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So like the wheele arowned they ronne from old to new.

Countless swarms perish successively, yet the stock is never lessened;

For in the wide wombe of the world there lyes

In hateful darkness, and in deepe horrore An huge eternal Chaos, which supplies The substaunces of Nature's fruitful progenyes. The substance is immortal; the successive forms "are variable and decay," for though they have but one foe, with him they cannot contend. That enemy is "wicked Time," who mows down all things with his scythe.

Yet pitty often did the gods relent To see so faire things mard and spoiled quight:

And their great mother Venus did lament The losse of her deere brood, her deere delight.

Her realm has this sorrow alone. It is unshaken by jealousy or pain, doubt or shame. Over this central seat of her rolling sphere there rests "the stillness of the sleeping poles." Here the springtide and the harvest-tide blend, and the autumnal vine overhangs the vernal elm. Here grows

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spirit. The lower side of the philosophy receives its interpretation from the higher, and becomes, though not the whole truth, yet a portion of it. If the seeds of all bodies spring up spontaneously from the fruitful soil, yet souls innumerable throng the air above them, and it is their breath that imparts life to their "fleshly weeds." If no gardener is needed there "to sett or sow," yet nature only thus exercises a sacred might bestowed on her by one who is above nature, and has commanded her to increase. Whatever she may be in Cythera or Paphos, the goddess of love is here a true Venus Genetrix, a power, compassionate and benign, more the mother than the wife, bringing forth, not fluence works on through creation; nature in sorrow but in gladness. A healing inis no more suffered to prey on her own offspring; the wild boar of the forest which slew Adonis, and ever wars on youth and strength, is "imprisoned in a strong rocky cave." In this earlier "island valley of Avilion," humanity heals its ancient wound, and awaits the better day. The spirit of hope here triumphs over the Lucretian spirit of despair.


The teaching of the pessimist philosopher of antiquity, whose ambition was to draw the most original of poems out of the wildest system of physics-like sunbeams extracted from cucumbers the opposite of this, except in points of detail. Not our world only but all worlds were fated to perish utterly, leaving behind them nothing but a whirl of atoms to fill their place; that is, they were to end like his own poem, which closes signifi cantly with the plague at Athens. A few remarks will not here be out of place comparing the great Latin philosophical poet, as he is commonly regarded, with the English philosophic poet of the Elizabethan passing through a momentous crisis; each period. Each of them found his country must have largely affected its growing intelligence for good or for evil; each had great poetic gifts, and in some respects similar gifts, for Lucretius, like Spenser, had an ardent imagination, a descriptive power till his time unrivalled, vivid imagery, impassioned eloquence, and remarkable gifts of style, diction, and metre; and each united the courage with the perseverance needful for success in a high enterprise of song. A poet is best understood when compared with another, at once like him and unlike.

The great difference between the two philosophic poets lay in those moral and spiritual constituents of man's being by

which the action of his imagination as well as of his understanding is secretly directed. In Spenser there lived an abiding spirit of reverence; and therefore for him all phenomena received their interpretation from above: for Lucretius it came from below; and his delight was to show how all great things are but small things making the most of themselves. The intellect of Spenser was a far-reaching one; it descried the remote analogy; it discerned what is lost alike upon the sensual heart and the merely logical intelligence; it accepted high thoughts as authentic if at once recommended by venerable authorities and in harmony with universal aspirations, whether or not their nature rendered them susceptible of dialectic proof. It could retain a serene faith when shrewdness winked and grimaced; and it could no less abstain from credulity when challenged by philosophic theories recommended chiefly by their strangeness and their confidence. Lucretius, on the other hand, had a vigorous but an animal intellect. He saw the wonderfulness of matter not more keenly than Spenser, who understood its witcheries perhaps but too well; but he was so dazzled by it that he could see nothing besides, and for him spirit did not exist. To him nature was all in all; and for that reason he did not realize her highest greatness, viz., her power of leading to something higher than herself. To the Greek mythologists who had laid the basis of Greek poetry, nature had been a divinity; to the Christian poet and philosopher she reflected a divine radiance; to Lucretius she was a Titaness slinging firebrands through the universe she had shaped, and shaping all things with no final aim but that of slaying them, and slaying herself on their pyre. For his guide he followed exclusively a single teacher of his own selection, and one even in the pagan world ill-famed - Epicurus -passing by with contempt all the heads of the Greek schools during six centuries, and worshipping that one with an idolatrous but not disinterested devotion.

either in lofty duties or in nobler joys, for which, on his principles, there remains no place. It is not merely that the Lucretian philosophy does not encourage moral or spiritual aspirations. It is militant against them. It commands us imperiously to tread down the very desire of immortality; and yet its denial of immortality is a wholly illogical assumption, based on an. other assumption wholly arbitrary, viz., that "mind" and "soul" are but material things, not less than the body, and must therefore share the body's doom. Such a philosophy, in recommending “moderation," recommends but apathy; and men not dyspectic or exhausted do not become apathetic to please philosophers.

