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from the ferment of an empire expanding into every corner of the earth, and now not merely by means of war or commerce, but by settlement, discovery, and missionary effort. A feeling began to arise that the English race and English language were about to cover the whole world. The imperial note of Elizabethan literature that had come from the ubiquitous enterprise of the time reappeared in the sphere of imagination and thought. Writers grew proud of the task of perfecting their own tongue. From all sides flowed words and expressions into it through the channels of science and art, scholarship and commerce. And yet it became conscious of its own genius and its new destiny and looked back with more eagerness and dignity to native models and sources. It looked to classics and to foreign literatures rather as a conqueror that would master and annex than as a worshipper that would admire and follow. It had something of the same attitude in Shakespeare and Spenser; all languages and literatures, and especially the classical, were imperially despoiled of their treasures to fit out the new world of English imagination. During the two centuries between, except perhaps in Milton, the English tongue had been willing to take the place of a disciple, glad of any precedent consecrated by time. Now it ranged again through all spheres and tongues and literatures and brought in spoils that were to be built into its own structure and seem almost native to itself. The fashion of quoting from foreign languages and especially classics in order to embellish was now rapidly antiquated by the imperial sense of native power. The tyranny of classical precedent and model broke down before the fast-growing pride in home-grown art.

3. And classical scholarship itself benefited by this revolution. A sense of the humanity that lived in Greek and Roman breasts crept into it. It studied the ancient world now as a living thing with an individuality of its own and not as an ideal anticipation of modern life. The Greeks and Romans were no longer taken as having laid down literary and artistic and political laws for all time, but as wise experimenters in the same directions as modern civilisation. Lessons could be learned from their solutions


of the problems of life and art, but not final wisdom. Imaginative men became scholars and touched the old material and style into new life. Poets like Shelley and Mrs. Browning set themselves to give English readers the true beauty and greatness of classical poetry and prose, as Marlowe and Chapman had done before in the Elizabethan age. And translation became a fine art that did its best to lose none of the fine gold in the process of passing ancient thought and feeling through the crucible. Greek and Roman history had to be re-written from the new point of view that imaginative sympathy and the discoveries of philology and archæology had given. The ancient world was no less enthusiastically studied than before; but in the vast expansion of the audience and of the interests of scholarship and art, of literature and thought, it seemed to fall into the background compared with its place in former periods. Other studies and the growth of modern science and art began to overshadow it.

Section 6.

I. But nothing was more effective in this respect than the re-discovery of native literature made before the century began. It was indeed a surprise to scholars brought up in the pseudo-classical bigotry of the Queen Anne literature to find such power, such imagination, such suggestiveness of style, such wealth of diction and illustration in the longdespised poetry and prose of England. Even in AngloSaxon and in the deranged and uncertain language of the twelfth and thirteenth centuries there was found astonishing activity of fancy and thought and research. Critics saw Homeric power as well as a native shadowy grandeur of poetry in the Beowulf and a variety of imaginative interests and talents in the trove of the Exeter and Vercelli books. They saw in the alloy of the middle English period much pure gold that might be refined again and used in the noblest poetry. Indeed the movement became reactionary and extreme, as is the case with all re-discoveries; beauty and power were seen where there were none; and tedious and commonplace productions that had deserved the oblivion they had fallen into were dragged forth and offered

to factitious and happily brief admiration. English scholarship in the first half of our century tended to grow antiquarian.

2. But its growth had a great effect upon style both poetic and prose. The native words that had held their own even in the most Latinised diction were illuminated by the new research and gained a new sense of their long ancestry; they gathered to them an atmosphere of suggestive vigour and poetry that renewed their life. Words and idioms too that had been banished by a pseudo-classical age from recognised literary style began to reassert themselves as the true stuff of poetry and imaginative prose. Saxonism became with some a passion and an eccentricity. But with most it did not drive out the old Latinism, but only took its natural place as ally. There was a vigorous resort especially by poetry to the older and more Saxon vocabulary; but foreign words that had taken root in the language and assumed the native habits were accepted as indigenous. Shorter poems and especially lyrics threw off the cumbrous phraseology in which the Restoration and the Queen Anne age had almost stifled natural emotion. Without this return to native sources of diction, the new outburst of poetry and imaginative prose could never have found expression that would appeal to the whole of the new-born national audience; it would have been maimed; in fact it could not have come into existence; the more Saxonised utterance was as essential a condition and result of the re-admission of the people to English literature as the new emotion or thought. Narrow cultured circles would never have overleapt the precedents of the Queen Anne period, however fresh or striking the fancies they had to express. It was the nationalisation of the literature that demanded appeal to all the resources of the language, the old as well as the more recent, the native as well as the foreign. And it was the new popular element in the audience that made a return to Saxonism a necessity; the more popular forms of both poetry and prose reveal an increasing use of native words and phrases and idioms.

