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Hegelianism, there is sufficient logical similarity to justify Saurat's parallelism. Both put the center of reality outside human experience. The heart of life's meaningfulness lies beyond life itself, and the significance of the human enterprise has somehow to be deduced from the transcendental. And so both of them have as their central problem the relation between the super-human whole and the human parts. In both also in the last analysis the problem takes the same form: it is the problem of evil. The spirit of the whole is the touchstone of value; finitude is infected with evil. How can the existence of the latter be reconciled with the allpervasiveness of the former? However their answers may have differed in detail, both Milton and the Idealists faced this problem in the same spirit. Our own Josiah Royce in America was typical of both, in his heroic life-long struggle to reconcile the Absolute which he would not give up and man whom he could not desert.
But even more than in historical continuity and in logical similarity, Milton and the Idealists were at one in their motivation and method. Thrown alike into a world of incessant change, with all the hazards made thus inevitable to human values, both, with challenging naïveté, achieved permanence and security simply by attributing these desiderata to the objects created by desire. In other words, they are alike in their motivation to make eternal the changing values of life, and in their effort to do this by building of the fabric of desires themselves their proper objects, and then by projecting these objects as guarantees of what human life holds dear but finds impermanent. This is the "pathetic fallacy written into philosophy on a colossal scale after having served as the basis for Miltonic theology. This is no mere Idol of the Cave for Milton and Hegel; it is veritably the Idol of our whole Human Tribe. Those who detect and avoid the fallacy have come into the maturity of science; the rest of us falter and fall in the dark trenches of theology or in the intervening "no man's land" of a philosophy that has the will, but lacks the wit, to be free. But already I am crossing the threshold of my second observation.
After reading Saurat's arguments I am prepared to believe, until discussion instructs me better, that Matter was with Milton a much
elaborated philosophic category. I cannot wholly avoid the suspicion, however, that Saurat has worked out the point better than had Milton; but the sources certainly seem to indicate that Milton held the notion that Saurat so lucidly presents. And it is undoubtedly the mark of a bold mind in Christendom, and a powerful one, to have fused with his theology (as Saurat puts it) "the idea of Matter as good, imperishable and divine, a part of God himself from which all things issue spontaneously; so that there is no soul, and all beings are parts of God, arranged on an evolutionary scheme." 994 But even so, to see in this a scientific conception even "in germ" is to use the term " germ" in about the same sense that diplomats use the term "principle" when under its unifying cover they agree to disagree.
William James describes the scientist as "tough-minded"; that is, the scientist seeks the facts of life and is willing to follow wherever they lead. Moreover, he starts with a minimum of assumptions, and these he makes explicit. He frees himself of hope, except that of finding out the facts. Over against the scientist, is (to use James's further phrase) the "tender-minded" man. He wants facts, but they must support prior conclusions. Hope is his guide, and desire his support. If the world that he finds is not such as he wants, he calls it error, and the projections of his own imagination he names reality. Tender minds can be speculatively bold as long as they are under cover. "Let justice be done though the heavens fall!" What moral conviction is suggested by this heroic resolution! But when it is discovered that behind the scenes it is already arranged so that the heavens cannot fall, that indeed the doing of justice is the very way to uphold them, then indeed is this mighty moral Falstaff punctured.
Now the "germ" of science that Saurat unveils in Milton is precisely of this sort. Milton has materialism in his system; science is materialistic; therefore, Milton is a precursor of modern science and encompasses evolution in germ! Language, like politics, makes strange bedfellows! Materialism as it applies to evolutionary science implies an eternal process. A first cause, conceived as lying back of the chemical-physical processes that make 'Page 199.
our world, is suspect to a scientific mind. Building upon the principle of parsimony, the scientist believes that the only way to get a first cause is to have it cause itself; and that verbal legerdemain may be made to occur early as well as late. So, the scientist holds, the universe that we know caused itself; and that is an end as satisfactory as the other; for the process of causation is ended for both, if it ends at all, by fatigue, not by logic. The chief difference on this point is that the scientist ends causation before he gets tired; the theologian only after he is exhausted. Dissect the matter of science, and you will find molecules and atoms, electrons and ions. Scratch the surface of Milton's materialism, and you will discover a first cause.
