters, and by using
his exceeding wisdom and knowledge with another set of characters,
brings about the happy ending. Cibber was not unlike the other late
seventeenth and early eighteenth century writers in his inability to
bring his plays to a logical and probable conclusion. He was hampered
by his theory that the element of surprise should enter into the happy
ending, and hence he often seems to feel compelled to introduce a new
force very late in the play.

The characters in the main action are somewhat serious and lacking
in attractiveness. But those in the comic action, Lord George, Mrs.
Conquest, and Miss Notable, are much more lively sources of interest.
Miss Notable, as already stated, is a Miss Prue type, though she is
probably not to be described as a “silly, awkward country girl.” She is
essentially a sophisticated city miss, but her desires and ambitions,
as well as some of her ingenuous characteristics, are similar to those
of the Miss Prue type. She starts a flirtation with each new man she
meets in order to pique the last new man, who in like manner had his
turn. The discomfiture of Lord George when Miss Notable avows her love
for Mrs. Conquest, who is in the disguise of a man, is very clever.

It is hard to believe that an honorable gentleman, as Sir George is
described as being, would cheat at cards even for the purpose of
seducing another man’s wife. It is in just such conceptions as this
that Cibber’s superficiality is shown, a superficiality which prevented
him from writing great drama notwithstanding his knowledge of technical

In the situations of Lady Gentle and Mrs. Conquest, especially in that
of the latter, there is a distinct element of pathos, similar to that
in _The Careless Husband_. As in _The Careless Husband_, this pathos
is due not merely to the situation, but depends likewise on the nature
of the persons presented. In this respect it is superior to the later
sentimental comedy, in which the pathos depends more largely on the
situation alone.

In its serious elements _The Lady’s Last Stake_ attacks what are
without doubt notable human failings, and the dialogue at its best
reminds us of some of the best Congrevian sort. But Cibber’s practice
as to the happy outcome and his theory that there must be a surprise at
the end of a play, have prevented what might have been, in the hands of
a more serious and larger minded dramatist, a most important handling
of a new theme in a new way.

When he wrote _The Rival Fools_ (1709), Cibber seemed, if one may judge
from the prologue, to feel that his efforts for reform were not meeting
with sufficient response and appreciation, and therefore tells the
audience that

    “All sorts of Men and Manners may
     From these last Scenes go unreprov’d away.
     From late Experience taught, we slight th’ old Rule
     Of Profit with Delight: This Play’s--All Fool.”

But though this comedy is not didactic in its purpose, it is morally
clean in its action.

In _The Non-Juror_ (1717), a play written with an avowedly political
purpose, he cannot avoid moralizing and sentimentality, qualities which
appear slightly in the story of Charles, and in the relations of Dr.
Wolf to Lady Woodvil and Maria. It cannot be claimed that the play has
any important bearing on sentimental comedy, however.

_The Refusal_ (1721) might be called a purified Restoration comedy,
without any positive bearing on the sentimentalizing tendency except
that it shows the tendency to make the drama more moral.

_The Provoked Husband_ (1728), Cibber’s completion of Vanbrugh’s _A
Journey to London_, is typically sentimental in treatment, with the
happy ending, the reformation of the vicious, and the true but dull
expression of moral sentiments by the serious characters. In it Cibber
has departed from Vanbrugh’s original intention by reforming the wife,
whom he has preserved as perfectly true to her husband, though unduly
given to gambling. In the love affair of Mr. Manly and Lord Townley’s
sister we likewise have sentimental treatment, and in the expression of
pious thoughts no one could be more prolific than Mr. Manly. In this
play Cibber does not strike any note he has not used before; it is
merely significant of the permanence of the changed manner of writing
in English comedy generally.

In the first plot Cibber has somewhat softened the characters of
Vanbrugh’s Lord and Lady Loverule in Lord and Lady Townley, giving to
the husband a much less dictatorial and more sentimental and uxorious
character. Lady Townley, though she does not show any signs of softer
qualities, is made to see the error of her course of late hours and
gambling, and undergoes a somewhat improbable but characteristic
conversion. Cibber tells us[85] that it had been Vanbrugh’s intention
to turn the lady out of doors, as would have been natural and logical,
giving to the play a serious interest which it lacks under Cibber’s

The characters are shorn of their rough virility in Cibber’s
version. Squire Richard is a sort of rough study of the Tony Lumpkin
type,--without his wit, however,--but the credit of the portrayal is
due to Vanbrugh rather than to Cibber.

While the play is far from lacking in interest and power to amuse,
there is a very decided inferiority to Vanbrugh’s play, even in its
unfinished and imperfect state. Cibber’s play is a typical sentimental
comedy, with its undeserved happy ending, reformation of the vicious,
and commonplace expression of sentiment and morals on the part of the
serious characters.

Although it does not exhibit any startling new qualities, in its theme
attacking the evils of gambling which Cibber has previously attacked,
the play is a good example of eighteenth century comedy; fully as good,
indeed, as the work of the other dramatists of the time, but suffering
in comparison with Cibber’s own best work.

It may be interesting to note that Cibber is said to have added the
parts of Tom and Phillis to Steele’s _Conscious Lovers_.[86] When
Steele submitted this play to him, Cibber felt that it would not
satisfy the desire of an audience to laugh at a comedy. According
to the account in _The Lives of the Poets_, Steele gladly accepted
Cibber’s suggestion that a comic action be inserted and even proposed
that Cibber make such additions to the play as he saw fit. The absence
of humor is a mark of the form of sentimental comedy inaugurated by
Steele, while the form represented by Cibber’s work is closer to the
Restoration type, is indeed really a modification of that type, and
the element of humor is consequently found in it.


Cibber’s work typifies the change that was going on in the moral
reformation of the drama, as it likewise shows the development
characteristic of the time in other elements of the drama.[87] In
him, as in others, we see that while the general type of Restoration
comedy was adopted in the construction of the plot, there was a
tendency to simplify the plot. Moreover, Cibber further departed from
the Restoration type by the selection of themes other than mere sex
relations. Other dramatists were able to present such themes without
reference to moral degeneration, but Cibber, when he takes such a
subject as the dangers of gambling, for instance, cannot entirely avoid
dealing with sex immorality.

In the dull, chaste lover, the sober, moral, worthy gentleman who is
largely a result of the sentimental tendency in the drama, such as Lord
Morelove in _Woman’s Wit_ and Elder Worthy in _Love’s Last Shift_,
Cibber developed and made more important a type which had appeared but
had been relatively unimportant in earlier drama. In the comedy of
Steele and his followers this character was further developed so that
it became the central figure. Cibber and his predecessors seem to have
been guided by some such formula as that interesting personality and
morality appear in inverse ratio in male characters.

The precocious Miss Prue type, the young woman who is destined to have
a lover or a husband, perhaps both, in a short time, is represented by
Miss Jenny in _The Provoked Husband_ _and_ Miss Notable in _The Lady’s
Last Stake_. This type of character soon disappeared from the drama, as
did likewise the Millamant kind of coquette, who appears as Maria in
_The Non-Juror_ and as Lady Betty in _The Careless Husband_. Snap and
Trappanti are typical menservants, witty and graceless, and we find the
mercenary serving woman in _The Provoked Husband_ and _She Would and
She Would Not_. Characters of this type continue occasionally in the
succeeding drama, where they furnish the comic relief.


Cibber’s themes are taken from contemporary life and its more obvious
problems. Of course so far as any serious purpose is concerned, a
distinction must be made between those plays designed merely to afford
the pleasure of an evening’s entertainment and those written with more
serious intent. Cibber often distinguishes between these two classes,
and frankly states his purpose in the prologue or dedication to the
separate plays.

His attitude toward his audience is somewhat naïve. He frankly states
that his “sole dependence being the judgment of an audience, ’twere
madness to provoke them.”[88] He again says[89] that “every guest is a
judge of his own palate; and a poet ought no more to impose good sense
upon the galleries, than dull farce upon undisputed judges. I first
considered who my guests were, before I prepared my entertainment.”
This would seem to indicate that at times he had no high respect for
his audiences; especially when he wrote _The School Boy_ and _Hob in
the Well_, if the latter is by him. In this connection one may note
that he consciously distinguished stage and closet drama, and made
no attempt to write the latter. In his “Remarks to the Reader” of
_Ximena_ he says, “though the reader must be charmed by the tenderness
of the characters in the original, I have ventured to alter, to make
them more agreeable to the spectator.” These statements would seem to
indicate that Cibber wrote his sentimental plays because he thought the
audiences desired something of the sort.

As a playwright Cibber was a strong upholder of religion and the
established church. He points out that the only religious sect to close
the theatre was also opposed to the established church.[90] But in
treating religious subjects he does not use the Puritans for dramatic
material, for they were no longer a political menace, but he turns to
the Roman Catholics, whose activities were not merely religious, but
political. In _The Non-Juror_ we have a play almost entirely built on
anti-Catholic feeling; in _King John_ we have another attack on the
Church of Rome; and in the fourth act of _Woman’s Wit_ we again have
satire, but in this case primarily of the Catholic clergy, rather than
the church itself. We do not have any references to party politics,
aside from this Catholic problem.

His original plays in comedy, other than farces and operas, deal with
moral problems. In the case of _Love’s Last Shift_ and _The Careless
Husband_ we have presented the reformation of husbands not yet entirely
spoiled at heart; in _The Provoked Husband_ the reformation of a wife
who has not committed any serious breach of the moral code; and in this
last, as well as in _The Lady’s Last Stake_, we have plays dealing with
the evils resulting from women’s gambling. It is curious to find one
who was so notorious a gambler as Cibber choosing such a theme.

The language shows great change from that of the Restoration in regard
to moral refinement. Cibber’s plays become less and less coarse in
speech. His earlier plays have a grossness almost equal to that of
Restoration comedy, but gradually grow purer. This change in the
language is found in English comedy generally, and as it progresses a
new element enters, the expression of moral sentiments, extravagantly
and artificially stated. This last shows a gradual increase, reaching
its height in the later sentimental comedy of the middle of the century.

Merely as literature, three of Cibber’s plays, at least, are well worth
while: _The Careless Husband_, _She Would and She Would Not_, and
_The Non-Juror_. They lack the briskness and sureness of touch that
characterized Congreve, but compare most favorably with the work of men
in the next rank, and are not only delightful and profitable reading,
but are thoroughly representative of the period in which they appear.
Grouped with these as possessing permanent literary value are the
_Apology_ and not more than half a dozen songs. Outside of these three
plays, one prose work, and a few songs, Cibber produced nothing that
is worth preserving because of its merit as literature. His greatest
importance to the student of literary history lies in his contribution
to the development of sentimental comedy.


In view of the place that is always given to Steele as the originator
of sentimental comedy, a discussion of any phase of the subject would
be incomplete without at least a reference to his relation to the
particular question under discussion. We may grant that Cibber does
not represent the culmination of the sentimental type: that is to be
found in Steele’s _Conscious Lovers_ (1722). He is, rather, the most
prominent figure in the first stage of the development of sentimental
comedy, during which the Restoration type was transformed by the
addition of a moral purpose, by the purification of the language, and
by the addition of the pathetic element; so that the new form in his
hands has much of the old as well as the new, while Steele’s _Conscious
Lovers_ has almost entirely broken away from the old and looks forward.
But the movement in which Cibber was so prominent a figure did make the
way possible and contributed the most important elements which later
developed in the hands of Steele and his followers.

A commonplace of literary history is that it was Steele who purged
English comedy of its vileness and was the first to write sentimental
comedy. This, as we have seen, is not true; for though _The Conscious
Lovers_ is probably the best of its type, it merely lays more stress
upon the pathetic element and carries forward another step the sort of
thing that Cibber had done in such comedies as _The Careless Husband_
and _The Lady’s Last Stake_, which are as truly sentimental comedies
as this, and which possess the pathetic interest, but in a less marked
degree. In Steele’s other plays, _The Funeral_ (1701), _The Lying
Lover_ (1705), _The Tender Husband_ (1705), Steele, except in the
matter of the purity of the language, does not show as fully developed
examples of the type as does Cibber in his work of the same period and

Steele’s first play to be acted, _The Funeral_, lacks sentimental
quality; it is merely a comedy which, when compared to the Restoration
type, has a higher moral tone. Steele had no higher motive, he tells
us, in writing this play than the purpose of reinstating himself in
the opinion of his fellow soldiers who had ostracized him as a moral
prig after the appearance of _The Christian Hero_ (1701). In his
preface he mentions two themes as those around which the comedy is
written, namely, the practices of undertakers and “legal villanies.”
Lady Brumpton, who had bigamously married Lord Brumpton, is discredited
by being ejected from Lord Brumpton’s household, but there is no
suggestion that she is in any way reformed, and in the rest of the
action none of the other elements of sentimental comedy are prominent.

_The Lying Lover_ goes a little further and reforms the hero at the
end, as is done in the comedies of Cibber. But even this similarity
is only superficial, for the hero is not really vicious, being guilty
only of some entertaining lying, and the reformation is brought about,
not by approved sentimental feminine means, but by the fact that the
hero finds himself in prison. But even though the hero is humiliated
by temporary imprisonment, his delinquencies are so diverting that the
reader is entirely in sympathy with him. Our sympathy for him, indeed,
is so great that it is a distinct disappointment that the lady is given
to the honest and jealous lover instead of to him. Steele lays no
claim to originality in the reform, “compunction and remorse” of his
hero, for in his preface he says that such things had been “frequently
applauded on the stage.” Nor is the versifying of the elevated portions
of the play a new thing; it is found both earlier and later than
sentimental comedy and is not a distinctive mark of that type.

_The Tender Husband_ was indebted to Cibber’s _Careless Husband_,
which had recently appeared, but is not to be compared to it in
its sentimental qualities. In both plays, however, we have the
reconciliation of an estranged husband and wife. In Cibber it is the
husband who is the offender, and he is recalled from his vices by
the patient fidelity of his wife; a reformation based on sentiment.
In _The Tender Husband_, the wife is reformed from extravagance in
her expenditure of time and money on trivialities, and from failure
in her duty to her husband, but the reformation is brought about by
a mere trick that the husband plays upon the wife rather than by the
interaction of personality on personality. Steele shows nothing of the
serious grasp of the situation that Cibber shows in his play on the
same theme, _The Provoked Husband_. Steele’s handling is distinctly
less artistic and distinctly less sentimental than in either of
Cibber’s plays. This is seen also in Steele’s light treatment of the
wife’s equivocal action toward Fainlove, whom she mistakenly supposes
to be a man, and toward whom she makes questionable advances. Not only
in regard to such situations as this, but in the attitude toward actual
breaches of morality, Steele shows a lower standard than Cibber. In
both _The Careless Husband_ and _The Tender Husband_ the hero keeps a
mistress, but while Cibber brings the illicit amour to an end with the
disgrace of the mistress and a distinct moral, Steele not only shows
none of this disapproval but provides the mistress with a husband of
means and gives her a good dowry.

Seventeen years later, though according to Genest[91] the play had been
written some years before it was acted, Steele produced his fully
developed comedy of the sentimental type, _The Conscious Lovers_. It is
entirely different from the preceding plays, for instead of containing
a lively intrigue with clever satire and wit, such as we have in _The
Lying Lover_, the tone throughout is fixed by the pathetic and didactic
elements. Steele rightly felt that he was doing something new, and took
credit to himself in the prologue:

    “But the bold sage--the poet of tonight--
     By new and desperate rules resolved to write.

           *       *       *       *       *

     ’Tis yours with breeding to refine the age,
     To chasten wit, and moralise the stage.”

Not only does this moral and sentimental note appear throughout, but
in Mr. Sealand, especially in his dialogue with Sir John Bevil in
the fourth act, there appears the exaltation of the tradesman class
which culminated in the work of Lillo. Bevil Junior is a pattern
of propriety and goodness, but his lack of virility and brilliance
contrasts him most disadvantageously with the heroes of the preceding
period. He is the dull, chaste lover, the hero of the second intrigue
of the Restoration and Cibber type of comedy, the Lord Morelove sort,
exalted to the first place. Indiana is the patient Griselda type, the
Lady Easy sort of person, but in _The Conscious Lovers_ her gentleness
and goodness are not used to recall the erring, but are presented
merely as desirable qualities for a virtuous young woman to possess.
The witty rake has disappeared. The Wildairs, Lovelesses, Millamants,
and Lady Betties are no more, and in their places are maudlin, sickly
sentimentalists, whose goodness and sufferings are all that commend
them. Parson Adams was right, it does contain “some things almost
solemn enough for a sermon.”

This sentimental didacticism becomes still more conspicious in the
work of Holcroft and his school, whose plays are rendered degenerate
and emasculate thereby. If the historians of literature mean that
Steele was the originator of this type, whose essential characteristic
is the centering of the action around a pathetic situation, they are
probably right; but any statement that it was he who introduced the
sentimental or pathetic element into English comedy, or that he began
the reformation of the drama in the direction of morality, is easily
seen to be false by a comparison of his work with the earlier and
contemporary work of Cibber.




    An Apology for the Life of Colley Cibber, Comedian, and Late
  Patentee of the Theatre-Royal. With an Historical View of the Stage
  during his Own Time. Written by Himself. London, 1740. (I have used
  the fourth edition, London, 1756. Best edition is that of Lowe,
  London, 1889.)

    A Letter from Mr. Cibber, to Mr. Pope, Inquiring into the Motives
  that might induce him in his Satyrical Works, to be so frequently
  fond of Mr. Cibber’s Name. London, 1742.

    The Egoist: or, Colley upon Cibber. Being his own Picture
  Retouch’d, to so plain a Likeness, that no One, now, would have the
  Face to own it, but Himself. London, 1743.

    Another Occasional Letter from Mr. Cibber to Mr. Pope. Wherein the
  New Hero’s Preferment to his Throne, in the _Dunciad_, seems not to
  be Accepted. And the Author of that Poem His more rightful Claim to
  it, is Asserted. With an Expostulatory Address to the Reverend Mr. W.
  W............n, Author of the new Preface, and Adviser in the curious
  Improvements of that Satire. By Mr. Colley Cibber. London, 1744.

    The Character and Conduct of Cicero, Considered from the History of
  his Life by the Reverend Dr. Middleton. With Occasional Essays and
  Observations upon the most memorable Facts and Persons during that
  Period. London, 1747.

    The Lady’s Lecture, a Theatrical Dialogue, between Sir Charles Easy
  and his Marriageable Daughter. Being an Attempt to Engage Obedience
  by Filial Liberty: and to Give the Maiden Conduct of Virtue,
  Chearfulness. By C. Cibber, Esq: Servant to his Majesty. London, 1748.

_Non-Dramatic Poetry._

    Gentleman’s Magazine. London, 1731--

    London Magazine. London, 1732--

    A Rhapsody on the Marvellous: Arising from the First Odes of Horace
  and Pindar. Being a Scrutiny into Ancient Poetical Fame, demanded by
  Modern Common Sense. By Colley Cibber, Esq. P. L.

    Fame then was cheap, and the first comer sped:
    Which they have since preserved by being dead. Dryden.
    .   .   .   .   .   .   .   liberius si
    Dixero quid, si forte jocosius, hoc mihi juris
    Cum venia dabis. Hor. Sat. 4. L 1. London, 1751.

_Dramatic Works._

  (_Arranged in the order of stage presentation. The dates are those of

    Collected editions of his Plays appeared in 1721, in two volumes;
  in 1636, in five volumes; in 1760, in four volumes; in 1777, in five
  volumes. The last named is the edition I have used.

    Love’s Last Shift; or, The Fool in Fashion. 1696.

    Woman’s Wit; or, The Lady in Fashion. 1697.

    Xerxes. 1699.

    The Tragical History of Richard III, altered from Shakespear. 1700.

    Love Makes a Man; or, The Fop’s Fortune. 1701.

    She Would and She Would Not; or, The Kind Impostor. 1703.

    The Careless Husband. 1705.

    Perolla and Izadora. 1706.

    The Comical Lovers. 1707.

    The School Boy; or, The Comical Rival. 1707.

    The Double Gallant; or, The Sick Lady’s Cure. 1707.

    The Lady’s Last Stake; or, The Wife’s Resentment. 1708.

    The Rival Fools. 1709.

    The Rival Queans, with the Humours of Alexander the Great, a
  Comical-tragedy. Dublin, 1729.

    Ximena; or, The Heroick Daughter. 1718.

    Cinna’s Conspiracy. 1713.

    Venus and Adonis. A Masque. 1715.

    Myrtillo, a Pastoral Interlude. 1716.

    The Non-Juror. 1718.

    The Refusal; or, The Ladies Philosophy. 1721.

    Caesar in Aegypt. 1725.

    The Provok’d Husband; or, A Journey to London. 1728.

    Love in a Riddle. A Pastoral. 1729 [misprinted 1719].

    Damon and Phillida; a Ballad Opera. 1729.

    Papal Tyranny in the Reign of King John. 1745.


  Actor, The, or, A Treatise on the Art of Playing. London, 1750.

  Age of Dullness, The, a Satire. By a Natural Son of Mr. Pope. London,

  Baker, D. E., I. Reed and S. Jones. Biographica Dramatica. London,

  Beaumont and Fletcher. Works. London, 1843.

  Besser, R. Colley Cibbers The Double Gallant und seine Quellen.
    Halle, 1903.

  Betterton, T. The History of the English Stage, from the Restoration
    to the Present Time. London, 1741.

  Betterton, Thomas, Life and Times of. Reprint, London, 1888.

  Blast upon Bays, A; or, A New Lick at the Laureat. London, 1742.

  Booth, Barton, Life of. London, 1733.

  Boyle, Roger, Earl of Orrery. Parthenissa. London, 1676.

  British Theatre, The. London. 1750.

  Brown, Hawkins. A Pipe of Tobacco. London, 1744.

  Burnaby, C. The Reformed Wife. London, 1700.

  Burnaby, C. The Ladies Visiting Day. London, 1701.

  Canfield, Dorothea Frances. Corneille and Racine in England. New
    York, 1904.

  Carlile, J. The Fortune Hunters; or, Two Fools Well Met. London, 1689.

  Case of the Present Theatrical Dispute Fairly Stated, The. London,

  Centlivre, Susanna. Dramatic Works. Reprint, London, 1872.

  Charke, Charlotte. A Narrative of the Life of Mrs. Charlotte Charke.
    Written by Herself. London, 1755; reprint, London, 1827.

  Chetwood, W. R. General History of the Stage. London, 1749.

  Cibber, Theophilus, editor. Lives of the Poets of Great Britain and
    Ireland. London, 1753.

  Cibber, Theophilus. Two Dissertations on the Theatres. London, 1756.

  Corneille, Pierre. Oeuvres. Paris, 1862.

  Crowne, John. Dramatic Works, in _Dramatists of the Restoration_, ed.
    by Maidment and Logan. Edinburgh, 1873.

  Davies, T. Dramatic Miscellanies. London, 1784.

  Davies, T. Memoirs of the Life of David Garrick, Esq. Third ed.,
    London, 1781.

  Difference between Verbal and Practical Virtue, The. London, 1742.

  Dogget, T. The Country Wake. London, 1696.

  Dohse, R. Colley Cibbers Bühnenbearbeitung von Shakespeares Richard
    III. Bonn, 1897.

  Doran, J. Their Majesties’ Servants. London, 1888.

  Downes, J. Roscius Anglicanus. London, 1708; reprint, London, 1886.

  Dryden, John. Works. London, 1889.

  Egerton, T. and J. The Theatrical Remembrancer. London, 1788.

  Fielding, Henry. Historical Register for 1736. Works, London, 1852.

  Fielding, Henry (?). An Apology for the Life of Mr. T.... C....
    London, 1740.

  Genest, J. Some Account of the English Stage from the Restoration in
    1660 to 1830. Bath, 1832.

  Granger, J. Biographical History of England. London, 1779-1806.

  Hermann, A. Colley Cibbers Tragicomedy Ximena und ihr Verhältniss zu
    Corneilles Cid. Kiel, 1908.

  Hutton, Laurence. Literary Landmarks of London. Boston, 1885.

  Jacob, G. The Poetical Register. London, 1719-1723.

  Johnson, T. Tryal of Colley Cibber for Writing a Book Intitled An
    Apology for his Life. London, 1740.

  Kilbourne, F. W. Alterations and Adaptations of Shakespeare. Boston,

  Köppe, K. Das Verhältniss von Cibbers Papal Tyranny zu Shakespeares
    King John. Halle, 1902.

  Krüger, W. Das Verhältniss von Colley Cibbers Lustspiel The Comical
    Lovers zu J. Drydens Marriage à la Mode und Secret Love. Halle,

  Laureat, The; or, The Right Side of Colley Cibber, Esq. To Which is
    Added, The History of the Life, Manners and Writings of Aesopus the
    Tragedian. London, 1740.

  Learned, J. The Counterfeits. London, 1679.

  Lee, W. L. M. History of Police in England. London, 1901.

  Letter to Mr. C....b....r, A, on his Letter to Mr. P........ London,

  Lounsbury, Thomas R. Shakespeare as a Dramatic Artist. New York, 1901.

  Lowe, R. W. A Bibliographical Account of English Theatrical
    Literature. London, 1888.

  Macaulay, T. B. History of England. Boston, 1900.

  Man of Taste, The. London, 1733.

  Marks, Jeannette. The English Pastoral Drama. London, 1908.

  Medbourne, M. Tartuffe. London, 1670.

  Michels, E. Quellenstudien zu Colley Cibbers Lustspiel The Careless
    Husband. Marburg, 1908.

  Miles, D. H. The Influence of Molière on Restoration Comedy. New
    York, 1910.

  Molière. Oeuvres. Paris, 1873-1900.

  Molière. Dramatic Works, translated by H. Van Laun. Edinburgh, 1878.

  Molloy, J. F. Famous Plays. London, 1886.

  Mountfort, W. Greenwich Park, a Comedy. London, n. d. [1691].

  New Theatrical Dictionary. London, 1742.

  Nichols, J. Illustrations of the Literary History of the Eighteenth
    Century. London, 1817.

  Nichols, J. Literary Anecdotes of the Eighteenth Century. London,

  Ost, G. Das Verhältniss von Cibbers Lustspiel Love Makes a Man zu
    Fletchers Dramen, The Elder Brother und The Custom of the Country.

  Pepys, Samuel. Diary. London, 1897.

  Philips, Katherine. Poems. London, 1669.

  Pilkington, L. Memoirs. London, 1748.

  Quin, Mr. James, Comedian, Life of. London, 1766; reprint, 1887.

  Rowe, N. Pharsalia. London, 1718.

  Sanger, W. W. History of Prostitution. New York, 1899.

  Schneider, W. Das Verhältniss von Colley Cibbers Lustspiel The
    Non-Juror zu Malias Tartuffe. Halle, 1903.

  Shakspere, William. Richard III, Variorum edition, ed. by H. H.
    Furness, Jr. Philadelphia, 1908.

  Steele, Richard, and John Dennis. The Theatre, by Sir Richard Steele;
    to which are added, the Anti-Theatre; the Character of Sir John
    Edgar; Steele’s Case with the Lord Chamberlain. Illustrated with
    Literary and Historical Anecdotes by John Nichols. London, 1791.

  Stone, E. Chronicles of Fashion. London, 1845.

  Stoye, M. Das Verhältniss von Cibbers Tragödie Caesar in Egypt zu
    Fletchers The False One. Halle, 1897.

  Strickland, Agnes. Queens of England. New York, 1851.

  Temple of Dullness, The, with the Humours of Signor Capochio and
    Signora Dorinna; A Comic Opera in Two Acts. London, 1745.

  Theatrical Correspondence in Death. An Epistle from Mrs. Oldfield, in
    the Shades, to Mrs. Br. ceg....dle, upon Earth. London, 1743.

  Theobald, L. The Happy Captive, an English Opera, with an Interlude,
    in Two Comick Scenes, betwixt Signor Capochio, a Director from the
    Canary Islands; and Signora Dorinna. London, 1741.

  Thorndike, Ashley H. Tragedy. Boston, 1908.

  To diabebouloumenon; or, The Proceedings at the Theatre Royal in
    Drury Lane. London, 1722.

  Tönse, L. Cibbers Comedy The Refusal in ihrem Verhältniss zu Molières
    les Femmes savantes. Kiel, 1900.

  Traill, H. D. Social England. New York, 1902.

  Vanbrugh, John. Works, ed. by W. C. Ward. London, 1893.

  Victor, B. History of the Theatres of London and Dublin from 1730 to
    the Present Time. London, 1761.

  Waterhouse, O. The Development of Sentimental Comedy in the
    Eighteenth Century, _Anglia_, XXX.

  Whincop, T. Scanderbeg; or, Love and Liberty. London, 1747.

  Wilkes, T. A General View of the Stage. London, 1759.

  Wilks, Robert, Esq., The Life of that Eminent Comedian. London, 1733.

  Woman of Taste. London, 1733

  Wood, A. I. P. Stage History of Shakespeare’s Richard III. New York,


[1] II. 573.

[2] Whincop, _Complete List of All the English Dramatic Poets_, p. 199.
See also the dramatic list appended to the second volume of the fourth
edition of the _Apology_, p. 286.

[3] The sub-plot of _Woman’s Wit_ was likewise acted separately after
the original play had failed on the stage.

[4] Reprint of 1887, p. 28.

[5] Page 28.

[6] _Apology_, I, 180.

[7] III, 325.

[8] The _Advertisement_ prefixed to _The Happy Captive_ says: “The
interlude, which is added in two comic scenes, is entirely new to our
climate; and the success of it is submitted to experiment, and the
taste of the audience.” Only this portion of _The Happy Captive_ was
ever acted.

[9] Theobald died September 18, 1744. _The Temple of Dullness_ was
acted January 17, 1745.

[10] For a history of the pastoral drama in the eighteenth century and
a summary of its qualities, see Jeannette Marks, _The English Pastoral
Drama_, London, 1908.

[11] Thorndike, _Tragedy_, p. 273.

[12] Davies, _Dramatic Miscellanies_, III, 459.

[13] _The Tatler_, Number 42, July 16, 1709.

[14] _Address to the Reader_, prefixed to _Ximena_.

[15] Richard Dohse, _Colley Cibber’s Buehnenarbeitung von Shakspere’s
Richard III_, Bonn, 1899.

[16] Alice I. Perry Wood, _The Stage History of Richard III_, New York,

[17] The number and sources of the lines as given by Furness. _Variorum
Richard III_, p. 604, are as follows: _Richard II_, 14; _1 Henry IV_,
6; _2 Henry IV_, 20; _Henry V_, 24; _1 Henry VI_, 5; _2 Henry VI_, 17;
_3 Henry VI_, 103; _Richard III_, 795; Cibber, 1069; total, 2053. The
number of lines in the Globe text of Shakspere’s _Richard III_ is 3621.

[18] As “God” to “Heaven,” I, ii, 236; due in this instance to the
Collier influence.

[19] Edition of 1665, pp. 102-157.

[20] _Dedication_ of _Perolla and Izadora_.

[21] Genest, II, 506.

[22] _To the Reader_, _Ximena_.

[23] See Canfield, _Corneille and Racine in England_, p. 169.

[24] Genest, II, 511; and Canfield, _op. cit._, pp. 179 ff.

[25] II, 104.

[26] VIII, 204.

                         “Mr. Cibber.

  1701 Nov.  8 A Third of Love’s Last Shift    3    4    6
  1705 Nov. 14 Perolla and Izadora            36   11    0
  1707 Oct. 27 Double Gallant                 16    2    6
       Nov. 22 Lady’s Last Stake              32    5    0
       Feb. 26 Venus and Adonis                5    7    6
  1708 Oct.  9 Comical Lover                  10   15    0
  1712 Mar. 16 Cinna’s Conspiracy             13    0    0
  1718 Oct.  1 The Nonjuror                  105    0    0

               No price or date.
               Mrytillo, A pastoral,
               Rival Fools,
               Heroic Daughter,
               Wit at Several Weapons.”

[27] Although acted six times it could not be considered extremely
successful. According to Genest, III, 162, Nichols speaks of having
made merry with a party of friends over the pasteboard swans, on the
first night of its production.

[28] III, 161.

[29] _Das Verhaeltniss von Cibber’s Tragoedie Caesar in Egypt zu
Fletcher’s The False One._

[30] _Op. cit._, p. 223.

[31] Cibber no doubt used Rowe’s translation (1710).

[32] Compare, for instance, the general idea of the exposition In Act I.

[33] Lucan ends before this incident, but Rowe continues the narrative,
using the same material as _The False One_.

[34] Genest. IV, 146, says that it had not been acted since 1695,
though he records the performances in 1737 and 1738.

[35] It is to be noted that efforts were made to deprive Cibber of
credit for his work not only in this play but also in _The Non-Juror_
and _The Refusal_.

[36] _The History of the Theatres of London and Dublin_, II, 49.

[37] Davies, _Dramatic Miscellanies_, I, 5. For a characteristic
example of the criticism to which Cibber was subjected, see Fielding’s
_Historical Register for the Year 1736_, Act III.

[38] For full discussion of the relationship between Cibber’s _Richard
III_ and Shakspere’s _Richard III_, see A. I. P. Wood, and Dohse. The
whole subject of Shaksperian alterations is taken up in Lounsbury’s
_Shakspere as a Dramatic Artist_, and in Kilbourne’s _Alterations
and Adaptations of Shakspere_. It is curious that Lounsbury does not
discuss Cibber’s _Richard III_, which is not only the most famous
Shaksperian alteration but the only one of any real value.

[39] The addition of parts from _3 Henry VI_ at the beginning of the

[40] _Tragedy_, VIII and IX.

[41] See especially throughout _Ximena_.

[42] According to _The Life of Aesopus_, this “was said to be a silly
tale collected from some dreaming romance,” but as the writer does not
give the title of this romance and apparently had no knowledge of the
play, his testimony is of no value.

[43] “The furious John Dennis, who hated Cibber for obstructing, as
he imagined, the progress of his tragedy, called _The Invader of His
Country_, in very passionate terms denies his claim to this comedy:
‘When _The Fool in Fashion_ was first acted,’ says the critic, ‘Cibber
was hardly twenty-two years of age; how could he, at the age of twenty,
write a comedy with a just design, distinguished characters, and a
proper dialogue who now, at forty, treats us with Hibernian sense and
Hibernian English?’” Davies, _Dramatic Miscellanies_, III, 410.

[44] Jacob, _Poetical Register_, p. 38, suggests Otway’s _Dare Devil_
(that is, _The Atheist_) as the source of the play, but it would take a
vivid imagination to see the connection.

[45] _Das Verhaeltniss von Cibber’s Lustspiel Love Makes a Man zu
Fletcher’s Dramen The Elder Brother und The Custom of The Country_, p.

[46] It was acted in New York, January 15, 1883, by Miss Ada Rehan,
under the management of Augustin Daly. See Lowe, _Apology_, II, 289.
Genest records, VI, 23, that when it was performed at Covent Garden
in 1778, “the applause was so strong in the second act, that the
performers were obliged to stop for some time.”

[47] This translation of three French novels, whose original source
had been Spanish, was issued again in 1712 as _Three Ingenious Spanish
Novels_. See Chandler, _Romances of Roguery_, New York, 1899, pp.
462-3. These novels are ultimately based on _La Garduna de Sevilla_ of
Castillo Solorzano. It is also to be noticed that the story appears in
_La Villana de Ballecas_ by Tirso de Molina, in _La Ocasion hace al
ladron_, by Moreto, and in the story of Aurora in Le Sage’s _Gil Blas_.
Dunlop, _History of Prose Fiction_, II, 475, states that _She Would
and She Would Not_ is taken from _Gil Blas_. _Gil Blas_ was published
thirteen years later than Cibber’s play.

[48] Wilkes, _General View of the Stage_, p. 40, says that were the
play curtailed of one scene he “would not fail to pronounce it not only
the best comedy in English, but in any other language.”

[49] Boswell’s _Johnson_, edited by G. Birkbeck Hill, London, 1891; I,

[50] Preface to _The Double Gallant_.

[51] II, 173.

[52] _Apology_, I, 243.

[53] III, 209. See also Thomes Whincop’s _Scanderbeg_, (1747), p. 195.
An account of the lives and writings of the English dramatists is
annexed to this play.

[54] Following the Scottish rebellion in 1715, Lord Derwentwater and
Lord Kenmure were executed, February 24, 1716. The king’s pardon, which
excepted forty-seven classes of offenders, appears in _The Historical
Register_ for 1717, II, 247; so that the excitement caused by the
rebellion continued for some time. Doran’s _London in Jacobite Times_
discusses this period in a most interesting manner.

[55] The second title of _The Female Virtuosoes_.

[56] _Apology_, II, 58.

[57] _Preface_ to _The Good Natured Man_.

[58] See, for example, _Steele and The Sentimental Comedy_, by M. E.
Hare, in _Eighteenth Century Literature, An Oxford Miscellany_, Oxford,
1909. This speaks of “Sentimental Comedy invented by the great essayist
Sir Richard Steele.”

[59] Macaulay, _History of England_, Chapter VII.

[60] During the reign of Charles not every one had been in entire
sympathy with the state of the theatre. Evelyn, in a letter to Viscount
Carnbury, February 9, 1664-1665, in speaking of the acting of plays
on Saturday evenings says: “Plays are now with us become a licentious
excess, and a vice, and need severe censors that should look as well to
their morality as to their lines and numbers.”

[61] Traill, _Social England_, IV. 593.

[62] _The Laureat_, p. 53. “I can remember, that soon after the
publication of Collier’s book, several informations were brought
against the players, at the instance and at the expense of the Society
for the Reformation of Manners, for immoral words and expressions,
_contra bonos mores_, uttered on the stage. Several informers were
placed in the pit, and other parts of the house, to note down the words
spoke, and by whom, to be able to swear to them and many of them would
have been ruined by these troublesome prosecutions, had not Queen Anne,
well satisfied that these informers lived upon their oaths, and that
what they did, proceeded not from conscience, but from interest, by a
timely _nolle prosequi_, put an end to the inquisition.”

[63] The “Joan Sanderson” was a dance in which each one of the company
takes part. It began by the first dancer’s choosing a partner, who in
turn chose another, the chain continuing until each one had danced
alone and with a partner. See G. C. M. Smith, _Fucus Histriomastix_,
_Introduction_, p. xviii.

[64] _Apology_, I, 85.

[65] _Ibid._, I, 194-5.

[66] _Dramatic Miscellanies_, III, 432.

[67] See Miles, _The Influence of Moliere on Restoration Comedy_, 1910:
published after this paper was written.

[68] Celadon, in Dryden’s _Marriage a la Mode_, enters marriage with
the distinct expectation that his wife will be untrue to him.

[69] At the Restoration ten of the actors were attached to the
household establishment as the king’s menial servants, and ten yards of
scarlet cloth with an amount of lace were allowed them for liveries.
This connection lasted until Anne’s time. Genest, II, 362.

[70] Elizabeth Woodbridge, _Studies in Jonson’s Comedies_, _Yale
Studies in English_, IV.

[71] _The Development of Sentimental Comedy in the Eighteenth Century,
Anglia_, XXX.

[72] _The Theatre_, II, 511. By John Dennis. His temper and prejudice
often destroy the value of his writings as impartial evidence, but in
this case he is right.

[73] _The Man of Mode_, V, ii.

[74] _The Funeral_, I, i.

[75] Davies, _Dramatic Miscellanies_, III, 412.

[76] _Ibid._, III, 409.

[77] The substitution of one person for another in the marriage
ceremony, or a false marriage, are favorite devices of Congreve. See,
for instance, _The Old Bachelor_ and _Love for Love_.

[78] _The Elder Brother_ and _The Custom of the Country_.

[79] Rutilio’s sojourn with Sulpita. _The Custom of the Country_, III,
iii; IV, iv.

[80] Which Vanbrugh portrayed in his play, _The Relapse_ (1697).

[81] The comic scenes from _Marriage a la Mode_ and _The Maiden Queen_.

[82] Centlivre, _Love at a Venture_; Burnaby, _The Ladies Visiting
Day_, and _The Reformed Wife_.

[83] _The Ladies Visiting Day._

[84] _Love for Love_, II, xi.

[85] _To the Reader, The Provoked Husband._

[86] Cibber’s _Lives of the Poets_, IV, 120; Wilks, _A General View of
the Stage_, p. 42.

[87] R. M. Alden, _Prose in the English Drama, Modern Philology_, VII,

[88] _Preface_ to _Woman’s Wit_.

[89] _Dedication_ of _Love’s Last Shift_.

[90] _Dedication_ of _Love Makes a Man_.

[91] III, 100.


  _Vol. I_          _January 1, 1914_          _No. 2_




  _Assistant Professor of Philosophy in the University of Kansas_



  The Relation of Philosophic Method to the Definition of
      Philosophy                                               9

  Bergson’s Critique of Pure Reason                           17

  The Ancient Prejudice against Analysis                      26


  Ontology and Epistemology                                   37

  Mind and Matter, Spirit and Body                            64

  Doctrine of Freedom                                         82

  Bergson’s Abhorrence of Determinateness                     94

  The Mystical Yearning of Intuitionism                      102

  BERGSON’S GENIUS                                           107


In the second part of this essay material from two papers published
in the _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods_ has
been laid under contribution, and also from my doctor’s thesis. Much of
this material was written in 1909, since which time a number of views
which some of mine resemble more or less have been published. It has
not seemed to me necessary always to note these agreements of thought
arrived at independently by myself and others.

I have reported a part of the brilliant critique of Bergson’s doctrine
of freedom by Monsieur Gustave Belot. This expresses with elegance
and force much of my own reaction to the doctrine. Indebtedness to
Belot and other authors is acknowledged throughout the essay. Except
possibly Professor Bergson himself, there is no one who has influenced
my thinking so much as Professor Ralph Barton Perry, my teacher who
introduced me to Bergson’s philosophy. Professor Perry’s writings
are full of finished renderings of less articulate convictions of my
own; and, though I have often referred to and quoted from his work
explicitly, his instruction and stimulus have had so much to do with
the history of my thinking that I could never say just what I owe him,
but only that I owe him much.

Professor Bergson has permitted me to translate from a private letter
some comments of his on certain of my criticisms.

Professor Edmund H. Hollands has given the first two parts a careful
reading, in the manuscript, and his able criticisms and suggestions,
mainly concerning the matter itself, have been of great benefit.

I am no less obliged, for help in improving the literary form, to
Professor S. L. Whitcomb, whose critical ability has been patiently
applied to a careful revision, page by page, of the whole manuscript.

I have tried, in the third part, to justify explicitly the great and
unique value which I attach to Professor Bergson’s work, antagonistic
though my own convictions are to his results. And, besides this aim,
it has seemed to me interesting and instructive, in view of the very
considerable literature which has grown up about Bergson’s philosophy,
to bring together in a comparative view the judgments of a number of
his exponents.

For literature by and about Bergson, the reader is referred to the
exhaustive bibliography prepared last year by the Columbia University
Press under the direction of Miss Isadore G. Mudge, the Reference
Librarian. “The bibliography includes 90 books and articles by
Professor Bergson (including translations of his works) and 417
books and articles about him. These 417 items represent 11 different
languages divided as follows:--French 170, English 159, German 40,
Italian 19, Polish 5, Dutch 3, Spanish 3, Roumanian 2, Swedish 2,
Hungarian 1.” This work is invaluable to the student of Bergson. It is
incomparably the fullest Bergson bibliography extant.

                                ARTHUR MITCHELL.
  University of Kansas,
    January, 1914.





One of the problems of philosophy is the nature of philosophy itself.
In recognizing such a problem at all, I suppose, the beginning of its
solution has been made. For the very question, what is this or that?
is conditioned on an incipient definition of the subject of it, a
discriminating acknowledgement of it as something in particular, and,
so, as something already more or less qualified or defined. Certainly
there would be no common problem and no difference of theory without
such initial agreement as a point of reference in disagreeing.

But the explicit statement of this starting point of agreement
encounters a practical dilemma. On the one hand, anything can be
defined in terms so general that the thing is bound to be included:
make the genus large enough and it includes anything. The limit, in
this direction, would be to define the object as a case of being; which
would be safe, but hardly a start toward determining anything about
it. On the other hand, the least advance toward narrowing the meaning
incurs a very rigorous obligation to produce a principle of selection
which shall be a satisfactory logical warrant for narrowing it in just
the way selected, since this way excludes others whose claims may be
in question. The situation is thus beset with the pitfall of logical

There are three quite distinct conceptions of philosophy, in the form
of ill criticized assumption, each of which is taken by its adherents
to be unquestionable--as safe as the concept “being.” I will word them
thus: (1) An absolute _evaluation_ of reality; (2) A _revelation_
of reality in its _essential nature_; (3) A _comprehension_ of the
_meaning_ of reality.

The first of these conceptions is that of Kant and Fichte and
those philosophers to whom reality seems unrelated to apprehending
consciousness, related only to will. Reality is neither directly nor
indirectly perceivable. Knowledge of it is possible--if the term
is proper at all--only in the broadest sense of “knowledge,” the
sense equivalent to “consciousness,” within which will is sharply
distinguished from two more or less receptive or cognitive modes,
thinking and feeling. Knowledge of reality is thus, for this type of
philosopher, a practical, personal evaluation of it, only; a moral
disposition or attitude.

The second conception is Professor Bergson’s; its meaning is a
peculiarly intimate acquaintance with reality. It is a relationship
between reality and consciousness in the æsthetic mode, consciousness
as the quality-knowing faculty, very explicitly distinguished by
Bergson, under the name “intuition,” from the relation-knowing or
intellectual faculty.

The third conception, the analytic or intellectualistic, means
knowledge about reality, such knowledge as may be relatively
independent of acquaintance. The second and third conceptions are
distinct from each other only in emphasis, and may be indefinitely
approximated toward each other, to the limit of mutual identity.
But, historically, the philosopher’s besetting sin of hypostasis has
pushed the emphasis, in each of these two conceptions, to so vicious
an extreme that they contrast with each other sharply. Pushed to
such extreme, the third conception has been stigmatized by adherents
of the second as “vicious” conceptualism or intellectualism. By the
same right, the intellectualist may denounce intuitionism as equally

To these three conceptions of philosophy this is common: a relationship
between reality and consciousness which is apogeal. Philosophy is
at any rate a _supreme experience_, a mode of consciousness which
is eminent over other modes. But this initial generalization is too
indeterminate to constitute a satisfactory theory of the nature
of philosophy; whereas (for the other horn of the dilemma), the
above attempts at greater specificity appear to invoke no logical
principle, but rather to follow a deep-lying personal instinct,
without due critical reflection on it; in other words, without logical
justification of it. They all beg the question.

Such ill criticized assumption concerning the nature of philosophy
is what determines a philosopher’s “method” in distinction from his
“doctrine.” The names voluntarism, intuitionism and rationalism have
been applied to philosophies whose method is one or other of the
three outlined above. Religion, art and science are their models,
respectively. Under voluntarism fall the romantic and the pietistic
philosophies, wherein value is all that is real, and personal attitude
towards value is the only mode of consciousness that illuminates
reality. Intuitionism includes radical empiricism, temporalism and
mysticism. Such philosophies are based on the conviction that only
quality is real, only intuition is knowledge. And under rationalism are
positivism and absolutism, in which reality is order and knowledge is

If art, science and religion correspond to the ancient triad feeling
(intuition), thought (intellect) and will, it would seem either
that philosophy must be consciousness employed in one or more of
these modes, or else that a fourth mode of consciousness, coordinate
with these, must correspond to philosophy. Such a mode has not been
discovered. Philosophy must therefore be one or two or all three of the
above things. Can analysis of that generalization which was derived
above from the more specific definitions produce a logical principle
capable of determining the genuine philosophic method among the three
modes of consciousness, feeling, thought and will? Yes, such analysis
of the _supremacy_ which is a feature common to all three conceptions
of philosophy proves unequivocally that philosophy must be a function
of intellect, and cannot be a function either of will or of intuition.

This would not be the case, needless to say, if “supremacy” were here
a eulogism. Eulogistically, either of the three modes of consciousness
has equal claim to supremacy. That mode of consciousness to which
reality is most interesting is supreme, in the eulogistic sense, and
this depends on the philosopher’s personal constitution. To the man
of dominating intuition, the relations and teleology of things may
be incidental characters of them; but, by comparison with reality’s
qualitative aspect, those other aspects are relatively extrinisic and
accidental. In whatever sense it may not be true, in the eulogistic
sense it is true that such a man’s supreme experience is intuitional
rather than intellectual or ethical. Bergson’s psychological life seems
to be of such a type. But, for the man of ethical, and for the man of
intellectual prepossession, supreme experience cannot be intuitional,
in this sense of supreme. Yet, if an intuitional bent be regarded
by anyone as a hopeful qualification for effective philosophizing,
no intuitionist denies to the man in whom reason or will, instead,
is paramount, the possibility, by proper effort, of achieving the
genuinely philosophic--that is to say, intuitional--activity. And when
such a man does, in spite of difficulty, achieve it, it has the same
supremacy, as philosophy, that it has for the intuitionist, for whom
it is, more fortunately, _also_ supremely congenial and “worth while”.
It is not this latter supremacy, therefore, but the other, which
distinguishes philosophy, on the intuitionist conception; and that
other supremacy has a meaning which is thus proved to be independent of
relation to any constitutional prepossession or aptness. If philosophy
is intuitional, this is not because intuition is any man’s most
characteristic faculty.

And so of the two other modes of consciousness, reason and will, in
which, in different beings, according to their constitution, life
most naturally and best finds realization: for each of these modes
of consciousness, as for the intuitional mode, there is one sort of
experience, called philosophy, which is distinguished by a certain
supremacy of self-same nature, independent of any distinction of
personal constitution among philosophers. The voluntarist, indeed,
might claim a peculiarly eulogistic supremacy for volitional experience
over any other kind; for it is ethically supreme for all, whatever
one’s constitutional bent. But its ethical supremacy is no more the
_philosophic quale_ of volitional experience, on the voluntaristic
conception of philosophy, than is its other eulogistic supremacy, its
mere congeniality, for the strongly volitional type of character. For,
men of such character may be conspicuously deficient in philosophic
faculty in the judgment of all, including the voluntarist philosopher.

Reason, finally, commands recognition of supremacy, among the modes of
consciousness, in another sense, a sense distinct from the imperative
or ethical supremacy of will. The supremacy of reason is its exclusive
reflectiveness; and reflectiveness as the _quale_ of reason is
the same character as criticalness; that is, it is the faculty of
judgment. It is important to note that this critical reflectiveness is
a _differentia_ of reason; it is not a character of intuition nor of
will. The proof is that reflection is the substitution of a relational
for a substantive object of consciousness, and relationality is
nothing else than rationality. Thus, if feeling, will and rational
thought are conceptually distinct, reflectiveness is foreign to the
first two, and to anything coördinately distinct from rational thought.
When consciousness is employed with an emphasis on the _qualities_
of its object, in distinction from aspects of value and relation
(which also belong to any object), consciousness is intuitive, in
the intuitionist sense of the term. In entering a consciousness,
the qualities become, _ipso facto_, content of that consciousness,
taking their place in this setting under the name “sensations,” or
“sense data.” It is the act of reflection which “sets” the mind’s
data in contexts; which is aware of contexts, that is, and of the
setting of data in them. It is the reflective act which names its data
accordingly, as “quality” or “sensation”, and is conscious of them as
elements of their relational setting. Consciousness is volitional when
its focus is a value. In the context of the subject’s consciousness,
the value becomes a purpose. Thus value as substantive object of
consciousness, again, is object of will just as the substantive quality
was object of intuition; while value as element in the relational
complex in which it is known as “purpose,” is object of reflection.
Reason, then,--that is to say, mind active in the relation-knowing
way--is the mode of consciousness in virtue of which mind is
reflective, critical, judgment-forming; and it is a confusion among
definitions of intuition, will and reason, to attribute reflectiveness
to intuition or to will, as such. The peculiar supremacy of reason
which inheres in reason’s reflectiveness is due to the inclusion of
consciousness itself in the content of relational consciousness and of
no other mode of consciousness.

Intuitionists and voluntarists, the same as intellectualists, do,
as a fact, always characterize that supremacy which distinguishes
philosophy, in no other way than the critical way. There is no dissent,
in intuitionist or voluntarist schools of philosophic method, from this
residual core of meaning in the conception of philosophy: by universal
consent philosophy is consciousness (in whatever mode) sitting in
judgment on its own findings; philosophy is critical reflection.
And _therein_ is an ultimateness and absoluteness--in a word, a
supremacy--which belongs to philosophy, on any view of philosophy,
and to no other type of mental activity. But in rationalism, or
intellectualism, alone, it is recognized that reflection, as such, is
essentially and distinctively rational.

It is, then, the contention of this essay that the supremacy
peculiar to philosophy--which, by common consent of voluntarism
and intuitionism, is no eulogistic nor even ethical supremacy, but
critical--decides absolutely, among the three modes of consciousness,
against will and intuition in favor of intellect, as the organ of
philosophy, of intellectualism as the sole genuinely philosophic
method. Kant called his voluntarism the “Critical Philosophy,” to
distinguish it, as genuine philosophy, from what would be but failed
(because it was not critical) to be philosophy. Critical his philosophy
is; but because it is critical, it contradicts its own voluntarism--the
assertion that reality is knowable only in obedience of will, and not
in judgment. A contradiction; for _this_ (the gist of his voluntarism)
is a judgment whose subject is reality. The inevitable fundamental
intellectuality of noumenal knowledge is concealed, for Kant, under
the phrase “postulate of will.” A postulate, so far as it is genuine
knowledge, has indeed the character of necessity, but its necessity is
simply the fact of logical implication.

With the intuitionist variety, and particularly the Bergsonian variety
of anti-intellectualism, this essay is largely to be concerned. At
this point I merely note the inevitable contradiction in Bergson’s
intuitionism, as in Kant’s voluntarism. Intuition, Bergson explains,
is “instinct that has become disinterested, self-conscious, capable of
_reflecting_ upon its _object_ and of enlarging it indefinitely.”[92]
Now, consciousness reflecting upon its own data is criticism,
predication, classification, judgment--whatever it is, it is the
_objectifying_ of the data of consciousness, a thing which it is
essential to instinct or intuition, on Bergson’s own conception of
them, never to do, and which, precisely, on his conception, is the
distinguishing function of intellect. “Instinct is sympathy,” says
Bergson, in the same passage; and the sense in which instinct is
sympathy is lucidly and emphatically explained as just this, that
there is no distinction of subject and object, in instinct; they
are identical. Whereas, intelligence or intellect is explicitly
distinguished by him from instinct primarily in the disjunction of
subject and object. It is merely to turn his back on his own use of
these terms to describe philosophy as instinct extending its _object_
and reflecting upon itself.

       *       *       *       *       *

That the case of philosophical anti-intellectualism is a hopeless
paradox, whether in voluntarism or in intuitionism, each of these
methods itself best proves by its own inevitable intellectualism.
The terms voluntarism, intuitionism, and rationalism express no real
distinction of psychological mode, in philosophizing, since the
psychology of every philosophy is necessarily characterized by that
critical reflectiveness which constitutes philosophy a function of
intellect. Philosophy is always interpretation, a function alien to
what anybody ever meant either by will or by intuition; a function
whose essential distinctness from both those functions is attested
universally in such synonyms of “interpretation” as judgment,
conception, understanding, reason.

There are, it is true, voluntaristic and intuitionistic, philosophies
of the highest importance. And the intention of their authors is to
distinguish their method from the rationalistic method. Are they
foredoomed to futility on this account? So far as this intention
is realized--yes, unquestionably. No philosophy that were itself a
function either of will or of intuition is conceivable, since it would
then lack the essence of philosophy, which is critical primacy. That
philosophies designated by these methodological terms may be invaluable
products, it is necessary only that these terms apply in fact not to
the psychological method of the philosophy but to its psychological
starting-point. They express a constitutional bias in the philosopher,
who, after all, is human. To some the qualities of things; to others,
value; and, finally, to other some, the order of reality is the
“essence” of reality. Such essentialness is eulogism, of course. For it
is an irreducible psychological fact that there are religious, æsthetic
and scientific types of mind. Each to his bias; each to his taste. The
apogee of living is religion to the first, art to the second, science
to the third. Hence the illusion that philosophy, which must needs be
experience supremely critical, is experience eulogistically supreme.
Is not this illusion chargeable to failure to see in these three modes
of consciousness three emphases or biases of living? To the æsthete,
certainly, quality must be realest essence. But it cannot be so to the
zealot; for, to him, that is value: nor to the intellectualist; to him
it is order.

If æsthete and zealot will philosophize, they are at this disadvantage
with the wise man, that their philosophy can do no more, in expressing
the nature of this “realest essence” of reality, than the wise man’s
rationalism may do--discourse about it, interpret it. Philosophy indeed
never can, and never should aspire to enter into the inner nature of
reality in any such sense as the immediatism of Bergson and James
summons it to do. There is art and there is religion for that. It is
not clear how the qualitative or how the teleological aspect of reality
is more internal to it than its relational aspect; but, at any rate,
philosophy has its own interest, and that is distinct from those of art
and religion. Wherefore the own proper interest of art or of religion
is not served in their philosophy; in their philosophy they deny
themselves. The efforts of such philosophies to wrest from reality, in
a non-intellectual way, its secret, must be rather superhuman. This
characterization is hardly a burlesque of Bergson’s own observations
on his method, for it is little less than the repudiation of our
natural constitution, to which he exhorts us.[93] But, as with Kant,
so with Bergson, prodigies of subtlety fail to produce a revelation
of truth that is so subtle as to be inarticulate because immediate,
or that does not lend itself to discussion and interpretation. Or,
if this is not to be looked for in a philosophy which is ‘a method
rather than a doctrine,’ neither is there any suggestion how such
revelation may be socialized, rendered human; or even, in fact, how
it can assume _meaning_, meaning to the philosopher himself (which is
surely indispensable to truth), without becoming predication--assertion
and denial;--that is to say, without becoming judgment. If humans
make superhuman effort, it should not be surprising if the result is



What, then, is called philosophic “method” and is distinguished
thereby from “doctrine,” is really, in fact, always the cardinal
principle of the _content_ of the philosophy in question, its
fundamental _doctrine_. If this doctrine is acceptable to reason,
if it is reasonable, logical principles must determine it. No
anti-intellectualist philosophy legitimately evades the rules of the
game of dialectic by the representation that it is a ‘method rather
than a doctrine.’ For this is the game that anyone plays who undertakes
to show, by reasonable discourse, why reality and knowledge conform
to a certain definition, or (the same mental procedure) why they do
not conform to other definitions. Since dialectic is just significant
discourse with a meaning to be judged, it may vary in form between
any degree of syllogistic baldness, at one extreme, and of suggestive
subtlety at the other. It is dialectic if it is constituted of
statements, explicit or implied, which relate to each other.

