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In looking back over the whole domain through which this brief sketch has led us, it is clear that, great as the progress of the whole movement has been-for good-and excellent as some of its features are, much yet remains to be achieved. The Association for promoting the Higher Education of Women should certainly decide on some one list of approved books for students in collegiate schools, written by well-known, tried scholars and proficients. Certain general rules should be laid down as to the exact proportions of time to be devoted to the different branches of study; the number of hours per diem for mental work, for physical exercise and the gymnasium, for rest, for play, for downright idleness. For life is not altogether and only a pursuit of toil; there are golden hours in it, when one may feed the mind with a wise passiveness:
The grass hath time to grow in meadow lands,
Breaks on its yellow sands.
Certain recommendations, also, should be made for the treatment not only of the intellectual and specially gifted scholars, but of the dull, the stupid, and the lazy, whom some teachers are apt to consign to the tender mercies of their own laziness. Above all must some effort be made to raise the character, range, and tone of schoolgirl literature as a whole, and in every possible way to encourage the choice of really good books. The yearly prizes should include not merely the so-called 'standard works,' but some at least of a lighter and more attractive kind, such as a girl, after a long day of hard work, will turn to as a relief, and read with delight.
One word more of caution to those who are now toiling for the higher education of women, and our task is done.
In the midst of all the toil there is-and naturally enough -a very considerable amount of talking-talking specially as to what the next generation of women will be like. The coming fifty years may possibly bring about changes even more startling than any yet achieved. But no true friend of the cause may safely speculate as to these, much less reckon on them as certain, but rather beware of all undue haste and pressure. The wave that has now suddenly risen and advanced so far, may possibly subside and recede with equal suddenness. All great movements are slow. Even ripe fruit must have time to mature. Good fruit deserves it; inferior fruit demands it. Forcing the pace is a certain element of failure at one part or other of every race, and
disaster, whether midway or near the goal, equally ruinous. It is said by some enthusiastic and sanguine toilers that the day may possibly arrive when among the world's famous ones will shine the names of some few women as scholars, scientists, philosophers, or poets. There may hereafter be found among senior wranglers some one Newtonia;' Hypatia,' among crowned doctors of philosophy; or on the banks of Isis an Athanasia' to found the new religion when the crumbling theories of Mill, Comte, and Spencer are as a dream of the past. There may not impossibly be, as yet unborn, some one Olympia Morata,' Una, Minerva,' 'Virginia or Gloriosa,'-greater than Eld has known. Alas! also, there may still exist Perdita, Anonyma, and Abandonata; the world will maintain its wonted course, and there still may be fresh Lucrezia Borgias, Jezebels, and Delilahs or Messalinas, of undying infamy, for such are they in whom passion has overcome the love of truth and the sense of duty.
But, be this as it may, whether such dreams and visions as these be true, or end in idle smoke, human nature abides unchanged. That which the Creator at first planted in the creature of His own hand can never be eradicated. The place assigned to woman, in the eternal decree, is hers, and hers alone. Her function, her very name, is 'Eve,' the mother of all living. Hence, deep down in the heart of every true daughter of Eve lies the hope, the passionate desire, of being a mother. It is a part of her very nature. Conscious or unconscious of this motive, for a large portion of her existence her whole being is secretly touched and swayed by it, as the life-blood that mingles with the whole stream of her aspirations, impulses, graces, and emotions. There is no purer, deeper joy than that of a mother over her firstborn child; no intensity of grief more bitter than her sorrow at its loss. As a girl of seven she hugged her baby doll, however battered, old, and ugly; as a woman of twenty she clings to her newborn son; clings to him when, after wandering far from home, he at last comes back, stained, defiled, degraded, and asks for pardon. Blind to all his faults and failings-nay, to his deformities-alive only to the thought that he is her child, and that she is his mother-she welcomes him with love and blessings. To deny this supreme truth were impossible; to ignore it, folly; to attempt to crush or destroy it, madness. As to the women of the future, they must grow out of the women of the present. If they would indeed attain to the high dignity which is
VOL. CLXVI. NO. CCCXXXIX.
their birthright, to the full light and grace which is their noblest possession, they must obey the supreme law of their being their aspiration to become mothers of great men. And this is to be achieved not by aping the work or the ways of men, or by seeking to surpass or rival them in the toil of life; but by purity and self-restraint, by gracious innocence, tenderness, reality, and truth. Such weapons as these are the tried armour of all time; and the noblest victories ever yet won by woman have been thus won, and thus alone. Thus equipped she is invincible. Arrayed in any other garments, academic or mundane, shipwreck is inevitableand that, too, shipwreck of her brightest, fairest, and truest hopes of all that the world counts most worthy, of all that she herself deems most precious, dearest, and best.
ART. V.-1. Life of Giordano Bruno the Nolan. By J. FRITH.
3. Documenti intorno a Giordano Bruno da Nola. Roma: 1880.
4. Giordano Bruno à Genève (1579). Documents inédits publiés par TH. DUFOUR. Genève : 1884.
5. Giordano Bruno's Weltanschauung und Verhängniss. Aus den Quellen dargestellt von Dr. HERMANN BRUNNHOFER. Leipzig: 1882.
