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age. He writ near two hundred books; of these three are large folios: he had a very moving and pathetical way of writing, and was his whole life long a man of great zeal and much simplicity; but was most unhappily subtle and metaphysical in everything.” 1 Of Leighton, whom he knew intimately, the same writer has given a much more copious account, a few sentences of which we will transcribe: “His preaching had a sublimity both of thought and expression in it. The grace and gravity of his pronunciation was such that few heard him without a very sensible emotion. It was so different from all others, and indeed from everything that one could hope to rise up to, that it gave a man an indignation at himself and all others. His style was rather too fine ; but there was a majesty and beauty in it that left so deep an impression that I cannot yet forget the sermons I heard him preach thirty
The writings of Archbishop Leighton that have come down to us have been held by some of the highest minds of our own day — Coleridge for one — to bear out Burnet's affectionate panegyric. But perhaps the greatest genius among the theological writers of this age was the famous Dr. Isaac Barrow, popularly known chiefly by his admirable Sermons, but renowned also in the history of modern science as, next to Newton himself, the greatest mathematician of his time. “ As a writer,” the late Professor Dugald Stewart has well said of Barrow, “he is equally distinguished by the redundancy of his matter and by the pregnant brevity of his expression ; but what more peculiarly characterizes his manner is a certain air of powerful and of conscious facility in the execution of whatever he undertakes. Whether the subject be mathematical, metaphysical, or theological, he seems always to bring to it a mind which feels itself superior to the occasion, and which, in contending with the greatest difficulties, puts forth but half its strength. He has somewhere spoken of his Lectiones Mathematicæ (which it may, in passing, be remarked, display metaphysical talents of the highest order) as extemporaneous effusions of his pen ; and I have no doubt that the same epithet is still more literally applicable to his pulpit discourses. It is, indeed, only thus that we can account for the variety and extent of his voluminous remains, when we recollect that the author died at the age of forty
But the name that in popular celebrity transcends all
2 Ibid. i. 135.
1 Own Time, i. 180.
others, among the theological writers of this age, is that of John Bunyan, the author of various religious works, and especially of the Pilgrim's Progress. One critic has in our time had the courage to confess in print, that to him this famous allegory appeared “mean, jejune, and wearisome.” Our late brilliant essayist, Lord Macaulay, on the other hand, in a paper published in 1830, has written : — “ We are not afraid to say, that, though there were many clever men in England during the latter half of the seventeenth century, there were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree. One of those minds produced the Paradise Lost, the other the Pilgrim's Progress.” And, to the end of his life, we find him faithful to the same enthusiasm. He conceives it to be the characteristic peculiarity of the Pilgrim's Progress “ that it is the only work of its kind which possesses a strong human interest.” The pilgrimage of the great Italian poet through Hell, Purgatory, and Paradise is of course regarded as not properly an allegory. But high poetry is treated somewhat unceremoniously throughout this paper.
Of the Fairy Queen it is said :—“Of the persons who read the first canto, not one in ten reaches the end of the first book, and not one in a hundred perseveres to the end of the poem. Very few and very weary are those who are in at the death of the Blatant Beast. If the last six books, which are said to have been destroyed in Ireland, had been preserved, we doubt whether any heart less stout than that of a commentator would have held out to the end." It must be admitted that, as a story, the Pilgrim's Progress is a great deal more interesting than the Fairy Queen. And we suspect that, if we are to take the verdict of the most numerous class of readers, it will carry off the palm quite as decidedly from the Paradise Lost. Very few, comparatively, and very weary, we apprehend, are the readers of that great poem, too, who have made their way steadily through it from the beginning of the First Book to the end of the Twelfth. Still, although Bunyan had undoubtedly an ingenious, shaping, and vivid imagination, and his work, partly from its execution, partly from its subject, takes a strong hold, as Macaulay has well pointed out, of minds of very various kinds, commanding the admiration of the most fastidious critics, such, for instance, as Doctor Johnson, while it is loved by those who are too simple to
1 See the Paper on Ranke's History of the Popes (1840); and again the lively, though slight, sketch of Bunyan's history in the Biographies.
admire it, we must make a great distinction between the power by which such general attraction as this is produced and what we have in the poetry of Milton and Spenser. The difference is something of the same kind with that which exists between any fine old popular ballad and a tragedy of Sophocles or of Shakspeare. Bunyan could rhyme too, when he chose; but he has plenty of poetry without that, and we cannot agree with the opinion expressed by good Adam Clarke, “ that the Pilgrim's Progress would be more generally read, and more abundantly useful to a particular class of readers, were it turned into decent rhyme.” We suspect the ingenious gentleman, who, in the early part of the last century, published an edition of Paradise Lost turned into prose, had a more correct notion of what would be most useful, and also most agreeable, to a pretty numerous class of readers.
