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Others could give them pleasure and amusement or instruction —these could be picked up anywhere; but it was for me to give them rest, rest in a life of trouble. What better could be done for those weary and world-worn spirits—for him whose career of perpetual action was impeded and harassed by the rarest of his powers and the richest of his acquirements (Hillard], for another who had thrown his ardent heart from earliest youth into the strife of politics, and now, percbance, began to suspect that one lifetime is too brief for the accomplishment of any lofty aim [Pierce), for her on whose feminine nature had been imposed the heavy gift of intel. lectual power, such as a strong man might have staggered under, and with it the necessity to act upon the world [Margaret Fuller]?
It is evident that the author had determined not to present these persons except interpretatively, and expected his readers—all for whom he cared—to divine them severally through experiences of the high quality which had made them what they were.
Manifestly the type forces of the soul, when they have molded the speech of a race until equal to their needs, will shape the evolution, always, of an interpretative diction. The Vedas are cast nobly in interpretative strains. The Hebrew Psalms and prophecies are similarly conceived and couched. It was lately seen that “Paradise Lost” is such at opening; and the method and style of the opening are the method and style of the whole poem. So it is the manner of the two great epics upon which this work was patterned—the "Iliad” and the Aeneid,” especially the latter:
Arms and the man I sing, who first from the shores of the Troad
There is no identifying mention of Æneas here, the purpose being to make the reader feel him with his soul and afterward know him with his mind. The supreme experiences of life approach us by hidden, transcendental avenues. Our knowledge of God, of our mother's love, of ravishing beauty, of the sublime and terrible in nature, does not come to us by way of the eye or of the ear, for the blind and deaf have not less acquaintance with them than ourselves. The type forces
within stand as interpreters of the unconditioned world beyond, and testify to us without speech or language, with no less aid from the things of sense, of its mysterious and awful
In every work of art they make known to us the conscious presence of the vague and vast, of the all-pervading, universal soul. It is this presence which Vergil appeals to here, in his degree. Dante, in his world-famed “Commedia," stirs in us this sense of the infinite more fully:
Midway upon the journey of our life
All the great things of literature are sombered by it;* it proves scarce possible for any save the most reckless and trivial to write without reflecting some influence from it. Perhaps the genius most under its spell within this century has been Carlyle. What Titanic moods and passions has it bred in him! The second element produces a generic exaltation through making this pervading presence felt. Dealing with the small and paltry in the world of facts, it makes the peaks of God overhead show through. The unit with this element is the whole idea, not terms or clauses contributory to the thought. The opening of "Paradise Lost,” of Homer, of Vergil, and of Dante contains no single figure in lesser units, but is never figurative except as allegory. Allegory is the first fruits of the second element in literature.
* We must recognize the black-letter characters, evolved from the Gothic gloom of the Middle Ages, as an attempt to force the readers of that time to discern" even the alphabet elements spiritually rather than intellectually.
ART. III.-RICHARD BENTLEY.
IF to confer lasting benefit upon mankind be the true title to greatness, then surely the name of Richard Bentley should hold no mean place in the list of the world's great men. It was he who first placed classical scholarship upon a really scientific basis; it was he who first planned to constitute a text of the New Testament based directly upon the oldest and best manuscripts, and thus became the founder of New Testament criticism; his clear and powerful style gives him a place among the leading prose writers of the eighteenth century; and for more than forty years he was one of the most prominent figures in a great English university. By the sheer force of his commanding personality he stamped himself indelibly upon the life and thought of his age.
