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tion, that they are reducible to law and order, and that the that molecular change is propagated at a certain velocity
and by his studies of develop- central nervous apparatus, as, for example, the brain. We ment he first laid the foundation of a scientific knowledge say at the present time exactly the same thing. Descartes of reproduction. But besides these great powers of living said that the animal spirits were stored up in the brain, beings there remains another class of functions, those of and flowed out from the motor nerve. We say that a mothe nervous system, with which Harvey did not grapple. lecular change takes place in the brain that is propagated It was indeed left for a contemporary of his, René Des- along the motor nerve. Further, Descartes stated that the cartes, to play a part in relation to the phenomena of the sensory organs which give rise to our feelings, gave rise to nervous system which is precisely equal in value to that a change in the sensory nerves, to a flow of animal spirits Harvey played in regard to the circulation. You must rec
which flow was propagated to the brain. ollect that this man Descartes was not merely, as some had If I look at this candle before us, the light falling on the been, a happy, speculator. He was a working anatomist retina of my eye gives rise to an affection of the optic and physiologist, conversant with all the anatomical and nerve, which affection Descartes described as a flow of the physiological law of his time. A most characteristic anec- animal spirits to the brain; but the fundamental idea is dote of him, and one which should ever put to silence those the same. In all our notions of the operations of nerve shallow talkers who speak of Descartes as a hypothetical we are building upon Descartes's foundation. He says and speculative philosopher, is that a friend once calling that when a body which is competent to produce a sensaupon him in Holland begged to be shown his library. tion touches the sensory organs, what happens is the proDescartes led him into a sort of shed, and drawing aside a duction of a mode of motion of the sensory nerves.
That curtain displayed a dissecting room full of the bodies of mode of motion is propagated to the brain. That which animals in course of dissection, and said, “There is my takes place in the brain is still nothing but a mode of molibrary."
tion. But in addition to this mode of motion, there is, as The matters with which we shall treat are such as to re- every body can find by experiment for bimself
, something quire no extensive knowledge of anatomy. I need only else which can in no way be compared to motion, which is premise that what we call the nervous system in one of the utterly unlike it, and which is that state of consciousness higher animals consists of a central apparatus, composed of which we call a sensation. Descartes insists over and the brain, which is lodged in the skull, and of a cord pro- over again upon this total disparity between the agent ceeding from it, which is termed the spinal marrow, and which excites the state of consciousness and the state of which is lodged in the vertebral column or spine, and that consciousness itself. He tells us that our sensations are then from these soft white masses for such they are — not pictures of external things, but that they are symbols there proceed cords which are termed nerves, some of or signs of them; and in doing that he made one of the which nerves end in the muscle, while others end in the greatest possible revolutions, not only in physiology but in organs of sensation. The first proposition that you find | philosophy. Till his time it was the notion that visible definitely and clearly stated by Descartes is the view that bodies, for example, gave from themselves a kind of film the brain is the organ of sensation, of thought, and of emo- which entered the eye and so went to the brain, species intion, using the word “organ” in this sense, that certain tentionales as they were called, and thus the mind received changes which take place in the matter of the brain are the an actual copy or picture of things which were given off essential antecedents of those states of consciousness which from it. In laying down that proposition upon what I imwe term sensation, thought, and emotion. If your friend agine to be a perfectly irrefragable basis, Descartes laid the disagrees with your opinion, runs amuck against any of foundation of that form of philosophy which is termed your pet prejudices, you say, “Ah! poor fellow, he is a idealism, which was subsequently expanded to its utterlittle touched here,” by which you mean that his brain is most by Berkeley, and has taken all sorts of shapes since. not doing its business properly — that he is not thinking But Descartes noticed not only that under certain conproperly - thereby implying that his brain is some way ditions an impulse made by the sensory organ may give affected. It remained down to the time of Bichat a ques- rise to a sensation, but that under certain other conditions tion whether the passions were or were not located in the it may give rise to motion, and that this motion may be abdominal viscera. In the second place, Descartes lays effected without sensation, and not only without volition, lays down the proposition that all the movements of the an- but even contrary to it. I know in no modern treatise of imal bodies are affected by the change of form of a certain a more clear and precise statement than this of what we part of the matter of their bodies, to which he applies the understand by the automatic action of the brain. And general term of muscle. That is a proposition which is what is very remarkable is that in speaking of these movenow placed beyond all doubt whatever. If I move my ments which arise by a sensation being as it were reflected arm, that movement is due to the change of this mass in from the central apparatus into a limb — as, for example, front called the biceps muscles ; it is shortened till it be- when one's finger is pricked and the arm is suddenly comes thicker. If I move any of my limbs the reason is drawn up, the motion of the sensory nerve travels to the the same. As I now speak to you the different tones of my spine and is again reflected down to the muscles of the arm voice are due to the exquisitely accurate adjustments and Descartes uses the very phrase that we at this present adjusted contractions of a multitude of such particles of time employ. And the last great service to physiology of flesh; and there is no considerable and visible movement the nervous system which I have to mention as rendered of the animal body which is not, as Descartes says, resolv- by Descartes was this, that he first, so far as I know, able into these changes in the form of matter termed mus- sketched out the physical theory of memory.