There is, therefore, I say, a misleading irrelevance in the
characterization which Bergson himself has set the fashion of
attributing to his philosophy, the characterization of it as rather a
method than a system of doctrine. A method implies a system, that is to
say an ordered conviction about the nature of reality and knowledge.
Such a system is essential to any meaning in Bergson’s method.

       *       *       *       *       *

Intellectualism in philosophy implies the conviction that the parts of
reality are connected together in thinkable ways; that a comprehensive
understanding of things as a connected system or unity is therefore
theoretically possible; if actually impossible, this is merely because
of the endlessness of relationships and the limitedness of any actual
thinker’s time and strength. But in fact even human finitude is no
obstacle to a comprehension of the principles of reality. Detail is
immaterial to the unity of such a view.

One of the sayings attributed to Professor James is that there
is one thing you can always pronounce with assurance, upon any
philosophical system, in advance of hearing a word of it, and that is
that it is false. This suggests at any rate, very well, the meaning
of philosophical anti-intellectualism, which implies the conviction
contradictory to intellectualism, to wit that the parts of reality are
not connected in thinkable ways.

The connectedness of the intellectualist’s universe may have any
degree of significance or casualness. A mere “and” may express much
of it.[94] Intellectualism may be as pluralistic in this sense as you
like, or as monistic. But if things are a universe in any such sense
that they are comprehensible in intellect’s discursive way, which
anti-intellectualism denies--on such a hypothesis anti-intellectualism
and intellectualism have commonly agreed that some principle is
embodied in this total comprehensibleness, a supreme induction,
which would constitute the final interpretation of any fact. Like
a master-key, it would open all the chambers of the many-mansioned
universe. Every philosopher, as a fact, has some controlling thought
which has the value, for him, of such a supreme principle. But always,
it seems, there are doors which the master-key will not unlock. It is
the conviction of intellectualism that this is because the maker of
the key has missed them, and so left them out of account in fashioning
it; while anti-intellectualism believes it is an illusion to see the
situation as a case of locks to be turned by a key, at all. Entrance
into possession of reality is otherwise conditioned, altogether; the
procedure, in consequence, is radically different from this. But it
is, I think, a true historical generalization that the success with
which a philosopher, of whatever method, avoids a supreme principle
of interpretation, corresponds exactly with the success with which
he avoids being a philosopher at all. I suppose Omar Khayyam and
Aristippus the Cyrenaic are two of the least unifying philosophers
of history; yet their philosophy, like that of any absolutist, can be
resumed in a single idea. Omar has uttered it in one of his own famous
sentences: “Oh take the cash, and let the credit go!”

Aside from the presence, in each, of a generative principle, there
is little enough in common between the anti-intellectualism of Omar
and that of Henri Bergson. If critics have been able to find seeds of
skepticism and of pessimism in Bergson,[95] these characters are at any
rate foreign to any intention visible in its author. No more positive
philosophy, in its intention, was ever composed. The positiveness of
its name, intuitionism, is altogether proper. Its significance, to be
sure, is sharply defined by its negative relation to intellectualism,
and therefore I stated it negatively above as the thesis that the parts
of reality are not connected in a thinkable way. But the intuitionist
would readily admit: if not in a thinkable way, then in no way,
evidently. And, again, if not connected at all, no more are the parts
of reality disconnected, since any disconnection between things is
only their particular mode of connection. The fact is, reality has no
parts, and that is just why intellect, which sees parts in everything,
is alien and blind to the true nature of reality. Still one may object
that intellect is itself a fact. What possible meaning can there be in
saying that any fact is alien to reality? As Bergson himself has said,
we swim in reality, and cannot possibly get clear of it. We cannot
talk, we cannot think, we cannot act about nothing.

The answer to this objection is the master principle of Bergson’s
metaphysics: reality is life. Knowledge is “sympathetic” living. If
intellect is real, so is every abstraction, _e. g._, the inside of your
hat. The inside and the hat itself are at any rate real in senses so
importantly different that “real” and “unreal” hardly exaggerate the
contrast. Intellect, says Bergson, is the cross-sectioning of reality.
There is no thickness, no concreteness in it. It exists as much in
inert matter as in consciousness; in fact, it exists in neither except
in the sense in which a surface can be said to exist in a solid body.
What is the surface _in itself_? Why, nothing; it is an abstract aspect
of the body. The body is real, but its aspects are not real, because
they do not constitute the body--no multiplication or addition of them
does so. No millions of surfaces make any thickness. In this sense the
surface is other than and alien to the real nature of the body. And so
other manifestations of intellect--space, juxtaposition, extension,
number, part out of part--have no existence, as the surface has none.

As facts, nevertheless, what are they? How are they facts? What is
their _raison d’ être_? Their _raison d’ être_ is a faculty life has,
the faculty of _action_. They are the ways in which life acts. They are
not concrete entities. In this, they are alien to the concreteness of
reality. Try to reconstruct reality out of such abstractions, and the
result is a construction like that of geometrical imagination. You have
constructed an abstract symbol of the reality, which symbol the mind,
preoccupied with its practical bias, can mistake for the reality only
because it is so preoccupied.

When we physically take apart and put together, our manual activity
has the same unreality of abstractness as that of our intellectual
analyses and syntheses. It is the latter outwardly expressed, intellect
externalized. Wherever we find life, we are experiencing reality. But
when this occurs, we are never analyzing nor synthesizing. The more one
divests himself of practical bias, and regards his object not as an
object for the realization of any possible activity of his own, but as
it is in itself--in proportion, that is, as one gets its character as
a case of life--those unreal, spatial aspects of it yield to an aspect
which has nothing in common with them. The parts of an anatomical
model, a _papier maché_ manikin, you may separate and put together
again. An organism, as such, a manifestation of life, could not be
dissected and recomposed in its living reality. What is it that makes
an organism alive, a true reality? This, that every so-called part has
a function which is so essential to the true function of the whole that
one is present or absent with the other. They coincide. How, then,
could you possibly dissect out a part of an organism? Once recognize,
what is unquestionable, that any function of it coincides in this
way with the function of the whole, and your analyzing operation is
prevented absolutely. Obey the rule that everything which contributes
at all to the function of the part shall be taken, and everything else
left, and you are in Shylock’s position after Portia’s judgment: if you
want the flesh you will have to take blood with it; but you are not
entitled to the blood. It is even more hopeless than that. It is not a
matter of skill with your hand. You cannot make the analysis mentally,
intellectually. It is not a matter of impairing or destroying the
function, of injuring or killing the organism. You cannot _begin_ the
operation, not even on the corpse. The first incision separates cells
whose functions were inseparably one, for there is no cell in the body
that is not in organic union with every other cell.

If there is nothing of the nature of mosaic composition in the living
structure, this fact is one with the fact that there is nothing
mechanical in its functioning. It is not actuated from without, as
every machine is actuated which is not alive; nor is its functioning,
like that of such machines, an assemblage of functions predetermined
so far as the machine itself is concerned--predetermined, that is to
say, except for intervention from without; unalterable, as unstartable,
without external cause. The character of living function is suggested
by the word “focalization.” There is a perfectly indivisible concert
of function throughout the organism, in every one of its infinite
varieties of activity. When the engineer reverses his engine, or
otherwise alters its mode of operation, what he really does is to
alter the structure of the machinery. The machinery has been specially
constructed with a view to unmaking and remaking its nature more or
less quickly and conveniently; that is, its parts can be displaced
and replaced with reference to each other. Some parts are “thrown out
of gear” and shifted back. _And then everything returns to its former
state._ Not so in life. The functioning of an organism never remains
quite the same in two consecutive instants. There is an incessantly
moving emphasis or focus in it. Now one of its potentialities of
function is primary or focal, now another. But none can ever cease
and then be resumed. In this case, to cease is not to be thrown out
of gear, but to die, to perish, to be annihilated. In every phase of
the life activity of the organism, all its functions are operative,
subsidiary and subservient in varying degrees to that one which for
the moment is the focus of all. Thus the organic or vital focus, in
its physiological aspect of activity and in its psychological aspect
of attention, is never at rest. The modulation is not like the sudden
transformations in a kaleidoscope. The evolutions do not take place
in the manner suggested by the phrase “Presto, change!” _Modulation_
is the word that describes the process. Or, as Bergson phrases it,
the change is continuous, incessant, an _interpenetrating flow_ of
processes, in which analysis can make no beginning and no separation;
in which analysis, in fact, is absolutely impotent. If the eye is
that which sees, the ear that which hears, and so on, it is really
the organism entire, and no special, locally differentiated part of
it that is the organ. Those so-called parts which, with our false
intellectualism, we name the eye or other organ, are, _in their
reality_, focal aspects of the entire organism, the organism seen with
a certain restriction or limitation of interest.

But, now, how can one make any discourse about, say, an animal
organism--indeed, how can this become an object of perception at
all--without its lending itself to that sort of division into real
parts which Bergson says is an intellectual falsification of its
true nature, and therefore not true knowledge of the thing? When I
look at a living body, do I not see it occupying space? Is it not,
then, measurable? Is not one such body larger than another? Suppose
cutting out parts of a body does alter or kill the organism: they can,
neverless, be cut out, and are therefore parts? If, after, and because
of, being cut out, they are then not parts of the _organism_ from which
they were cut, still, they are constituents of its volume. Surely, our
ordinary speech about this part and that part of our bodies, is not all

Bergson’s answer is uncompromising: our ordinary perception and speech
does falsify the nature of reality, but (in spite of the apparent
paradox) _does not mislead_. For our ordinary perception and speech
have nothing to do with knowing. Perception is a different function
of life--it is action. Our percepts are the ways in which reality
can factor in our activities. Those dissected organs, you say, are
at least so much of the entire volume of the organism: but the words
are no sooner spoken than their falseness shows itself. If the
organism ever had volume, it certainly has not, now--neither volume
nor anything else. The fact is, the only meaning there is in its ever
possessing volume while it still exists, is just that you might enter
into activity with it in such and such ways--as that, for instance,
of hacking it up. Perception, our “virtual” or potential activity on
reality, is an abstract aspect of it; what it is in itself is another
matter, and the only knowledge of this is that sympathetic union with
it in which space and parts disappear in an “interpenetrating flow”
not of _things_ nor of parts, but of process, of ceaseless change. Now,
quality is just the fact of change, as anyone may test for himself by
introspection. Reality as it is in itself, therefore, the true nature
of reality, is quality. Relations are external views or aspects, no
multiplication of which makes any start at constituting a concrete

There is one more reflection on Bergson’s account of intellect, which,
like those made above, he anticipates and tries to meet, so far as it
seems an objection to denying cognitive validity to intellect. The
attempt at this point, however, is not very convincing. The point I
mean is this: The ways in which reality can factor in my activities
are _by that warrant_ true characters of reality. One may cheerfully
add: even as the inside of my hat is, after all, a true character of
my hat. For, if reality were different, it could not factor _so_ in
my activity--in other words, which would also be the words of plain
common sense, I should _perceive_ it differently, on Bergson’s own
conception of what it means to perceive. The situation is this: Reality
does, indeed, possess those interesting aspects of changing process
and undividedness which Bergson is so preoccupied with and which he
has brought to light with exquisite skill. This is one of two equally
important truths about reality. The other Bergson is simply blind
to, and that is that reality also possesses an aspect of permanence
and divisibility. Does this seem a contradiction? It is no more a
contradiction than that a curve is both convex and concave. It is not
only not a contradiction: each of these antipodally opposite aspects
of reality is absolutely indispensable to the very conception of
the other, just as concavity is indispensable to the conception of
convexity, east to the conception of west, right to the conception
of left-- and _vice versa_. This point is resumed below (pp. 77-9,
96). The object in view at present is to see how the philosopher’s
method is really his primary doctrine, in which object I am not in
controversy with anyone, so far as I know; but also to see how an
anti-intellectualist method depends upon a purely arbitrary, or rather
constitutional, psychological prepossession for a certain emphasis of

I said that Bergson is entirely awake to the aptness of the objection
just raised to his account of intellect. In a sense, in certain
passages, he even seems to grant the truth of the contention. Action,
he acknowledges, for instance,[96] can be involved only with reality;
and consequently the forms of perception and the categories of
intellect (which are those forms rendered elaborately precise) “touch
something of the absolute.” Sound truth, assuredly! The fitness of
reality to enter as object into those active relationships which are
the perceptive and intellectual categories makes the categories as
genuinely own to the true, essential nature of objective reality as
to the nature of subjective intelligence. That the categorization of
reality depends on the real object’s being in relation to something
else than itself is nothing peculiar to this (the categorical)
character of reality. The same condition is common to every character
of reality. The qualitative aspect of reality, which Bergson usually
regards as the nature of reality “in itself,” depends no less than its
relational or categorical aspect on the relatedness of the object. For
the qualities of things are nothing but the differences they make--to
consciousness or to other things. Reality not in relation is simply
a phrase without a vestige of meaning. Reality “in itself” in such
a sense is merely nonsense. It would seem, therefore, as if Bergson
should account the intellectual mode of consciousness, which does
indeed “touch something of the absolute,” as knowledge of precisely the
same metaphysical status as a mode which touches anything else of the
absolute. It is one thing for a mode of consciousness to be uncongenial
or uninteresting to you or me; it is another for it to be invalid.
The uncongeniality of a mode of consciousness depends on personal
idiosyncrasy; the invalidity of a mode of consciousness depends on the
logical nature of being.

As a fact, however, perhaps because this preference between two aspects
of the nature of reality depends so obviously on personal bias instead
of logical principles, Bergson vacillates, in a hopelessly confused and
confusing way, all through his writings, between two conceptions of
reality. First, reality is of one nature, namely life, which is pure
quality, change, or duration (the four terms are actually synonyms to
Bergson), and knowledge of which can be only sympathetic intuition
of it, while intellect is merely “an appendage of action,” and not
knowledge at all. In the other conception reality is cleft into a
dualism more unutterably absolute than that of Descartes. Life is one
kind of reality; inert matter is the other. Intuition knows the former;
intellect really does _know_ the latter (‘touching something of the
absolute’), and knowledge is therefore not intuition only. Although
this vacillation confuses issues in every one of Bergson’s books, the
first conception is more characteristic, upon the whole, of _Time and
Free Will_ and of _Creative Evolution_; the other conception is pretty
consistently expounded in _Matter and Memory_. The sphere of intellect
is restricted; its cognitive validity is not explicitly denied within
this sphere, but only within the domain of life. To be sure, since
life exhausts reality, the sphere allotted to intellect is not real,
which would seem to imply that intellect fails to know. The validity of
intellectual consciousness is thus, in effect, denied equally in either
case. The only difference is that the denial is conscious and explicit
in one case, more or less unconsciously implied in the other.



The restrictive conception of intellect is a very old one. The
incompatibility of intellect and life, as cognitive organ and object,
is certainly as old a belief as the era of the Sophists. It can be
said, that is, with historical certainty, that, from the time of
Protagoras--and I have no doubt it has been true ever since the first
philosopher, whoever he was, undertook to make an examination of the
universe as one thing--it has always been true that many of the best
minds have been convinced, by the futile results of such undertakings,
that the universe as one thing, on one hand, and intellect, on the
other, make a pair as incompatible, in the relation of cognitive organ
and object, as the faint star and the fovea: you have an organ and an
object which by nature are unsuited to each other. That kind of organ
cannot see that kind of object. Not that the faint star is invisible,
but, to see it, you musn’t look! Then it will swim into the field of
the organ that is made to see it, the retinal tissue surrounding the
fovea. Thus it is not a question of human finitude or limitation. The
formulæ of intellect, applied to such an object, are mere silliness,
reducible, as Kant showed, to all manner of antinomy and paradox.
Not only that, but whatever is most important and interesting within
this whole, everything concerning the nature and meaning of concrete
cases of life, eludes and baffles conceptual statement,--which is the
only kind of statement there is,--inevitably eludes it, like smoke in
a child’s hand who tries to catch it. Your essences or definitions,
of life or any of its manifestations, are stuff and nonsense, not
inadequate, but absurd. What logical sentence has ever been uttered
that, upon the least reflection, does not fail to develop into a
grotesquely false caricature when applied to any genuine phase or
interest of life, great or small--whether God, freedom, immortality,
or the heart of a woman, or of a child, or of a man (to take them in
a descending order of their unsearchableness)? You may labor your
conception with prodigious precision--the truth of the matter is always
beyond, when you are speaking of matters that are real.

This is the artist’s temper of mind when the artist has inadvertently
gulped down a noxious dose of metaphysics. It is the feeling of the
novelists, the dramatists, the poets, that Bergson voices: life
may be lived--nobly or basely, courageously or cowardly, truly or
falsely;--and the flavor and significance of life may be heightened,
life may be realized more abundantly, in artistic activity, which is
putting oneself into one’s object, making it become not an object,
identifying oneself with it. But one thing is not given to man, and
that is to _interpret_ life.

Everyone is familiar with the telling dramatic force of the device
which consists in involving a philosophical hero, a man addicted to
principles of high generality, in sudden overwhelming emotional chaos,
in which all his philosophy goes to smash. The refractoriness of sexual
love, for instance, to all his theories is such a delicious _reductio
ad absurdum_ of the theories. First you make your philosopher develop
his maxims, in a besotted, fatuous conviction of their infallibility:
then a particularly impossible she enters, one who is conspiciously
unfitted, by artlessness or disabilities of worldly station, for the
upsetting of principles great and high. The philosopher goes through
his paces, eating his maxims whole, with unction; and you have the
spectacle of Life rising serene, untouched, above the futilities of
theory. The theory doesn’t work. The obvious conclusion is that there
is some fundamental incommensurability between it and the simple facts
of life that can flout it so. _Simon the Jester_ is a very delightful
example of what I mean. Simon is bound to come to grief, he is so
smugly philosophical. The wise novel-reader knows what to expect. Not
that philosophy is not an ornament to a man, a civilizing, disciplining
exercise. All that is one thing, but acting as if such notions _apply_
is quite another. This good philosophical chap gives the result of his
philosophy in regulating his life, as follows:

“Surely no man has fought harder than I have done to convince himself
of the deadly seriousness of existence; and surely before the feet of
no man has Destiny cast such stumbling-blocks to faith ... No matter
what I do, I’m baffled. I look upon sorrow and say, ‘Lo, this is
tragedy!’ and hey, presto! a trick of lightening turns it into farce.
I cry aloud, in perfervid zeal, ‘Life is real, life is earnest, and
the apotheosis of the fantastic is not its goal,’ and immediately a
grinning irony comes to give the lie to my _credo_.

“Or is it that, by inscrutable decree of the Almighty Powers, I am
undergoing punishment for an old unregenerate point of view, being
doomed to wear my detested motley for all eternity, to stretch out my
hand forever to grasp realities and find I can do naught but beat the
air with my bladder; to listen with strained ear perpetually expectant
of the music of the spheres, and catch nothing but the mocking jingle
of the bells on my fool’s cap?

“I don’t know. I give it up.”

Giving it up is obviously the moral, here. The change of attitude
implied in the last words marks the beginning of an era of glorious
fulfilment of life in the former philosopher’s history. What was
necessary was that he should stop theorizing and learn to live. That
is, philosophy, as supreme experience, is the art of living. It is the
artist that really knows, that knows inwardly and truly. The genuine
philosopher is the artist in living. The intellectualist philosopher is
a dissector of life’s defunct remains.

The nature of the opposition between the two modes of consciousness
called intuition and intellect is discussed in the chapter on Bergson’s
epistemology. The intuitionist philosopher is such never for logical
reasons, always for temperamental reasons. He is a man to whom life
is richer and fuller, more self-fulfilling, more natural, in the
intuitional mode of consciousness than in the intellectual. Hence the
suspicious and disparaging disposition toward the intellectual mode of
consciousness, in a very numerous class of minds of the highest order.
From a personal feeling of safety and security in intuition and of
dissatisfaction with intellectual efforts, the transition is natural to
a conviction that the trouble is in the essential nature of intellect.
A mode of consciousness which is so inveterately and (presumably)
inevitably beset with self-frustration cannot be knowledge. It is too
obviously the opposite of knowledge, to wit error and delusion.

But once the opposition has reached this point, where not only the
convenience but the very validity of intellect is impugned, one is
involved in a disjunction between these two modes of consciousness
that is demonstrably false, both logically and psychologically. It
is surely a false hypostasis of terms whose distinction is merely
abstract, to set over against each other in this way two aspects which
are equally essential to any conception of the nature of consciousness.
For intuition and intellect can be seen to imply each other with the
same necessity with which quality and quantity imply each other. And
there is the same absurdity, on the side of epistemology, in regarding
intuition as valid knowledge and intellect as not valid, as, on the
side of ontology, in regarding quality as real and quantity--or
relation in general--as not real. As if either were conceivable except
as a co-aspect or coefficient with the other, in the nature of reality.
This would be to conceive of quality as quality of nothing, or relation
as relation between no terms.

If philosophy must be reflective (and reflectiveness to some degree
is undoubtedly an inevitable condition of human consciousness,
perhaps of any consciousness), it must be, _quatenus_ philosophy,
intellectual, and not, _quatenus_ philosophy, intuitional. Intuition
will assuredly be there, in any philosophy, as the pole is inseparable
from its antipodes. But the philosophicalness of philosophy is just
its reflectiveness; that is, once more, _quatenus_ philosophy, it is

I am recording a protest against false reification of what is abstract,
the very fault which intuitionism is insistent to lay to the charge
of intellectualism. If intuitionism were to conceptualize intuition
and intellect, instead of reifying them, it could not appropriate
validity to either mode of consciousness and deny it to another.
The satisfactoriness and richness of a given mode of consciousness
depend no doubt on the constitution of the subject. The validity
of consciousness in any mode has nothing to do with such personal

James is less rigorous concerning the validity of relational knowledge
than Bergson. Having found relations in the immediate content of
conscious data, James cannot deny them an essential constitutiveness
in the nature of reality. But such knowledge is “thin” and “poor”,
in his homely and human phraseology. This is only a more naïve and
genial expression than Bergson’s of the purely eulogistic primacy of
quality over relation. Relations are thin and poor aspects of reality,
no doubt, if you find them so. Otherwise they may be supremely
interesting. That depends on your interests, which depend on your
constitution. In any case, they are the aspect of reality primarily
indispensable to reflective thought, which is philosophy.

       *       *       *       *       *

The characteristic which is most sedulously imputed by the philosophy
of instinct to intellect is usefulness, but this characteristic
is treated as evidence of cognitive invalidity! In point of fact,
serviceableness to action in no way distinguishes intellect from
instinct. Each alike is a reactive state resulting in a new situation,
a new arrangement of matter; and the only thing that can give true
finality to the intelligent act is the affective value of the conscious
state arising out of this new situation. But the same is true of the
situation which is the outcome of the instinctive act.

The distinction sometimes seems to mean that it is only acquaintance
with objects (intuitive knowledge of them) that has affective value,
and that this kind of consciousness is therefore an end in itself in
a sense in which intellect is not. For knowledge about the object
(intellectual knowledge of it) will then be supposed to have no
affective value in itself, but only as it may subserve action upon
the object, which action will be accompanied by acquaintance with the
object. But if knowledge about an object subserves acquaintance with
it, the converse is no less true. If knowledge of the location and
price of a tennis ball subserves my use of it and acquaintance with it,
the latter in turn subserves my knowledge about it in an indefinite
number of respects. True, acquaintance with an object may not always
lead to knowledge about it so obviously as in the case of the tennis
ball; but again it is equally true that knowledge about certain things,
for instance lines drawn upon the blackboard, has no obvious leading
toward utility; the utility of a certain mathematical equation may
seem quite inscrutable. But how obvious the leading may be, or how
interesting the utility, is nothing to the point. The question whether
or not the connection is necessarily there in all cases is answered
peremptorily _a priori_ by the polar character of knowledge by virtue
of which acquaintance-with is only an aspect of knowledge-about, and
_vice versa_.

It is flagrantly untrue, as a fact, that knowledge-about is without
affective value in itself. Experience is as emphatic to the contrary
as reason. If a characteristically intellectual state of mind gives
you less satisfaction, or more, than one that is characteristically
intuitive, the reason is quite personal and accidental in either case.
It may just as well give you more as less. Being knowledge in each
case, awareness at least, it has its affective value in some degree
necessarily, of whichever character it may be predominantly.

       *       *       *       *       *

Since relation is not divorcible from quality, nor intellect from
intuition, it results that, if the artist blunders through critical
defect, even better art would, of itself, have saved him in spite of
his critical defect. If the mustiness of the philosopher is expressible
as lack of a facile instinct, merely a truer theory of life would have
corrected him. No doubt life is too intricate for the most robust
capacity for ratiocination. Sanity balances securely between the two
biases of consciousness. Art and criticism are equally long, and the
middle course a is short-cut and an economy of living. But condemnation
of the validity of consciousness in any mode is a theoretical
proposition irrelevant to maxims of practical sagacity. And it implies
either condemning the validity of all consciousness (if intuition
and intellect are aspects of each other) or else it presupposes that
reality is not categorical, which Bergson fails to show. On page 24 of
the present essay, we have seen that he seems, in an inconsistent way,
even to maintain the contradictory thesis.

In a former paper[97] I have written as follows:

“Now, Bergson’s idea of the philosopher--an artist in life--is probably
no one’s else. He is of that opinion, decidedly; a considerable part
of the book [_Creative Evolution_] is a demonstration that actual
philosophers, from Plato on, are intellectualists all, dissectors,
not artists. But if Bergson’s enterprise is to be a _substitute_ for
philosophy and appropriate its name, we who are much addicted to the
old enterprise will be careful to know why it is futile and illusory.”

Monsieur Bergson comments on this in a private letter from which I

“It would be so, I recognize, if these intellectualist philosophers had
been philosophers only in virtue of their intellectualism. But whereas
intelligence pure and simple professes to solve the problems, it is
intuition alone that has enabled them to be put. Without the intuitive
feeling of our freedom, there would be no problem of freedom, hence no
determinist theory; thus, the different forms of determinism, which are
so many forms of intellectualism, owe their very existence to something
which could not have been obtained by the intellectualist method. For
my part, I find, more or less developed, the seeds of intuitionism in
most of the great philosophic doctrines, although the philosophers
have always tried to convert their intuition into dialectic. Yet it is
chiefly in the former that they have been philosophers.”

This seems to me an absolute inversion of intuition and intellect. Does
intuition ‘put problems’? It is, certainly, intuition that gives us the
material of our problems. But the formulating of a problem--what can be
meant by intuition’s formulating anything? Giving forms, I should say,
just defines the work of intellect. Intuition gives us our facts, our
material. Surely, the putting of problems is an intellectual operation
continuous, even identical, strictly, with their solution? A problem
well put is rather more than half solved. Certainly the remainder of
the solution is not a different order of activity. It carries out
the ‘putting’ in its implications. A problem put is only a problem
incompletely solved.[98] Solving it is putting it with a satisfactory

Without the intuitive feeling of our freedom there would be no problem
of freedom, certainly, but you might easily have the intuition without
the problem. In the preface to the _Essai sur les données immédiates de
la conscience_, Bergson insists that it is the aberrations of intellect
that give rise to the problems of freedom. Intellect, then, at any
rate, not intuition, puts the problem.

As correlative modes of consciousness, neither is independent, nor
primary, of course. Even in the putting of our problems, intellect
is only a co-factor, a coefficient with intuition. And in the
most abstract reasoning, the intuitive coefficient of thought is
indispensable. So far as intellect is actual, concrete knowledge, it
must be intuitively correlated, and so far as intuition is the real
intuiting of anything, it must be intelligently correlated.

In what respect are the philosophers of whom Monsieur Bergson speaks
intuitionists? Does this mean anything more than that they are
wide-reaching and far-reaching instead of narrow and dull in their
apprehension? Is not philosophy interpretation of experience? Is not
the philosopher’s vision, therefore, always necessarily, just so far as
he is a _philosopher_, a vision of the formal aspect of reality? To be
sure, that is just what Monsieur Bergson is denying. But his reason is
that reality is pure quality, a proposition whose logical faultiness
and temperamental genesis I have sufficiently noted.

In view of the temperamental basis of the artistic and the
philosophical or critical attitudes, it were fatuous for either
to propose a reform in the other by way of conformity to a mode
distinguished from it thus radically. It is this fatuity which it seems
to me Bergson commits in regarding the success of any philosophy as
due, by any possibility, to its becoming art instead. As well conceive
that the virtue of an artistic product _consists_ in its conformity to
critical canons.

Philosophy that is false to art would therein necessarily be false to
philosophy; and art that is false to philosophy is false to art; but
art is not philosophy, nor philosophy art.





My reason for coupling these two subjects in one heading is suggested
by the following words quoted from the Introduction to _Creative
Evolution_: “... _theory of knowledge_ and _theory of life_ seem to
us inseparable.” For Bergson, reality is life; and knowledge, of
course, is a function of life. “The fundamental character of Bergson’s
philosophy,” writes H. Wildon Carr,[99] “is ... to emphasize the
primary importance of the conception of life as giving the key to the
nature of knowledge.”

All the essential principles of this metaphysics are contained in the
first of Bergson’s philosophical books, _Time and Free Will_.[100] The
two later books, _Matter and Memory_ and _Creative Evolution_, have not
modified it, and have hardly even developed it--in the sense, that is,
that no vital corrections or additions to the principles of the _Essai_
have been made.

       *       *       *       *       *

In discussing anti-intellectualistic philosophies, in the first part
of the present essay, their suspicion and distrust of intellect was
attributed to a logical illusion. The philosopher, finding life
preeminently satisfactory in an intimate acquaintance with the
qualitative aspect of experience, acquires an instinctive faith in
the preeminent reality of quality, a faith which is the deepest root
of his being. Now, this faith is absolutely justified, of course.
It is only necessary that it should be understood. Illusion and
error enter in with the neglect of the very preeminence of this
character of reality. For evidently nothing can be preeminently
real and at the same time real in any sense for which the adverb
“preeminently” is either false or meaningless. The sense of “important”
is a well accredited, proper meaning, in our language, of the word
“real.” But it is a sense perfectly distinct from the metaphysical
sense. Teleologically, anything is preeminently real _according to
circumstances_. Teleologically, “real” is a synonym of “important,”
a relative term capable of degree. Metaphysically, circumstances are
irrelevant to the realness of anything. This is a different statement
from the statement that circumstances are irrelevant to the _nature_
of anything. It may be that there is nothing whose nature can be
independent of, wholly undetermined by, circumstances. That is another
question. We have nothing to do with it at present. For in either case,
circumstances make it neither more nor less real. Metaphysically,
then, “real” is an absolute term, incapable of degree, and the adverb
“preeminently” has no meaning when applied to it. The very fitness of
the adverb “preeminently” to the intuitionist’s meaning of the realness
of quality determines this meaning as a teleological eulogism, and
the ultimate significance of intuitionism is not the germination of a
logical principle, but an instinctive propagandism in the direction of
a favorite emphasis of living, an enthusiasm which has become involved
in a logical illusion concerning its own foundation in the nature of
things, an illusion which is clearly traceable, on analysis, to this
ambiguity in the use of the word “real.”

Later in this study it will appear that Bergson’s interest centers,
as the interest of French philosophy has centered ever since the
Renaissance, in the problem of freedom. No doubt that very enthusiasm
which motivates modern anti-intellectualism and gives it so positive a
character, is a prime factor in its popular success. And in the case
of Bergson, both the significance of his philosophy itself and the
brilliant vogue it has achieved can be rightly appreciated only in
the light of this central passion whose appeal to human nature is so
universal and so profound. Anti-intellectualism and anti-determinism
are one and the same thing. It will appear as we go on that a
deep-lying tychism, a horror of determinism, is the specific trait of
that motive (described above as a natural affinity for the qualitative
aspect of reality, as distinguished from its relational aspect) which
strenuously endeavors, in Bergson, to eliminate relation from reality,
judgment from knowledge. He protests that freedom cannot be defined
without converting it into necessity; for definition is determination.
A would-be indeterminist _theory_ of will is as futile as a determinist
theory is false: on any _theory_, will is prejudged in favor of
determinism. The nature of freedom cannot be known independently of the
nature of will, and then attributed or denied to will, as one might
attribute or deny redness to an apple. To say, Will is free, would be
like saying, Will is voluntary, or, Freedom is free--not, indeed, an
untruth, but without meaning and hence not a truth, either.

The one way, then, of getting the true nature of will truly
comprehended which is doomed to necessary failure, is to write
a psychological treatise on the subject. For, since will has no
such determinate character as intellect finds in it or gives to
it, a treatise conveying the true nature of will would have to be
unintelligible! Now, see in will, as Leibniz[101] and Schopenhauer, as
well as Bergson, have seen in it, the whole of life and of reality,
and you see how it is Bergson’s tychism that constitutes the specific
motive for his anti-intellectualism, and how this so-called method
forms, in his philosophy, the supreme doctrine which is the objective
of all his discourse.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bergson’s critique of intellectualism proceeds by applying to
traditional metaphysics and epistemology his purely qualitative
criterion of reality. Whether science, the product of intelligence,
is physical, biological, or psychological, it is knowledge-about,
and not acquaintance-with; its object is relation, and not reality;
its objective is action, and not vision; its organ is intelligence,
not instinct. But the object of philosophy is reality; its objective
is vision; its organ instinct. The timeless, intellectual way in
which science knows about, but never knows, is not the way of true
philosophy. The philosopher, to know reality, must achieve a vital,
sympathetic concurrence with its flow. To be known, reality must be
lived, not thought. In _Creative Evolution_ Bergson traces the genesis
of instinct and intelligence to a primitive tendency, effort or spring
of life (the _élan vital_) whose path bifurcates indefinitely in the
course of its evolution. These elementary tendencies, instinct and
intelligence, having issued from the same primitive tendency, are both
present, at least in rudiment, in all forms of life; and it is the
presence, though in a suppressed state, of instinct in man that must
save philosophy from the _cognitive emptiness_ of science, and give it
a hold on the living fulness of reality.

In _Time and Free Will_ the theory of “real duration,” which is a
synonym for intuition, and for life, and for reality, and is the
foundation of the Bergsonian philosophy, is enunciated, and in the
light of it intellect is shown to falsify the nature of consciousness
in applying to conscious states such categories as magnitude,
plurality, causation. Each of these categories, in its traditional
application, is a quantifying and a spatializing of consciousness.
The intensity of a conscious state is nothing but the state itself;
the state is pure quality or heterogeneity, incapable of measure
and degree. The variousness of conscious states has no analogy with
plurality. Plurality is simultaneity and juxtaposition; but conscious
states prolong each other in an interpenetrating flow. Finally, the
organization of conscious states is nothing like the traditional
systematic “coördination” of associationistic psychology. It does not
lend itself to laws and principles. It cannot be adequately expressed
by words, nor artificially reconstructed by a juxtaposition of simple
states, for it is always an absolutely new and original phase of our
duration, and is itself a simple thing.

The first chapter of _Time and Free Will_ consists of analyses of all
sorts of psychological states, in order to justify the above thesis
concerning intensity. They are masterly analyses, and their interest
for psychology is great. So far as Bergson’s object is concerned,
of showing how intellect falsifies the nature of consciousness in
conceiving of sensations as _more_ or _less_ intense, what the chapter
proves is no more than that whenever a conscious state varies--which
every conscious state does continuously--it varies qualitatively. Which
hardly needed to be proved. For the argument does not show that, along
with the qualitative change, a quantitative change may not occur; that
is, it does not exclude the proposition which Bergson is trying to
refute, namely that there is something in the nature of a conscious
state that is capable of increasing and decreasing.[102]

In saying that conscious states are pure quality, Bergson means that
when one compares a sensation, for instance, with another which is
regarded as of the same “kind,” but of greater or less intensity, both
the sameness of kind and the difference of magnitude are illusions of
intellect, due to attributing the category of magnitude, or quantity,
to that whose nature admits of no such determination. A so-called more
intense odor, say, it is mere nonsense to call _same_ in any sense with
another, supposed to be less intense. The two are distinguishable,
that is all; they are not comparable, properly speaking. They are
comparable in just the sense, and in no other (it would seem, from
Bergson’s treatment of the subject, although the statement is not his,
explicitly) that either of the odors can be compared with a sound or a
taste. The difference is not one of degree; it is what Bergson calls

But what, then, exactly, according to Bergson, do we mean when we
compare psychic states as more or less intense? In simple states, he
says, magnitude of cause is associated, by a thousand experiences, with
a certain quality or shade of effect in consciousness, and the former
is attributed to the latter. The quantitative scale rubs off color, so
to speak, by the operation of association, from the material cause to
the psychic effect. In complex states intensity means the amount of our
inner life which the state in question colors with its own quality. A
passion is deep and intense in the fact that the same objects no longer
produce the same impression. In this statement of the case of complex
states it will be seen that Bergson fails to avoid attributing quantity
to the inner life of consciousness, since the intensity of complex
states is measured, by him, by a quantitative standard, the amount of
that inner life colored or affected by the quality in question.

The attempt is equally hopeless whether the state in question be
simple or complex. Bergson attempts, but fails,[103] to prove that
magnitude is a character peculiar to space, and that homogeneity and
space are two names for the same conception. Two odors, two sounds are
_more_ than one, however; and that homogeneity in them by virtue of
which they are more, and two, is not space. Bergson would object that
number itself, the twoness of the odors or sounds, is indeed a spatial
attribute falsely imputed to them. They are not plural, in themselves;
it is conceptualization that accounts for the plurality imputed to
them. One evolves continuously, in the flow of consciousness, out
of the other. It would be a sufficient answer that such a doctrine
contradicts itself in every breath by the terms necessary to any
utterance of it,--such terms as sounds, they, them, one, the other--all
imputing to the objects of discussion the plurality which it tries
to deny. And to fall back on the disabilities of language, due to
its being the work of intellect, is only to declare one’s philosophy
ineffable. But not only ineffable--unthinkable. Yes, Bergson would
admit, unthinkable in the narrow sense of conceptual thought, but
not unknowable to immediate intuition. The final rejoinder, I think,
is that immediacy is a vanishing-point, a limiting conception of the
relation between subject and object, a phase of consciousness in which
to use the mathematical analogy, the “coefficient” of consciousness
vanishes into zero. We return later in this essay to the amplifying
of this point.[104] In brief, if there is no _distinction_ between
subject and object, there is no object (as, likewise, no subject,
of course); hence, no truth; and Bergson could not have made these
ineffable discoveries _about_ the sounds and odors, for he could not
have discovered themselves.

It is clear enough that nothing needs to _occupy_ space, in order to
be a magnitude. A line, which occupies no space, is even a _spatial_
magnitude, nevertheless. That it is spatial, Bergson would say, is just
the fact that it is homogeneous. But is homogeneity the only character
of a line, and is its spatiality _therefore_ necessarily the same thing
as its homogeneity? Evidently a line has a _quale_ perfectly distinct
from its homogeneity, and essential to its linear nature; that _quale_
is its direction. If an interval of time, then, or a mental state,
seems not to be spatial, this does not compel us to deny that there is
any homogeneity about it: if the interval or the state of mind lacks
the determination--the character of direction--which is indispensable
to a line and to spatiality as such, this lack determines these objects
of thought as non-spatial without the slightest detriment to their
homogeneity. But all the evidence of homogeneity in space applies
equally to homogeneity in time and consciousness. The evidence is
their additiveness: all _seem_ to present numerically distinct cases
and quantitative differences. No logical ground has been indicated,
for discrimination, in the validity of this seeming, as a warrant for
the homogeneity of space and not of time and consciousness. Time and
consciousness are homogeneous by the same warrant as space and matter.

I think it is not irrelevant to Bergson’s theory of the associative
transfer of quantity in the stimulus to the sensation, to observe
that, in the stimulus, there is kind as well as amount. If the
shade or quality of the sensation corresponds to the degree of
the cause, is there no further determination of the sensation
distinctively correlative with the kind of the cause? Such correlate
seems indispensable to Bergson’s, as to any, reactive conception of
sensation, but, in Bergson’s theory of intensity, it seems to be
preempted for correlation with the aspect of quantity in the stimulus.

The case of plural odors and sounds, the case of the line, and an
infinity of other cases prove that magnitude is intensive as well as
extensive. The contradictory thesis, that of Bergson, reduces, at
bottom, to the self-contradiction that consciousness discovers what is
no object of consciousness.

       *       *       *       *       *

In admitting that sensations are comparable in this sense, that two
odors, for instance, regarded as of the same kind, can be compared
with each other in the same way as either can be compared with a sound
or a taste, Bergson evidently means that they can be distinguished
as different; and he regards this as implying that sensations are
absolutely heterogeneous with each other, _absolutely_ different. This
phrase, I am sure, conceals a bald contradiction. It seems to mean a
relation, namely difference, in which, however, the terms are absolute,
that is not in relation. Difference cannot be so conceived. Difference,
I submit, cannot be conceived without that (_common to the differing
terms_) in respect of which they are different. Monsieur Bergson,
therefore, in admitting that sensations are comparable in any sense, is
still confronted with an element common to all sensations; he has still
to eliminate the character of homogeneity from sensation, by virtue of
which a purely subjective evaluation of their relative intensities is

The root of the difficulty Monsieur Lévy-Bruhl has shown[105] to be
a reific separation of quantity and quality, which are separable in
truth only by abstraction of attention. Real existence in absolute
homogeneity or space, as Bergson represents the existence of the
external world, is as unthinkable as real existence in absolute
heterogeneity, which existence is consciousness or life, for Bergson.
External things, he says, which do not lapse (“_ne durent pas_”),
seem to us, nevertheless, to lapse like us because to each instant of
our lapsing duration a new collective whole of those simultaneities
which we call the universe corresponds. “Does this not imply,” writes
Lévy-Bruhl, “a preestablished harmony much more difficult to accept
than that of Leibniz? Leibniz supposes a purely ideal concord between
forces of the same nature. Monsieur Bergson asks us to admit an
indefinite series of coincidences, for each instant, between ‘a real
duration, whose heterogeneous moments compenetrate,’ and a space which,
not lapsing, has no moments at all. Monsieur Bergson really places
external reality, which does not lapse, in a sort of eternity. He
ingeniously shows that everything in space may be treated as quantity
and submitted to mathematics. Now, mathematical verities, expressing
only relations between given magnitudes, are abstracted from real
lapsing duration. All the laws reduce to analytical formulæ. But then
they are, according to the saying of Bossuet, eternal verities, and how
shall the real be distinguished from the possible?”

This sundering, in Bergson’s theory of reality, of what rightly is
one, is already implied, in his theory of knowledge, in the mutual
exclusion of the two cognitive modes, intuition and conception. The
predicaments into which philosophy falls in reasoning conceptually
(and there is no other reasoning) about the subjective “world,” are
due. Bergson thinks, not to faults in the use of logic, but to an
essential incongruity between the matter and the logical mode of being
conscious of it. But such an essential incongruity between any mode
of consciousness and what it is aware of would imply that the _modes_
of consciousness, on the one hand, are _parts_ of consciousness, of
which accordingly, you can have one without the other (theoretically
if not actually); and, on the other hand, there is the corresponding
implication for ontology, that what consciousness is aware of is
also composed of two parts, which match, respectively, the parts
of consciousness. Divide consciousness into two parts, then divide
what it is aware of into two parts; suppose that each of your parts
of consciousness suits one, and not the other, of your two parts of
what it is aware of--all this is necessary before there can be any
possibility of incongruous mismatching between consciousness and
being. Therefore uneasiness about this incongruity, the very motive
of intuitionism, presupposes first the sharpest conceptual treatment
of the subjective “world,” and then the flagrant reification of the
resulting abstractions. In other words, the indispensable precondition
of dialectical defense of intuitionism is an intellectualism of the
“vicious” type.

       *       *       *       *       *

The first chapter of the _Essai_ having criticized the application of
magnitude to consciousness, and found that psychological intensity has
nothing quantitative about it, the second chapter proceeds with an
analogous criticism of number, and finds that psychological variousness
has nothing plural about it. The multiplicity of material objects is
number or plurality; the variousness of the facts of mind is nothing
of the sort. Numerical multiplicity is distinct and objective,
given or thought in space; subjective variousness is indistinct and

The medium of the facts of consciousness being lapsing duration, and
not extension, they are never simultaneous in the same consciousness.
But then they cannot be counted; to count is to have things together,
simultaneously. That, again, is to have them in space. And that,
finally, is to have them as objects. Now, the essential nature of
psychic facts is to be subjective and not objective. If, therefore, you
find yourself counting facts within a consciousness, you are deluded;
they cannot be what you take them for; they can only be (spatial)
_objects_, symbols by which you are representing facts that are not
objective,--because they are subjective!--and not spatial but temporal.

This statement of the case will satisfy few people as it stands.
Professor Bergson is aware of this, and he will grant that such alleged
facts of consciousness as you distinguish and count may be set in the
medium of time rather than in space, if time, as well as space, is
a homogeneous medium; but time so understood, he thinks, turns into
space. And time is so understood very generally, without any doubt.
When we speak of time, says Bergson, we are usually thinking of space;
that is, we are thinking of a homogeneous medium, a medium, therefore,
in which psychic states are aligned or juxtaposited, as things are in
space, forming a distinct multiplicity.

This is, of course, another aspect of what Bergson regards as the same
vice, conceptualism, that is discussed in the first chapter of the
_Essai_. An intensive magnitude is a distinct concept, sharply bounded;
all within is the concept, all without, its other. But no psychic fact
is sharply bounded; it penetrates the whole consciousness. The whole
consciousness is one with it. We work quantitatively with concepts,
always, arithmetically and geometrically. But then we work in space,
which is enough, says Bergson, to show that intensity applied to a
psychic fact is not a magnitude, since psychic facts are not in space.
So here, in the second chapter, the elements which one pretends to
count and add _in time_ are, in order to be counted and added--in order
merely to be distinguished--distinct concepts. Then they are not in
time but in space.

The application of intensive magnitude and of numerical multiplicity to
psychic facts is thus the same fallacy in two aspects, the fallacy of
conceptualism, the nature of which is to substitute space for time as
the form of mental existence.

But Professor Bergson is not altogether dogmatic in saying that
conceptual time is a spatialized symbol of real time. He goes on now to
show how it is that the nature of real time is nothing like conceptual
time. _Durée_, his name for real time, seems a bad term for such a use;
for the essence of Bergson’s “_durée_” is change, while duration in
every other connection means just the waiting or standing still of the
flow of time. Some term like “lapse” seems nearer the idea.

The genetic or empirical theory of space perception regards the
sensations by which we succeed in forming the notion of space as
themselves unextended and purely qualitative; extension results from
their synthesis, as water results from the combination of two elements.
Bergson remarks that the fact that water is neither oxygen nor hydrogen
nor merely both is just the fact that we embrace the multiplicity of
atoms in a single apperception. Eliminate the mind which operates this
synthesis and you will at the same time annihilate the water qualities
so far as they are other than oxygen and hydrogen qualities; you will,
that is, annihilate the aspect under which the synthesis of elementary
parts is presented to our consciousness. For space to arise from the
coexistence of non-spatial qualities, an act of the mind is necessary,
embracing them all together and juxtapositing them--an act which is a
Kantian _a priori_ form of sensibility.

This act is the conception of an empty homogeneous medium. It is a
principle of differentiation other than qualitative differentiation,
enabling us to distinguish qualitatively identical simultaneous
sensations. Without this principle, we should have perception of
the extended, but we should not have conception of space. That is,
simultaneous sensations are never absolutely identical, because the
organic elements stimulated are not identical. There are no two
points of a homogeneous surface that produce the same impression on
sight and touch. So there is a real qualitative difference between
any two simultaneous points. This, Bergson says, is enough to give us
perception of the extended. But the conception of space is _en outre_.
The higher one rises in the series of intelligent beings, the more
clearly the independent idea of a homogeneous space stands out. Space
is not so homogeneous for the animal as for us. Directions are not
purely geometrical; they have their quality. We ourselves distinguish
our right and left by a natural feeling. We cannot define them.

Now, the faculty of conceiving a space without quality is not at all
an abstraction; on the contrary, to abstract presupposes the intuition
of a homogeneous medium. We know two realities of different order,
one heterogeneous, that of sensible qualities, the other homogeneous,
which is space. The latter enables us to make sharp distinctions, to
count, to abstract, perhaps even to speak. Everybody regards time
as an indefinite homogeneous medium, and yet everybody regards it as
different from space. Is one, then, reducible to the other?

The genetic or empirical school tries to reduce the relations of
extension to more or less complex relations of succession in duration.
The relations of situation in space are defined as reversible
relations of succession in duration. But succession in duration is
not reversible. Pure duration is the form of succession of conscious
states when one refrains from reflectively setting up a distinctness
between the present state and former states. This does not mean being
wholly absorbed in the passing sensation or idea, nor forgetting former
states; but it means organizing them instead of juxtapositing them;
they become like the notes of a melody, which, though they succeed each
other, are apperceived in each other; they interpenetrate like the
parts of a living being. Succession, then, can be conceived without
distinctness, as a mutual penetration, a solidarity, an intimate
organization of elements each of which, representative of the whole,
is distinguished and isolated therefrom only for a thought capable of
abstraction. We introduce the idea of space into our representation of
pure succession; we so juxtaposit our states of consciousness as to
perceive them simultaneously, not in, but beside each other; we project
time upon space, we express duration in terms of extension. Succession
then takes the form of a continuous line or of a chain, whose parts
touch without interpenetration, which implies a simultaneous before
and after instead of a successive--that is, a simultaneous succession,
which is a contradiction.

Now, when the genetic school defines the relations of situation in
space as reversible relations of succession in duration, it represents
succession in duration in this self-contradictory way. You cannot make
out an order among terms without distinguishing the terms and comparing
the _places_ they occupy, without perceiving them, therefore, as
juxtaposited. Then to make out an order in the terms of a succession
is to make the succession a simultaneity. So this attempt to represent
space by means of time presupposes the representation of space. Of
space in three dimensions, moreover; for the representation of two
dimensions--that is, of a line--implies that of three dimensions: to
perceive a line is to place oneself outside it and account for the void
surrounding it.

Pure duration is nothing but a succession of qualitative changes
fusing, interpenetrating, without outlines or tendency to externality
by interrelation, without any kinship with number. Pure duration is
pure heterogeneity.

No time that can be measured is duration, for heterogeneity is not
quantity, not measurable. When we measure a minute we represent a
quantity and _ipso facto_ exclude a succession. We represent sixty
oscillations of a pendulum, for instance, all together, in one
apperception, as we represent sixty points of a line. Now, to represent
each of these oscillations in succession, just as it is produced
in space, no recollection of a preceding oscillation can enter the
representation of any one, for space has kept no trace of it. One is
confined to the present, and there is no more succession, or duration,
in such a representation than in that of the group as a whole. A third
way of representing these oscillations is conceivable. Like the first,
it involves retention of preceding oscillations; but, unlike the first,
it retains preceding oscillations _in_ succeeding ones, instead of
alongside of them; they interpenetrate and interorganize, as was just
said, like the notes of a melody. Like the conceptual representation,
the intuitional involves a multiplicity. A conceptual multiplicity
is distinct, homogeneous, quantitative, numerical; an intuitive
multiplicity is indistinct, heterogeneous, qualitative, without analogy
with number. Now, it is the latter that characterizes reality; and the
multiplicity that we represent conceptually is only a symbol of the
reality known to intuition.

Oscillations of a pendulum measure nothing; they count simultaneities.
Outside of me, in space, there is only a single position of the
pendulum; of past positions none remains. Because my duration is an
organization and interpenetration of facts, I represent what I call
“past” oscillations of the pendulum at the same time that I perceive
the actual oscillation. Eliminate the ego, and there is only a single
position of the pendulum, and no duration. Eliminate the pendulum, and
there is only the heterogeneous duration of the ego. Within the ego is
succession without simultaneity or reciprocal externality: without the
ego, reciprocal externality without succession, which can exist only
for a conscious spectator who remembers the past, and juxtaposits the
symbols of the two oscillations in an auxiliary space.

Now, between this succession without externality and this externality
without succession a kind of endosmotic commerce goes on. Although the
successive phases of our conscious life interpenetrate, some of them
correspond to simultaneous oscillations of the pendulum; and since
each oscillation is distinct--that is, one is no more when another is
produced--we come to make the same distinctness between the successive
moments of our conscious life. The oscillations of the pendulum
decompose it, as it were, into mutually external parts: hence the
erroneous idea of an internal homogeneous duration analogous to space,
whose identical moments follow each other without interpenetrating.
On the other hand, the pendular oscillations benefit by the influence
they have exerted on our conscious life. Thanks to the recollection of
their collective whole, which our consciousness has organized, they
are preserved and then aligned; in short, we create a fourth dimension
of space for them, which we call homogeneous time, and which enables
the pendular movement, although produced in a certain spot, to be
juxtaposited with itself indefinitely.

There is a real space, without duration, but in which phenomena appear
and disappear simultaneously with our states of consciousness. There is
a real duration, whose heterogeneous moments interpenetrate, but each
of which can touch a state of the external world contemporaneous with
it, and so be made separate from other movements. From the comparison
of these two realities arises a symbolic representation of duration
drawn from space. The trait common to these two terms, space and
duration, is simultaneity, the intersection of time and space. This
is how duration comes to get the illusory appearance of a homogeneous
medium. But time is not measurable.

Neither is motion, the living symbol of time. Like duration, motion is
heterogeneous and indivisible. But it is universally confused with the
space through which the movable passes. The successive positions of the
movable are in space, but the motion is not in space. Motion is passing
from one position to another, which operation occupies duration and has
reality only for a conscious spectator. Things occupy space; processes
occupy duration, because they are mental syntheses and are unextended.

The synthesis which is motion is obviously not a new deploying in
another homogeneous medium, of the same positions that have been
perceived in space; for if it were such an act, the necessity for
resynthesis would be indefinitely repeated. The synthesis which is
motion is a qualitative synthesis, a gradual organization of our
successive sensations with each other, a unity analogous to that of
a melodic phrase. The space traversed is a quantity, indefinitely
divisible; the act by which space is traversed is a quality, and
indivisible. Again that endosmotic exchange takes place, as between
the melodically organized perception of the series of the pendulum’s
motions and its distinct objective presence at each instant. That is,
we attribute to the motion the divisibility of the space traversed;
and we project the act upon space, implying that outside as well as
inside of consciousness the past coexists with the present. In space
are only parts of space. In any point of space where the movable may be
considered, there is only a position. You would search space in vain
for motion.

From the fact that motion cannot be in space, Zeno concluded wrongly
that motion is impossible. But those who try to answer his arguments by
seeking it also in space, find it no more than he. Achilles overtakes
the tortoise because each Achilles step and each tortoise step is not
a space but a duration, whose nature is not addible nor divisible, and
whose production therefore does not presuppose productions of parts
of themselves, _ad infinitum_. Their development is not construction.
They are entire while they are at all, and since the intersections
of their terminal moments with space are not at equal distances,
these intersections will coincide, or their spatial relations will be
inverted, after a certain number of these simultaneities--whether of
Achilles’ steps or of the tortoise’s--with points of the road have been
counted; in other words, Achilles will have overtaken or outrun the
tortoise after a certain number of steps.

To measure the velocity of a motion is simply to find a simultaneity;
to introduce this simultaneity into calculation is to use a convenient
means of foreseeing a simultaneity. Just as in duration there is
nothing homogeneous except what does not lapse, to wit space in which
simultaneities are aligned, so the homogeneous element of motion is
that which least pertains to it, to wit the space traversed, which is

Science can work on time and motion only on condition of first
eliminating the essential and qualitative element, duration from time,
mobility from motion. Treatises on mechanics never define duration
itself, but call two intervals of time equal when two identical bodies
in circumstances identical at the commencement of each of these
intervals, and subjected to identical actions and influences of every
kind, have traversed the same space at the end of these intervals.
There is no question, in science, of duration, but only of space and of
simultaneities between outer change and certain of our psychic states.
That duration does not enter into natural science is seen in the
fact that if all the motions of the universe were quicker or slower,
then, whereas consciousness would have an indefinable and qualitative
intuition of this change, no scientific formulæ would be modified,
since the same number of simultaneities would be produced again in

Analysis of the idea of velocity proves that mechanics has nothing
to do with duration. If, on a trajectory AB, points M, N, P ... such
that AM = MN = NP ... are reached at equal intervals of time, as
defined above, and AM etc. are smaller than any assignable quantity,
the motion is said to be uniform. The velocity of a uniform motion is
therefore defined without appeal to notions other than those of space
and simultaneity. By a somewhat complicated demonstration[106] the
same is shown to be true of the velocity of varying motion. Mechanics
necessarily works with equations, and equations always express
accomplished facts. It is of the essence of duration and motion to
be in formation, so that while mathematics can express any moment of
duration or any position taken by a movable in space, duration and
motion themselves, being mental syntheses and not things, necessarily
remain outside the calculation. The movable occupies the points
of a line in turn, but the motion has nothing in common with this
line. The positions occupied by the movable vary with the different
moments of duration; indeed, the movable creates distinct moments
merely by the fact that it occupies different positions; but duration
has no identical nor mutually external moments, being essentially
heterogeneous and indistinct.

Only space, then, is homogeneous; only things in space are distinctly
multiple. There is no succession in space. So-called “successive”
states of the outer world exist each alone. Their multiplicity is
real only for a consciousness capable of preserving it and then
juxtapositing it with others, thus externalizing them by interrelation.
They are preserved by consciousness because they give rise to facts of
consciousness which connect past and present by their interpenetrating
organization. But one ceases when another appears, and so consciousness
perceives them in the form of a distinct multiplicity, which amounts to
aligning them in the space where each existed separately. Space used in
this way is just what is meant by homogeneous time.