Richard Bentley was born on January 27, 1662, in the village of Oulton, in the West Riding of Yorkshire. Those who love to note the influence of environment upon character will not fail to observe that he had not a little of the strong good sense and canny shrewdness that are commonly supposed to characterize the Yorkshireman. His family were yeomen, and were originally well-to-do; but his grandfather had served in the royalist army, and part of the family property had therefore been confiscated. Bentley's father, whose name was Thomas, still owned a small estate at Woodlesford, not far from Oulton. The mother of Bentley was the daughter of a mason or builder of Oulton, and seems to have been a woman of unusual gifts. She gave the young Richard his first instruction in Latin grammar. After attending a day school for a time Bentley was sent to Wakefield Grammar School. The lot of a public school boy in those days was by no means an enviable one. The tasks were hard, and the punishments excessively severe. Of Bentley's school days we know but little; but it is certain that he retained a vivid recollection of them, and long afterward when talking to his grandson he blamed his teachers for punishing him because “the dunces (said he] could not discover that I was pondering it in my mind and fixing it more firmly in my memory than if I had been bawling it out amongst the rest of my schoolfellows.” When only fourteen
When only fourteen years of age Bentley passed from the grammar school to St. John's College at Cambridge. He had his own way to make, for his father had died and the small estate had been left to an older son. He was admitted as a subsizar, a poor student of the very lowest class, who received his board and lodging free in return for certain menial labor. Doubtless his haughty spirit chafed under the burden; but so far as we know he made no complaint. There is reason to believe that he was a diligent student, and was even then laying the broad and deep foundations of that colossal erudition which was afterward to astonish his contemporaries. The only memorial of his undergraduate life that has come down to us is an English poem upon the Gunpowder Plot. It abounds in classical allusions, and is more vigorous than elegant.
In 1680, at the age of eighteen, Bentley took his B.A. degree. His name stood sixth among the honor men of the first class; but in reality he was third, for three of the men above him had been inserted in the list merely as a compliment to their rank. He had been elected to a scholarship, but never received a fellowship. Nevertheless his college did him honor by appointing him, when he was only twenty, head master of Spaulding School in Lincolnshire. It may well be questioned, however, whether he was suited to this post. His temper was too harsh and his disposition too arbitrary to make him a successful head master. But fortunately he was soon called away to a position for which he was far better adapted. Dr. Stillingfleet, then Dean of St. Paul's, formerly fellow of St. John's College, invited Bentley to become tutor to his second son. Here, indeed, was a magnificent opportunity. Dr. Stillingfleet was himself a profound scholar, and, what was of inestimable value for Bentley, possessed one of the finest private libraries in all England. We can well imagine with what eagerness the ambitious young man availed himself of the treasures of that splendid collection. Moreover, he worked in no desultory fashion, but made himself indexes and lists of the authors whom he found cited by ancient writ
Our own Holmes has said:
Though index-learning turn no student pale,
But when one has to make his own indexes, as Bentley did, the labor may well turn the student very pale indeed. What pains Bentley took we may judge from his own words:
I wrote, before I was twenty-four years of age, a sort of Hexapla, a thick volume in quarto, in the first column of which I inserted every word of the Hebrew Bible alphabetically; and in five other columns, all the various interpretations of those words in the Cbaldee, Syriac, Vulgate, Latin, Septuagint, and Aquila, Symmachus, and Theodotion, that occur in the whole Bible.
And this was only one of the many fields in which he labored. Truly, there is no royal road to learning.
For six long, happy, peaceful years Bentley remained in the home of Bishop Stillingfleet. Not only was his learning broadening and deepening, and his powerful mind attaining the full measure of its strength, but in his patron's house he was mingling in some of the very best literary society of the day. Bentley was no mere recluse or solitary student, and he acquired a knowledge of the world which was destined to serve him well in later times. There is an anecdote of him, however, which shows that his character was beginning to display some of its harsher features. One day at dinner, after Bentley had left the table, one of the guests, who had been sitting next to him, said to the bishop, "My lord, that chaplain of yours is certainly a very extraordinary man.” “Yes,” answered Stillingfleet, “had he but the gift of humility, he would be the most extraordinary man in Europe.” Immediately after the Revolution Stillingfleet was made Bishop of Worcester. His second son was sent to Wadham College, Oxford, and Bentley accompanied the young man thither. Bentley himself took an ad eundem degree of M.A.