What he cle. But Descartes went further, and he stated that in the tells you in substance is this, that when a sensation takes normal and ordinary condition of things these changes in place, the animal spirits travel up the sensory nerve, pass the form of muscle in the living body only occur under cer- to the appropriate part of the brain, and there, as it were, tain conditions; and the essential condition of the change find their way through the pores of the substance of the was, says Descartes, the motion of the matter contained brain. And he says that when the particles of the brain within the nerves, which go from the central apparatus to have themselves been shoved aside a little by the single the muscle. Descartes gave this moving material a par- passage of the animal spirits, that the passage is made ticular name - the animal spirits. Nowadays we should easier in the same direction for any subsequent flow of aninot say that the animal spirits existed, but we should say mal spirits, and that the repetition of this action makes it that a molecular change takes place in the nerve, and that easier still, until at length it becomes very easy for the an
imal spirits to move these particular particles of the brain, you put him on a table, and put a book between bim and the motion of which gives rise to the appropriate sensa- the light, and give him a little jog behind, he will jump — tion, until at length the passage is so easy that almost any- take a long jump very possibly - but be won't jump thing, especially an associated flow which may be set against the book; he will jump to the right or to the left, going, allows the animal spirits to flow into these already but he will get out of the way, showing that although be is open pores more easily than they would flow in any other absolutely insensible to ordinary impressions of light, there direction; and in this way a flow of the animal spirits re- is still å something which passes through the sensory calls the image — the impression made by a former sensory nerve, acts upon the machinery and his nervous system, act. That, again, is essentially, in substance, at one with and causes it to adapt itself to the proper action. all our present physical theories of memory. In one re- I need not say that since those days of commencing anaspect Descartes proceeded further than any of his contem- tomical science when criminals were handed over to the poraries, and has been followed by very few of his suc- doctors, we cannot make experiments on buman beings, cessors in later days. Descartes reasoned thus: “I can but sometimes they are made for us, and made in a very account for many such actions, many reflex actions taking remarkable manner. That operation called war is a great place without the intervention of consciousness,
series of physiological experiments, and sometimes it hapin opposition to the will.” So far these occur, as, for ex- pens that these physiological experiments bear very reample, when a man in falling mechanically puts out his markable fruit. A French soldier, a sergeant, was bands to save himself. “In these cases,” Descartes said, wounded at the battle of Bareilles. The man was shot in “I have clear evidence that the nervous system acts me- what we call the left parietal bone. The bullet, I presume, chanically without the intervention of consciousness, and glanced off, but it fractured the bone. He had enough without the intervention of the will, it may be in opposi. vigor left to send his bayonet through the Prussian who tion to it.” Why, then, may I not extend this idea further? shot him. Then he wandered a few hundred yards out of As actions of a certain amount of complexity are brought the village, where he was picked up and taken to the hosabout in this way, why may not actions of still greater pital, where he remained some time. When he came to complexity be so produced ? Why, in fact, may it not be himself, as usual in such cases of injury, he was paralyzed that the whole of man's physical actions are mechanical, on the opposite side of the body, that is to say, the right his mind living apart, like one of the gods of Epicurus, but arm and the right leg were completely paralyzed. That unlike them occasionally interfering by means of his voli- state of things lasted, I think, the better part of two years, tion ?
but sooner or later he recovered from it, and now he is And it so happened that Descartes was led by some of able to walk about with activity, and only by careful meashis speculations to believe that beasts had no soul, and urement can any difference between the two sides of his consequently, according to his notion, could have no true body be ascertained.
