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rehabilitate Seneca, Tacitus, and the whole school of silver-age Latinity, or of Montaigne, who was just as consciously the propagandist of the influence of Plutarch and Seneca. For these are controversialists whose testimony is prejudiced. The comments of later writers who have observed the current of their times serves our purpose better. In the Latin translation of his Advancement of Learning, published nearly twenty years after the English version, Bacon added a significant passage to his famous denunciation of Ciceronianism, which has wholly escaped the attention of critics. Here he describes another styli genus, characterized by conciseness, sententiousness, pointedness, which is likely to follow in time upon a period of oratorical luxury. Such a style is found, he says, in Seneca, Tacitus, and the younger Pliny, "and began not so long ago to prove itself adapted to the ears of our own time."" If this passage had not been concealed in Latin it would have had a greater influence upon our reading of the seventeenth-century prose. It is admirably confirmed by what Father Caussin said in France in 1619: he describes the new form of style in the same way, mentions the same ancient models, adding Sallust to the list, and says it is the style that everyone now covets.
From the middle of the century an interesting array of parallels in ancient, Biblical, and seventeenth-century literature drawn up by the libertine scholar Gabriel Naudé must suffice. Naudé puts Seneca and Plutarch in the first rank of his preference, as a Montanist should; and with them Epictetus and Aristotle; the Wisdom of Solomon he thinks has the same value; and the chief modern authors of like quality are Montaigne, Charron, and Du Vair.“
After 1650 the knowledge of what has been happening in prose grows steadily clearer; the defects and errors of the first half of the century are under correction, but it is generally recognized that the same models are still preferred, the same "Attic" tendency prevails. Perhaps the most interesting comment of all, because of the genius of its author, is the fragment of Pascal's, cited on a former page, in which he asserts that the spirit of the time has
"De Aug. Sc., I (ed. Spedding, Boston, 1865, vol. п, p. 127). "De Eloquentia Sacra et Profana, II, chapters 14-16.
“Bibliographica Politica, p. 25 (in Grotii et Aliorum Dissertationes, Amsterdam, 1645). See also his Syntagma de Studio Liberali, p. 79, and elsewhere.
all been favorable to an intimate style, which portrays things in their familiar form and as they are known as first hand, and that the style of Epictetus, Montaigne, and Louis de Montalte (that is of Pascal himself in the Lettres) is of this kind." Pascal, it is true, derives his Stoicism, and the intimate style appropriate to it, partly from the Greek spring of Epictetus, but even he was more influenced by the style of his French translation, says Strowski, than by the original; and, as we have had occasion to observe, the Latin sources of neo-Attic were those that availed most for the uses of the seventeenth century. Malebranche, looking back over its history and criticizing it from the angle of a "mathematical " Cartesian, sees three great literary influences, all of the same kind, that have constantly been in operation. Tertullian, Seneca, and Mon- ^ taigne are the members of this interesting trio; all of them, as he says, enemies of clear thinking and pure reason, because they have more fancy than judgment and dress the truth in colors of imagination, 4
Finally, in the last year of the century, Shaftesbury sums up the " history of Senecan imitation in his Characteristics. He describes accurately the form of the familiar essay in the manner in which Seneca had written it, and says: "This is the manner of writing so much admired and imitated in our age, that we have scarce the idea of any other model. . . . All runs to the same tune and beats exactly one and the same measure.” “
It may be expected by the reader that in order to round off our ́argument we shall give illustrations of the use of the word " Attic" in the seventeenth century as applied specifically to the style of Seneca and Tacitus and their contemporaries. Many passages could be cited, of course, in which this attribution is implied; but those in which it is expressly stated would not be very numerous. For the age was aware, as our own is, that " Attic" had certain associations which made it seem inappropriate to authors so fond of rhetorical artifice as the Stoics of the first century were, even though it recog
See note 35, p. 102.
"Recherche de la Vérité, Eng. Translation, 1694, Book II, Part 3, Chap. 3, "Of the Force of Some Authors' Imagination." Also an additional Mustration of this chapter, pp. 144-47.
Miscellany, Book 1, Chap. 3 (Works, ed. Robertson, 1900, Vol. 1). Also I, 1.
nized that their philosophical and intimate manner gave them a general right to this appellation when they are contrasted with the Ciceronian and Isocratean kind of orators. Attic" in short named in their use a genus dicendi that was very general in its character and very inclusive, and they were reluctant, just as the ancients were, to apply it to particular schools of writers. But this need not greatly trouble us. It is not so important for our purpose to defend our use of the term "Attic" as it is to indicate the relation between ancient forms of style and those prevalent in the seventeenth century. And this relation is exactly expressed by saying, first, that "Attic" meant in the seventeenth century the genus humile, and secondly, that the form in which the ancient genus humile was actually imitated in its own practise was the form in which it appeared in the prose and poetry of the silver age of Latin literature, and especially in the prose of Seneca and Tacitus. The term "Attic" is, in truth, not wholly satisfactory; but it is the only one that seems to be available to describe the dominant tendency of the seventeenth-century style, and was also the only one generally used for the purpose in the seventeenth cħtury itself.