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cal literature under the guidance of Lan- Loyola was to that Church after the shock franc, Anselm, Gratian, and Irnerius, and of the Reformation-its renovators and a famous but now almost forgotten Eng- preservers. The founder of the Dominilishman, John of Salisbury. Flourishing cans and the founder of the Franciscans, schools were founded at Béc and Chartres, differing in character, were at one in their at Monte Casino and Salerno; and from faith and zeal, and worked in converging this period we may date the beginning of lines toward the same end.* Dominic, the the great Universities, Bologna, Paris, Ox- eloquent preacher, the relentless persecuford. At each of these places there were tor, the virtual if not the actual founder of schools of immemorial antiquity, but it was the Inquisition, whose life was one long at this time that they acquired corporate aggressive warfare—Francis, the devout rights and independent self-government and tender mystic, whose life was one long, “Universitas” means a corporation. self-inflicted martyrdom-were agreed in
The revival of classical literature was denouncing the wealth and luxury, and partly a symptom and partly a cause of a worldliness and secular learning, of the great and general insurrection against Pa- monks and the clergy. The Church, they pal authority and ecclesiastical prescrip. said, wholly absorbed in material interest, tion, which, led by Abelard and Arnold of had left the people hungering for spiritual Brescia, seemed at one time likely to ante- food; hence the success of the heretical date the Reformation by nearly four cen- Peter Waldo and his missionaries. The turies. Heresy was rife in all the schools; Mendicant Friars caught up the weapons the most polite of the provinces of France, of the heretics, and wielded them in the Languedoc, was in the power of the Albi- service of the Church. A few years after genses ; democratic principles were main- their first foundation, there was scarcely a tained in every city of Italy, and a Repub- city in Christendom which had not at least lic was established in Rome itself. But one convent of Friars, Preachers, or Mithe hour was not yet come. The weight norites. Papal authority sanctioned the of custom, authority, and tradition, was • fanaticism which it could not control. All too strong for the newly awakened forces over Europe there was a strange outbreak to move. The old crust of the volcano of superstition and fanaticism, of which heaved but did not break, and the impris. the successful preaching of the Dominicans oned Titans had to bide their time. Abe- and Franciscans was partly a symptom lard was silenced, and Arnold was hanged; and partly a cause. In the belief of men the Roman republic was suppressed by Heaven had again bent itself to earth. Adrian IV., and the Albigenses of Langue- The miracles of Dominic and Francis, atdoc were exterminated by fire and sword tested by eye-witnesses, rivaled (as their in the crusade headed by Simon de Mont- followers boasted) the miracles of Christ fort.
himself. Seventy years later, when faith The vigorous repression of these new her- had begun to cool, it was again warmed to esies in politics and religion was the chief fervor by the most signal of all miracles. object of the pontificate of Innocent III., The house of the Virgin was transported by perhaps the greatest man who ever filled angels from Palestine to Loreto. No one the papal throne. His reign, from 1198 doubted a fact which was vouched for by to 1216, was almost coincident with that competent witnesses, and solemnly affirmof John of England. His task was facili- ed by the Pope. In England the new tated by the internal distractions of the Saint Thomas of Canterbury had come to great European kingdoms, whose subjects be regarded as more powerful than our were disposed, by their longing for peace, Lady of Walsingham herself. At this time, to welcome an arbitrator who assumed to too, religious zeal, combined with love of speak in the name of the Prince of Peace, adventure, impelled the noblest of the and by the lassitude and weariness which European youths to join successive Crusupervenes upon every intellectual effort, sades, whence, for the most part, they especially when it is premature. But his never returned. Wave after wave they work was most powerfully assisted by two foamed themselves away upon the barren men, Dominic, born at Calaroga, in Cas- Asian shore, one of the saddest examples tile, in 1170, and Francis, born at Assisi in 1182. These men were to the me- * “Perchè ad un fine fur l'opere sue." diæval Church of Rome what Ignatius
DANTE, Paradiso, xiii. 42. New SERIES.–VOL. XVI., No. 3.