At present this man lives two lives, mental operation, and no consciousness; and thus, his two normal life and an abnormal life. In his normal life he is ideas harmonizing together, he developed that famous perfectly well, cheerful, and a capital hospital attendant, hypothesis of the automation of brutes, which is the main does all his work well, and is a respectable, well conducted subject of my present discourse. What Descartes meant
That normal life lasts for about seven and twenty by this was that animals are absolutely machines, as if days, or thereabouts, out of every month ; but for a day or they were mills or barrel organs; that they have no feel- two in each month — generally at intervals of about that ings; that a dog does not hear, and does not smell, but time – he passes into another life, suddenly, and without that the impression which thus gave rise to those states of warning or intimation. In this life be is still active, goes consciousness in the dog gave rise, by a mechanical reflex about just as usual, and is to all appearance just the same process, to actions which correspond to those which we man as before ; undresses himself and goes to bed, gets perform when we do smell, and do taste, and do see. Sup- up, makes his cigarette and smokes it, and eats and drinks. pose an experiment. Suppose that all that is taken away But in this condition he neither sees, nor hears, nor tastes, of the brain of a frog is what we call the bemisphere, the nor smells, nor is he conscious of anything whatever, and has most anterior part of the brain. If that operation is prop- only one sense organ in a state of activity – namely, that erly performed, very quickly and very skilfully, the frog of touch, which is exceedingly delicate. if you put an obmay be kept in a state of full bodily vigor for months, or stacle in his way he knocks against it, feels it and goes to it may be for years; but it will sit forever in the same spot. the one side. If you push him in any direction he goes It sees nothing; it hears nothing. It will starve sooner straight on, illustrating, as well as he can, the first law of than feed itself, although if food is put into its mouth it motion. You see I bave said he makes bis cigarettes, but swallows it. On irritation it jumps or walks; if thrown you may make bis tobacco of sbavings or of anything else into the water it swims. But the most remarkable thing you like, and still he will go on making his cigarettes as that it does is this — you put it in the flat of your hand, usual. His action is purely mechanical. As I said, he it sits there, crouched, perfectly quiet, and would sit there feeds voraciously, but whether you give him aloes or assaforever. Then if you incline your hand, doing it very fætida or the nicest thing possible, it is all the same to him. gently and slowly, so that the frog would naturally tend The man is in a condition absolutely parallel to that of to slip off, you feel the creature's fore paws getting a the frog, and, no doubt, when he is in this condition the little slowly on to the edge of your hand until he can just functions of his cerebral hemisphere are at any rate largely bold himself there, so that he does not fall; then, if you annihilated. He is very nearly – I don't say wholly, but turn your hand, he mounts up with great care and deliber- very nearly — in the condition of an animal'in which the ation, putting one leg in front and then another, until he cerebral hemispheres are not entirely extirpated, but very balances himself with perfect precision upon the edge of largely damaged. And this state is wonderfully interestyour hand; then if you turn your hand over he goes ing to me, for it bears on the phenomena of mesmerism, of through the opposite set of operations until he comes to sit which I saw a good deal when I was a young man.