What Lord Macaulay says of Bunyan’s English, though his estimate is, perhaps, a little high-pitched, is worth quoting: style of Bunyan is delightful to every reader, and invaluable as a study to every person who wishes to obtain a wide command over the English language. The vocabulary is the vocabulary of the common people. There is not an expression, if we except a few technical terms of theology; which would puzzle the rudest We have observed several pages which do not contain a single word of more than two syllables. Yet no writer has said more exactly what he meant to say. For magnificence, for pathos, for vehement exhortation, for subtle disquisition, for every purpose of the poet, the orator, and the divine, this homely dialect, the dialect of plain working-men, was perfectly sufficient. There is no book in our literature on which we would so readily stake the fame of the old unpolluted English language, no book which shows so well how rich that language is in its own proper wealth, and how little it has been improved by all that it has borrowed.”
To the names that have been mentioned may be added those of Izaak Walton, the mild-tempered angler and biographer; Sir William Temple, the lively, agreeable, and well-informed essayist and memoirist; and many others that might be enumerated if it were our object to compile a catalogue instead of noticing only the principal lights of our literature.
PROGRESS OF SCIENCE IN ENGLAND BEFORE THE SEVEN
A FEW far separated names, and a still smaller number of distinct facts, make up the history of the Mathematical and Physical Sciences in England to the latter part of the fifteenth century Nor from that date to the age of Bacon, or throughout the era of the Tudors, have we perhaps so many as a dozen English names of any note to show in this department. Yet before the end of the sixteenth century scientific speculation and experiment were busy in all the principal countries of continental Europe, and the first steps in the march of discovery had already been taken in various directions. In pure science, Trigonometry, of which the foundations had been laid in the middle ages by the Arabian
geometers, had been brought almost to the state in which it still remains by Purbach and his much more illustrious pupil John Müller (Regiomontanus); Müller had also created a new arithmetic by the invention of Decimal Fractions: Algebra, known in its elements since the beginning of the thirteenth century, had been carried to the length of cubic equations by Ferreo, Tartalea, and Cardan, and of biquadratic by Cardan's pupil, Ludovico Ferrari, and had acquired all the generalization of expression it yet possesses in the hands first of Stifel and soon after of Vieta. The true System of the Universe had been revealed by Copernicus; and Tycho Brahe, although rejecting the hypothesis of his predecessor, as well as clinging to the old superstitions of astrology, both had wonderfully improved the instruments and the art of observation, and had greatly enlarged our knowledge of the heavens. The Variation of the Compass had been observed by Columbus; in Mechanics, the theory of the inclined plane had been investigated by Cardan, the pulley had been explained by Ubaldi, and some cases of the composition of forces, and other propositions in statics, had been solved by Stevinus ; in Optics, the use of spectacles, which can be traced back to the early part of the fourteenth century, had been followed by the discovery of the crystalline lens of the eye by Maurolico, and the invention of the camera obscura by Baptista della Porta. The purely physical sciences had also made considerable advances. Mondino of Bologna, who has been called the father of modern Anatomy, had set the example of the practice of dissection sa
early as the year 1315; and the knowledge of the structure of the human body, and of its functions, had been prosecuted since his time with great success both in Italy and France by Achillini, Berenger (Carpi), Jacques Dubois (Silvius), Charles Etienne (Stephanus), and especially by Vesalius, Fallopius, and Eustachius, whose celebrated Anatomical Tables, completed in 1552, were still the most perfect that had yet been produced when they were first published more than a century and a half after the author's death. In Medicine, the Hippocratic method, revived by Nicholas Leonicenus before the end of the fifteenth century, had been cultivated and advanced by Cop, Ruel, Gonthier, Fuchs, and others; and considerable progress had even been made in emancipating the art from authority, and founding a new school on the basis of experience and common sense, or at least independent speculation, by Fernel, Argentier of Turin, and, above all, by the original and enterprising, though unregulated, genius of Paracelsus. Conrad Gesner, Rondelet, and Aldrovandus, by the large additions they had made to the facts collected by Aristotle, Pliny, Ælian, and other ancient writers, and by their attempts at classification and system, had more than laid the foundations of modern Zoology. In Botany, Otto Brunfels of Strasburg had published his magnificent Herbarum Eicones, which has been regarded as leading the way in the restoration of the science; the route opened by him had been farther explored by Ruel and Fuchs already mentioned (the latter the name commemorated in the well-known Fuchsia), by Matthioli, and others; Conrad Gesner had, about the middle of the sixteenth century, not only collected and arranged all the knowledge of his predecessors, but had given a new form to the science by his own discoveries; many accessions to his lists had been contributed by Dodens (Dodonæus), Cæsalpinus, John and Caspar Bauhin, and especially by l’Ecluse (Clusius); and before the end of the century the first natural system of plants had been devised and published by Lobel. Finally, Chemistry, in which numerous facts had been long ascertained by Roger Bacon, Geber and the other Arabian physicians, Raymond Lully and the other alchemists, had been cultivated in later times by Basil Valentine (the discoverer of antimony), George Agricola (who first mentions bismuth), and Paracelsus (in whose writings we find the first notice of zinc), and in the hands of Dornaeus, Crollius, and Bartholetus had begun to assume the rudiments of a scientific form ; and the