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The term classical mythology has been taken to include not only the divinities of the ancient religion and such tales as those of Ovid's Metamorphoses, but also the heroes of the Trojan war and the personages of the Æneid. In a number of cases, such, for example, as Fortune, Nature, and Fame, it has not been easy to draw a hard and fast line between mythology and mere philosophical personification. In Part First, where the myths are discussed severally, I have been inclined to include such subjects, while excluding them as doubtful from the generalizations of Part Second and the Introduction.
Any work in the field of Shakespearian commentary must, of course, be a gleaning of the ears left unnoticed by earlier commentators; but in my corner of the field I have found the gleaning richer than I expected. Though the great mass of Shakespearian scholarship makes it impossible to say with certainty that any given point has not been noticed, I have found that after free use of the Variorum edition of 1821 and, as far as it has been completed, of the Variorum edition of Dr. Furness, there was still plenty of room for original investigation. In this investigation the mythological dictionaries of Roscher, Pauly-Wissowa, and Smith have been of constant assistance. The Globe edition of Shakespeare has been used for quotation and reference; but in giving a list of citations I have followed the approximately chronological order of the plays in the Leopold edition, though always putting the doubtful plays at the end of the list. In citing Shakespearian plays, I have adopted the abbreviations of Schmidt's Shakespeare Lexicon. The citations from Golding's Ovid are from the edition of 1575. The editions of Ovid and Vergil by Merkel and Ribbeck respectively have been used in citations from those authors.
July 21, 1903.
Every student of European culture is compelled, sooner or later, to attempt a definition of those complex and interwoven, yet none the less clearly divergent, tendencies which we call Mediævalism and the Renaissance. All definition is a perilous undertaking: one constructs his laborious formula only to be greeted with the mocking laugh of some forgotten aspect; and the definition must be begun anew. Especially is this true in the particular problem of definition I have suggested: if one bases his definition of Mediævalism on Dante and the cathedral-builders, how is he to include the contradictory phenomenon of the French fabliau, and its satyr train of goliards and jongleurs ? The maker of definitions is sure to find his course bound in shallows and in miseries until he recognizes that the terms Mediævalism and Renaissance do not stand so much for two periods of history as for two tendencies, two hostile forces, which in half-hearted truce or open warfare have always coexisted, and must always coexist, in the heart of man, and consequently in his literature and art. In the thirteenth century Mediævalism had the upper hand; in the sixteenth, its enemy insulted over it. Without risking an inclusive definition, one may say that Mediæval art has its gaze fixed primarily on the spiritual, that of the Renaissance on the sensuous. Mediævalism proclaims that the eternal things of the spirit are alone worth while; the Renaissance declares that man's life consists, if not in the abundance of the things he possesses, at any rate in the abundance and variety of the sensations he enjoys.
When Petrarch and the scholars of the succeeding generations rediscovered the half-forgotten monuments of classical antiquity, they seemed to find authority for this rich life of