In this in perfect security upon the back of your hand. The state he is capable of performing all sorts of actions on doing of all this requires a delicacy of coördination and mere suggestions -as, for example, he dropped his cane, an adjustment of the muscular apparatus of the body and a person near him put it into bis hand, and the feeling which is only comparable to that of a rope-dancer among of the end of the cane evidently produced in him those ourselves; in truth a frog is an animal very poorly con- molecular changes of the brain which, had he possessed structed for rope-dancing, and on the whole we may give consciousness, would have given rise to the idea of his him rather more credit than we should to a human dancer. rifle ; for he threw himself on his face, began feeling about These movements are performed with the utmost steadiness for his cartouche, went through the motions of touching his and precision, and you may vary the position of your gun, and shouted out to an imaginary comrade, “ Here they hand, and the frog — so long as you are reasonably slow in are, a score of them ; but we will give a good account of your movements will work backward and forward like a them.” This paper to which I refer is full of the most clock. And what is still more remarkable is this, that if | remarkable examples of this kind, and what is the most remarkable fact of all is the modifications which this brain molecular changes which answer to what Haller called injury has made in the man's moral nature. In his normal “vestigia rerum," and which that great thinker, David Hartlife he is one of the most upright and honest of men. In ley, termed " vibratiuncles," which we might term sensighis abnormal state, however, he is an inveterate thief. He enous molecular, and which constitute the physical foundawill steal everything he can lay his hands upon, and if he tion of memory. Those same changes gave rise naturally cannot steal anything else, he will steal his own things and to conditions of pleasure and pain, and to those emotions hide them away. Now, if Descartes had had this fact be- which in ourselves we call volition. I have no doubt that is fore him, need I tell you that his theory of animal autom- the relation between the physical processes of the animal atism would have been erroneously strengthened ? He and his mental processes. "In each case it follows inevitably would have said, “ Here I show you a case of a man per
that these states of consciousness can have no sort of relaforming actions evidently more complicated and mostly tion of causation to the motions of the muscles of the body. more rational than any of the ordinary operations of ani. The volition of animals will be simply states of emotion mals; and yet you have positive proof that these actions which precede their actions. The only conclusion, then, are merely mechanical. What, then, have you to urge at which there seems any good ground for arriving is that against my doctrine that the whole animal world is in that animals are machines, but that they are conscious ma
chines. Father Malebranche = "Thus in dogs, cats, and other ani: "I might with propriety consider what I have now said mals there is neither intelligence nor spiritual soul as we as the conclusion of the observations which I have to offer understand the matter commonly; they eat without pleas- concerning, animal automatism. So far as I know the ure, they cry without pain, they sorrow without know- problem which we have hitherto been discussing is an ening it; they desire nothing, they know nothing; and if tirely open one. I do not know that there is any reason they act with dexterity and in a manner which indicates on the part of any person, whatever his opinions may be, intelligence, it is because God, having made them with the that can prevent bim, if he be so inclined, from accepting intention of preserving them, has constructed their bodies the doctrine wbich I have just now put before you clearly. in such a manner that they escape organically, with- So far as we know, animals are conscious automata. That out knowing it, everything which could injure them, and doctrine is perfectly consistent with any view that we may wbich they seemed to fear.'
choose to take on a very curious subject of speculation But I must say for myself, looking at the matter on whether animals possess souls or not, and whether, if they the ground of analogy, taking into account that great possess souls, those souls are immortal or not; the doctrine doctrine of continuity which forbids one to suppose that to which I have referred is not inconsistent with the perany natural phenomena can come into existence suddenly fectly strict and literal adherence to the Scripture text and without some precedent, gradual modification tending concerning the beast that perisheth, nor on the other hand, toward it — taking that great doctrine into account (and so far as I know, does it prevent any one from entertaining everything we know of science tends to confirm it), and the amiable convictions ascribed by Pope to his untutored taking into account, on the other hand, the incontrovertible savage, that when he passed to the realms of the blessed fact that the lower animals which possess brains at all his faithful dog should bear