of the wasted power and misdirected ener- ence—a feeling not distasteful to the maggy which hindered human progress in the nates of the Church, whose pomp and magMiddle Ages; and not in the Middle Ages nificence were tacitly rebuked by the poveralone. While the apostles of ignorance ty of their humblest servants. And soon, and obscurantism found a congenial au- over the Mendicant orders themselves, dience in every village and hamlet, they came the inevitable change. To them, as attacked the strongholds of learning and to the first brethren of the older orders, free thought, the Universities, by a differ- reputation for sanctity brought gifts and ent method. They drove Truth back to donations; worldly possessions produced a her old cavern, and piled mountains of worldly spirit. The churches and convents casuistry upon its mouth. The youthful of the Dominicans and Franciscans soon intellect was diverted from any path which rivaled in splendor those of the Benedicmight have led elsewhere than to Rome, tines and Augustinians, and the apostolic by entangling it in the mazes of an endless missionary degenerated into the lazy monk labyrinth. The Dominican Schoolmen, or the sturdy beggar. The infant literature Albert the Great and Thomas Aquinas, in the vulgar tongue of each nation is filled the Franciscans, Duns Scotus* and Bona- with satires upon the friars, showing how ventura, devoted an energy and industry odious they had become to all except the almost superhuman to the construction of lowest of the people. Many a popular elaborate systems of dialectic, proving as a song rings the changes in a ruder form upforegone conclusion the orthodox creed on on the famous burdenall subjects of human knowledge contained in the sentences of Peter the Lombard.
“What baron or squire, or knight of the shire,
Lives half so well as a jovial friar ?" One or other of these systems, or rather the great system of which these were but
An attempt to revive the principles and varieties, triumphed in every university. practice of St. Francis produced a dissentNo wonder that classical learning, which ing sect of friars, the so-called Fraticelli, had begun to revive in the two preceding who instead of being, like the first Franciscenturies, declined in the thirteenth. I be cans, the devoted servants of Rome, actuallieve that the MSS. of classical Latin au- ly denounced the Pope Boniface VIII. as thors transcribed in the thirteenth century
Anti-Christ, and, in the wild views they are much rarer than those of the eleventh held as to the immediate reign of the Holy or twelfth. Many MSS. of ancient authors Ghost, anticipated the doctrines of the were doubtless obliterated then, in order to Fifth Monarchy men of the seventeenth write on the parchment some treatise of century; And William of Ockham, himthe prevailing scholastic divinity. Nor was
self a Franciscan, the greatest of English it learning alone that was oppressed. All Schoolmen, dared to turn against the papal original speculation in philosophy, all origi- supremacy the very weapons of dialectic nal research in science, was sternly
prohib- subtlety which had been invented to defend ited. For this offence Roger Bacon, who it. If his fame has been eclipsed by that unhappily in his youth had been seduced of his follower, Wicliff, it is because the latto take the Franciscan garb, was thrown ter availed himself of a new and more into prison, and released only to die.
powerful instrument, the native tongue, It is impossible to estimate how much which in every country of Europe was has been lost to mankind, how long the henceforth to open the way to the hearts progress of mankind has been retarded by of the people. this diversion of its intellect to a barren and
And this brings me to the first incontestprofitless task. What humanity lost, priest- Dantea theme infinitely interesting and
, craft gained; a few more centuries of unavenged tyranny and undetected imposture; dwell so far as it is germane to my subject
fascinating, but upon which I must only The spiritual revival, however, produced by the preaching of the friars, was but a mind was influenced by the recollections of
namely, to point out to what extent his fire of straw; the ardent fanaticism which
classical antiquity. they had kindled sunk into cold indiffer
Dante, in the beginning of his great Duns Scotus, who died in 1308, is not mentioned by Dante. Albert, Thomas, and Bonaven- Roger Bacon, writing about the year 1257, tura, (of whom the two last died in 1274.) are says, "Novi ordines jam horribiliter labefactati among the chief saints in heaven. (Par., xiii.)
sunt a pristina dignitate."