There is nothing positive in Lucretius's vivid appreciation of matter which does not find place equally in Spenser's philos. ophy. What the latter abjures is the negative part of it. In Spenser's poetry the creation is ever regarded as "the resplendent miracle," and material joys, as in their degree, objects well worthy of pursuit and gratitude; but in that poetry under material enjoyment there ever lurk the humanities, and under these something greater still. It was but the narrowness of the Lucretian philosophy which made it identify a belief in matter with a disbelief in spirit that narrowness which so often explodes into fanaticism, with its combined characteristics of audacity and of intolerance. The Lucretian philosophy is an abject one, not because it failed to anticipate truth then unrevealed, but because it denied and denounced truths which had been retained with more or less clearness by most of the early religions and by many philosophies, such as the spirituality of man's being, a divine sanc tion to conscience, and the immortality and responsibility of the soul- beliefs which had, during sequent ages, created civilized societies with all that was best in their arts, poetry, and literature. Pagan antiquity had also retained the belief in a Providence that shaped man's life to gra cious ends; and its Prometheus, a Titan, Seeing all things from below, Lucretius though not a god, had endured as well as never grasps the nobler idea essentially labored for man. The Lucretian gods are included in each; he sees but the acci- material beings, made, like the rest of the dents that obscure it. In religion he sees universe, by the "concurrence" of matenothing but fear; in authority but impos- rial atoms; and, like all besides, they are ture; in man but animal instincts intellec- destined to perish. In the mean time they tualized. In woman he sees no touch of sit apart in festal rest, seeing in man's womanhood. He advises his disciples life, its joys, its agonies, its trials, and in never to meddle with so noxious a toy as all besides external to themselves, nothing love; but his mode of preaching self-worthy of their interest. This is to make restraint is worthless, since it provides the gods not only after the image of men, no substitute for troublesome pleasures, but of the meanest among men. Spenser

insists on a God who helps man, not be-petual storm, eventually combined into all cause he is himself man only, but for an the wondrous forms on the earth - the opposite reason: on a God for whom, structure of hand, and eye, and brain! since he is infinite in all the dimensions of All that this philosophy regards as needed infinitude, it follows that as nothing is too to justify its imperious claim on our acgreat, so nothing is too small. There are ceptance is that its dogmas, however those by whom that sublime idea is stig fantastic, should be conceivable, that they matized as "anthropomorphism," while should be capable of being expressed in the Lucretian conception is applauded as association with distinct images, or brainsublime. This is not sincere thinking. | pictures — things confounded by feeble It cannot be justified by the excuse "sub- thinkers with distinct thoughts and that lime as poetry." Low sentiment and in- they should derive some plausible support coherent thought are not changed into from analogies. Its chief weapon is reitgreat poetry because they are expressed eration. It multiplies instances, takes in dignified language. for granted its inferences from them inferences which are but the preconceptions of a confident fancy-and thus eludes those troublesome questions on which the true issue of the argument de. pends. Drawn aside as if by an "elective affinity" towards the most materialistic views on all subjects, this philosophy hardily rejected even the material truths asserted, some five hundred years before, by Pythagoras, such as that the earth moves round the sun, as well as its sphericity and gravitation truths probably maintained by many in the days of Lucretius, though subsequently denied by the Ptolemaic system. It affirmed, moreover, that the universe is always dropping downward, and that the real size of the heavenly bodies is little more than their apparent size to the eye. Amidst these strange aberrations of a false philosophy, the "purple patches" of real poetry survive, to vex us with the thought of the poetry Lucretius might have given to us had Plato, not Epicurus, been his master, and to remind us that high genius is sel dom extinguished wholly by any abuse of the gift.

