Page images
PDF
EPUB

The unity of human thought, and the enormous, silent power of forces inherited and written in our blood. After speaking of the argument that a virile nation had better give attention to “doing things worthy to be written [than] writing things fit to be done,” Philip Sidney says of England:

Certain it is that, in our plainest homeliness, yet never was the Albion nation without poetry. Marry, this argument, though it be levelled against poetry, yet is it indeed a chain-shot against all learning. Of such mind were certain Goths, of whom it is written that, having in the spoil of a famous city taken a fair library, one hangmanbelike fit to execute the fruits of their wits—who had murdered a great number of bodies, would have set fire in it. "No," said another very gravely, “take heed what you do; for while they are busy about these toys, we shall with more leisure conquer their countries." This, indeed, is the ordinary doctrine of ignorance.

So in overweening and pride a band of men who likened their leaders to Wotan and Siegfried, and to another tribal deity, trampled Belgium, destroyed cathedrals and colleges and libraries, and boasted that they would replace these treasures inherited from the workmen and artists and dreamers of past ages with something just as good, turned out with speed and precision in their modern factories. But in "these toys,” symbolic of the great tradition of the human spirit, resided a potency that called to arms freemen from the four quarters of the earth.

In Sidney's story, as in the recent incarnation of it in the conquerors of Belgium and their nemesis, are seen the two heredities. The first heredity is that of the lust for power, brutal, unregardful alike of human suffering and of human effort to escape from the dungeon of the body to a realization of the divine essence of the soul. The savagery of war, the savagery of industrialism, the savagery of intolerance, the savagery of the mob, are all fruits of this heredity, the survival of the beast. And the other heredity is the gift of the spirit. The Russian peasant, most humble of men, thinks that he possesses some share of it. Piers Plowman talked of it. Latimer and Ridley and all the glorious company of martyrs saw its brighter flame through the flames that consumed their mortal bodies. It was the Grail that cheered the little company of exiles in the cabin of the Mayflower and enabled them to write that first compact of free government in America. It was the courage in the heart of Washington, and the divinity that was in Lincoln. It is "the one Spirit's plastic stress” that

Sweeps through the dull dense world, compelling there
All new successions to the forms they wear,
Torturing the unwilling dross that checks its flight
To its own likeness, as each mass may bear,
And bursting in its beauty and its might
From trees and beasts and men into the Heaven's light.

“Genius itself," as Paul Elmer More has admirably said, “the master of music and poetry and all art that enlarges life, genius itself is nothing other than the reverberations of this enormous past [the voice of the race] on the sounding-board of some human intelligence, so finely wrought as to send forth in purity the echoed tones which from a grosser soul come forth deadened and confused by the clashing of the man's individual impulses.”

The faith of the martyr, the courage of the pioneer, the steadfastness of the hero, the love of the emancipator, the vision of the poet,—and the virtue of plain and inarticulate men and women everywhere, gain their power from this great tradition of the race. It was this idealism, sleeping but not dead, that swept America like a divine fire in the months following April of 1917. In the great war this heredity met and conquered the heredity of brute power. Other crises remain to be met, for the warfare never ends. It is the task of school and college to guard the flame.

The editors desire to express their grateful acknowledgements to the following authors and publishers for the use of copyrighted matter contained in the book : To Paul Elmer More and to the Houghton Mifflin Company, for the selection from Aristocracy and Justice; to John Dewey and to Henry Holt & Company, for the extract from German Philosophy and Politics, and to Professor Dewey and the Atlantic Monthly Company for the paragraphs from Understanding the Mind of Germany." The extract from British Social Politics is used by the kind permission of the author, Professor Carleton Hayes. Through the kindness of the Atlantic Monthly Company the editors are enabled to include the paragraphs from Professor Münsterberg's article on "The Standing of Scholarship in America." The selection by Donald Hankey, from A Student in Arms, is included by kind permission of E. P. Dutton & Company, publishers of the book. For the right to use an extract from Viscount Morley's Recollections, the editors are indebted to the publishers, the Macmillan Company. The selections from Whitman's prose and verse are used by the kind permission of the literary executor of Whitman's works, Mr. Horace Traubel.