bim company. In fact, all possess, at any rate, in rudiments a part of the brain, these accessory questions to which I have referred, involve which we have every reason to believe is the organ of problems which cannot be discussed by physical science as consciousness in ourselves, then it seems vastly more prob- such, as they lie not within the scope of physical science, able that the lower animals, although they may not possess but come within the scope of that great mother of all scithat sort of consciousness which we have ourselves, yet ence, philosophy. Before any direct answer can be given bave it in a form proportional to the comparative develop- upon any of these questions, we must hear what philosophy ment of the organ of that consciousness, and foreshadow bas to say for and against the views that may be held. I more or less dimly those feelings which we possess our- have now laid these facts before you. I do not doubt that selves. I think tbat is, probably, the most rational con- that fate will befall me which has befallen better men, and clusion that can be come to. It has this advantage, that it I shall have to bear in patience the reiterated assertion relieves us of the very terrible consequences of making any that doctrines such as I have put before you have very evil mistake on this subject. I must confess that, looking at tendencies. I should not wonder if you were told that my that terrible struggle for existence which is everywhere intention in bringing this subject before you is to lead you going on in the animal world, and considering the frightful to apply the doctrine I have stated to man as well as quantity of pain which must be given and received in every brutes, and it will then certainly be further stated that the part of the animal world, I say that it is a consideration logical tendency of such a doctrine is Fatalism, Materialwhich would induce me wholly to adopt the view of Des- ism, and Atheism. cartes. I must confess I think it on the whole much better Now let me ask you to listen to another product of that to err on the right side, and not to concur with Descartes long experience to which I have referred. The logical on this point. But let me point out to you that, although consequences are very important; but in the course of my we may come to the conclusion that Descartes was wrong experience I have found that they were the scarecrows of in supposing that animals are insensible machines, it does fools and the beacons of wise men. Logical consequences not in the slightest degree follow that they are not sensi- can take care of themselves. The only question for any tive and conscious automata; in fact, that is the view man to ask is this : “Is this true or is it false ?" No other which is more or less clearly in the minds of every one
of question can possibly be taken into consideration until that us. When we talk of the lower animals being provided one is settled. Undoubtedly I do hold that the view I have with instinct, and not with reason, what we really mean is, taken of the relations between the physical and mental that although they are sensitive, and although they are con- faculties of brutes, applies in its fulness and entirety to scious, yet they do act mechanically, and that their indiffer- man ; and if it was true that the logical consequences of ent states of consciousness, their sensations, their thoughts that belief must land me in all these terrible things, I do (if they have them), their volitions (if they have them), are not hesitate in allowing myself to be so landed. I should the products and consequences of the mechanical arrange- conceive that if I refused I should have done the greatest ments. I must confess that this popular view is to my and most abominable violence to everything which is deepmind the only one which can be scientifically adopted. est in my moral nature. But now I beg leave to say that, We are bound by everything we know of the operations of in my conviction, there is no such logical connection as is the nervous system, to believe that when a certain molecu- pretended between the doctrine I accept and the conselar change is brought about in the central part of the nerv- quences which people profess to draw from it. Many years ous system that that change, in some way utterly unknown ago I had occasion, in dealing with the philosophy of Desto us, causes that state of consciousness that we term a sen- cartes, and some other matters, to state my conviction sation. It is not to be doubted that the impression excited pretty fully on those subjects, and, although I know by exby those motions which give rise to sensation leaves in the perience bow futile it is to endeavor to escape from ibose nicknames which many people mistake for argument, yet quotations of certain expressions in his plays. It must be if those who care to investigate these matters in a spirit of admitted that of all the poets immediately introductory candor and justice will look into those writings of mine, to the Elizabethan period, Marlowe exhibited the largest they will see my reasons for not imagining that such con- promise, and developed the highest genius. In truth, to clusions can be drawn from such premises. To those who read his works and remember at the same time that the