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A thousand times more dear, my love,
The climax of the chastening, the perfection of the discipline, the purification of the fiery trial, compose the acclamations of a glorified epilogue. It is the same familiar exalted goal.
But Love, the Conqueror, Love, Immortal Love,
Some radiant beam to light the House of Life;
Our lower lives, and calms the ignoble strife,
And raises the dead life with his sweet breath,
And from the arms of Death
Soars with it to the eternal shore,
Where sight or thought of evil comes no more.
The ultimate contribution thus far to this poetical philosophy of continuous change culminating in Love is the Ode of Life.' This is a canticle of odes, just as Mrs. Browning's Sonnets from the Portuguese' and Mr. Rossetti's 'House of Life' are canticles of sonnets. Again, fault may be found with the title the author has chosen, but it is impossible to cavil at the execution of the separate poems, or to deny that they constitute a compact and well-managed series. The work begins with an 'Ode of Creation,' and traces human experience onwards from Infancy through all the intermediate stages, with their respective joys and sorrows, to Age, Decline, and Change. It is interesting to note here, as in the earlier work, the influence of the poet's master-that unknown poet,' Henry Vaughan-as well as to find a maturity of thought and expression that betoken strong originality and singular devotion to a lofty range of culture. The following lines, for example, from the 'Ode of Infancy,' may be set down by some as an echo of Wordsworth, whereas the fact is that both poets would probably not have written their respective passages but for Vaughan's Silex Scintillans' :
Oh, little child! thou bringest with thee still,
Some dim reflection in thine eyes,
Some sense of Godhead, some indefinite wonder
Who knows no speech of ours, and yet doth keep
One would willingly linger over the poet's sympathy with the tenderness and fresh innocence of childhood, his dainty lyrical movement with the lovers, as
Rapt, careless, looking in each other's eyes,
The lovers go ; his sense of what is due to the perfect years '--especially his worthy tribute to devoted motherhood-his discriminating separation of Good and Evil, and his reverence for declining years, but it is not possible here and now. Suffice it to say, that the Ode of Change'
“ brings us once more nearer a glimpse of the eternities, and leaves us impressed with the supreme importance of Faith by contrast with its handmaiden Knowledge.
Take me, oh infinite Cause, and cleanse me of wrong!
Finally, then, may we not see some length towards an explanation of our poet's popularity ? He has a message for the English reader such as is seldom delivered to him ; an appeal to his individual consciousness which he finds it impossible to resist. The Poet speaks as a man to his brother, striking sympathetic chords, stirring tender and far-reaching associations, and ever wisely didactic in the endeavour to point the way to spiritual Truth. These are modes of influence that can never fail. A busy, thronging, money-loving people will still find time-even were it from the commonplace motive of noting contrasts—to see what the author of Songs of Two Worlds' has to depict for them as his ideal of · The True Man.' The phenomenon of his popularity is to be explained on the ground of his ability to take his readers into his confidence, and insist, as in these lines, upon their higher perceptions :
Take thou no care for aught save truth and right;
MONTAIGNE AS AN EDUCATIONALIST.
CONTAIGNE, the essayist and sceptic, continues, after a lapse of
three hundred years, to retain our admiration. Among mere men of the world he is sovereign. He is original and unique, and at the same time a type of a class. Though the class he represents may not be a large one, he yet gives expression to a way of estimating life which is a passing mood of all thoughtful minds. He thus leads a large constituency--all the larger that he makes no tyrannical demands, and warns the reader not to labour after even him. Few writers say so many wise things as Montaigne does, and no one appears so little solicitous about convincing others that his sayings are wise. His intellectual philosophy is essentially sophistical and sceptical, his morality conventional, and his moral philosophy epicurean.
We are not disposed, however, to allow to Montaigne, and such as he, the superiority to limitations that they claim. It is all very well to proclaim the impossibility of finding absolute truth, and to luxuriate in a cultured indifference, but at the foundation of all such talk there lies a philosophical conviction as positive as that of the most ardent zealot. The conviction is that, doomed as man is to nescience, the happiness of each individual is for himself the only solid pursuit, and is to be at all hazards cherished. The standard of happiness will doubtless vary with the idiosyncrasies and circumstances of each man, but must always with cultivated men embrace equability of mind, balance of judgment, a kindly disposition to all with whom they are brought in contact, an indisposition to exertion for any purpose whatsoever as leading to certain disturbance and almost as certain disappointment, a horror of a Cause,' and a strict regard to the comforts of the animal economy generally. Intellectual scepticism is itself in truth an implicit dogmatism, and in the field of moral action it is epicurean dogmatism. No man holds more tightly to a positive philosophy of life than Montaigne. Doubtless the attitude of inquiry, the que sçais-je ? of Montaigne, gives a breadth and elasticity of mind and promotes a geniality of nature that have their charms, and are genuine objects of desire to most men. They are, however, the true possession only of those who are not 'too sure' of anything. A steady sustained conviction that there is nothing admitting of conviction runs through Montaigne's life and writings, and he is in this sense as positive as his neighbours. No man can build his house on shifting sand. Montaigne may in words defy us to find him desperately in earnest, but he fails: for he never doubts his doubts, and he never loses his grip of his ethical standard such as it is. So far at least he is in sober earnest.
