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(see the sixteenth chapter of Judges) with Milton's own. The poem has unquestionably noble passages; but dramatic blank verse should be of a different kind from epic, and it cannot be said without qualification that Samson is a great English poem. Some have thought that in one speech of Samson's (lines 594-596) the writer voices his own consciousness of something very like failure:

"So much I feel my genial spirits droop,

My hopes all flat: Nature within me seems
In all her functions weary of herself.”

A Soul Dwelling Apart. - Noble and glorious as is Milton's career in many aspects, in none is it more so than in that which considers the work of his last years beside the work turned out to meet a popular demand. A dissolute and debauched Court called for and obtained a literature as dissolute and debauched as any nation can show, of which more must be said in our next chapter. It was in such an environment, and utterly regardless of the reception accorded them, that Milton produced the three great poems just discussed. In the language of Wordsworth's sonnet:

"Thy soul was like a star and dwelt apart:

Thou hadst a voice whose sound was like the sea:
Pure as the naked heavens, majestic, free,
So didst thou travel on life's common way,

In cheerful godliness; and yet thy heart
The lowliest duties on herself did lay." 1


A Seventeenth-century Neutral. During the great conflict which shook England in the seventeenth century

The sonnet is entitled London 1802, and begins "Milton! thou shouldst be living at this hour."

few men of force remained aloof. Whether they joined wholesouled one side or the other, most men felt it necessary to ally themselves with Puritans or Royalists. Among those who pursued the even tenor of their way was Thomas Browne,

physician, antiquarian, and master of a sonorous and finely rhetorical English prose. Had he felt with Macaulay, that it was a "conflict between Oromasdes and Arimanes,1 liberty and despotism, reason and prejudice," we do not imagine he would have hesitated to place his allegiance. Possessing a singularly well-balanced mind, he could see even at close range that there was a good deal of Arimanes on both sides " (Matthew Arnold). Hence he did not join either of the contending parties, but lived his long life in the peaceful practice of his profession and the indulgence of his passion for the strange and the ancient.



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Life. He was born in London in 1605, son of a prosperous merchant. After attending school in Winchester, he entered at the age of eighteen Pembroke College, Oxford, from which he was graduated A.B. and A.M. He then traveled on the Continent, studying at several famous medical schools, and receiving his first medical degree from Leyden in 1633. On his return he took up residence in a hamlet in Yorkshire, and began the practice of his profession. Four years later he received his M.D. from Oxford, and then moved to Norwich, county of Norfolk, where he spent the

1 These are the names of the spirit of good and the spirit of evil in Persian mythology. The more usual forms are Ormazd and Ahriman.

remaining forty-five years of his life. Of him and the lady whom he married it was said that "they seemed to come together by a kind of mutual magnetism." They reared twelve children, of

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the city by knighting him. Sir Thomas died in 1682.

Four works of Browne appeared during his lifetime: Religio Medici ("Religion of a Physician "); Pseudodoxia Epidemica, or Enquiries into Vulgar Errors; Hydriotaphia, or UrnBurial; and The Garden of Cyrus. A volume on Christian Morals, and some letters,

were published after his

death. Though Urn

Burial is by the learned

Urnes lately found in

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proclaimed to be Browne's best work, Religio Medici is certainly of more general interest.

"Religio Medici." — In the preface we are informed that the author did not write his confession of faith for publica

tion. It was, instead, written, he says, "for my private exercise and satisfaction; . . . and being a private exercise directed to myself, what is delivered therein was rather a memorial unto me than an example or rule unto any other." Circulated in manuscript, it was copied by many; and finally got into print "in a most depraved copy." In order to justify himself he published in the following year an authorized edition.

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How Religio Medici could have been a "rule" to many is difficult to see. It contains a curious mixture of so-called orthodoxy and heresy, of the most conventional thinking and the most progressive. He accepts the doctrine of eternal punishment, but rejects the doctrine of a hell of fire: "I feel sometimes a hell within myself; Lucifer keeps his Court in my breast." His belief in miracles would satisfy the extremest Puritan; but he also believed that " many are saved who to men seem reprobated, and many are reprobated who in the opinion and sentence of man stand elected". a belief to which scarcely a follower of Cromwell would assent. The second part of the book is devoted to the " virtue of charity," with which the author's contemporaries were so slightly blessed, and the author himself so richly. Nothing could show better than does this section Browne's lack of sympathy with his time-"I am of a constitution so general," he says, "that it consorts and sympathiseth with all things." And again: "In all disputes, so much as there is of passion, so much there is of nothing to the purpose; for then reason, like a bad hound, spends upon a false scent, and forsakes the question first started." What a commentary on this sentiment is the action of Parliament in conferring virtually absolute power on Cromwell just seven years after it had executed Charles for exercising power no more ab

solute !

A typical passage, showing the characteristics of his vocabulary and his sentence-structure, is a fine one on music, which in DeQuincey's opinion is one of the two things "said adequately on the subject of music in all literature.'

"It is my temper, and I like it the better, to affect all harmony; and sure there is music even in the beauty, and the silent note which Cupid strikes, far sweeter than the sound of an instrument. For there is music wherever there is a harmony, order, or proportion; and thus far we may maintain the music of the spheres; for those wellordered motions and regular paces, though they give no sound unto the ear, yet to the understanding they strike a note most full of harmony. Whosoever is harmonically composed delights in harmony; which makes me much distrust the symmetry of those heads which declaim against all church music. For myself, not only from my obedience, but my particular genius, I do embrace it; for even that vulgar and tavern music, which makes one man merry, another mad, strikes in me a deep fit of devotion, and a profound contemplation of the First Composer.”

1 The other cited by DeQuincey is in Twelfth Night, I, i.

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