The spatial and the temporal kind of multiplicity are just as different
as space and the real time that lapses. Spatial multiplicity is always
substituted for the temporal kind, in discourse; their distinction
cannot be expressed in language, because language is a product of
space so that terms are inevitably spatial. Even to speak of “several”
conscious states interpenetrating is to characterize them numerically,
and so interrelate and mutually externalize or spatialize them.[107]
On the other hand, we cannot form the idea of a distinct multiplicity
without considering, parallel to it, a qualitative multiplicity. Even
in counting units on a homogeneous background, they organize in a
dynamic, qualitative way. That is the psychological explanation of the
effect of a “marked-down” price. The figures $4.98 have a quality of
their own, or rather the price has, that is quite inexpressible by the
formula “$5 minus 2¢.” _Quantity has its quality._

In a succession of identical terms, then, each term has two aspects,
spatial and temporal, objective and subjective, one always identical
with itself, the other specific because of the unique quality its
addition gives the collective whole of the series. Now, motion is
just such a “qualifying,” the subjective aspect of what, objectively,
is a succession of identical terms, to wit the movable in successive
positions. It is always the same movable, but in the synthesis, the
images of it that memory calls earlier interpenetrate with the actual
image; the synthesis, the interpenetration, is motion. Motion is real,
and absolute; it is subjective, however, not objective. To represent
motion is to objectify it. That is what Zeno did, and what everyone
must do for _practical_ purposes. But Zeno’s purpose was speculative,
and that, Professor Bergson thinks, is fatally different. When you
objectify motion you deny it, for its essence is subjective. Strictly
speaking, Zeno was right in finding motion _unthinkable_; he was wrong
only in supposing that what is unthinkable is _ipso facto_ impossible.

Evidently, the ego has these two aspects. The ego touches the external
world; and its sensations, though fused in each other, retain something
of the reciprocal externality which objectively characterizes their
causes. Now, in dreaming, the ego does not touch the external world,
and, in dreaming, time is not homogeneous; we do not measure time,
in dreams, but only feel it. For sleep retards the play of organic
functions and modifies the surface of communication between the ego
and external things. But we need not sleep, to be thus withdrawn from
environment. As I compose this train of thought, the hour strikes.
When I notice the striking, I know some strokes have sounded which
I did not notice. I know even their number, four. I know it by
filling out the “melody,” as it were, of which I am now conscious. I
found the “four” in a way that was not counting, at all. The number
of strokes has its quality, and anything but four fails to suit,
differs in quality. A counted four and a felt four are absolutely
different forms of multiplicity, and each is multiplicity. Under the
ego of clearly-defined and countable states is the real ego which
it symbolizes, in which succession implies fusion and organization.
The states of this real ego language cannot seize, for that were to
objectify it and fix its mobility. In giving these states the form of
those of the symbolic ego, language makes them fall into the common
domain of space, where they straightway become common and impersonal.
This common and impersonal ego is the social and practical ego; this is
the ego that uses language.

To language is due the illusion that qualities are permanent. But
objects change by mere familiarity. We dislike, in manhood, smells
and tastes which we call the same as those we liked in childhood. But
they are not the same. It is only their causes that remain the same.
The interpenetrating elements of conscious states are already deformed
the moment a numerical multiplicity is discovered in the confused
mass. Just now it had a subtle and unique coloration borrowed from its
organization in developing life; here it is decolored and ready to
receive a name.

This is the error of the associationistic school. Psychology cannot
reason concerning facts _being_ accomplished, as it may concerning
_accomplished_ facts. The accomplishing of a fact can in no wise enter
into discourse. It is unthinkable in precisely the same way as motion;
or rather, it is the same case. Psychology cannot present the living
ego as an association of terms mutually distinct and juxtaposited in a
homogeneous medium.[108] And association is just conceptualism applied
to psychology. Its problems of personality have to be absurdly stated,
in order to be stated at all. The terms of such problems deny what the
problem posits, merely by being terms or names; they name the unnamable
and define the indefinable. The solution is to cease thinking spatially
of that which is temporal, to take the other attitude.[109] Or, the
author says here, using merely a different phrase, the solution is to
substitute the real and concrete ego for its symbolic representation.

       *       *       *       *       *

This second chapter of _Time and Free Will_ undertakes to show that the
successiveness of conscious states makes them uncountable. Simultaneity
is indispensable to distinctness, and so to number. One can count
the spatialized symbols of conscious states because these are not
successive, but simultaneous.

Psychic multiplicity is non-numerical in the same sense and for the
same reason that psychic intensity is non-quantitative, namely that
it is pure heterogeneity and temporality. In the foregoing report, I
have sometimes mitigated the baldness of the paradox as it is stated by
Bergson, by substituting the term “variousness” for “multiplicity,” in
speaking of psychic facts. After all, it was a thankless subterfuge--an
impertinence, perhaps, since Bergson himself is frank enough to insist
that psychic multiplicity is as genuine multiplicity as the spatial
and material sort. The difference is that the former is indistinct
and the latter distinct. But this difference is abysmal--indeed, it is
absolute. All the power of Bergson’s forceful style is concentrated on
it. The point is turned and re-turned in every variety of expression.
At the same time, the common _multiplicity_ belonging in both
conceptions is emphasized as much as their difference. The thesis thus
reduces to this, that two varieties of the same genus are “absolutely
different;” for we are explicitly advised, on one hand, that there is a
multiplicity which is distinct, and a multiplicity which is indistinct;
each is multiplicity. And, on the other hand, one is numerical and the
other “_has no analogy with number_.”

In view of the superior qualities of the mind that is guilty of this
unreasonableness, the conviction of sincerity which it carries tortures
the conscientious critic. One cannot approve of the intolerant scorn
of a certain book, in which Bergson’s arguments are vilified as vain
display, mere word-play; but patience is overtaxed in finding one’s way
through the plausibility of this chapter. The thesis, certainly, may be
dismissed from any consideration whatever. Because of it, one knows in
advance, beyond peradventure, that there is no validity in any argument
in its defense. Yet, in spite of all, the chapter challenges study; and
thorough study of it cannot fail to put the truth in clearer light,
just because its error is so plausible.

Counting is synthesis, the argument goes; but a synthesized succession
is not a succession, it is a simultaneity. And simultaneity presupposes
spatial determination in the coexistent elements. From Bergson’s
point of view, it is a radical error, however universal an error, to
regard the relation of simultaneity as a temporal determination. In
fact, there is no such thing as a temporal determination; and every
determination, for Bergson, not only is not temporal, but is spatial.
Like the argument about non-quantitative intensity, this argument
for non-plural multiplicity (save the mark!) turns on the equation
of homogeneity with space. But the present argument involves its own
peculiar fallacy, as well, namely the fallacy which Professor Perry
describes[110] as confusion of a relation symbolized with the relation
between symbols. “It is commonly supposed,” Perry writes, “that when
a complex is represented by a formula, the elements of the complex
must have the same relation as that which subsists between the parts
of the formula; whereas, as a matter of fact, _the formula as a whole_
represents or describes a complex other than itself. If I describe
_a_ as ‘to the right of _b_,’ does any difficulty arise because in my
formula _a_ is to the left of _b_? If I speak of _a_ as greater than
_b_, am I to assume that because my symbols are outside one another
that _a_ and _b_ must be outside one another? Such a supposition would
imply a most naïve acceptance of that very ‘copy theory’ of knowledge
which pragmatism has so severely condemned. And yet such a supposition
seems everywhere to underlie the anti-intellectualist’s polemic. The
intellect is described as substituting for the interpenetration of the
real terms [in an “indistinct” psychic multiplicity] the juxtaposition
of their symbols; as though analysis discovered terms, and then
_conferred_ relations of its own ... Terms are found _in_ relation,
and may be thus described without any more artificiality, without any
more imposing of the forms of the mind on its subject-matter, than is
involved in the bare mention of a single term.

“... one may mean continuity despite the fact that the symbols and
words are discrete. The word ‘blue’ may mean blue, although the word
is not blue. Similarly, continuity may be an arrangement meant by a
discontinuous arrangement of words and symbols.”

So of the simultaneity or coexistence among the conceptual symbols
by which successive psychic states are counted: there is nothing in
such a relation among the symbols to falsify the process of counting
as a cognitive process whose meaning is a non-simultaneous relation
among the psychic facts symbolized. As was noted above,[111] the
quantitative determination of psychic facts depends solely on an aspect
of homogeneity essential to such facts, for which aspect no better
evidence is possible than that other aspect which Bergson attributes to
them, of heterogeneity; for the two conceptions, instead of excluding
each other, imply each other absolutely. All that is necessary, in
order that psychic facts should be countable, is that they should
possess an aspect of homogeneity. And for this, spatiality is
unnecessary; for spatiality is a conception distinct from homogeneity.

Bergson’s identification of homogeneity with spatiality is a case of
what Professor Perry calls “definition by initial predication.”[112]
Space is homogeneous; therefore homogeneity is space. As if the fact
that homogeneity is a character of space were anything against its
being a character also of time or anything else. The following is the
justification offered by Bergson for identifying homogeneity with
space: “If space is to be defined as the homogeneous, it seems that
inversely every homogeneous and unbounded medium will be space. For,
homogeneity here consisting in the absence of every quality, it is hard
to see how two forms of the homogeneous could be distinguished from one
another.”[113] The first clause begs the question by defining space
as “the” homogeneous. Such identification of space and homogeneity
is the point to be proved. The second sentence begs the question
again, where homogeneity is supposed “here” (_i. e._ in the case of
space) to consist in the absence of every quality. Moreover, as we
have noted above (p. 43), space possesses a very determinate quality,
direction, which differentiates it from other homogeneity. Finally,
it can be true that homogeneity is absence of quality only on the
Bergsonian assumptions that quality is exclusively subjective, that
homogeneity is exclusively objective, and that only the subjective
is positive. Now, if quality is not objective, judgments cannot be
made concerning it; but Bergson is constantly making such judgments.
And to distinguish, in point of homogeneity or of positivity, between
“the subjective” and “the objective” is to reify two equally abstract
aspects of positive reality. The quality of the homogeneous is
doubtless _simple_, and so indefinable. But Bergson nowhere shows how
the homogeneous is less positive than the heterogeneous, although the
thesis is the sum and substance of his philosophy. Lacking further
light on the point, one can only invoke such experiences as the simple
colors, for instance,--or, for that matter, any simple quality--for
cases of reality as positive as any heterogeneity, and, obviously, no
less qualified. And nothing seems easier than the distinction between
redness, for instance, and spatiality. Bergson’s whole dialectic
rests on reification of such correlative abstractions as homogeneity
and heterogeneity, quality and relation etc. in a “purity” which not
only is not concretely experienced, but is not even capable of being
conceived, because each concept drags the other ineluctably into its
own definition. If either space or homogeneity were indeed absence
of quality, they could not be distinguished from time, nor from
heterogeneity, nor from anything else; in short, they could not be
conceived at all.

The present essay aims to report Bergson’s own work with a fair
degree of fulness; but it is beyond my plan to follow exposition
with criticism point by point in the details, even, in some cases,
when these are of important and wide implication. For discussion of
Bergson’s contention (based on analysis of the idea of velocity,
as outlined above) that mechanics has nothing to do with time, the
reader is referred to pages 255-61 of Perry’s _Present Philosophical
Tendencies_. Perry shows, in this passage, that such a contention,
again, depends on “confusing the symbol with what it means. To one who
falls into this confusion, it may appear that an equation cannot refer
to time because the structure of the equation itself is not temporal;
because the symbols are simultaneously present in the equation. But if
_t_ is one of the terms of the equation, and _t_ _means_ time, then
the equation means a temporal process. Furthermore, an equation may
define a relation, such as =, <, or >, between temporal quantities,
in which case the full meaning of the equation is still temporal. For
changes, events, or even pure intervals, may stand in non-temporal
relations, such as those above, without its in the least vitiating
their temporality.”

Bergson’s solution of Zeno’s paradoxes is another detail of this
chapter which is of a good deal of interest; but it applies no new
principle to the support of the impossibility of counting psychic
facts. Without a clearer conception of the commerce or intersection
between time and space, which he characterizes only by the name
of “simultaneity,” his reply to Zeno leaves the question of the
divisibility of time as problematic as ever. Achilles out-strips the
tortoise, he says, “because each of Achilles’ steps and each of the
tortoise’s steps are indivisible acts in so far as they are movements,
and are different magnitudes in so far as they are space.”[114] They
are indivisible in the same sense in which a living organism is
indivisible: if you divide them, no division _is_ a part of that which
_was_. But the trouble is that they _are divisible_ also in the same
sense in which the organism is divisible. It is the most extravagant
of assumptions that analysis of a living body into right and left
etc.--which, to be sure, is serviceable to activity upon it--is,
because of its service to action, not a character of the object itself.
And of motion the same sort of analysis is a patent fact of experience:
there is an earlier, middle and latter phase. The possibility of this
patent fact is the crux of the problem. No extant answer to Zeno is
satisfactory to everybody. I shall refer the reader to Professor
Fullerton’s treatment of the paradoxes, in Chapter XI of his _System of
Metaphysics_, as the solution which seems to me to be at the same time
the most closely related of any that I know, to Bergson’s, and free of
Bergson’s error. Bergson’s solution has at least this element of truth,
that Zeno confuses the space traversed with something else concerned
in every case of motion. Fullerton makes a distinction between any
actual experience of space or time, and the possibility of indefinitely
magnified substitutes for such experience; and shows a way in which
motion can be relegated to the former (“apparent” space) and denied to
the latter (“real” space) without either denying reality to motion or
infinite divisibility to real space and time.

Bergson’s differentiation of temporal succession from spatial seriality
gets all its cogency from an exclusive attention, when consciousness is
concerned, to the aspects of heterogeneity (quality) and compenetration
(continuity) which consciousness shows; and, when space is concerned,
to _its_ aspects of homogeneity (quantity) and juxtaposition of parts
(discreteness). As always, with correlative abstractions, Bergson
reifies them: they exclude each other, for him, whereas, in truth, they
imply each other, entering into each other’s definition so that each is
unthinkable except by means of the other. Time is continuous, Bergson
insists rightly; but jumps to the conclusion that therefore time is not
discrete. Time is heterogeneous, therefore not homogeneous. Space is
discrete (its parts spread out), therefore not continuous; homogeneous,
therefore not heterogeneous. If any demonstration is necessary that
these terms do imply each other, instead of excluding each other, the
case of heterogeneity and homogeneity is only the case of resemblance
and difference (cf. page 44). In regard to the heterogeneity of space,
its differentiation by way of direction must not be forgotten. As for
the other pair of terms, continuity can manifest itself only _in
extenso_, and discreteness requires a separating _medium_.

Wherever Bergson objects to expressing time in terms of space, the
real objection is to the expression of time in terms of homogeneity.
This he would not only admit, but insist upon. But his demonstration
that homogeneity is a character exclusively spatial is a _petitio
principii_.[115] Of the attempt to measure a minute, he writes as
follows: “I say, _e. g._, that a minute has just elapsed, and I mean
by this that a pendulum, beating the seconds, has completed sixty
oscillations. If I picture these sixty oscillations to myself all
at once, by a single mental perception, I exclude by hypothesis the
idea of a succession. I do not think of sixty strokes which succeed
one another, but of sixty points on a fixed line, each one of which
symbolizes, so to speak, an oscillation of the pendulum. If, on the
other hand, I wish to picture these sixty oscillations in succession,
but without altering the way they are produced in space, I shall
be compelled to think of each oscillation to the exclusion of the
recollection of the preceding one, for space has preserved no trace
of it; but by doing so I shall condemn myself to remain forever in
the present; I shall give up the attempt to think a succession or a

Notwithstanding his acuteness as a psychologist, Bergson misses the
nature of the apperception both of sixty points on a line and of
sixty oscillations of a pendulum. And the impossibility of counting
psychic facts depends on this misapprehension. He misses the fact that
an apperception of sixty points on a line includes, as an essential
feature, the _serial_ order, the here-and-there determination (a
distinctive qualitative determination) of this spatial fact. And
he misses the fact that an apperception of a non-spatial rhythm
includes, as an essential feature, the successive _order_, the
earlier-and-later determination, of this psychic fact. Now, seriality
is not succession, if you like, except in so far as each is order.
But this is no more than to say that the two orders, time and space,
are distinguishable--are two, in fact. It is not the slightest
obstruction to conceiving each as order, and as numerically determined.
For there is no evidence except Bergson’s fundamental fallacy of
“definition by initial predication,” to show why homogeneity and
order, as such, are exclusively spatial. The discreteness of parts
of space is thinkable only by the intervening spaces: space is as
continuous (as “compenetrative”) as time.[116] On the other hand, the
compenetration of time is not only nothing _against_ its divisibility,
but divisibility and compenetration (in the only rigorous meaning the
word will bear, that is, continuity) are indispensable to each other,
inverse aspects of each other. You can divide _only_ what is connected,
as you can connect only what is distinct. Time, then, is as discrete as

For every instance of temporal “compenetration,” and “solidarity,”
its perfect spatial analogue is plain to the inspection of anyone who
will only look that way, to anyone whose attention is not hypnotized
by an ulterior purpose to its exclusion.[117] Thus the melodic phrase
is present in each of its parts as much as, and no more than, the
mosaic figure is present in each of its parts. The “felt four” of the
clock strokes is felt as four not otherwise, I think, than a four
which might figure in the pattern of a frieze. The same limitations,
moreover, apply to such felt multiplicity, whether of rhythm or of
pattern. It must be a relatively simple complex, to be apperceived, in
either case. You could not feel fifty, and the difficulty is the same
difficulty in time as in space. One measures a minute or a century just
as one measures an inch or the distance from the earth to the sun: the
indispensable condition is the continuity and homogeneity which belong
to both quantities.

The proposition that oscillations of a pendulum measure nothing, but
count simultaneities apparently means that oscillations, as physical
facts, have no duration of their own, and so cannot overlie duration
as a unit of measurement. This would at least be an intelligible,
even if a false, representation; but, if oscillations cannot measure,
how can they count? What is just that difference between counting and
measuring, by virtue of which that which can count cannot measure?
Simultaneity Bergson defines as the intersection of space and time.
Now, counting, as well as measuring, implies a continuum. Measuring,
certainly, if it is theoretically perfect, can apply only to a
continuum; but counting, which obviously presupposes discreteness,
then requires also the indispensable condition and correlative of
discreteness, which is continuity. The intersection of space and time
thus evidently involves equal continuity and discreteness in both; if
they can intersect, and their intersections are countable, each is
both countable and measurable. The “purely” temporal phenomena of our
conscious life, although interpenetrating, “correspond individually”
to an oscillation of the pendulum, which, though a “purely” spatial
phenomenon, “occurs at the same time with” the former. Such “endosmotic
commerce” between psychical and physical events seems to be decisive
for a real community of nature between their respective forms, time and
space--such, for instance, as common homogeneity and continuity.



Bergson regards knowledge of oneself as the optimal case of knowing;
oneself, he thinks, is the sample of reality which best serves for an
acquaintance with the nature of reality in general. “The existence of
which we are most assured and which we know best is unquestionably our
own, for of every other object we have notions which may be considered
external and superficial, whereas, of ourselves, our perception is
internal and profound.”[118] It is this perfect or optimal relation
of identity or inwardness--which one bears to oneself--that is the
condition of true (_i. e._ intuitive) knowledge. And in this case we
find existence to be a perpetual flow of transition. That we think
of our states as distinct from each other is due to the fact that
reflection on one’s own existence is, unlike the flow of that existence
itself, necessarily discontinuous. It is only now and then that motives
arise which turn the attention to the self as an object, like others,
for examination. The flow of change is not uniform, to be sure. It
is quite imperceptible to our reflective attention most of the time,
but if it ever ceased, we should at that moment cease to exist. Only
the relatively sudden and interesting periods of transition get our
attention. Then we see a new “state of consciousness” which we add to
the others that we have mentally strung together in a temporal line. So
we conceive of our history as the sum of elements as distinct as beads
on a string.

This intellectualistic view of the self eliminates the peculiar
characteristic of its reality, namely, its duration, or the flow
of its change, like a snowball, accumulating its substance as it
rolls, duration goes on preserving itself in incessant change that
accumulates all its past. Time, Bergson says, is the very stuff the
psychological life is made of. “There is, moreover, no stuff more
resistant nor more substantial.”[119]

Life and inertia or matter are two antagonistic principles or
tendencies. Life is the positive and active principle; reality and
duration are predicable only of life. Matter is an “inversion”
or “interruption” of life; its value is negative to life and to
reality. “All that which seems _positive_ to the physicist and to the
geometrician would become, from this new point of view, an interruption
or inversion of true positivity, which would have to be defined in
psychological terms.”[120] Matter is a determination of reality in
much the same sense as that in which the reality of the Platonic idea
suffers diminution under the influence of the principle of not-being,
resulting in a world of sensible experience or of appearance. Bergson
points out that the real in Plato is the timeless, motionless, definite
idea, and the relatively unreal is the ever-changing “infinite” or
indefinable datum of experience, to which duration is essential.
Bergson reverses the Platonic metaphysics: reality is the ever-changing
and indefinable; rather, it is change itself. “There are no things,
there are only actions.” “... things and states are only views,
taken by our mind, of becoming.”[121] The principle antagonistic to
reality gives rise to the timeless, definite concept, which is a view
or appearance of reality operated by intelligence in the service of
action. As our practical interests break up the continuum of time
into discrete states, so they break up the continuum of matter into
distinct bodies. The active antagonism of time, which is pure quality
or heterogeneity, and space, which is pure quantity or homogeneity,
results in the world of our experience, comprising “states” of
consciousness and things or objects.

The relation between life and matter in the evolution of the world,
Bergson represents by the figure of a generation of steam in a
boiler.[122] Life, the positive principle, streams or flows, like the
steam, by the force which is its very nature. In its course, this vital
impetus is checked, as a jet of steam is checked, by its condensation,
and falls back upon itself in drops, retarding, but not annihilating,
the flow. But we are warned that the figure must be corrected in that
the interruption or inversion of the impetus is due to a principle
inherent in the impetus itself, not to an external determination. If
there were such an external principle, the two would seem coördinate in
reality, but the reality of matter is as the reality of _rest_, which,
as the negation of motion, is nothing positive, yet is not a mere

Sometimes, in reading Bergson, it seems very clear that reality and
matter must exclude each other, since one is the negation of the
other; and perception and conception, whose object is matter, are not
knowledge, because that object is unreal. Moreover, not only is the
stuff of reality that _psychic process_ which is life and lapsing time,
but there is no stuff more resistant nor more substantial. And in
numerous other ways the mutual exclusion of reality and matter seems
quite fundamental to Bergsonism. One can never remain long in any
security about this, however. If Bergsonism is Platonism reversed, it
is natural that the peculiarities of the latter should reappear in some
form. Platonic not-being is much too important and too active to be
denied a coequal positivity with being. Over and above these “worlds,”
moreover, there is that one in which we live, with a third status.
Perhaps it is this which is most like Bergsonian matter--“nothing
positive, yet not a mere naught”! In the letter from which I have
already quoted, Monsieur Bergson wrote me, concerning a previous paper
of mine:[123] “You give me the choice between ‘yes’ and ‘no,’ whereas
I cannot respond with either, but must mix them. In each particular
case, the ‘yes’ and ‘no’ have to be apportioned, and this is just why
the philosophy I adhere to is susceptible of improvement and progress.
For instance, you find that my premises lead to this conclusion:
‘Matter has no duration; but duration is synonymous with reality;
therefore matter is not real.’ But, to my mind, matter has exactly the
same reality as rest, which exists only as negation of motion, yet
is something other than absolute nothingness. All that is positive
in my ‘vital impetus’ is motion; stoppage of this motion constitutes
materiality; the latter, therefore, is nothing positive, yet not a mere
naught, absolute nothingness being no more stoppage than motion.”

If one seek (it is not to be found, I think, in Bergson’s writings)
an explanation of this abatement or diminution of the _élan vital_,
this tendency toward rest, the problem turns into the very ancient
problem of the polarity of being in subject and object. In Platonism,
matter arises as product of an eternal antagonism between two coeval
principles, the Idea and Not-being. Not-being is thus something
efficient, something that is capable of entering as a factor, together
with the Idea, into a product, the Sensible Object. The truth is,
therefore, that Not-being is something very real: it _is_ something
because it _does_ something. It is as real as the Idea, because it is
as efficient as the Idea. And in the Bergsonian creative evolution
there often seems just such an antagonism as this, between two
coördinate, efficient, and therefore real principles. Thus: “The
impetus of life ... is confronted with matter, that is to say, with
the movement that is the inverse of its own.”[124] And: “Life as a
whole ... will appear as a wave which rises, and which is opposed
by the descending movement of matter.”[125] But, as with Plato, so
with Bergson, dubbing the hated principle “Not-being” or “Negation
of Positive Reality” hardly avails against the soundness of its
claim to positivity. And the case is not different if the “_élan
vital_” is a self-limited absolute instead of an eternal dualism: the
philosopher’s selection of one of the two coefficients or poles of
this self-polarized absolute, rather than the other, to be snubbed, is
arbitrary, instinctive, personal. With Plato it is one, with Bergson
the other; no logical principle determines it, in either case.

On no other point, I believe, is criticism of Bergson so clamorous
or so unanimous as on his conception of matter. Without doubt, his
conception of matter is obscure. Time and space (terms equivalent for
Bergson, to life and matter) being essentially antagonistic, must
_essentially imply_ each other; and if so, do they not stand in the
same rank as real existences? In what sense, then, is either real
and the other unreal, except by an arbitrary decree? The ontological
obscurity has its corresponding epistemological obscurity as to the
cognitive status of knowledge of matter, which is the crux of Bergson’s
philosophy. Instinct is suited to life and duration; intelligence, to
matter and space. Science says many things about time, but affords no
acquaintance with time itself. The duration of the unit of time is a
matter of indifference to the meaning and value of any scientific
formula.[126] For example, if this unit were made infinity, and
the physical process represented by the formula were thus regarded
as infinitely quick, _i. e._ an instantaneous, timeless fact, the
instantaneity of the fact would be irrelevant to any truth expressed
by the formula. The only truth the formula expresses is a system of
relations, which remains the same for any unit of time. Science knows
no past or future, nothing but an incessantly renewed instantaneous
present, without substance. The conclusions of science are given in the
premises, mathematically; the world of science is a strict determinism.
In the real world of consciousness, on the other hand,--knowledge of
which can only be acquaintance with it--the future is essentially
contingent and unforseeable, for each new phase is an absolute
creation, into which the whole past is incorporated without determining

       *       *       *       *       *

The active principle of life Bergson describes by the phrase _tendency
to create_. Its movement is a creative evolution. Life flows, or, as
we have said, rolls on like a snowball, in an unceasing production of
new forms, each of which retains, while it modifies and adds to, all
its previous forms. But the figure of the snowball soon fails. One of
the most significant facts of the creative evolution of life is the
division of its primitive path into divergent paths. The primitive
_élan_ contains elementary virtualities of tendency which can abide
together only up to a certain stage of their development. It is of the
nature of a tendency to break up in divergent elementary tendencies,
as a fountain-jet sprays out. As the primitive tendency develops,
elements contained in it which were mutually compatible in one and the
same primitive organism, being still in an undeveloped stage, become
incompatible as they grow. Hence the indefinite bifurcation of the
forms of life into realms, phyla, genera, species, individuals. It is a
cardinal error, Bergson thinks, to regard vegetative, instinctive and
intellectual life, in the Aristotelian manner, as successive stages in
one and the same line of development. They represent three radically
different lines of evolution, not three stages along the same line.

A tendency common to all life is to store the constantly diffused
solar energy in reservoirs where its equilibrium is unstable. This
tendency, of alimentation, is complementary to the tendency to resolve
equilibrium of potential energy by sudden, explosive release of energy
in actions. As the primitive organism developed (undoubtedly an
ambiguous form, partaking of the characters of both the animal and the
vegetable) these two tendencies became mutually incompatible in one and
the same form of life. Those forms which became vegetables owe their
differentiation from ancestral forms to a preponderant leaning toward
the manufacture of the explosive, as the animal owes its animality to a
leaning toward the release of energy in sudden and intermittent actions.

The vegetable, drawing its nourishment wherever it may find it, from
the ground and from the air, has no need of locomotion. The animal,
dependent on the vegetable or on other animals for food, must go where
it may be found. The animal must move. Now, consciousness emerges _pari
passu_ with the ability to act, and torpor is characteristic of fixity.
The humblest organism is conscious to the extent to which it can act
freely. Actions may be effective either by virtue of an excellence
in the use of instruments of action or by virtue of an excellence in
adapting the instrument to the need. Action may thus assume either
of two very different characters, the one instinctive, self-adaptive
reaction, the other intelligent manufacture. The two tendencies have
bifurcated within the animal realm. One path reaches its present
culmination in certain hymenoptera (_e. g._ ants, bees, wasps), the
other in man.

Thus the development of instinct in man has become subordinate; human
consciousness is dominated by intelligence. Hence the universality
of the vice of intellectualism in philosophy. Man, because he is
dominated by intelligence, supposes intelligence to be coextensive with
consciousness, whereas it is only one of the elementary tendencies
which consciousness comprises, and the one which is impotent to know
the flow of reality. Spencer’s evolutionism affords no acquaintance
with the reality of life. His so-called evolution starts with the
already evolved. Hence all it reaches is the made, the once-for-all,
the timeless. It is merely a biological theory, and no advance over
positive science. It is not a philosophy.

Having shown the origin of intelligence in the more extensive principle
of life, and limited its sphere of operation to inert matter, the
author turns to the nature of instinct. The greater part of the
psychic life of living beings that are characteristically instinctive
Bergson believes to be states which he describes as knowledge in which
there is no representation.[127] “Representation is stopped up by
action.”[128] A purely instinctive action would be indistinguishable
from a mere vital process. When the chick, for example, breaks the
shell, it seems merely to keep up the motion that has carried it
through the embryonic life. But neither instinct nor intelligence is
ever pure, and we have in ourselves a vague experience of what must
happen in the consciousness of an animal acting by instinct. We have
this experience in phenomena of feeling, in unreflecting sympathies
and antipathies. “Instinct is sympathy. If this sympathy could extend
its object and also reflect upon itself, it would give us the key
to vital operations.... Intuition, to wit, instinct that has become
disinterested, self-conscious, capable of reflecting upon its object
and of enlarging it indefinitely, leads us into the very inwardness of
life ... It is true that this æsthetic intuition ... attains only the
individual, but we can conceive an inquiry turned in the same direction
as art, which would take life _in general_ for its object.”[129]

       *       *       *       *       *

In _Matter and Memory_, mind is represented as varying, in its states,
between two limits, “pure perception,” which is just action, and
“dreaming.” The limit of action is where the rôle of mind ceases, the
vanishing-point of knowledge. But at the other limit, dreaming, mind
is in full swing, having freed itself, by an inner tension, from the
obstructive influence of body. Far from vanishing at this limit, as at
the other, knowledge is here at its apogee. It is here “pure.”

It is important for Bergson to recognize an organic connection
(obstructive to mind, as he Platonically conceives) between mind
and body, in order that he may establish the possibility of the
state of “pure perception,” in which mind activity coincides with
bodily activity by a yielding, relaxed concurrence with the latter’s
influence. Mind is here passive; its rôle in the life of the organism
ceases in this state. But it is equally important, for the ontological
independence of mind, that at the “dreaming” pole the tension which
is the very constitution of its knowing should free mind from bodily
influence. This tension, at its ideal limit, must so disconnect the
mind from the body that the former becomes impotent, as Bergson
says, for any efficiency in the physical world. It seems to be, to
all intents and purposes, a disembodied state. Knowledge having then
no possible end in action is clearly its own end. Intellection is a
utility, operating in the world of matter; knowledge is absolute,
self-centered identity of subject and object. Such, I suppose, is God’s
“thought of thought” in Aristotle’s conception.

This fluctuation of the relation between mind and body, from a
connection which is vital to absolute disconnection, is a reappearance
of the ambiguity discussed on pages 66-7. At one moment the world
seems a Platonic dualism; in the next, a self-limited or polarized
absolutism, like Fichte’s or Hegel’s. Whatever the “ideal limit” of
mind’s cognitive “tension” may be conceived to be, there ought to
be no question of more and less, in the matter of disconnectedness,
strictly speaking. We do not understand movement from connection to
disconnection, through intermediate stages, as mind is here represented
to move, in its states of knowledge. First mind must be like a certain
part of matter, so that it can rebound by its “tension” from a certain
other part; and then, as soon as it has rebounded, what would be true
of the thing that could do this must suddenly become untrue of it,
presumably because of the rebound, no other reason being assignable
to account for the ensuing disconnection with matter. One bit of
matter can rebound from another, but it is then as much connected with
_matter_ as before. We do not understand how mind, when it has thus
rebounded from one particular material attachment thereby becomes
materially unattached.

This is nevertheless a suggestive scheme of relation. It seems to me
to be marred with one radical fault: these limits of knowledge are
wrongly related. Their negation of each other should be the opposition
of antipodes, not of contradictories. The difference is the radical
difference between implication and exclusion. They do not exclude each
other, but imply each other. Each vanishes without the other.

In activity, there is externalized motion on one hand and resistance,
or virtual reaction, on the other. Action and reaction are cases of
polarity; they are necessary to each other to give each other form.
In the cognitive subject, reaction that were purely virtual, without
externalizing implication, would be indeterminate dreaming; motion that
were purely externalized, without implication of inner virtuality,
would be indeterminate activity. Now, anything that is indeterminate
or formless simply is not, if being has any significance whatever; for
formless significance is a contradiction; certainly the significance
of anything would constitute a formal aspect of it. “Pure” matter or
quantity is pure nothing, in the sense that it is quantity of nothing.
These “pure” limits thus snuff themselves out. And variation between
them is not a progression from not-being to being or _vice versa_, not
a strengthening or weakening of the variable function’s essence. Such
a notion depends on the absurdity of a not-being that can do things to
being, with fluctuating prepotency in the struggle! Strengthening and
weakening--degree in any guise--has no application to essence. In any
phase, that is, knowledge is itself and nothing else; it cannot be more
or less itself.

That which varies concomitantly with the variations in complexion of
consciousness, is the dynamic relation between subject and object. It
may be expressed as variation of ratio between virtual and real action.
At each pole activity vanishes, and consciousness with it. At one pole,
where the ratio is zero, it vanishes in the direction of “real” or
externalized action, which means that the subject meets no opposing
negativity, and so no object; the relation of activity is extinguished
through lack of one of its terms. At the other pole, where the ratio is
infinity, action vanishes in the direction of “virtuality.” And this
means that in the subject there is no positivity, no subjectivity, to
oppose to universal negativity or objectivity. The result is the same
extinction of the relation through lack of a term. A subject term is
lacking in one case, an object in the other.

Knowledge, for Bergson, corresponds only to the ratio infinity, of
virtual to real action; all other ratios between them are less than
knowledge. To this I object that infinite virtuality is indeterminate
virtuality, which is a naught reached in the opposite way from that
naught which is infinite and indeterminate actuality. Indeterminate
action is nothing, and so is indeterminate knowledge. Identification
of knowledge with any specific value of the ratio of virtual to real
action is not determined by any logical principle. When a function
varies between a positive and a negative pole, neither pole is an
apogee where the function is most itself. On the contrary, as in the
variation of an including angle, each pole is a limiting position in
which the essential nature of the variable is extinguished. Nor is
it most itself midway between the poles, nor at any other privileged
position, for it is absolutely and fully itself, and nothing else,
in every phase. The genuineness of a state of awareness would then
depend also on the genuineness of the reciprocity between the terms
of this dynamic ratio. Where they are not distinct, where subject and
object are identical, awareness vanishes through lack of a quantitative
coefficient, as it vanishes at each pole through lack of a qualitative
coefficient. In other words, knowledge of a thing by itself, like
action of a thing on itself, is a cancelation of terms of opposite
sign, a contradiction, and _the subject and object, whether of action
or of consciousness, are essentially external to each other_.

Bergson is treating consciousness as such as if it could be more or
less conscious, as, indeed, a conscious _subject_ may be. That is, he
is treating consciousness as if it could be of a nature more or less
aware or cognitive; he is treating variations of phase as if they
were augmentations and diminutions of essence; he is treating quality
quantitatively, an error which would not have been possible if he
had adhered to the purely conceptual distinction between quality and
quantity. And he is treating the variations of cognitive complexion
or phase as if they depended on variations in a certain relation (the
mutual externality of subject and object) which is invariable and
absolute--incapable, that is, of degree.

       *       *       *       *       *

“This book,” says the first sentence of _Matter and Memory_, “affirms
the reality of spirit and the reality of matter.” Lower in the same
page, however, it is explained that “Matter, in our view, is an
aggregate of ‘images.’ And by ‘image’ we mean a certain existence which
is more than that which the idealist calls a _representation_, but
less than that which the realist calls a _thing_,--an existence placed
half-way between the ‘thing’ and the ‘representation.’ ... the object
exists in itself, and, on the other hand, the object is, in itself,
pictorial, as we perceive it; image it is, but a self-existing image
(pp. vii, viii).

“... memory ... is just the intersection of mind and matter ... the
psychical state seems to us to be ... immensely wider than the cerebral
state ... our cerebral state contains more or less of our mental state
in the measure that we reel off our psychic life into action or wind it
up into pure knowledge ... our psychic life may be lived at different
heights, now nearer to action, now further removed from it” (pp. xii,
xiii, xiv).

The “intersection of mind and matter” suggests a profound dualism, and
this Bergson acknowledges to be essential to his theory. It is true
that no opportunity is lost, to discount the reality of matter; but the
relations which it sustains to mind are such as can exist only between
terms whose reality is coördinate. Perception is just that biological
reactive function of material organism engaged with material stimulus,
which every psychological text-book proclaims it to be. But the actual
conscious state always has memory in it, as well as perception; or
rather, the state as conscious is nothing but memory; perception
itself, “pure” perception, is action pure and simple, and not cognitive
at all.

This is an abuse of the word “perception,” but the epistemology can
show a good deal of reason. After all, our perceptions (as we call
the states of mind in which we are involved with a material stimulus)
mean something, necessarily. They mean _something_, I insist, the
strangest of them. We sometimes speak otherwise, saying that an object
of perception means nothing to us. But, I submit, this is only a manner
of speaking. A state that meant _nothing_, absolutely, were genuinely
_blank_, empty, contentless; and there is no difference, I take it,
between a state without content and a state that is unconscious. Well,
then, meaning something, as a conscious state must, what does it mean?
Bergson, I am sure, is right in holding that to mean is to recognize,
to recall, to remember. This makes of every concrete perceptive state,
so-called, a rudimentary deduction, a genuine syllogism, a work of
intellect. The major premise is a memory; the minor is an immediate
reactive, sensori-motor datum; the conclusion is the subsumption of
the present datum under the memory. Thus: The experience to which I
attach the name “orange” has such and such characters (remembered major
premise); the present reactive state has these characters (perceptive
datum, minor premise); therefore this state is a case of the orange
experience. The only difficulty is the nature of the process of
subsumption of the present datum with the memory. The present datum in
its purity as present is a reaction merely, an event in the physical
world. Its nature owns nothing psychical. What commerce, then, can it
have with mind? To call its commerce with mind “subsumption” is to give
a label to a problem. To call memory the “intersection” of the physical
world with mind seems another label, of a metaphorical sort, for the
same problem.

But, for the present, let us hear the doctrine. To my thinking, it
is Bergson’s best work, and full of illuminating suggestion. To the
radical dualist, it should be completely satisfactory. As an adherent
of a certain double-aspect conception of the body-mind relation, I
shall eventually propose a correction and completion, very radical,
certainly, but all that is necessary to make Bergson’s treatment of
this problem of the highest interest and value to myself.

The body, then, in Bergson’s theory, yes, the brain itself, is no
producer, repository nor reproducer of any element of consciousness.
The body is a center of reaction, and nothing else. “The size, shape,
even the color, of external objects is modified according as my body
approaches or recedes from them, ... the strength of an odour, the
intensity of a sound, increases or diminishes with distance; finally,
... this very distance represents, above all, the measure in which
surrounding bodies are insured, in some sort, against the immediate
action of my body. In the degree that my horizon widens, the images
which surround me seem to be painted upon a more uniform background
and become to me more indifferent. The more I narrow this horizon, the
more the objects which it circumscribes space themselves out distinctly
according to the greater or less ease with which my body can touch and
move them. They send back, then, to my body, as would a mirror, its
eventual influence; they take rank in an order corresponding to the
growing or decreasing powers of my body. _The objects which surround my
body reflect its possible action upon them._”[130] Cut a sensory nerve,
and the reactive process is destroyed, and with it, perception. “Change
the objects, or modify their relation to my body, and everything
is changed in the interior movements of my perceptive centres. But
everything is also changed in ‘my perception.’ My perception is, then,
a function of these molecular movements; it depends upon them.”[131]
“What then are these movements?... they are, within my body, the
movements intended to prepare, while beginning it, the reaction of
my body to the action of external objects ... they foreshadow at each
successive moment its virtual acts.”[132] It may seem that my reaction
to a body is the same whether I perceive it visually or tactually or
otherwise. But movements externally identical may differ internally;
there is a different organization of the same gross function with
different microscopic functions. The _meaning_ has ultimately an
important sameness, since meaning is a function of biological
adjustment. But different inner organizations are still the explanation
of different ways of perceiving what is, in all biologically important
respects, the same object.

Serious fault has been found[133] with Bergson’s attempt to establish,
by scientific research in the subject of aphasia, the ontological
independence of spirit, the seat of memory, from body. But on other
grounds than such scientific investigation the issue of this attempt
appears to me at best a futile achievement; for the result is in any
case the reinstatement, untouched, of that problem of all radical
dualism, a problem which Bergson solves only by metaphor whose
brilliance may be luminous itself, but has no illumination for the
problem, which is how reactive states are also conscious.

There is a theory which relates consciousness and matter to each each
other as the opposite sides of a surface in relief. The objection to
this “double aspect” theory that has weighed most, in criticism, is
that the ground of the parallelism between convexity and concavity--to
wit, a logical implication of each other--is obviously absent in
the parallelism of consciousness and matter. Whatever parallelism
experience actually finds between them is not deducible from either
concept: there is nothing in the definition of the sensation blue to
suggest an afferent nervous current; nothing in the latter to suggest
a sensation. They are incommensurate. But when you conceive convexity,
in that fact you conceive concavity also, and _vice versa_. They are
related as plus and minus. The objection appeals to analysis of the
definition of consciousness or of matter, or challenges the advocate
of the theory to study his sensation or his neural process and see if
there be in either of them anything of the other.

A difficulty which immediately arises when this challenge is accepted
has been understood to be decisive against the theory. It is this:
Any definition of consciousness which the advocate of the theory may
propose as the concept to be analyzed must, in order to fulfil the
first requirement of logical definition, be in terms of that which is
not consciousness. And this seems to the critic to beg the question.
If you define consciousness so, he objects, you make its definition
imply matter; but there is then nothing of consciousness in it; what
you have got is only matter. That is to assume an equation between
them. You state the value of _x_ in terms of _y_, but then you haven’t
got _x_, but only _y_. It is otherwise with terms that really have the
correlation you claim for consciousness and matter. Thus you can equate
convexity with concavity in terms of either alone, as _m_ = -(-_m_). In
this there is no assumption. But what you say of _x_ is that it equals
_ay_, which is something _distinguishable_ from _x_ and whose equality
to _x_ is just the problem.

But if it be allowed that the disparity between consciousness and
matter must be either a distinction between two kinds of reality, or
else the distinction between being and not-being, the predicament just
described is worse for the critic of the “double aspect” theory than
for its advocate. If the distinction is that of being and not-being,
whichever is not-being has an internal constitution and structure by
virtue of which parts and relations are recognized within it: matter
has physical laws and the interaction of bodies; consciousness has
interrelated states. Not-being, so interpreted, is hardly distinguished
from being. And if the distinction is within being, and exhausts
it, either the connotation of consciousness and that of matter are
referable to each other--expressible in terms of each other--or else
the distinction is only denotative, and they are not distinguished
as _different_; for difference is a discursive relation between
differents: _dif_fering from each other is a case of _re_ferring to
each other.

Excessive emphasis on the “ultimateness” and “absoluteness” of the
difference between these two concepts is just the inductive cue that
results in the “double aspect” theory. No one can regard consciousness
as not different from matter--least of all our critic, who finds them
incommensurable. Nay, among real things that are _other_ than each
other, experience gives us no fellow to such difference; for difference
so utter, they that differ should coincide. And so, in the fact of
aspect, we have, indeed, in a thousand forms, disparity that matches
the difference between the concepts now before us: _e. g._, right,
left; up, down; plus, minus; convex, concave.

We confess three obvious differences between the two equations which
we have taken to represent our critic’s conception of the relation of
convexity to concavity and the relation of consciousness to matter.
In equation (1), which is _m_ = -(-_m_), representing the former
relation, the same symbol _m_ stands on both sides; in equation (2) the
symbols are different, _x_ on one side, _y_ on the other. In (1) the
coefficient also is the same on both sides, namely unity; in (2) the
coefficients are different, unity on one side, _a_ on the other. And in
(1) the signs are opposite on the two sides, while in (2) the sign is
the same on both sides.

What do these differences mean? To begin with, is (1) monomial and (2)
binomial? No; in spite of the fact that there is only one symbol in
(1), this equation is binomial in precisely the same sense as (2) is
binomial; for it means that a certain attitude toward _m_, symbolized
by the minus sign, transforms _m_ into something _distinguishable from_
_m_. If equation (1) expressed an identity, it would not represent
the relation of convexity to concavity, which are not identical but
distinguishable. But what is thus expressed in (1) by difference of
sign is expressed in (2) by difference of coefficient; for (2) means
that a certain attitude toward the entity symbolized by _x_ (an
attitude symbolized by the phrase “divide by _a_”) transforms _x_ into
_y_. In short, the connotation differs, on the two sides, _in both
equations alike_. But on the other hand, the denotation is the same on
both sides in each equation, for such is the nature of all equations,
whether binomial or any other kind. Thus we have identity of denotation
with difference of connotation in each of these equations, and they are
so far homogeneous with each other. Now connotation is aspect, which
is determined by subjective attitude; and attitudes are interrelated
in determinate and accurately expressible ways; as, for instance, by
antagonism or mutual exclusion, or by any of an indefinite number of
forms of implication. The difference of attitude called antipodal
oppositeness, or polarity, is the specific difference expressed in
equation (1); whereas the coefficient _a_, in (2), expresses _mere_
difference of attitude, difference in general, including, therefore,
that specific difference which is expressed by opposition of sign. Thus
equation (1) is a case of equation (2).

To sum up: The objection, stated in these algebraic symbols, was this:
_m_ implies -_m_; _x_ does not imply _y_. Express the fact of relief
in terms of _m_ and you have the correlative fact in -_m_ implied
in the very definition of _m_; while if you express _x_ in terms of
_y_, you have _y_ values, and nothing but _y_. In short, _x_ and _y_
exclude each other; _m_ and -_m_ imply each other. Our answer is that
_x_ implies _y_ just as _m_ implies -_m_; for _ay_ is an aspect of the
same denotation as _x_; and, since the specificity of every aspect of
a given denotation is determinable or definable by relation to all
other aspects of the same denotation, any one of such aspects, as
_x_, implies, in its definition, every other, and so _y_, instead of
excluding _y_.

Turning from such abstract considerations to empirical study of the
sensation, the same sort of difficulty reappears. We think we find
a dynamic relationship of organic to extra-organic processes; this
relationship presents a material aspect, which we call neural activity,
and a formal aspect, which we call blue, for instance. But the critic
objects that all this is much more than sensation, and that we have
read our hypothesis into our data. We must keep to the pure sensation;
in that, there is no neural process. So, even as, before, all our
attempts to propose a definition of consciousness for analysis were
ruled out as begging the question, now every sample of the experience
to be observed is rejected as impure. There is no sensation that is
pure in such a sense as our critic means, for he means subjectivity
that implies no objectivity. If this is more than a word, it is a
self-contradiction, since subjectivity is subjectivity only in the
fact of correlation with objectivity. Indeed, if our critic were to
observe convexity as he proposes that we observe sensation, he would
find no implication of concavity in it; nor would he find it convex.
His observation would _be_ the convexity; the two would coincide, and
so would not be two. Convexity in its essence, as convex, would therein
no longer be the object of the observation. You have to get outside
of your convexity to observe it and its implication of concavity;
just so, you have to get outside of your sensation to know it; in
it, you know only the object of it. When convexity is said to imply
concavity, convexity is just therein not “pure,” as the sensation is
supposed to be. “Pure” convexity, analogous to “pure” sensation or
subjectivity, would be convexity without implication of concavity. That
would be zero convexity, so to speak--a self-contradiction. Just so,
the “pure” sensation, without implication of objectivity, is a fact of
consciousness without the essence of consciousness, which is dynamic
relatedness to an object. “Pure” consciousness is consciousness of
nothing, or no consciousness.

If our critic have his way, we have nothing left us to discuss.
Let us invite his attention to a discussable phenomenon of our own
designating, and definable in some such way as this: the simultaneous
belonging of an experience to an organism and to another material fact,
say the sky. The two belongings are distinguished by a _sui generis_
difference of direction or relational “sense,” which unambiguously
determines the organism to be the subject of the belonging, the sky the
object. We have at least as good a right to call this phenomenon by the
name of consciousness, or sensation, as our critic has to name that a
sensation which he so defines that its definition is contradicted by
the naming.

Now, experience is essentially dynamic, and, for an organism, to be
active is to be functionally ordinated or focalized. For example, the
eye and other parts may be subservient, in different ways and degrees,
to the hand. Then the organism is focalized into an organ of touch, of
striking, or whatever it may be. Every other function contributes as
accessory to this primary function, in the organism’s present phase.

We have called consciousness the formal aspect of activity, and we mean
by “form” applied to activity what we mean elsewhere, determinateness
or definableness. Here, in particular, it is that character which
depends on resistance or reactivity. Activity without resistance would
be without determination; its character or content would have vanished;
it would be activity upon nothing, which, like consciousness of
nothing, is nothing. So the resistance that factors in activity is not
extraneous to the essence of activity, and consciousness and material
processes imply each other not only with the same logical necessity but
with the same polar oppositeness of mutual relation, as the aspects of

Consciousness is thus the inversion or reciprocal aspect of organic
activity, virtual, in distinction from externalized or real, activity.
Where attention is focalized, action is most resisted. As action
approaches free vent, consciousness of the object of this free activity
becomes more and more evanescent. At the limit where action is
unresisted, it and consciousness go out, vanish together, in inverse
“sense” or directions. Where action approaches “pure” (_i. e._,
unresisted) activity, pure positivity, pure subjectivity, consciousness
approaches “pure” (_i. e._, unreacting) passivity, pure negativity,
pure objectivity. And such “pure” action and consciousness are pure
nothing, action on nothing, sensation of nothing. The vanishing of the
two relations together is, in each case, for lack of one of its terms
inverse to the term lacking in the other case.

This mutual symmetry between action and consciousness is an implicate
of their identity of denotation and mutual inversion of aspect; and
any study of the fluctuations and transitions of consciousness, with
its modulations of attention and inhibition, is accordingly a study in
inverse, a perfect logical function, of corresponding modifications
of organic activity; for in the play of the organic functions we
shall find incessant modulations between their focalization and their
dispersion, incessant shifting of their mutual rank and of the position
of primacy among them, to correspond with the changes between margin
and focus that are always going on among the elements of consciousness.

The organism is structurally and functionally centralized in a
sensori-motor system, where the afferent activity is opposed by the
efferent, in a common focus, or in coincident foci, in which action
and reaction give form to each other. Here organic reaction has its
inception in a preformation, schema or design, as Bergson says, of the
developed activity. An intricate manifold of functions are organized:
interest determines the ascendency or primacy of a certain function,
while others are subservient, being inhibited or reinforced in varying
degrees. The whole complex process has this character of focal,
unifying organization, a unity expressed in opposite aspects as the
simple form of activity, on the one hand, and as the simple object of
perceptive consciousness on the other.



The fallacy of conceptualism, which, as Bergson conceives it, is
to substitute space for time as the form of mental existence, has
been discussed in the first chapter of _Time and Free Will_ in the
aspect of applying intensive magnitude, and in the second chapter,
numerical multiplicity, to psychic facts. It is the same fallacy
which is discussed in the third chapter, in the aspect of applying to
them the conception of determinate, causal organization. The outcome
of the book is thus that the problem of freedom is just the problem
of conceptualism, a problem of philosophic method. This book, _Time
and Free Will_, is a manual of instruction for knowing the reality
of mental existence; and its object is the _practical_ object of
indicating the attitude necessary for that purpose. There are two
possible attitudes, that of space and that of time, or that of
conception and that of intuition. The conceptual is the attitude taken
by philosophy universally, to be sure; which explains the futility of
all extant discussions of the “persistent problems of philosophy.” It
is clear, for instance, Monsieur Bergson thinks, that this attitude
gives rise, in an automatic and inevitable way, to the problem of
freedom--that is, that there would be no such problem but for this
false cognitive attitude;--and at the same time that by originating in
this unhappy way the problem is necessarily a pseudo-problem, cannot
be stated without contradiction. For when you regard mental facts in
the spatial or conceptual way, the question automatically arises, how
are these facts causally related with other spatial facts? It is a
contradiction because by “these” facts you mean non-spatial facts,
which, in the nature of causation, can not be causally related with
spatial facts, but which, the question presupposes, are so related.
Such is the real meaning of the traditional problem of freedom.
The solution, says Bergson, is to cease thinking spatially of that
which is temporal; take the other attitude. Once you have done so,
the problem vanishes; the causal relation is by definition a spatial
relation, and there are no longer two spatial terms to be related.
Such determinism is the associationistic conception of mind as an
assemblage of distinct, coexistent elements of which the strongest
exerts a preponderant influence on the others. Their organization is
a mechanical system, and their operations obey the laws of mechanical

As relative (_i. e._ quantitative) intensity is to absolute,
qualitative intensity, as juxtaposited multiplicity is to
interpenetrating multiplicity, so is determinate organization to
organization by free evolution. The categories magnitude, number and
cause apply to space. The difference, for Bergson, between space and
time is, as we have seen, so absolute that it hardly expresses his
theory aright to say that to the above three characters of space
three temporal characters _correspond_. Reason seems lacking for any
correspondence whatever. This is certain, at any rate: that when
intellect makes time an object, and sees it greater or less, divisible
and regularly consequential, three things are true about the real,
non-objective nature of time, each of which truths manifests itself
to intellect, but wrongly, erroneously. Moreover, it is plainly by
reasoned, analytic discourse that Bergson discovers that the above
intellectual manifestations of time’s essence are false. One discovers,
furthermore, by this conceptual process, just how they are false, and
corrects them with a result so conceptually precise and intelligible
that, instead of these three characters falsely spatial, other three
are determined as truly temporal. Instead of magnitude, quality has
in this way been substituted; instead of multiplicity, indivisible
variousness. For cause, the last chapter of the _Essai_ substitutes

We should now be well prepared for divining the nature of the freedom
which is consciousness, or more generally, life. The organization of
the facts of a given consciousness is such that the person is focally
entire in any one of them, even as the entire body functions in each
of its functions (cf. page 20). The determinate type of organization
is analogous to the mechanically actuated manikin, not to the natural
man, even though those fragments which build up the structure of the
associationist soul are forces; for these forces are mutually distinct
parts of the soul, whose union in it, and so whose interaction,
depends on some principle extrinsic to any of them and is thus wholly
determined from without. In the developmental type of organization, on
the contrary, the _wholeness_ of action is its freedom, rather than
independence of what is not itself. Although such independence seems to
belong to it, as well, what Bergson is interested to emphasize about
the freedom of the free action is that it is the expression of the
entire person.

In the domain of life, there is no identity, for there is no
permanence--“the same does not remain the same,” as Bergson puts it.
The ego is not the same ego in any two moments; it is not the same ego
that deliberates from moment to moment; and two contradictory feelings
that move it are never respectively self-identical in two moments.
Indeed, if the case were otherwise, a decision would never be made; the
equilibrium of the opposing feelings would never be resolved. Merely
by the fact that the person has experienced a feeling, he is modified
when a second feeling comes. The feelings are the continually modified
ego itself, a dynamic series of states that interpenetrate, reinforce
each other and result in a free act by a natural evolution, because it
emanates from the entire person.

Such is the character of the free act, a very intelligible character,
it would seem, a character lending itself tractably enough to verbal
definition, that is, conceptual definition, as a certain relation
of act to agent. Yet it must immediately be added that what seems
so intelligible and so conceptual an explication of this “certain
relation”--what is contained in the two paragraphs preceding--is not
regarded by the author as a definition of freedom. It seems that there
is a distinction between the formulation of a conception on one hand,
and a definition, on the other, though Bergson does not elucidate this
distinction explicitly, and I have had to give up the attempt. The
distinction is evidently of crucial importance, nevertheless. “We can
now formulate our conception of freedom,” says the author, on page 219
of _Time and Free Will_. “Freedom is the relation of the concrete self
to the act which it performs. This relation is indefinable just because
we _are_ free. For we can analyze a thing, but not a process; we can
break up extensity, but not duration. Or, if we persist in analyzing
it, we unconsciously transform the process into a thing, and duration
into extensity ... and, as we have begun by, so to speak, stereotyping
the activity of the self, we see spontaneity settle down into inertia
and freedom into necessity. Thus, any positive definition of freedom
will ensure the victory of determinism.”

The attempt is therefore unwisely made by indeterminists to define
freedom by meeting determinists on their own ground when the latter
turn the question of freedom into considerations of the relations of
the voluntary act to its antecedents, characterizing voluntary activity
as essentially foreseeable before, or apodictically intelligible after
the fact. When indeterminists permit themselves to be thus ambushed,
they commit themselves to the support of determinism, by accepting
the deterministic postulate, in the one case that “foreseeable” has
intelligible meaning applied to psychic states, which it has not; or,
in the other case, that willed acts are intelligible both before and
after the fact.

The determinist, that is,--to take the second case first--professes
that an act depends in a mechanical way upon certain antecedents. The
indeterminist contends that the same antecedents could have resulted
in either of several different acts, equally possible. Defenders and
opponents of freedom agree in making a kind of mechanical oscillation
between two points precede the action. I choose A. The indeterminists
say, You have deliberated; then B was possible. The determinists
reply, I have chosen; therefore I had some reason to do so, and when
B is declared equally possible, this reason is forgotten; one of the
conditions of the problem is ignored. Both represent the activity by
a deliberative route which divides. Call the point of the division
O; then the divisions of the forked line OA and OB symbolize the
two divisions which abstraction distinguishes within the continuous
activity, of which A is the termination. But while determinists take
account of everything, and find that the route MOA has been traversed,
their opponents ignore one of the data with which they have constructed
the figure; and, after tracing the lines OA and OB, which ought to be
united if they are to represent the progression of the ego’s activity,
they make this progression go back to O and begin oscillating again!

