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ement is prominent in an order of literature characteristically biblical and religious. At another time, as among the Greeks, the human is conspicuous in an order of literature characteristically secular and pagan. At times, the preparative agencies are clearly traceable, appearing in the form of literary prophecy and promise, type and symbol. At times, all is dim and uncertain to the most observing student, and the best that can be done is to indulge in rational hypothesis till new facts appear or some new light is cast upon the mystery. So, as to the final outcome: in some cases it appears normally in the order of natural literary law; but at other times all is irregular and abrupt, so that the new order of things when fully instituted induces violent reaction. These facts conceded, however, it may be said that the explanation of the Age of Elizabeth as one of these golden eras is not difficult to trace. Clearer at some points than at others, it is in the main intelligible. From the first faint beginnings of literary awakening, in the Age of Henry the Seventh, the principle of life was at work. Indifferentism had given place to a rational interest, and the leading minds of the time were looking for something that would suggest at least the days of Chaucer and

Langland. The "fullness of time" seemed to be near at hand. The papal Henry the Eighth gave place just in time to the young Protestant King Edward the Sixth, the papal Mary to the Protestant Elizabeth, and the Vulgate to the German Bible. All civic and religious movements seemed now to converge and find their best embodiment in the Golden Age.

A further cause is found in the friendly attitude of the Government. The bigotry of Romanism and the bigotry of later Anglicanism and Puritanism were now in abeyance in favor of a genuine religious liberty and of political equality. There was now no such political obstacle to the growth of letters as existed in the earlier and later centuries. The nation, after the Spanish war, was at peace, and the best influences were engaged in the expansion of the nation's intellectual life. During Elizabeth's long reign of forty-five years, authors were encouraged and assisted, while the general sympathies of the age were friendly to rising talent. The Queen was an authoress and a friend of authors. As the drama in its beginnings had been confined to the halls of royalty and the universities, and as private companies of actors were resorting to the open country as strolling players,

the sagacious Queen saw at once the drift of national taste respecting the drama and did what she could to encourage it. England's geographical position was also favorable to the rising literature. Shut in from Continental contact in its most objectionable features, the island was still adjacent to all the best influences of Continental countries.

Some of the chief Characteristics of the Elizabethan Age may now be noted.

1. First of all, is the literary versatility of the age, the richness and variety of its literary product. We revert at once to Shakespeare, evincing in his pages the special knowledge of the jurist, botanist, soldier, navigator, artisan, and medical practitioner. So varied is this ability that his claims have been contested and his dramas parceled out among numerous authors. So Bacon was versed in ancient and modern lore, was a jurist, philosopher, parliamentarian, and author. So, we meet with Jonson, Raleigh, Sidney, and Hooker. We find poetry of all classes — epic, dramatic, lyric, and descriptive. In prose, we find history, romance, travels, philosophy, theology, and miscellaneous criticism. What are called sec

ondary authors would rank as first-rate authors in less brilliant eras.

2. A second characteristic is seen in the Englishness of the age. The earlier Italian influence which came in at the time of Henry the Eighth had materially declined. Gallic influence, though existing, had not as yet become a decisive factor, while that of Germany had not as yet appeared, save in so far as seen in Luther's version of the Scriptures. The era was eminently English. Spenser was a zealous disciple of Chaucer.

eign books now appeared in English dress. Though Bacon wrote his philosophy in Latin, his essays were in English. Though, in the reign of James the First, Spanish influences entered, they were in no sense dominant. The conceits of euphuism, borrowed from the Continent, affected but the surface of literature. Servitude to alien peoples was now forsworn, and the best authors were increasingly loyal to the home speech. Men of all classes were doing their own thinking. If the Queen could read Greek, she was careful to employ Ascham to conserve the interests of the native English. It was more than an era of reformation. It was an era of formation, positive and constructive, and mainly in behalf of national interests.

3. The catholicity of the age is noteworthy. The literature was manly, and, though the nation in its new life was in its youth, the authors were mature. In this respect, no age, according to Hallam, has surpassed it. The writers understood themselves and the world, and were able to interpret man to man as could not have been possible in any previous era. Even Chaucer could not, in the fourteenth century, look out upon as wide a horizon as did the Elizabethans. Hence, the poetry of the time naturally assumed dramatic form. as that form by which man might best reveal himself to his fellows. It was because Shakespeare had more of this cosmopolitan character than any other author of his time that he was the chief of dramatists, as, also, the most representative spirit of the Golden Age. It was an essentially human era, when the duties, rights, and liberties of men were more pronounced than ever before.

4. The era was specifically Protestant. It was the age of the great religious and Protestant reformation, and the rising literature at once felt its influence. The English Bible now entered, as never before, into the heart and life of the people, and its beneficent effect cannot be overestimated. Not in the days of Wyclif, or even of Tyndale,

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