Imágenes de páginas

was not, however, the only Greek book in skeptical, were not destitute of a certain his library. He had already a copy of good-humored tolerance. And Petrarch Plato, (or some part of Plato,) which, had become, as it were, supreme Pontiff strange to say, he found somewhere in the in the world of letters, his judgments inWest; where, he does not tell us. “Erat fallible, and his person sacred. From the mihi domi, dictu mirum, ab occasu veni- intrigues, the grossness and corruption of ens olim Plato Philosophorum Princeps.” the papal court he turned with disgust, to Scholastics, he goes on to say, might de- find more congenial companionship among ny this supremacy of Plato, but Cicero his friends of the library, loftier aspirahimself and Plotinus, and Ambrosius and tions, and a purer morality in Cicero and Augustine would admit it.

Seneca, of whom he might have said in Petrarch was in constant feud with the the words of another laureate, Robert Schoolmen of his time. He denounced Southeyas a sordid mechanical craft their routine of syllogisms, which led, in one unvarying

“My life among the dead is past :

Around me I behold, circle, from premises taken for granted, Where'er these casual eyes are cast, because settled by authority, to conclu- The mighty minds of old. sions equally settled by authority, from

My never failing friends are they, which it was heresy to depart; he de

With whom I converse day by day." nounced their system of education as His chief ground of complaint against the cramping and narrowing the intellect in- Popes was that they kept the Church in stead of expanding and enlarging it. He shameful captivity and exile, away from its urged the substitution of the “humaniores own sacred city, Rome. He constantly literæ,"—that more human, more humane speaks of Avignon as the Babylon of the literature, where the most precious gems West; yet to him, in his heart of hearts, of thought were set in the purest style of Rome was sacred, not because she had eloquence. In his eyes the Doctors of the been Christian and Papal, but because she schools were men who kept their young had been consular and republican. Dante's Samsons grinding chaff in the same dark ideal had been the Empire of Augustus; mill instead of arming them to slay the Petrarch's ideal was the Commonwealth Philistines of ignorance and barbarism. In of Brutus. the view of Dante, the Schoolmen Aqui- Hence it came that he was the enthusinas and Bonaventura had been when alive astic encourager, if not the original inspirthe consummate masters of all theological er of Cola di Rienzi, a name made familiar and philosophical wisdom, and were dwell- to multitudes by the genius of Lord Lyting after death in the ineffable light of ton. The true history reads like romance. Paradise. Petrarch, though he did not Rienzi, a dreamy enthusiast, had wanderdare to speak with disrespect of these can- ed and mused among the ruins of Rome, onized saints themselves, attacked their now abandoned by the Popes to misgovfollowers as mischievous pedants who fos- ernment and anarchy, till his mind became, tered real ignorance by making a trade like those ruins, a medley of recollections, of pretended knowledge. Neither did he in which regal, republican, imperial, and spare the professors of the other faculties, mediæval times, Pagan and Christian rites, the physicians and the jurists. While for were inextricably blended. But among himself he claimed to be an orthodox be. these fancies one clear definite purpose liever, he undermined the very founda- shone distinctly out-to suppress the notions of orthodoxy by assailing the princi- bles who maintained themselves as petty ple of authority.

tyrants, each in his castle with an army of Living as he did in the immediate retainers, and to make all citizens equal neighborhood of the Popes, and sharing before one just and impartial law. Rienzi's their bounties, he did not question their enthusiasm was contagious, and his eloright divine, but he scrupled not to re- quence convincing: in unity of purpose monstrate against their wrong government. the people found a momentary strength, That he could do so with impunity is before which the nobles quailed ; and once worthy of notice. The Pontiffs of Avig- more the Roman Republic was proclaimnon, Frenchmen and men of the world, ed, with Cola di Rienzi for its tribune. wealthy and self-indulgent, with no belief This was in 1447. Petrarch was in ecstaof their own, too indifferent even to be sies. He addressed the tribune in his most