The trouble with both these solutions, Bergson says, is that they
presuppose an achieved deliberation and resolution, representable in
space by a geometrical figure. The question, Could the ego, having
traversed the route MO and decided on A, have chosen B? is nonsense:
to put such a question is to affirm the possibility of adequately
representing time by space, succession by simultaneity. It is to
attribute to the figure traced the value of an image and not merely
of a symbol. Figures represent things, not progressions: how shall a
figure furnish the least indication of the concrete motion, of the
dynamic progression by which the deliberation results in the act? The
defenders of freedom say, The route is not yet traced; therefore one
can take any direction. To which we reply, You can speak of a route,
in such a connection, only after the action is accomplished, and then
it has been traced. The determinists say, The route has been traced
_thus_; therefore its possible direction was only that particular
direction. To which we reply, Before the route was traced there was no
direction, possible or impossible; there could, as yet, be no question
of a route. In its lowest terms this merely means: The act, once
accomplished, is accomplished; and the argument of the determinists:
The act, before being accomplished, was not as yet an act. The question
of freedom is not touched, because freedom is a shade or quality of the
act itself, not a relation of this act with what it is not nor with
what it can be. Deliberation is not oscillation in space; it is dynamic
progression, in which the ego and the motives are in a continual
becoming, as living beings.

Indeterminists, Professor Bergson says, must beware, again, of arguing
against the prevision of voluntary acts. Once more, this is not because
prevision of a voluntary act is possible, but because there is no sense
in the phrase. If Paul knew all the conditions under which Peter acts,
his imagination would relive Peter’s history. He must pass through
Peter’s very own psychic states, to know with precision their intensity
and their importance in relation to his other states. The intensity,
in fact, is the peculiar quality of the feeling itself. Now, to know
_all_ the antecedents of the act would bring you to the act itself,
which is their continuation, and not merely their result, and above
all in no way separate from them. To relive Peter’s history is just to
become Peter--that is the only way Paul could conceivably “know all the
antecedents” of the act in question. There is no question of predicting
the act, but simply of acting. Knowledge of the antecedents of the act
without knowledge of the act is an absurdity, a contradiction. The
indeterminists can mean nothing, by such a contention as this, but
that the act is not an act until it is acted--which is hardly worth
meaning;--and the determinists can mean only that the act, once acted,
is acted--which is no better. The subject of freedom is beside the
point, in such a debate.

So the question of prevision comes to this: Is time spatial? You drew
Peter’s states, you perceived his life as a marking in space. You then
rubbed out, in thought, the part OA, and asked if, knowing the part
before O, you could have determined OA beforehand. That is the question
you put when you bring in Paul’s representation of the conditions (and
therefore their materialization) under which Peter shall act. After
having identified Paul with Peter, you make Paul take his former point
of view, from which he now sees the line MOA complete, having just
traced it in the rôle of Peter.

Prevision of natural phenomena has not the slightest analogy with that
of a voluntary act. Time, in scientific formulæ, is always and only
a number of simultaneities. The intervals may be of any length; they
have nothing to do with the calculation. Foreseeing natural phenomena
is making them present, or bringing them at least enormously nearer.
It is the intervals, the units themselves--just what the physicist
has nothing to do with--that interest the psychologist. A feeling
half as long would not be the same feeling. But when one asks if a
future action can be foreseen, one identifies physical time, which is
a number, with real psychological duration, which has no analogy with
number. In the region of psychological states there is no appreciable
difference between foreseeing, seeing and acting.

According to the mechanical law of causation, the same causes always
produce the same effects. But, in the region of psychic states, this
law is neither true nor false, but meaningless; for in this region
there is no “always:” there is only “once.” A repeated feeling is a
radically different feeling. It retains the same name only because
it corresponds to the same external cause, or is outwardly expressed
by analogous signs. It was just said that the ego is not the same
in any two moments of its history. It is modified incessantly by
the accumulation of its past. One’s character at any moment, is the
condensation of one’s past. Duration acts as a cause; but this temporal
or psychological causation has no more analogy with what is called
causation in nature than temporal variousness has with number, or
intensity with magnitude. A causality which is necessary connection
is, at bottom, identity; the effect is an expression of the cause, as
mathematical functions are expressions of each other. But no psychic
state has this virtual identity with, or mathematical reducibility to,
any other with which it would thus be in the “necessary” kind of causal
relation. Such effect is not given in the cause, but is absolutely new.

Time that has passed is an objective thing, and is representable by
space; time passing is a subjective process, and is not representable.
The free act is the actual passing of time; time in its passing is the
very stuff of the existence of freedom. Analyze an act, and you make
it a thing. Then its spontaneity is altered into inertia, its freedom
into necessity. Hence any definition of freedom makes it determinism.
But, though the analysis of the act and the definition of freedom
are illusory undertakings, the fundamental fact of freedom remains
unassailable by any argument.

       *       *       *       *       *

Bergson’s way of vindicating freedom is thus to find no case against
it. Of the positive sort, the only, and sufficient proof is appeal to
consciousness. Freedom is an immediate datum of consciousness.

This is confusing to anyone who cannot follow Bergson in his view
that subject and object, in actual intuitive consciousness, are
indistinguishable, identical. And this fusion of the poles of
consciousness while the nature of consciousness not merely suffers
nothing but even attains its apogee thereby, needs more justification
than Bergson has given it. Freedom is a datum of consciousness; but,
as undetermined, it must, on Bergson’s principles, be consciousness
itself--which, indeed, is plainly enough the teaching intended.
Freedom is consciousness, then, purely subjective. In what sense is
it a datum of consciousness? If it is a datum, is it not an object,
of consciousness? It seems a case where, in order to see, you musn’t
look, lest looking make what is purely subjective an object! This is
hardly the case of the fovea and the faint star, where looking _loses_
your object; for here, looking rather produces it where no object
belongs, or--perhaps one should say--transforms it. Your look, says
Gustave Belot,[134] congeals and immobilizes it, denatures it like the
Gorgon’s stare! It is knowable, says Bergson, only by being lived.
It is a feeling we have. But the trouble is that, to be _known_ as
undetermined, as freedom, to be even a feeling we have, it is back upon
our hands as a datum, as an object.

Before I comment in my own way on the Bergsonian view of freedom, I
wish to call to the attention of English readers the keen reaction of
this French critic of Bergson. Belot objects to the modest-seeming
statement that freedom is a feeling we have. Neither psychology,
he thinks, nor common sense, approves.[135] They establish, on the
contrary, a sensible difference between freedom, whatever it may be,
and the feeling we have of it--any feeling we can possibly have. Our
feeling of freedom is much less variable than our freedom. “We agree
not to attribute a veritable practical freedom to the dreaming man,
to the somnambulist, to the man affected with some mental disease.
Yet the man who, in dream, sees himself act, sees himself free in his
action; the somnambulist equally feels himself free and attributes to
himself, in his dream, a responsibility that we decline to put upon
him, and which he will reject, himself, when he wakes[136] ... The
furious madman must ordinarily feel himself free in the accomplishment
of a murder for which a tribunal will not consent to punish him. The
fact is, it suffices, in order that we should feel ourselves free, that
our acts should be in harmony with our ideas and our feelings. Now,
that may very well be, in the cases of the dreamer, the somnambulist,
the madman.... They would therefore feel themselves free. But they are
not free; for they only act from an incomplete consciousness; and a
great number of elements of their normal ego, which would permit the
revision, the correction, the inhibition, are lacking.” A glimmering
of the fact of one’s madness is a token of the only residuum there is
of freedom. “It is to conserve some freedom, to perceive that one no
longer is master of oneself.”

Bergson is alive to all this--sometimes, as when he says that the
freedom of a free action is its _entirety_, its expression of the
total personality. But Belot is quite justified in charging him with
forgetting it, for only by forgetting it could he conceive of freedom
as an immediate datum of consciousness. It is, indeed, far from the
case that our freedom is nothing but the feeling we have of it, or
that it is proportional to this feeling. What is so altered by the
determinist habit of mind, by the conceptual attitude toward will, is
not at all one’s feeling of freedom, but only one’s interpretation
of it. An immediate, spontaneous feeling, being prior to theory
and analysis, is safe from any influence from them. In the most
incorrigible determinist, consciousness of the wish, other things
equal, is exactly the same as in the most incorruptible indeterminist.

Precise determination of will is not only not contrary to freedom but
is indispensable to it. Minimizing the value of motive in activity is
loss, not gain, to freedom. The motive is what connects our act to
our whole personality, and makes it ours. Without this connection, we
are not free; its interruption is a limitation, not the condition,
of freedom. And indeed freedom is so limited by the mass of our
unreflecting impulses. Bergson is right in saying that we are rarely
free. But therefore he is wrong in saying that freedom is the mere
spontaneity of the ego.

In a certain passage[137] Bergson describes freedom in a way which
seems almost explicitly to deny the doctrine that it is the entirety of
will. Here it is a revolution of one part of the self against the rest,
far from emanating from the total self. And such revolution, just so
far as it is purely spontaneous, or arbitrary, is irresponsible instead
of free. Just so far, on the other hand, as it is not arbitrary, it
is determined. In fact, however, appearance of arbitrariness argues
nothing about determination except that one is ignorant about it.

In showing the absurdity of all argumentation for or against the
determination of a future voluntary act by present conditions, the
considerations offered by Bergson are almost perfect proof of such
determination. The reason we cannot think another’s thought without
disfiguring it is just that the conditions of the thought, and so of
the act, are not all reunited. The act, then, is supposed to depend
on these conditions. Now, an absolute present is a fiction; each
moment of the true duration of consciousness is a commencement and an
achievement. Determination is nothing but that intimate connection
of events which prevents us from isolating an absolute present. The
case of Peter and Paul then, proves only that foresight could not
be adequate to determination, not that determination is absent. The
inability of even the author of an act to foresee it is no criterion
of its freedom. Any free acts of our own that we do foresee, we foresee
as connected with our present state, as ours, in fact; it is that which
makes their freedom, but that supposes also their determination. This
foresight, it may be said, is always insufficient and imperfect. So
much the worse for freedom, not the better. It is thereby limited,
not made. There are, indeed, always events outside of us that baffle
our calculations, as well as unconscious tendencies, unperceived
forces within us, indistinctly developing beneath the reflective and
clear-seeing ego (Bergson calls this the superficial, Belot the higher
ego) which suddenly break out, rout it and upset it. Such civil war is
anything but freedom.

The uniqueness of psychic states, whether free or not, neither exempts
them from determination nor even differentiates them from physical
states. That a psychic state is not reproducible Bergson shows to be
because the past, incessantly accumulating and modifying itself, is
never the same in two moments. A clearer statement of the solidarity
of past and present--_i. e._ of determination--could not be made. It
may well be true that in the physical as well as in the moral world,
every individual is without counterpart; it is none the less a product
of nature, for its uniqueness; and, as a product of nature, determined,
in its own uniqueness, by nature. Among our most unique acts, the most
original are far from being the freest. The eccentricities of the
madman are more original than the sober doings of the rational, but
not so free. The more enlightened men are, the freer; but the more
they do and think the same thing. Their divergences come from their
ignorances and their unconsciousness, which are also the limits of
their freedom. It is the same with them as with nature: it is when it
produces monsters that it is most new, but it is then also that it has
been least free, most constrained in its doings.

Monsieur Bergson has not done away with psychological determinism; but
if he had, he would have hindered freedom rather than helped it. But
the problem is not purely psychological; it is psycho-physical. We are
at once body and consciousness. A freedom which were not exerted in the
outer world would be absolutely nominal and illusory; and in order to
manifest itself therein, it must be accompanied by physical processes.
These too, then, if determinism is contrary to freedom, must be exempt
from determination.

Bergson’s denial of psycho-physical parallelism[138] is no gain for
freedom. If no external effect is essentially involved in a volition,
the volition is impotent--which is surely not to be free. Nor would
it be characteristic of freedom to have activities going on in the
organism without the avowal of consciousness. So far as we do possess
such unconscious goings-on, we are absolutely passive to their
operation. Psycho-physiological parallelism[139] is a condition of
freedom, not its negation. Some sort of correspondence is necessary
to the feeling of freedom, and in that case freedom cannot dispense
with determinism in nature, at least. One might, perhaps, suppose a
preestablished harmony between a contingency (the moral world) and a
determinism (the physical); it would be easier to suppose it between
two determinisms; but between two contingencies--that is too much to

Suppose, then, the ability of mind to produce, veritably cause physical
modifications. Suppose an energy not subject to calculation. But how
shall we ever know such an energy in the external world? All that is
spatial is calculable, if number is derived from space. How could an
energy, then, be manifest in the physical universe, _i. e._ in space,
without being thereby subjected to the same forms of quantity and to
the requirements of calculation?

Bergson’s attempt to repudiate the problem of determinism, as a
pseudo-problem, results in his vacillation between the two sides of
the controversy. Sometimes he accepts the solidarity of our acts with
the rest of our conscious life, sometimes he denies it; which is to
vindicate freedom sometimes by determinism, sometimes by indeterminism.
In the beginning he founds freedom in the mutual penetration of the
states of consciousness; even sensation is a commencement of freedom,
because it embraces “the sketching and, as it were, prefiguring of the
future automatic movements;”[140] and the free act is defined as that
which “springs from the self”[141] without intervention of anything
strange. Then, little by little, the contrary thesis takes the upper
hand: the act of will becomes a _coup d’état_; “the successive moments
of real time are not bound up with one another;”[142] the dynamic
conception supposes “that the future is not more closely bound up
with the present in the external world than it is in our own inner
life.”[143] Bergson maintains, to be sure, that solidarity can be
admitted between the past and the present and denied between present
and future. Once the event happens it is indeed necessary that we
should be able to explain it, and we can always do so by plausible
reasons. But this connection is established after the fact for the
satisfaction of our discursive reason. The past is fixed, it cannot
_not have been_; it has become a _thing_, under the domain of the
understanding and of analysis. Whereas, at the moment of enactment,
the activity is a _process_, and so not capable of analysis. When the
route is traced, we can analyze its directions and windings, but it is
not traced in advance of being traced; it is the tracing that makes the
route, not the route that determines the tracing. You can explain what
is given, but there is no explaining what is not given.

Bergson, however, does not keep this point of view. The future, we have
just seen, is “prefigured” in the present. Then it is as necessary to
the feeling of our freedom to be able to connect our future to our
present in our decision, as to be able, once the act is accomplished,
to give account of it by reasons drawn from our consciousness.
Bergson’s thought vacillates this way because he attributes two
incompatible characters to the inner life, qualitative heterogeneity
and mutual penetration of its states. Grant the heterogeneity and
you have an infinitesimal dust, the very denial of connection and
penetration. If the states penetrate there are always two near enough
to each other in quality to form an identical whole, while they differ
only in degree, as two very near shades of the same color. But then
there is a quantitative, and so a homogeneous, aspect of the inner



A deep, temperamental abhorrence of determinateness--that is the motive
of Bergsonism. By admission of Bergson, any object of the mind is
determinate. But therefore a philosophy that repudiates determinateness
in the nature of reality is ineffable because it is objectless. It is
ineffable also because any reason offered for the indeterminateness
of reality is determination of it. The dread of determinateness is
the dread of reason, of explanation, of interpretation--in a word, of
philosophy. A consciousness which can ‘testify that we are free’ is
not an objectless consciousness; and freedom, if consciousness can
testify to it, cannot be an indeterminate nor an immediate (_i. e._
unobjectified) datum of consciousness. Bergson’s position is that it
is essential to the true nature of reality _in itself_, under whatever
aspect--_e. g._ duration, motion, freedom etc.--to be subjective;
and that this is why Zeno is right in finding motion, for instance,
unthinkable; for “unthinkable” properly means (though it did not mean,
for Zeno) incapable of becoming objective. This to say, is it not,
that the true nature of reality independently of all point of view
is to be viewed from a certain point! It comes to this, at least, if
to be subjective is compatible with being known in any sense, with
being contained within consciousness at all. Otherwise it comes to the
skeptical (and self-contradictory) doctrine that it is essential to the
true nature of reality to be unknowable in every sense. The former, of
course, is Bergson’s view regarding subjectivity.[144]

The anti-intellectualist doctrine, however, that data of consciousness
cannot be understood, conceptualized, defined, or even named--cannot,
in short, be objectified--without contradiction is as important for the
problem of knowledge as it is for the problem of freedom. Professor
Perry’s analysis of immediatism[145] shows the misunderstanding of
what it is to conceptualize, which underlies such a doctrine. The
anti-intellectualist idea seems to be that the concept is static,
and common to more than one consciousness, and universal in its
denotation, and sharply discrete; and that for these reasons it could
not correspond to what is fluid and private and uniquely particular
and continuous. It is evidently the “copy theory” of knowledge, which
unconsciously determines this criticism of the concept. Concepts
are invalid, applied to life, _because they are not like living
objects_! “You cannot make continuous being out of discontinuities,”
is James’s criticism.[146] And Bergson’s: “Instead of a flux of
fleeting shades merging into each other [intellect] perceives distinct
and, so to speak, _solid_ colors, set side by side like the beads of
a necklace.”[147] But, as Perry shows, to conceptualize is nothing
like this procedure. Conception is _substitution_ of one object of
immediate consciousness which is conveniently abstract, for another
object which is, in the circumstances of the conceiving, inconvenient
in its concrete fulness. All that is necessary in order that this
substitutional mode of consciousness should be valid and true
knowledge of the object so symbolized, is that the substitute should
_mean_ that object. And that it can and does mean it when the object
is a subjective state is no more than the fact that, on Bergson’s
own showing, such states are symbolized. For to mean is essentially
to symbolize. Certainly no one concept is a rounded-out exhaustive
awareness, so to speak, of the symbolized object. But this is no more
than to say that conceiving is a selective and eliminating mode of
consciousness--which does not distinguish it from any other mode, the
most immediate and intuitive possible state of genuine significant
consciousness being essentially as much an elimination as a positing.

Since, then, a symbol never has (just by reason of its function as
symbol) the same structure as the object symbolized, there is nothing
either in the immobility, or the publicity, or the universality, or
the discreteness of any concept, or in its inclusion of all these
characters, to prevent its validly meaning the fluid and private and
particular and continuous. And the real must necessarily have the
conceptual characters, since the characters correlative to them, alone
regarded by Bergson as characters of reality, have no meaning _except
correlatively_ to the conceptual characters. Thus “fluidity of nothing”
is a phrase without meaning. The something which is fluid, requires,
in order that _fluidity_ as such shall be a datum of experience, a
coefficient aspect of immobility. It is not fluidity that flows. The
immobile, snap-shot conceptual form--not only does this _belong_ to the
cataract, as the possibility of photographing it proves, but this very
form is indispensable to the fact of flow in its genuine concreteness.
As for uniqueness, a fact so unique that it is like nothing else in
any respect, could not be discriminated. The bare discernibleness
of a datum requires a basis of discrimination which is common to it
and to that from which it is discriminated. Continuity is analogous
with unity, and has no meaning if there is no aspect, in it, of
composition, and so of discreteness, as unity is nothing if not union
of a plurality. That the real has the aspects eulogistically favored
by intuitionism is beyond question. That it has not the complementary
conceptual aspects is demonstrably false, and is an illusion of
“exclusive particularity,” explainable only by that prepossession with
a certain abstract view, whose psychological origin has been repeatedly
noted in this study.

Is it not truly a paradox to give the unnamable a long list of
names--life, consciousness, freedom, duration, intensity, quality,
heterogeneity etc.--and to write a book, whether practical or
speculative, concerning that which will not articulate into discourse,
(cf. above, p. 54-5), employing these names on every page; and to
conclude with a studied definition of freedom; and to avow that
the purpose of it all is to make the fact understood that the
subject-matter cannot even be named, still less defined or discoursed
about or understood? It seems improper to consider that the book is
_about_ such a subject, and yet necessary to suppose that it is about
some subject, and impossible to assign another. If it is true that,
in seeming to name this subject, you are deluded; that, in trying
to talk about it, you fail, and name and talk about something else,
instead, its spatialized symbol--then the conclusion is perfectly valid
that such a book is a case of this delusion. And the trouble lies in
that reifying of the coefficients of reality and of consciousness
which is the condition of a philosophy of “pure” intuition (cf. page
29). To suppose that genuine cases of awareness can be either pure
intuition or pure conception is to reify these coefficient aspects of
consciousness, which are as truly _both_ indispensable for the genuine
concreteness of an actual case of awareness as are the positive sine
_and_ cosine for the real acuteness of an angle (_i. e._ for the angle
to enclose acutely space revolved-through). As the zero point of either
trigonometric projection is the vanishing-point of the entity of whose
nature they are coefficient functions, so the “purity” of either
coefficient function of consciousness is the vanishing of any real

If no logical reason impugns the validity of conceptual knowledge of
subjective states, no more does the pragmatic test discredit such
knowledge. It is as good, genuine knowledge in its satisfaction of
vital interest as the sensation, say, which is the object of the state
in question. Helen Keller, incapable of the sensation blue, knows the
sensation--conceptually alone, of necessity--rather better, even, it
may be, than she would ever have known it if her life had been more
occupied in the knowing of blue--and other such--_things_; better,
at any rate, certainly, than most people know it. All this knowledge
can be is a rationalizing of “blue:” she can name it, define it,
understand it, make articulate and significant statements about it. The
intellectual mode of knowing blue is thoroughly significant. It finds
blue in experience, and enables the conscious subject to identify this
object when she comes across it. By this knowledge, blue is part of the
currency of Helen Keller’s social commerce. It is a factor in her life,
with its importance and interest. Obviously, she can have got it only
by conceptualizing it.

Of course the proposition that consciousness is indefinable has the
same futility as the proposition that it is unnamable; because, indeed,
they have the same meaning. The meaning, we have seen, is that, in
trying to name or define what is fluid, private, etc., there is a
miscarriage; it is something else that gets named or defined, to wit
the representative or symbol of what was aimed at. This symbol, being
fixed and public, is able to lend itself to application of the fixed
and public name or concept. But we have also seen that a name is only a
symbol; an unnamable thing could not be symbolized. If, by hypothesis,
it _is_ symbolized, it is therein namable.

But naming a thing is _ipso facto_ relating it, for it is associating
it with something else, its name or symbol; in naming the thing you
have started upon the process of defining it, which is the infinite
process of relating it or understanding it. Exempting things from
naming or definition, sequestering them from the rational domain, is
like setting a limit to space. Sequestering from the rational domain is
relating to it, and that is putting into it.

If the illusion in trying to name and define mental states is due
to their fluidity and privacy, by the same token the same treatment
of physical objects, which Bergson regards as valid treatment, is
in fact equally illusory. To be sure, physical objects have not,
according to the author, the flow of duration, but they are even less
dependable creatures than mental states, for in every new moment they
are something absolutely other than anything which was in the moment
before. Besides which, in spite of this really incessant instantaneity,
something, not explained, causes them, upon the “intersection” of our
duration with them, to _appear_ to us to be self-identical but changed,
even as we ourselves. Physical objects are not fixed. One finds no
exceptions in nature to the universal law of change; and the state of
any physical thing at a given moment is the outcome, in continuity, of
its previous states, to an indefinite regress of antecedents, quite as
the case stands with the ego. In respect to duration, discriminating
between physical and mental is not valid. Even between organic and
inorganic matter or between conscious and unconscious organisms the
difference is only one of degree or tempo of change. But if so, it
is arbitrary, if one regards the present state of the conscious
organism as embodying the whole of its past, to deny this of the stick
and the stone. Of course mental states are not permanent; subjects,
objects--nothing is permanent that has existence. Nothing stays as it
is. The scope of naming and defining is not limited by permanence.
Neither, however, is the flux of nature chaos, that it should not be
understandable. Change, on the contrary, is the manifestation of law,
in the time of Heraclitus, now, and forever.

Privacy or uniqueness is no more obstructive to understanding than
is change, and, like change, has no peculiar applicability to mental
states as matter of knowledge. Privacy or uniqueness applies to
physical objects of knowledge in essentially the same way as it applies
to mental states. Mere accessibility is, in principle, common for all
objects of knowledge, to all subjects.[149] But there is a special
reason why the subject of the state is particularly disqualified,
as compared with others, for knowing his state immediately, _i. e._
intuitively; namely, that, at the time of the existence of the state,
when, alone, it could be known intuitively, he is mainly occupied with
another object of knowledge, the object of the state in question.
You do not, then, know a mental state best by living it, or rather
_in_ living it; your knowledge of it is just then at its worst, since
you are then preoccupied in knowing something else. The state, as an
attribute of the subject, is clearly one of the subject’s relations,
and, so, conceptually distinct from either term. It cannot be at once a
knowledge and the object of that same knowledge. Bergson’s treatment of
the conscious state conceives it in just that way--as if the relation
were itself one of its own terms, the object.

Knowing a mental state can only mean understanding it. It is not a
concrete datum, like the sky, but an abstraction from the relationship
in which the subject and the sky function as terms. One does not
intuitively know the subjective process of blueness, in looking
at the sky; one knows the sky in that sense, but the process only
conceptually, by reflection. Is it any less an authentic object of
knowledge? Is it not itself--is it any symbol of itself?--which you
name and define and talk about and understand?

The practical significance of saying that one felt and now remembers a
feeling is not that the feeling is what one ever felt. Feeling Number
One is not an object for feeling Number Two, neither during Number One
nor afterward, in reminiscent feeling. So far as the reminiscent state
is another intuition, its object is the same as that of the intuition
remembered--so far. But to be reminiscent, a conscious state must
reflect upon, or refer to, a conscious state distinct from itself.
This reflective reference is a conceptual co-element together with the
intuitional character of the reminiscent state. So far as the memory is
reflective, consciousness is oriented toward the original state itself
as a fact, a process, conceptually distinguishable from the object of
it. It is thus only _so far as conceptual_ that subjective processes
can be objects of knowledge, or, in short, be known. But if so, Bergson
is wrong in two essential points: in denying that subjectivity can
be objectified, and in affirming that knowledge of subjectivity is
immediate (_i. e._ non-conceptual) or intuitive.

Any reminiscent state, like every other conscious state, undoubtedly
_is_ intuitive in a certain degree. The calmest reflection on an
originally affective experience is tinctured with a rudimentary
fluttering of the old feeling; just as, on the other hand, the most
violent early repetitions of a tempestuous joy or grief must relate,
in order to be reminiscent, to the original experience. No one else,
it may be said, can _appreciate_ my feeling as I do, myself: this
appreciation is no conceptualization of that feeling. This is only to
say that the affective as well as the representative aspect of any
conscious state is unique for each subjective center of interest. But
privacy no more distinguishes subjectivity from objectivity than does
change. Every object, being self-identical, is unique, its quality
private. Inasmuch as each conscious subject is a distinct center of
interest as well as a distinct cognitive subject, the affective value
of a state of a given subject must also be theoretically unique for
that subject. But the state is nevertheless objective and common as
well as subjective and private, since in fact it is an object for
understanding. My state of mind is as accessible to your understanding
as your own (it may be more so, to be sure). The understanding names
the intuitive state--anybody’s at all, indifferently, one’s own or
another’s-- as truly as it names any other relationship or process, by
virtue of its conceptual coefficient; and as truly relates it to the
rest of the rational universe, therein understanding and defining it.

The derivation of the three heterologies elucidated in the three
chapters of the _Essai_, is the inevitable consequence of the
fundamental heterology of an “absolutely” two-fold universe. The
intensity of mental states could not be homogeneous, for Bergson,
the variousness that belongs to them could not be plural, their
organization could not be determinate, because then they would be
objective, _by his definition_ of objectivity. But why may a subjective
state not be an objective state? To the conceptualist, to whom these
terms are abstract concepts, points of view, discursive contexts, there
is no reason at all. To Professor Bergson, who does what he accuses
conceptualism of doing, namely substituting concepts for concrete
realities, it is a contradiction, for one concrete reality cannot be
another. But a concrete reality which, for a certain purpose and in a
certain context, one symbolizes by the term “subjective state,” may
very well be the same concrete reality which, for another purpose, one
symbolizes by the phrase “objective state.”

We have seen that intensity which is “pure,” pure quality, is pure
nothing, being quality of nothing; since, if it is quality of
anything, it has its quantitative coefficient, which destroys its
purity. So variousness which is “pure” heterogeneity, is not even
various, but “nothing” again. For it is “interpenetrating” instead
of “juxtaposited” or impenetrable heterogeneity. But impenetrability
is just identity, as Bergson remarks;[150] it is a logical principle
rather than a physical law. That two bodies cannot occupy the same
space and time means that they would therein not be two, or coexistent.
Now, interpenetration in any rigorous sense, any but the loose
colloquial sense of small division and uniform diffusion, is the mere
contradiction of impenetrability or identity. It means that two bodies
do occupy the same space at the same time. If, then, this law of
interpenetration thus means to require (in the subject) the relation of
coexistence, and also (in the predicate) to forbid it--in other words,
if it is contradictory to itself--mental states can obey it no better
than pebbles. And, finally, non-quantitative causality is a third
contradiction, since its “pure” heterogeneity destroys its continuity
in time as well as in space (cf. above, page 93).

How can any of these three pairs of heterologous principles of space
and time be “absolutely” different if, however different, each pair
have such essential community of nature that both must be called by
one name and thought under one category, as two species of the same
genus? For, in spite of all their differences, they are, throughout the
discussion, two kinds of intensity, of multiplicity, of causation.



I will conclude these comments on Professor Bergson’s teaching by
noting the mystical nature of the central idea of his epistemology,
the identification of subject and object. The yearning for a more
intimate acquaintance with the thing-in-itself, for a knowledge truer
and more searching than the “practical” and “useful” reactive relations
which we bear to our “phenomenal” objects--as if such experience were
unworthy the sacred name of knowledge--this, the prime aspiration
of the intuitional philosophy of Bergson, reduces to a futile, if
not a morbid, yearning after self-contradiction. The more you know a
thing “in itself,” the more you “internalize” your relation to it--in
short, the more you identify yourself with it--the less you bear any
significant relation to it at all, any relation, obviously, but that
of identity; the less, notably, you bear the active and cognitive
relations toward it. The indispensable condition of Paul’s knowing
Peter is that Paul should _not_ become Peter. Things can neither be
nor be conceived except in _some_ relations, any more than relations
without terms. If you know the thing in its relations, you know the
thing as much in itself as a thing is capable of _being_.

“You show,” writes Professor Bergson, in the letter quoted before,
“that perfect intuitive knowledge, as I mean it, would consist in
coincidence with the object known; but that then there would no longer
be knowledge of any object, since only the object remains.--Yet, in the
case of an entirely free action, _i. e._ an act in which the entire
person takes part, one is _altogether_ in what he is doing; one has,
at the same time, consciousness of what he is doing; and yet he is not
duplicated in observing his own activity, absorbed as he is in the act
itself: here to act and to know (or rather to possess) are one and the
same thing. Intelligence, always outside of what it observes, cannot
conceive of knowledge without distinctness of subject and object. It is
intelligence that propounds your dilemma: ‘Either there is knowledge
of the object, hence distinctness of object and subject; or subject
coincides with object, and then there is only object: knowledge
vanishes.’--But reality does not accept this dilemma. It presents us,
in the case cited, subject and object as a single indivisible reality,
action and knowledge of the action as a single indivisible reality, of
which intelligence _subsequently_ takes two points of view, that of
object and that of subject, that of action without knowledge and that
of pure knowledge. We have no right to set up these _points of view_ of
reality as _constitutive elements_ of reality itself.”

The last sentence accuses me of doing what I am most zealous to show is
the foundation fallacy of intuitionism! I have been contending that,
when Monsieur Bergson says that subjectivity cannot be objectified,
he is speaking as if “objectifying,” instead of meaning to take a
point of view, means to alter the reality symbolized by the word
“subjectivity.” (Of course the question concerns concrete cases of
subjectivity, the intuitionist contending that a given subjective state
cannot be objectified--_i. e._ named, defined, etc.) Now, this seems to
me precisely to “set up a point of view of reality as a constitutive
element of reality itself.” But intuitionism does even worse than this.
Having set up this point of view of reality, and treated it in this
concrete way, and worshipped it as the Absolute, it snubs that other
point of view, which, by the very nature of the genuinely concrete
reality, is coördinate with the deified abstraction, its brother and
peer. The object has “such reality as that of rest, which is the
negation of motion,” the absolute and positive; “yet it is not absolute

It seems to me that Bergson virtually admits the impossibility of
the coincidence of subject and object when he says that instinct and
intellect are neither possibly pure, which is deeply true. But then an
action “completely free” is only a limiting case, is it not?--a case
which would put the action out of relation and so out of activity? In a
certain obvious sense “the whole person takes part,” perhaps, in _any_
action; but I cannot imagine any action or state that could be other
than a relation between object and subject. I cannot see how perfect
self-expression in one’s act makes in any degree for obliteration
of ontological distinctness between agent and patient, subject and
object. How may action be conceived to dispense with reaction? How deny
its relational character, then, without denying its activity--in short,
without contradiction? “Perfect self-expression” distinguishes certain
acts, no doubt, but the distinction is ethical, denoting a teleological
harmony, not a metaphysical identity between subject and object.

To say that one _is_ completely one’s act and yet _knows_ his act again
confuses a relation with one of its terms. Is it merely a matter of
taste to choose to say that such a state--_i. e._ perfect absorption in
one’s act--is _not knowledge_ of the act just in so far as it is the
act? Is it not necessary to distinguish between the subject’s relation
to the act, on one hand, and to those things, on the other (which are
neither subject nor act) entering, together with the subject, into
the act? Those things, it seems to me, are the object, and the act
itself a relation between the subject and them, a relation which wears
a conscious as well as an active aspect, and which, as knowledge, is
knowledge of the things, not of the act, not of itself.




Logical soundness is never amiss, and is notably desirable in a
philosopher; but Professor Bergson is assuredly right in thinking
that it is no measure of a philosopher’s genius. One’s feeling about
the fallacies of Spinoza and Berkeley and Kant may pale almost into
indifference, in the enthusiasm of following such heroic feats of

But then, it would seem, their greatness is their _insight_, and not
their logic, and insight therefore, after all, is philosophical genius.

We have seen that this is Professor Bergson’s conclusion. It can be
interpreted in a sense that is valid, of course: all depends on the
meaning of “insight.” I have insisted sufficiently on the reasons why
I cannot think Professor Bergson’s interpretation of it is valid.
It is a case in which the etymological and the actual meaning of a
word, in a certain context, differ and so give rise to ambiguity. The
word “intuition,” etymologically, means just “insight.” But then it
means consciousness functioning most completely, least abstractly.
Now, Bergsonian “intuition” is a conception so far from concrete
completeness that almost the primary object of his philosophy
is the demarcation of intuition from any actual state of which
consciousness is normally capable. It is true that Bergson insists
that consciousness, in a supernormal effort, is capable of the purely
intuitive act, and that in the capacity for this feat of knowing
lies all the hope of metaphysics. This is the ground principle of
Bergsonism, and I have nothing to add here, concerning its merits. In
a word, its fallacy is the fallacy of reification. No such feat of
consciousness is possible, not because it is more than the limited
power of actual mind can compass, but because it is a contradiction,
since it is consciousness without object, which is consciousness of

The Bergsonian will object that, if Bergsonian “intuition” is
abstract, no less abstract is intellect; and, if philosophy is
insight,--consciousness most complete,--the thesis contrary to
intuitionism, that philosophy is intellectual judgment, is a case
of the same fallacy that has been charged to intuitionism, and is
inconsistent with the admission that philosophy is essentially an
insight which involves more than intellect.

The answer is first, that intellectualism, unlike intuitionism, regards
philosophy as indeed an abstract interest, and for that reason as not
separable from the living of a life which supports this interest in
a larger total interest; but, also for that reason, as not possibly
identical, either with life entire or with any interest, such as the
æsthetic, of like abstractness with philosophy. The answer to the
second part of the objection is that an insight which is more than
intellect is not for that reason without its intellectual aspect.
Consciousness is always significant, certainly; but if it has any
meaning, if it _is_ significant, it is, in that fact, intellectual.
And insight without meaning is a contradiction, and is assuredly not
philosophy. The appearance of inconsistency arises from the unconscious
identifying of insight with intuition in the falsely reified sense.
Insight in any such sense philosophy certainly is not. And yet the
intellectualist may properly attribute the greatness of a philosophy
to its insight rather than to its logical cogency, since cogent logic
may be dull and shallow and therefore not great. It is great if it is
far-seeing and deep. There is analytic insight, as well as intuitive.

After all is said, the feeling that even serious lapse of logic may not
be sufficient to destroy the value of a great philosophy is not the
same as the opinion that logic is immaterial to that value. No one, I
dare say,--intuitionist, intellectualist or anyone else--ever thought
this. The genius of a great philosophy is a superior perspicacity
in the recognition of the significance of problems, a superior
discernment of the problematic as such. “The earliest philosophers”
says Professor James,[151] “... were just men curious beyond immediate
practical needs, and no particular problems, but rather the problematic
generally, was their specialty.” But the perspicacity which sees
the meaning and bearings of a problem cannot fail to attack its
further interpretation with a superior freshness and originality.
And the interpretation of a problem, carried to the end, is its
only solution. Genius in philosophy thus also turns into superior
richness of suggestion in the solutions which it invents. Inasmuch as
the problem-putting and the problem-solving processes are continuous
with each other, and in this important sense one and the same thing,
it should be expected that philosophical genius would possess both
virtues, in any actual instance. And no doubt this is the historical
fact. On any view it is suggestiveness, fertility, which is the measure
of philosophical genius. And it seems to the intellectualist that
the possibility of philosophical fertility depends on a discursive,
intellectual co-implication of the parts of the realm of truth.

But although these two phases of philosophical genius--the
problem-putting and the problem-solving phases--have so intimate
a relation with each other, they can and do appear in different
emphases in different philosophers. The emphasis in any particular
case is undoubtedly determined in part from without, notably by
the philosopher’s epochal relations. Thales is greater, as well as
more momentous historically, in his _quest_ of an ἀρχή than in the
consummation of the quest. With Hegel’s material to work upon, the
emphasis in Thales’ genius would have been proportionately modified.
And if Bergson has not, like Thales, unearthed new problems, that is
nothing, for the question of the value of his work.

Indeed, the historical momentousness of a philosophy is quite largely
independent of its intrinsic merit in either of these senses, or in
any sense. Conditions which contribute to the vogue and influence of a
philosophy are many, some obvious enough, others more recondite. The
question of historical momentousness is thus only partly germane to an
estimate of a philosophy’s own intrinsic worth; and, in the case of a
contemporary philosophy, is in the nature of things (while the history
is yet to be made) an almost unmitigated speculation. Such speculation
regarding Bergson is no part of the present purpose.

One word more--before undertaking to appraise the genius of Bergson--as
to the motive of such an undertaking in this particular essay. It is
no part of the primary object of the essay. That object is the very
impersonal one of understanding his doctrine. If logical fallacies
are in any sense or degree irrelevant to the value of a philosophy,
it is nevertheless a method of studying a philosophical work which is
not without its value, to square it with logical principles. When
the philosophy under criticism is already a classic, the omission of
appreciative comment needs no apology, just because the merit of the
work is beyond dispute. On Platonism and on Kantism much valuable
light has been thrown in this severe way. In studies so occupied,
disquisition on the immortal inspiration of the vision bequeathed to
mankind in syllogisms which sometimes halt would not have enhanced the
value of the study.

When our philosopher is a contemporary, the case is different in that
then personal predilection and prejudice are without the regulation
imposed by historical perspective; and injustice, even negative
or privative, either to the living philosopher or to his living
antagonists, has a certain human import of which the conditions are
removed with mere temporal remoteness of the subject of study, when
history has placed him in a setting which includes an “after” as well
as a “before.”

       *       *       *       *       *

Professor A. D. Lindsay has pointed out[152] that, in one important
respect, Bergson’s genius is of the Kantian kind. It is capacity
for such interpretation of old problems that they become veritably
renewed. “It is a great and essential proof of cleverness or insight,”
said Kant, “to know how to ask reasonable questions.” Now, comments
Professor Lindsay (without suggesting any comparison in importance
between Kant and Bergson), there is this resemblance between them,
that much of the interest of Bergson’s work, as of Kant’s, consists
in statement and exposition of antinomies in philosophy. Like Kant’s,
Bergson’s philosophy is interesting because it is a new method, and, in
the same sense as Kant’s, is a critical philosophy, for it consists in
finding the main source of previous difficulties in uncriticized false

Such criticism of the question (“interpretation of the problem” I
called it above) is just the proper business of the philosopher. For,
every question is also an unconditional assertion. Falseness in this
implied assertion is a case of the fallacy of “many questions,” which,
accordingly, may be regarded as the philosopher’s first concern.

Bergson is a philosopher preeminently in this sense. He is a
philosopher also (in spite of the cavalier denial of Sir. E. Ray
Lankester)[153] in that he is a man with an articulate conviction
concerning the nature of being and of knowledge. In the aspersion
of Bergson’s thought by the above writer and by Mr. Hugh S. R.
Elliot,[154] there is a rancour which, in spite of much valid criticism
in detail, produces an impression of ill-regulated prejudice.

This impression is no more than fairly counterbalanced by the contrary
enthusiasm of such whole-souled votaries of Bergsonism as Edouard
LeRoy, William James and H. Wildon Carr.

“There is a thinker,” writes M. LeRoy, “who is deemed by acknowledged
philosophers worthy of comparison with the greatest.... Beyond any
doubt, and by common consent, Mr. Henri Bergson’s work will appear to
future eyes among the most characteristic, fertile and glorious of our
era. It marks a never-to-be-forgotten date in history; it opens up a
phase of metaphysical thought, it lays down a principle of development
the limits of which are indeterminable; and it is after cool
consideration, with full consciousness of the exact value of words,
that we are able to pronounce the revolution which it effects equal in
importance to that effected by Kant, or even by Socrates.”[155] It is
a “profoundly original doctrine.” And of endless fertility: “There is
no doctrine ... which is more open, and none which ... lends itself to
further extension.” Again: “... a doctrine which admits of infinite
development ... a work of such profound thought that the least passing
example employed takes its place as a particular study.”[156] And so on
_ad libitum_.

These are the glowing words of an ardent disciple (even though not a
pupil) and may be expected to be not, after all, altogether regulated
by a “full consciousness of the exact value of words.” Such phrases
as “worthy of comparison with the greatest,” “beyond any doubt,” “by
common consent,” are pleasantly vague, and should not offend any
judgment that is not literal in season and out of season. As to the
Bergsonian “revolution,” it should offend no one at all who can put up
with an expression of purely speculative relish. So far, on the other
hand, as this revolution is accomplished fact in the prime of our
philosopher’s middle age, the mention of Socrates and Kant does savour
of the ornate!

Bergson is at least preeminent over all other living philosophers as
the expression of a very revolutionary _Zeitgeist_. The generation
of Taine and Renan (LeRoy goes on to say) was characterized by the
positivistic presumption that any object whatever could be ‘inserted in
the thread of one and the same unbroken connection.’ But rationalistic
arrogance has never failed to arouse an answering voice of protest and
dissent; and of our own generation such anti-intellectualism is one
of the controlling ideas. It is primarily the reactionary conviction
that the analytic method of philosophy is abstract and empty. It is,
says LeRoy, a demand for “_complete_ experience, anxious to neglect
no aspect of being nor any resource of mind.” “Everything is regarded
from the point of view of life, and there is a tendency more and more
to recognize the primacy of spiritual activity.” “That the attitude
and fundamental procedure of this new spirit are in no way a return to
skepticism or a reaction against thought cannot be better demonstrated
than by this resurrection of metaphysics, this renaissance of idealism,
which is certainly one of the most distinctive features of our epoch.”
“But ... we wish to think with the whole of thought, and go to the
truth with the whole of our soul ... And what is that, really, but
realism? By realism I mean the gift of ourselves to reality, the work
of concrete realization ... to live what we think and think what we
live. But that is positivism, you will say; certainly it is positivism.
But how changed! For, from considering as positive only that which can
be an object of sensation or calculation, we begin by treating the
great spiritual realities with this title.”

“A new philosophy was required to answer this new way of looking at
things. Already, in 1867, Ravaisson, in his celebrated _Report_, wrote
these prophetic lines: ‘Many signs permit us to forsee in the near
future a philosophical epoch of which the general character will be the
predominance of what may be called spiritualist realism or positivism,
having as generating principle the consciousness which the mind has in
itself of an existence recognized as being the source and support of
every other existence, being none other than its action.’

“... What Ravaisson had only anticipated, Mr. Bergson himself
accomplishes, with a precision which gives body to the impalpable and
floating breath of first inspiration, with a depth which renews both
proof and theses alike, with a creative originality which prevents the
critic who is anxious for justice and precision from insisting on any
researches establishing connection of thought.”

“... Mr. Bergson has contributed more than anyone else to awaken
the very tendencies of the _milieu_ in which his new philosophy
is produced, to determine them and make them become conscious of

In the new and significant relation which LeRoy and others find in
Bergson to motives of thought so distinct as idealism, realism, and
positivism, he is a writer of the fertility of genius; in the skill of
his transfusion of these motives into a type of conception underlying a
very deep and widely extended tendency of the age, he is the foremost
expression of that tendency. In a very limited way, only, can such
enthusiasm as LeRoy’s, in a mind of his excellent discernment, be
reasonably discounted. Trimmed of all its abounding fervours its
fighting weight is still sufficiently impressive: how resonant to
motives and convictions of actually controlling interest that mind
must be which can elicit such response, needs no better proof than the
response itself. No one else is so well attuned as Bergson to that
demand for complete experience which, if anything, is the spirit of
our time. No one else has carried so far in theory the possibilities
of an intense instinctive living, as the answer to the riddle of the
universe. What can be said for instinct as an organ of philosophy,
Bergson has said.

All philosophers of immediacy hold Bergson as chief. Carr, like LeRoy,
thinks Bergson’s doctrine as momentously original as those of the
greatest classics. “Great scientific discoveries,” he writes,[158] “are
often so simple that the greatest wonder about them is that humanity
has had to wait so long for them.” Thus with Berkeley’s “_esse est
percipi_” and Kant’s autonomy of the intellectual categories. And
equally so with Bergson’s interpretation of reality as life, “living
creative evolution,” as distinct both from solid matter and thinking

James, while others find quite determinate differences between him
and Bergson, was far less cognizant, himself, of differences than of
agreement. He was one of the keenest of Bergsonians, and regarded
himself, certainly with a great deal of genial modesty, as a follower,
a disciple. “... if I had not read Bergson,” he says,[159] “I should
probably still be blackening endless pages of paper privately, in
the hope of making ends meet that were never meant to meet ... It
is certain that without the confidence which being able to lean
on Bergson’s authority gives me, I should never have ventured to
urge these particular views of mine ... In my opinion he has killed
intellectualism definitively and without hope of recovery.”

       *       *       *       *       *

The quantity and quality of the study of Bergson’s problems by others,
which his own treatment of them has stimulated, is already an enviable
monument to that best quality of philosophic genius in his work, its
fertility of suggestion. Speaking, as the present writer must, from
the point of view of critical reaction, the value of Bergson is indeed
incalculable. This is no conventional phrase. His theoretical opponent
is almost inclined to feel that the stimulus which Bergson’s lucid
exposition affords, to a mind of contrary conviction, to understand
itself, must be a more precious good even than the quickening which his
followers so eloquently confess.

The fact is that this eloquence is always more than eloquence; it
is a fervour almost like religious fervour. Witness the words just
quoted from James. Every true Bergsonian testifies in the same tone.
Thus LeRoy:[160] “Mr. Bergson’s readers will undergo at almost every
page they read an intense and singular experience. The curtain drawn
between ourselves and reality, enveloping everything, including
ourselves, in its illusive folds, seems of a sudden to fall, dissipated
by enchantment, and display to the mind depths of light till then
undreamt, in which reality itself, contemplated face to face for the
first time, stands fully revealed. The revelation is overpowering, and,
once vouchsafed, will never afterwards be forgotten.

“Nothing can convey to the reader the effects of this direct and
intimate mental vision. Everything which he thought he knew already
finds new birth and vigor in the clear light of morning; on all hands,
in the glow of dawn, new intuitions spring up and open out; we feel
them big with infinite consequences, heavy and saturated with life.
Each of them is no sooner blown than it appears fertile forever. And
yet there is nothing paradoxical or disturbing in the novelty. It is a
reply to our expectation, an answer to some dim hope....

“... whether, in the long run, we each of us give or refuse complete
or partial adhesion, all of us at least have received a regenerating
shock, an internal upheaval ... henceforth a new leaven works and
ferments in us; we shall no longer think as we used to think.” As for
the attitude of mind proper to bring to the reading of Bergson, “where
the end is to understand rather than to judge, criticism ought to take
second place. It is more profitable to attempt to feel oneself into the
heart of the teaching, to relive its genesis, to perceive the principle
of organic unity, to come at the mainspring. Let our reading be a
course of meditation which we live.”

And Gaston Rageot: “... the reading of a work of Bergson’s requires at
the very beginning a sort of inner catastrophe; not everyone is capable
of such a logical revolution.”[161] A little further on he speaks of
this preparation of the mind to receive the Bergsonian doctrine as
“_cette volte-face psychologique_.”

Conversion to Bergsonism, indeed, suggests religious conversion.
Compare James’ words with the above. “... if, as Bergson shows, [the
conceptual or discursive form of reality] cannot even pretend to reveal
anything of what life’s inner nature is or ought to be; why, then we
can turn a deaf ear to its accusations. The resolve to turn the deaf
ear is the inner crisis or ‘catastrophe’ of which [M. Rageot] spoke
... [This] comes very hard. It is putting off our proud maturity of
mind and becoming again as foolish little children in the eyes of
reason. But difficult as such a revolution is, there is no other way, I
believe, to the possession of reality.”[162]

Is not this experience very suggestive of the “regeneration” of
Christianity? I think it is, indeed; and I think this fact is
suggestive of the essential nature of Bergsonism. One may turn a deaf
ear to reason, one may execute a _volte-face psychologique_; but,
whatever the rewards, it seems unlikely (to the unregenerate, of
course!) that among them will be included a better comprehension of the
_meaning_ of reality.


[92] _Creative Evolution_ p. 176. I have italicized “reflecting” and
“object” to indicate the contradiction of “instinct.” And since, for
Bergson, intuition is philosophic consciousness, this reflectiveness
which he imputes to it is no accident, no inadvertence. Intuition must,
indeed, in order to be philosophic, be reflective; that is to say, it
must absolutely contradict its own nature. (In all of the references
to Bergson’s works, the pages mentioned are those of the English

[93] See especially _Creative Evolution_, pp. 191-2 and 266.

[94] Cf. R. B. Perry’s _Present Philosophical Tendencies_, the first
two sections of Chapter XI.

[95] J. W. Scott, _Pessimism of Bergson, Hibbert Journal_. XI. 90-116.
See also below p. 94.

[96] _Creative Evolution_, p. xi.

[97] _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and Scientific Methods._ Volume
V. No. 22

[98] Cf. the second sentence of the present essay.

[99] _Henri Bergson: The Philosophy of Change_, p. 14.

[100] This title has been given to the English translation of the
_Essai sur les donnes_, etc.

[101] Possibly this representation of Leibniz’s thought requires a
word of explanation. Leibniz expresses the nature of reality in terms
of force, on one hand, and of consciousness on the other. The monad or
elemental reality is a unit of perception and also a unit of force.
It is a living unit; as in Bergsonism, reality is life, though life
in Leibniz’s philosophy is ultimately plural instead of a simple
impetus. It is true that will is not a characteristic Leibnizian term,
but existence is always, I think, conceived by him very clearly as
_conation_. The self-realization of the monad is at the same time an
intensification of its perceptiveness and of its dynamic. Cf. the
following passages from Rogers’ _Student’s History of Philosophy_,
pp. 307-8: “Leibniz was led by various motives to substitute, for
extension, _power of resistance_, as the essential quality of
matter.... But when, instead of extension, we characterize matter as
_force_, a means of connection [between matter and mind] is opened up.
For force has its analogue in the conscious life; corresponding to the
activity of matter is conscious activity or will. Indeed, are there any
positive terms in which we can describe the nature of force, unless we
conceive it as identical with that conscious activity which we know
directly in ourselves?” This activity, then, “Is at bottom, when we
interpret it, a spiritual or perceptual activity.” In short, it is will.

Leibniz is properly regarded as the first modern spiritualist.
Leibnizian matter is real, if you like, but then it is continuous, and
of essentially identical nature, with spirit. Matter is spirit in a
low stage of development. Bergson has no such clear and unambiguous
conception of matter as this, when you consider the whole or his
doctrine; but there are passages in Bergson which might almost have
been written by Leibniz himself. For instance: ... “if, in fact, the
humblest function of spirit is to bind together the successive moments
of the duration of things, if it is by this that it comes into contact
with matter and by this also that it is first of all distinguished from
matter, we can conceive an infinite number of degrees between matter
and fully developed spirit--a spirit capable of action which is not
only undetermined, but also reasonable and reflective.” (_Matter and
Memory_, pp. 295-6.)

[102] There is a good discussion of this point in an article reviewing
the _Essai_, by L. Levy-Bruhl, in the _Revue Philosophique_, Vol. XXIX
(1890), pp. 513-538.

[103] Cf. below, pp. 57, 58.

[104] Pages 72, 73, 97. Professor Perry’s analysis of the conception of
immediacy (_Present Philosophical Tendencies_, Chapter X) has a result
that is similar in principle to the above.

[105] _Op. cit._, p. 525.

[106] _Time and Free Will_, pp. 118-119.

[107] But Bergson apparently does not see that even the word
“interpenetrate” falls to express anything radically different
in temporal “multiplicity” from a certain character of spatial
multiplicity. Cf. pp. 62, 101. In this, as in all its argument,
intuitionism arguing is inevitably intuitionism contradicting itself.
It is ineffable philosophy (see _Journal of Philosophy, Psychology and
Scientific Methods_, Vol. IV, p. 123.)

[108] The living ego is a fact-in-the-accomplishing. You cannot really
discourse about it! If psychology ever seems to manage this (and if
this present book of Bergson’s seems to manage it), the ego discoursed
about is, in that fact, proven to be not the concrete and living ego at
all, but the impersonal and objective one.

[109] The attitude, that is, of intuition, which we have called the
temporal attitude. The terms “spatial,” “logical,” “conceptual,”
applied here so often to the word “thought,” are epithets of thought
generally. There is no thought, in any meaning of the word more
specific than “consciousness,” that is not logical, conceptual and
spatial in this Bergsonian sense.

If we cannot conceptualize our psychic facts, we cannot think them,
then--the meaning is the same. But if we say that anything (which we
name and, in the saying, define and think) is unnamable, indefinable
and cannot be thought, we contradict ourselves. The doctrine, if true,
must mean something that is not a self-contradiction. Does it mean
that what we name and discourse about is only the spatialized symbol
of the psychic fact? There can be little doubt. I think, that this is
Bergson’s meaning; but then the psychic fact is of such a nature as
to be symbolized; and the distinction between a symbol and a name, by
virtue of which a thing which can be symbolized may not be namable,
requires explanation.

[110] _Present Philosophical Tendencies_, pp. 232-4.

[111] Pp. 42, 43. Cf. also below, p. 93.

[112] _Op. cit._, p. 128.

[113] _Time and Free Will_, p. 98.

[114] _Time and Free Will_, p. 113.

[115] Cf. above, p. 58.

[116] In order to give any meaning to the term “compenetrating”
or “interpenetration” (which I take to be mutually equivalent, in
Bergson’s use), I am compelled to interpret them as synonymous with
the “compactness” of a continuum--as synonymous. In fact, with
“continuity.” Bergson does not make clear how these terms can mean
anything else (cf. below, p. 101.)

[117] Bergson himself, of course, is perfectly aware--_in other
connections_--of the continuity of space!

[118] _Creative Evolution_, p. 1.

[119] _Ibid._, p. 4.

[120] _Ibid._, p. 208.

[121] _Ibid._, p. 248.

[122] _Ibid._, p. 247.

[123] _Jour. Phil. Psy. and Sci. Meth._, Vol. V, No. 22.

[124] _Creative Evolution_, p. 251.

[125] _Ibid._, p. 269.

[126] Cf. Perry’s comment, _Present Philosophical Tendencies_, p. 235.

[127] _Creative Evolution_, p. 175.

[128] _Ibid._, p. 144.

[129] _Ibid._, pp. 176, 177.

[130] _Matter and Memory_, pp. 6, 7.

[131] _Ibid._, p. 8.

[132] _Ibid._, p. 10.

[133] Hugh S. R. Elliot’s _Modern Science and the Illusions of
Professor Bergson_, pp. 98 ff.

[134] _Une theorie nouvelle de la liberte (Les donnees immediates)_, in
the _Revue Philosophique_, Vol. XXIX (1890), pp. 361-392.

[135] _Op. cit._, p. 368.

[136] The feeling of guilt, and, so, of responsibility and freedom, can
be crushing in dreams, as anyone knows who is given to appearing in
dream public indecently clothed, or not clothed at all.

[137] _Time and Free Will_, p. 158.

[138] _Matter and Memory_, p. x: also an article entitled _Le
paralogisme psycho-physiologique_ in the _Revue de Metaphysique et
de Morale_, Vol. XII (1904), pp. 895-908. This article is also in
the _Rapports et comptes rendus du deuxieme congres international de
philosophie_, 1905, Part I.

[139] The causal relation between mental and cerebral states--_i. e._
interaction--would be an alternative “condition of freedom;” but this
relation is included in Bergson’s denial of any sort of correspondence
or equivalence (such as the quantitative equivalence of causation)
between states of brain and states of mind.

[140] _Time and Free Will_, p. 34.

[141] _Ibid._, p. 172.

[142] _Ibid._, p. 208.

[143] _Ibid._, p. 215.

[144] _Time and Free Will_, p. 83.

[145] _Present Philosophical Tendencies_, Chapter X, section 6.

[146] _A Pluralistic Universe_, p. 236. Quoted from Professor Perry’s
work, named above.

[147] _Creative Evolution_, p. 3.

[148] The analogy holds even in the oppositeness of direction in which
the evanishment, in the limiting cases, occurs (cf. above, pp. 72, 80).

[149] Cf. Perry’s analysis of subjective privacy, in Chapter XII of
_Present Philosophical Tendencies_.

[150] _Time and Free Will_, p. 88.

[151] _Some Problems of Philosophy_, p. 10.

[152] _The Philosophy of Bergson_, pp. 1, 2, 3.

[153] _Modern Science and the Illusions of Professor Bergson_, pp. vii,

[154] _Op. cit., passim._

[155] _The New Philosophy of Henri Bergson_, pp. 1 and 2.

