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curately observed, without any weakening of the system which he originated. To apply the admirable comparison of Cowley, Bacon, though himself not free from the errors of his time, yet clearly foresaw the gradual disappearance of those errors :

" Bacon, like Moses, led us forth at last;
The barren wilderness he passd
Did on the very border stand
Of the bless'd promis'd land,
And from the Pisgah-height of his exalted uit

Saw it himself and show'd us it.” At the same time, gifted as he was with “ the vision and the faculty divine,” by which he could thus anticipate centuries, and behold“ not as through a glass darkly, but face to face,” sciences which had no existence when he wrote, nothing is more admirable than the common sense which distinguished Bacon's divine intelligence. The ruling and vital principle, the very life-blood of the new philosophy, is the indispensable necessity of accurate and complete observation of nature, anterior and preliminary to any attempt at theorizing and drawing conclusions. Yet, though he was the apostle of experiment, he has no less foreseen and warned us against the ill effects that would follow the rash generalization founded upon particular and imperfect observationeffects which have been very perceptible in modern science, and which have tended to give to the knowledge of later days an air of superficiality little less dangerous than the more visionary and sophistical tone which characterises the ancient systems.

But above all, what strikes us as the most admirable peculiarity of Bacon's philosophy is the spirit of utility which runs through and modifies the whole design. We do not mean utility in the low and limited sense of a care for the development of man's merely physical comforts and advantages ; the exercise and cultivation of the highest faculties of our being, the enlarging of our sphere of intellectual pleasures, the strengthening of our moral obligations, the refining and elevating of our perception of the beautiful —all these Bacon has treated, and would have exhausted, had they not been as infinite as the soul itself. On many of these subjects-on the beau idéal, for example—it will be hardly too much to say that he has left nothing for future speculators.

Another peculiarity which we cannot forbear noticing, as forming one of the striking features of Bacon's intellectual character, is the circumstance that his writings will not be found iņ any high degree apophthegmatic: that is, the reader will not be likely to meet with many of those short, extractable, and easily remembered sentences, or gnomai, which pass from mouth to mouth as weighty maxims, or separate masses of truth-the gold coins, if we may so style them, of the intellectual exchange. Many such

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are undoubtedly to be found in his pages, but they are certainly less plentiful in Bacon than in other great writers; but we shall generally find these passages so imbedded and fixed in the argument of which such propositions form a part, as not to be extracted without manifest loss to their value and significancy. In consequence of this, Bacon is one of those authors who must be read through to be correctly judged and worthily appreciated. Nor will any aspiring and truly generous mind begrudge the labour which will attend this exercise of the highest faculties with which God has endowed it; it is surely no mean privilege to be thus admitted into the laboratory and workshop of the new philosophy, and to behold—no indifferent spectator-the sublime alchemy by which experience is transmuted into truth.

Among the minor works of the illustrious Chancellor it may not be improper to mention two or three of the principal. . We shall specify, first, a very curious treatise •On the Wisdom of the Ancients,' being an attempt to explain the classical mythology, by a system of moral and political interpretation, much less founded on probability than calculated to elevate, in our eyes, the degree of knowledge possessed by the pagan world. The following is the judgment, respecting this work, attributed to Balzac, from one of whose letters it is supposed to be a quotation :

Croyons donc, pour l'amour de Chancelier Bacon, que toutes les folies des anciens sont sages, et tous leurs songes mystères ; et de celles-là qui sont estimées pures fables, il n'y en a pas une, quelque bizarre et extravagante qu'elle soit, qui n'ait son fondement dans l'histoire, si l'on en veut croire Bacon, et qui n'ait été déguisée de la sorte par les sages du vieux temps, pour la rendre plus utile aux peuples.” Another work is entitled ihe Felicities of the Reign of Queen Elizabeth ;' and a third is a production of greater importance, a ' History of King Henry VII.,' written probably in a courtly desire to gratify King James, who was, as everybody knows, ambitious of the reputation of the pacific glories of a wise and tranquil administrator, and whose character in this respect would find a flattering parallel in the unwarlike reign of the politic Henry. Besides these, he is the author of a philosophical fiction entitled " The New Atlantis."

The glory of Bacon, as he himself had predicted, rose gradually but steadily on the literary horizon of Europe. It may

however be complained (and this is not a circumstance to be wondered at) that his works were often rather vaguely eulogized than accurately studied: the profound nature of their subject, and the vastness of their design, were likely to have much limited the number of their readers; and in consequence many erroneous opinions became prevalent, not only respecting the true value of the Baconian revolution in science, but even respecting the nature of the system

itself. It is unnecessary to say, that what the great philosopher gained in this way from vague and unintelligent praise he lost in true glory, which can only be founded on justice. It was reserved for various illustrious metaphysicians of the Scottish school " 10 turn,” in Hallam's words, " that which had been a blind veneration into a rational worship.” These profound and elegant writers, Reid, Stewart, Robison, and Playfair, by clothing the philosophy of Bacon in the language of the nineteenth century, lave deprived it of whatever repulsive and difficult features it may have retained from its being written in a dead language, and from its somewhat complicated arrangement and subdivisions; while some of the greatest among modern experimental philosophers have been proud to draw, from the practical observations and more recent improvements of astronomy and other branches of physics, new illustrations of the justness of Bacon's predictions, new conclusions clearing up obscure passages, and new proofs of the truth of his system. It is delightful to see experiment thus the willing handmaid of theory, and Herschel paying practical worship at the shrine of Bacon.