6. Jordano Bruno. Par CHRISTIAN BARTHOLMÈSS.
7. Jordani Bruni Nolani Opera Recensebat F. FIORENTINO. IMBRIANI et C. M. TALLARIGO.
Latine conscripta. Vol. I.
OME eight or nine miles inland from Vesuvius lies a provincial town which still retains the name and dignity of a city. The title, like some others, embodies an imposing tradition, and embellishes a dilapidated reality. Shrunken and faded, Nola preserves no material evidence of its ancient state. The magnificent circuit of its walls, twelve-gated, twelve-towered, which once kept Hannibal at bay-Panis non pervia Nola, Silius Italicus calls it-was doomed to early and complete obliteration. Not a carved fragment calls to mind the pomp of amphitheatres, temples, and palaces
which met the dying eyes of Augustus. Only the coins and vases with which half the museums in Europe have been enriched attest the progress made at Nola in the arts of Græco-Italian civilisation.
Greek traditions, originally planted, it is said, by a colony from Chalcis, one hundred and seventy years after the Trojan war, were there strong and lasting. They probably still persist, as they certainly persisted throughout the Middle Ages, in popular and ceremonial usages of immemorial antiquity. The mental type of its inhabitants, too, was exotic, and far removed from Sabine simplicity. They were shrewd, vivacious, subtle; tasted life with a keen zest for its enjoyments; prided themselves on their fine culture, the elegance of their surroundings, the splendour of their attire. Their fluent tongues were used with a freedom savouring of license; and the antique municipal spirit kept its vigour in them down to the verge of modern times. Scarcely the fellowtownsmen of Themistocles prided themselves more upon being Athenians than the citizens of Nola upon their fortunate birth at the foot of Monte Cicala. Among them were many minor celebrities-Ambrogio Leone the humanist, Albertino Gentili the jurist, Tansillo the poet (in right of his parents), Merliano the sculptor, surnamed 'il Buonarroti 'napoletano;' but they are all lugubriously overshadowed by the tragic figure of the Nolan' par excellence, of the vagrant and ill-starred thinker who has been styled the "knight-errant of modern philosophy.'
The first life of Giordano Bruno to appear in English has been published this year. The task was a tempting one, and has been diligently and faithfully executed by Mr. Frith. Yet we are unable to pronounce the result satisfactory. The first duty of a biographer is to tell a story; but there is next to no continuous narrative in the volume before us. A statement of fact commonly serves in it as the starting-point for a digression. The plodding soul of the humdrum, unimaginative reader, who loves to follow closely the sequence of events, is vexed by ceaseless excursions into the ethereal regions of an idealistic philosophy. Nor does the portrait presented to him reproduce the original with any approach to accuracy. Bruno's character, like his doctrine, was full of incongruities. It becomes virtually falsified by their ostensible reconciliation. Mr. Frith, indeed, deserves the praise of candour: he suppresses no inconvenient facts, but their crude outlines are so softened in the glowing atmosphere of his enthusiasm that their true meaning evades
ordinary intelligence. In the process of canonisation unfolded by him, the devil's advocate, in short, hardly gets fair play. The contradictions of Bruno's speculative opinions are similarly smoothed down, with the result of affording, as we believe, an essentially misleading impression of their genuine import. Though eminently well-intentioned, the book requires to be taken with a good many grains of salt. Its hero is made to serve as a sort of touchstone of good and evil. By their relations towards him, persons and institutions approve or condemn themselves. Prepossessions bring credulity in their train. Our author, for instance, takes much too seriously the fag-ends of profanity with which Bruno, in his lighter moods, was wont to decorate his productions. Such floating scurrilities were at that period diffused throughout Italy, and might be had for the asking by any writer who chose thus to eke out his wit.
Yet, in spite of these drawbacks, we are still thankful for what Mr. Frith has given us; and in travelling with his escort over the dolorous pilgrimage of the Nolan's' life we shall endeavour to keep on as good terms with him as possible, and pick no quarrels, unless in the interests of truth. It is due to him to say that he has turned fully to account the new materials at his disposal. These are neither scanty nor unimportant. The Venetian archives were first laid under contribution in Signor Berti's valuable Life of Giordano Bruno,' named among our authorities; further records were appended to his volume on Copernicus, reviewed in these pages in July 1877; while the whole of the disinterred documents, including some protocols from the Vatican, were separately collected by the same author in 1880. Still more recently, M. Dufour, the keeper of the Genevese archives, has divulged some very curious pieces. derived thence; so that the obscurity amid which our philosopher long moved has been to a large extent dissipated, and dissipated not by farthing-candle gleams of conjectural interpretation, but by authentic and undeniable sunlight rays of truth.
In one of a little knot of shabby houses forming a kind of suburb to the 'city' of Nola, and still known as the Casale 'di Santo Paolo,' Giordano Bruno was born in May 1548. His father, Giovanni Bruno, was (perhaps subsequently, for he was then but twenty-three years of age) a soldier by profession. His mother's name, Fraulissa Savolino, suggests a Teutonic origin, and, in point of fact, discharged landsknechts were not unfrequent settlers in the neighbourhood.