3. But the true antidote to over-Saxonism lay in the preference shown for the Elizabethan literature. There the

writers saw how natural a Latinised diction was to dignity of thought and emotion, how unsuited the merely Saxon elements of the vocabulary were to the higher and more abstract problems and thoughts that belong to the noblest poetry. In the tragedies of Shakespeare they felt the power that lay in an amalgam of Saxon and Latin words; they saw how difficult it would have been to express the sublimer meditations of Hamlet or Timon or the greater passions of Lear or Macbeth or Othello without the free use of foreign words that the Renaissance had introduced. Milton, too, showed them how sublime the music that English could reach, if it rejected none of the foreign elements it had incorporated. The simpler emotions and more primitive phases of civilisation could be put more powerfully and melodiously in the native diction. But when poetry and more imaginative prose rose to heights of abstract reflection or of great or subtle passion, or indulged in the more refined humour, it broke down. Anglo-Saxon, when it came into contact with Latin civilisation was the language of a primitive people accustomed to maritime and war-like pursuits, incapable of philosophical thought, untouched by the refinements of art, or the subtleties of a highly developed religion. The vocabulary that could fit itself to the expression of all but the primitive emotions and thoughts had to come from without; and it came with Latin Christianity and the Gallicised Latinism of the Normans. And when at last the English people emerged from its inchoate and mongrel stage into the full-grown and vigorous and united nation of the Elizabethan age, a still greater influx of foreign words was needed to express its higher thoughts and passions. So varied and subtle were the developments of the new national life that the old language could not have covered them; and a vast expansion of both the diction and the style was an absolute essential. The inundation of Latinisms was as necessary to the greatness of Elizabethan literature as the unification of the people and the growth of patriotism and national thought. For the English mind ventured out into new regions that needed more than the mere descriptive vocabulary of Anglo-Saxon. All the new literary forms that based themselves upon generalisation and abstract speculation demanded a wider

and more varied linguistic sphere to draw from. And hence it is that, when poetry became didactic and philosophical after the Restoration, it became Latinised in diction. And whenever in the age of expansion or nationalization it rose above the merely lyrical or conversational, or the utterance of the simpler emotions and social facts, it retained and extended the sphere of Latinism. The main advance it made on the Queen Anne use of the classical vocabulary was that it took a more masterly grasp of it; it learned from the Elizabethans and Milton to make Latin words and idioms humbly serve its highest purposes, instead of fitting its purposes to them. One of the differences between the use of classical elements by Shakespeare and Pope may be expressed thus ; the older poet melted them and ran them into whatever mould he desired; the later chiseled his forms out of them by patient art and without the heat of passion, and he had to fit the result to the natural grain and flaws of his material.

4. There was a return to the Shakespearean method in the new age of expansion. The writers took hold of the etymology and the inner meaning of the classical elements of English and fitted them anew to their imaginative purposes, like a living garment of thought and feeling. The complete fusion of the Latin and Saxon elements of our vocabulary was the mark of the best prose as of the best poetry; for the primitive feelings must mingle with the deepest thought in all permanent literature; and for pathos, awe, pity, sympathy with nature, sorrow, joy, the old Teutonic words and idioms, saturated with nationalism for a thousand years and more, must ever be the best; whilst for the treatment of all the abstract problems of the higher thought and for the purposes of the more urban types of humour, satire, irony, sarcasm, burlesque, the mock-heroic, the less concrete vocabulary of an advanced civilisation was needed; and here the Latin elements of English came in. If we take an imaginative prose-writer like Lamb we see almost at a glance how "mingled is the yarn" of English diction in his age, and how superior it is for variety and flexibility to the prose of Dr Johnson or even of The Spectator; it is fitted to every mood; and in his Elia he keeps running over the whole

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