mellifluous Italian,* and his most grandilo- Tasso and Ariosto. His fame as philosoquent Latin. He sets him above Romu- pher and Latin poet is gone, or lives only lus, Brutus, and Camillus, as rescuing from as the memory of a memory, the shadow slavery a mightier Rome, girding it with of a shade. As we turn wearily over the defences stronger than walls, and founding pages of the ponderous folio which cona more enduring liberty. But the triumph tains his Latin works, we ask how it came was short. Rienzi's enthusiasm was doubt- to pass that these trivial commonplaces, less from the beginning tinged with insan- this tawdry rhetoric, this indifferent Latin, ity. Drunk with vanity, too often drunk moved contemporary men to tears of enwith wine, he thought only of devising in- thusiastic admiration. The reason is that congruous titles and decorations for him- he first gave voice and form to the blank self. He called himself not only Tribune misgivings, the secret discontents, the halfbut Augustus, he bathed in a vase of por- conceived aspirations, of his time. The phyry traditionally sacred as the baptismal indifferent Latin was of classic purity in font of Constantine, he was knighted in the comparison with the Latin of his predecesLateran church, and crowned with seven sors, the tawdry rhetoric glowed with poetic crowns in Santa Maria Maggiore. The lustre as contrasted with the dull verbiage story of his fall, his wanderings, imprison- of the Schoolmen, the trivial commonplaces ment, trial, his restoration as Senator of were then new and startling truths. The Rome under papal authority, his murder neglected volume which few try to read at the hands of the populace who had and none succeed in reading, contains the once crowned and worshiped him, is (as spells by which the mighty magician callI have said) stranger than all fiction. The ed up the spirits of the ancient dead, and Roman Republic established by Rienzi was was once venerated as the Gospel of the brief-lived, like that founded by Arnold of Apostle of the Humanities. The spirits Brescia in earlier, or that founded by Gar- have delivered their message, have told us ibaldi in later, days; but if the Popes had all they had to tell, and the good tidings been able to learn the lesson, they might are old news now. Moreover, if we have have read in it a sign that a new power learned much which the contemporaries of was coming to life, or rather that an old Petrarch did not know, they knew much power was rising from its grave to dispute which we have forgotten, and many a saytheir authority, and to wrest from their ing which was pregnant of meaning for grasp the wills and consciences of men. them is barren for us. In any case, if our

The temporary success of Rienzi's ad- range of vision is wider then theirs, it is well venturous enterprise is significant as a sign to remember the old simile of the dwarf of the times. Petrarch's influence wielding standing on the shoulders of the giant. Not only the pen was far more extensive and that I believe the intellectual faculties of enduring. When he left Avignon for Italy, one generation to differ much potentially he was received in every city with all pos- from those of another : the actual results sible honors both by princes and people. differ according to circumstances. When His declining years were soothed

men are compelled to devote all their en“With all that should accompany old age,

ergies to self-defence or self-support, to war As honor, love, obedience, troops of friends ;” or the chase, or agriculture, the intellectual and when he finally retreated to end his fruit is nil; when the mental energies are and when he finally retreated to end his wrongly directed, to the grinding and rehis solitude was cheered or troubled by ad grinding of any chaff

, scholastic, classical, miring disciples from all parts of the world, less. It may have a conventional value at

or scientific, the fruit of such labor is worthsome of whom sent him their tributary the time and help a man to buy his bread verses or encomiastic orations, and some came in person to recite them. He died withal, but to posterity it will be as value

less as a French assignat or a Pennsylvaat the age of seventy, having attained an almost universal fame, such as no man of

nian bond. letters before or since ever acquired in his calling men away from the grinding of chaff

Petrarch's great service was rendered in lifetime. His fame as an Italian poet still to fields of useful labor, from scholastic logic survives, if half-eclipsed by the fame of

to the study of the Humanities. His work * “Spirto gentil,” p. 436. (Rime.)

was of immense value at the time; it was + Ep. Hortatoria, p. 595. (Opera.)

done by him and his followers so thorough

ly and so well, it has entered so much into ern thought, modern belief, and modern our thoughts and feelings, that we can not civilization would have been very different conceive how men thought and felt before. from what they are. But for Petrarch and his successors, mod

[From Macmillan's Magazine.




to the comfort and recreation of the in

habitants. There is scarcely any money RECREATION.

better expended by Government, than that This is a subject which may seem some which is spent in preventing this evil. what foreign to that of government; and One difficulty, which immediately ocindeed any direct action of Government curs in making provision for these open upon recreation would be, in the highest spaces, is that the necessity for them and degree, absurd and ineffective.

