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would evolve strange results.* We owe the erroneous impressions which are stamped on the minds of our educated men, to the abuse of those two very convenient and fashionable words, objective and subjective. How much farther down these terms will go, how much more hackneyed they will become, it is not easy to conceive. Now, while we are writing, a plain matter-of-fact man is called " too objective," while another, properly termed an arrant liar, is pronounced "too subjective." It is, therefore, not without design, that we here briefly protest against ranging antiquity under the tanner of objectivity, and modern literature under the flag of subjectivity. No sensible man will suppose that human nature is so essentially different in different ages and countries. Anchilochus and Hipponax lampooned as fiercely and grumbled as savagely as any denizen of Grub-street. It is not because ancient literature is severe and statuesque, that we urge the necessity of an instantiation of the study. It is because it is the offspring of a healthy humanity, that we would hold its fair, firm features up to the gaze of our teeming present, as the ancients are said to have environed the future mother with none but beautiful objects.
The dominant authority of the two classic nations cannot be shaken. The projective power of the one and the receptivity of the other have exhausted all the categories of literature, and have left standing norms for production and reproduction. The history of Grecian literature is essentially organic—"First the blade, then the ear, then the full corn in the ear." Poetry preceded prose. The Epos, which derived its material from without, was the forerunner of lyric poetry formed from within, while both were afterwards united in the artistic compass of the dramas, in which action supplemented narration and modulated the ideal flight of lyric poetry. In the field of prose, to which mature reflection led the Grecian mind, we find the Epos transmuted into history, while the perceptions of the seer, at first communicated in numbers, pass from lofty verse into unfettered language, and the orator—as true an <to*?iw,i as another—narrates and reasons in dramatic monologue. Here, as in all highly organized existences, we find transitions, half-classes, connecting links. Where full development is wanting, the indicative rudiment is found. Here, as in all highly organized existences, we find a brief bloom preceded by a gradual development and followed by a gradual decline. As there were many heroes before Agamemnon, so there were many poets before Homer. Many philosophers came after Plato, many poets succeeded Sophocles. The great Aristotle spanned the chasm which separated the old world from the new, and the great Euripides planted one foot on the firm shore of antiquity and the other on the troubled waters of our agitated times, which were even then eddying up against the land.
* Coleridge has a few remarks tending to this point, in Biographia Literaria, chap. II.
The Greeks solved the problem—the Romans verified the solution. The former produced the flower from within outward; the latter proceeded in their imitation from without inward. The Roman drama preceded the bloom of lyric poetry, and lyric poetry was followed by the Epos. The traces of Roman literature, like those of the Kine in wellknown myth, are all backwards. Intense consciousness marks every step. In Rome we have the strange, but by no means unaccountable phenomenon, of grammarians in advance of and parallel with classical literature. No people ever observed so closely the celebrated sentence of Schiller—
"The weakling is to be despised
Who ne'er hath weighed what he fulfils."*
Livius Andronicus, with whom the history of Roman literature begins, was a grammaticus, and divided his time between the Odyssey, with which the plagosus Ortilius tortured little Horace, and his private class of Roman gentlemen. In Ennius we find an instance of that straight-forward perseverance so truly Roman, which would undertake alike the laying of an aqueduct and the alteration of a language. Had Mr. Pinkerton and Frederic II. been Romans, the English and German languages might this day be tricked out in the cast-off finery of Italian terminations. Ennius was fully determined to introduce the hexameter—the versus longus— into the Italian literature, and he achieved it against difficulties, the number and magnitude of which have been but recently disclosed. Many and many a struggle did it cost the triligual Calabrian before he could force the stubborn materials into that superb causeway over which the numbers of Virgil march so firmly. Attius, the tragic poet, attempted to reform the spelling.* Lucilius devoted more than one book of his Salurcs to the subject of orthography. Hence it is not surprising to find Ca;sar writing a treatise on grammar, or Cicero making etymologies, which sound marvellously like bad puns. Indeed, the history of Roman literature cannot be studied aright without constant reference to the parallelism of grammatical and literary systems. We must watch Ennius cautiously clipping the refractory long syllables, Attius doubling his letters, Horace breaking in the high-trotting hexameter to a gentle amble, and Ovid, that seemingly careless child of the Muses, deftly arranging the fall of his pentameters. The writers of Rome were, at once, the d°miurgi of language and of literature. By reason of this intense consciousness, the Roman literature has been called a bridge to lead us to Hellenism, a law-giving school-master to bring us to the knowledge of that grand aesthetic revelation". This mission is well-nigh accomplished with regard to the world at large, and is continued chiefly in its bearing upon individuals. To speak with Bernhardy, "the Roman literature has totally exhausted its world-historic task, and will henceforward develope a propaedentic power rather than enter into the thesaurus of our ideas or the movements of our culture."f
* Den schlechten manu muss man ver.ich:en Dor i.ie teJacht, was er vollbrintt.