This contrast of content is equally true of motivation. If man's body is mere matter and if he has no soul, then he has no immortality. But Milton does not reach this conclusion. Why does he not? Because he has loaded the dice before the cosmic game begins. God will not allow such an outcome, such a defeat of human hopes. Milton is bold to proclaim materialism only because he has a resurrection to rob materialism of its significance. He burns down this earthly house of his tabernacle only after he has taken out celestial insurance. In him is lacking the spirit of the scientist who follows the gleam as long as he lasts and then in uncomplaining stoicism "banks his fires for the eternal night.”
I am not disputing that there is ingenuity in Milton's materialism, but only that it has any significant kinship with modern science. Milton starts with God, deduces therefrom a spiritualized matter, evolves from the latter complete death, and then saves the drama from tragedy only a minute before the final curtain by a tour de force the resurrection. In short, Milton, perhaps rationalizing, as Saurat suggests, his marital debacle, moralizes the flesh. by discovering it to be divine materialism sloughed off by God. Flesh is thus sufficiently isolated from deity as to allow it some freedom to disport itself, but sufficiently beloved of deity to be saved after its hour of lust. These suggestions as to its motivation make it evident that Milton's science was but child's play science.
'See Saurat's Appendix A, in which it is argued that Milton's blindness was due to syphilis, in all probability inherited from his father.
It will be seen that my approval and my disapproval of Saurat proceed from a common point. Milton is an earlier, simpler edition of nineteenth-century Idealism because of common motivation and similar achievements. That is to say, they both ontologize desire: they believe the universe to be what they want it to be without any adequate reason for so believing. The wish that is father to all our thought becomes grandfather to their cosmology. But precisely because Milton is brother to the idealist he cannot be the precursor of evolutionary science. The scientific mind and method is the opposite of that described. Perhaps the nearest Milton ever came to science, as we understand that word, was when, destined to be blind, he visited blind Galileo in jail. It will be seen, of course, that I am in no sense reflecting on Milton, but that I am criticizing Saurat's analyses of Milton's idea-system.
Had Milton treated his material-God and his ways-as Saurat treats his material-Milton and his ways-he would have deserved the appellation of scientific. I think that Saurat does not adequately emphasize Milton's childhood, and certainly he does not in dealing with Milton's later life exploit to the full the now available technique of analytic psychology. But his method is scientific, though not exhaustive: scientific in that it begins with no uncriticized prepossessions; scientific in that it sees that personality develops out of early impulses, emotional conflicts; scientific in that it notes sexual traumata as of central importance in repressed personalities; scientific in that it sees poetry and all art not as fugitive words and symbols caught from celestial whisperings but as natural phenomena; scientific in that it reconstructs Milton in his age and thus generates for us out of the valley of death a living, breathing, robust fellow-mortal-John Milton.
University of Chicago.
SHAKSPERE AND MILTON AGAIN
BY GEORGE COFFIN TAYLOR
In his recent article, "The Shaksperian Element in Milton," 1 Alwin Thaler, by his systematic assembling of the results of his own investigations and those of scholars preceding him, notable among whom is Hanford, makes it for the first time easily possible for one to get a comprehensive impression of the nature and extent of Milton's indebtedness to Shakspere. It is particularly fortunate that Shakspere's claims to influence should be emphasized just at this time when many other literary influences are being urged, with a tendency, as each influence is unearthed, to emphasize each in turn as the main formative influence upon Milton. Doubtless a fairly strong case could be made for the Classical, Medieval, Renaissance, and Modern province of letters as the large formative factor in Paradise Lost, so astonishingly wide was the range and infinite the variety of England's most scholarly and learned poet, and so retentive his memory. Doubtless the preferred creditors against the Milton literary estate would be at least a dozen. Thaler is therefore decidedly to be commended for confining the certainty of his conclusions to the reminiscent effect of Shakspere upon Milton, and for merely throwing out in the form of a suggestion the probability of his influence upon Milton in regard to matters structural and formative.
As the writer of the present article had been engaged in much the same task before this work appeared, it is perhaps only natural to print what survives the wreckage of his work by the appearance of "The Shaksperian Element in Milton." This article contributes some thirty odd passages from Shakspere which are possibly echoed in Milton, in addition to those already pointed out by other scholars. The present paper will contribute about as many more, will attempt also a restatement of the case for Shakspere made necessary by the additional citations, and will seek through the
"The Dramatic Element in Paradise Lost," Studies in Philology, Vol. XIV, pp. 178 ff.
* After deducting from his list certain citations already made by R. C. Browne, English Poems by John Milton, Clarendon Press, 1897.