We all the claim that would be made for them, if know what the attempt of James the First, people were wise enough to perceive that with his “Book of Sports,” led to; and necessity, are not confined to any parthere could not be a surer method of pro- ticular centre of population. The want is voking people to Puritanism than for any almost universal. The Government, howGovernment to attempt to direct what the ever, can only act occasionally in this people should do in their leisure moments. matter, and will always be liable to the

But still it can not be otherwise than a accusation of favoritism, when it does so subject of grave import to every Govern- act. It will be said, for instance, to favor ment, wisely to encourage, or even, when the Metropolis, if it especially devotes itpossible, to provide for, judicious recrea- self to insuring open spaces for the chief tion. It can not be unimportant for a centre of population. The fear of this ac Government to consider how one-third of cusation must be resisted, and at the same the time of the people it governs is spent time care should be taken to avoid such a or may be spent; and, according to my course of action as would render the acnotion, it is the duty of a Government to cusation just. In matters not of a very provide the principal facilities for recrea- dissimilar kind, a mode has been found of tion.

encouraging some good work of a local The principal facility is space. Herein character, without incurring the reproach the circumstances differ very much in an- of favoritism--namely, by giving a sum cient and in modern times. In ancient from the Imperial Exchequer bearing some times there was free space round about, or proportion to the amount of funds pronot far from, every spot in which popula- vided locally for the purpose in question. tion was connected together. In modern To provide such funds on the part of times, this first necessity has become a an Imperial Government, would be a betmatter of great difficulty to provide. There ter mode of benefiting future generations is not any thing which a Government, hav- than a reduction of the National Debt. ing to govern a population concentrating If people are to live in comfort, and to itself into great masses, should be more have the first means of recreation at a fuwatchful to obtain, than open spaces in ture period in the existence of great towns, connection with those centres of dense they will have to encounter far greater expopulation. Here is an instance in which fenditure than that which they would be foresight in Government would be most spared by any reduction of the National useful, and would meet with, or at least Debt which, by our savings, is likely to be deserve, the gratitude of every succeeding effected. The foregoing is the principal generation. We can not shut our eyes to object which almost all Governments, and the fact that large towns are invading the especially our own, must keep in view country which surrounds them, in a man when it takes into consideration the rener which must be any thing but conducive creation of the people.

Another object, which Government fairly included in a work upon Governshould have in view, is so to regulate its ment, using the word Government in the Licensing System as to restrain, if not to ordinary sense. I have, however, the right prevent, the adulteration of the liquor to extend that sense, as in the former part which will be drunk by the people, while of my work I was careful not to limit that at the same time it must not, in a frivolous word to its ordinary signification. By and vexatious manner, hinder its subjects Government I did not mean only the from procuring refreshments of any kind, twelve or thirteen over-worked persons at any reasonable time, and at any fitting who form the Cabinet, and whose chief place.

occupation is to bring in Bills, which at There is another mode in which Gov- first are as trim and neat as a regiment ernment may indirectly favor and further upon parade, but which, when developed one of the best and safest means of re- into Acts, present the appearance of the creation. This is by making music one same regiment after a battle-much dimof the subjects for education in all Ele- inished in number, and with many of the mentary Schools. It is almost impossible survivors wounded, wayworn, and largely to overrate the effect upon the manners, bespattered with mud. In a free State the the morals, and the enjoyments of the really governing people are very numerpeople, which may be produced by the ous. As regards, however, the suggestion encouragement of an art which especially I am about to make, I mean to allude to lends itself to the best kind of social re- those only who are the possessors of land, creation.

and who have the means to sustain that The great object in recreation is, that it position adequately. should occupy time, and that it should be Many of these persons are undoubtedly social. The recreation which is mainly doing what they can to raise those who chosen by the male part of the poorer are dependent upon them into a higher classes, combines almost every possible and better sphere of being. The suggesdisadvantage, as it is found mainly in the tion I would make is, that these governgin-palace. It is taken quickly: it is taken ing persons should also provide for the reunsocially: it is for the most part taken creation of the poorer classes around unwholesomely. That the existence of them; and there is one way of effecting an entirely opposite state of things is not this good object, which in my opinion beyond the bounds of possibility, may be would be found to have the best results. seen in many continental towns; where, I would have them erect in, or near, the in gardens not remote from these towns, village or the town which is contiguous to, there is music of an excellent kind, and or central in, their estates, a building suitwhere the townspeople may be seen, from able for purposes of recreation. Accordthe highest to the lowest, enjoying withing to my fancy it should be a square, or their families the delights of music and of oblong, like the Cloth Hall in Leeds in dancing; the time thus spent occupying a miniature, or like the cloisters attached to large portion of that leisure which is so some cathedral