poem, represents himself as meeting the Aristotle. Pindar, Hesiod, Æschylus, Soshade of Virgil, whom he greets in the phocles, Aristophanes, Theocritus, are not well-known lines:
named; nor of the Roman poets, Lucre“ Or sei tu quel Virgilio e quella fonte
tius, Catullus, Propertius, Tibullus, or MarChe spande di parlar si largo fiume ? tial. Apart from the poets, are a motley
group of philosophers, Greek, Latin, and O degla altri poeti onore e lume,
Arabian, gathered round their sovereign, Vagliami il lungo studio e 'l grande amore Aristotle, “il maestro di color che sanno.” Che m'han fatto cercar lo tuo volume. Tu sei lo mio maestro e 'l mio autore:
Next to him, in front of all the rest, are Tu sei solo colui da cui io tolsi
Socrates and Plato. It is worthy of note Lo bello stilo che mi ha fatto onore." that Petrarch, in the next age, assigned The primacy over all the Latin poets the first place to Plato, and the second to of antiquity which Dante here gives to Aristotle, thus making a direct advance in Virgil, had been enjoyed by him through the knowledge of Greek philosophy. In out the whole of the Middle Ages. He Dante's mind Aristotle was the master of was more copied, more quoted, and more Plato. Seneca is mentioned, and Cicero, read, than all the others put together. strangely placed between Orpheus and LiThis pre-eminent fame he owed, in great nus. He nowhere names Sallust
, or either measure to the fourth Eclogue, which, as I Pliny or Tacitus. Of Greek he knew nothhave already mentioned, was interpreted ing, and, with the single exception of Aras a prophecy for the coming of Christ
, and istotle, no ancient Greek author had in his this won for his poems an exceptional favor time been made accessible in a Latin veramong the most rigid theologians. Even sion. In Latin his reading had been more Gregory the Great would have hesitated varied than select or critical. In an Italbefore condemning Virgil to the flames. ian work, the “ Convito,” he mentions, as The learned took him for a prophet, the the best prose writers whom he knew, Livy, vulgar for a magician. The custom of con- Cicero, Frontinus, and Paulus Orosiusa sulting the Sortes Virgilianæ about future strange medley. His own Latin style is events
, began in something more than what we should expect from this judgsport. Even Pope Innocent VI., (1352- ment. It is the flowing, facile Latin which 1362,) himself famed for his knowledge of was the common language of educated the Canon Law, thought that Petrarch men, Churchmen, and Schoolmen all over must be studying magic because he read the world, contemptuously nick-named by Virgil (Petr. Epist. Rev. Senil. i. 3.)
the scholars of later days “Dog Latin." Next to Virgil
, Dante knew Statius best, Happily for the world, since it was in the whom he represents as having been se
enforced leisure of exile that he wrote his cretly baptized, and thus freed from the great poem, but, unhappily for himself, limbo where the other ancient poets dwelt
, Dante's life fell upon evil days, when Italy suffering the eternal punishment of desire was split up into a multitude of petty states, without hope. First
among these he places and each state torn by factions-Neri and the sovereign poet, Homer, who, however Bianchi, Guelfs and Ghibellines. Dante was but a name to him, for there was then
became a Ghibelline, because he looked no Latin translation extant. Next to Ho- upon the restoration of the old Roman mer comes “ the satirist Horace."* Ovid is empire, in the person of a Teutonic sovthe third, and the last Lucan. He refers ereign, as the only possible' salvation of elsewhere to the Metamorphoses and the his distracted country. The empire
of the Pharsalia. In the 22d canto of the “ Pur. Cæsars, as he conceived it to have been gatorio,” he mentions, as dwelling with strong to enforce peace, repress faction, Homer, Terence, Cæcilius, Plautus, Varro, and punish crime-was his ideal. Hence Juvenal
, Persius; and of the Greeks, Euri: it is that, in the deepest depth of Hell, pides, Anacreon, Simonides, and Agathon, those he had ever devised for the blackest a tragic poet of the second rank, also men- those he had ever devised for the blackest tioned by Chaucer, and known in the guilt, he places Brutus and Cassius, the Middle Ages because he had been quoted murderers of the first Cæsar, side by sidein the Ethics, Rhetoric, and Poetics of with Judas, the betrayer of Christ. In his
treatise, “ De Monarchia,” (which alone * Does this phrase imply that Horace's Odes with the Divine Comedy, is mentioned in were unknown to Dante?