We should like soinetimes to find this arch-philosopher of practical wisdom in earnest about other things than indifference, and we naturally seek for this quality of earnestness in his views of religion and politics—subjects which call forth the passions of men more than any other. But notwithstanding all that has been said and written on these points, I think we shall find that his whole mental attitude was such as to forbid definite conclusions even on these vital subjects. His Apology for Sebonde does not throw so much light on his religious beliefs as we should desire. If readers are disappointed in their expectations here, they have themselves to blame, for they search for something which his philosophy has beforehand told them not to expect. In religion he was strictly conventional, and in politics he was equally conventional. · For Heaven's sake, he would say, don't disturb the status quo; things are bad enough, I grant, but in seeking to make them better you will probably make them worse. Let us go on from day to day, quietly meeting little difficulties as they arise, and making the best both of the good and of the bad. The practical guidance of life, that is our business.'
If we prosecute our inquiry after the earnest' side of Montaigne's character, we shall find it perhaps most conspicuous in his heartfelt desire to amend the condition of the poor, and in his views on education. It is the latter with which we have to do here ; but of both characteristics I would say that they were the fruit of his positive philosophy. A happy, useful (provided usefulness did not call for too much exertion), practically wise life was his summum bonum, and it was this aim that unconsciously determined the substance of bis educational theory. In considering then his teaching, we must keep Montaigne's theory of life before our minds. Education as distinct from instruction is a subject on which no man can possibly write without being more or less consciously controlled in all his utterances by his philosophy of man and of human life.
So much is necessary for the proper understanding of Montaigne on education. But more than this is needed for the proper placing of him in the series of educational writers. We have to understand his historical relations and the circumstances of his life and time, of which men like Montaigne are in a special sense the product and reflection.
Luther died when Montaigne was thirteen years old. It was during the latter period of Luther's life that the Humanistic movement among the leaders of the Thought of Europe began to tell, as all great philosophic and political movements inevitably do, sooner or later, tell, upon the education of youth. The reformation of religion was itself only part of the larger Humanistic movement. For Humanism was simply a rebellion against words and logical forms in the interest of the realities of life and thought. An intellectual movement of this kind could not fail to make itself felt in education as well as in the domain of religious forms and formularies, for it was a philosophical movement, and philosophy ultimately determines all such things. Up to the period of university life, and even beyond it, education consisted in the acquisition of Latin words and rules about Latin, and this in time received the addition of logic with all its scholastic subtleties, and such physics as abridgments of Aristotle could supply. Prior to Montaigne's school-days the intellectual life of the schoolboy was, as may be supposed, very wretched, but those who survived it and continued to devote themselves to grammar, rhetoric, and logic, certainly acquired an amount of discipline which could not fail to sharpen their wits. Intensity and subtlety of thought were the material outcome of the educational system, but accompanied with a restricted range of view and a worship of arid terms and phrases. Luther's educational activity was directed to aid the Humanists in reviving in the school à regard for substance as opposed to form.
Pure Latinity, the study of the substance of the great Roman writers, and of rhetoric and logic by the perusal of those great products of literary genius out of which the fules of rhetoric and logic were themselves generalised, began to take the place of mere words and of barbarous Latinity. The typical schoolmaster of this period was John Sturm, the rector of the High School of Strasbourg, whose course of instruction, severe and mainly linguistic, was yet such as to give genuine culture to all those who were capable of culture. Sturm died in 1589. Already the Humanistic movement in schools had been represented in England by Dean Colet, who died in 1519, and by Roger Ascham, who died in 1568, and was a correspondent of Sturm, Erasmus, the friend of Colet, died in 1536. Montaigne's position is thus clearly defined. Born in 1533, and dying in 1592, he was in the midst of the full tide of the reaction against, what Milton calls, the scholastic grossness of barbarous ages,' ragged notions and babblements.' Bacon's influence had not yet begun.
Montaigne's father, a gentleman of private estate in the province of Guienne, had notions of his own as to the education of the young Michel, and whatever we may think of them, the son thought highly of the method, and all through life retained for his father's memory the profoundest affection and respect. He used to ride in his father's old military cloak, because,' he said, when I have that on I seem to wrap myself up in my father. His education, under the paternal
' roof, was directed morally to the cultivation in him of an intense love of truthfulness and of kindliness of feeling and manners towards the
poor and dependent. So solicitous was the father to surround his child with every beneficent influence, that he had him roused every morning by the sound of music, that there might be no violent disturbance of his nervous system. As regards intellectual education, the main object even with Humanists was Latin (and a little Greek) because Latin represented Humane Letters. Montaigne himself tells us the novel arrangements his father made for initiating him in this language without straining his powers. He gave him a Latinspeaking tutor, and surrounded him with Latin conversation, so that