is not so difficult as one might suppose.
It often takes a great while to determine the comparative merit of authors,— indeed, the newspapers are just now saying that the late Mr. Tupper had a larger income from the sales of his works than Browning, Tennyson, and Lowell jointly received,—but it does not take so long to determine which among an author's works are the best; and it is probable that the Descent of Neptune in the Iliad, and the Vision of Helen in the Agamemnon of Aeschylus, and Sappho's famous ode, and the Birds of Aristophanes, and the Hylas of Theocritus, and the Sparrow of Catullus, and the De Arte Poetica of Horace were early recognized as being the same distinct masterpieces that we now find them.
It is the tradition that an empress wept when Virgil recited his Tu Marcellus eris; and it still remains the one passage in the Aeneid that calls tears to the eye. After all, contemporary criticism is less trivial than we think.
Philosophers, says Novalis, are the eternal