the epitaph on his tomb, said to have been
written, in anticipation of death, by him- pattern of these romances, the young knight self,) he claims for the Emperor, as suc- fashioned his life. Don Quixote with his cessor of the Cæsars, unbounded temporal Dulcinea was only ridiculous because he authority, leaving to the Pope unbounded came too late, when the old order had spiritual authority as the vicegerent of changed and given place to the new.* Christ. He quotes Livy and Lucan to The Madonna in heaven, the type of all prove that God wrought special miracles womanly beauty and purity, must needs in the founding of the Roman empire, have her counterpart on earth. This ideal and cites, with as much reverence as if love did not in the least clash with the it were a text of Holy Writ, the famous love a man bore to his wife, the mother of line of Virgil :
his children. Dante saw his Beatrice for “Tu regere imperio populus,Romane, memento.” he was nine and she eight years old.
the first time at a children's party, when Dante's life of disappointment closed in He rested content with the memory of 1321, when the prospect of a restoration her golden hair and mild angelic eyes. of peace in Italy, under a strong central When they grew up, he married somebody authority, such as he had dreamed of, else, and she married somebody else. The seemed further removed than ever; when real Beatrice on earth was but a passing the supreme power, or rather the shadow fancy; the object of his perpetual adoraof supreme power, was divided between a tion was the ideal Beatrice who guided Pope who had removed for security to him through Paradise. Petrarch saw Avignon, and an Emperor who was not Laura in church and fell in love, not strong enough to force his way to Rome.
with the lady, but with her image, as it Petrarch was born in 1304, seventeen dwelt in his mind. One of his biograyears before the death of Dante. The phers tells us that when all Avignon was two men whose names were to be asso- ringing with the sonnets he wrote in her ciated for ever as the fathers of Italian praise, the Pope offered to make him rich poetry, never met in life. Petrarch's pa- with ecclesiastical benefices, and a dispenrents were Florentines, of the Ghibelline sation to marry, but the poet refused, befaction, and were living in poverty and cause he could not write verses about his exile at Arezzo, when their son was born. wife.t. That passion, indeed, can not be When he was eight years old they remov- very deeply seated, whose outbreaks aded to Avignon, then the residence of the mit of being parceled into fourteen lines Popes; and there, for the best part of his each, nor can that mind be much disturblife, he resided, in the city or the neigh-ed which is capable of an endless play of boring Vaucluse, hard by the fountain of fancy and the combination of intricate Sorgia, which his genius has made as fa- rhymes. The poet is like the actor, who, mous as Horace's fountain of Bandusia, if he really felt the emotions he portrays, and which, like it, is annually for his sake could not portray them half so well, and visited by pilgrims from all parts of the who must be master of himself if he would world. His name dwells in the affection- be master of his audience. ate remembrance of men because of the Of these poems Petrarch, in after days, exquisite poems which he wrote on the speaks thus contemptuously _“ Vulgaria life and death of the lady whom he called illa juvenilium laborum meorum cantica, Madonna Laura. I have to speak of him quorum hodie pudet ac ponitet.” It was here as a man of learning, yet I can not upon his Latin works in prose and verse forbear to glance for a moment at the more that he built his hopes of eternal renown. captivating phase of his life, “ the love When at the age of thirty-seven he was which never saw its earthly close," a theme crowned as Laureate in the Capitol of which has been to many a poet the source Rome, it was rather, as I gather from his of his purest and most powerful inspiration. In the Romances of Chivalry, every chivalry away," is founded on a misconception.