That physical philosophy on the exposition of which the poetry of Lucretius was wrecked made a large boast. In that aspect it has an important relation with our theme; for true poetry does great things, but does not make a great boast. It was to illuminate mankind, to break down all moral and intellectual thraldom, and to kill all religion, as the easiest way of curing its corruptions — a design as philosophic as though all government were to be destroyed because it includes administrative abuses; all art, because it sometimes ministers to depraved tastes; and all science, because its professors often make mistakes. How was this wonderful work to be effected? Not by experimental demonstrations - they are seldom appealed to by Lucretius, except in the way of demolishing counter theories - but by hardy scientific dogma, and the pecca fortiter of fearless assumptions. Atoms could neither be seen, felt, nor brought within the ken of scientific analy sis; but it was easy to assume not only that they existed in incalculable number, but that they are of various shapes, solid, indestructible, possess weight, and even that their "uncertain sideway movement" is" the only possible origin of the freewill of living beings." So again of films. These are slender veils cast, as Lucretius affirms, from the surface of all objects in cessantly and into all the regions of space -a valiant assumption, but one wholly fabulous. It is amusing to observe how the same philosophic credulity which accepts all assumptions condones all incoherences. The emancipating discovery asserts that "nothing comes from nothing," yet it asserts also that, without any creative cause, there existed a perpetual downward rain of atoms; it believes that no divine mind gives law to matter, yet it maintains also that nature's course is uniform nay, that a "concurrence of atoms" driven against each other in per

It was fortunate for England that a philosophy in essentials the opposite of Lucretius's, inspired the poetry of that great man who opened the literature of the Elizabethan age, and into whose grave the younger poets of that age flung their pens, acknowledging him as their master, as he had acknowledged Chaucer to be his. His genius might otherwise have exercised that influence, stimulating indeed, but both sensualizing and narrowing, on English letters which Boccaccio certainly exercised on Italy, and for which no compensation could have been adequate. Spenser's philosophy was ideal at once and traditional. It made no small points; but great ideas brooded over it. He did not boast himself as the great expositor of one self-chosen master. His humble pride was that his long-labored

work embodied the best moral teaching of the chief masters both of antiquity and of Christian times. It was not a weapon of war. It derived no stimulus from ha tred. It included within itself an unpretentious yet a coherent logic; but it passed far beyond her narrow pale in its genial strength, extending itself as widely as human sympathies, and soaring as high as man's noblest aspirations. That a poet so manifold in interest, and so profound in thought, should to so many readers, though not to the best, appear simply dull; and, again, that an ancient poet the greater part of whose poetry was devoted, like that of Dr. Darwin in the last century, to the versifying of natural philosophy, and whose natural philosophy was a chimera, should yet, with many readers, take the place often claimed for Lucretius, are phenomena hard to be explained. It is true that the adage “first come, first served," applies to books, and that many an old one retains a reputation which, if new, it could never acquire. It is true also that a compliment to a classic is often a compliment to one's own scholarship; and that with not a few the lesser qualities of poetry, possessed in eminence, are more impressive than its highest qualities less energetically exerted. We may also, perhaps, in our attempt to solve the problem, find help in one of Spenser's best known allegories best known because it illustrates so many a strange passage in human life the allegory of Illusion or the witch Duessa. She represents an idea constantly in the mind of Spenser. No poet ever fixed a more reverent gaze on philosophic truth, or one more faithful to follow her "whithersoever she goeth," through the tangled labyrinths of thought or action. Yet no one felt so strongly how close beside her there treads an opposite spirit; a spirit potent alike to make the true seem false, and the false seem true, the fair seem foul, and the foul seem fair. Such is the magic power with which Duessa now re-invests her faded form with the loveliness of a youth long van ished, and now raises a mist and binds a mask of decrepitude on some beautiful rival.


Christianity half Patristic and half Platon. ic; although in his politics it still stretched itself, like a " bar sinister," across a shield glowing with loyalist "gules" and chivalrous devices. He had seen some of his nearest friends changeful in principle, but ever persistent in worshipping as divinities the idols of a fancy at once proud and servile. He had doubtless observed that there often exists a strange and cruel resemblance between opposites, and that the illusion is often the more complete the more absolutely they stand opposed to each other. It is thus that hypocrisy re sembles virtue, and that, as a consequence, virtue may be easily mistaken for hypoc risy; that the visionary is like the "man whose eyes are open," and vice verså; that bashfulness may be like guilt, and callous insensibility like innocence; that silence may betoken alike the fulness of content or an absolute despair; that, to the superficial, communism may seem the political realization of the early Christian ethics of alms; that indifference to truth may claim to be the perfection of charity. The most fatal errors have ever been those which include in them high truths, though misapplied. Without that element they would not have proved attractive to elevated minds; and for an analogous reason the most exaited truths may long wear a form the most repulsive even to the good.