As the Roman literature was based on reflection, it ceased when there was nothing left to analyze. Satire and history, where the peculiar merits of original Roman conception found ample scope, were the one narrowed down to the pasquill, the other attenuated into the gossiping chronicle. The \
* Riucbl, De Vocalibus gcmioatis deque Lucio Aitio grammatico Bounce. 1859. t Gruadr e* dcr Kumischen Liitemur, e. 132.
iron age of Latinity lost itself in the dross of the middle ages, before the spirit of Hellenistic productiveness had been crushed, under the pomp of the Byzantine court, before Paulus Silentianius hymned the pulpit, or Tzetzes broke up the artistic rhythm of Homer into the halting jumble of the versus politicus. The formative elements of Graeco-Roman literature continued to work through the lapse of centuries, though straightened and distorted in its modes of operation arid manifestation. Aristotle reigned supreme, though robbed of the fine robe in which he clothed his subtle distinctions, as he did his delicate frame, and draped in the rags of an Arabic version woven into a texture of barbarous Latin. Virgil, the sorcerer, took the place of Virgil, the poet, and figured as a prototypical Dr. Faustus.* The heroic forms of antiquity, historic as well as mythical, the fair impersonations of its theology, formed the groundwork of much of the poetry on which Roman tri-literature is based. Venus, the enchantress, has still her mountains in Germany. Alexander figures in the western as well as eastern myth. The princes of England derived their origin from Brutus. The siege of Troy attracted listening ears, which were strangers to the Latin or Hellenic tongue. The most sacred persons of our theology were commingled with the plastic forms of mythology, and the legend of many a saint meets the eye of the enquirer in a heathen garb. Diana and Minerva, or Artemis and Athene, furnish parallels for many an artistic conception and many a theological dogma, which are admired and revered down to the present day.f Around the magic cadences of our existence, the twin eternities of the Hebrew faith and the Hellenic imagination have buried themselves inextricably, and the on?, can be as little dispensed with in art as the other in morals. The grand revolution of the Reformation overturned the physical systems of antiquity, and opened the field of science, which, no longer fettered by the terminology and categories of the schools, entered boldly on the search for new truths. But before Aristotle had given way to Bacon, Ptolemy to Copernicus, Theophrastus to Linnaeeus, a victory was gradually but completely achieved. The humanists conquered the obscurants, and while much of the science of antiquity was made obsolete, the form reappeared triumphant, like the line of Egyptian kings, who went away into the wilderness and returned to rule. The thought of these men was a beautiful one. Like Petrarch, their great forerunner, they wished to ignore the dark and turbulent dream which had passed over the world, and to wake, like Socrates, after some classic symposium, not a whit the worse for their copious draughts. Hencei the return to the same forms and to the same language. But nature must have her right. Melancthon was Schwarzerd, and Erasmus, Gerard still. Yet the native literature, which soon eclipsed the appropriated literature of the learned, was full of reverence for the antique, which was displayed in the abundant transfer of material, and the warmth of an inspired imitation. Between the exuberance of this spring-time, and the precise but ingenious formality of the age of Louis XIV., stands the proudest monument of classical study and enthusiasm—one, whose height and depth will be more appreciated by the individual student the further he advances in the knowledge of the great honours which regulated the impulses of Milton's supreme genius. The warmth of the Italian school of philosophy was cherished in his bosom like the sacred prytaneum-fire of the ancient colonists, and while at times remote allusions and far-fetched comparisons show that he was the contemporary of his overlearned antagonist, for whom the biting epitaph was written, "Hie situs est Salmasius, vir immortalis memories, expectansjudicium" still his keen vision seems to have penetrated even to our times, and to have taken in at least a part of the whole fabric. The vitally defective French "classic" drama was based on a system of artificial laws derived from the misinterpretation of Aristotle, and operating under false conditions. A seductive rhetoric and the brilliant prestige of court favour gained an ascen
•Bernhardy.l. c. p. 413. This subject has recently excited much attention. We cite, in addition to Bernhardy's authorities, Michel and Tappet. A French scholar has written an especial Essay on Virgilc Venchauteur.
t We have found a trace of the Immaculate conception in the myth of Erechtheus or Eiichthonius.Schuenck, Mythologiodes Griccben, p. 79. The legend was preserved in the E«oX>i of Callimachus, according to the Scliol. on 11. B. v. 547.