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and a studied moderation is the chief merit of his

book. "In the first place," says he, "we must resolutely resist the natural temptation to exaggerate the darkness of the Middle Ages with a view to enhancing the brightness of the succeed- ing Age." In one sense there never was a Dark Age. That is to say, there never was a time in which learned men did not read, write, and teach. Not merely wee many books written in the centuries which are called dark, but the books were very widely diffused. At the same time, there was a gradual, if distinct, revival, or rediscovery, of the classics, and this rebirth of ancient learning is by far the most adventurous period in the history of thought. A few zealous men set out to find again forgotten continents of erudition. They were inspired by the same love of what

seemed strange and new as sent Columbus across the world, and in its results their enterprise was more wonderful than his. The difficulties which they overcame

were enormous. The first necessity was the recovery and transcription of the classical texts. These were not easily found, and when found were not easily copied. When Petrarch happened on two speeches of Cicero at Liege, "the only ink that could be obtained in that large town," says Dr. Sandys, "was of the colour of saffron." But the intrepid discoverers triumphed over all difficulties, and some of the earliest lecturers found it necessary (and not impossible) to commit to memory the texts upon which they lectured.

Among the earliest restorers of the ancient learning were Tetrarch and Boccaccio, and Dr. Sandys recounts their exploits with enthusiastic admiration. Nor could he find a better subject for romance. In the mere discovery of lost treasures there is a legitimate excitement ; and Petrarch not only discovered, but interpreted. Cicero and Virgil were his favourites, and they were the authors most widely read during the Renaissance. His greatest achievement—in his own eyes—was to find at Verona a manuscript containing the letters to Atticus and Quintus. Thus a new world floated into his ken, and it is characteristic of his simple faith and literary enthusiasm that no sooner had he dis- covered the masterpiece than he sat him down to write a letter to Cicero telling him of his good fortune. But Cicero and Virgil, though his favourite; were by no means the only authors that Petrarch loved and studied. Horace and Terence, Lucan and Statius, Claudian and Seneca,—he knew them all; and of the historians it was Livy whom he prized the most, and whose love of Rome aroused his own patriotism for Italy. Nor when once Petrarch and Boccaccio had done their work did the interest in Greek and Latin flag. The fifteenth century witnessed the systematic study of archaeology, and thus from a few fragments the worlds of Athens and of ancient Rome were reconstituted. With increasing knowledge the value of human letters came

to be recognised :— "Without literature," wrote Aeneas Sylvius Piccolomini to his nephew, "I do not know what you can be, but a two-legged donkey. For, without learning, what is man, however wealthy, however powerful he may be ? No one, neither nobleman nor king nor general, is of any worth, if he is ignorant of Letters.

Perhaps some maiden fair to see, who is herself attracted by your comeliness, has smitten you, and is entangling you in her toils. You may deem yourself happy in your wooing, but you are being deeply deceived. For, while you are doting on her beauty, you are deserting another beautiful form, that is really fairer by far. For neither the star of the morning nor the evening-star is fairer than the wisdom that is won by the study of Letters."

There is, of course, a literary exaggeration in this passage. But it strikes the right note, and it is peculiarly welcome at a time when learning is generally despised as of no practical use.

It was Vittorino who established the first school of the humanities at Mantua, and who attempted to restore the old athletic training of mind and body which was the glory of Athens. While he_studied with his scholars the best authors * Harvard Lectures on the Revival of Learning. By J. E. Sandys. Cambridge: at the University Press. De. 65. net.]

of Rome, while he brought immigrants from Greece to read Homer, Hesiod, and the dramatists with his pupils, he did not disdain physical exercise and the sports of gentlemen. "Sometimes," as Dr. Sandys says, "he would organise a mimic siege, in which one side held the fort and the other stormed it, and his heart rejoiced when their shouts went up to heaven, and all was filled with dust.' He aroused in his boys a spirit of bravery, and also made them indifferent to heat or cold." Thus he applied in earnest the precepts of Plato, and attempted to make, not mere scholars, but strong and wise citizens. Then presently academies and the printing press came to the help of scholars, and took from them part of an intolerable burden. The invention of Gutenberg relieved them for ever of the heavy task of transcription, and the scholarly texts printed by the Aldi and others made the diffu- sion of knowledge an easy matter. For the Alai were scholarg as well as printers, and they read and revised the texts which they sent forth over Europe with a scientific accuracy which was wonderful at that time. The inscription over the room of Aldus himself, quoted by Dr. Sandys, shows the spirit of the enterprise far better than pages of eloquence could do. "Whosoever thou art "—thus it ran—" Aldus straitly chargeth thee, if thou desirest aught of him, to do thy business in briefest wise, and then at once depart—save haply thou comest, even as Hercules unto the weary Atlas, ready to bear his burden on thy shoulders ; if so, there will ever be enough to do, both for thyself and for as many as bend their steps hitherward."

But the noblest enterprise has its failings, and a kind of pedantry was the sin which beset the revival of learning. The scholars who taught the classics soon began to write a Latin which, being neither sincere nor individual, was a mere travesty of Cicero's style. It was against these pedants that Erasmus launched his amazing satire, the Ciceronianus. This masterpiece, though violently assailed by Scaliger and others, was never answered, and it remains unanswerable. Ciceronia.niam, a vice then, is still a vice to-day. No good can come of any one who attempts to ape the style of a writer greater than himself. Moreover, it is the grossest folly to attempt to express the facts of modern life in an ancient formula. That, indeed, is to pour new wine into old bottles. And from Latin the Ciceronian habit has spread to all modern languages. The boasted propriety of eighteenth-century French, which impoverished a tongue made strong by Montaigne, was but a concession to the spirit of Cicero. The good sense which turned the coloured prose of Tudor England into the precise and timid speech of Addison was no more than another compliment to the great virtuoso. And many there are to-day who impoverish their style at the bidding of Cicero, though they have never read a line of the orator's writing. Dr. Sandys himself, for another reason, is a Ciceronian. The habit of Public Orator is so strong upon him that he is obliged to fit each of his lectures with an ornamental peroration, as though he were paying an official compliment, or introducing a distinguished foreigner to the Chancellor of his University. And it is Cicero that be mimics all the while. This, however, is a venial fault, and but a slight blemish upon an interesting book.