do not look into these matters with candor and with a de- writer had "shuffled off this mortal coil” at the age of sire to know the truth, I have nothing whatever to say, ex- twenty-nine, we are struck not only with the wondrous fulcept to warn them on their own behalf what they do ; for ness of his mind, but with the wealth of his intellectual and assuredly if, for preaching such doctrine as I have preached poetic gifts. To be the author, when a mere youth, of to you to-night, I am cited before the bar of public opinion, several plays which are worthy of being associated with I shall not stand there alone. On my one hand I shall those of the world's greatest dramatist may well entitle have, among theologians, St. Augustine, John Calvin, and him to reverential regard. But, in addition to the claim a man whose name should be well known to the Presbyte- | he has upon us as the principal link between a bygone and rians of Ulster, Jonathan Edwards — unless, indeed, it a coming age, there is another light in which Marlowe be the fasbion to neglect the study of the great masters of may be viewed, and honor put upon his name. His divinity, as many other great studies are neglected nowa- “ mighty line' has been referred to again and again by days. “I should have upon my other hand, among the phi- historians and critics since it first earned the praise of that losophers, Leibnitz; I should have Père Malebranche, who learned brother of the dramatic craft already cited; but as saw all things in God; I should have David Hartley, the a well-ascertained matter it was the only “line" of blank theologian as well as philosopher ; I should have Charles verse warranting the name till his immediate successors Bonnet, the eminent naturalist, and one of the most zealous raised the art of dramatic poetry to its most exalted height. defenders Christianity has ever had. I think I should have, Halting and defective to the last degree as was the blank within easy reach at any rate, John Locke. Certainly the verse in vogue at the period when Marlowe first began to school of Descartes would be there, if not their master; write, he speedily showed it to be capable of a perfection and I am inclined to think, in due justice, a citation would which had never yet been dreamt of. His verse is frehave to be served upon Emmanuel Kant himself. In such quently noticeable for its dignity and impressiveness, and society it may be better to be a prisoner than a judge; but but very rarely for its weakness and gracelessness. OccaI would ask those who are likely to be influenced by the sionally, as with most writers, he leaves the impression din and clamor which are raised about these questions that he has not fully grasped his subject before committing whether they are more likely to be right in assuming that himself to its treatment, and his work loses in proportion those great men I have mentioned — the fathers of the and symmetry; but, upon the whole, his dramas are, to an church and the fathers of philosophy -- knew what they exceedingly small degree only, open to the objection of were about, or that the pigmies who raise this din know crudity and meanness. He can tread the stage as a king, better than they did what they meant. It is not necessary when the monarch's step is required. for any man to occupy himself with problems of this kind A benignant face looks out upon us as we contemplate unless he so choose. Life is full enough, filled amply to the countenance of this early dramatist. He seems inthe brim, by the performance of its ordinary duties : but vested with a calm which is in strange keeping with his let me warn you, let me beg you to believe that if a man brief and tragic career. Eyes which beam softly as those elect to give a judgment upon these great questions ; still of woman shine beneath a noble expanse of brow, and the more, if he assume to himself the responsibility of attaching whole face is full of conscious power and repose.
Yet he praise or blame to his fellow-men for the judgments which spent his time, as we are informed, between inditing they may venture to express, I say that, unless he would dramas and fighting in pothouses — at least such are the commit a sin more grievous than most of the breaches of the two salient facts preserved for posterity in his meagre decalogue, let him avoid a lazy reliance upon the informa- biography. But we cannot help thinking that great injustion that is gathered by prejudice and filtered through pag- tice is done to him from the fact that so few details of his sion. Let him go to these great sources that are open to life are known. While his sanguine temperament, quick him as to every one, and to no man more open than to an passions, and probable devotion to the bottle at sundry Englishman ; let him go back to the facts of nature, and to seasons, would be sufficient to account for the miserable the thoughts of those wise men who for generations past quarrel' which led to his untimely death, there may, after have been the interpreters of nature.
all, have been a substratum of nobility of heart and life for which he has received no credit. It is impossible to believe, even without pinning our faith to a positive reading
of character by physiognomical signs, which we should reCHRISTOPHER MARLOWE.