The dreadful power of illusion is a thought naturally brought home the most to minds at once reflective and imagina tive. It was familiar to Shelley as well as to Spenser, unlike as were those two poets, and it is remarkably illustrated by him in "The Revolt of Islam," canto i., stanzas 25-27. In the beginning of things, as we are there told, "a blood-red comet and the morning star" hung in fight on the verge of chaos. These two militant shapes are the rival powers of Evil and Good. Evil triumphs, and changes the morning star into a snake, which is sen tenced to creep over the earth in that false semblance, abhorred by all, so long as the conqueror's reign endures. Transformations not less startling take place every day in the moral world. What is It was no doubt the profound sincerity despicable when contrasted with that of Spenser's genius which made him muse which is above it, may yet well appear with such a haunting sadness on that spirit admirable to one who can measure it only of illusion. He had had personal experi- with what is below it. Shelley, who had ence of its power. He had his own illu-in him much of Lucretius's poetic audac sions, religious, political, and personal, several of which he had detected and repudiated. He had replaced the Puritan ism of his early training with a form of

ity, was himself, for a short time, the prisoner of a materialistic philosophy as wild. When he became a translator of Plato, that grim skeleton, if it ever revis

ited his dreams, may perhaps have reminded him of Spenser's Duessa, stripped of her glittering apparel.



WHEN one has made up one's mind to reopen a painful subject after dinner, the preliminary meal is not usually a very pleasant one; nor, with the trouble of preparation in one's mind, is one likely to make a satisfactory dinner. Frances could not talk about anything. She could not eat; her mind was absorbed in what was coming. It seemed to her that she must speak; and yet how gladly would she have escaped from or postponed the explanation. Explanation! Possibly, he would only smile and baffle her as he had done before; or perhaps be angry, which would be better. Anything would be better than that indifference.

She went out to the loggia when dinner was over, trembling with the sensation of suspense. It was still not dark, and the night was clear with the young moon already shining, so that between the retiring day and the light of the night it was almost as clear as it had been two hours before. Frances sat down, shivering a little, though not with cold. Usually, her father accompanied or immediately followed her; but by some perversity, he did not do so to-night. She seated herself in her usual place, and waited, listening for every sound; that is, for sounds of one kindhis slow step coming along the polished floor, here soft and muffled over a piece of carpet, there loud upon the parquet. But for some time, during which she rose into a state of feverish expectation, there was no such sound.

It was nearly half an hour, according to her calculation, probably not half so much by common computation of time, when one or two doors were opened and shut quickly and a sound of voices met her ear not sounds, however, which had any but a partial interest for her, for they did not indicate his approach. After a while there followed the sound of a footstep; but it was not Mr. Waring's; it was not Domenico's subdued tread, nor the measured march of Mariuccia. It was light, quick, and somewhat uncertain. Frances was half disappointed, half relieved. Some one was coming, but not her father. It

would be impossible to speak to him tonight. The relief was uppermost; she felt it through her whole being. Not to. night; and no one can ever tell what to-morrow may bring forth. She looked up no longer with anxiety, but curiosity, as the door opened. It opened quickly; some one looked out, as if to see where it led, then, with a slight exclamation of satisfaction, stepped out upon the loggia into the partial light.

Frances rose up quickly, with the curious sensation of acting over something which she had rehearsed before; she did not know where or how. It was the girl whom she had remarked on the Marina, as having just arrived, who now stood here, looking about her curiously, with her travelling cloak fastened only at the throat, her gauze veil thrown up about her hat. This new-comer came in quickly, not with the timidity of a stranger. She came out into the centre of the loggia, where the light fell fully round her, and showed her tall, slight figure, the fair hair clustering in her neck, a certain languid grace of movement, which her energetic entrance curiously belied. Frances waited for some form of apology or self-introduction, prepared to be very civil, and feeling in reality pleased, and almost grateful for the interruption.

But the young lady made no statement. She put her hands up to her throat and loosed her cloak with a little sigh of relief. She undid the veil from her hat. "Thank heaven, I have got here at last, free of those people!" she said, putting herself sans façon into Mr. Waring's chair, and laying her hat upon the little table. Then she looked up at the astonished girl, who stood looking on in a state of almost consternation.

"Are you Frances?" she said; but the question was put in an almost indifferent tone.

"Yes; I am Frances. But I don't know— "Frances was civil to the bottom of her soul, polite, incapable of hurt ing any one's feelings. She could not say anything disagreeable; she could not demand brutally, Who are you? and what do you want here?

"I thought so," said the stranger; "and, oddly enough, I saw you this afternoon, and wondered if it could be you. You are a little like mamma. I am Constance, of course," she added, looking up with a half-smile. "We ought to kiss each other, I suppose, though we can't care much about each other. Can we? Where is papa?"

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