[156] _Ibid._, pp. 120, 230.

[157] _Op. cit._, pp. 128 ff.

[158] _Henri Bergson: The Philosophy of Change_, p. 12.

[159] _A Pluralistic Universe_, pp. 214, 215.

[160] _Op. cit._, pp. 3, 4, 5, 6.

[161] _Revue Philosophique_, Ann. 32, No. 7 (July 1907), p. 85.

[162] _Op. cit._, pp. 272-3.


  _Vol. I_          _May 15, 1914_          _No. 3_




  _Instructor in Mansfield College, Mansfield, Louisiana_


  To G. A. L.



This paper has been prepared with the understanding that while much has
been printed concerning a few individual art poems of Browning, such as
_Abt Vogler_, _Andrea del Sarto_ and _Fra Lippo Lippi_, no complete,
systematic survey of the place of Italian art in Browning’s text has
appeared; and in the belief that such a survey might be worth while.

Much of Browning’s treatment of art is of course omitted in the
discussion; for he introduces art data from other countries than Italy,
and has much to say of the nature and purpose of art in general.

Within the limits chosen, the purpose has been to make a practically
complete survey for each of the five fine arts, sculpture, music,
poetry, architecture and painting, in the order here given. The attempt
has also been made, based on data from letters and biographies, to
trace to some extent the chronological perspective of Browning’s
interest in the individual arts, and to indicate the apparent sources
of that interest. Chapter VII deals with “comparative aesthetics”
(within the limits of our title), the poetic values Browning finds in
the arts, the causes determining the relative emphasis upon each art,
and the relations of these data to Browning’s dominant concern as a
poet--human personality.

That the study has been brought to its present form is due, in part,
to help and encouragement given by Professor S. L. Whitcomb. The
manuscript has been carefully read by Professor D. L. Patterson and
Professor Margaret Lynn. The former has given valuable suggestions
concerning the historical aspects of the paper, and the latter,
helpful criticism based on her special knowledge of Browning’s text.
To these three instructors in the University of Kansas, and to all
others who have given assistance, including fellow students, a grateful
acknowledgement of indebtedness is here made.

                                PEARL HOGREFE.
  Mansfield, Louisiana,
    May 1, 1914.


  Browning’s General Interest in Art.

     I. Subject Matter of Browning’s Poems                      9
    II. Interest in Music                                      10
   III. Relation to Painting                                   10
    IV. Relation to Sculpture                                  12
     V. Significance of the Preceding Sections                 12
    VI. Time Spent in Italy                                    13
   VII. English Knowledge of Italian Art in Browning’s Time    13
  VIII. Non-English Themes and Settings in General             14
    IX. A Quantitative Statement                               14

  Italian Sculpture in the Poems of Browning.

     I. General Statement                                      15
    II. Historical Scope                                       16
   III. Poetic Functions of the References to Sculpture        17
    IV. Source of Browning’s Knowledge                         22

   Italian Music in the Poems of Browning.

     I. General Statement                                      23
    II. Catholic Hymns                                         23
   III. Poetic Functions of the References to Music            24
    IV. Lack of Modern Italian References                      26
     V. Conformity to Facts                                    27
    VI. Source of Browning’s Knowledge                         27

   Italian Poetry in the Poems of Browning.

     I. General Statement                                      29
    II. Predominance in Early Poems                            29
   III. Sordello                                               30
    IV. The Imaginary Poets                                    30
     V. The Italian as the Type of Failure                     31
    VI. Italian Men of Letters: Dante                          32
   VII. Other Real Writers                                     33
  VIII. Browning’s Knowledge of Italian Literature             33
    IX. Browning’s Interest in Italian Literature              34

   Italian Architecture in the Poems of Browning.

     I. General Statement                                      35
    II. Source of Browning’s Knowledge                         36
   III. Importance of Architecture in the Poems                37
    IV. Comparison with Other Writers                          38
     V. Architecture and Personality                           39

   Italian Painting in the Poems of Browning.

     I. General Statement                                      40
    II. Extent of Browning’s Knowledge                         40
   III. Irregular Distribution of References                   41
    IV. Sources of the Poems                                   42
     V. Poetic Functions of the References to Painting         44
    VI. Conformity to History                                  47

   General Comparisons: Browning and the Fine Arts of Italy.

     I. Poetic Function and Method                             48
    II. Amount of Material Used from Each of the Fine Arts     49
   III. Personality and the Arts                               52
    IV. Browning as the Poet of Humanity                       54


     I. Poems Containing Reference to Italian Art              55
    II. Tabulation of References to Individual Arts:
          Sculpture                                            56
          Music                                                58
          Poetry                                               60
          Architecture                                         61
          Painting                                             66

  Index                                                        75



concerning the subjects of Browning’s poetry are: the comparative
insignificance of nature, the extensive treatment of art, and the
predominance of the human soul. Only a few poems contain any extended
reference to nature; and where such reference is found, nature is
usually treated, as in _By the Fireside_, for its effect on human
beings, and the soul still remains the dominant subject. Nature for
its own sake is never a supreme concern. It is never considered as
a primary moral force, akin to a personality, as in Wordsworth. The
loveliness of nature is never personified for the sake of its own
sensuous beauty, as in Keats or Shelley. _Pauline_, a youthful effort
of which Browning later became ashamed, was written under the influence
of Shelley, and approaches the style of that poet in the prominence
and beauty of its nature descriptions; but no such examples of pure
nature descriptions are found in Browning’s mature work. Several
of the well-known longer poems--_Pippa Passes_, _Christmas-Eve and
Easter-Day_, _The Flight of the Duchess_, for example--as well as
other shorter lyrical poems, contain the nature element; but it is
comparatively slight, and usually introduced for harmony, for contrast,
or to give a mere unshaded background for the characters.

Concerning the predominance of the soul in Browning, every critic of
the poet has written. It does not seem necessary to repeat any of this
familiar criticism here. However, the emphasis placed upon personality
and the soul does have a bearing on the discussion of Italian arts and
artists as found in Browning. For personality is the dominant factor
behind Browning’s selection and treatment of the Italian arts. Those
arts in which personality is strongest he uses most. The poems having
some one of the arts as a main theme usually had their origin in an
interest aroused by some unique personality. Some further discussions
of the relations of art and personality will be found in each of the
five following chapters devoted to the individual arts; and more
extended discussion is given in the general summary of Chapter VII.

Concerning Browning’s treatment of art, numerous articles have been
written; but they are limited for the most part to consideration
of one art or one poem. Browning, however, is the poet not of any
one art but of art in general and of all the arts. Throughout life
he was interested in more than one art and in spite of the seeming
improbability of his ever having had serious doubts on the subject, it
is stated[163] that he was long undecided whether to become a poet,
a musician, or a painter. He might, says his biographer, have become
an artist and perhaps a great one, because of his brilliant general
ability and his special gifts.

II. INTEREST IN MUSIC.--As a child, Browning received a musical
education and became a pianist of some ability. His appreciation of
music was further cultivated, during his young manhood, by attendance
at the best concerts and operas which London afforded. Beethoven seems
to be the composer mentioned most frequently in biographical sketches
and in his letters, a fact which may indicate his preference in music.
During the latter years of his married life, according to letters by
Mrs. Browning, he took charge of the musical education given to their
son, Wiedemann. So far as appreciation of Italian music and attendance
at concerts in Italy are concerned, he seems to have been little
interested. But again in the years following 1873, while Browning was
in London, he was in frequent attendance at musical concerts. His
interest in music, then, was no intermittent fancy. It was constant and
above the average. If any further proof of his interest in music were
needed, it is found in the influence of that interest upon his poems;
for they show a finer appreciation of music and a greater knowledge of
its technique than those of any other writer.

III. RELATION TO PAINTING.--A knowledge of painting and a liking for
it as well, were cultivated in Browning’s earliest years, through the
medium of the Dulwich Gallery. Though it is probably impossible to
trace the exact influence of this gallery on his writings, it may be
suggested as the source of references to Italian art before his visits
to Italy, and as the original stimulus of his interest in the subject.
At least, the Dulwich Gallery was only a pleasant walk from his home,
and there his father constantly took him.[164] There “he became
familiar with the names of the great painters and learned something
about their works. Later he became a familiar figure in one or two
London studios.”

Whatever the cause of a certain decline of interest in painting
previous to 1841 may have been, that decline was of short duration.
Probably it was due to the increasing attention he was giving to
poetry as a serious occupation. When he began to feel himself better
established in his poetical career, he returned to his interest in the
sister art. A letter which he wrote to Miss Haworth (probably in 1841)
says that he is coming to love painting again as he did once in earlier
years. In the same letter he speaks of his early efforts at the age of
two years and three months, and characterizes himself as a wonderful
painter in his childhood; but he adds, “as eleven out of every twelve
of us are.” Such a remark, while it shows an early interest in art, and
indicates that his fond relatives may have considered him a youthful
prodigy in art, as fond relatives have a habit of doing on slight
premises, implies that he himself did not consider his artistic ability

Browning’s interest in painting, as well as in sculpture, was retained
throughout his life. On September 19, 1846, Mr. and Mrs. Robert
Browning set sail for Italy; and from that time on, the wife’s letters
are full of references to her husband’s interest in art. In a letter
from Pisa dated November 5, 1846, she says she means to know something
of pictures; for Robert does, and he will open her eyes for her.
Here at Pisa, she continues, the first steps in art, for her, are
to be taken. A letter dated October 1, 1847, mentions their friend,
Mr. Powers, the American sculptor. Mr. Story, another sculptor; Mr.
Kirkup, the art connoisseur; Fredrick Leighton; a French sculptress
named Mme. de Fauveau; Gibson; Page; a Mr. Fisher, who was painting the
portraits of Mr. Browning and Wiedemann; Mr. Wilde, an American artist;
and Harriet Hosmer--all these artists are named as acquaintances of
the literary Brownings who were stay-at-home people in Florence. Many
letters also mention trips to certain places where individual pictures
were seen, such as “a divine picture of Guercino” (August 1848),
Domenichino’s “David” at Fano (August, 1848), and the works of Guido
Reni, Da Vinci, the Carracci, and Correggio.

Although Browning never had a course of thorough instruction in art,
he gave some attention to drawing during the reaction from literary
work that followed the publication of _Men and Women_, in 1855. A
letter from Mrs. Browning to her old friend, Mrs. Jameson, dated May 2,
1856, gives the story. After thirteen days application on the part of
her husband, she tells us, he produced some really astonishingly good
copies of heads, though his purpose was only to fill in the pause in
his literary career. Then Mrs. Browning adds: “And really, with all his
feeling and knowledge of art, some of the mechanical trick of it can
not be out of place.”

IV. RELATION TO SCULPTURE.--A similar though less conspicuous interest
in sculpture[165] was maintained through Browning’s entire career. The
first mention of it in either letters or poems is found in a letter of
1838, to Miss Haworth, in which the statement concerning Canova implies
disappointment and previous expectation. _Sordello_, 1840, contains the
first reference found in a poem; and from that time on, some references
are found with a considerable degree of regularity in both poems and
letters. While the interest was not great compared with that taken in
painting, it was fairly continuous. No mention of Italian sculpture is
found in the poems of Browning after the publication of _The Ring and
the Book_, in 1868-9; though references to the art of Greece, the great
home of sculpture, occur frequently.

In 1860, a letter from Mrs. Browning says that her husband has begun
modeling under the direction of Mr. Story at his studio. She speaks of
his progress, of his turning his studies in anatomy to account, and of
the fact that he had already copied two busts--those of young Augustus,
and of Psyche. At this time he was working six hours a day at modeling.
“His habit,” says Mrs. Browning, “was to work by fits and starts”; and
as in the case of drawing, he had undertaken work in sculpture until
his mind should be ready again for poetical work.

showing an appreciation of the arts are found in the biographies and
letters of the Brownings. Of these, some details will be mentioned
later, in connection with the treatment of each separate art. Only such
facts have been noted here as tend to establish the basis on which our
discussion is built--namely, that Browning had a great and continuous
interest in the fine arts and that it is only reasonable to expect a
considerable amount of knowledge and appreciation of them to appear in
his writings. Our final conclusions will concern _personality_ as the
source of Browning’s interest in the arts.

VI. TIME SPENT IN ITALY.--The amount of time spent by Robert Browning
in Italy is a further reason for expecting Italian art themes in his
writings. In 1838, at the age of twenty-six, he made his first trip to
Italy; and in 1844 he was again there, from August or September until
December. In 1846, Robert and Elizabeth Barrett Browning went to Italy
to live, and excepting intervals for trips to France and England, were
there until the death of the latter in 1861. For several years after
this, Browning spent most of his time in England. In 1878, however, he
returned to Northern Italy; and of his eleven remaining years, seven
autumns were spent in Venice, until his death there in 1889.

the fact that Browning spent so much time in Italy, the space given
to Italian art in his poems is remarkable because so little was known
of that subject in England at that time. Vasari’s rambling, gossipy,
and sometimes inaccurate biographies may have been known in England at
this time. Even if so, Browning, at least, seems not to have become
acquainted with them until the years of his residence in Italy; for a
letter written in 1847 by Mrs. Browning to Horne, says that they are
engaged in reading Vasari.

During the nineteenth century, the history of art began to assume a
more important place as a distinct branch of general history. The
century was well advanced, however, when the first complete work in
this subject appeared--Kugler’s _Handbook of the History of Art_.
It was not translated from the German until 1855, when the part
referring to Italy was published in an English translation by Sir
Charles Eastlake. (Many of Browning’s best art poems were published
in 1855, and some of them previous to that time.) Taking this work
as the beginning of modern treatment of art history, and noting the
fact that the next work of importance referring to Italian art
alone and treating it from the historical standpoint was published
by Crowe and Cavalcaselle in 1876, it is evident that nothing like
the present general knowledge of it could have existed in England in
Browning’s time. Certainly this makes his treatment of art history,
particularly the facility with which he presents the tendencies of
different periods, more remarkable than similar attainment would be in
more recent times. Even with the added knowledge resulting from recent
investigations, no other writer has been able to produce such perfect
poems of the musician or the painter as Browning has built about Fra
Lippo Lippi, or the Italian by adoption, Abt Vogler.[166]

element is only one result, though a very significant result, of a
general tendency on the part of Browning to choose poetic subjects of
non-English character. From the Orient,[167] from Greece,[168] from
France,[169] from any region, in fact, which pleased his fancy, however
remote, he levied his contributions. With this general non-English
tendency, it is not surprising that in Italy, where he spent so much
time, he found material for every sort of poem from _Fra Lippo Lippi_
to _Luria_ and _The Ring and the Book_, and that he should shape his
material into poems with much of the atmosphere of Italy, the home of
the arts.

IX. A QUANTITATIVE STATEMENT.--As a matter of fact, the supposition
that Browning’s poetry embodies a large amount of Italian art reference
is correct. Forty-nine poems out of two hundred and twenty-two, or more
than one-fifth of the entire number, have some mention of one or more
of the arts or artists of Italy, while other poems deal with the arts
of other nations or with a general comparison of the arts.



I. GENERAL STATEMENT.--While forty-nine out of a total of two hundred
twenty-two poems by Robert Browning refer to some one of the five fine
arts--sculpture, music, poetry, architecture, and painting--only eight
mention sculpture; and the references in these poems are comparatively
insignificant. No one poem deals with sculpture as a theme, nor does
any sculptor express his views of the art in dramatic monologue, as
Abt Vogler does for music, and Fra Lippo Lippi for painting. Reasons
for the preponderance of the other arts will be discussed later, in
connection with further suggestions concerning personality and its
relations to art in Browning’s poetry.

It is often difficult to estimate separately Browning’s treatment of
sculpture and painting, since he discusses the two arts together in
several of his poems (for example, _Old Pictures in Florence_) and
since many important Italian artists were both painters and sculptors.
However, the predominant art of the man in question, or the art which
Browning emphasizes most in connection with him, has been taken as
a basis for classification. Estimating in this manner, one finds
that the poet refers, in the eight poems, to seven artists--Niccolo
Pisano and Giovanni Pisano, Canova, Ghiberti, Giovanni da Bologna,
Baccio Bandinelli and Bernini--all of historical interest. Claus
of Innsbruck (in _My Last Duchess_), and Jules (in _Pippa Passes_)
with his companion art students, are purely imaginary. Reference is
made to seven historical works of sculpture: the Psiche-fanciulla
and Pietà of Canova, the statue of Duke Ferdinand, John of the
Black Bands, Pasquin’s statue, the Fountain of the Tritons, and the
Bocca-dell’-Verità. Three fictitious pieces of sculpture which are
named are also introduced, besides a number of imaginary unnamed works.

Such references to sculpture as exist in the poems seem to conform
entirely to the facts of history, where there is any pretense of
historical accuracy. Sculpture is so unimportant a feature of most of
the poems that there was certainly very little temptation to enlarge on
the facts for dramatic purposes, or for any other reason.

II. HISTORICAL SCOPE.--It is improbable that Browning consciously,
or unconsciously either, for that matter, decided to treat different
periods of sculpture until he had covered the historical field, or that
he ever selected any one phase of this art with so general a purpose in
mind. In certain cases he chose some event or characteristic feature of
a period, and before he had finished the poem referred to a sculptor,
or to the condition of the art at that time, as one of the details in
a realistic background for his picture of the times. Nevertheless he
has accomplished, without any definite purpose, a result similar to a
brief historical survey of sculpture in Italy; his references showing
relation to practically every important period of the art.

The first reference to sculpture is in _Sordello_ (1840), where the
lines concerning the Pisani (Book I, l. 574) characterize the art of
Sordello’s time as just dawning into the Renaissance. In _Pippa Passes_
(1841) the poet, passing over something like five hundred years’
development, brings before the reader a picture of nineteenth century
art life among students in Italy. _My Last Duchess_ (1842) deals with
the decadent Renaissance, while _The Bishop orders his Tomb at St.
Praxed’s Church_ (1845) presents a faithful picture of the same period.
In _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_ (1850), the pendulum swings backward
to the early days of Christianity, when the church Fathers abhorred the
physical beauty of their art inheritance from Greece. _The Statue and
the Bust_ (1855) relates events of the sixteenth century also; but they
are such as have no historical significance in a chronological way, and
could just as readily have happened in the thirteenth or the nineteenth
century. _Old Pictures in Florence_ (1855) has the early masters as its
theme, with another reference to Niccolo Pisano, the first Renaissance
sculptor, though the poem concerns itself mainly with architecture and
painters. _The Ring and the Book_ (1868-69) can hardly be said to deal
with any particular period in art history.

Chronological order is not followed, nor is there any reason in the
logic or emotion of poetry why such order should obtain. Whether one
denies or affirms on the question of poetical inspiration, one is
compelled to admit that the practice in the past has not been to follow
set formulas of time or place. No poet, unless it be a pedantic one
whose work would fail utterly in spontaneity, would read history and
write a poem on each period as he read.

The diagram below indicates that Browning’s work was no exception to
the normal procedure.

  1. Early Art........................e......
  2. Dawn of Renaissance...a........./.\...g.
  3. Height of Renaissance..\......./...\f/..
  4. Decadent Renaissance....\..c__/d........
  5. Modern..................b\/.............

    a. _Sordello_--1840.
    b. _Pippa Passes_--1841.
    c. _My Last Duchess_--1842.
    d. _The Bishop orders his Tomb_--1845.
    e. _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_--1850.
    f. _The Statue and the Bust_--1855.
    g. _Old Pictures in Florence_--1855.

of portraying the times, _Sordello_ gives an example. Browning became
interested in the thirteenth-century troubadour, and then in his
historical surroundings. In working out the social medium in which
Sordello was to live and move, Browning named the Pisan Brothers to
illustrate the sculptural conditions at the time--one of those numerous
small details of which the ordinary reader is scarcely conscious, which
are yet extremely important in making a perfect word picture. He spoke
of Sordello as--

                        ... “Born just now,
    With the new century, beside the glow
    And efflorescence out of barbarism;
    Witness a Greek or two from the abysm
    That stray through Florence-town with studious air,
    Calming the chisel of that Pisan pair:
    If Nicolo should carve a Christus yet!”

While the entire passage is carefully subordinated to the main purpose
of studying Sordello, it also clearly pictures the dawn of the
Renaissance light upon sculpture.

_The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church_, and _My Last
Duchess_, deal with characteristics of their times; but in neither
case is sculpture used as a mere detail in the picture. Because of the
extensive art treatment in each, the two will be discussed together
under the head of Renaissance decadence.[170]

Besides being important enough in itself to deserve somewhat extensive
treatment, the art element in _Pippa Passes_ is notable because it
marks the only instance in which Browning concerns himself with the
life of modern art students. He certainly did did not begin the poem
with the intention of making the artists a theme, nor did he attain
any such unexpected result. Instead he began with the thematic idea
of the power in unconscious influence, and through four sections of
this dramatic poem developed this idea by recording the effects of the
song of Pippa, upon murderers, an art student, a fanatical patriot
and a scheming bishop. About one-fourth of the poem deals directly
with the student life of artists. Canova, who is frequently mentioned,
represents the ideal of sculpture; and Jules, the young student who is
seeking to attain. In contrast to Jules, the idealist, is the group
of evil-minded students who induce him to marry a model, under the
impression that she is a cultured Greek woman. It is Browning’s best
example of the “other side,” as illustrated by the group of plotting
would-be artists. This is the only example in all of Browning’s poetry
(with the exception of _A Soul’s Tragedy_) in which the poet descends
to the level of prose as a medium of speech, and here it is used by
knaves and villains. All the crude reality of life among low-minded
students, their jealousy of one with higher ideals than their own, the
poet gives us in detail by means of their prose speeches; returning to
blank verse, however, for the ideals of Jules and the aspirations of
Phene’s awakening soul. Love of personality, that great guide to the
appreciation of Browning from whatever position we approach him, and
the possibilities of human development, are written large throughout
his works. Nowhere are these ideas in relation to art more clearly
expressed than in the words of Jules. An artist of the highest ideals,
he has just realized through the singing of Pippa, that a woman’s soul
is in his keeping. He meditates:

    “Shall to produce form out of unshaped stuff
    Be Art--and further, to evoke a soul
    From form be nothing? This new soul is mine!”

Then, since art is the expression of personality, and Jules has met
with so great a change in ideals, he resolves to break his ‘paltry
models up To begin Art afresh.’ His change in personality, it should
be noticed, is due to the fact that he realizes the soul has greater
significance than art--an idea exactly expressing Browning’s view.

_My Last Duchess_ (1842) is entirely imaginary, but it sums up, in a
short poem, the entire decadent Renaissance attitude toward art so
fully that no historical names could improve it. Its one mention of
sculpture is in the closing lines:

    .  .  .  .  . “Notice Neptune, though,
    Taming a sea-horse, thought a rarity,
    Which Claus of Innsbruck cast in bronze for me!”

In two and one-half lines it gives a powerful suggestion of admiration
for art because it was fashionable, of emphasis on technique rather
than content, of the classical subject matter and bronze material
that were in vogue at the time, and of the character expressed in the
intellectual but heartless Duke’s purpose of taming the Duchess.

_The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church_ (1845) is imaginary
in its narrative, and probably in all the sculpture named, though the
church of Santa Prassede, in Rome, by its richness of decoration, and
by a tomb similar to the one the Bishop is represented as desiring,
gave the suggestion for the poem. Probably in all literature there is
no more skilful summary of a corrupt churchman’s attitude toward his
church, his fellow churchmen, the future, earthly love, and art. The
characterization is both fearless and powerful. This poem and _My Last
Duchess_ are companion studies. Both the Duke and the Bishop are fond
of power and prestige, both are jealous and envious, each displays his
attitude toward woman and toward art. The Bishop has more feeling,
though it is largely feeling for himself; and the Duke possesses more
icy pride. Each values art, particularly sculpture, as something for
display, something luxurious and (contrary to the highest ideas of art)
something beyond the power of common people to appreciate. The poems
deal with the same period, but _My Last Duchess_ is a summary of the
secular attitude, _The Bishop orders his Tomb_ presents the view of an
official of the church.

_Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_ (1850), in a section devoted to the
reverie of the seeker for religious truth after his inspection of
Catholicism at Rome, censures the attitude of the early church toward
the physical beauty of the statuary Italy had inherited from Greece.
While the subject of the poem is religion, not art, incidentally it
contains one of Browning’s best defences of the nude. He viewed the
nude as a fitting expression of the beauty God has placed in the world,
and rejoiced in the “noble daring, steadfast duty, The heroic in
action or in passion,” or even the merely beautiful physique--all as
presented in sculpture. In Chapter VI will be found further mention of
the nude, in connection with _Francis Furini_ (1887).[171] _The Lady
and the Painter_, a non-Italianate poem, published in the Asolando
group (1889), also throws further light on Browning’s attitude toward
the nude. These two poems are of interest in the present discussion,
however, only because they prove the attitude expressed in 1850 to have
been a permanent one.

In _The Statue and the Bust_, the art references were not introduced
for their own sake, but because they suggested a situation with
dramatic possibilities. The statue of Duke Ferdinand exists as Browning
pictured it. The bust seems to be an addition for poetic purposes, but
it conforms to the spirit of the palace decorations, in that it was
made of Robbia ware, for traces of that material still adorned the
palace when the poem was written.

In _Sordello_ (1840), the first poem containing any reference to
Italian sculpture, the castle of Goito, the early home of Sordello,
is rich in sculpturesque effects. “Those slim pillars, ... Cut like
a company of palms--Some knot of bacchanals, flushed cheek combined
With straining forehead, shoulders purpled--A dullish grey-streaked
cumbrous font ... shrinking Caryatides, Of just-tinged marble--” all
present a physical setting. They do more, however, than merely locate.
Their lonely magnificence harmonizes with the tone of the story, and
they exercise an influence on the nature of the dreaming, beauty-loving

The best examples of sculpture used purely for setting are found
in _The Ring and the Book_. Containing only its few references to
pieces of sculpture in Florence and Rome, it is the one of the list
of poems in which this art is least prominent. It presents no picture
of a period, no discussion of an attitude toward art, no poetical
background of the times aided by art references. Each instance tells
us that at such-and-such a place in Rome, in sight of the statue
named, a certain event occurred. “Toward Baccio’s Marble” (Part I, l.
44) is used to help locate the Florentine book-stall where Browning
found the ‘old yellow book’ that became the basis of the poem. Part
I, l. 889, quotes an example of the current gossip in Rome, as taking
place “i’ the market-place O’ the Barberini by the Capucins; Where
the old Triton ... Puffs up steel sleet.” This instance serves as
setting, and further, in a continuation of the description--“out o’
the way O’ the motley merchandising multitude”--contrasts the quiet,
regular play of the fountain to the turmoil of the characters. Part
VI refers to Pasquin’s statue in a double comparison which emphasizes
Pompilia’s innocence in contrast to the bestiality of the squibs that
were formerly posted on the statue. In Part XI Guido says his first
sight of an instrument for beheading was ‘At the Mouth-of-Truth o’ the
river-side you know, Retiring out of noisy crowded Rome’--a reference
which serves as a definite means of location.

Yet all instances from _The Ring and the Book_ prove little concerning
Browning’s interest in art, or his specialized attention to sculpture.
The fact that pieces of statuary serve a man as landmarks in Florence
or Rome implies little beyond an effort at clearness in location. _The
Ring and the Book_, then, in sculpture, is interesting rather for
absence than for presence of such references. In fact sculpture is
not prominent in the Italian art references of Browning. Not only is
it a lesser art quantitatively in Browning’s poetry, but it seems to
be placed on a distinctly lower plane. Reasons for these facts, are,
in part, the predominance of the other arts over sculpture in Italy,
and the particular quality of sculpture as an art which makes it tend
toward the expression of physical beauty instead of the soul.

Though Browning himself did some work in modeling,[172] he used very
few technical terms connected with that art. Since he never put a
sculptor speaker on the stage of his poet-world, one does not expect to
hear the language of that art spoken. The Duke and the Bishop, it is
true, express considerable interest in art, though it is rather in the
dilettante spirit than that of serious criticism. “Caryatides,” used in
_Sordello_, and “caritellas,” evidently used for cartellas[173] seem
to be almost the only instances of technical--or semi-technical--terms
connected with sculpture.

IV. SOURCE OF BROWNING’S KNOWLEDGE.--Proof has already been given of
the statement that Browning had a strong, lasting interest in the
arts, even before he went to Italy. The remark in the letter to Miss
Haworth (1838) concerning disappointment in Canova, implying previous
knowledge, was written during his first visit to Italy. It is certain,
then, that he had formed an opinion of one Italian sculptor before
going to that country. Probably some of his knowledge of sculpture
was gained from reading, also. In every case in which he described a
particular piece of work, he had previously visited the place where
it was located. _Sordello_, while it refers to artists rather than
particular works, and exhibits an art knowledge that was probably
gained from reading, was published two years after Browning’s first
Italian visit in 1838. _Pippa Passes_ (1841) was one of the direct
results of the same trip, when Venice and delicious Asolo were visited.
_My Last Duchess_ contains none but imaginary works. _The Bishop orders
his Tomb_ (1845) has its architectural setting at Rome, one of the
points included in Browning’s second visit in 1844. _Christmas-Eve
and Easter-Day_ (1850) also mentions Rome. _The Statue and the Bust_
(1855) refers to Florence, _Old Pictures in Florence_ (1855) has the
same setting; and _The Ring and the Book_ (1868-9) refers to Rome and
Florence, visited in 1844 and 1847. These data all tend to support
the foregoing statement that the poet had seen the things of which he



I. GENERAL STATEMENT.--Only ten poems refer to Italian music or
musicians--seemingly a small number for a writer who is known as
the musician’s poet. Thirteen Italian musicians--Bellini, Galuppi,
Palestrina, Verdi, Rossini, Abt Vogler, Grisi, Corelli, Guarnerius,
Stradivarius, Paganini, Buononcini, and Geminiani--constitute the group
of performers whom he mentions. Four of these were famous violinists;
one was a vocalist. Only two, Galuppi and Abt Vogler, received any
extended treatment, though an entire poem is also devoted to Master
Hugues of Saxe-Gotha, an imaginary composer. There are many references
to musicians of other nationalities in Browning; but every poem having
this art as its main theme, unless it be _Saul_, in which the influence
of music is prominent, is included among the ten referring to Italy.

Thus while Browning is known, even to the general mind, as a poet who
writes about musicians, his fame in this particular field is founded on
a very few well-known poems. Suppose it were possible to eliminate _Abt
Vogler_ from the text of Browning’s poetry and from the consciousness
of the world. Would the cursory student then know him as the celebrator
of music? Or at least, if one could filch from the human race both _Abt
Vogler_ and _A Toccata of Galuppi’s_, their author might still be known
in the popular mind as an admirer of the arts, but hardly as a devotee
of music. Quality rather than quantity, then, is the measure of the
element of music in the poems of Robert Browning.

II. CATHOLIC HYMNS.--A by no means unusual introduction of music, nor
one peculiar to Browning (see Byron and others) is found in the mention
of Catholic hymns. However, they are not employed in any of the poems
whose principal theme is music, nor are they introduced because he
deliberately wished to write about that art. They form a part of the
Italian consciousness; they are stages in daily life; and they mark the
passing of time in a highly poetic way, and in a method characteristic
of the Italian nation.

_The Ring and the Book_, in five of the twelve sections, includes
the names of Catholic hymns. In Part IV the _Magnificat_ signifies
the triumphant spirit of Violante Comparini, the old woman who has
completed the bargain by means of which she is to trick her husband
into the belief that he is to have an heir. The same section gives
an account of the plan of Pietro and Violante Comparini to find a
titled husband for their so-called daughter, and illustrates the
situation in these words--“And when such paragon was found and fixed,
Why, they might chant their ‘_Nunc dimittis_’ straight.” Both of
these passages, then, mark psychological states, in one or both of
the parents of Pompilia. Section VI, the defense of Caponsacchi,
contains two references which mark the time of day. The first, in a
quotation from one of the forged letters purporting to be from Pompilia
to Caponsacchi, suggests that he come to her window at the time of
the _Ave_. The second, in the account of the flight of Pompilia and
Caponsacchi to Rome, is phrased “At eve we heard the _angelus_,”
indicating time and suggesting, also, a certain regret for the past on
the part of Pompilia. In Section VII, Pompilia, yielding at last to
her own desires for rescue and to the importunities of her treacherous
maid, names the _Ave Maria_ to indicate the time when she will be
standing on the terrace to talk with Caponsacchi. The Pope, in Section
X, gives his opinion of what will be said of his leniency to the
church, should he free Caponsacchi, and sarcastically observes “in the
choir _Sanctus et Benedictus_, with a brush Of soft guitar strings
that obey the thumb.” Section XII, in describing the death of Guido,
the wife-murderer, gives his last words as a request for a _Pater_, an
_Ave_, with the hymn _Salve Regina Cœli_. This completes the list of
Catholic hymns mentioned by Browning--six in all.

contain the names of Italian musicians for purposes of comparison. _The
Englishman in Italy_, in an implied comparison, contrasts the fiddlers,
fifers, and drummers, at the Feast of the Rosary’s Virgin, to Bellini.
So courageous and confident do they become on this day that (implying
their inferiority) they play boldly on, says the poem, not caring even
for the great Bellini.

_Bishop Blougram’s Apology_ presents that politic churchman’s
defense of his fidelity to established doctrines on the ground of
expediency--ease in this life and a possible reward in the next. He
admits that wise men look beneath his pretense of a belief in the
winking Virgin and class him as either knave or fool. In this respect
the Bishop likens himself to Verdi at the close of his worst opera.
Though the populace applauded, the composer looked beyond them for the
judgment of Rossini, the master.

In _Youth and Art_, the struggling girl with aspirations for operatic
honors, who misses a possibility for happiness in her futile quest for
fame, compares herself with Grisi in her hopes of success. To surpass
that prima donna, which, by the way, she never succeeds in doing,
constitutes the height of her dream of happiness. _Red Cotton Night-Cap
Country_, with its fantastic symbolism of night-caps, mentions the many
varieties of that article and compares them to the various kinds of
violins on exhibition at Kensington when the poem was composed, with
special reference to those of Italy:

    “I doubt not there be duly catalogued
    Achievements all, and some of Italy,
    Guarnerius, Straduarius,--old and new.”

           *       *       *       *       *

    “Over this sample would Corelli croon,
    Grieving by minors, like the cushat-dove,
    Most dulcet Giga, dreamiest Saraband.
    From this did Paganini comb the fierce
    Electric sparks....”

_Parleyings with Charles Avison_, the only poem which has comparative
estimates of different musicians, names the Italians Buononcini and
Geminiani as having been appreciated along with Wagner, Dvorak, Liszt
and Handel. It is worthy of note that Rossini, Bellini, and Verdi, of
the modern Italian school, are not mentioned in any such connection.

_Abt Vogler_, _A Toccata of Galuppi’s_, _Master Hughes of Saxe-Gotha_,
and _Charles Avison_, are all concerned with music as the principal
subject. Each has minor references to Italy, and in the first two,
the musician is an Italian one. _Abt Vogler_ is probably the finest
poem on music in the English language. It contains a perfect idealized
expression of the aims of the musician and a thorough knowledge
of his technique. Like _A Toccata of Galuppi’s_ it is based on
extemporization and the transitory quality of music; but it is unlike
that poem in emphasizing the permanence of good. _Abt Vogler_ voices
the musician’s own musings on the stately but vanishing castle he
has built. _A Toccata_ probably refers to an improvization on the
harpsichord, a frequent occurrence at the time concerned, and presents
the poet as speaker, questioning the musician concerning the effect
of his performance on the audience. Very different psychological
states produced these two poems. _Abt Vogler_ was written in a mood
of reverent optimism; _A Toccata_, in a mood of half careless, half
earnest pessimism. Where _A Toccata_ closes with “dust and ashes”
the other poem passes on to the “ineffable name,” and a belief in
the future existence of “All we have willed, or hoped, or dreamed,
of good.” The one closes hope in the grave; the other poem opens
heaven. The transitory quality of human life in _A Toccata of
Galuppi’s_ accords with the music being played, and many terms, such
as “lesser thirds,” “sixths diminished,” “suspensions,” “solutions,”
“commiserating sevenths,” express the different phases of the
listener’s mood.

No attempt will be made in this paper to consider Browning’s musical
terms; for with the exception of “toccata”, meaning a light touch
piece, an overture, they seem mostly non-Italianate. _Abt Vogler_, _A
Toccata of Galuppi’s_, _Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha_, and _Parleyings
with Charles Avison_, all contain a considerable number of musical
terms; but beside the fact that they are non-Italianate, those in
at least part of the poems have already been discussed somewhat
extensively in various articles among the Browning Society papers.

IV. LACK OF MODERN ITALIAN REFERENCES.--The number of references to
Italian musicians is comparatively small, even though the treatment
of music in a few poems is unexcelled. Especially when one considers
that the great modern group of Italian opera composers was so near
Browning in both time and place, his mention of them seems curiously
insignificant. Verdi, the greatest of them, appears in the poems only
once, and then in connection with his worst opera. That the Brownings
heard at least one of Verdi’s operas produced, is established by a
letter by Mrs. Browning dated in 1853. She speaks of their having heard
_Il Trovatore_ a few nights previous, at the Pergola in Florence, and
concludes with the peculiarly suggestive remark, “Very passionate and
dramatic, surely.”

Probably there are several reasons for this neglect of Italian opera
composers. Few poets, least of all Browning, are prone to bestow
unmitigated praise on contemporaries. In the poems of Browning there
are few extended references to any artists who were living at the
time. He particularly loved to choose an obscure Galuppi, or an Andrea
del Sarto, instead of a Michael Angelo or a Raphael, as a personality
about whom to weave a poem. A more potent reason for the indifference
to modern Italian music, however, lies in the diverging values of the
Italian school and that of northern Europe. A musician who had been
trained in the German music of London concerts could hardly be expected
to welcome the operas of Verdi and Rossini with anything approaching
ecstatic admiration. At the most he might venture a half-conciliatory
remark, such as Mrs. Browning’s concerning _Il Trovatore_.

V. CONFORMITY TO FACTS.--Browning seldom took occasion to depart
from the facts of history in his presentation of Italian music.
One exception is found, going beyond all allowances for poetic
idealization. It is the Verdi reference in _Bishop Blougram’s
Apology_.[174] The statement concerns a Verdi composition, and mentions
it as having been given in Florence with Rossini present. As a matter
of fact _Un Giorno di Regno_, conceded to be Verdi’s worst opera, and
the only one which was a complete failure, was not given in Florence
on its first production and was probably never repeated. _Macbeth_
alone was given at Florence first, and it met with a moderate degree of

VI. SOURCE OF BROWNING’S KNOWLEDGE.--Browning’s life in Italy probably
had less influence on his poetic use of music than on his use of any
other art, as the data he gives might easily have become known to
him without any such experience. Six of the thirteen musicians whom
he named performed in London, and three of them, Grisi, Bellini, and
Paganini, in Browning’s youth. It is even possible that he attended
some or all of their concerts. Rossini was living in Florence from
1847 to 1855, while the Brownings were also making that city their
home. But while letter after letter written to friends at home refers
to such painters or sculptors as Story, Powers, and Leighton, there
is absolute silence concerning Rossini. As compared with remarks on
sculpture, architecture, or painting, the letters from Italy, as a
whole, show an almost absolute indifference to Italian music as a
historical development, or as a national achievement. With his fondness
for out-of-the-way investigations and obscure characters from any
nation, however, Browning has taken some characters from Italian music
and has woven their personalities into a few of the best poems on music
ever written.



I. GENERAL STATEMENT.--Of the two hundred and twenty-two of Browning’s
poems, ten contain the name of an Italian poet or of his writings.
Five imaginary writers--Aprile, Plara, Bocafoli, Eglamor, Stiatta--and
eleven who belong to the history of Italian literature--Sordello, Nina,
Alcamo, Dante, Petrarch, Boccaccio, Tasso, Sacchetti, Marino, Aretino,
and Tommaseo--compose the list. Of the historical poets, Dante is given
the most important place; for besides the direct tribute that is paid
him, his name or the name of his great work occurs in seven poems out
of the ten. Sordello, a most insignificant poet from the historical
standpoint, receives more extended treatment than any other literary
figure in Browning’s works. Of the entire list of poems, three deal
with the life and aspirations of a poet as the main theme--_Pauline_,
which, by the way, is really non-Italianate, _Paracelsus_, in which the
poet Aprile is contrasted with the scholar, and _Sordello_.

II. PREDOMINANCE IN EARLY POEMS.--Within the first eight years
of Browning’s career, he published four long poems--_Pauline_,
_Paracelsus_, _Strafford_, and _Sordello_. Three of them deal in
some way with the life of a poet. After this first period, with the
possible exception of _One Word More_, which is essentially a study
in comparative art, there is no extended discussion of this sort in
any poem, either Italianate or non-Italianate. _How it Strikes a
Contemporary_ deals with the attitude of the general public toward the
life and purposes of a poet, but not, as did the early group, with the
poet’s solution of his own problem concerning his relation toward his
work and humanity. It was written much later, when Browning was more
fully settled in his poetical career.

_Pauline_ is an autobiographical sketch of a poet’s early doubts and
aspirations, largely devoted to appreciation of Shelley, and without
Italianate quality; _Paracelsus_ and _Sordello_ deal with Italian
writers of verse. Since these all belong in the same period and that
the early one, it is clear that Browning was endeavoring to establish
his own ideas of a poet, and these poems were the expression of that
effort. But he chose to express his conclusions by giving the negative
side, not the positive; for Aprile, Sordello, Eglamor, Plara, Bocafoli,
and in a lesser degree Nina and Alcamo, are all failures. Not all of
them absolute and hopeless, for Sordello dies with a moral victory won,
Aprile is successful in part, and Nina and Alcamo have their strength
and grace; but still none of these poets has fully attained.

III. SORDELLO.--In _Sordello_, the character of that name has a
shadowy existence in history as one of the most famous of the Italian
troubadours. He seems to have been confused with another Sordello who
was a politician and man of action. Since such scant facts as can be
gathered speak of scandals, and tavern brawls, Browning’s portrait of
him is clearly an idealization, and he probably chose Sordello instead
of some better known figure that the facts might not interfere with the
imaginative picture with which he wished to surround him. The thirty
books which Browning read on the history of the period were not read to
add to his knowledge of the troubadour, but since even the idealized
Sordello had to be represented as having lived at some time and place,
to give the correct background for his life and actions.

Browning shows that Sordello failed because he loved the applause he
received rather than the poetry itself, because the aspirations of the
man and the poet were at war within him, because he lacked feeling
for humanity, and because he was not decisive enough to succeed when
he attempted action. The moral victory at the close is for dramatic
purposes, and the dominant theme of the poem as a whole is the failure
of a poet.

IV. THE IMAGINARY POETS.--Eglamor, a purely fictitious poet in
_Sordello_, has made verse his only ambition. Lacking all perception
of his life as a man, when he is vanquished in verse-making, he dies.
Plara, in the same poem, stands for the poet without depth or genius,
unable to write anything of thought value, polishing his poems until
they were merely pretty words, lacking utterly in any interpretation of
human life. Bocafoli, with his “stark-naked” psalms, represents the
sensualist. While Nina and Alcamo belong to history, they have such
shadowy existence so far as present knowledge is concerned, that they
will be considered here. They stand respectively for strength and for
grace, and Browning represents the low voice as saying to Sordello:

    “Nina’s strength, but Alcamo’s the grace,
    Each neutralises each then! Search your fill;
    You get no whole and perfect Poet--still
    New Ninas, Alcamos, till time’s midnight
    Shrouds all--or better say, the shutting light
    Of a forgotten yesterday.”

Aprile, in the poem fashioned about Paracelsus, the wandering scholar,
typifies love as the latter represents knowledge. Through Aprile, the
foil to Paracelsus, the latter comes to see in part the mistakes in his
attitude toward life, and declares

    “I too have sought to KNOW as thou to LOVE--
    Excluding love as thou refusedst knowledge.

           *       *       *       *       *

    Are we not halves of one dissevered world,
    Whom this strange chance unites once more?”

And Aprile exclaims:

    “Yes, I see now. God is the perfect poet,
    Who in his person acts his own creations.”

V. THE ITALIAN AS THE TYPE OF FAILURE.--Browning used seven poets to
typify failure, three historical and four imaginary ones. All these
were Italians, and all suggest the conclusion--“You get no whole and
perfect Poet.” This, then, must have been Browning’s conclusion.
Naturally enough he does not picture for us a poet representing that
for which he himself, after considering different kinds of failure,
has decided to strive. By the very values the failures do not
represent, however, Browning gave us a vision of his own ideals. Lack
of knowledge, lack of strength, of grace, sensuality, superficiality,
lack of purpose, and of interest in humanity--these are the causes of
failure as represented by Aprile, Alcamo, Nina, Bocafoli, Plara, and

It would be unfair to say that these unsuccessful poets are typical of
the Italian nation; but it can be safely stated that they are fairly
representative of Italian weaknesses. A predominance of ill controlled
feeling is the most inclusive characteristic of the group --a trait
which is perhaps marked in Italians of the least desirable class. It is
also significant, in contrast to Browning’s own nature, that no poet of
his group of failures represents an intelligent, unselfish interest in
human life.

VI. ITALIAN MEN OF LETTERS: DANTE.--Of the great Italian men of
letters, Dante is the only one who is mentioned in _Sordello_, and with
the exception of the Shelley references in _Memorabilia_ and _Pauline_,
Browning pays him the most perfect tribute he ever gave a writer, in
the last two lines of the following passage:

    “Dante, pacer of the shore
    Where glutted hell disgorgeth filthiest gloom,
    Unbitten by its whirring sulphur-spume,
    Or whence the grieved and obscure waters slope,
    Into a darkness quieted by hope;
    Plucker of amaranths grown beneath God’s eye,
    In gracious twilights where his chosen lie.”

Referring to the fact that Dante’s _Divina Commedia_ includes Sordello
as a character, and that _De Vulgari Eloquio_ praises him because he
had first attempted to establish an Italian vernacular, Browning names
Sordello as the forerunner of Dante. Again in the same poem, Dante is
mentioned as having called the “Palma” of Browning’s poem “Cunizza,”
and as having taken advantage of Sordello’s lost chance to establish a

In most of the other poems, the references to Dante are merely
incidental. _Up at a Villa_ refers to the great literary triumvirate of
Italy, Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, as standing in the popular mind
for all that is great in Italian letters. In _Time’s Revenges_ Dante
appears as being, in the mind of a poor, starving poet, the highest
possible standard of fame.

The only other Dante reference of any importance is in _One Word
More_. In this poem, Browning’s most beautiful tribute to his wife,
he represents every artist as wishing once, in his life, to honor his
Margarita or his Beatrice. Dante, he says in speaking of that poet,
once prepared to paint an angel, laying aside his own art of poetry.
A historical basis for this statement is found in the _Vita Nuova_.
But Browning, either intentionally or unintentionally, probably the
former, for the purpose of making this basis accord with his poetical
conception, departs from the facts in two important particulars.
Dante plainly states that his attempt at the drawing grew out of his
meditations on the anniversary of the death of Beatrice; and the
people who broke in upon him were those of his own town, to whom he
apologized for his delayed salutation, by “Another was with me.”
Browning assumes that the picture was drawn to please Beatrice and that
the people who interrupted symbolized Dante’s own thoughts about the
characters of his _Inferno_.

VII. OTHER REAL WRITERS.--Aretino and Boccaccio are both presented
throughout _The Ring and the Book_ as examples of questionable morality
in literature, or at least of tendencies in that direction.

In Part III, the gossipers speak of the case of Guido and his wife
as “this last best of the Hundred Merry Tales.” In Part V, Guido, in
his complaint against the parents of Pompilia, appeals to Boccaccio’s
“Book” and “Ser Franco’s [Sacchetti’s] Merry Tales,” as proofs of the
greed and wrong-doing of the parents in contrast to his own innocence.
Caponsacchi, in Part VI, refers to the forged letters claimed to have
been passed between himself and Pompilia, as worthy of the profligate
Aretine. In Part X, the Pope makes the same comparison, declaring
that the letters are “False to body and soul they figure forth--As
though the man had cut out shape and shape From fancies of that other
Aretine.” In Part XI, Guido attempts to prove that the Pope, in former
times, was very human, since he used to “chirrup o’er the Merry Tales.”
Later in the same section, he asserts his right to enjoy “When Master
Pietro [Aretino] rhymes a pleasantry.”

display no remarkable knowledge of Italian literature. In comparison
with that of the average American or English citizen, it is above
the ordinary, but not more than any student of literature might very
readily acquire without visiting Italy or residing there. However,
the average English student of literature, if he were a poet, would
probably embody less of that knowledge of Italy in his verse than
Browning has done. Except for the idea of failure as typified by lesser
Italian poets, the references are mainly of secondary importance,
introduced because he had chosen an Italian theme and wished to give it
reality of detail. The stimulus of Italian residence on Browning, then,
probably led to the embodiment in his poems of the literary knowledge
he already possessed. He seems to have made no particular study of
Italian letters, even after going to that country. Some scattered
references to readings in Italian literature (for example in the novels
of Sacchetti[175]) exist in the records of the Brownings in Italy; but
these references are few in comparison to those concerning sculpture
and painting.

historical references, except the one to Dante noted above as a
probably intentional departure from history, are substantially correct
in both fact and spirit, Browning did not have any great interest
in Italian literature as it existed in his day. Much more space is
given to the treatment of imaginary poets, or to the idealization
of a historical one, for the sake of personality, as in the case of
Sordello. As for the other arts, then, personality is the keynote of
Browning’s appreciation of Italian literature, and of its place in his

Browning gives very little space to any formal praise of Italian
poetry or poets, either of the past, or contemporary with himself. In
this respect his treatment of them is very similar to that he gives
to English poets. _Memorabilia_, in praise of Shelley, is his only
poem which has for its theme the unmodified praise of another poet.
As this poem and the Shelley references in _Pauline_ are Browning’s
only tributes to writers of his own country, so the praise of Dante,
in _Sordello_, is the only instance of an expressed appreciation of
Italian literature. The only Italian poet contemporary with himself
whom he mentions is Tommaseo; and he is noticed only as the author of
the inscription on the tablet erected by the city of Florence to the
memory of Elizabeth Barrett Browning.



I. GENERAL STATEMENT.--Twenty-five poems of Robert Browning make some
reference, brief or extended, to an Italian work of architecture. Two
architects, as such, are mentioned in _Old Pictures in Florence_.
They are Giotto (1267-1337), the original designer of the Florentine
Campanile, and Taddeo Gaddi (c. 1300-c. 1366), his successor. In the
twenty-five poems, about fifty-eight Italian buildings are named,
not all of them important architecturally. Of these, almost exactly
one-third are in Florence, and one or two less than another third are
in Rome. Venice and Asolo claim mention of five and six respectively;
but all the remaining towns must content themselves with a mention
of one, two, or three buildings. The entire number of works of
architecture is divided between twelve towns: Venice, Verona, Bassano,
Rome, Florence, Passagno, Asolo, Padua, Fano, Bagni di Lucca, Arezzo
and Siena.

There are two apparent reasons why the number of buildings named at
Rome and Florence is exceptionally large: first, the former city has
been the historical and political center of Italy ever since the
beginning, and the latter is the art center of the world; second,
Browning spent a considerable amount of time in Rome, both in 1844,
during his second trip to Italy, and in his visits of 1853 and 1854,
while Florence was his home for fifteen years.

The number of ecclesiastical buildings is something more than one-half
of the entire list; while the remaining ones are about equally divided
between those for state use and private buildings of a secular
character. Considering the large number of beautiful churches and
cathedrals in Italy, the result so far as these are concerned is in
entire accordance with one’s expectations. St. Mark’s, St. Peter’s, the
Vatican, and the Florentine Duomo, all buildings of world interest,
lead in the number of times they receive mention.

II. SOURCE OF BROWNING’S KNOWLEDGE.--Browning had seen almost all if
not every one of the Italian buildings he introduces in his poems. He
knew whereof he wrote. _Sordello_, published in 1840, is concerned
with the cities of Venice, Bassano, Verona, Rome, and Florence; but
the references to the last two are very slight. The first three cities
he had visited in his trip of 1838, along with his “delicious Asolo”,
which became the scene of _Pippa Passes_, in 1841. Ferrara formed a
very large part of the setting in _Sordello_, also; but no particular
buildings in it are described. _A Toccata of Galuppi’s_, 1855, refers
to St. Mark’s in Venice. _Old Pictures in Florence_, with its distinct
Florentine setting, was given to the world after Browning had lived in
that city for nine years. Doubtless its Campanile, which he mentions in
the poem, was at that time as familiar to him as any building of his
native land. _By the Fireside_ (with reference to the chapel in the
gorge) was written either during the visit of the Brownings to Bagni
di Lucca in 1853, or shortly after it, and was published in 1855. Near
Bagni di Lucca is the scene of the story. There is the same relation
between architectural subject and personal observation in _The Boy
and the Angel_ (Rome), 1842; _The Italian in England_ (Padua), 1845;
_In a Gondola_ (Venice), 1842; _The Statue and the Bust_ (Florence),
1855; _Luria_ (Florence), 1846; _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_ (Rome),
1850; _Fra Lippo Lippi_ (Florence), 1855; _The Bishop orders his Tomb_
(Rome), 1845; _Bishop Blougram’s Apology_ (Rome), 1855; _One Word More_
(Florence), 1855; _Abt Vogler_ (Rome), 1864; _Pacchiarotto_ (Siena),
1876. Padua and Venice were visited in 1838, Rome in 1844, Florence in
1846, if not sooner, and Siena in 1850.

_The Ring and the Book_ is an interesting example of Browning’s
procedure in the case of an architectural work he wished to introduce.
Florence and Rome, more particularly the latter, are concerned with
the whole action of the poem, while Arezzo is utilized in a minor way.
By this time (1864-68) Browning had long been familiar with Florence
and Rome. However, the poem was written in England; and a letter to
Frederick Leighton, October 17, 1864, asks him if he will go into the
Church of San Lorenzo, in the Corso, look at it carefully, and describe
it to Browning. Browning asks particularly about the arrangement
of the building, nave, pillars, the number of altars, and the
‘Crucifixion’ over the altar, by Guido, and adds that he does not care
for the outside. This church Browning uses more than any other in _The
Ring and the Book_, making it the scene of the baptism and the marriage
of Pompilia, as well as the place to which the dead bodies were taken.
Mr. Kenyon tells us that the poet was always accustomed to visualize
a scene completely and to keep it constantly before him mentally as
he wrote. It was his general rule to use only buildings which he had
seen, even when he refers to them very slightly; and in this case, he
wrote to inquire about one which he had seen, but of which he did not
have a perfectly clear mental image. The only possible exception to the
personal observation of a building to be poetically described is in the
case of the Pieve, at Arezzo. The Pieve is described in considerable
detail; and so far as can be learned, the poet probably did not visit
it. The Brownings had planned to visit it in September, 1847, on
their way to Rome. But this trip, in connection with which Arezzo is
mentioned, was abandoned. Later trips were made to Rome, however, and
it is very possible that Arezzo was made a stopping place on one of
them, and the Pieve, after all, was not an exception to the general

architecture Browning introduces is first considered, it seems
remarkably large. But such conclusion could be reached only by failing
to take into consideration the manner in which the references are
employed. About ten of the buildings he names, including those at
Asolo and a few others, are of no importance whatever, from either an
architectural or a historical standpoint. Most of the remaining ones
are discussed in histories of architecture or mentioned in guide books,
and a considerable number of them are of importance architecturally.
But with very few exceptions, Browning does not employ them for the
sake of their architecture; and cared very little whether they were
architecturally good or bad. He usually had a story to tell; and for
that story a location was necessary. Often he used such buildings as
had been significant in the original events on which he based his poem.

There are, to be sure, numerous instances in which the particular
church or castle he names suits the tone of the story just a trifle
better than anything else he could have found. In _Sordello_, for
example, he constructed an imaginary castle, Goito, which both
harmonized with the character of Sordello and influenced his life,
since it was the home of his youth. An excellent example of a building
chosen to illustrate the theme of the story is _The Bishop orders his
Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church_. Perhaps no such tomb as the Bishop’s ever
existed, exactly as described in the poem; but if it had, St. Praxed
(Santa Prassede) with its ornate beauty was exactly suited to be its

_The Ring and the Book_ and _The Statue and the Bust_ are both
excellent examples of poems in which the buildings were already
selected for Browning by the stories on which he based his poems.

Examples of buildings chosen for harmony, such as those in _Sordello_
and _The Bishop orders his Tomb_, are rather exceptional cases.
Browning’s poetic architecture, for the most part, may be grouped in
three divisions--(1) buildings already chosen for him by the story
which he wished to embody in a poem, (2) buildings chosen by himself,
to harmonize with the tone of the story, (3) buildings used for setting
with no regard whatever for architectural qualities. The last division
is by far the largest. Or, to classify more broadly, there are two ways
in which he uses architecture--(1) for the sake of an emotional value,
of which there is one example, and (2) for the sake of background
effects, to which practically all the other instances belong.

IV. COMPARISON WITH OTHER WRITERS.--Wordsworth has several poems--for
example, _Old Abbeys_, _In the Cathedral at Cologne_, _Inside of King’s
College Chapel_--that within a short space and in a lyrical fashion
deal with architecture in a highly appreciative manner. Somewhat
similar examples from Byron are the _Elegy on Newstead Abbey_ and the
familiar _Sonnet on Chillon_. But Browning, whose writings contain few
poems of lyric or descriptive subjectivity, did not devote himself to
any such effusions over inanimate objects. His only description of
architecture as something appealing to the emotion and imagination of
man is contained in a few lines of a very long poem, _Christmas-Eve
and Easter-Day_. The speaker is searching for religious truth and
finds himself, in his visit to the homeland of Catholicism, viewing
St. Peter’s at Rome. Then follows that wonderfully comprehensive

    “And what is this that rises propped,
    With pillars of prodigious girth?
    Is it really on the earth,
    This miraculous Dome of God?
    Has the angel’s measuring-rod
    Which numbered cubits, gem from gem,
    ’Twixt the gates of the New Jerusalem,
    Meted it out,--and what he meted,
    Have the sons of men completed?
    --Binding, ever as he bade,
    Columns in the colonnade,
    With arms wide open to embrace
    The entry of the human race ...”

But even in this instance, Browning, before his description is
finished, cannot content himself with mere abstract statements of
beauty divorced from human life. He turns to the builders--the people,
and to the purpose--service to humanity.