CHAPTER V.

ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH DRAMA.

Comparison between the Greek and Mediæval dramas-Similarity of their origin

--Illusion in the Drama--Mysteries or Miracle-Plays--Their Subject and Construction--Moralities--The Vice--Interludes--The Four P.'s--First Regular Dramas--Comedies-- Tragedies -- Early English Theatres--Scenery -- Costume--State of the Dramatic Profession.

THERE are very few æsthetic subjects upon which more controversy has been raised than upon the respective merits oivarious schools of the Drama; and certainly there are not many which have excited more critical asperity than the long-vexed question as to the comparative merits of the two great dramatic schools, to which Schlegel has assigned the not inapposite titles of Classical and Romantic. But both parties seem to have forgotten the similar origin and history of the two schools which they represent as so different, nay, even as so opposed; and to have pretty generally overlooked the important fact that the peculiarities of structure which respectively characterise the iwo classes of productions, so falsely considered as antagonistic, are really not essential or inherent, but arise from merely technical or superficial circumstances. Thus, for example, the Greek tragic drama was originally a religious ceremony, and, however modified, never entirely lost that sacred character. The personages of the Attic stage were almost always to a certain degree mythic: that is, they were almost invariably heroic; invested, either by antiquity, by the greatness of their exploits, or their immediate relations with the deities, with something of a religious character; and it is easily conceivable that, with such a people as the Greeks, the boundary-line between the god and the hero was not very distinctly traced: Theseus, for instance, was very little less a god ihan Hermes, and Apollo very little more divine than Orestes ; there were indeed many characters, frequently produced on the Athenian stage, who, like Hercules, obviously partook of the two qualities. Thus the Attic tragedy always retained a good deal of the historico-mythic character-a character which pervaded even the technical details of its construction, performance, and mise en scène.

Indiscriminate admiration, however, has discovered beauties in merely accidental and unimportant peculiarities, and has attempted to derive from the necessary laws of art rules which were founded upon circumstance or convenience. Thus, because the Greek theatres were of colossal dimensions, and consequently uncovered, enthusiastic critics have discovered beauty and grandeur in the contrivances employed to exaggerate the size of the actor and increase the sound of his voice : because their construction, and also the imperfection of the arts of mechanism, together also perhaps with some prejudices connected with the gravity and even sacredness of these spectacles, precluded them from changing the scene, attempts have been made to prove that the fixed scene-or unity of place-is an essential law of the dramatic art, and that consequently the modern plays are necessarily and demonstrably barbarous. It is exceedingly curious to observe with what ingenuity the so-called classical critics have defended the adherence to the Three Unities in dramatic composition. Their reasoning has all along been founded upon the supposition, that in the dramatic art the source of pleasure is to be found in illusion, and that consequently the preservation of the unities is necessary;

Now, we will not maintain in this place the very false and low view of the true nature and object of art involved in this supposition; we will not show its fallacy when applied to painting, to music, to sculpture, or show that illusionor rather delusion, a cheating of the senses—is never at all contemplated in works of any degree of excellence; we will not repeat the obvious fact that illusion, properly so called, never was and never can be attained, or even approximatively reached, in any dramatic work whatever, and that, even could it be attained, the result would be precisely subversive of the only conceivable end of the drama, viz: the production of pleasure. We will go at once to the point, and say that this principle of illusion, as an ohject to be attained by the dramatist, was never at all recognised by the Greeks themselves. It is true that the Apollo or the Venus might be rendered by a coating of rose-pink much more like a man and a woman; but the object of the sculptor was to elevate and gratify our imagination, and not to cheat our eye. Had the latter been the aim of sculpture, a wax doll would be a finer production than the noblest marble that ever breathed under the chisel of Phidias.

We have only to read a Greek play to see that nothing can be less artificial as a contrivance for producing mere illusion. The formality and regularity of the language, the simple and straightforward character of the dialogue, the lyric portion or chorus, written in a different dialect and more splendid imagery than the rest of the work, the total neglect of probability and even possibility in the arrangement of the events, time and space perpetually annihilated, and every conceivable rule of human conduct and prudence incessantly violated-all these things sufficiently prove to us that the great Greek dramatists never so much as contemplated the possibility of producing what we call illusion.

No man, we flatter ourselves, ever admired more fervently than we do the admirable genius and exquisite taste which characterise the Greek tragedies; their dignity, their pathos, the wonderful depth and acuteness of the remarks with which they are crowded, the dazzling splendour of.the lyric portions so nobly contrasted with the pure marble-like severity of the dialogue, the rich descriptions (put into the mouth of the messenger in most of them) of the terrible catastrophe with which they conclude, and which the Greeks did not permit to take place on the stage, from a scruple founded, we are persuaded, not on a principle of taste, but of religion—these are merits which we can allow with enthusiastic readiness; but they are merits very distinct from that principle of illusion which has been considered as having guided the mighty art of Æschylus, of Sophocles, and of Euripides.

If we examine into the early history of that Romantic Drama which has become universal over the whole of modern Europe, and which has in our own century finally expelled the so-called Classicism from its last entrenchments on the stage of France, we shall see how singularly its origin and first development resembled the rise of the Grecian Tragedy. Both species of composition were at first purely religious; both were performed on solemn occasions in temples ; both were distinguished for the simplicity of their structure, and for a total neglect of the muchvaunted principle of illusion; both were accompanied by a certain

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