THE GREAT TRADITION

THE RENAISSANCE

I. THE EXPANSION OF THE INDIVIDUAL

THE TRAGICAL HISTORY OF DOCTOR FAUSTUS

CHRISTOPHER MARLOWE

Enter Chorus Chorus. Not marching now in fields of

Thrasymene, Where Mars did mate the Carthaginians; Xor sporting in the dalliance of love, In courts of kings where state is overturn’d; Nor in the pomp of proud audacious deeds, Intends our Muse to vaunt her heavenly

verse: Only this, gentlemen,-we must perform The form of Faustus' fortunes, good or bad: To patient judgments we appeal our plaud, And speak for Faustus in his infancy. Now is he born, his parents base of stock, In Germany, within a town callid Rhodes: Of riper years, to Wertenberg he went, Whereas his kinsmen chiefly brought him

up. So soon he profits in divinity, The fruitful plot of scholarism grac'd, That shortly he was grac'd with doctor's

name, Excelling all whose sweet delight disputes In heavenly matters of theology; Till swoln with cunning, of a self-conceit, His waxen wings did mount above his reach, And, melting, heavens conspir’d his over

throw; For, falling to a devilish exercise, And glutted now with learning's golden.

gifts, He surfeits upon cursed necromancy; Nothing so sweet as magic is to him, Which he prefers before his chiefest bliss: And this the man that in his study sits.

[Exit. Faustus discovered in his study Faust. Settle thy studies, Faustus, and be

gin To sound the depth of that thou wilt pro

Having commenc'd, be a divine in show,
Yet level at the end of every art,
And live and die in Aristotle's works.
Sweet Analytics, 'tis thou hast ravish'd me!
Bene disserere est finis logices.
Is, to dispute well, logic's chiefest end?
Affords this art no greater miracle?
Then read no more; thou hast attain'd that

end:
A greater subject fitteth Faustus' wit:
Bid Economy farewell, and Galen come,
Seeing, Ubi desinit philosophus, ibi incipit

medicus: Be a physician, Faustus; heap up gold, And be eternis'd for some wondrous cure: Summum bonum medicinæ sanitas, The end of physic is our body's health. Why, Faustus, hast thou not attain'd that

end? Is not thy common talk found aphorisms? Are not thy bills hung up as monuments, Whereby whole cities have escap'd the

plague, And thousand desperate maladies been

eas'd ? Yet art thou still but Faustus, and a man. Couldst thou make men to live eternally, Or, being dead, raise them to life again, Then this profession were to be esteem’d. Physic, farewell ! Where is Justinian?

[Reads. Si una eademque res legatur duobus, alter

rem, alter valorem, rei, etc. A pretty case of paltry legacies! [Reads. Exhæreditare filium non potest pater, nisi,

etc. Such is the subject of the institute, And universal body of the law: This study fits a mercenary drudge, Who aims at nothing but external trash; Too servile and illiberal for me. When all is done, divinity is best : Jerome's Bible. Faustus; view it well.

[Reads.

fess:

2

Resolve me of all ambiguities,
Perform what desperate enterprisė I will?
I'll have them fly to India for gold,
Ransack the ocean for orient pearl,
And search all corners of the new-found

world
For pleasant fruits and princely delicates;
I'll have them read me strange philosophy,
And tell the secret of all foreign kings;
I'll have them wall all Germany with brass,
And make swift Rhine circle fair Werten-

berg; I'll have them fill the public schools with

silk, Wherewith the students shall be bravely

clad; I'll levy soldiers with the coin they bring, And chase the Prince of Parma from our

land, And reign sole king of all the provinces ; Yea, stranger engines for the brunt of war, Than was the fiery keel at Antwerp's

bridge, I'll make my servile spirits to invent.

Stipendium peccati mors est. Ha! Stipen

dium, etc. The reward of sin is death: that's hard.

[Reads. Si peccasse negamus, fallimur, et nulla est in

nobis veritas; If we say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and there's no truth in us. Why, then, belike we must sin, and so consequently

die: Ay, we must die an everlasting death. What doctrine call you this, Che sera, sera, What will be, shall be? Divinity, adieu ! These metaphysics of magicians, And necromantic books are heavenly; Lines, circles, scenes, letters, and characters; Ay, these are those that Faustus most de

sires. 0, what a world of profit and delight, Of power, of honor, of omnipotence, Is promis'd to the studious artisan! All things that move between the quiet poles Shall be at my command: emperors and

kings Are but obeyed in their several provinces, Nor can they raise the wind, or rend the

clouds; But his dominion that exceeds in this, Stretcheth as far as doth the mind of man; A sound magician is a mighty god: Here, Faustus, tire thy brains to gain a deity.

Enter WAGNER Wagner, commend me to my dearest friends, The German Valdes and Cornelius; Request them earnestly to visit me. Wag. I will, sir.

[Exit. Faust. Their conference will be a greater

help to me Than all my labors, plod I ne'er so fast.