* The famous line, “Cervantes smiled Spain's hero devotes himself to the service of some He smiled Spain's chivalric romances away. The fair lady, who, by the gift of a glove or a chivalry had gone long before. knot of ribbon, or by an approving smile, – Vita, per Hier. Squarzafichum; Sig. 4, v. amply rewards him for all that he has done, ceeded Clement." The real order of succession
was Benedict, who suc. or suffered, in single combat, in battle, or is Clement V., John XXII., Benedict XII., (1334 in tournament, for her sake. After the -1342,) Clement VI.
own account, because of his Latin poems, cardinals, by kings and nobles; and the his Bucolics and his unfinished epic Afri- most acceptable present which could be ca, than because of his poems in the vul- made to him was the gift of an old manugar tongue. It was as an imitator of Vir- script. Hence the library which he colgil that his fame had spread to Paris; it lected was probably for Latin classical litwas his Africa that he submitted to the erature the richest of its time. His fame, judgment of the accomplished King Rob- and its fame, reached even Constantinoert at Naples. This was a special favor. ple. At that date, some of the learned The poet never, while he lived, allowed a men of the East knew Latin ; none of copy to be taken. This affectation of mys- the learned men of the West knew Greek. tery made the poem talked about all the Petrarch himself had learned a little, but, more. Was Petrarch in this also deliber- as it would seem, very little. His teacher ately imitating Virgil, who left the Æneid was a certain Barlaam, a native of Southunfinished at his death ?
ern Italy, or, as it was anciently called, With Petrarch, Laura was but a tran- Magna Græcia, where some traces of the sient fancy ; learning a lifelong passion. old language still lingered ; first a monk His father had destined him for the law, of the order of St. Bazil, then Professor of but, like the "clerk foredoomed his fath- Theology at Constantinople, and in 1339 er's soul to cross," he turned with loathing sent by the Emperor Andronicus II. to from the dry text-books of his profession, Avignon, to treat with Pope Benedict XII. to study with ardent enthusiasm the an- about the reunion of the two churches. cient Roman orators and poets. So, when When Petrarch made his acquaintance in Walter Scott was supposed to be qualify. 1342, he had renounced his Greek hereing himself for an advocate in Edinburgh, sies and come a second time to Avignon, his heart was with Thomas the Rhymer, to solicit a bishopric, which he obtained or the moss-troopers of the Border. As through the intercession of the poet. PeScott, when his genius had free scope, be- trarch complains that he taught Barlaam came the reviver of the Middle Ages, so more Latin than Barlaam taught him Petrarch became the reviver of Roman Greek, and when Barlaam obtained his antiquity. But the work of Scott affected suit the lessons came to an end; for the only the fancy and the imagination ; that Bishop went away to look after the feedof "Petrarch gave the first impulse to a ing, or possibly the shearing, of his flock. movement which changed the whole course Through him Petrarch had entered into of education, and finally revolutionized correspondence with a learned Greek the creed of half Europe. And the move- of Constantinople, Nicholas Syoceros by ment has not spent its force yet. Petrarch name, who, in compliance with an earnest tells us how his father one day detected request, sent him a copy of Homer. Pehim in the indulgence of his truant spirit, trarch's delight was unbounded, or rather dragged his darling books one after an- would have been unbounded if he had other from their hiding-places, and threw been able to read it. “Your Homer,” he them all on the fire, from which, relenting says, in his letter of thanks, dated “ Milan, at the sight of his boy's tears, he rescued January 10," (the year not given,) “ is Virgil and Cicero's Rhetoric.
dumb to me and I am deaf to him. Yet. It is to Petrarch's zeal, in all likelihood, I rejoice at the mere sight of him, and ofthat we owe the preservation of several of ten I embrace him, and sighing say, 'O Cicero's half-forgotten works; among them great poet, how I long to hear thy voice.'” the priceless “ Epistolæ and Familiares." Petrarch died with this longing unsatisfiWith this view he traveled first in France ed, but, as we shall see, the divine impulse and then in Italy, diving into the dusty was communicated to others and producrecesses of convent-libraries, and drawing ed results of which he did not dream. thence treasures of ancient wisdom more There was then, as I have said, no Latin precious than rubies. He instituted in- translation of Homer extant. One of the quiries for the same end in England and Iliad in hexameter verse, made in the time Germany. His position as the acknow- of the Empire, had long perished.* It ledged chief of literature, at once the most popular poet and most powerful critic of
* Some fragments have been edited by L. his time, caused his enmity to be feared
Müller. Its reputed author is “Pindarus The
banus”-an absurd pseudonym, or an absurd erand his friendship sought by Pope and