, having an open space in dangerous when no means are provided the centre, and covered shedding round it. for employing it. How different a state This construction might be ever so roughof things is that in which the British ly made, or rather might be made accordlaboring man seeks a few brief moments ing to the means of the landholder. It . of excitement, or forgetfulness, by repeat would be well if over the whole, or any ed visits to some gaudy building, wherein part of it, an awning could be stretched. provocatives to thirst are largely inter- As for an open green, you might as well, mingled with the liquors that should as- during many months of the year in our suage that very thirst.

fickle climate, have a pond. At this very I need hardly add, that, on all occa- time that I am writing, at the end of the sions where there is any thing of a festive joyous month of May, there have been character in which government has a hand, about three days in the month during it would be desirable to extend the means which people could recreate themselves in of partaking that festivity to the largest the open air. Jean Paul is not far wrong concourse of people that can be provided when, in reference to certain parts of the for. Here I venture to make a sugges- globe, he says that mankind are after all tion which may at first appear to be un- but " water-insects” (Wasserinsecten.)

This proposal may seem to indicate a which excellence is recognized. And matter of but small advantage. But in nothing so much raises a youth's self-rereality the benefits to be gained from it spect, from which good conduct naturally are positively immense. Such a building flows, as its being acknowledged and provas I have imagined would prove the best ed that he can do any one thing very rival and most potent enemy to the public- well. house or the gin-palace. It is very seldom Lastly—and this is a great point-we that you can correct a positive by a nega- are bringing education home to all the tive. You must introduce a new positive people. The next generation will

, unto meet the old one if it is mischievous. doubtedly, be much better educated than Forbidding is of little effect, when com- the present one. They will assuredly depared with bidding to something else. A sire to show forth the fruits of that educavery remarkable example of what I mean tion. If you wish to localize cultivation, has been given of late years by the result you must furnish local means for so doing; of Mr. Phelps's management of Sadler's and though it may not appear a very Wells. That theatre, in which the acting direct or obvious way, a sure way of proof Shakspeare was revived, has, I am told, viding it may be found through recreation. proved very inimical to the public-houses Those who can sing well or dance well, in its vicinity; and has, in a quiet way, or talk well, or play music well, or draw been the means of suppressing drunken- well, will find opportunities for displaying ness in that neighborhood.

their acquirements in recreation, and will But this is not all. Innocent amuse- not be so much disposed to hurry away ments bring with them inevitably much into the vortex of the great centres of popcultivation. In such a building as I have ulation, which are already far too much imagined, the village or town musicians overcrowded. would find a field for their exertions. The If life is ever to be made comely and young people would see one another, not beautiful, it will be by bringing some of in the slinking way in which they do now the arts and refinements (which at present in many rustic places, but openly under are carried to a great height in the centres the eyes of their elders. At the dances of population) to the more remote parts that would take place in this building, of the country, so that civilization may be good manners would infallibly be cul spread more equally all over the world. tivated, and good dress, which is not a My readers may smile at the large conmatter of slight importance, for I am told clusions which have been brought out, in by those who have examined this subject commenting upon the advantages to be carefully that it is almost an invariable derived from the innocent little construcfact that in factories and workshops the tions which I have imagined to be built best-dressed girls—by which, of course, I upon many great estates. But we must do not mean the finest-dressed girls—are have a beginning in all things; and it those whose conduct in all respects is also would probably astonish any persons, who the best.

may be inclined to adopt the proposed exMoreover, the women, young and old, periment, to see how many good results

, of the district would have something to which I have failed to indicate, would

look forward to, and at present their life proceed from its adoption. , is, for the most part, a very down-trodden One thing must always be remembered

one. I need hardly mention that, for all with respect to recreation ; namely, that athletic sports, this building—or, as I regularly recurrent pleasures are those would rather call it, this inclosure-would which effectively recreate. It is a very be most serviceable. It is acknowledged good thing, no doubt, to have occasional that for the State, especially for such a whole holidays, and the British people are State as that of Great Britain, in which very much obliged to Sir John Lubbock there is so much employment necessarily for the recent act which bears his name, of an unhealthy character, these athletic and for which we are entirely indebted to sports are very needful. I have, how- him. But whole holidays will not do that ever, a reason of my own for valuing them which I think governing persons may well very much, and that is that they give an consider to be an object for their careopportunity for excelling in something to that is, to provide the means whereby the youths who have not the other gifts in laboring population may have constantly

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