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There is no art delivered unto mankind, that hath not the works of nature for his? (its) principal object, without which they could not consist, and on which they so depend as they become actors and players," as it were, of what nature will have set forth. So doth the astronomer look upon the stars, and, by that he seeth, set down what order nature hath taken therein. So do the geometrician and arithmetician in their divers sorts of quantities. So doth the musician in times (i.e. in regard to musical time) tell you, which by nature agree, which not. The natural philosopher thereon hath his name, and the moral philosopher Standeth upon (founds his science upon) the natural virtues, vices, or passions of man; and, Follow nature, saith he, therein, and thou shalt not err. The lawyer saith what men have determined; the historian what men have done. The grammarian speaketh only of the rules of speech, and the rhetorician and logician, considering what in nature will soonest prove and persuade, thereon give artificial rules, which still are compassed within the circle of a question, according to the proposed matter. The physician' weigheth (considers) the nature of a man's body, and the nature of things helpful or hurtful unto it. And the metaphysic* (metaphysician), though it be in the second and abstract notions, and therefore be counted supernatural, yet doth he indeed build upon the depth of nature. Only the poet, disdaining to be tied to any such subjection, lifted up with the vigour of his own invention, doth grow in effect into another nature (i.e. is not bound down as the others to external nature) in making things either better “then” nature bringeth forth, or quite anew (new) forms such as never were in nature, as the heroes, demi-gods, cyclops,
(1) His. The word its, which we should now use for Sidney's his, had not yet made its appearance in the language, and was scarcely in common use before the middle of the 17th century. It does not occur at all in the A.V. of 1611. The only verse quoted as containing it (Lev. xxv. 5) has been modernised since that date. The word in this pas: age is it (" It groweth of it own accord”), which was beginning to be used as the possessive case as well as the nominative, instead of his, which had hitherto been the proper possessive of both he and it, as it is in A.S.
(2) Players, or, as Bacon would say, "interpreters." (3) Physician. See note 3, p. 71.
(4) Metaphysic. The word metaphysic means strictly, beyond the natural, and is used here for, supernatural. In Shakspere, Macbeth speaks of “fate and metaphysical (i.e. supernatural) aid.” The sense of the above passage seems to be, that though from his name, the metaphysician might se 'm to be beyond and independent of nature; yet he, too, like all the others quoted, depends on nature, though, certainly, on the “ depth" of nature.
chimæras, furies, and such like; so as (that) he goeth hand and hand with nature, not enclosed within the narrow warrant? (sanction) of her " guifts,” but freely ranging only within the zodiac of his own wit. Nature never set forth the earth in so rich tapestry as divers poets have done, neither with [so] pleasant rivers, fruitful trees, sweet-smelling flowers, nor whatsoever else may make the too-much-loved earth more lovely; her world is brazen, the poets only deliver a golden.
5. POETRY TRANSCENDS PHILOSOPHY AND
(FROM THE SAME WORK.) The philosopher, therefore, and the historian, are they which would win the “gole" (i.e. make men virtuous), the one by precept, the other by example; but both, not having both, do both halt. For the philosopher, setting down with thorny argument the bare rule, is so hard of utterance, and so misty to be conceived, that one that hath no other guide but him, shall wade in him till he be old, before he shall find sufficient cause to be honest (virtuous!. For his knowledge standeth so upon (consists so much of the abstract and general, that happy is that man who may understand him, and more happy that can apply what he doth understand. On the other side, the historian, wanting the precept, is so tied, not to what should be, but to what is; to the particular truth of things, and not to the general reason of things; that his example draweth no necessary consequence, and therefore a less fruitful doctrine.
Now doth the peerless poet perform both; for whatsoever the philosopher saith should be done, he (the poet) giveth a perfect picture of it in some one by whom he pre-supposeth it was done, so as (that) he coupleth the general notion with the particular example. A perfect picture, I say, for he yieldeth to the powers of the mind an image of that whereof the philosopher bestoweth but a wordish description, which doth neither
(1) Warrant, &c., 8.e. not depending, like a pensioner, upon what nature may dole out to him, but, like an equal, going hand in hand with her, and freely ranging within the compass of his own genius. He has in fact a nature of his own—"he grows into another nature," a grander and more glorious nature, compared with which the ordinary nature is as brass to gold.
strike, pierce, nor possess the sight of the soul, so much as that other doth.? ' For, as in outward things, to a man that had never seen an elephant, or a rhinoceros, who (he who) should tell him most exquisitely (minutely) all their shapes, colour, bigness, particular marks; or of a gorgeous palace, the architecture, with declaring the full beauties, might well make the hearer able to repeat, as it were, by rote, all he had heard, yet should never satisfy his inward conceits (conception), with being witness to itself (ie. with the consciousness) of a true lively knowledge; but the same man, as soon as he might see those beasts welí painted, or the house well in model, should straightways grow, without need of any description, to a judicial comprehending of them; so, no doubt, the philosopher, with his learned detinitions, be it of virtue, vices, matters of public policy or private government, replenisheth the memory with many infallible grounds of wisdom; which, notwithstanding, lie dark before the imaginative and judging power, if they be not illuminated or figured forth by the speaking picture of poesy:
For conclusion, I say, the philosopher teacheth, but he teacheth obscurely, so as (that) the learned only can understand him; that is to say, he teacheth then that are already taught. But the poet is the food for the tenderest stomachs; the poet is, indeed, the right popular philosopher. Whereof Æsop's tales give good proof; whose pretty allegories, stealing under the formal tales of beasts, make many, more beastly (that are more beastly) “then” beasts, begin to hear the sound of virtue from these dumb speakers.