In the only poem of Browning which deals with an architect at all,
(_Old Pictures in Florence_, in which Giotto is considered at some
length), the discussion is from the standpoint of the architect’s aim,
his partial achievement, and the relation his work, when it is finally
finished, will have to the people of his city; not from the standpoint
of any technical interest in the art.

V. ARCHITECTURE AND PERSONALITY.--With all his mention of Italian works
of architecture, then, Browning’s primary object was never the abstract
beauty of that art itself. He has far less treatment of it, from an
abstract standpoint, than many another English writer who has scarcely
gone outside his native land for material. A building, as a building!
What was there in it related to personality as that expressed itself in
the struggles of the soul? And, therefore, what could there be in it to
concern Robert Browning?



I. GENERAL STATEMENT.--Twenty-nine poems contain the names of Italian
painters, and fifty-one Italian painters are mentioned by name; while
several of the great artists are mentioned in many poems. Michael
Angelo is referred to in ten different poems; Raphael in seven,
besides the duplicate mention in three sections of _The Ring and the
Book_; Correggio, and Titian, each in six poems, and Da Vinci in five
different poems. These are all great masters of the High Renaissance
in Italy; and therefore, they are the greatest artists the world
has known: the repeated introduction of their names is perfectly
natural. But among Browning’s fifty-one painters, some of so little
importance are named that references to them are rare in histories of
art. Even with the most insignificant, some telling phrase is often
used to express with admirable precision the artist’s relation to the
history of art. The best example of this is found in _Old Pictures
in Florence_, where the poet capriciously calls the roll of the past
Florentine artists, chiding them because none of their works have
come into his possession. In the one poem seventeen men who have been
classified as painters, besides some who are sculptors and architects
primarily, find a place. Only two or three of the artists are given
more than a line or two; but many of even the most insignificant
are summed up in some phrase like the following: “Da Vincis derive
in good time from Dellos;” “Stefano ... called Nature’s Ape and the
world’s despair;” “the wronged Lippino,” or “my Pollajolo, the twice a

II. EXTENT OF BROWNING’S KNOWLEDGE.--To cover the entire field as he
does, from Cimabue through the Renaissance and down to modern times
(for he omits almost no artist of importance in the whole history of
painting, besides including many surprises in the way of insignificant
ones), Browning must have had a wonderful amount of historical
knowledge. This familiarity with the development of the art was gained
in three ways--by some study of the subject before he went to Italy, by
reading histories of the painters after going there, and by visiting
galleries and churches in Italy and studying the pictures found therein.

The fact that Browning had an interest in studying the London galleries
before he went to Italy, and indeed, was a student of pictures from his
childhood, has already been noted in the introductory remarks.[176]
Just how great the poet’s knowledge of Italian art was at this period,
is hard to determine. But his first poem, _Pauline_, contains a
reference to Andromeda, a picture by Caravaggio, who was a Renaissance
artist. Mrs. Orr[177] tells us that the picture was always before him
as a boy and that he loved the story of the divine deliverer and the
innocent victim which it represented. In one of his early letters to
Elizabeth Barrett, Browning gives the following account of his fondness
for Andromeda: “How some people use their pictures, for instance, is
a mystery to me. My Polidore’s perfect Andromeda along with ‘Boors
Carousing’ where I found her--my own father’s doing, or I would say

These statements prove that a fondness for _some_ Italian art, at
least, had been a part of his life from a very early age; and in
addition, they suggest that a person who had so keen an appreciation
for a picture by an artist so little known as Caravaggio, must have
known a great deal more about Italian art than is implied in this one
statement. Browning was in his twenty-first year when _Pauline_, the
poem referring to Andromeda, was published. This was five years before
his first visit to Italy, but even at this time, his appreciation of
the picture was so complete that he compared the ever-beautiful and
unchanging Andromeda to himself and seemed to feel that she had as real
an existence.

painting began so early in Browning’s poetical career, and extended
to its close, the last art poem being _Beatrice Signorini_, in
the Asolando group, published just at the time of his death, the
chronological distribution of the subject is by no means regular.
In _Paracelsus_, reference to painting is found; _Sordello_ has some
minor references; _Pippa Passes_ contains some mention of painting and
much concerning sculpture. _Pictor Ignotus_, the first poem devoted
entirely to a painter, was published in 1845. All these items form a
comparatively slender thread of references up to the publications of
1855. At that date Browning had lived in Italy nine years, had studied
art histories, and seen pictures. Our chronicler, Mrs. Browning, we
recall, furnishes us the information--in the previously mentioned
letter of 1847 to Horne--that they were reading Vasari. This was the
next year after the Brownings went to Italy to take up their residence
there. Though Browning’s early trips (in 1838 and 1844) seem to have
had small influence on his poetic treatment of painting, the Italian
residence bore fruit. Between 1847, the year when the residence
began, and 1855, only one poem of Browning’s was published, and some
references to painting are found in it. The publications of 1855
include the following poems on painting: _Old Pictures in Florence_,
_The Guardian Angel_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_, _Andrea del Sarto_, and _One
Word More_. In this one year, all the finest and best known of his
poems on painting were given to the world. Just why this is true is
hard to prove but easy to conjecture. The time just previous to their
publication marks the period of greatest, most intimate art study,
since these poems were the product of the first nine years in Italy.
There was a certain power, appreciation, and a fineness of feeling
associated with these first years in the great art center of Florence
that never returned again. For some time before this, Browning had been
an interested student of art, and the Florentine residence brought his
ideas to their full maturity. The best that he was capable of putting
into verse on the subject of painting was both imagined and written
during this first period in Italy, the home of painting.

IV. SOURCES OF THE POEMS.--An event recorded by Mrs. Browning, in a
letter to Mrs. Jameson, dated May 4, 1850, throws light on the source
of _Old Pictures in Florence_. She says that her husband had picked
up at a few pauls each some “hole and corner pictures” in a corn shop
a mile from Florence. Mr. Kirkup (one of the best judges of pictures
in Florence) threw out such names for them as “Cimabue, Ghirlandajo,
Giottino, a Crucifixion painted on a banner, Giottesque, if not Giotto,
but unique or nearly so, on account of linen material--and a little
Virgin by a Byzantine master. Two angel pictures, bought last year,
prove to have been sawed off of the Ghirlandajo, so-called.”

Besides showing, as do many other statements of their life in Italy,
that Browning was deeply interested in art, these words suggest both
the title and the origin of _Old Pictures in Florence_, in which the
poet reproaches the spirits of the early masters for failing to leave
some of their works to one so appreciative as himself. What could be
more natural in its development? A poet-artist finds the pictures, is
told that they are genuine, and is very desirous of believing it. His
interest in personality turns his mind to the painters themselves,
his fancy runs with a loose rein--and we have the half-thoughtful
whimsicality of _Old Pictures in Florence_. On the serious side it
pleads for the following: (1) more attention to the early almost
unknown masters, instead of praise for Angelo, Raphael, and such famous
artists; (2) a greater appreciation of the development of Italian
painting, because it was development, than of the dead perfection of
Greek sculpture; (3) Italian freedom from Austria, and with it the
return of art to Florence, resulting in the completed Campanile with
the new flag upon it. The first two pleas are made on the ground of
the noble development of the early Italian painting, in contrast with
the later art of Italian painting and that of perfect Greek sculpture,
which were at a standstill.

_The Guardian Angel_ was the direct result of a visit by the Brownings
to Fano; probably in 1848, for during that year Murray sent them there
to find a summer residence. Mrs. Browning reports[178] that it was
unspeakable for such a purpose, but “the churches are very beautiful,
and a divine picture of Guercino’s is worth going all that way to see.”
The poem was published with the group of 1855, and in it mention is
made of three trips to see the picture while the Brownings were at Fano.

While _The Guardian Angel_ may be the only poem written as a direct
result of seeing a picture, _Andrea del Sarto_ was at least the result
of the existence of a picture. Mr. Kenyon, an intimate friend of the
Brownings, and a relative of Mrs. Browning, asked them to obtain for
him, if possible, a copy of Andrea’s picture of himself and wife. Since
he was unable to secure it, Browning wrote the poem and sent it as a
record of what the picture contained.

Vasari was the source of much of the historical material which Browning
used in his poems. His gossipy narrative was followed almost exactly in
_Fra Lippo Lippi_, and partly in _Andrea del Sarto_ and other poems.
Baldinucci’s histories of the Italian painters furnish material for
_Beatrice Signorini_, and the first part of _Filippo Baldinucci_.
Browning invented the last part of the latter, and makes his invention
more real by Filippo’s declaration, “Plague o’ me if I record it in my

to painters or painting are used for comparisons, just as in the
case of other arts. Such is the one in _Pauline_, in which the poet
describes the Andromeda of Caravaggio, and contrasts her to his own
changing soul; and also the comparison in _Sordello_, of the hero to
the same picture. A third mention of Andromeda, in _Francis Furini_,
illustrates the beauty of the nude art. The painter of Andromeda,
Polidoro da Caravaggio, is introduced in _Waring_, in a far from
serious comparison, in which Browning wonders if his long-silent friend
is splashing in painting “as none splashed before, Since great Caldara

In _Pippa Passes_, the Bishop compares one artist with another, by
expressing the hope that Jules will found a school like that of
Correggio. _In Three Days_ includes a comparison of the lights and
shades of a woman’s hair to painting, with the line, “As early Art
embrowns the gold.” _Any Wife to Any Husband_ compares the husband
who greatly admires other beautiful women, with anyone who looks at
Titian’s Venus--“Once more what is there to chide?” Passages in _Bishop
Blougram’s Apology_ name Correggio’s works and the pictures of Giulio
Romano as desirable things to own. The Bishop also states that he
keeps his restless unbelief quiet, “like the snake ’neath Michael’s
foot,” referring to the well-known painting by Raphael. In _James Lee’s
Wife_, the attitude toward an unbeautiful hand is illustrated by the
line--“Would Da Vinci turn from you?”

One of the most striking examples of the comparison of a person with
a picture is found in Part VI of _The Ring and the Book_, where
Caponsacchi likens Pompilia to the Madonna of Raphael in innocence. In
Part VII, Pompilia compares her deliverer, Caponsacchi, to the picture
of St. George. In Part VIII, the speaker who defends Guido reads a
description of a man moved by too much grief, and says it fits Guido’s
case just as exactly as Maratta’s portraits are like the life. The
prosecutor, in Part IX, compares himself in his descriptions of the
family of Pompilia, to a painter, carefully planning to paint a ‘Holy
Family’. In this connection he names Carlo Maratta, Luca Giordano,
Angelo, Raphael, Pietro da Cortona, and Ferri. Four or five other
comparisons are found in _The Ring and the Book_, but in general, they
are very similar to the ones given above, and little would be gained by
enumerating all of them.

About forty lines of _Fifine at the Fair_ are concerned with an
extended comparison of a man’s treatment of his wife with his attitude
toward an authentic Raphael which he has bought. In each case he makes
much over the new treasure when it has first come into his possession,
then seems neglectful, but in case of any danger, thinks first of his
real object of affection, forgetting such light fancies as other women
and Doré picture books. The comparison is further extended by likening
the soul in its choice of another soul to finding satisfaction in
art--poetry, music, and painting. The Italian artists, Bazzi, Raphael,
and Michael Angelo, are named as examples in this connection.

_Red Cotton Night-Cap Country_ contains a very Browningesque
description of a soul, and pleads:

    “Aspire, break bounds! I say,
    Endeavor to be good and better still,
    And best! Success is nought, endeavor’s all.”

           *       *       *       *       *

          ... “there the incomplete,
    More than completion, matches the immense,--
    Then Michael Angelo against the world.”

_With Charles Avison_, _Cenciaja_, and _With Christopher Smart_ contain
comparisons similar to those noted above.

Eleven poems in all deal with Italian painters or painting as the
principal theme. They are: _Pictor Ignotus_, _Old Pictures in
Florence_, _The Guardian Angel_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_, _Andrea del Sarto_,
_One Word More_, _A Face_, _Pacchiarotto_, _Filippo Baldinucci_, _With
Francis Furini_, and _Beatrice Signorini_. Eight of these center around
the work, personality, or history of a single artist. Of the eight,
_Pictor Ignotus_, _Andrea del Sarto_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_, and _With
Francis Furini_, are serious poetic efforts, having as the theme a
painter’s endeavor, and dealing in each case with some shortcoming or
lack of acknowledged success. Each of the first three, as poetry, is
excellent in conception and execution. _With Francis Furini_, however,
is rather didactic and heavy, lacking in lyricism and beauty.

The failure of Pictor Ignotus was due to his high conception of art--so
high that he could not bear to submit pictures of real worth to the
world. With his extremely sensitive disposition he could not endure the
thought of ignorant criticism by people who had no comprehension of the
aim or purpose of the artist. Lippi failed to gain approbation because
he would not sacrifice his conception of painting things as God made
them to the misguided saintliness of the monks. Furini, according to
Browning’s estimate, failed in part, because of his attitude toward the
nude. Andrea del Sarto, the greatest failure in all Browning, possessed
a masterly technique, but failed through his weakness of character.

Of the later art poems, published after 1855, _With Francis Furini_ is
the most serious effort. It contains an extended defense of the nude in
art, the substance of which is summed up in the following quotations:

    “No gift but in the very plentitude
    Of its perfection, goes maimed, misconstrued,
    By wickedness or weakness: still some few
    Have grace to see thy purpose, strength to mar
    Thy work with no admixture of their own.”

           *       *       *       *       *

    ... “Show beauty’s May, ere June
    Undo the bud’s blush, leave a rose to cull
    --No poppy neither! Yet less perfect-pure,
    Divinely precious with life’s dew besprent.
    Show saintliness that’s simply innocent
    Of guessing sinnership exists.”

Among the less serious works, _Pacchiarotto_ tells the story of a
reformer-painter, suffering at the hands of the people who opposed him.
With a decidedly humorous treatment, rollicking verse, and impossible
rhymes, Browning carried on the poem to its conclusion of a fling at
the critics of his own verse. _Filippo Baldinucci_ simply retells a
rather amusing story, quite distinct from any serious consideration
of the painter as an artist, with an added conclusion which Browning
imagined for himself. In like manner, _Beatrice Signorini_ consists
of a poetized version of some very personal history, which Browning
took from Baldinucci. The husband of Beatrice, who was the painter
Romanelli, fell in love with Artemisia Genteleschi, and having painted
her portrait, showed it to his wife. She immediately destroyed it,
Romanelli approved her spirit, and ever after loved her more.

VI. CONFORMITY TO HISTORY.--A few instances of departure from
historical facts are found in the poems on painting, though it is
really remarkable that they were not less accurate, written as they
were at a time when the history of painting had been so slightly
investigated. Such errors as existed are usually the result of mistakes
in the sources Browning followed, though these were the best in their
day, rather than from carelessness on his part.

Some very recent investigators assert that Browning unduly exaggerated
the character of Andrea’s wife, in _Andrea del Sarto_. However, no less
an authority than W. M. Rossetti insists that he was essentially true
to the facts in representing her. Others insist that he was somewhat
unfair in the general impression which he gives of Andrea. At least he
has not changed the facts materially in this particular case; and if
any liberty has been taken, from a poetic standpoint it is well taken.
There are several slight errors in _Fra Lippo Lippi_. For example,
Guidi (Masaccio) is now known to have been the master, not the pupil of
Lippi, and the picture in Sant’ Ambrogio was probably not the expiation
of a prank.

The few changes in the facts, however, are comparatively slight,
all told. Allowing for mistaken authorities whom Browning followed,
variations are much more trivial than might be expected. By the old
well-worn charity cloak of poetic license it is customary to allow for
considerable idealization. But Browning, the artist of things as they
really exist, held to the truth as he saw it, even in his treatment
of art. This he did in spite of the fact that his purpose was not to
give art history, but to present personality as it existed in relation
to art. With his deep insight into human nature, as well as art
history, he took the characters which he found in the world of art, the
good or bad, and gave them to us as examples of the striving, often
unsuccessful soul.



I. POETIC FUNCTION AND METHOD.--About fifteen poems from Browning
deal with the arts or artists of Italy as primary subject matter. The
remainder of the entire number of forty-nine which refer to art at all,
treat it as a secondary consideration. Taking the subject art as a
whole, as Browning introduces it in poetry, it appears in the following
forms: (1) main theme; (2) comparison of two or more artists working
in the same art; (3) comparison of artists in one art with those in
another, as painters with musicians, or with poets; (4) illustrative
material when the main theme of the poem has no immediate bearing on
art. _Abt Vogler_, in music, or _Fra Lippo Lippi_, in painting, are
examples of the first. _Andrea del Sarto_, besides exemplifying the
first form, contains numerous comparisons of its main character with
other painters. _With Charles Avison_ has a musician as a theme, and he
is compared with other artists, for example, Michael Angelo. _Fifine at
the Fair_, whose main theme has no connection with art, names Raphael,
Bazzi, and Angelo as illustrative material. Numerous instances of
incidental art references, used in such ways as these, attest the fact
that Browning had a large art consciousness, gained from past interest
in the different fields, and of sufficient activity to cause almost
constant references to the fine arts.

Where Wordsworth would have chosen English natural scenery for purposes
of illustration, and Shelley nature in Italy, Browning chose art.
Fifteen poems with nature as the main theme, besides numerous others
with references to nature, would not seem unusual; but a group of
fifteen poems, all moderately long, based on the fine arts, besides a
very large number of comparisons to the arts in other poems, seems an
exceptional product for a nineteenth century English poet.

Browning’s art monologue is of two kinds--the monologue of the artist
who is the chief character in the poem, and the monologue of the poet
addressing the artist directly. Nor are these forms confined entirely
to Italian art poems. _My Last Duchess_, _The Bishop orders his Tomb_,
_Pictor Ignotus_, _Fra Lippo Lippi_, _Andrea del Sarto_, _Abt Vogler_,
are all in dramatic monologue, with either an artist or one interested
in art, as the speaker. _A Toccata of Galuppi’s_, _Master Hughes
of Saxe-Gotha_, and _Old Pictures in Florence_, represent the poet
addressing the artist. _Filippo Baldinucci_ is presented in the first
person, in monologue form. In _The Guardian Angel_ the poet directly
addressed the angel of the picture. _One Word More_ and _A Face_, in
which the art element is strong, are written in the first person, the
former addressed directly to Mrs. Browning with the poet speaking, and
the second addressed to no particular person. This review establishes
the fact that the monologue is Browning’s favorite form for poems about
art, since the list just quoted includes all important poems of that
kind. In every case he made some personality prominent, and in all
serious poems on art, that personality is either speaking or spoken to,
the very finest poems being of the former type.

foregoing discussion of the five branches of Italian art in
Browning,--sculpture, music, poetry, architecture, and painting--the
order has been determined largely by a quantitative standard. In the
Appendix are systematic lists showing the number of poems and the exact
references in connection with each art. No extensive comparison of
the different arts regarding frequency of introduction, therefore, is
needed here; but a few generalizations concerning some of the reasons
for the variation in emphasis seem not amiss.

Architecture is the art of a concrete bodily form, absolutely
separated from any representation of humanity, unless one looks beyond
it to the architect, or to the people for whom it is constructed.
In contradistinction to the other fine arts discussed here, it is
characterized by usefulness. While it should, and does, in its highest
forms, surmount mere utility, and give an impression of harmony,
beauty, and grandeur, it never directly portrays the finest feelings
of which humanity is capable and never inspires one directly with
a feeling of achievement or struggle in character. Utility is the
chief interest guiding Browning’s treatment of architecture--not
architectural utility, but the service to the poet in fixing the
setting of his poems. Such service is clear in nearly every instance
in all of the twenty-five poems in which some Italian building is
mentioned, and in the case of nearly all the fifty-eight edifices
named. The description of St. Peter’s in _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_
is practically the only exception, and there, as has already been
stated, the poet passed from the grandeur of the structure itself to
the builders. Lack of personality in architecture is, then, the reason
for its very slight introduction as an actual art in Browning’s verse.

Passing on from architecture to sculpture one finds that we have
another art of concrete bodily form, with the added power of portraying
the human form, face, and to a very slight degree, the soul. While the
number of sculptors named is very small, then, Browning’s appreciation
of this art surpasses his appreciation of architecture. Examples of
this are _Old Pictures in Florence_, in which sculpture is treated at
considerable length, by comparing its merits with the aspirations of
the early painters, and _Pippa Passes_, in which Jules, the sculptor,
is a prominent figure. _The Bishop orders his Tomb_ deals almost
entirely with sculpture. Still sculpture was not Browning’s favorite
art by any means. Bodily perfection he admired; but he wished to go
beyond it to the soul in dramatic situations, to its struggle and
endeavor. And for these values the powers of sculpture are limited. To
portray successfully any very great struggle or intense feeling of the
soul is beyond its nature.

A cause for the large amount of Italian poetry in the writings of
Browning has already been suggested, in part.[179] But one must further
consider the fact that he did not continue to deal with poets and
their writings as subject matter. After the first eight years of his
career, he ceased to deal with the causes connected with the failure of
poets. Fundamentally, all arts are agencies of expression through the
representation of nature and humanity. With the breadth of vision which
Browning possessed concerning the possibilities of expression in all
the arts, there was none of the five in which he did not, at some time
or other, wish to express himself. In the beginning of his career,
when he was formulating his ideas of a poet, he expressed his ideas of
that art by writing about other poets. But with ideas and forms for his
own art once fully established, the art became self-expressive. He no
longer needed to write about other poets; for the poet in himself had
found his own purpose and method.

It has already been suggested that Browning’s appreciation of music,
as he expressed it in his poems, was qualitative, rather than
quantitative, so far as Italian music is concerned. This art rivals
poetry in expressing the highest yearnings and ideals of which the
soul is capable, and is, therefore, in a very high degree, though in
abstract form, the art of personality. And this art Browning expressed
most perfectly, as to the aims and ideals of its artists, when he
chose to do so. But with all his own feeling for music and with such
ability as he expressed in performance, it, like poetry, was largely
self-expressive for him. That is he played, instead of writing poetry
about music. Browning’s evident preference for other music than that
of the modern composers of Italy explains the lack of space accorded
to them. Yet in spite of this preference the best of his musical poems
were built about Italians--obscure ones though they may be.

Browning did no work in actual study of the technique of painting. The
nearest he came to it was at the time of his thirteen days application
to drawing.[180] Yet painting is in a very large degree expressive of
the soul--its anguish, sorrow, failure, joy, ecstasy, or endeavor.
Drawn to it by his interest in personality, Browning made it contribute
largely to his poems. The Italian painting with which he dealt had
little to do with landscape or other phases of nature. It portrayed
persons; and stimulated by the pictures which he saw, or by records
of personality in the biography of artists, he incorporated many
references to painting in his poems, dealing more largely with it than
with any other art. Since, too, Italy was the home of painting, his
environment was very conducive to a development of his tendency to make
painting an important element in his poems.

Browning, as poet and man, was able to forgive any sort of failure
if the person whom he was judging had only made a thorough effort to
accomplish something. He carried this doctrine so far as to make a
lack of effort the cause of his censure of the Duke and the Lady in
_The Statue and the Bust_, even though the fulfillment of their plan
would have been a sin. This love for endeavor, which always accompanies
his attitude toward any personality, along with his enthusiasm for
personality itself explains his selection and emphasis in his treatment
of the arts. Painting he decidedly preferred above sculpture for
other reasons than its greater ability in portraying the soul. This
preference is stated in _Old Pictures in Florence_, and is based on the
fact that Greek art had run, and “reached the Goal.” Its effort, then,
was over:

    “They are perfect--how else? they shall never change:
    We are faulty--why not? we have time in store.
    The Artificer’s hand is not arrested
    With us ...”

           *       *       *       *       *

    “’Tis a life-long toil till our lump be leaven--
    The better! What’s come to perfection perishes.”

These quotations from _Old Pictures in Florence_, in which the poet, by
using the first person in his references to the early masters of Italy
places himself in their group and refers to Greek art in the third
person, are indications of the spirit of the poem and of Browning’s
entire attitude toward endeavor in art.

To summarize, then: few persons have as great an interest in expressing
themselves through all the arts as did Robert Browning. Architecture
and sculpture he appreciated least; therefore he expressed least
concerning their spirit and feeling. Music was a fundamental part of
his life; but he was able to embody his feelings about it in music
itself, not merely in poetry about it. Yet because of his perfect
understanding of it, he has embodied its spirit in a few choice poems,
making permanent, by his treatment of its evanescent quality, the
ideas that could not be left to the world by his playing. Painting he
deeply appreciated from childhood; but beyond a few amateur efforts
for diversion, he could not express his appreciation of it by means
of that art itself. Consequently, in an unusually large number of his
poems, he gave us his view of that art, his portraits of its followers,
historical or imaginary.

III. PERSONALITY AND THE ARTS.--Through his presentation of artists,
Browning has given the world many different types of character.
Prominent among them are the following: The non-altruistic,
impractical poet--Sordello; the sensualist--Bocafoli; the superficial
character--Plara; the regretful but optimistic idealist--Abt Vogler;
the coarse realist, who yet possessed a really fine appreciation of
God’s world--Fra Lippo Lippi; the weak, ambitionless man--Andrea
del Sarto; the keenly sensitive mind--Pictor Ignotus; and the

Art is also connected with Browning’s character portrayal in a
secondary sort of way, of which _The Ring and the Book_ furnishes
excellent illustrations. In that poem people are characterized by
their likeness to some work of art--_e. g._, Pompilia is compared to
Raphael’s Madonna; or by their fondness for some particular work of
art--_e. g._, the Pope chuckling over the _Merry Tales_.

While Browning mentioned the great masters in many different poems, it
is noticeable that he never used one of them as the main subject of a
poem. There are Andrea, Lippo, and Furini, but there is no Angelo and
no Raphael. This is due to the one element of interest on Browning’s
part that has already been emphasized in this chapter and previous
ones--personality. Browning was interested in the artist he selected,
not merely as an artist, not as a distinguished figure, but as a human
being, whose attempts, partial failure, or development, the poet wished
us to study with him.

Very often the characters whom Browning chose to present either in
connection with the arts or otherwise, were such as we do not approve
of--but neither did Browning approve of them. His theory of art was no
mere aesthetic one of art for art’s sake, no mere dogma of didacticism.
It was rather, art for the sake of human nature, of personality. Of all
the characters he has drawn for us, the one whose expression of art
best gives Browning’s own sentiments is Fra Lippo Lippi, the painter
and realist, enthusiastic for

    “The beauty and the wonder and the power,
    The shapes of things, their colors, lights, and shades,
    Changes, surprises--and God made it all!

           *       *       *       *       *

    “But why not do as well as say,--paint these
    Just as they are, careless what comes of it?”

Numerous instances might be cited as a proof of this--Guido, the Duke,
the Bishop, and many others. All his human beings, then, Browning chose
because their personality appealed to him, as a study, rather than
because they compelled his admiration, whether he selected them from
the world of art or elsewhere.

IV. BROWNING AS THE POET OF HUMANITY.--By consideration of Browning’s
general attitude towards the arts, of his fondness for the struggle of
the human soul as a poetic theme, and by a discussion of his relative
emphasis on each art and the method in which he chose to treat it,
the fact has been established that Browning was primarily the poet of
the human soul, and a poet of the arts as seen through the medium of

When he was once asked if he liked nature, he replied, “Yes but I
love men and women better.” The arts--architecture, music, poetry,
sculpture, and painting--he loved also; but he loved them most because
they recorded human experience, and best when they most fully expressed
the struggles of the soul, and thus became the direct embodiment of



            1. Pauline, 1833.
            2. Paracelsus, 1835.
            3. Sordello, 1840.
            4. Pippa Passes, 1841.
            5. My Last Duchess, 1842.
            6. In a Gondola, 1842.
            7. Waring, 1842.
            8. The Boy and the Angel, 1845.
            9. Time’s Revenges, 1845.
           10. The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church, 1845.
           11. Pictor Ignotus, 1845.
           12. The Italian in England, 1845.
           13. Luria, 1846.
           14. A Soul’s Tragedy, 1846.
           15. Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day, 1850.
           16. Up at a Villa, 1855.
           17. A Toccata of Galuppi’s, 1855.
           18. Old Pictures in Florence, 1855.
           19. By the Fireside, 1855.
           20. Any Wife to Any Husband, 1855.
           21. In Three Days, 1855.
           22. The Guardian Angel, 1855.
           23. Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha, 1855.
           24. The Statue and the Bust, 1855.
           25. How it Strikes a Contemporary, 1855.
           26. Fra Lippo Lippi, 1855.
           27. Andrea del Sarto, 1855.
           28. Bishop Blougram’s Apology, 1855.
           29. One Word More, 1855.
           30. James Lee’s Wife, 1864.
           31. Abt Vogler, 1864.
           32. Youth and Art, 1864.
           33. A Face, 1864.
           34. Apparent Failure, 1864.
           35. The Ring and the Book, 1868-9.
           36. Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau, 1871.
           37. Fifine at the Fair, 1872.
           38. Red Cotton Night-Cap Country, 1873.
           39. The Inn Album, 1875.
           40. Pacchiarotto, 1876.
           41. Cenciaja, 1876.
           42. Filippo Baldinucci, 1876.
           43. Pietro of Abano, 1880.
           44. Christina and Monaldeschi, 1883.
           45. With Christopher Smart, 1887.
           46. With Francis Furini, 1887.
           47. With Charles Avison, 1887.
           48. Ponte dell’ Angelo, Venice, 1889.
           49. Beatrice Signorini, 1889.



        I. _Sordello._
            1. Niccolo Pisano (1206-1278). By his study of nature
               and the ancients, gave the death-blow to
               Byzantinism and heralded the Renaissance.
            2. Giovanni Pisano (c. 1250-1330). His many pupils
               carried the continuation of his father’s principles
               throughout northern Italy.

       II. _Pippa Passes._
            1. Canova (1757-1822). A refined, classical, but
               somewhat artificial reviver of Italian sculpture in
               the modern era.
                a. The Psiche-fanciulla--Psycheas a young girl
                   with a butterfly, in the Possagno Gallery.
                b. Pietà--a statue of the Virgin with the dead
                   Christ in her arms, in Possagno Church.
            2. Jules. An imaginary young sculptor, studying
               Italian models.
                a. Almaign Kaiser.
                b. Hippolyta.
                c. Psyche.
                d. Tydeus.

      III. _My Last Duchess._
            1. Claus of Innsbruck. An imaginary Renaissance
                a. Neptune taming a sea-horse.

       IV. _The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church._
            1. Tomb of the Bishop.
            2. Globe in the Church of Il Gesu.

        V. _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day._
            1. Early Christian attitude toward art.

       VI. _Old Pictures in Florence._
            1. Niccolo Pisano.
            2. Ghiberti (1378-1455). A Florentine sculptor, also
               important for perspective in painting, whose ideal
               combined religious feeling with classical beauty.

      VII. _The Statue and the Bust._
            1. Giovanni da Bologna (John of Douay) (c. 1524-1608).
               An Italian Renaissance sculptor who combines
               technical knowledge with fine poetic feeling.
                a. Statue of Duke Ferdinand, by Giovanni.
                b. A bust of the Lady.

     VIII. _The Ring and the Book._
       (I.) 1. Baccio’s marble (by Baccio Bandinelli)--statue of
               John of the Black Bands, father of Cosimo de’
            2. Bernini’s Triton.
     (III.) 3. Bernini’s Triton.
      (VI.) 4. Pasquin’s statue.
     (VII.) 5. Marble lion in San Lorenzo.
            6. Virgin at Pompilia’s street corner.
      (XI.) 7. Bocca-dell’-Verità--the fabled test for the verity
               of witnesses, a mask of stone in the portico of the
               Church Santa Maria in Cosmedin.


        I. _The Englishman in Italy._
            1. Bellini (1801-1835). An Italian opera composer.

       II. _A Toccata of Galuppi’s._
            1. Galuppi (1706-1785). A composer of melodious
               rather than original operas, whose workmanship was
               superior to that of his contemporaries in harmony
               and orchestration.

      III. _Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha._
            1. Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha. An imaginary
            2. Palestrina (1526-1594). Famous for saving music to
               the church by submitting some that met with
               approval when ecclesiastical authorities were about
               to forbid its use.

       IV. _Bishop Blougram’s Apology._
            1. Verdi (1813-1901). One of the greatest modern
               Italian composers, best known by _Il Trovatore_,
               _Rigoletto_, and _La Traviata_.
            2. Rossini (1782-1868). A composer whose success
               antedates that of Verdi; best known by his opera
               _William Tell_.

        V. _Abt Vogler._
            1. Abt or Abbe Vogler (1749-1814). An organist and
               composer of Bavarian birth, some of whose study and
               public work were done in Italy. Though he invented
               a new system of musical theory, his ideas were

       VI. _Youth and Art._
            1. Grisi (1811-1869). An Italian opera singer.

      VII. _The Ring and the Book._
       (I.) 1. Corelli (1653-1713). A violin player and composer
               who, though he employed only a limited part of his
               instrument’s compass, made an epoch in chamber
               music and influenced Bach.
      (IV.) 2. Magnificat--Catholic music.
            3. Nunc Dimittis.
      (VI.) 4. Ave.
            5. Angelus.
     (VII.) 6. Ave Maria.
       (X.) 7. Sanctus et Benedictus.
     (XII.) 8. Pater.
            9. Ave.
           10. Salve Regina Cœli.

     VIII. _Red Cotton Night-Cap Country._
            1. Guarnerius (1687-1745). Joseph del Gesu, one of the
               most famous violin makers, who worked for boldness
               of outline and massive construction, securing in
               consequence, a robust tone.
            2. Antonius Stradivarius (1644-1737). His final model,
               with its soft varnish, now irrecoverable, brought
               violin making to its highest perfection.
            3. Corelli.
            4. Paganini (1784-1840). A violin player who achieved
               such brilliant success that his name still stands
               for all that is wonderful in execution on that

       IX. _Parleyings with Charles Avison._
            1. Buononcini (1672-1750). The author of a musical
               treatise; his chief claim to fame being the fact
               that he influenced Handel and Scarlotti.
            2. Geminiani (c. 1680-1762). A violinist of
               considerable ability, but as a composer, dry and
               deficient in melody.


        I. _Paracelsus._
            1. Aprile. An imaginary poet.

       II. _Sordello._
            1. Sordello (13th. century). The most famous of the
               Mantuan troubadours.
            2. Nina. A contemporary of Sordello.
            3. Alcamo. A contemporary of Sordello.
            4. Plara. An imaginary poet.
            5. Bocafoli. An imaginary poet.
            6. Eglamor. An imaginary poet.
            7. Dante. (1265-1321).

      III. _Time’s Revenges._
            1. Dante.

       IV. _A Soul’s Tragedy._
            1. Stiatta. An imaginary poet.

        V. _Up at a Villa._
            1. Dante.
            2. Petrarch (1304-1374).
            3. Boccaccio (1313-1375).

       VI. _Old Pictures in Florence._
            1. Dante.

      VII. _One Word More._
            1. Dante--The _Inferno_.

     VIII. _Apparent Failure._
            1. Petrarch.

       IX. _The Ring and the Book._
    (III).  1. _Hundred Merry Tales._ (Boccaccio).
      (V).  2. Boccaccio.
            3. Sacchetti (1335-1400). A poet and novelist who left
               many unpublished sonnetti, canzoni, ballate, and
               madrigale, and whose novelle throw light on the
               manners of his age.
     (VI).  4. A Marinesque Adoniad.
            5. Marino (1569-1625). A poet of disreputable life,
               leader of the Secentisimo period, whose aim was to
               excite wonder by novelties and to cloak poverty of
               subject under form.
            6. Dante.
            7. Pietro Aretino (1492-1556). Author of satirical
               sonnets, burlesques, comedies; and a man of
               profligate life.
      (X).  8. Aretino.
     (XI).  9. _Merry Tales_ (Boccaccio).
           10. Aretino.
    (XII). 11. Petrarch.
           12. Tommaseo (1803-1874). A modern Italian poet,
               author of the inscription to Mrs. Browning placed
               by the city of Florence on the walls of Casa Guidi.

        X. _The Inn Album._
            1. Dante--The _Inferno_.


        I. _Sordello._
            1. Goito. An imaginary 13th century castle, used to
               influence the life of Sordello by its beauty and
            2. St. Mark’s. A great landmark of Italian
               architecture, in construction from the ninth to the
               fifteenth century, and the most splendid
               polychromatic building in Europe.
            3. Piombi. Torture cells under the Ducal Palace at
            4. San Pietro (Martire). A Veronese Gothic church of
            5. St. Francis. A Lombard Gothic church at Bassano.
            6. Castle Angelo. A huge Roman fortress constructed in
               the time of Hadrian.
            7. San Miniato. A Florentine church built in Central
               Romanesque style.
            8. Sant’ Eufemia. A 13th century Veronese church, now
               modernized internally.

       II. _Pippa Passes._
            1. St. Mark’s--Venice.
            2. Possagno Church. Designed by Canova in 1819, as a
               place for statues of religious subjects.
            3. Fenice--or Phoenix. The best modern theatre of
               Venice, built in 1836.
            4. Academy of Fine Arts. A Renaissance building in
          Asolo Group.
            5. Duomo of Asolo.
            6. Pippa’s Tower. Later the studio of Browning’s son.
            7. Church.
            8. Castle of Kate--of which the banqueting hall is now
               a theatre.
            9. Turret.
           10. Palace.
           11. Mill--now a lace school.

      III. _In a Gondola._
            1. Pulci Palace--Venice.

       IV. _The Boy and the Angel._
            1. St. Peter’s. In process of construction during the
               16th and 17th centuries; the building that best
               typifies the importance of the church during the
               middle ages. Built on the Greek cross plan, it is
               surmounted by the dome of Michael Angelo, the most
               nobly beautiful of architectural creations.

        V. _The Italian in England._
            1. Duomo at Padua. A 16th century building of
               admirable proportions.

       VI. _The Bishop orders his Tomb at St. Praxed’s Church._
            1. Santa Prassede--or St. Praxed’s. A church in Rome,
               founded on the former site of a refuge for
               persecuted Christians. It is notable for the beauty
               of its stone work and mosaics, one of its rich
               chapels being called Orto del Paradiso. The
               building is old but was restored in the 15th
            2. Il Gesu. An ornate 16th century church in Rome,
               representing the retrograde movement in

      VII. _Luria._
            1. Duomo. The Florentine cathedral, famous for its
               dome of 1420, its beautiful sculptured exterior and
               its cold brown interior.
            2. Towers of Florence--San Romano, Sant’ Evola, San
               Miniato, Santa Scala, and Sant’ Empoli.

     VIII. _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day._
            1. St. Peter’s--Rome.

       IX. _A Toccata of Galuppi’s._
            1. St. Mark’s--Venice.

        X. _The Guardian Angel._
            1. Chapel at Fano.

       XI. _Old Pictures in Florence._
            1. Giotto (1267-1337). Architect, and the humanizer of
               painting, as well as the builder of the Campanile.
            2. Campanile. The bell tower of the Florentine Duomo,
               built by Giotto in 1332; an architectural triumph
               in beauty and splendor.
            3. Santo Spirito. A 14th century Florentine church.
            4. Duomo--Florence.
            5. Ognissanti--Florence.

      XII. _By the Fireside._
            1. Chapel near Bagni di Lucca.

     XIII. _The Statue and the Bust._
            1. Antinori Palace. An example of Renaissance secular
               architecture, built about 1481, in Florence.
            2. Riccardi Palace. A Florentine castle, the earliest
               and finest example of secular Renaissance

      XIV. _Fra Lippo Lippi._
            1. Santa Maria del Carmine. A 15th century church and
               convent in Florence, containing frescoes by
               Masaccio and Filippino Lippi.
            2. Palace of the Medici--Florence.
            3. St. Lawrence--or San Lorenzo. A Florentine
               Renaissance church, rebuilt about 1425.
            4. St. Ambrose. A Florentine edifice, the reputed
               scene of a transubstantiation miracle in 1746.

       XV. _Bishop Blougram’s Apology._
            1. Vatican. The papal palace at Rome, most of which as
               it exists now, was built no earlier than the
               fifteenth century.

      XVI. _Andrea del Sarto._
            1. Chapel and the Convent--Florence.

     XVII. _One Word More._
            1. San Miniato--Florence.

    XVIII. _Abt Vogler._
            1. St. Peter’s.

      XIX. _The Ring and the Book._
      (I).  1. San Lorenzo. The original building by Brunelleschi
               in 1425 or perhaps 1420, was entrusted to Michael
               Angelo for the facade. Florence.
            2. Riccardi Palace--Florence.
            3. San Felice Church. A little grey-walled Florentine
               church, mostly in a very ancient Romanesque style,
               which could be seen from the windows of Casa Guidi.
            4. Fiano Palace. An example of secular architecture
               in Rome, built about 1300.
            5. Ruspoli Palace. Built by the Rucellai family in
               1586; has one of the finest white marble stair
               cases in Rome.
     (II).  6. San Lorenzo--Rome. Founded by Sixtus III in 440 and
               modernized in 1506; has a Crucifixion by Guido
               Reni, above the high altar.
            7. Ruspoli Palace--Rome.
    (III).  8. Saint Anna’s. A monastery in Rome.
            9. San Lorenzo--Rome.
     (IV). 10. San Lorenzo--Rome.
           11. Vatican--Rome.
      (V). 12. Tordinona--Rome.
           13. New Prisons--Rome.
           14. San Lorenzo--Rome.
     (VI). 15. Pieve, or Santa Maria della Pieve. A great church
               in Arezzo, built in the capricious, extravagant
               style of the 13th century.
           16. San Lorenzo--Rome.
           17. Duomo--Arezzo.
    (VII.) 18. San Lorenzo--Rome.
           19. San Giovanni. A Tuscan church built in Rome at the
               expense of the Florentines.
           20. Pieve--Arezzo.
   (VIII). 21. Sistine Chapel. Chapel of the Vatican, at Rome; a
               most extreme example of figure painting in
               decoration, but justified by the excellence of the
               work. The ceiling is Michael Angelo’s, and on the
               altar wall is his “Last Judgment.”
      (X). 22. Vatican--Rome.
           23. Pieve--Arezzo.
           24. Monastery of the Convertites--Rome. Founded in
               1584, for the spiritual care of the sick at Rome.
     (XI). 25. Certosa. A beautifully situated, very richly built
               monastery of the Carthusians in Val d’ Ema, four
               miles from Florence, built in the 14th century
               Gothic style.
           26. Vallombrosa Convent. Situated near Florence;
               founded about 1650, by a repentant profligate.
           27. Palace in Via Larga. Secular Florentine
           28. San Lorenzo--Rome.
           29. Vatican--Rome.
    (XII). 30. New Prisons--Rome.
           31. San Lorenzo--Rome.
           32. Monastery of the Convertites--Rome.

       XX. _Fifine at the Fair._
            1. St. Mark’s--Venice.

      XXI. _Pacchiarotto._
            1. San Bernardino. A Renaissance church at Siena, with
               an Oratory, containing work of Beccafumi, Pacchia,
               and Pacchiarotto.
            2. Duomo at Siena. An unfinished cathedral, the most
               purely Gothic of all of those of Italy, of
               unrivalled solemnity and splendor.

     XXII. _Filippo Baldinucci._
            1. San Frediano. A modern Florentine church.

    XXIII. _Pietro of Abano._
            1. Lateran. Formerly the Papal residence, though the
               present structure, of 1586, was never used for that
               purpose and is now a museum of classical sculpture
               and early Christian remains.

     XXIV. _With Francis Furini._
            1. San Sano, or Ansano. A Florentine parish church.

      XXV. _Ponte del Angelo, Venice._
            1. House along the Bridge, of no importance
               architecturally, but connected with an old legend
               which is the subject of the poem.


        I. _Pauline._
            1. Andromeda. By Polidoro da Caravaggio--the picture
               of Perseus freeing her from the sea monster.

       II. _Sordello._
            1. Guido of Siena (c. 1250--). The disputed artist of
               a Virgin and Child, the date of which may be either
               1221 or 1281. If it be the former, some of
               Cimabue’s claims are disturbed by Guido’s earlier
            2. Guido Reni (1575-1642). A prime master in the
               Bolognese school, faithful to its eclectic
               principles and working with considerable artistic
               feeling, but still with a certain “core of the
            3. Andromeda. By Caravaggio.

      III. _Pippa Passes._
            1. Annibale Carracci (burlesque--“Hannibal Scratchy”)
               (1560-1609). With his brother and his uncle founded
               the Bolognese school, which was eclectic and
               comprised the good points of all the great masters.
            2. Correggio (1494-1534). The head of the Lombard
               School at Parma, a painter of graceful naturalness
               and sweetness and of great technical power in
            3. Titian (1477-1576). A Venetian painter who lacked
               inventiveness but was the greatest of colorists.
                a. Annunciation--in the Cathedral at Treviso,
                   painted by Titian in 1519.

       IV. _My Last Duchess._
            1. Fra Pandolf. An imaginary artist.

        V. _In a Gondola._
            1. Schidone (c. 1570-1615). A portrait painter of the
               Lombard school.
                a. Eager Duke. An imaginary picture.
            2. Luca Giordano (1632-1705). Called Luke-work-fast
               because of his father’s miserly urging; a painter
               of superficiality and facility.
                a. Prim Saint. An imaginary picture.
            3. Giorgione (Castelfranco) (1477-1510). A Venetian
               painter who did for his school what Leonardo da
               Vinci had done for Florence twenty years earlier.
                a. Magdalen--imaginary.
            4. Titian.
                a. Ser (a picture).

       VI. _Waring._
            1. Polidoro da Caravaggio.

      VII. _Pictor Ignotus._
            1. Pictor Ignotus--an imaginary painter of Italy.

     VIII. _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day._
            1. Michael Angelo and discussion of painting.

       IX. _Old Pictures in Florence._
            1. Michael Angelo (1475-1564). A Florentine master in
               painting, sculpture, and architecture. No other
               single person ever so dominated art as he, with his
               Italian “terribilita”, or stormy energy of
               conception, and his great dramatic power.
            2. Raphael (1483-1520). A master of combined
               draughtsmanship, coloring, and graceful
               composition; popular and unexcelled in versatility.
            3. Leonardo da Vinci (1452-1519). The earliest of the
               great masters of the High Renaissance, and the
               first to completely master anatomy and technique.
            4. Cavaliere Dello (c. 1404-c. 1464). An unimportant
               Florentine painter of frescoes.
            5. Stefano (1324?-1357?). Called the “Ape of Nature”
               because he followed her closely in an age of
               unrealistic painting.
            6. Cimabue (1240-c. 1302). The first painter of
               importance in the revival of that art, the one who
               formed its first principles, though he owed
               something to the Pisan sculptors.
            7. Ghirlandajo (1449-1494). Good in his general
               attainment but lacking in originality, and
               remembered for one famous pupil--Michael Angelo.
            8. Sandro (Botticelli) (1444-1510). A Florentine
               painter, imbued with a strain of fantasy,
               mysticism, and allegory.
            9. Lippino (1460-1505). The son of Fra Lippo Lippi, a
               painter of considerable skill, the first to
               introduce detail in antique costumes.
           10. Fra Angelico (1387-1455). A holy, self-denying
               painter of faces that showed a “sexless
           11. Lorenzo Monaco (1370-1425). A Florentine monk and
               painter of much religious sentiment.
           12. Pollajolo (1429-1498). An important painter whose
               works show brutality, but who was a close student
               of muscular anatomy.
           13. Baldovinetti (1427-1499). A Florentine; one of a
               group of scientific realists and naturalists.
           14. Margheritone (c. 1236-1289). An early Tuscan
               painter whose work shows the stiffness and crude
               color of the Byzantine artists.
           15. Carlo Dolci (1616-1686). An unimportant Florentine
               painter of careful workmanship and religious
           16. Giotto (1267?-1337). A painter and architect, the
               real humanizer of painting.
           17. Andrea Orgagna (1308-1368). A Florentine painter
               and artist in other lines as well.
           18. Taddeo Gaddi (c. 1300-1366). Painter and architect.

        X. _In Three Days._
            1. General reference to early art.

       XI. _The Guardian Angel._
            1. Guercino (1591-1666). The “squint-eyed”; a
               Bolognese painter.
                a. Angel at Fano.

      XII. _Any Wife to Any Husband._
            1. Titian’s Venus.

     XIII. _How it Strikes a Contemporary._
            1. Titian.

      XIV. _Fra Lippo Lippi._
            1. Lippi (1406-1469). A realist of good coloring and
               technique, a painter of enjoyable pictures showing
               power of observation.
                a. Jerome.
                b. St. Lawrence.
                c. Coronation of the Virgin--in St. Ambrose.
            2. Angelico.
            3. Monaco.
            4. Guidi Masaccio (1402-1429). A Florentine; the
               master of Lippi, the first to make considerable
               advancement in atmospheric perspective and to paint
               architectural background in proportion to the human
            5. Giotto.

       XV. _Andrea del Sarto._
            1. Andrea (1487-1513). A Florentine, the “faultless
               painter,” who lacked elevation and ideality in his
            2. Raphael.
            3. Vasari (1511-1571). A Florentine artist, student of
               Michael Angelo, imitative and feeble as a painter,
               but interesting as an art historian.
            4. Michael Angelo.
            5. Leonardo da Vinci.

      XVI. _Bishop Blougram’s Apology._
            1. Correggio.
                a. Jerome.
            2. Giulio Romano (1429-1546). A rather ornate artist,
               the executor of some work on the Vatican.
            3. Raphael.
            4. Michael Slaying the Dragon--by Raphael.

     XVII. _One Word More._
            1. Raphael.
                a. Sistine Madonna.
                b. Madonna Foligno.
                c. Madonna of the Grand Duke.
                d. Madonna of the Lilies.
            2. Guido Reni.
            3. Lippi.
            4. Andrea.

    XVIII. _James Lee’s Wife._
            1. Leonardo da Vinci.

      XIX. _A Face._
            1. Correggio.
            2. General reference to the early art of Tuscany.

       XX. _The Ring and the Book._
      (I).  1. Luigi Ademollo (1764-1849). A Florentine painter of
               historical and fresco works, whose works show
               superficial skill.
            2. Joconde, or Mona Lisa, by Da Vinci--the woman of
               the mysterious smile, recently returned to the
     (II).  3. Guido Reni.
                a. Crucifixion, in San Lorenzo at Rome.
    (III).  4. Carlo Maratta (1625-1713). A painter at Rome, an
               imitator of Raphael and the Carracci.
     (IV).  5. Raphael.
            6. Correggio.
                a. Leda.
      (V).  7. Pietro da Cortona (1596-1669). Mainly a scenic and
               fresco painter, the estimate of whom has declined
               since his own time.
            8. Ciro Ferri (1634-1689). A pupil of Pietro, so
               imitative of his master that the work of the two
               cannot be distinguished.
     (VI).  9. Raphael.
    (VII). 10. St. George Slaying the Dragon--by Vasari.
   (VIII). 11. Carlo Maratta.
     (IX). 12. Maratta.
           13. Luca Giordano.
           14. Michael Angelo.
           15. Raphael.
           16. Pietro da Cortona.
           17. Ciro Ferri.
      (X). 18. St. Michael.
     (XI). 19. Albani (1587-1660). A Bolognese who also worked at
               Rome; a painter of minute elaboration and finish,
               and one of the first to devote himself to cabinet
           20. Picture in Vallombrosa Convent.
           21. Raphael--any picture.
           22. Titian.
           23. Fra Angelico.
           24. Michael Angelo.
    (XII). 25. Michael Angelo.

      XXI. _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau._
            1. Raphael.
            2. Salvator Rosa (1615-1673). A Neapolitan painter of
               battle scenes and landscapes, with a tendency
               toward the picturesque and romantic.

     XXII. _Fifine at the Fair._
            1. Raphael.
            2. Bazzi (1477-1594). An Italian Renaissance painter
               who was greatly influenced by Leonardo da Vinci,
               and in turn, had great influence on the Sienese
            3. Michael Angelo.

    XXIII. _Red Cotton Night-Cap Country._
            1. Michael Angelo.
            2. Correggio.
                a. Leda.

     XXIV. _Pacchiarotto and How He Worked in Distemper._
            1. Pacchiarotto (1474-?). A Sienese painter, reformer,
               and conspirator.
            2. Pacchia (b. 1477). A Sienese painter contemporary
               to Pacchiarotto, and also a reformer and
            3. Fungaio (c. 1460-c. 1516). One of the last of the
               old school. His works have rigidity and awkward
            4. Bazzi.
            5. Beccafumi (1486-1551). A Sienese painter who weakly
               imitated Angelo and attempted to rival Sodoma.
            6. Giotto.

      XXV. _Filippo Baldinucci._
            1. Buti. The painter’s name under which Baldinucci, in
               his history of art, records the events forming the
               subject of Browning’s poem.
            2. Titian.
                a. Leda.
            3. Baldinucci (1624-1696). A Florentine art historian
               who attempted to prove the theory that all art was
               derived from his native city.

     XXVI. _Cenciaja._
            1. Titian.

    XXVII. _Christina and Monaldeschi._
            1. Primaticcio (1504-1570). An Italian painter of the
               Bolognese school, who did the first important
               stucco and fresco work in France.

   XXVIII. _Mary Wollstonecraft and Fuseli._
            1. Fuseli. (1741-1825). An English painter of
               exaggerated style, who attempted to be Italianate
               and changed his name to harmonize with the attempt.

     XXIX. _Parleyings with Christopher Smart._
            1. Michael Angelo.
            2. Raphael.

      XXX. _Parleyings with Francis Furini._
            1. Furini (1600-1649). A Florentine artist and an
               excellent painter of the nude, who later became a
               parish priest and wished his undraped pictures
            2. Michael Angelo.
            3. Baldinucci.
            4. Da Vinci.