Enter Good Angel and Evil Angel G. Ang. O, Faustus, lay thy damned book

aside, And gaze not on it, lest it tempt thy soul, And heap God's heavy wrath upon thy head! Read, read the Scriptures :—that is blas

phemy. E. Ang. Go forward, Faustus, in that fa

mous art Wherein all Nature's treasure is contain'd: Be thou on earth as Jove is in the sky, Lord and commander of these elements.

[Exeunt Angels. Faust. How am I glutted with conceit of

this! Shall I make spirits fetch me what I please,

Enter VALDES and CORNELIUS Come, German Valdes and Cornelius, And make me blest with your sage confer

ence, Valdes, sweet Valdes, and Cornelius, Know that your words have won me at the

last To practice magic and concealed arts: Yet not your words only, but mine own

fantasy, That will receive no object; for my head But ruminates on necromantic skill. Philosophy is odious and obscure; Both law and physics are for petty wits; Divinity is basest of the three, Unpleasant, harsh, contemptible, and vile: 'Tis magic, magic, that hath ravish'd me. Then, gentle friends, aid me in this attempt; And I, that have with concise syllogisms Gravell’d the pastors of the German church, And made the flowering pride of Werten

berg Swarm to my problems, as the infernal

spirits On sweet Musæus when he came to hell, Will be as cunning as Agrippa was, Whose shadow made all Europe honor him. Vald. Faustus, these books, thy wit, and our

experience, Shall make all nations to canonize us. As Indian Moors obey their Spanish lords, So shall the spirits of every element

1

Be always serviceable to us three;
Like lions shall they guard us when we

please; Like Almain rutters with their horsemen's

staves. Or Lapland giants, trotting by our sides; Sometimes like women, or unwedded maids, Shadowing more beauty in their airy brows Than have the white breasts of the queen of

love: From Venice shall they drag huge argosies, And from America the golden fleece That yearly stuffs old Philip's treasury; If learned Faustus will be resolute. Faust. Valdes, as resolute am I in this As thou to live: therefore object it not. Corn. The miracles that magic will perform Will make thee vow to study nothing else. He that is grounded in astrology, Enrich'd with tongues, well seen in minerals, Hath all the principles magic doth require: Then doubt not, Faustus, but to be re

nowm'd, And more frequented for this mystery Than heretofore the Delphian oracle. The spirits tell me they can dry the sea, And fetch the treasure of all foreign wrecks, Ay, all the wealth that our forefathers hid Within the massy entrails of the earth : Then tell me, Faustus, what shall we three

want? Faust. Nothing, Cornelius. O, this cheers

Enter two Scholars First Schol. I wonder what's become of

Faustus, that was wont to make our

schools ring with sic probo. Sec. Schol. That shall we know, for see, here comes his boy.

Enter WAGNER First Schol. How now, sirrah! where's thy

master? Wag. God in heaven knows. Sec. Schol. Why, dost not thou know? Wag. Yes, I know; but that follows not. First Schol. Go to, sirrah! leave your jest

ing, and tell us where he is. Wag. That follows not necessary by force

of argument, that you, being licentiates, should stand upon: therefore acknowl

edge your error, and be attentive. Sec. Schol. Why, didst thou not say thou

knewest? Wag. Have you any witness on't? First Schol. Yes, sirrah, I heard you. Wag. Ask my fellow if I be a thief. Sec. Schol. Well, you will not tell us? Wag. Yes, sir, I will tell you; yet, if you

were not dunces you would never ask me such a question, for is not he corpus naturale? and is not that mobile? then wherefore should you ask me such a question? But that I am by nature phlegmatic, slow to wrath, and prone to lechery (to love, I would say), it were not for you to come within forty foot of the place of execution, although I do not doubt to see you both hanged the next sessions. Thus having triumphed over you, I will set my countenance like a precisian, and begin to speak thus:--Truly, my dear brethren, my master is within at dinner, with Valdes and Cornelius, as this wine, if it could speak, would inform your worships: and so, the Lord bless you, preserve you, and keep you, my dear

brethren, my dear brethren! [Exit. First Schol. Nay, then, I fear he has fallen

into that damned art for which they

two are infamous through the world. Sec. Schol. Were he a stranger, and not

allied to me, yet should I grieve for him. But, come, let us go and inform the Rector, and see if he by his grave

counsel can reclaim him. First Schol. O, but I fear me nothing can

reclaim him! Sec. Schol. Yet let us try what we can do.

[ Exeunt.

my soul!

Come, show me some demonstrations magi

cal, That I may conjure in some lusty grove, And have these joys in full possession. l'ald. Then haste thee to some solitary

grove, And bear wise Bacon's and Albertus' works, The Hebrew Psalter, and New Testament; And whatsoever else is requisite We will inform thee ere our conference

[blocks in formation]
« PreviousContinue »