Now, 10 (as to) that which commonly is attributed to the praise of history, in respect of the notable learning (which) is got by marking the success (event or issue), as though therein a man should see virtue exalted, ard vice punished; truly that commendation is peculiar to poetry, and far off from history. For, indeed, poetry ever setteth virtue so out in her best“cullours,” making fortune her well-wa'ting hand-maid, that one must needs be enamoured of her. Well may you see (you certainly may see) Ulysses in a storm, and in other hard plights; but they are but
(1) l.e. the general abstract description of the philosopher is far less impressive than the concrete representation of the same truth by the poet.
12) Or of a gorgeous palace, &c. There is much inversion in the style. The sense seems to be, As he who should fully describe to another the architecture of a gorgeous palace night give him a sort of rote knowledge of it, but could not possibly supersede personal observation and experience, co the philosopher informs the mind, but does not awaken the soul, as the poet does.
exercises of patience and magnanimity, to make them shine the more in the near-following prosperity: and of the contrary part (on the contrary), if evil men come to (on) the stage, they ever go out (as the tragedy-writer answered to one that misliked' (disliked) the show of such persons) so manacled as (that) they little animate folks to follow them ; but history, being captived to the truth of a foolish world, is many times a terror from well-doing, and an encouragement to unbridled wicked
6. GENERAL PANEGYRIC UPON POETRY.
(FROM THE SAME WORK.) SINCE (“sith”) the ever-praise-worthy poesy is full of virtuebreeding delightfulness, and void of wanting) no gift that ought to be in the noble name of learning; since the blames (charges) laid against it are either false or feeble; since the cause why it is not esteemed in England is the fault of poet-apes (poet-copiers or pseudo-poets) not poets; since, lastly, our tongue is most fit to honour poesy, and to be honoured by poesy, I conjure you all that have had the evil luck to read this inkwasting toy (trifle) of mine, even in the name of the nine muses, no more to scorn the sacred mysteries of poesy; no more to laugh at the name of poets as though they were next inheritors (heir's) to fools; no more to jest at the reverend title of a rhymer; but to believe, with Aristotle, that they (the poets) were the ancient treasurers of the Grecians' divinity; to believe, with Bembus, that they were first bringers in of all civility (civilisation); to believe, with Scaliger, that no philosopher's precepts can sooner make you an honest (good) man than the reading of Virgil; to believe, with Clauserus, the translator of
(1) Misliked. See note 3, p. 75.
(2) Civility. “A civil man now is one observant of slight external courtesies in the natural intercourse of man and man; a civil man once was [i.e. in the 16th and 17th centuries) one who fulfilled all the duties and obligations flowing from his position as a civis (or citizen), and his relations to the other members of that civitas (or state) to which he belonged ; and civility the condition in which these were recognised and observed. The gradual departure of all deeper significance from the word civility has obliged the creation of another word. civilisation, which only came up towards the conclusion of the last century." (Trench, "Select Glossary.") We have in Milton (" Areopagitica”), “That wise and civil Roman, Julius Cæsar."
Cornutus, that it pleased the heavenly Deity, by Hesiod and Homer, under the veil of fables, to give us all knowledge, logic, rhetoric, philosophy, natural and moral, and quid non? (everything besides); to believe, with me, that there are many mysteries contained in poetry, which of purpose were written darkly (obscurely), lest by profane wits it should be abused; to believe, with Landin, that they (the poets) are so beloved of (by) the gods that whatsoever they write proceeds of (from) a divine fury; lastly, to believe themselves, when they tell you they will make you immortal by their verses.
THE IRISH MANTLE.
(FROM A “VIEW OF THE STATE OF IRELAND,” WRITTEN ABOUT 1596.)
THE commodity (i.e. the convenient use of the mantle) doth not countervail the discommodity, for the inconveniences which thereby do arise, are much more many (numerous); for it is a fit house for an out-law, a meet bed for a rebel, and an apt cloak for a thief. First the out-law being for his many crimes and villanies banished from the towns and houses of honest men, and wandering in waste places, far from danger of law, maketh his mantle his house, and under it covereth himself from the wrath of heaven, from the offence of the earth, and from the sight of men. When it raineth, it is his pent-house; when it bloweth, it is his tent; when it freezeth, it is his tabernacle. In summer, he can wear it loose; in winter, he can wrap it close; at all times he can use it; never heavy, never cumbersome. Likewise for a rebel it is as serviceable. For in his war that he maketh, if, at least, it deserve the name of war,
(1) Spenser's prose style, unlike his poetical, is plain and unadorned-good, however, as being to the purpose. The only specimen we have of it is contained in a long and somewhat tedious “ View of the State of Ireland," written dialoguewise between Eudoxus and Irenæus. Though the style is generally unambitious, there seems to be an occasional fastidiousness, which looks almost like affectation, as where, above, in the first senleuce he uses the synonyms fit, meet, apt, without any very obvious difference in meaning; so again with respect to tent and tabernacle, soon after,