fuse to do, after studying the man's work, generous im
pulses, and eloquent features, that he could have been the As one of the great forerunners of the most glorious era mere sensualist he has been sometimes described, a being in English literature, Christopher Marlowe would be de- in whom the brute ever held the dominant sway. There serving of recognition and consideration if from that cir- is no evidence whatever that he was irretrievably depraved, cumstance alone. When this scholar of Cambridge Uni- but much indirect yet strong evidence to the contrary. versity first began to sing those numbers which were after- Distinguished at a very early age for his learning, and the wards to make him justly distinguished, the rich full song
author of so much ripe work at a period when most men of old Dan Chaucer had well-nigh died away, or at least only begin to take the pen in hand, it is a matter of sheer was almost exclusively cherished by those whose tastes and incompatibility that he could have served at the shrine of pursuits were of a purely literary character. Shakespeare, Bacchus and that of the drama with equal fervor. A temthough living, had as yet given no intimation of that ma- porary aberration might now and then have seized him, jestic strength of wing which he afterwards attained. The which in fact is thus duly recorded, when the madness of speculation may, we believe, be accepted as indubitably intoxication filled the brain : a thing not very strange in a correct, that the fame of the work of Marlowe had reached time when the veins of literary men generally were too his ear before he attempted the writing of tragedy ; but
often heated by the blood of the grape. Marlowe unquesthe death of the subject of this article occurred before the tionably has the reputation of having been both a free and production of most of those dramas — certainly the ripest an evil liver; but in dealing with these accusations, and of them — which are now associated with the name of the weighing them with candor, it must not be forgotten chat sublime poet of Stratford. That the author of “ Hamlet” by far the major part of them were preferred by his perwas more than acquainted with Marlowe's name is an as- sodal enemies. To support him in his theory as regards sured fact, not only because the ruling literary spirit of the peculiar manifestations of genius at the commencement that age, Ben Jonson, had passed upon him a high enco- of the period of the Renaissance, M. Taine has adopted mium, but for the reason that Shakespeare himself made the worst of the charges made against the dramatist, and in the most wholesale manner. From these charges he plete as oblivion can make it. But it is interesting to note has ably instituted a comparison between the character of that when only just over seventeen years of age Marlowe the man and his works. The comparison is very ingen- matriculated as pensioner of his College; that two years ious, and somewhat subtle ; but inasmuch as it is not nec- later he proceeded B. A.; and that in 1587 he commenced essarily, but only problematically, true, it must stand for M. A. Nash and Greene were the only two of his conlittle more than a mere curiosity of criticism. The ten- temporaries at Cambridge who afterwards attained to literdency to discover the influence of personal idiosyncrasy ary laurels. It is suggested, and with a reasonable amount and psychological impressions left upon the works of Eng- of plausibility, that Marlowe spent an interregnum of some lish authors, is one that is very strong in M. Taine, and it two or three years, of which we have no account, in travelis too frequently seen carried to excess. His criticism on ling abroad, and that possibly he joined the forces of LeicesMarlowe, summed up into one sentence, if we may exer- ter and Sidney engaged in the wars of the Low Councise the hardihood of thus summarily dealing with it, -- is tries. He has numerous references in his works which to the following effect: He was a wild, fiery spirit, utterly might support this theory. But whether travelling, fightincapable of self-government, or of being governed by any- ing, or remaining at home, he must have cultivated his body else ; and his work reflects the bombast, the reckless- affection towards literature, and have been laying in at this ness, and the violence of his own nature. To a great ex- time those stores of information which for a brief span only tent this may be true of Marlowe, but it must not be he was afterwards to illuminate by the sun of his genius. accepted as exhaustive of either side of the question. _Just Collier, indeed, asserts that both parts of “Tamburlaine as there is a great deal more in his writings than M. Taine the Great” had been publicly performed in London in the has indicated, so also there may have been a great deal year 1587, which was the date at which, as we have seen, more in the man than those salient characteristics which, Marlowe commenced M. A. This fact alone will serve to when observed at all anywhere, are beheld in very glaring show the amazing strength of his intellectual nature. That prominence. He had a tolerable endowment of noisy vice, one who had barely attained his majority should write two but he may also have possessed a sufficient amount of quiet such tragedies — which, with all their faults, possess an actvirtue. That is the point we care to contend for at the uality of power and pathos truly surprising seems almost present moment; and as something more must be said incredible. The fact might well excite doubt were it not touching Marlowe's character and religious views at a later corroborated by the still more extraordinary one that in six stage, we shall halt as regards the matter at this juncture. years (or little more) from this very time, the brain was