  _Abt Vogler_, 14, 15, 23, 25, 26, 36, 48, 49, 53, 58, 64

  Academy of Fine Arts, Venice, 62

  Ademollo, Luigi, 71

  _Agamemnon_, 14

  Albani, 71

  Alcamo (in _Sordello_), 29, 30, 31, 60

  _Andrea del Sarto_, 27, 42, 43, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 53, 64, 70

  “Andromeda,” Caravaggio’s, 41, 44, 66, 67

  _Any Wife to Any Husband_, 44, 69

  _Apparent Failure_, 60

  Aprile (in _Paracelsus_), 29, 30, 31, 60

  Aretino, Pietro, 29, 33, 61

  _Aristophanes’ Apology_, 14

  Augustus, a bust by Browning, 12

  Baldovinetti, 69

  Bandinelli, Baccio, 15, 21, 57

  Bazzi, Giovanni Antonio, 45, 48, 72

  _Beatrice Signorini_, 41, 44, 45, 46

  Beccafumi, 66, 72

  Beethoven, 10

  Bellini, Vincenzo, 23, 24, 25, 27, 58

  Bernini, 15, 57

  _Bishop Blougram’s Apology_, 26, 27, 36, 44, 58, 64, 70

  _Bishop orders his Tomb, The_, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 36, 38, 49, 50, 57,

  Bocafoli (in _Sordello_), 29, 30, 31, 53, 60

  Boccaccio, 29, 32, 33, 60, 61

  “Bocca-dell’-Verita,” 15, 21, 58

  Botticelli, 68

  _Boy and the Angel, The_, 36, 62

  Browning, Elizabeth Barrett, 10, 11, 12, 13, 26, 34, 41, 42, 43, 49,

  Browning, Wiedemann, 10, 11

  Buononcini, Giovanni Battista, 23, 25, 59

  Buti, 73

  Byron, Lord, 23, 38

  _By the Fireside_, 9, 36, 63

  Campanile, The, Florence, 35, 36, 43, 63

  Canova, 12, 15, 18, 22, 56, 57, 62

  Caravaggio, 41, 44, 66, 67, 68

  Carracci, Annibale, 12, 67

  Castle Angelo, 61

  Catholic Hymns, 23-24, 59

  _Cenciaja_, 45, 73

  Chapel near Bagni di Lucca, 63;
    at Fano, 63;
    at Florence, 64

  _Charles Avison, Parleyings with_, 25, 26, 45, 48, 59

  _Christina and Monaldeschi_, 73

  _Christmas-Eve and Easter-Day_, 9, 16, 17, 20, 22, 36, 38, 50, 57, 63,

  _Christopher Smart, Parleyings with_, 45, 73

  Churches, Italian:
    Il Gesu, 57, 63;
    Ognissanti, 63;
    Pieve at Arezzo, 37, 65;
    Possagno, 57, 62;
    St. Francis, 61;
    St. Mark’s, 36, 61, 62, 63, 66;
    St. Peter’s, 36, 38, 39, 50, 62, 63, 64;
    S. Ambrogio, 47, 64, 70;
    S. Bernardino, 66;
    S. Empoli, 63;
    S. Eufemia, 62;
    S. Evola, 63;
    S. Felice, 64;
    S. Frediano, 66;
    S. Giovanni, 65;
    S. Lorenzo, 36, 58, 64, 65, 66, 71;
    S. Miniato, 61, 63, 64;
    S. Maria della Scala, 63;
    S. Maria del Carmine, 64;
    S. Maria in Cosmedin, 58;
    S. Pietro Martire, 61;
    S. Pressede (St. Praxed’s), 19, 38, 62;
    S. Romano, 63;
    S. Sano, 66;
    S. Spirito, 63

  Cimabue, 40, 42, 66, 68

  Claus of Innsbruck (in _My Last Duchess_), 15, 19, 57

  Convent, at Florence, 64; Vallombrosa, 65, 72

  Corelli, Arcangelo, 23, 25, 59

  Correggio, 12, 40, 44, 67, 70, 71, 72;
    his “Jerome”, 70, 72;
    “Leda”, 71, 72

  “Crucifixion”, Guido’s, 37, 71

  Dante, 29, 32, 33, 34, 60, 61

  “David”, Domenichino’s, 12

  Da Vinci, Leonardo, 12, 40, 44, 67, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73;
    “Mona Lisa”, 71

  _Decameron_, The, 33, 60, 61

  Dello di Niccolo Delli, 40, 68

  _De Vulgario Eloquio_, 32

  _Divine Comedy, The_, 32

  Dolci, Carlo, 69

  Domenichino, 12

  Dore, Gustave, 45

  Dramatic Monologue, Use of, 49

  Dulwich Gallery, 10, 11

  Duomo, The, at Arezzo, 65;
    at Asolo, 62;
    at Florence, 36, 63;
    at Padua, 62;
    at Siena, 66

  Dvorak, Antonin, 25

  “Eager Duke, The”, (in _In a Gondola_), 67

  Eastlake, Sir Charles, 13

  Eglamor (in _Sordello_), 29, 30, 60

  _Elegy on Newstead Abbey_, Byron’s, 38

  _Englishman in Italy, The_, 24, 58

  _Epistle of Karshish, An_, 14

  _Face, A_, 45, 49, 71

  Fauveau, Mme. de, 11

  Fenice Theatre, Venice, 62

  Ferdinand, Statue of Duke, 15, 20, 57

  _Ferishtah’s Fancies_, 14

  Ferri, Ciro, 45, 71

  _Fifine at the Fair_, 45, 48, 66, 72

  _Filippo Baldinucci_, 44, 45, 46, 49, 66, 73

  Fisher, Mr., 11

  _Flight of the Duchess, The_, 9

  Fountain of the Tritons, 15, 21, 57

  Fra Angelico, 69, 70, 72

  _Fra Lippo Lippi_, 14, 15, 36, 42, 44, 45, 46, 47, 48, 49, 53, 64, 68,
        69, 70

  _Francis Furini, Parleyings with_, 45, 46, 53, 66, 73

  Fungaio, 72

  Fuseli, 73

  Gaddi, Taddeo, 35, 69

  Galuppi, Baldassaro, 23, 27, 58

  Geminiani, Francesco, 23, 25, 59

  Ghiberti, Lorenzo, 15, 57

  Ghirlandajo, 42, 43, 68

  Gibson, John, 11

  Giorgione, 67

  Giordano, Luca, 45, 67, 71

  _Giorno di Regno, Un_, Verdi’s, 27

  Giottino, 42

  Giotto, 35, 39, 42, 63, 69, 70, 72

  Giovanni da Bologna (John of Douay), 15, 57

  Goito Castle, 20, 38, 61

  _Gold Hair_, 14

  Grisi, Giulia, 23, 25, 27, 59

  _Guardian Angel, The_, 42, 43, 45, 49, 63, 69

  Guarnerius (Joseph del Jesu), 23, 25, 59

  Guercino, 12, 43, 69

  Guido of Siena, 66

  Handel, George Frederick, 25, 59

  Haworth, Miss, 11, 12, 22

  _Herakles_, 14

  Horne, R. H., 13, 42

  Hosmer, Harriet, 11

  _How it Strikes a Contemporary_, 29, 69

  _In a Gondola_, 36, 62, 67

  _Inn Album, The_, 61

  _Inside of the King’s College Chapel_ (Wordsworth), 38

  _In the Cathedral at Cologne_ (Wordsworth), 38

  _In Three Days_, 44, 69

  _Italian in England, The_, 36, 62

  _James Lee’s Wife_, 44, 71

  Jameson, Mrs., 12, 42

  “John of the Black Bands,” statue of, 15, 57

  Jules (in _Pippa Passes_), 15, 18, 44, 50, 57

  Keats, 9

  Kenyon, Frederick G., 10, 37, 43

  Kirkup, Mr., 11, 42

  Kugler, Franz, _Handbook of the History of Art_, 13

  _Lady and the Painter, The_, 20

  Lateran, The, 66

  Leighton, Frederick, 11, 28, 36

  Lippi, Filippino, 40, 64, 68

  Liszt, Franz, 25

  _Luria_, 14, 36, 63

  Madonna, Raphael’s, 44, 53

  Magdalen (_In a Gondola_), 67

  Maratta, Carlo, 44, 45, 71

  Margheritone, 69

  Marino, 29, 61

  _Mary Wollstonescraft and Fuseli_, 73

  Masaccio, Guidi, 47, 64, 70

  _Master Hugues of Saxe-Gotha_, 23, 25, 26, 49, 58

  _Memorabilia_, 32, 34

  _Men and Women_, 12

  _Merry Tales_, Sacchetti’s, 33

  Michael Angelo, 27, 40, 43, 45, 48, 53, 62, 64, 65, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73

  Michael, Raphael’s, 44, 70

  Monaco, Lorenzo, 69, 70

  Monastery, Certosa, 65;
    of the Convertites, 65, 66;
    of St. Anna, 65

  _My Last Duchess_, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 49, 57, 67

  Neptune, (statue in _My Last Duchess_), 19, 57

  Nina (in _Sordello_), 29, 30, 31, 60

  _Old Abbeys_ (Wordsworth), 38

  _Old Pictures in Florence_, 15, 16, 17, 22, 35, 36, 39, 40, 42, 43,
        45, 49, 50, 52, 57, 60, 63, 68

  _One Word More_, 29, 32, 36, 42, 45, 49, 60, 64, 70

  Orgagna, 69

  Orr’s, Mrs., _Life of Browning_, 10, 11, 41

  Pacchia, 66, 72

  _Pacchiarotto_, 36, 45, 46, 53, 66, 72

  Paganini, Niccolo, 23, 25, 27, 59

  Page, William, 11

  Palace, Antinori, 63;
    Ducal, Venice, 61;
    Fiano, 64;
    Medici, 64;
    Pulci, 62;
    Riccardi, 64;
    Ruspoli, 64, 65;
    Via Larga, 65

  Palestrina, 23, 58

  Pandolf, Fra (in _My Last Duchess_), 67

  _Paracelsus_, 29, 30, 31, 42, 60

  Pasquin’s statue, 15, 21, 58

  _Pauline_, 9, 29, 30, 32, 34, 41, 44, 66

  Petrarch, 29, 32, 60, 61

  _Pheidippides_, 14

  _Pictor Ignotus_, 42, 45, 46, 49, 53, 68

  “Pieta”, Canova’s, 15, 57

  Pietro d’ Abano, 66

  Pietro da Cortona, 45, 71

  _Pippa Passes_, 9, 15, 16, 17, 18, 19, 22, 36, 42, 44, 50, 56, 62, 67

  Pisano, Giovanni, 15, 16, 17, 56, 68

  Pisano, Niccolo, 15, 16, 17, 56, 57, 68

  Plara (in _Sordello_), 29, 30, 31, 53, 60

  Pollajola, Antonio, 40, 69

  _Ponte dell’ Angelo, Venice_, 66

  Powers, Hiram, 11, 28

  Primaticcio, 73

  “Prim Saint” (in _In a Gondola_), 67

  _Prince Hohenstiel-Schwangau_, 72

  “Psiche-fanciulla”, Canova’s, 15, 57

  Psyche, a bust by Browning, 12

  Raphael, 27, 40, 43, 44, 45, 48, 53, 68, 70, 71, 72, 73

  _Red Cotton Night-Cap Country_, 25, 45, 59, 72

  Reni, Guido, 12, 43, 65, 67, 69, 70, 71

  _Ring and the Book, The_, 12, 14, 16, 20, 21, 22, 24, 33, 36, 37, 38,
        40, 44, 45, 53, 57, 58, 59, 60, 64, 65, 71

  Romanelli, 46, 47

  Romano, Giulio, 44, 70

  Rossetti, W. M., 47

  Rossini, 23, 25, 27, 28, 58

  Sacchetti, Franco, 29, 33, 34, 53, 60

  St. George, Vasari’s, 71

  Salvator Rosa, 72

  _Saul_, 23

  Schidone, 67

  Ser (a picture), 67

  Ser Giovanni, 65

  Shelley, 9, 30, 32, 34, 48

  _Sonnet on Chillon_, Byron’s, 38

  _Sordello_, 12, 16, 17, 20, 21, 22, 29, 30, 31, 32, 34, 36, 37, 38,
        42, 44, 53, 56, 60, 61, 66

  _Soul’s Tragedy, A_, 18, 29, 60

  _Statue and the Bust, The_, 16, 17, 20, 22, 36, 38, 52, 57, 63

  Stefano, 40, 68

  Stiatta (in _A Soul’s Tragedy_), 29, 60

  Story, W. W., 11, 12, 28

  Stradivarius, Antonius, 23, 25, 59

  _Strafford_, 29

  Tasso, Torquato, 29

  Technical Art Terms, Browning’s use of, 21, 26

  _Time’s Revenges_, 32, 60

  Titian, 40, 44, 67, 72, 73;
    “Annunciation,” 67;
    “Venus,” 44, 69

  _Toccata of Galuppi’s, A_, 23, 25, 26, 36, 49, 58, 63

  Tommaseo, Niccolo, 29, 34, 61

  Tordinona, 65

  Towers of Florence, 63

  _Trovatore, Il_, Verdi’s, 26, 58

  _Two Poets of Croisic_, The, 14

  _Up at a Villa_, 32, 60

  Vallombrosa Convent, 65, 72

  Vasari, Giorgio, 13, 42, 44, 70

  Vatican, The, 36, 64, 65, 70;
    Sistine Chapel, 65

  Verdi, Giuseppe, 23, 25, 26, 27, 58

  _Vita Nuova, La_, 32

  Wagner, Richard, 25

  _Waring_, 44, 68

  Wilde, Mr., 11

  Wordsworth, 9, 38, 48

  _Youth and Art_, 25, 59


[163] Mrs. Sutherland Orr’s _Life of Browning_, revised by Frederick G.

[164] Mrs. Orr: _op. cit._

[165] For the sources and nature of this interest, see below, Chapter
II and p. 50.

[166] Bavarian by birth, Abt Vogler was ordained a priest at Rome, and
played in that city for years. His significance in musical history
seems associated with Italy rather than Bavaria.

[167] See _An Epistle of Karshish_; _Ferishtah’s Fancies_.

[168] See _Pheidippides_; _Aristophanes’ Apology_; _Herakles_;

[169] See _Gold Hair, A Story of Pornic_; _The Two Poets of Croisic_.

[170] See the next page.

[171] See below, pp. 44, 46.

[172] See above, p. 12.

[173] See _Ring and the Book_, I.

[174] Line 382.

[175] Letter by Mrs. Browning, December, 1847.

[176] See above, p. 10.

[177] _Op. cit._

[178] August, 1848.

[179] See Chapter IV, p. 30 and _passim_.

[180] See above, p. 12.


  _Vol. I_          _January 1, 1915_          _No. 4_



  _Assistant Professor of Latin in the University of Kansas_



This treatise is printed in substantially the same form in which it
was presented to the faculty of Yale University as a doctor’s thesis.
The subject was suggested by Professor E. P. Morris, and the study was
carried on under his direction. To him, and to Professor Hanns Oertel,
who made helpful suggestions, the author is under obligation not only
for the method employed but also for the general theory underlying the
whole study.

The writer also wishes to thank Professor S. L. Whitcomb, the editor of
this series, for valuable help in preparing the work for publication.

                              E. D. C.

  Lawrence, Kansas,
    Jan. 1, 1915.



  Introductory                                                         7


  Influence of Stem-Meaning                                           10

  I. -Mentum.

    A. Concrete -mentum Words on Verb Stems.
      1. Nouns denoting result of action, with general application    10
      2. Nouns denoting result of action, with restricted
           application                                                11
      3. Nouns denoting instrument, with general application          12
      4. Nouns denoting instrument, with both general and figurative
           application                                                13
      5. Nouns denoting instrument, with specialized application      14
      6. Nouns denoting instrument, with both specialized and
           figurative application                                     15
      7. Nouns not classified                                         16

    B. Concrete -mentum Words on Noun and Adjective Stems             17

    C. Abstract -mentum Words on Verb Stems.
      1. Nouns denoting result of action                              18
      2. Nouns denoting instrument                                    20
      3. Nouns denoting action                                        22

    D. Abstract -mentum Words on Noun Stems                           23

  II. -Bulum.
      1. Nouns denoting instrument                                    24
      2. Nouns denoting place                                         25
      3. Nouns denoting person                                        26

  III. -Culum.

    A. Concrete -culum Words.
      1. Nouns denoting instrument                                    27
      2. Nouns denoting place                                         29
      3. Nouns denoting object of action                              30

    B. Abstract -culum Words, All Denoting Action                     30


  Influence of Context                                                32


  Overlapping of Suffixes                                             43

    A. Parallels of -mentum and Accessory Suffixes                    44
    B. Parallels of -bulum and Accessory Suffixes                     49
    C. Parallels of -culum and Accessory Suffixes                     50


  Suffixes and the Theory of Adaptation                               52

  Index of Words                                                      55

The Semantics of -mentum, -bulum, and -culum



The primary object of this study will be to show, first, the range
of semantic variability discernible in a set of noun-formative
suffixes and the reason for it; and second, by a comparison of these
suffixes with other suffixes used on the same stem, to illustrate
the comparatively fluid semantic condition of formative suffixes in
general. The semantic value will be determined by an examination of the
meaning of the whole noun and its relation to the surrounding context.

The suffixes chosen for investigation were _-mentum_, _-bulum_, and
_-culum_. They form neuters and are joined mainly to verb stems. In
all grammars they are grouped together as forming nouns signifying the
instrument or means of action, sometimes result of action, sometimes
place, rarely the action itself. Such general statements are true and
perhaps adequate for the purpose of stating a brief grammatical rule;
but it will be seen from the following pages that these suffixes are
capable of much greater variations.

The material for investigation was collected from the literature
extending to the Augustan period, and consisted of approximately four
thousand examples, many of which were of course duplicates, so that
comparatively only a small percentage of them were really valuable.
In order that the material might not seem too slight for drawing
conclusions as to later periods, useful examples were also gathered
from the literature of the Empire, by means of the lexicons and
indexes; but the evidence contributed by the latter was in large part
only cumulative, not revealing any other influences upon meaning than
those found in the earlier period. In Chapter IV the difference in
frequency of use of nouns in different periods will be discussed in

Inscriptions were not taken as sources of material on account of the
isolated positions in which words usually occur. Such fragmentary
evidence would not contribute much where the meaning of a word, which
depends so much on its immediate context, is to be examined.

For purposes of clearness, it will be well to explain here in just what
sense the term “meaning” will be used. Linguistic history shows that
“words are constantly gaining in precision. Through the associations
set up in the process of expression, the meaning of a word is being
constantly deepened and enriched. The connotation is, in general,
increasing and the denotation, that is, the range of application, is

There is of course something fundamental in every word that
distinguishes it from other words; but this does not exhaust the whole
meaning of most words. Only when used in a sentence, with other words,
in a context, does a word acquire its full and precise meaning. By
stripping a word of the connotation and denotation which it shows in
many contexts, there is left, as it were, a common denominator; and it
is as a result of this logical operation that we assign a meaning to a
detached and isolated word.

Caution must also be exercised in speaking of the “meaning” of
suffixes. Isolated suffixes have a meaning even less than words do.
It is incorrect to say that _-mentum_, or _-bulum_, or _-culum_ means
instrument; the nouns made with them may have this meaning, but the
suffixes are perhaps colorless in themselves. This is true of suffixes
used to form other parts of speech as well as nouns; _e. g._, a suffix
forming an adjective signifying material or appurtenance cannot be
said to _mean_ “made of,” “belonging to,” or “full of,” although its
equivalence to such expressions can be shown when in each occurrence
of the adjective the relation of the stem of the adjective to the
governing noun is taken into consideration.

The etymology of the three suffixes will be explained in Chapter IV.

The investigation of my material revealed at least two fairly definite
influences at work on any single meaning of a word: (1) Stem-meaning;
(2) Context; while (3) a very important factor in illustrating the
variability and non-stability of the suffixes is seen in comparing
them with other suffixes on the same stem, noting their similarity or
difference, and finding if possible the reason for it. A chapter will
be devoted to each one of these main topics. Sometimes all three of
these factors exert their influence on a word, more often one or both
of the first two make the meaning clear. The first, or stem-meaning,
regularly gives a general meaning to the word, while the context
gives a special or more precise meaning. As far as possible only one
influence will be discussed in each chapter, but as the determination
of the meaning of a word is so complex a process, a slight overlapping
will be unavoidable in some instances.



The examination of the words with a view to finding the influence of
stem-meaning is not directly concerned with semantic variability: that
will be illustrated in the next chapter. For purposes of classification
in this chapter, only the prevailing meaning of each word is
considered. For doubtful etymologies, Walde (_Lat. Etym. Wörterbuch_)
is taken as guide.


The great majority of the stems with which this suffix is used are verb
stems, but there are a few noun stems and two adjective stems. For
convenience, the whole number may be divided into two large classes:
one consisting of those that denote concrete things, and the other,
of those that denote abstract things. An absolute division here is
impossible and for the present purpose unimportant, and any criterion
must be somewhat arbitrary. I have called everything concrete which has
physical form, and everything else, including actions, abstract. Many
concrete words, especially those capable of general application, are
often used in a transferred or figurative sense, and thus have also an
abstract meaning.


concrete words, there are a few, like fragmentum, caementum, ramentum,
which clearly do not express the instrument of an action, nor the
action itself, nor the place, but the result of an action. Some, like
fragmentum and stramentum, are formed on verbs whose action can be
directed toward several kinds of materials or objects. This class of
nouns then has general application, and their precise meaning must be
obtained from the context. This influence will be pointed out in the
next chapter.

As far as the verb stem (frango) is concerned, the examples show only
that fragmentum means “a piece broken off” or “fragment”: tribunum
adoriuntur fragmentis saeptorum, Sest. 79; cum puerum fragmentis panis
adlexisset, Plin. 9, 8, 8; ut glaebum aut fragmentum lapidis dicimus,
N. D. II, 82; non modo fragmenta tegularum sed etiam ambusta tigna ad
armatos pervenire, Liv. 34, 39, 11.

In the first two examples, the fragmenta, being in the ablative, are
plainly the instrument of the action of the main verb, but without
the dependent genitives we should not know what sort of “pieces”
or “fragments” were used. In the last two examples the meaning of
“particle” is suggested by “glaebum” and “tigna”. The dependent
genitives here also give precision.

Many things may be strewn or scattered, so stramentum gets from
its verb stem (sterno) the general meaning of something strewn or
scattered: noctem in stramentis pernoctare, Truc. 278; casae quae
stramentis tecta erant, B. G. 5, 43; fasces stramentorum ac virgultorum
incendunt, B. G. 8, 15.

Ramentum (rado) is “something scraped or rubbed off,” “bits or small
pieces:” et ramenta simul ferri furere intus ahenis in scaphiis, Lucr.
6, 1043; ramenta ligni decocta in vino prosunt, Plin. 24, 2, 2; patri
omne [aurum] cum ramento reddidi, Bacc. 680.

Delectamentum (delecto) might at first sight be taken to be the means
by which one is delighted. That such is not necessarily so may be seen
from the examples: qui me pro ridiculo ac delectamento putat, Heaut.
952; inania sunt ista delectamenta puerorum, captare plausus, vehi per
urbem, Pis. 25, 60. In both these examples the source of delight and
the delight itself are too close in meaning to warrant the drawing of
any distinction.

preceding four words, as has been said, are of general application,
because their verb stems have a general meaning. There are five nouns
expressing result of action which have a narrower and more restricted
sense than their verb stems would require.

Caementum (caedo) means not everything that is cut off, but a piece of
rough stone: in eam insulam materiem, calcem, caementa, arma convexit,
Mil. 27, 74; caementum de silice frangatur, Vitr. 8, 7, 14. The
influence of caedo here is slight; only the context shows the meaning
of “stone.”

Sarmentum (sarpo) is not everything that is plucked, but twigs or
fagots: ligna et sarmenta circumdare, ignemque subicere coeperunt,
Verr. II, 1, 27; sarmentis virgultisque collectis, quibus fossas
compleant, ad castra pergunt, B. G. 3, 18; ne vitis sarmentis
silvescat, C. 15. In the last example the noun is used of objects not
at all necessarily affected by the verb stem sarpere.

Pavimentum (pavio) is a floor, or pavement (something beaten down): ubi
structum erit, pavito fricatoque oleo, uti pavimentum bonum siet, Cato,
R. R. 18; mero tingete pavimentum, Hor. C. 2, 14, 26. In Bell. Alex.
1, it means a roof: aedificia tecta sunt rudere aut pavimentis. The
predominating element in the meaning of the word is that it denotes the
result of the action expressed in pavire.

Sicilimentum (sicilio) in the single instance of its occurrence plainly
means what is cut with a sickle: faenum cordum, sicilamenta de prato,
ea arida condito, Cato, R. R. 5.

Testamentum (testor) is not necessarily the _means_ of bearing witness
nor of making a will--a particular significance which this verb stem
sometimes has,--but is the document itself: antequam tabulas testamenti
aperuit, Ad Her. I, 24; quare sit in lege aut in testamento scriptum,
Inv. II, 137; una fui, testamentum simul obsignavi, Mil. 18, 48.

Lutamentum (lutare) in the single occurrence we have of it evidently
means, by inference from the passage in which it is found, a mud wall,
or a piece of work bedaubed with mud: neque lutamenta scindent se,
Cato, R. R. 128.

The contribution of stem-meaning, in this class of _-mentum_ words
to the meanings of the words themselves is quite apparent. Whatever
else they suggest, the verb stems all suggest the result of the action
expressed by them; and this result of action is expressed by the
_-mentum_ word.

the largest class of concrete _-mentum_ words clearly express in a
general way the instrument of the action. Here, too, some of the words
keep a general meaning which they get from the verb stem, while others
receive a special meaning. The verb stems themselves admit more or less
of a general or special meaning.

Ammentum (apo?) is a means of fastening, a strap, or thong: epistola
ad ammentum tragulae deligata, B. G. 5. 48; umor iaculorum ammenta
emollierat, Liv. 37, 41. Both these examples show it to be a strap
fastened to a javelin.

Armamenta (always plural) are utensils for almost any purpose. It is
difficult to say whether the word is formed on the verb stem armo, or
is an extended form of the noun arma; the former is entirely possible,
while the equivalence of meaning in the two nouns supports the latter
supposition. At any rate the meaning is “equipment”, “that with
which one is armed”: hic tormenta, armamenta, arma, omnis apparatus
belli est, Liv. 26, 43; cum omnibus Gallicis navibus spes in velis
armamentisque consisteret, B. G. 3, 14; armamenta vinearum, Plin. 17,
21, 35. The most frequent use is that seen in the second example, where
it means the rigging of a ship, in this instance, however, excluding
the sails.

Medicamentum (medicor) is a remedy, a means of healing or curing: Si eo
medicamento sanus factus erit, Off. 3, 24; multis medicamentis propter
dolorem artuum delibutus, Brut. 60.

Operimentum (operio) is a cover, or means of covering: nuces gemino
protectae operimento, Plin. 15, 22, 24; detracto oculorum operimento,
Plin, 8, 42, 64. That the meaning “covering” is general, may be seen
by comparing the second example with N. D. 2, 52, 147: palpebrae, quae
sunt tegumenta oculorum. In the latter instance the “covering” is the
eyebrow, in the former, some external object, probably wearing apparel.

Suffimentum (suffio) is a means of fumigating: in iis sine illius
suffimentis expiati sumus, Leg. 1, 14, 40; laurus sit suffimentum
caedis hostium et purgatio, Plin. 15, 30, 40.

Tegumentum, like operimentum, gets its fundamental meaning of
“covering” from its verb stem, (tego), but is capable of being applied
to many objects, as will be shown in Chapter III: tegumenta corporum,
vel texta, vel suta, N. D. 2, 60; scutis tegimenta detrudere non tempus
erat, B. G. 2, 21.

APPLICATION.--The generalized concrete instruments so far illustrated
have rarely any abstract meaning. The remainder of them are used both
concretely and figuratively.

Alimentum (alo) signifies a means of support or nourishment: nec
desiderabat alimenta corporis, Timaeus, 6; addidit alimenta rumoribus,
Liv. 35, 23.

Instrumentum (instruo) is a very general word meaning implement,
furniture, supplies: arma, tela, equos et cetera instrumenta militiae
parare, Sall. Jug. 25, 2; spolia, ornamenta, monumenta in instrumento
et supellectile Verris nominabuntur, Verr. 2, 4, 44; ut instrumentum
oratoris exponeret, De Or. II, 146.

Integumentum (intego) is so similar to tegumentum that it hardly
needs separate treatment; however, it is used more frequently with an
abstract meaning: istaec ego mihi semper habui aetati integumentum
meae, Trin. 313; lanx cum integumentis, quae Iovi adposita fuit, Liv.
40, 59, 7.

Monumentum (moneo) is anything that serves as a reminder: statuam quae
sit factis monumentum suis, Curc. 441; tum monumenta rerum gestarum
oratori nota esse debere, De Or. I, 201.

Ornamentum (orno) is anything for adorning or equipping: hominem cum
ornamentis omnibus exornatum adducite ad me, Pseud. 765; audieram quae
de orationis ipsius ornamentis traderentur, De Or. II, 122; vidi hunc
ipsum Q. Hortensium ornamentum rei publicae paene interfici, Milo, 37.

Saepimentum (saepio) is any means of inclosure or defense: haec omnia
quasi saepimento aliquo animus ratione vallabit, Leg. I, 62; tertium
militare saepimentum est fossa et terreus agger, Varr. R. R. 1, 142.

Stabilimentum (stabilio) is a means of support or strength: haec
sunt ventri stabilimenta: pane et assa bubula, Curc. 367; Sicilia et
Sardinia stabilimenta bellorum, Val. Max. 7, 6, 1.

concludes the list of generalized concrete instruments. Those with
specialized meanings are as follows; sometimes the verb stem is
specialized, but more often not.

Armentum (aro) always means cattle, originally those used for plowing:
et variae crescunt pecudes, armenta feraeque, Lucr. 5, 228; armentum
aegrotat in agris, Hor. Ep. I, 8, 6. This word can mean only the
secondary instrument for plowing, _viz._, cattle, because there is
another word (aratrum) for the plow itself.

Calceamentum (calceo) always means a shoe, an “instrument” for covering
the feet: mihi amictui est Scythicum tegimen, calceamentum solorum
callum, T. 5, 90.

Frumentum (fruor) always means grain, a “means of enjoyment”: ut hortum
fodiat atque ut frumentum metat, Poen. 1020; non modo frumenta in agris
mature non erant, B. G. I, 16, 2.

Lomentum (lavo) is a “means” of washing, of a particular kind, however,
_viz._, a cosmetic: lomento rugas condere temptas, Mart. 3, 42, 1. In
Ciceronian Latin it occurs only once, and then figuratively: persuasum
ei censuram lomentum aut nitrum esse, Fam. VIII, 14, 4.

In iugumentum (iugo) it is a little difficult to see the influence
of the stem. The two occurrences of it in Cato are the only ones in
literature, and from the context it would seem to mean “threshold” or
some other part of the front of the house: limina, postes iugumenta,
asseres, fulmentas faber faciat oportet, R. R. 14, 1; iugumenta et
antepagmenta quae opus erunt indito, R. R. 14, 5.

Iumentum (iungo) always means an animal for drawing or carrying, a
beast of burden: iumento nihil opus est, Att. XII, 32; omnia sarcinaria
iumenta interfici iubet, B. C. 1, 81.

Supplementum (suppleo) before the Augustan period means only that
with which an army is “filled up” or recruited: partem copiarum ex
provincia supplementumque quod ex Italia adduxerat, convenire iubet, B.
G. 7, 7, 5; ceterum supplementum etiam laetus decreverat, Sall. Jug.
84, 3. Later it has its literal meaning: ex geminis singula capita in
supplementum gregis reservantur, Col. 7, 6, 7.

In vestimentum, the verb stem vestio has the same influence that
“clothe” does in our word clothing: me vides ornatus ut sim vestimentis
uvidis, Rud. 573; huc est intro latus lectus vestimentis stratus,
Heaut. 903.

Libamentum (libo) is a libation, drink offering: dona magnifica, quasi
libamenta praedarum, Rep. 2, 44; haec ego ad aras libamenta tuli, Stat.
S. 3, 1, 163.

APPLICATION.--The specialized concrete nouns so far given are never
used figuratively; there are six additional ones which do sometimes
have an abstract meaning.

Tormentum (torqueo) is an instrument of torture, an instrument for
hurling, or torture itself: rotam id est genus quoddam tormenti apud
Graecas, T. 5, 24; castella constituit ibique tormenta collocavit, B.
G. 8, 3; huic licebit tum dicere se beatum in summo cruciatu atque
tormentis, T. 5, 73.

Condimentum (condio) is anything used for spicing or seasoning: cocos
equidem nimio demiror, qui utuntur condimentis, Cas. 219: animus aequus
optumumst aerumnae condimentum, Rud. 402.

Fundamentum (fundo) is that with which anything is founded, a
foundation: quin cum fundamento aedes perierint, Most. 148; fundamenta
rei publicae ieci, Fam. XII, 25, 2.

Impedimentum (impedio) is a means of hindrance, and in the plural,
baggage: hinc vos amolimini, nam mi impedimenta estis, And. 707;
Demosthenes impedimenta naturae diligentia industriaque superavit, De
Or. I. 61, 260; ad impedimenta et carros se contulerunt, B. G. 1, 26.

Nutrimentum (nutrio) like alimentum, is a means of nourishment or
support, but it is not found meaning food for the body: educata
huius generis nutrimentis eloquentia, Orat. 42; arida circum [igni]
nutrimenta dedit, Aen. 1, 176.

Pigmentum (pingo) is paint, or material for coloring: quem Appella et
Zeuxis duo pingent pigmentis ulmeis, Epid. 626; sententiae tam verae,
tam sine pigmentis fucoque puerili, De Or. II, 188.

7. NOUNS NOT CLASSIFIED.--This completes the list of concrete _-mentum_
words on verb stems with the exception of three whose stems are unusual
or uncertain and contribute little if any influence to the meaning
of the word. They do not mean instrument, nor result of action. The
fewness of examples also makes it difficult to say just what the words
mean. However, they probably have the following signification.

Antepagmentum (from pango, with prefix ante-) from the context seems
to be some sort of ornament for the exterior of a house: iugumenta et
antepagmenta quae opus erunt indito, Cato, R. R. 14, 5; fulloniam I,
antepagmenta, vasa torcula II faber faciat oportet, Cato, R. R. 14, 2;
ostiorum et eorum antepagmentorum in aedibus hae sunt rationes, Vitr.
4, 6.

Coagmenta (cogo) undoubtedly means a “joint” of some kind, as may be
seen from the context: viden coagmenta in foribus? Most. 829; ut aptior
sit oratio, ipsa verba compone et quasi coagmenta, quod ne Graeci
quidem veteres factitaverunt, Brut. 68.

Omentum, whatever its etymology, means “fat”: omentum in flamma pingue
liquefaciens, Catul. 90, 6.

Each of these _-mentum_ nouns has been illustrated not for the purpose
of showing that the verb stem does have influence on the meaning of
the noun--that is of course very obvious; the purpose has rather been
to show that the character of the verb stem--_e. g._, whether it admits
of general or special application, or whether it suggests the result of
action or requires an instrument--so affects the resulting character
of the noun, as to make it, as a rule, similar to that of the stem. Of
this second class of nouns (those that mean instrument) we may say that
among other influences of the verb stems, one is that they have such
a meaning as requires an instrument for the accomplishment of their
action. This does not imply that those in the first class do not also
require an instrument. While these nouns do mean instrument or result
of action, when viewed in regard to their verb stems, we can not say
that such meaning is always felt in every occurrence of the noun. In
certain contexts, even most contexts, they lose it entirely and are
used as perfect equivalents of nouns that have no such meaning.

Of the two classes of concrete _-mentum_ words on verb stems,
therefore, the smaller class has the tendency to mean result of action,
the larger class, instrument of action. Whether the instrument is
literal or figurative (as it is in the case of a few of these nouns),
must be ascertained from the context.


The concrete _-mentum_ nouns on noun and adjective stems must, on
account of their fewness, clearly be analogical formations. They cannot
express the instrument or result of an action, but are only an extended
form of the noun with a specialized meaning.

Ferramenta are tools made of iron (ferrum): de ferramentorum varietate
Cato scribit permulta, ut falces, palas, rastros, Varro, R. R. 1, 22, 5.

Nidamentum (used only once, and allegorically) is material for a nest
(nidus): in nervum ille hodie nidamenta congeret, Rud. 889.

Pulpamentum (and its shorter form pulmentum) are tidbits made from
pulpa (meat): voltisne olivas, aut pulpamentum, aut capparim? Curc. 90;
mihi est cubile terra, pulpamentum fames, T. 5, 90; primus ad cibum
vocatur, primo pulmentum datur, M. G. 349; num ego pulmento utor magis
unctiusculo? Pseud. 220.

Salsamenta are pickled fish (salsus) although once in Cicero the
word in the singular means brine: salsamenta haec, Stephanio, fac
macerentur, Adel. 380; de vino aut salsamento putes loqui quae
evanescunt vetustate, Div. II, 117.

Sincipitamentum (Ritschl and Brix) is a comic word, with the same
meaning as its noun stem, sinciput: iube opsonarier pernonidam aut
sincipitamenta porcina, Men. 211; comedam, inquit, flebile nati
sinciput elixi, Juv. 13, 85.

Atramentum is a liquid possessing the quality expressed by the
adjective stem (ater); this context shows it to mean ink: calamo et
atramento res agitur, Q. fr. II, 14, 1. In one example it means shoe
blacking: pater accusatus a M. Antonio sutorio atramento absolutus
putatur, Fam. IX, 21, 3. In one example also, it is used in speaking of
fish: atramenti effusione sepiae se tutant, N. II, 127.

Scitamenta (scitus) are tidbits, dainties both literal and figurative:
iube aliquid scitamentorum de foro opsonarier, Men. 209; ὁμοιοτέλευτα
καὶ ὁμοιόπτωτα ceteraque huiusmodi scitamenta, Gell. 18, 8, 1.

Perhaps the variety of meaning of these analogical formations indicates
that no single precise meaning had become attached to _-mentum_.


The majority of abstract _-mentum_ words also fall into the two large
classes of result of action and instrument, but there is a small list
of nouns which plainly express the action itself. There are only two
words on noun stems.

1. NOUNS DENOTING RESULT OF ACTION.--Additamentum (addo) is an
increase, or accession: intercessit Ligus iste nescio qui, additamentum
amicorum meorum, Sest. 31; sapientia erit ultimum vitae instrumentum
et, ut ita dicam, additamentum, Sen. Ep. 17.

Adiumentum (adiuvo) means aid, assistance: Romae vos esse tuto posse
per Dolabellam eamque rem posse nobis adiumento esse, Fam. XIV, 18, 1;
nulla res est quae plura adiumenta doctrinae desideret, De Or. III, 84.

Cruciamentum (crucio) is not the instrument of torture, but torture
itself, or rather the feeling caused by torturing: vidi ego multa
saepe picta quae Acherunti fierent cruciamenta, Capt. 998; carnificum
cruciamenta et morborum tormenta, Phil. XI. 4, 8.

Delenimentum (delenio) is an allurement or blandishment; illam furiam
omnibus delenimentis animum suum avertisse atque alienasse, Liv. 30,
13; paulatim discursum ad delenimenta vitiorum, Tac. A. 21; simul
comparant delenimenta et differunt vos in adventum Cn. Pompei, Sall.
Macer, 21.

Dehonestamentum[182] (dehonesto) is a general word for any object
of dishonor or disgrace: Fufidius, ancilla turpis, bonorum omnium
dehonestamentum, Sall. Lep. 22; auribus decisis vivere iubet, ostentui
clementiae suae, et in nos dehonestamento, Tac. A. 12.

Deliramenta (deliro) means nonsense, the result of “going out of the
furrow”: audin tu ut deliramenta loquitur? Men. 920; matrimonia inter
deos credi puerilium prope deliramentorum est, Plin. 2, 7, 5.

Detrimentum (detero) nowhere has its literal meaning of “loss by
rubbing”, but only loss in general, more often disadvantage or
misfortune: tantis detrimentis acceptis Octavius sese ad Pompeium
recepit, B. C. 3, 9, 8; futurum ut detrimentum in bonum verteret, B.
C. 3, 73, 6; ne quid res publica detrimenti accipiat, Cat. 1, 2. (_et

For the etymology of the interesting word elementum, see Walde.

Emolumentum (emolior) means the result of effort, gain, reward:
suscepta videntur a viris fortibus sine emolumento ac praemio, De Or.
II, 346.

Inanimentum (inanio) occurs only once, but in its context clearly means
“emptiness”: inanimentis explementum quaerito, Stich. 174.

Intertrimentum (intertero) unlike detrimentum, does have the literal
meaning of “loss by rubbing” as well as loss in general: in auro vero,
in quo nihil intertrimenti est, quae malignitas est? Liv. 34, 7; sine
magno intertrimento non potest haberi, quidvis dare cupis, Heaut. 448.

Laxamentum (laxo) means relaxation, alleviation, any unit of time or
space: ego nactus in navigatione nostra pusillum laxamenti, Fam. XII,
16, 3; alii removentes parietes aedis efficiunt amplum laxamentum
cellae, Vitr. 4, 7; eo laxamento cogitationibus dato, quievit in
praesentia seditio, Liv. 7, 38.

Momentum (moveo) means weight, impulse, importance: astra forma ipsa
figuraque sua momenta sustentat, N. II, 117; animus paulo momento
huc vel illuc impellitur, And. 266; sentiebat nullius momenti apud
exercitum futurum, Nep. VII, 8, 4.

Temperamentum (tempero) means moderation, moderate condition: senatus
Caesar orationem habuit meditato temperamento, Tac. A. III, 12;
egregium principatus temperamentum, si demptis utriusque vitiis solae
virtutes miscerentur, Tac. H. 2, 5.

Termentum (tero) is used once, in Plautus, where it is equivalent to
detrimentum: non pedibus termento fuit praeut ego erum expugnabo meum,
Bacch. 929. Festus says (p. 363) termentum pro eo, quod nunc dicitur
detrimentum, utitur Plautus in Bacchidibus.

Formamentum may be, and probably is, only an extended form of the noun
stem forma. It is not inconceivable that it is made on the verb stem
formo, but the other supposition is better. In the one occurrence of
it in classical Latin, the context plainly shows that it means shape,
form: omnia principiorum formamenta queunt in quovis esse nitore, Lucr.
2, 817. Arnobius (3, 109) uses it of the gods: formamenta divina.

2. NOUNS DENOTING INSTRUMENT.--As was the case in the corresponding
list of concrete words, the foregoing words are all formed on verb
stems which suggest the result of their action. And again there is a
larger class of abstract _-mentum_ words which in a general way express
the figurative instrument. The idea of instrument is not always strong,
but when viewed in regard to their verb stem, all the nouns will be
seen to show this meaning in a greater or less degree.

Allevamentum (allevo) is ἃπαξ λεγόμενον; the context shows it to mean a
remedy or means of alleviation: Sulla coactus est in adversis sine ullo
remedio atque allevamento permanere, Sulla, 66.

Auctoramentum (auctoro) is a means of binding, or of bringing one
under obligation, a contract, also the pay or hire: illius turpissimi
auctoramenti [gladiatorii] sunt verba: uri, vinciri, ferroque necari,
Sen. Ep. 37; est in ipsa merces, auctoramentum servitutis, Off. 1, 42.

Argumentum (arguo) is primarily a means of proving, a proof, but
takes also many other meanings as will be shown in the next chapter:
quid nunc? vincon argumentis te non esse Sosiam?, Am. 433; quod ipsum
argumento mihi fuit diligentiae tuae, Fam. X. 5, 1.

Blandimentum (blandio) is a means of flattering or alluring: illum
spero immutari potest blandimentis, oramentis, ceteris meretriciis,
Truc. 318; epistolae muliebris blandimentis infectae, Tac. H. 1, 174.

Complementum (compleo) is a means of filling up: apud alios numero
servientes inculcata reperias inania quaedam verba, quasi complementa
numerorum, Orat. 69.

Documentum (doceo) is a very general word, meaning primarily a means
of warning or instructing: documento, quantum in bello fortuna posset,
B. C. 3, 10, 6; ego illis captivis aliis documentum dabo ne...., Capt.
752; quarum rerum maxima documenta haec habeo, Sall. Cat. 9. 4.

The strong influence of the verb stem is seen in this noun by the
subordinate adverbial clauses which follow it, as in the first two
examples given. It is interesting also to note the contrast between
documentum and monumentum; their verb stems are practically synonymous,
but one noun is prevailingly concrete, while the other is always
abstract or figurative. Monumentum has an additional shade of meaning,
in that it regularly looks toward the past, while documentum looks
toward the future. The explanation for this is difficult to find;
perhaps it is only the result of usage and association.

Explementum (expleo) is a means of filling: inanimentis explementum
quaerito, Stich. 174. (“Look for something to fill your empty stomach

Hostimentum (hostio) is a means of making requital, a recompense: par
pari datum hostimentum est, opera pro pecunia, As. 172.

Incitamentum (incito) is a means of inducing or inciting: hoc maximum
et periculorum et laborum incitamentum est, Arch. 23; quae apud
concordes vincula caritatis, incitamenta irarum apud infensos erant,
Tac. A. 1, 55, 15.

Invitamentum (invito) is the means of inducing or attracting: cum multa
haberet invitamenta urbis et fori propter summa studia amicorum, Sulla,

Irritamentum (irrito) is very similar to the preceding two nouns,
meaning a provocative or incentive: neque salem neque alia irritamenta
gulae quaerebant, Sall. Jug. 89, 7; iras militum irritamentis acuebat,
Liv. 40, 27.

Hortamentum (hortor) is probably the exhortation itself as well as
the means of exhorting: ea cuncta Romanis ex tenebris et editioribus
locis facilia visu magnoque hortamento erant, Sall. Jug. 98, 7; in
conspectu parentum coniugumque ac liberorum quae magna etiam absentibus
hortamenta animi sunt, Liv. 7, 11, 6.

Oblectamentum is probably the condition of delight as well as the means
of delighting: ut meae senectutis requietem oblectamentumque noscatis,
C. 15; cum spinae albae cauliculi inter oblectamenta gulae condiantur,
Plin. 21, 2, 39.

Levamentum (levo) is a means of alleviating, also the resulting
condition: nos non solum beatae vitae istam esse oblectationem
videmus, sed etiam levamentum miseriarum, F. 5, 53; ad unicum doloris
levamentum, studia confugio, Plin. Ep. 8, 19.

Opprobramentum (opprobro) is another example of ἃπαξ λεγόμενον but
clearly means, like opprobrium, a disgrace or reproach: facere damni
mavolo quam opprobramentum aut flagitium muliebre exferri domo, Merc.

Praepedimentum (praepedio) occurs only once, and then with a meaning
exactly equivalent to impedimentum: intro abite, ne hic vos conspicatur
leno neu fallaciae praepedimentum obiciatur, Poen. 606.

Turbamentum (turbo) occurs twice, meaning in both cases, a means of
disturbance: maxima turbamenta rei publicae atque exitia probate, Sall.
Lep. 25; inserendo ambiguos de Galba sermones, quaeque alia turbamenta
vulgi, Tac. H. 1, 23.

Firmamentum (firmo) is a means of strengthening, a support:
transversaria tigna iniciuntur, quae firmamento esse possint, B. C. 2,
15, 2. In this instance it is concrete; more often it is abstract: eum
ordinem firmamentum ceterorum ordinum recte esse dicemus, Pomp. 7, 17.

Libramentum (libro) is probably rather the result of the action than
the instrument, at least in the meaning of “level surface” which it
has in its only occurence in Ciceronian Latin: punctum esse, quod
magnitudinem nullam habet, extremitatem et quasi libramentum, in quo
nulla omnino crassitudo sit, Ac. II, 116. In Livy it means “weight”:
arietem admotum, libramento plumbi gravatum, ad terram urgebant, Liv.
42, 63.

3. NOUNS DENOTING ACTION.--There remain a few nouns which clearly
express the action itself. The reason for this does not lie in the
suffix--even in _-tio_ nouns it does not lie in the suffix; but these
nouns, through usage and association, came to have this meaning in
spite of the fact that the tendency of other nouns with the same suffix
was to mean instrument or result of action.

Molimentum (molior) means exertion, effort: neque se exercitum sine
magno commeatu atque molimento in unum locum contrahere posse, B. G. 1,
34, 3.

Experimentum (experior) means a trial, experiment: probatur
experimento, sitne feracius...., Plin. Ep. 10, 43. More often the
result is emphasized and it means proof: hoc maximum est experimentum,
aegritudinem vetustate tolli, T. 3, 74.

Oramentum (oro) is not found in the manuscripts, but is adopted
by Ritschl and Leo, and as we may judge from its context, means
a begging, or praying: spero illum immutari potest blandimentis,
oramentis, ceteris meretriciis, Truc. 317. The Ambrosian manuscript has
hortamentis, the others ornamentis, but neither of these readings is

Sternumentum (sternuo) is a sneezing: pedis offensio nobis et
sternumenta erunt observanda, Div. 2, 84. But in Pliny and Celsus it
sometimes also means a provocative of sneezing, sneezing powder: fit ex
callitriche sternumentum, Plin. 25, 86; radix ranunculi sicca concisa
sternumentum est, Plin. 13, 109.

Tinnimentum (tinnio) occurs only once, but from the context it plainly
means a tinkling: illud quidem edepol tinnimentumst auribus, Rud. 806.


Of the two noun stem words in this class of abstract words, cognomentum
is properly not a _-mentum_ word. According to Lindsay (p. 335) the
_-to_ suffix is merely added to the _-men_ suffix. An example is: meum
cognomentum commemorat, M. G. 1038.

Lineamentum (linea) is seen from the following parallel examples to
have the same meaning as its noun stem: in geometria lineamenta,
formae, intervalla, magnitudines sunt, De Or. I, 187; ignis rectis
lineis in caelestem locum subvolat, T. 1, 40; lineamentum esse
longitudinem latitudine carentem, Ac. II, 116; eam M. Varro ita
definit: linea est, inquit, longitudo quaedam sine latidudine et
altitudine, Gell. 1, 20, 7.

This detailed view of the _-mentum_ words gives occasion for making
the following comment: the tendency of these nouns is to mean the
instrument of an action, often the result of an action, rarely action
itself. The verb stems are such as require an instrument for their
action or suggest its result. The instrument is sometimes literal,
sometimes figurative, and whether it is the one or the other is
determined by the context. Given a verb stem which both suggests the
result of action and requires an instrument, it is difficult to explain
why a _-mentum_ noun formed on it should mean only instrument, and not
result of action, or vice versa.


The list of _-bulum_ words is small, and they are nearly all concrete.
Only two are abstract. As these two denote only figurative instruments,
the treatment here will take no account of the division into concrete
and abstract. There are two noun stem words. Three distinct classes of
these words may be made, when viewed in relation to their verb stems:
(1) Those denoting instrument; (2) Those denoting place; (3) Those
denoting person. The second meaning is quite as common as the first,
the third very rare (found only in two nouns).

1. NOUNS DENOTING INSTRUMENT.--Infundibulum (infundo) is an instrument
for pouring from one vessel to another, a funnel: illa quae reflexa
et resupina, more infundibuli per medullam transmittit quidquid
aquarum superfluit, Col. 3, 18; in qua machina impedens infundibulum
subministrat molis frumentum, Vitr. 10, 10.

Patibulum (pateo) is plainly an instrument, but having the _shape_
expressed by the verb stem, a fork-shaped yoke: dispessis manibus
patibulum quom habebis, M. G. 360; caedes, patibula, ignes, cruces
festinabant, Tac. A. 14, 33.

Rutabulum (ruo) is an instrument for raking or stirring up: iubebis
rutabulo ligneo agitari quod decoxeris, Col. 12, 20. It occurs twice in
Cato, in a list of other tools for use around a fire-place.

Tintinnabulum (tinnio) is an instrument for making a ringing noise,
a bell: lanios inde accersam duo cum tintinnabulis, Pseud. 332;
tintinnabula quae vento agitata longe sonitus referant, Plin. 36, 13,

Pabulum (pasco) is that with which anything is fed, usually with
reference to the feed of cattle: bubus pabulum parare oportet, Cato, R.
R. 54, 1.

Venabulum (venor) is a hunting spear, an instrument for hunting: tantam
bestiam percussisset venabulo, Verr. 5, 7.

Exorabulum, which occurs only twice, is perhaps rather the begging
(exoro) itself, which is, in turn, a means of obtaining something:
quod modis pereat, quotque exoretur exorabulis, Truc. 27; exorabula
incidantium, decipula adversantium artificia dicentium perdidicit, App.
Flor. n. 18. The first example is interesting as the noun is used with
a form of the same verb as its verb stem.

Vocabulum (voco) is the instrument for calling or naming, a name:
si res suum nomen et proprium vocabulum non habet, De Or. III, 159;
Aristotelis orationis duas partes esse dixit, vocabula et verba, ut
homo et equus, ut legit et currit, Varr. L. L. 8.

Two interesting analogical formations with the suffix _-bulum_ are
nucifrangibula and dentifrangibula in Plautus: ne nucifrangibula
excussit ex malis meis, Bacc. 598; ita dentifrangibula haec meis
manibus gestiunt, Bacc. 596.

2. NOUNS DENOTING PLACE.--Conciliabulum (concilio) is a place
of assembly[183], a public place, but also the assembly itself:
supplicationem in biduum per omnia fora conciliabulaque edixerunt, Liv.
40, 37; ne penetrarem me usquam ubi esset damni conciliabulum, Trin.
314; per conciliabula et coetus seditiosa disserebant, Tac. A. 3, 40.

Latibulum (lateo) is a hiding place: cum etiam ferae latibulis se
tegant, Rab. Post. 42.

Sessibulum is a place for sitting, a chair: quae tibi olant stabulumque
stratumque, sellam et sessibulum merum, Poen. 268.

Stabulum (sto) is in general a place for standing; its precise meanings
as acquired from the context will be illustrated in the next chapter:
neutrubi habeam stabile stabulum, siquid divorti fuat, Aul. 233.

Vestibulum[184], is probably originally the place for putting on and
taking off garments (vestio), then entrance, or space in front of a
house[185]: viden vestibulum ante aedes hoc? Most. 819; si te armati
non modo limine tectoque aedium tuarum, sed primo aditu vestibuloque
prohibuerint, Caec. 12, 35.

Acetabulum and turibulum are both formed on noun stems, and are both
receptacles for holding the material denoted by the noun stem. But all
the examples of acetabulum show the noun extended to mean any kind of
vessel, or a measure: melanthi acetabulum conterito in vini veteris
hemina, Cato, R. R. 102; turibulis ante ianuas positis atque accenso
ture, Liv. 29, 14, 13.

Desidiabulum occurs only once, and from the context clearly means the
place of action of its stem, which is a verbal noun (desidia): ut celem
tua flagitia aut damna aut desidiabula, Bacc. 376.

Cunabula and incunabula are formed on the same noun stem cunae, the
latter with the preposition _in_ prefixed. Both the nouns and the stem
all mean the same thing (cradle, or origin), but incunabula has the
additional meaning of “swaddling clothes”: opus est pulvinis, cunis,
incunabulis, Truc. 905; qui cum esset in cunabulis, Div. F. 79; de
oratoris quasi incunabulis dicere, Orat. 42; si puer in cunis occidit,
ne quaerendum quidem, T. 1, 93; qui non in cunabulis sed in campis sunt
consules facti, Agr. 2, 100.

3. NOUNS DENOTING PERSON.--The two _-bulum_ words that denote persons
are mendicabulum (mendicor) and prostibulum (prostare). Their bad
meaning is due in large part to the stem; but undoubtedly the contempt
underlying the application to a person of a neuter word denoting a
thing is also responsible for the formation of these words as neuters
and with the suffix _-bulum_. Examples of such terms of reproach are
seen also in _monstrum hominis_, and in the German _das Mensch_.

Mendicabulum is found only twice: istos reges ceteros memorare nolo,
hominum mendicabula, Aul. 703; cum crotalis et cymbalis circumforaneum
mendicabulum producor ad viam, App. Met. 9.

Of prostibulum also there are only two examples: bellum et pudicum
vero prostibulum popli, Aul. 285; nam meretricem adstare in via solam
prostibuli sanest, Cist. 331.

The influence of stem meaning on the _-bulum_ words may then be said to
be the same as in the case of the _-mentum_ words, only here there is
a class of verb stems that suggest the place of action, and none that
suggest the result of action.



The great majority of _-culum_ words[186] also are concrete. They may
be grouped into three classes as far as their verb stems are concerned:
(1) Those denoting instrument; (2) Those denoting place; (3) Those
denoting the object of the action expressed by their verb stems.

1. NOUNS DENOTING INSTRUMENT.--Adminiculum (ad-manus) is properly
anything on which the hand may rest, but the examples show it meaning
regularly a prop, or support, both concretely and figuratively:
adminiculorum ordines me delectant, capitum iugatio, religatio vitium,
C. 53; natura semper ad aliquod tamquam adminiculum adnititur, Lael. 88.

Baculum (etymology very uncertain, but probably same root as seen in
βαίνω) from its verb stem, should mean only a walking stick, but it
is applied to almost any kind of staff or sceptre: proximus lictor
converso baculo oculos misero tundere vehementissime coepit, Verr. 5,
142; baculum aureum regis berylli distinguebant, Curt. 9, 1, 30.

Everriculum (everro) is a sweep net (also used figuratively): neque
everriculo in litus educere possent, Varr. R. R. 3, 17, 7; quod umquam
huiusmodi everriculum ulla in provincia fuit?, Verr. 4, 5, 3.

Ferculum (fero) is that on which anything is carried: spolia ducis
hostium caesi suspensa fabricato ad id apte ferculo gerens in
Capitolium ascendit, Liv. 1, 10, 5; ubi multa de magna superessent
fercula cena, Hor. S. 2, 6, 104.

Gubernaculum (guberno) is an instrument for guiding: piscium meatus
gubernaculi modo regunt caudae, Plin. 11, 50, 111; hic ille naufragus
ad gubernaculum accessit, et navi, quod potuit, est opitulatus, Inv. 2,

Incerniculum (incerno) is an instrument for sifting, a sieve; it occurs
only twice, and it is difficult to see how it differs from another
noun on the same stem, cribrum: opus est incerniculum unum, cribrum
unum, Cato, R. R. 13; Athenienses decretum fecere, ne frumentarii
negotiatores ab incerniculis eum [mulum] arcerent, Plin. 8, 44, 69.
In the latter example the incernicula are the vessels in which bran,
sifted from the flour, was set up for sale.

Operculum (operio) like operimentum is an instrument for covering:
aspera arteria tegitur quodam quasi operculo quod ob eam causam datum
est, ne spiritus impediretur, N. II, 136; operculum in dolium imponito,
Cato, R. R. 104.

Perpendiculum (perpendo) is a plumb line, but is found most frequently
with _ad_ forming an adverbial phrase meaning perpendicularly: non
egeremus perpendiculis, non normis, non regulis, Cic. A. fr. 8; tigna
non directa ad perpendiculum, sed prone et fastigate, B. G. 4, 17.

Piaculum is a means of appeasing, an offering; perhaps also the
appeasing itself; and the act requiring expiation: decrevit habendas
triduum ferias, et porco femina piaculum pati, Leg. 2, 22; nonne in
mentem venit quantum piaculi committatur? Liv. 5, 52; duc nigras
pecudes: ea prima piacula sunto, Aen. 6, 153.

Poculum (probably from root seen in bibo) is a drinking vessel, cup:
Socrates paene in manu iam mortiferum illud tenens poculum, T. 1, 71.

Redimiculum (redimio) is anything used for binding, a band or fillet:
et tunicae manicas, et habent redimicula mitrae, Aen. 9, 616; ut esset
aliquis laqueus et redimiculum, reversionem ut ad me fecerit denuo,
Truc. 395.

Retinaculum (retineo), always used in the plural, is anything which
holds back or binds: ratem pluribus validis retinaculis parte superiore
ripae religatam humo iniecta constraverunt, Liv. 21, 28; missae pastum
retinacula mulae nauta piger saxo religat, Hor. S. 1, 5, 18.

Spiraculum (spiro) is a breathing hole: per spiracula mundi exitus
introitusque elementis redditus exstat, Lucr. 6, 493.

Subligaculum (subligo) is a waistband, judging from the context in
which the only example of it occurs: scenicorum quidem mos tantam habet
veteri disciplina verecundiam, ut in scenam sine subligaculo prodeat
nemo, Off. 1, 35.

Sarculum (sario) is an instrument for hoeing, a hoe: familiam cum
ferreis sarculis exire oportet, Cato, R. R. 155; gaudentem patrios
findere sarculo agros numquam dimoveas, Hor. C. 1, 1, 11.

Vehiculum (vehor) is a means of transportation, a carriage or ship; its
meaning and that of ferculum differ exactly as their stems differ: ut
procul divinum et novum vehiculum Argonautorum e monte conspexit, N.
II, 89; mihi aequum est dare vehicula, qui vehar, Aul. 502.

2. NOUNS DENOTING PLACE.--Cenaculum (ceno) originally was the dining
room.[187] As this was usually in an upper story, the word came to
have the regular meaning of attic or garret, and the force of the stem
meaning was lost: in superiore qui habito cenaculo, Am. 863; ipse
Circenses ex amicorum cenaculis spectabat, Suet. Aug. 45.

Conventiculum (convenio) like conciliabulum, means both the place of
assembly and the assembly itself. As far as the form is concerned, it
might be a diminutive from conventus, but it shows no such meaning:
exstructa sunt apud nemus conventicula, Tac. A. 14, 15; conventicula
hominum quae postea civitates nominatae sunt, Sest. 91.

Cubiculum (cubo) always means a place for reclining, a bedroom: cubui
in eodem lecto tecum una in cubiculo, Am. 808.

Deverticulum (deverto) is a place to turn aside, a by-path, also a
lodging: ubi ad ipsum veni deverticulum, constiti, Eun. 635; cum gladii
abditi ex omnibus locis deverticuli protraherentur, Liv. 1, 51.

Hibernaculum (hiberno) is a place for spending the winter, and,
particularly in the plural, the winter quarters of soldiers: hoc
hibernaculum, hoc gymnasium meorum est, Plin. Ep. 2, 17, 7; legionum
aliae itinere terrestri in hibernacula remissae sunt, Tac. A. 2, 23.

Propugnaculum (propugno) is the place for (means of?) defending,
a bulwark or tower: solidati muri, propugnacula addita, auctae
turres, Tac. H. 2, 19; lex Aelia, et Fufia eversa est, propugnacula
tranquillitatis atque otii, Piso, 9.

Receptaculum (recepto) is a place to receive or keep things, also a
place of refuge: illud tibi oppidum receptaculum praedae fuit, Verr. 5,
59; insula incolis valida et receptaculum perfugarum, Tac. A. 14, 29.

Tabernaculum (taberna), “tent,” has a meaning specialized from its
noun stem: Caesar eo die tabernacula statui passus non est, B. C. 1, 81.

