ed a unity in the human race, all of whose branches had worshipped the same God under divers names and aspects, had arrived at the same truth by different roads.
We cannot understand a passage in the twenty-sixth Paradiso, where Dante inquires of Adam concerning the names of God, except as a hint that the Chosen People had done in this thing even as the Gentiles did.
We believe that Dante, though he did not understand Greek, knew something of Hebrew.
He would have been likely to study it as same. It is true that he puts all Pagans in Limbo, where without hope they live in longing, and that he makes baptism essential to salvation.
Inferno, IV. But it is noticeable that his Limbo is the Elysium of Virgil, and that he particularizes Adam, Noah, Moses, Abraham, David, and others as prisoners there with the rest till the descent of Christ into hell.
Dante's Limbo, of course, is the older Limbus Patrum. But were they altogether without hope and did baptism mean an immersion of the
He is the Ulysses of his own prose-epic.
This is the secret of his power and his charm, that, while the representation of what may happen to all men comes home to none of us in particular, the story of any one man's real experience finds its startling parallel in that of every one of us. The very homeliness of Bunyan's names and the everydayness of his scenery, too, put us off our guard, and we soon find ourselves on as easy a footing with his allegorical beings as we might be with Adam or Socrates in a dream.
Indeed, he has prepared us for such incongruities by telling us at setting out that the story was of a dream.
The long nights of Bedford jail had so intensified his imagination, and made the figures with which it peopled his solitude so real to him, that the creatures of his mind become things, as clear to the memory as if we had seen them.
But Spenser's are too often mere names, with no bodies to back them, entered on the Muses' muster-roll by the specious trick o
at sensible addition is made to our stock of knowledge by learning that the word woman does not occur in any form in Milton's poetry before Paradise Lost, and that it is exactly so with the word female Is it any way remarkable that such words as Adam, God, Heaven, Hell, Paradise, Sin, Satan, and Serpent should occur very frequently in Paradise Lost?
Would it not rather have been surprising that they should not?
Such trifles at best come under the head of what old Warner would have called cumgues, perhaps the most imaginative in suggestion he ever wrote, was conjured out of a dry sentence in Purchas's abstract of Marco Polo.
Such examples help us to understand the poet.
When I find that Sir Thomas Browne had said before Milton, that Adam was the wisest of all men since, I am glad to find this link between the most profound and the most stately imagination of that age. Such parallels sometimes give a hint also of the historical development of our poetry, of its apostolical successi
thought, but that he really sees things with their sovereign eye, and feels them with their electrified senses.
His imagination was his bliss and bane.
Was he cheerful, he hops about the gravel with the sparrows; was he morbid, he would reject a Petrarcal coronation,—on account of my dying day, and because women have cancers.
So impressible was he as to say that he had no nature, meaning character.
But he knew what the faculty was worth, and says finely, The imagination may be compared to Adam's dream: he awoke and found it truth.
He had an unerring instinct for the poetic uses of things, and for him they had no other use. We are apt to talk of the classic renaissance as of a phenomenon long past, nor ever to be renewed, and to think the Greeks and Romans alone had the mighty magic to work such a miracle.
To me one of the most interesting aspects of Keats is that in him we have an example of the renaissance going on almost under our own eyes, and that the intellectual ferment wa