Born exactly two months before Shakespeare, Marlowe stilled forever which had conceived “ Dr. Faustus" and first looked out upon the world at Canterbury on February revelled in the Elegies of Ovid. Some idea of the pleasant 26, 1564. In that most attractive of cathedral cities his amenities indulged in by literary men of the olden time father resided, pursuing, according to some assurances that may be gathered from the tirade of abuse which was indiwe have, the humble trade of a shoemaker. Other author- rectly heaped upon the head of Marlowe by Nash in a ities, however, whose evidence is more worthy to be relied preface to a work by Greene, his bosom friend. The inupon, describe him as the clerk of St. Maries. Christopher censed and probably jealous Nash refers to “ those idiot art was one of five children, the others being two sons and two masters who intrude themselves to our ears as the alchydaughters. It is just possible that the father's employment mists of eloquence, who (mounted on the stage of arroin connection with the church was of some assistance to
gance) think to outbrave better pens by the swelling bomhim in procuring education for his children, in addition to bast of braggart blank verse;" and the writer also chastises the other advantages which residence in a cathedral city “those who commit the digestion of their choleric incumaffords in this respect. Several centuries ago the latter brances to the spacious volubility of a drumming decasyllaconsideration was one of much importance, as a school bon.” From all which it will be perceived that Nash was a necessary adjunct to the cathedral. Marlowe, too, exhibits a tavern-like ability and freedom in the use of may also have found friends amongst the clergy of Canter- hard adjectives, but also that the invective in which they bury, who divined in him more than ordinary intelligence, are imbedded is not really much in advance of the eloquence and who determined to assist in its cultivation accordingly. of the tavern as regards real powers of satire. As no work But, be that as it may, he was not one to lose the natural has yet been written which is absolutely perfect, so there advantages amidst which he was placed. He had within was just a little foundation afforded by the weaknesses of reach all the pleasures of the country life respecting which Marlowe's style for the onslaughts of those who, if they the poets sing so freely, and at the same time there were could never hope to rival him, had the refuge always made grand architectural beauties constantly in view which could use of by ignoble minds — that of vituperation and vilificanot fail to leave upon his soul impressions of awe and gran- tion. There can be little question that Nash and others deur. There are certain points in connection with Mar- must have been startled by the potency of the new writer, lowe's life at Canterbury which remain in a state of dubi- and alarmed at the prospect that their own names must ousness even to this day, potwithstanding the efforts of suffer a speedy eclipse in the splendor of the more powerDyce, Cunningham, and others to elucidate them. The ful aspirant; and from their point of view it was all-imporfirst-named biographer quotes an extract fron the Treas- tant that the new-comer should be pierced by their arrows urer's accounts of the King's School which proves that in every joint of his armor which could be discovered asMarlowe was a scholar from Michaelmas, 1578, to Michael- sailable. Accordingly, it was hoped to damage Marlowe mas, 1579.
To demonstrate the difficulties of constructing irretrievably, because his common characters were made history, or of tracing it, however, it is stated that the ac
occasionally to talk the language of the gods; his bombast counts themselves for the greater part of this very year afforded excellent footing as a ladder wherewith to drag named, and for the preceding and subsequent years, are all him down from the height of fame to which he had already missing. It is somewhat cheering, nevertheless, amidst reached. He was so great, that he had been able to throw this Sabara of unascertained and unascertainable knowl- away all the traditional notions of his art and to strike out edge, to come upon the basis of positive assurance that our upon an original path; he had dared to be true to a new dramatist was entered at Benet (Corpus Christi) College, light which he felt that he possessed ; and whenever a man Cambridge, in the year 1580 ; that is, when he was sixteen thus resolves, of course he gains as many enemies as friends years of age. Because of what might be simply an imper- - the former generally regarding him with the keener infect entry in the College books, as Colonel Cunningham terest of the two. But genius was never yet killed by ridpoints out (and it is to this compiler we are principally in- icule; the man sometimes may be, but his work never. debted for our biographical facts), the conclusion has been The world teems with instances where what is now hailed hastily arrived at, that Marlowe missed gaining one of the as the great outcome of great minds, was once assailed with two scholarships which attached to the school at Canter- a malignity which nothing could daunt, and a persistency bury in which he was educated. The world cares little for which seemed to forebode destruction, but the work sursuch matters as this now; the fame of the scholar is de- vives, and the assailants, where are they? The very writcreed, and the silence of his detractors is as utter and com- ings of Marlowe which were so ruthlessly attacked by his