Umbraculum (umbra) means both a shady place and the thing that
furnishes shade: aurea pellebant tepidos umbracula soles, Ov. F. 2,
311; prope aream faciundum umbracula, quo succedant homines in aestu
tempore meridiano, Varro, R. R. 1, 51, 2.

3. NOUNS DENOTING OBJECT OF ACTION.--There is also a small group of
concrete _-culum_ words which are alike in that they denote the object
of the action expressed by their verb stems.

Deridiculum (derideo) is something to laugh at, an object of derision,
(also ridicule itself): deridiculo fuit senex foedissimae adulationis
tantum infamia usurus, Tac. A. 3, 57; quid tu me deridiculi gratia sic
salutas? Am. 682.

Ientaculum (iento) is something to eat, or breakfast: epulas
interdum quadrifariam dispertiebat: in ientacula et prandia et cenas
commissationesque, Suet. Vit. 13.

Miraculum (miror) is something to wonder at, a miracle: audite portenta
et miracula philosophorum somniantium, N. 1, 18; omnia transformat sese
in miracula rerum, Ignemque horribilemque feram, Georg. 4, 441.

Spectaculum is something to look at, a spectacle, show: quom hoc mihi
optulisti tam lepidum spectaculum, Poen. 209.

The verb stems of these four nouns, with the exception of the first,
could conceivably form nouns meaning instrument, or result of action,
or place; but only one of them, spectaculum, has any of these meanings,
and that, of place: tantus est ex omnibus spectaculis usque a Capitolio
plausus excitatus est, Sest. 124.


There are four abstract _-culum_ words, all expressing primarily action

Curriculum (curro) is a running: curre in Piraeum atque unum curriculum
face, Trin. 1103.

Periculum (stem seen in experire) is a trial, attempt, also danger,
risk: fac semel periculum, Cist. 504; nescio quanto in periculo sumus,
Phor. 58.

Saeculum (sero), if this etymology is correct, is originally a sowing,
then the thing sown, a generation, race, period of time: quid mirum si
se temnunt mortalia saecula, Lucr. 5, 1238; et muliebre oritur patrio
de semine saeculum, Lucr. 4, 1227; saeculum spatium annorum centum
vocarunt, Varro, L. L. 6, 2.

Oraculum (oro) is an utterance, usually of some god or prophet,
sometimes the place where it is given: oracula ex eo ipso appellata
sunt, quod inest in his deorum oratio, Top. 20, 77; exposui somnii et
furoris oracula, quae carere arte dixeram, Div. 1, 32, 70; numquam
illud oraculum Delphis tam celebre fuisset nisi...., Div. 1, 19, 37.

With regard, then, to the verb stems of the _-culum_ nouns we may say
that they are such as require an instrument, suggest a place, or imply
the object of their action, while a few form nouns denoting action

       *       *       *       *       *

The tendency seen in the above classification must not be taken as a
systematic and conscious process of language for the purpose of making
these suffixes mean one thing more than another. The verb stems do
strongly influence the meaning of the whole noun, usually more than
anything else does, but the variety of precise meanings due to context,
which will be shown in the next chapter, almost precludes a systematic
classification on any basis.



An attempt was made in the preceding chapter to show how the meaning of
words formed with _-mentum_, _-bulum_ and _-culum_ was influenced by
the verb stem. It will be the purpose of this chapter to illustrate how
such general meanings get still greater precision from some element in
the context. This study, as is intimated in the introductory paragraph
of this paper, is a semantic one, but it is not lexicographical; and
no attempt will be made to explain, any farther than was done in the
preceding chapter, such words as show no variation in meaning due to
context. For example, frumentum always means grain, no matter in what
context it stands; iumentum, cattle; testamentum, a will; venabulum, a
hunting spear; cubiculum, a bed-room. The reason is that these words
are neat expressions of a precise idea and their meaning is therefore
less likely to be shifted. This fact also illustrates, in general,
the difference in variation possible in a noun and in an adjective.
The latter, being in so many instances equivalent to a genitive, can,
like the genitive, express a great variety of relations between its
governing noun and its noun stem; while a noun, being a more finished
product, that is, its meaning settling more easily in clear-cut limits,
cannot be expected to show such wide variations. Aside from the
figurative use of the nouns, the most frequent influence of context
comes from a genitive dependent on the noun. The other elements that
enter in will be noticed as each word is discussed, and wherever
possible, the word or group of words which contributes to the meaning
will be italicized.

First, there are a few nouns which are used in apposition with a proper
noun, or are applied to persons. This use is a special illustration of
the figurative meaning of these words: intercessit iste _Ligus_ nescio
qui, additamentum inimicorum meorum, Sest. 68; _Sertia_ uxor, quae
incitamentum mortis et particeps fuit, Tac. A. 6, 29; in conspectu
_parentum coniugumque_ ac _liberorum_, quae magna etiam absentibus
hortamenta animi sunt, Liv. 7, 11, 6; acerrima seditionum ac discordiae
incitamenta, _interfectores_ Galbae, Tac. H. 2, 23; Fufidius, ancilla
turpis bonorum omnium dehonestamentum, Sall. Lep. 22; _P. Rutilius_ qui
fuit documentum hominibus nostris virtutis, antiquitatis, prudentiae,
Rab. Post. 27; illius _sum_ integumentum corporis, Bacc. 602; vidi hunc
ipsum _Hortensium_, ornamentum rei publicae, paene interfici, Milo, 37;
_ipsa quae_ sis stabulum nequitiae, Truc. 587; quod umquam huiuscemodi
everriculum [_Verres_] ulla in provincia fuit, Verres, 4, 5, 3; quid,
duo propugnacula belli Punici, _Cn._ et _P. Scipiones_ cogitassene
videntur, P. 12; qui sibi _me_ pro deridiculo et delectamento putat,
Heaut. 952.

These examples show that the suffixes do not imprint on the nouns the
idea of instrument, or any other idea, so strongly that the nouns may
not be applied to human beings as well.

Of those nouns which get precision of meaning from a dependent
genitive, perhaps there is no better example than fragmentum, which,
expressing the result of the action of breaking, may mean a piece
or fragment of any breakable object: tribunum adoriuntur fragmentis
_saeptorum_, Sest. 79; ut glaebum aut fragmentum _lapidis_ dicemus, N.
II, 82; fragmenta _tegularum_, Liv. 34, 89, 11; fragmenta _ramorum_,
Liv. 23, 24, 10; fragmenta _crystalli_ sarciri nullo modo queunt, Plin.
37, 2, 10; fragmenta _panis_, Plin. 9, 8, 8; mille carinis abstulit
Emathiae secum fragmenta _ruinae_ [the remnants of the army], Lucan, 9,
38. The genitives all answer the question, fragments of what?

Another noun of general meaning which gets precision from a genitive
is fundamentum; whether literal or figurative, we want to know, the
foundations of what? and the context tells, though not always merely by
means of a genitive: quin cum fundamento _aedes_ perierunt, Most. 148;
solum et quasi fundamentum _oratoris_ vides, _locutionem emendatam_ et
_Latinam_, Brut. 258; fundamenta _rei publicae_ ieci, Fam. XII, 25,
2; fundamenta ieci _salutis_ tuae, Fam. X, 29, 1; _arcem_ Syracusis
a fundamentis disiecit, Nepos, XX, 3, 3; hic locus sicut aliquod
fundamentum est huius _constitutionis_, Inv. II, 19; qui a fundamentis
mi usque movisti _mare_, Rud. 539; prima fundamenta _urbi_ iacere, Liv.
1, 12, 4; alta fundamenta _theatri_ locare, Aen. 1, 428; fundamenta
altae _Carthaginis_ locare, Aen. 4, 266; _urbs_ a fundamentis diruta,
Liv. 42, 63, 11; fodere fundamenta _delubro_, Plin. 28, 2, 4; _pietas_
fundamentum est omnium _virtutum_, Planc. 29; fundamentum _iustitiae_
est fides, Off. 1, 7, 23; narratio est fundamentum _constituendae
fidei_, Part. 9, 31; fundamentum _eloquentiae_, De Or. 3, 151;
fundamentum _philosophiae_, Div. 2, 1, 2; initium ac fundamentum
_defensionis_, Clu. 10, 30; quod fundamentum huius _quaestionis_ est,
id videtis, N. I, 44; fundamentum horum _criminum_, Cael. 13, 30;
disciplina nixa fundamento _veritatis_, Gell. 14, 1, 20; fundamentum et
causa _imperii_, Sen. Ep. 87, 41; fundamenta _libertatis_, Balb. 13,
31; fundamentum _consulatus_ tui, Pis. 4, 9; senectus quae fundamentis
_adolescentiae_ constituta est, C. 18, 62; fundamenta _pacis_ ieci,
Phil. 1, 1, 1; fundamentum _domus novae_ iacere, Suet. Cal. 22; _villa_
a fundamentis inchoata, Suet. Caes. 46.

Incitamentum is nearly always followed by a genitive or a gerundive
construction expressing the object toward which a thing or circumstance
is an inducement. The noun is used most frequently in Tacitus: hoc
maximum et _periculorum_ incitamentum est et _laborum_, Arch. 23; uxor,
quae incitamentum _mortis_ fuit, Tac. A. 6, 29; incitamenta _irarum_,
Tac. A. 1, 55; incitamenta _victoriae_, Tac. Agr. 32; incitamentum
_ad_ honeste _moriendum_, Curt. 9, 5, 4; incitamentum _fortitudinis_,
Tac. G. 7, 9; incitamentum _cupidinis_, Tac. A. 6, 1, 10; incitamenta
_belli_, Tac. A. 12, 34, 2; est magna illa eloquentia alumna licentiae,
comes seditionum, _effrenati populi_ incitamentum, Tac. D. 40, 11. In
the last example the genitive is a real objective genitive, while the
participle limiting it expresses the result of incitement expressed by
the genitives in the other examples.

Like incitamentum, invitamentum and irritamentum usually get precision
of meaning from a genitive: invitamenta _urbis_ et _fori_, Sulla, 74;
honos, non invitamentum _ad tempus_, sed perpetuae virtutis praemium,
Fam. X, 10, 2; invitamenta _temeritatis_, Liv. 2, 42, 6; invitamentum
_sceleris_, Vell. 2, 67, 3; pulchritudinem eius non _libidinis_
habuerat invitamentum, sed _gloriae_, Curt. 4, 10, 24; fons reperiendus
est, in quo sint prima invitamenta _naturae_, Fin. 5, 6; neque
irritamenta _gulae_ quaerebant, Sall. Jug. 89, 7; quod irritamentum
_certaminum_ equestrium est, Liv. 30, 11; _opes_, irritamenta
_malorum_, Ov. M. 1, 140; irritamenta _luxuriae_, Val. Max. 2, 6, 1;
irritamentum _invidiae_, Tac. A. 3, 9; irritamentum _pacis_, Tac. Agr.

Tegumentum and integumentum have only their general meaning of “cover”
which they get from their verb stem, unless something in the context
tells what it is a covering for: _lanx_ cum integumentis, quae Iovi
adposita fuit, Liv. 40, 59, 7; illius sum integumentum _corporis_,
Bacc. 602; istaec ego mihi semper habui integumentum meae, Trin. 313;
integumentum _frontis_, Cic. post Red. in Sen. 7, 15; integumentum
_flagitiorum_, Cael. 20, 47; integumentum _dissimulationis_, De Or. 2,
86; tegumenta _galeis_ milites ex viminibus facere iubet, B. C. 3, 62,
1; ad tegumenta detrahenda _scutis_ tempus defuerit, B. G. 2, 21, 5;
quae [_palpebrae_] sunt tegmenta _oculorum_, N. II, 142; _tunicos_ aut
tegimenta fuerant, B. G. 3, 44, 7; _humus_ satis solidum est tegimentum
_repellendis caloribus_, Sen. Ep. 90; _equo_ purpurea tegumenta dedit,
Suet. Cal. 55.

Documentum has the meaning of “example”, particularly when there
is a limiting genitive: Rutilius qui documentum fuit _virtutis_,
_antiquitatis_, _prudentiae_, Rab. Post. 10, 27. The common occurrence
of the word with verbs like dare, together with an indirect question,
shows it to mean proof: _dederas_ enim, quam contemneres populares
insanias, iam ab adolescentia documenta maxima, Mil. 8; multa documenta
egregii principis _dedit_, Suet. Galb. 14. With capere the natural
meaning is “warning” or “instruction”: ex quo documentum nos _capere_
fortuna voluit, quid esset victis pertimescendum, Phil. 11, 2. This
meaning is also very commonly seen in the use of the dative case to
express purpose, followed by a supplementary clause of purpose. The
noun need not be in the dative, however: insigne documentum Sagunti
ruinae erunt _ne_ quis fidei Romanae aut societati confidat, Liv.
21, 19, 10; deletum cum duce exercitum documento fuisse, _ne_ deinde
turbato gentium iure comitia haberentur, Liv. 7, 6, 11.

Monumentum is quite as general in meaning as documentum, and shows
as great variety of meaning. It is applied to a whip: vos monumentis
commonefaciam _bubulis_, Stich. 63; a statue: _statuam_ volt dare,
factis monumentum suis, Curc. 441; a literary record: monumenta
_rerum gestarum_ oratori nota esse debent, De Or. I, 201; an action
or circumstance: cum Sex. Pompeium _restituit_ civitati, clarissimum
monimentum _clementiae_ suae, Phil. 5, 39; a tomb: _sepultus est_ in
monumento avunculi sui, Nepos, Att. 22, 4. Sometimes the word gets
precision of meaning from an appositional genitive: hoc _statuae_
monumento non eget, Phil. 9, 11; ut tu monumentum aliquod _decreti_
aut _litterarum_ tuarum relinquas, Q. fr. I, 2, 11; _sepulcri_
monumento donatus est, Nep. Dion. 10. Sometimes it is used without any
suggestion of a concrete object (cf. also the third example above):
nullum monumentum _laudis_ postulo praeterquam huius diei memoriam
sempiternam, Cat. 3, 11, 26.

Argumentum (always abstract) has the very frequent general meaning of
proof, reason, argument: quid nunc? _vincon_ argumentis te non esse
Sosiam?, Am. 437; nunc, huc _qua causa_ veni, argumentum eloquar, Rud.
31; _quod_ pridie noctu conclamatum esset in Caesaris castris argumenti
sumebant loco non posse clam exiri B. C. 1, 67, 1. A common meaning
in comedy is plot, or theme of a play (our “argument” of an epic or a
drama): ne exspectetis argumentum _fabulae_, Adel. 22. Then it comes
to mean the subject matter of a speech or letter: ut mihi nascatur
_epistulae_ argumentum, Fam. XV, 1, 22, 2; a sign or indication: ubi
lyrae, tibia et cantus, _animi_ felicia _laeti_ argumenta, sonant,
Ov. M. 4, 762; reality or meaning: haec tota _fabella_ quam est sine
argumento, Cael. 27; the subject of artistic representations: ex
_ebore_ perfecta argumenta erant in _valvis_, Verr. II, 4, 56. Twice
in Ciceronian Latin this word is defined in two of the ways mentioned:
argumentum est ficta res quae tamen fieri potuit, velut argumentum
comoediarum, Ad Her. 1, 8; argumentum esse rationem quae rei dubiae
faciat fidem, Top. 8.

Experimentum, when followed by indirect discourse, as in the following
example, must mean the result of trial; _viz._, “proof”: hoc maximum
est experimentum _hanc vim esse_ in cogitatione diuturna, T. 4, 56.
In the plural, being the accumulation of a number of trials, it is
equivalent to experientia, (experience): Metello experimentis _cognitum
erat_, genus Numidarum infidum esse, Sall. Jug. 46, 3.

Firmamentum often gets precise meaning from a limiting genitive, which
is also sometimes appositional: ossa nervique et articuli, firmamenta
_totius corporis_, Sen. De Ira, 2, 1, 2; firmamenta _stabilitatis
constantiaeque_ est eius quam in amicitia quaerimus fides, Lael. 65;
eum _ordinem_ firmamentum ceterorum _ordinum_ recte esse dicimus, Pomp.
17; transversaria _tigna_ iniciuntur, quae firmamento esse possint, B.
G. 2, 15, 2; firmamentum ac robur totius _accusationis_, Mur. 28, 58;
firmamentum _rei publicae_, Planc. 9, 23; firmamentum _dignitatis_, T.
4, 7; inventa ratione firmamentum [_orationi_] quaerendum est, Inv. I,

Instrumentum is a word which has the most general meaning, and really
receives less influence from its verb stem than from the context. Even
when there is a qualifying genitive or other limiting factor it retains
more or less of its general character. Probably its most definite
meaning is that of furniture (of a house): decora atque ornamentum
fanorum in instrumento ac _supellectili_ C. Verris nominabuntur, Verr.
2, 4, 44; instrumenti ne magni siet (of a _villa_), Cato, R. R. I. 5.
A common meaning is that of a tool, or utensil of any kind: inest huic
computationi sumptus fabrorum et _venatorii_ instrumenti, Plin. 3,
19; crudelia iussae instrumenta necis, _ferrumque ignisque_ parantur,
Ov. M. 3, 697; _arma_, _tela_, _equos_ et cetera instrumenta militiae
parare, Sall. Jug. 43, 3; naves _nautico_ instrumento aptae, Liv. 30,
10, 3. The following example shows it meaning a legal document: opus
est intueri omne _litis_ instrumentum; quod videre non est satis,
_perlegendum_ est, Quint. 12, 8, 12. The meaning of supply, provisions
(both literal and figurative) is illustrated by the following
examples: quid _viatici_, quid instrumenti satis sit, Att. XII, 32, 2;
instrumenta _naturae_ deerant, sed tantus animi splendor erat ut..,
Brut. 77, 268; in _oratoris_ vero instrumento tam lautam supellectilem
numquam videram, De Or. I, 36, 165. In one instance it plainly means
apparel, dress: in iuvenem rediit, _anilia_ demit instrumenta, Ov. M.
14, 766. The meaning of aid or assistance is seen in these citations:
quanta instrumenta habeat _ad obtinendam_ adipiscendamque sapientiam,
Leg. 1, 22; industriae _subsidia_ atque instrumenta virtutis in
libidine audaciaque consumpsit, Cat. 2, 5.

Ornamentum is very similar in meaning to instrumentum, and shows
similar variety of signification due to context, although the verb
stem is a little more specialized. The number of things which may be
spoken of as having ornamenta are seen from the examples: ornamenta
_bubus_, ornamenta _asinis_ instrata (esse oporteat), Cato, R. R. 11,
4; _elephantos_ ornatos armatosque cum turribus et ornamentis capit,
Auct. B. Afr. 86; _pecuniam_ omniaque ornamenta ex _fano_ Herculis
in oppidum Gadis contulit, B. C. 2, 18, 2; _eloquentia_ principibus
maximo ornamento est, F. 4, 61; pecuniam et ornamenta _triumphi_
Caesaris retinenda curaret, Auct. B. Afr. 28, 2; audieram quae de
_orationis_ ipsius ornamentis traderentur, De Or. I, 144; pulcherrima
totius Galliae _urbs_, quae praesidio et ornamento est _civitati_,
B. G. 7, 15; mihi hoc subsidium comparavi ad decus atque ornamentum
_senectutis_, Orat. 1, 45; Hortensius, lumen atque ornamentum _rei
publicae_, Mil. 14; _urceoli_ sex, ornamentum _abaci_, Juv. 3, 203;
neminem omnium tot et tanta, quanta sunt in Crasso, habuisse ornamenta
_dicendi_, Orat. 2, 28. Sometimes adjectives show the ornamenta to
be a special sort of distinction: pluribus _triumphalia_ ornamenta
decernenda curavit, Suet. Aug. 38; decem praetoriis viris _consularia_
ornamenta tribuit, Suet. Caes. 76. In comedy especially it means dress,
costume: ipse ornamenta a _chorago_ haec sumpsit: si potero ornamentis
_hominem circumducere_, dabo operam ut...., Trin. 859, 860; hominem
cum ornamentis omnibus _exornatum_ adducite ad me, Pseud. 756; also
trinkets: i, Palaestrio, _aurum_, ornamenta, _vestem_, omnia duc, M.
G. 1302; in one instance, the dress of tragedy: ornamenta absunt:
_Aiacem_, hunc quom vides ipsum vides, Capt. 615.

Stramentum is applied to a number of things which can be conceived
of as being strewn or covered with straw, but is also sometimes used
absolutely: _fasces_ stramentorum _virgultorumque_ incenderunt, B. G.
8, 15, 5; iubet magnum numerum _mulorum_ produci deque his stramenta
detrahi, B. G. 7, 45; cum ea noctem in stramentis _pernoctare_ (a
bed), Truc. 278; stramenta si deerunt, _frondem ligneam_ legito: eam
substernito _ovibus bubusque_, Cato, R. R. 5. There are two examples in
which it means the roof of a house, or thatch: _casae_, quae stramentis
_tectae erant_, B. G. 5, 43; pars ignes _casis_ stramento arido
_tectis_ iniciunt, Liv. 25, 39.

Tormentum, an instrument with which anything is turned or twisted, is
applied especially to a military engine for hurling missiles: aciem
eo loco constituit, unde tormento _missa tela_ in hostium cuneos
conici possent, B. G. 8, 14, 5; the missile itself: quod unum genus
tegumenti nullo _telo_ neque tormento _transici_ posse, B. C. 2, 9; a
(twisted) cord or rope: praesectis omnium mulierum _crinibus_ tormenta
_effecerunt_, B. C. 3, 9, 3; a chain or fetter: nam si non ferat,
tormento non _retineri_ potuit _ferreo_, Curc. 227; an instrument
of torture: _rotam_, id est genus quoddam tormenti apud Graecos, T.
5, 24; tum _verberibus_ ac tormentis quaestionem habuit pecuniae
publicae, Phil. 11, 2, 5; torture, pain: cum incredibles _cruciatus_ et
indignissima tormenta pateretur, Plin. Ep. 1, 12, 6; hinc licebit tum
dicere se beatum in summo _cruciatu_ atque tormentis, T. 5, 73.

Vestimentum, in addition to having its common meaning of clothing: me
vides ut sim vestimentis _uvidis_, Rud. 573; is once applied to the
covering of a bed: huc est intro latus _lectus_, vestimentis stratus,
Heaut. 903.

From the above examples it will be clear that at least some _-mentum_
words get precision of meaning from the context. The different means
by which the context exerts influence would be difficult to classify;
still less could one assert that _-mentum_ tends to have any meaning.
Perhaps we should not speak of a word varying semantically when it
is used figuratively, yet it is only from the context that we can
ascertain whether it is used figuratively or not. A word can be used in
a figurative sense only when, in one context, it has certain elements
identical with those which it has in another context. The more definite
and concrete the object expressed by a noun, the less variability will
be expected, either in a literal or figurative use. This is true of the
_-bulum_ and _-culum_ words, which, while admitting a small range of
variation, are much more limited in their variation than the _-mentum_
words were found to be. The best examples will be given below.

Conciliabulum is a place of assembly and is expressly so defined by
Festus (cf. Chapter II, p. 25): mulieres _ex oppidis_ conciliabulisque
conveniebant, Liv. 34, 1, 6; sacerdotes non Romae modo, sed per omnia
_fora_ et conciliabula conquiri, Liv. 39, 14, 7. The following example,
however, shows that it may also mean the assembly itself: igitur per
conciliabula et _coetus_ seditiosa disserebant, Tac. A. 3, 40. In a few
instances it takes on a bad meaning: ne penetrarem me usquam ubi esset
_damni_ conciliabulum, Trin. 314; forte aut cena, ut solet in _istis_
fieri conciliabulis, Bacc. 80.

Latibulum is seen to be a hiding place for different animals and even
of men, and also a refuge (figurative): cum etiam se _ferae_ latibulis
tegant, Rab. Post. 42; repente te tamquam _serpens_ a latibulis
intulisti, Vatin. 4; defendendi facilis est cautio non solum latibulis
occultorum _locorum_, sed etiam tempestatum moderatione et conversione
(of pirates), Flacc. 13, 31; ego autem volo aliquod emere latibulum et
perfugium _doloris_ mei, Att. XII, 13, 2.

Pabulum is used not only of food for animals but also, in poetry,
of food for men, and sometimes for the pastures, or feeding places.
Its figurative meaning is also quite common: _bubus_ pabulum parare
oportet, Cato, R. R. 54, 1; pabula carpsit _ovis_, Ov. F. 4, 750; ferae
_pecudes persultant_ pabula laeta, Lucr. 1, 14; novitas mundi pabula
dura tulit, miseris _mortalibus_ ampla, Lucr. 5, 944; si animus habet
aliquod tamquam pabulum _studii_ atque _doctrinae_, C. 49; sed fugitare
decet simulacra et pabula _amoris_, Lucr. 4, 1063.

Stabulum has its literal and general meaning of standing-place in
only two examples: neutrubi _habeam stabile_ stabulum, siquid divorti
fuat, Aul. 233; nusquam stabulum _confidentiae_, Most. 350. Most
frequently it means a stable for animals or lair of wild beasts: neque
iam stabulis gaudet _pecus_ aut arator igni, Hor. C. 1, 4, 3; itur in
antiquam silvam, stabula alta _ferarum_, Aen. 6, 179. The agricultural
writers use it in speaking of a variety of animals, birds and fishes:
_pecudibus_ sient stabula, Col. 1, 6, 4; _avium_ cohortalium stabula
(an aviary), Col. 8, 1; ut sit _pavonum_ stabulum, Col. 8, 11, 3; hac
ratione stabulis ordinatis _aquatile pecus_ inducemus, Col. 8, 17,
7; absint et picti squalentia terga lacerti pinguibus a stabulis (of
bees), Georg. 4, 14. It also means a cottage, a hut, a dwelling like a
stable: cum Catilina _pastorum_ stabula praedari coepisset, Sest. 12;
pueros ab eo ad stabula _Larentiae uxori_ educandos datos, Liv. 1, 4,
7. A number of times the context shows it applied to a house of ill
fame: pistorum _amicas_, quae tibi olant stabulum stratumque, Poen.
267. Twice it is applied to persons as a term of reproach: _ipsa quae_
sis stabulum flagitii, Truc. 587; faciam uti proinde ut est dignus
vitam colat, Acheruntis pabulum, stabulum _nequitiae_, Cas. 160. In the
last example pabulum is also used with an emotional tone.

Vocabulum is a name or appellation, the name of the thing itself
being expressed, if at all, in the genitive, or in the nominative
with vocabulum in the ablative: si res suum _nomen_ et proprium
vocabulum non habet, De Or. III, 159; deligitur artifex talium vocabulo
_Locusta_, Tac. A. 12, 66. It also signifies as a grammatical term,
a noun, as opposed to a verb: Aristotelis orationis duas partes esse
dicit, vocabula et _verba_, ut homo et equus, et legis et currit,
Varro, L. L. 8.

Conventiculum regularly means an assembly (without any diminutive
notion): conventicula _hominum_ quae postea _civitates_ nominatae sunt,
Sest. 91; but it may also mean the place of assembly: _exstructa_ sunt
apud nemus conventicula, Tac. A. 14, 15.

Oraculum may mean a prophetic declaration by gods, or by men: cum
praesertim _deorum immortalium_ iussis atque oraculis id fecisse
dicantur, Sex. Rosc. 66; haec ego nunc _physicorum_ oracula fundo, vera
an falsa nescio, N. 1, 66. Also the place where oracular responses were
given: numquam illud oraculum _Delphis_ tam celebre fuisset nisi....,
Div. I, 19, 37.

Periculum, in the sense of trial, is always the object of the verb
facere: _fac_ semel periculum, Cist. 504; priusquam periculum
_faceret_, B. G. 4, 21. Its change to the meaning of danger must have
been by some such step as is seen in the following example, although
periculum facere, “make a trial,” is also practically the same as
“run a risk”: nescio quanto in periculo _sumus_, Phor. 58. The common
meaning of risk or danger hardly needs to be illustrated: salus
sociorum summum _in_ periculum _vocatur_, Pomp. 5, 12. The context
shows it to have also two other meanings; _viz._, a lawsuit: meus
labor in periculis _privatorum_ caste integreque _versatus_, Pomp. 1,
2; a judicial sentence: petiit ut _in_ periculo suo _inscriberent_,
Nep. Ep. 8; est honestus, quod eorum hominum fidei _tabulae publicae_
periculaque _magistratuum_ committuntur, Verr. 2, 3, 79.

Piaculum is properly an offering performed as a means of appeasing a
deity: porco femina piaculum _faciundum_ est, Leg. II, 57; apparet
omnia nec ullis piaculis _expiari_ posse, Liv. 5, 53; and then
naturally it is applied to the victim itself: duc _nigras pecudes_:
ea prima piacula sunto, Aen. 6, 153; then also a sinful action, which
needs expiation: nonne in mentem venit, quantum piaculi _committatur_?,
Liv. 5, 52.

Spectaculum is properly a “sight”, anything seen: quom hoc mihi
_optulisti_ tam lepidum spectaculum, Poen. 209; then a show, on
the stage or in the arena: spectacula sunt tributim _data_, Muren.
72. Once in Plautus it clearly means a part of the theater itself:
exoritur ventus turbo, spectacula ibi _ruont_, Curc. 647; that it means
also the theater in general is seen from a few examples: _resonant_
spectacula plausu, Ov. M. 10, 668; _ex_ omnibus spectaculis _plausus
est excitatus_, Sest. 58.

Umbraculum is a shady place: faciundum umbracula, _quo succedant_
homines in aestu tempore meridiano, Varro, R. R. I, 51; also anything
that furnishes shade, an umbrella: aurea _pellebant_ tepidos umbracula
_soles_, Ov. F. II, 311. The limiting genitive in the following example
shows the noun to have lost its regular stem-meaning and to have been
used for “school”: Demetrius mirabiliter doctrinam ex umbraculis
_eruditorum_ otioque produxit, Leg. III, 14.

Vehiculum, a means of transportation, is applied to wagons or carts:
omnes di, qui vehiculis _tensarum_ solemnes coitus ludorum initis,
Verr. 5, 186; but also to ships: ut procul divinum et novum vehiculum
_Argonautarum_ e monte conspexit, N. II, 89.

       *       *       *       *       *

That the words which we have treated vary in meaning according to
the context seems perfectly obvious; but the extent to which this is
true in general has received little if any attention from linguistic
students. The tracing of the meaning of a word through various
periods of the language has been commonly enough done; that side of
the question, however, this investigation has not touched except
incidentally. But the material presented in this chapter and the
preceding has, it is hoped, been sufficient to illustrate how the words
formed with our suffixes, while revealing a limited tendency in meaning
due to their verb stems, often also owe much of their meaning to the
context in which they are used.



However great a tendency the suffixes under investigation have toward
giving to the nouns a certain meaning, the variations of which they
are capable,--due, as has been shown, to stem and context,--strongly
suggest that there can be nothing very stable in the suffix itself. If
there really were a fundamental meaning in the suffixes, there would be
no such variation as we find.

But a consideration which points even more to the comparatively fluid
condition of these suffixes is the fact that we find other words,
formed on the same stem, but with a different suffix, meaning precisely
the same as the nouns made with these suffixes. Here again, the
meanings are derived from an examination of the context. Sometimes the
contexts are exactly parallel, at other times there is a sufficiently
large element common to both to warrant us in saying that the nouns do
not, at least in these particular instances, differ in meaning.

The fact that some of these parallel words occur at different periods
in the language does not weaken the argument, as the mere occurrence
of them shows the unstable influence of the suffix; and, moreover, we
need not suppose because one word is not found at a certain period
while another on the same stem with a different suffix is found, that
the first word was not in existence. It is just as reasonable to assume
that the preservation of one word and not the other is due merely
to common usage or the personal preference of the author. Metrical
considerations might exclude the use of a certain word in poetry, but
the instances are very rare, and will be noted in the proper place.

The most common suffix which makes accessory forms with _-mentum_ is
_-men_. Most authorities regard _-mentum_ as an extension of _-men_ by
the addition of _-to_. Whether this is true or not, there _are_ many
_-mentum_ words that have no accessory forms in _-men_, and a large
number of _-men_ words that have no accessory forms in _-mentum_.
Corssen (_Krit. Nach._ p. 125 ff.) gives fifty-one _-men_ words
from old, classical, and later Latin to which there are no forms in
_-mentum_, fifty-two _-mentum_ words from the same periods to which
there are no forms in _-men_; twenty-five words with both forms in
any one period. He also gives a table showing how the words in the
older and classical language preferred the form _-men_ while in later
Latin the same words preferred the form _-mentum_. He says the suffix
_-mentum_ is only the the extension, on Latin soil, of the suffix
_-men_ (Sanskrit, _-man_) with _-to_; and this explains why in later
Latin the forms in _-mentum_ become more frequent, also why they are
not found in other Italic dialects, nor in the Greek and other related

Lindsay says (p. 335) that the suffix _-men_ is found more often in
poetry, while _-mentum_ predominates in prose.

Etymologically, the suffixes _-bulum_ and _-culum_ go back to original
_-dhlo_ and _-tlo_ respectively (Lindsay pp. 334 and 332).

A study of the other suffixes which make accessory forms to these words
would probably yield results similar to those seen in the case of our
suffixes; but all that will be attempted here will be to show parallels
wherever possible. Italics will be used here, also, to show what
elements in the context go to prove the equivalence in semantic content
of the nouns under discussion.


One of the neatest examples of identity in meaning is the following
exactly parallel usage of stramen and stramentum: _tectam_ stramine
vidit _casam_, Ov. M. 5, 443; _casae_, quae stramentis _tectae_ erant,
B. G. 5, 43.

From the use of a genitive denoting a concrete object, fragmentum and
fragmen are seen to be identical in meaning in the following examples:
adiacebant fragmina _telorum_ equorumque artus, Tac. A. 1, 61; tribunum
adoriuntur fragmentis _saeptorum_, Sest. 79.

The genitives depending on irritamen and irritamentum in the following
examples are not exactly alike, one being concrete and the other
abstract; but they are near enough in meaning, and the nouns themselves
are used in sufficiently similar contexts to justify us in saying that
either one might have been used in place of the other: nisi adiecisset
opes, irritamen _animi_ avari, Ov. M. 13, 434; neque salem neque alia
irritamenta _gulae_ quaerebant, Sall. Jug. 89, 7.

Levamen and levamentum are used in parallel examples: cuius _mali_
(debt) plebes nullum levamen speraret, Liv. 6, 35, 1; non aliud
_malorum_ levamentum quam si linquerent castra, Tac. H. 1, 30, 9.

The verbs used with medicamen and medicamentum show a lack of
differentiation between these nouns: quod diceres te violentis
quibusdam medicaminibus solere _curari_, Pis. 6, 13; si eo medicamento
_sanus factus_ esset, Off. 3, 92.

The verbs with molimen and molimentum in the following examples are
very similar, and there is the same adjective modifying each noun:
temptat _revellere_ annosam pinum _magno_ molimine, Ov. M. 12, 357;
neque exercitum sine _magno_ commeatu atque molimento in unum locum
_contrahere_ posse, B. G. I, 34, 3.

Identity of verbs and the case of momen and momentum show there
is no difference in their meaning: momine uti _parvo_ possint
_impulsa_ moveri, Lucr. 3, 188; animus _paulo_ momento huc vel illuc
_impellitur_, And. 266.

Parallel instances of blanditia and blandimenta are seen in these
examples: haec _meretrix_ meum erum sua blanditia intulit in pauperiem,
Truc. 572; illum spero immutari potest blandimentis, oramentis,
ceteris _meretriciis_, Truc. 318; _benevolentiam_ civium blanditiis
et adsentando _colligere_ turpe est, Lael. 61; Lepida blandimentis ac
largitionibus iuvenilem _animum devinciebat_, Tac. H. 13, 13.

Adiutorium is a rare word, but in the following examples it is seen to
have the same general meaning as adiumentum, “help”: sine adiutorio
_ignis_ nihil calidum est, Sen. Ep. 31; neque apud homines res est ulla
difficilior neque quae plura adiumenta _doctrinae_ desideret, De Or.
III, 84.

Experimentum in the plural naturally means the same as experientia
(experience), but in the singular also they both mean a trial or
attempt, or the result of trial, proof: debemus _temptare_ experientia
quaedam, sequentes non aleam, sed rationem aliquam, Varro, R. R. 1, 18,
8; hoc est maximum experimentum, _hanc vim_ esse non in die positam
sed in cogitatione diuturna, T. 3, 74. With the meaning of experience:
Agrippa non _aetate_ neque _rerum_ experientia tantae moli par, Tac.
A. 1, 4; Metello experimentis _cognitum erat_, genus Numidarum infidum
esse, Sall. Jug. 40, 3.

Firmamen and firmamentum might be interchanged, in both their
figurative and literal meanings: ruptosque obliqua per ungues
porrigitur _radix_, longi firmamina _trunci_, Ov. M. 10, 491; _ossa
nervique_, firmamenta totius _corporis_, Sen. De Ira, 2, 1, 2. Both the
dependent genitives above express concrete objects; in the following
they express abstract objects: unicum lapsae _domus_ firmamen, unum
lumen afflicto malis temet reserva, Sen. Herc. Fur. 1251; sic ille
annus duo firmamenta _rei publicae_ per me unum constituta evertit,
Att. I, 18, 3.

Documen occurs only once, but its context shows it to be equivalent in
meaning to documentum, which is used in strikingly similar contexts:
flammas ut fulguris halent pectore perfixo, documen _mortalibus acre_,
Lucr. 6, 391; ut sint reliquis documento et magnitudine _poenae
perterreant_ alios, B. G. 7, 4, 10.

Words with the suffix _-tio_ we naturally think of as verbals, or
nomina actionis, but in the following examples the context makes it
fairly certain that they mean the same as their corresponding _-mentum_

Formamenta is found only twice: omnia _principiorum_ formamenta queunt
in quovis esse nitore, Lucr. 2, 819; si vos fateremini id quod vestra
suspicio credidisset formamentis _divinis_ attribuisse, minus erat
iniuriae praesumpta in opinatione peccasse, Arn. 3, 16. In the first
example, formamenta is used closely following formae and must mean
the same thing, the “shapes” of the atoms; in the second example the
adjective “divinis” indicates a similar meaning for formamentum; in
the following example Vitruvius is giving directions concerning the
building of a forum: ita enim erit _oblonga_ eius [_forum_] formatio
et ad spectaculorum rationem utilis dispositio, Vitr. 5, 1. While
the directions for the future building might lead us to believe that
the word has a predominant verbal force, yet it is just as possible
to conceive of it as expressing the result of the process; and this
interpretation is even more probable, as the adjective oblonga would
properly not be applied to a purely verbal noun.

The verb fodior shows the identity in meaning between fundatio and
fundamenta in the following instances: cum _fodientes_ delubro
fundamenta caput humanum invenissent, Plin. 28, 2, 4; fundationes
eorum operum _fodiantur_, Vitr. 3, 3. Res Romana and libertas are
near enough alike to show that fundamen and fundamentum have the same
general meaning in these instances: fundamine magno _res Romana_ valet,
Ov. M. 4, 808; haec sunt fundamenta firmissima nostrae _libertatis_,
Balb. 13.

The contexts of hortamen and hortamentum in the two following examples
are near enough alike to warrant our saying that the nouns might be
interchanged: Decii eventus, ingens hortamen _ad_ omnia pro re publicia
_audenda_, Liv. 10, 29, 5; in conspectu parentum coniugumque ac
liberorum quae magna etiam _absentibus_ hortamenta _animi_ sunt, Liv.
7, 11, 6.

There is undoubtedly no more verbal force in the following example of
allevatio than in the example of allevamentum, (which is the only one
extant): _tantis rebus_ urgemur, _nullam_ ut allevationem quisquam non
stultissimus sperare debeat, Fam. IX, 1; Sulla coactus est in _adversis
fortunis sine ullo_ remedio atque allevamento permanere, Sulla, 66.

Besides alimentum there are two other nouns, formed on the verb alo,
alimonium and alimonia, which also mean support or nourishment, as seen
from these parallel examples: plus alimenti in _pane_ quam in ullo
alio est, Cels. 2, 18; quid temperatus ab alimonio _panis_, cui rei
dedistis nomen castus?, Arn. 5, 16; amisso omni _naturalis_ alimoniae
fundamento, homo _exhaustus intereat_, Gell. 17, 15, 5.

Although _-tus_ is also usually considered as forming nomina actionis,
the example of cruciatus clearly is parallel with that of cruciamentum:
_confectus_ iam cruciatu maximorum _dolorum_, ne id quidem scribere
possim, quod...., Att. XI. 11, 1; nec _graviora_ sunt tormenta
carnificum, quam interdum cruciamenta _morborum_, Phil. 11, 4.

Calceamentum, “shoe” or covering for the feet, has two accessory forms,
calceamen and calceatus, which are synonymous with it (the former being
found only in Pliny): mihi est calciamentum _solorum callum_, amictui
Scythicum tegimen, T. 5, 90; _vestitu_ calceatuque et cetero habitu
neque patrio neque civili usus est, Suet. Calig. 52; hinc [_sparto_]
strata rusticis eorum, hinc ignes facesque, hinc calceamina et pastorum
_vestis_, Plin. 19, 2, 7.

The use of _ad_ and a gerund after both invitatio and invitamenta
indicate their lack of difference in meaning in these two instances: ad
eundem fontem revertendum est, _aegritudinem omnem abesse_ a sapiente,
quod inanis sit, quod frustra suscipiatur, quod non natura exoriatur,
sed iudicio, sed opinione sed quadam invitatione _ad dolendum_, cum id
decreverimus ita fieri oportere, T. 3, 82; quocirca intellegi necesse
est in ipsis rebus, quae discuntur et cognoscuntur, invitamenta inesse,
quibus _ad discendum_ cognoscendumque moveamur, F. 5, 52.

Munitio is another _-tio_ noun that ordinarily has verbal force, but
not at all infrequently it coincides in meaning with both munimen and
munimentum: cum urbem _operibus_ munitionibusque saepsisset, Phil. 13,
9, 20; _castella_ et munitiones idoneis locis imponens, Tac. A. 3, 74.
The genitives following munimen and munitio are alike in meaning and
function, both being appositional: confisus munitione _fossae_, B. C.
1, 42, 3; narrat esse locum solidae tectum munimine _molis_, Ov. M. 4,
771. Munimentum is used of the same kind of “fortification”: _fossa_,
haud parvum munimentum, Liv. 1, 33, 7.

Natura and ignis are the similar elements in the following contexts
that indicate the identity in meaning between nutrimen and nutrimentum:

    nempe ubi terra cibos alimentaque pinguia flammae
    non dabit absumptis per longum viribus aevum
    _naturaeque_ suum nutrimen deerit edaci, Ov. M. 15, 354;

    suscepit _ignem_ foliis atque arida circum
    nutrimenta dedit, Aen. 1, 176.

In the first example, curiously enough, nutrimen seems to be also
synonymous with alimenta in the second line before it.

Nato and puerorum following oblectamina and oblectamenta indicate
identity in meaning, although the latter is still vague, while the
former is specified by “flores”: carpserat _flores_, quos oblectamina
_nato_ porrigeret, Ov. M. 9, 342; obsecro te non ut vincla virorum
sint, sed ut oblectamenta _puerorum_, Par. 5, 2, 38.

We have the clear testimony of Varro that operculum and operimentum are
both used to mean “covering”: quibus operibantur operimenta et opercula
dixerunt, Varro, L. L. 5, 167; and the fact is illustrated by the
following examples, in which both are used in the ablative after tego:
aspera arteria _tegitur_ quasi quodam operculo, N. 2, 54; nuces gemino
_protectae_ operimento sunt, Plin. 15, 22.

Both ornatus and ornamentum are used of a speech, oratio: mihi
eripuisti ornamentum _orationis_ meae, Planc. 83; reliqua quasi lumina
afferunt magnum ornatum _orationi_, Or. 39, 134. The following examples
of these nouns, although still general in meaning, are interesting as
being used with the verb which is their stem: ornatus appellatur cultus
ipse, quo quis _ornatur_, Fest. 184; hominem cum ornamentis omnibus
_exornatum_ adducite ad me, Bacc. 756.

Although the circumstances in the following passages are not alike, the
immediate contexts are similar enough to show that sarmen and sarmentum
have the same meaning: iam iubeo _ignem_ et sarmen _arae_, carnifex,
_circumdari_, Most. 1114; _ligna_ et sarmenta _ignemque circumdare_
coeperunt, Verr. 2, 1, 69.

Tegimen and tegimentum both mean a covering for the body: mihi
_amictui_ Scythicum tegimen est, T. 5, 90; pennarum contextu _corpori_
tegimentum faciebat, F. 5, 32.

As shown earlier in this paper, tinnimentum in its single occurrence
undoubtedly means a “tinkling” in the ears, caused by chattering talk;
tinnitus also seems to mean the same thing in the following contexts:
cuminum silvestre _auribus_ instillatur ad _sonitus_ atque tinnitus,
Plin. 20, 15, 57; illud tinnimentumst _auribus_, Rud. 806.

If there is any difference between vestitus and vestimentum in these
two examples, it is difficult to find: credo te audisse, venisse, eo
_muliebri_ vestitu virum, Att. I, 13, 3; mulierem aequomst vestimentum
_muliebre_ dare foras, virum virile, Men. 659.

From the fragments in Nonius we find that two of our _-mentum_ nouns
have accessory forms in _-menta_ (fem.) with the same meaning: ipsius
armentas ad easdem, Ennius ap. Non. 190, 20; tu cornifrontes pascere
armentas soles, Pacuvius ap. Non. 190, 22; labei labuntur saxa,
caementae cadunt, Ennius ap. Non. 196, 30.


Latibulum and latebra: repente te tamquam _serpens_ e latibulis
intulisti, Vat. 2; curvis frustra defensa latebris _vipera_, Georg. 3,
544; cum etiam _ferae_ latibulis se tegant, Rab. Post. 15, 42; Maenala
transieram latebris horrenda _ferarum_, Ov. M. 1, 216. Latibulum is an
example of a word that could not be used in verse on account of the
quantity of its syllables.

Common elements in the context show identity of meaning in sedile
and sessibulum: cum pater _assedisset_ appositumque esset aliud filio
quoque eius _sedile_, Gell. 2, 2, 8; _asside_ istic, nam prae metu
latronum nulla sessibula parare nobis licet, App. Met. 1. Varro (L. L.
8, 54) says that a form sediculum is also correctly made, but not in

Stabulatio, another apparent verbal noun, must mean the same as
stabulum in the following examples, both on account of the adjective
and the general significance of the passages: _hibernae_ stabulationi
eorum (cattle) praeparanda sunt stramenta, Col. 6, 3, 1; iubeo stabula
a ventis _hiberno_ opponere soli, Georg. 3, 302.

Besides a few examples in Arnobius, only one instance of vocamen is
found, in Lucretius, but that it means the same as vocabulum can be
seen from the parallel passages: si quis Bacchi _nomine_ abuti Mavult
quam _laticis proprium_ proferre vocamen, Lucr. 2, 657; si res suum
_nomen_ et vocabulum proprium non habet, De Or. III, 159.


Among _-culum_ words, we find cenaculum having an accessory form
cenatio that has, not the verbal idea, but the genuine meaning of place
for eating, while cenaculum has lost its literal meaning and taken a
more general signification: vel _cubiculum_ grande vel _modica_ cenatio
[sit] quae plurimo sole lucet, Plin. Ep. 2, 17, 10; nos ampliores
triginta vidimus in cenatione _quam_ Callistus _exaedificaverat_, Plin.
36, 7, 12; ubi cubabant, cubiculum, ubi cenabant, cenaculum vocitabant;
posteaquam in superiore parte cenitare coeperunt superioris domus
universa cenacula dicta, Varro, L. L. 5, 162.

On the stem curro there are three nouns, all signifying “a running”:
_exercent_ sese _ad_ cursuram, Most. 861; ibi _cursu_, luctando sese
_exercebant_, Bacc. 428; unum curriculum _face_, Trin. 1103. A use of
curriculum with exerceo would parallel the first two examples, but in
such a case it takes on the meaning of place (running course): cum
athletae se _exercentes in_ curriculo videret, C. 27.

In the same paragraph deversorium and deverticulum are used of the same
place: ut _in_ deversorium eius vim magnam gladiorum _inferri_ clam
sineret, Liv. 1, 51; cum gladii abditi _ex_ omnibus locis deverticuli
_protraherentur_, Liv. 1, 51.

Feretrum and ferculum both are used depending on suspensa in the two
following examples, but mean different kinds of “instruments for
carrying”: quis opima volenti _dona_ Iovis portet feretro _suspensa_
cruento, Sil. 5, 168; _spolia_ ducis hostium caesi _suspensa_ fabricato
ad id apte ferculo gerens in Capitolium ascendit, Liv. 1, 10, 5.

The stem cerno (sift) forms two nouns which both mean a sieve,
although the use of them side by side indicates that there must be
some difference; as there are no other examples of incerniculum, this
difference cannot be discovered: in torcularium quod opus est cribrum
unum, incerniculum unum, Cato, R. R. I, 13, 3; caseum _per_ cribrum
facito _transeat_ in mortarium, Cato, R. R. 76, 3.

In the following examples, spiramen and spiracula are both used to mean
“breathing holes” in the earth or universe, while spiramenta is applied
to the cells in a beehive:

                  sunt qui spiramina _terris_
    esse putent magnosque cavae compages hiatus,
    Lucan, 10, 247;

    quasi per magni circum spiracula _mundi_
    exitus introitusque elementis redditus exstat, Lucr. 6, 493;

    _apes_ in tectis certatim tenuia _cera_
    spiramenta _linunt_, Georg. 4, 39.

No difference can be seen in spectamen and spectaculum in these
examples: _miserum_ funestumque spectamen _aspexi_, App. M. 4, 151;
potius quam hoc spectaculum _viderem_, Mil. 38, 103; constitutur in
foro Laodiceae spectaculum acerbum et _miserum_, Verr. I, 76.



As stated in the introductory chapter, it has been the primary object
of this paper to examine certain word-building suffixes for the purpose
of finding out, if possible, what the force of the suffixes themselves
is, and how the nouns formed with them get their meaning. The material
presented has, it is hoped, shown that these nouns are capable of
wide semantic variation, the influencing elements being the verb stem
and context (the former exerting greater influence than the latter);
also that these suffixes overlap with other suffixes in forming words
of identical semantic content to such an extent that they cannot be
said to have any sort of fundamental meaning whatever. This is the
significance of our investigation in so far as semantics is concerned.

But it is possible also to connect our results with another question,
the entire solution of which will doubtless never be possible, at least
not soon; _viz._, the theory of the origin of inflection. Nothing but
mere suggestion can be made in this direction from the conclusions of
this study; the field will need much wider working-over before any
thing definite can be asserted.

Of the two chief explanations of the origin of inflection, one,
the theory of adaptation, as held at the present time, answers the
question by saying that “inflectional endings are not essentially
different from word-building suffixes, but are rather to be regarded
as word-building suffixes in a new rôle and partially systematized
into paradigms. Inflection comes at the point--wherever in the long
course of development that point may be--where the endings of two or
more different forms of a word begin to be felt to be the carriers
of relations of case, or of mode and tense, to a certain extent
independently of stem and context. It is therefore not properly a
matter of forms, but of meanings, and that theory which accounts for
the meanings and for their association with forms explains inflection,
whether it accounts for the forms or not.”[188]

In other words, inflectional forms got their meanings in a manner
similar to that we have illustrated in the case of our nouns.

(1.) The apparent definiteness that case-endings have does depend
largely on their stem-meaning. Many of the functional distinctions of
case can be made only by the meaning of the nouns, _e. g._, in “gladiis
pugnatum est”, Caes. B. G. 1, 52; “uno tempore omnibus locis pugnatur,”
B. G. 7, 84; “pugnatum continenter horis quinque vario certamine,” B.
C. 1, 46, we have five ablatives, expressing instrument, time when,
duration of time, manner, and place, only because the words in the
ablative are capable of these meanings. Just so, we saw that our nouns
got their general meaning of instrument, place, result of action, etc.,
because their verb stems were such as to admit of such meaning.

(2.) While our nouns naturally get an important part of their meaning
from the verb stem, yet they derive great specialization of meaning
from some element in the context. It is very probable, too, that
originally our so-called inflectional system was in reality only
a large number of undifferentiated forms which, by a process of
centralization and adaptation, and influenced by the associations in
which they were used, acquired their present meaning.

(3.) The variety and overlapping of suffixes may also be paralleled by
case-endings; for example, in both the first and second declensions
the same form serves for the dative and ablative plural, while there
is another form for the other declensions. The genitive singular,
and nominative and accusative plural of the fourth declension are
alike in form. In the historical language, the genitive singular,
dative singular, and nominative plural of the first declension have
become identical in form. Other similar comparisons might be drawn to
illustrate the similarity in meaning of forms with different endings,
and from the verb as well as the noun. The very fact that we have five
declensions and four conjugations, with many variations inside the
system and irregularities outside, goes to show that it is not real
system that we have here, but the survival of an original mass of
undifferentiated forms, which through a long period of development
have acquired their present inflectional meaning.

The parallel suggested here is put forth merely as a suggestion; all we
can say is, that it is possible that inflectional forms did get their
meaning in some such way as the nouns treated in this paper got theirs.
More evidence will be necessary for establishing this theory, if it can
be established at all.


  acetabulum, 26

  additamentum, 18, 32

  adiumentum, 18, 45

  adminiculum, 27

  alimentum, 13, 47

  allevamentum, 20, 47

  ammentum, 13

  antepagmentum, 16

  argumentum, 20, 36

  armamentum, 13

  armentum, 14, 49

  atramentum, 18

  auctoramentum, 20

  baculum, 27

  blandimentum, 21, 45

  caementum, 11, 49

  calceamentum, 14, 47

  cenaculum, 29, 50

  coagmentum, 16

  cognomentum, 23

  complementum, 21

  conciliabulum, 25, 39

  condimentum, 16

  conventiculum, 29, 40

  cruciamentum, 18, 47

  cubiculum, 29

  cunabulum, 26

  curriculum, 30, 50

  dehonestamentum, 19, 33

  delectamentum, 11, 33

  delenimentum, 18

  deliramentum, 19

  dentifrangibulum, 25

  deridiculum, 30, 33

  desidiabulum, 26

  detrimentum, 19

  deverticulum, 29, 50

  documentum, 21, 33, 36, 46

  emolumentum, 19

  everriculum, 27, 33

  exorabulum, 25

  experimentum, 23, 36, 45

  explementum, 21

  ferculum, 27, 51

  ferramentum, 17

  firmamentum, 22, 36, 46

  formamentum, 20, 46

  fragmentum, 11, 33

  frumentum, 15

  fundamentum, 16, 33, 46

  gubernaculum, 27

  hibernaculum, 29

  hortamentum, 22, 33, 47

  hostimentum, 21

  ientaculum, 30

  impedimentum, 16

  inanimentum, 19

  incerniculum, 27, 51

  incitamentum, 21, 33, 34

  incunabulum, 26

  infundibulum, 24

  instrumentum, 14, 37

  integumentum, 14, 33, 35

  intertrimentum, 19

  invitamentum, 21, 34, 47

  irritamentum, 21, 34, 44

  iugumentum, 15

  iumentum, 15

  latibulum, 25, 39, 49

  laxamentum, 19

  levamentum, 22, 45

  libamentum, 15

  libramentum, 22

  lineamentum, 23

  lomentum, 15

  lutamentum, 12

  medicamentum, 13, 45

  mendicabulum, 26

  miraculum, 30

  molimentum, 23, 45

  momentum, 20, 45

  monumentum, 14, 35

  munimentum, 48

  nidamentum, 17

  nucifrangibulum, 25

  nutrimentum, 16, 48

  oblectamentum, 22, 48

  omentum, 16

  operculum, 28

  operimentum, 13, 48

  opprobramentum, 22

  oraculum, 31, 40

  oramentum, 23

  ornamentum, 14, 33, 37, 48

  pabulum, 25, 39

  patibulum, 24

  pavimentum, 12

  periculum, 30, 41

  perpendiculum, 28

  piaculum, 28, 41

  pigmentum, 16

  poculum, 28

  praepedimentum, 22

  propugnaculum, 29, 33

  prostibulum, 26

  pulpamentum, 17

  ramentum, 11

  receptaculum, 29

  redimiculum, 28

  retinaculum, 28

  rutabulum, 24

  saeculum, 30

  saepimentum, 14

  salsamentum, 17

  sarculum, 28

  sarmentum, 12, 49

  scitamentum, 18

  sessibulum, 25, 50

  sicilimentum, 12

  sincipitamentum, 18

  spectaculum, 30, 41, 51

  spiraculum, 28, 51

  stabilimentum, 14

  stabulum, 25, 33, 40, 50

  sternumentum, 23

  stramentum, 11, 38, 44

  subligaculum, 28

  suffimentum, 13

  supplementum, 15

  tabernaculum, 29

  tegumentum, 13, 35, 49

  temperamentum, 20

  termentum, 20

  testamentum, 12

  tinnimentum, 23, 49

  tintinnabulum, 24

  tormentum, 15, 38

  turbamentum, 22

  turibulum, 26

  umbraculum, 30, 41

  vehiculum, 29, 42

  venabulum, 25

  vestibulum, 25

  vestimentum, 15, 39, 49

  vocabulum, 25, 40, 50


[181] Cf. Morris, _Principles and Methods in Latin Syntax_, p.
65. It must be noted, however, that this is only one direction in
which semantic development takes place. The opposite (decrease of
connotation) is also observable as a definite line of semantic

[182] This is one of four _-mentum_ words which occur first in Sallust.
The others are hortamentum, irritamentum, turbamentum. Norden mentions
the use of _-mentum_ words as a peculiarity of Sallust’s style (Gercke
und Norden. _Einleitung in die Alt. Wiss._ I. 578), but with the
exception of these four words, which occur, moreover, only once each in
this author, the examples scarcely justify the statement.

[183] Cf. Festus, p. 38: conciliabulum dicitur locus, ubi in concilium

[184] Cf. Walde, who gives as the etymology of this word,
ver(o)-stabulum, in which *uer = “door”.

[185] See Mommsen, _Röm. Gesch._ Bk. I, Ch. XV.

[186] Only those _-culum_ words were examined which were not
diminutives. Some of the words formed with this suffix do have
diminutive meaning, but for a diminutive to be formed on a verb stem is

[187] Cf. Varro, _Lingua Latina_, 5, Art. 162.

[188] See the article by Professors Oertel and Morris on _The Nature
and Origin of Indo-European Inflection_, Harvard Class. Stud., Vol.
XVI, p. 89.




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