Rhetoric and Poetry in the Renaissance
A Study of Rhetorical Terms in English Renaissance Literary Criticism
Donald Lemen Clark, Ph.D. Assistant Professor of English in Columbia University
To my Father and Mother
In this essay I undertake to trace the influence of classical rhetoric on the criticisms of poetry published in England between 1553 and 1641. This influence is most readily recognized in the use by English renaissance writers on literary criticism of the terminology of classical rhetoric. But the rhetorical terminology in most cases carried with it rhetorical thinking, traces of whose influence persist in criticism of poetry to the present day.
The essay is divided into two parts. Part First treats of the influence of rhetoric on the general theory of poetry within the period, and Part Second of its influence on the renaissance formulation of the purpose of poetry. This division is called for not by the logic of the material, but by history and convenience. A third phase of the influence of rhetorical terminology I have already touched on in an article on _The Requirements of a Poet_, where I have shown that historically the renaissance ideal of the nature and education of a poet is in part derived from classical rhetoric.
No writer today, who would treat of the criticism of the renaissance, can escape his deep indebtedness to Dr. Joel Elias Spingarn, whose _Literary Criticism in the Renaissance_ has so carefully traced the debt of English criticism to the Italians. In going over the ground surveyed by him and by many other scholars I have been able to add but slight gleanings of my own. In this field it is my privilege only to review and to supplement what has already been discovered. But whereas others have called attention to the classical and Italian sources for English critical ideas, I am able to show that in addition to these sources, the English critics were profoundly influenced by English mediaeval traditions. That these mediaeval traditions derived ultimately from post-classical rhetoric and that they were for the most part later discarded as less enlightened and less sound than the critical ideas of the Italian Aristotelians does not lessen their importance in the history of English literary criticism.
In so far as the text of quoted classical writers is readily accessible in modern editions, I offer my readers only an English translation. For quotations difficult of access I add the Latin in a footnote. In the case of those English critics whose writings are incorporated in the _Elizabethan Critical Essays_ edited by Mr. Gregory Smith, or in the _Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century_, edited by Dr. J.E. Spingarn, I have made my citations to those collections in the belief that such a practice would add to the convenience of the reader.
The greatest pleasure that I derive from this writing is that of acknowledging my obligations to my friends and colleagues at Columbia University who have so generously assisted me. Professor G.P. Krapp aided me by his valuable suggestions before and after writing and generously allowed me to use several summaries which he had made of early English rhetorical treatises. Professor J.B. Fletcher helped me by his friendly and penetrating criticism of the manuscript. I am further indebted to Professor La Rue Van Hook, Dr. Mark Van Doren, Dr. S.L. Wolff, Mr. Raymond M. Weaver, and Dr. H.E. Mantz for various assistance, and to the Harvard and Columbia University Libraries for their courtesy. My greatest debt is to Professor Charles Sears Baldwin, whose constant inspiration, enlightened scholarship, and friendly encouragement made this book possible.
Part First: The General Theory of Rhetoric and of Poetry
I. Introductory 1. The Distinction between Rhetoric and Poetic
II. Classical Poetic 1. Aristotle 2. "Longinus" 3. Plutarch 4. Horace
III. Classical Rhetoric 1. Definitions 2. Subject Matter 3. Content of Classical Rhetoric 4. Rhetoric as Part of Poetic 5. Poetic as Part of Rhetoric
IV. Classical Blending of Rhetoric and Poetic 1. The Contact of Rhetoric and Poetic in Style 2. The Florid Style in Rhetoric and Poetic 3. The False Rhetoric of the Declamation Schools 4. The Contamination of Poetic by False Rhetoric
V. The Middle Ages 1. The Decay of Classical Rhetorical Tradition 2. Rhetoric as Aureate Language
VI. Logic and Rhetoric in the English Renaissance 1. The Content of Classical Rhetoric Carried over into Logic 2. The Persistence of the Mediaeval Tradition of Rhetoric 3. The Recovery of Classical Rhetoric 4. Channels of Rhetorical Theory
VII. Renaissance Poetic 1. The Reestablishment of the Classical Tradition 2. Rhetorical Elements
VIII. Theories of Poetry in the English Renaissance 1. The Rhetorical Period of English Criticism 2. The Influence of Horace 3. The Influence of Aristotle 4. Manuals for Poets 5. Rhetorical Elements in Later English Classicism
Part Second: The Purpose of Poetry
I. The Classical Conception of the Purpose of Poetry 1. General 2. Moral Improvement through Precept and Example 3. Moral Improvement through Allegory 4. The Influence of Rhetoric
II. Medieval Ideas of the Purpose of Poetry 1. Allegorical Interpretations in the Middle Ages 2. Allegory in Mediaeval England
III. Rhetorical Elements in Italian Renaissance Conceptions of the Purpose of Poetry 1. The Scholastic Grouping of Poetic, Rhetoric and Logic 2. The Influence of the Classical Rhetorics
IV. English Renaissance Ideas of the Purpose of Poetry 1. Allegory and Example in Rhetoric 2. Allegory and the Rhetorical Example in Poetic 3. The Displacement of Allegory by Example
Index of Names
The General Theory of Rhetoric and of Poetry
By definition the renaissance was primarily a literary and scholarly movement derived from the literature of classical antiquity. Thus the historical, philosophical, pedagogical, and dramatic literatures of the renaissance cannot be accurately understood except in the light of the Greek and Roman authors whose writings inspired them. To this general rule the literary criticism of the renaissance is no exception. The interpretation of the critical terms used by the literary critics of the English renaissance must depend largely on the classical tradition. This tradition, as the labors of many scholars, especially Spingarn, have shown, reached England both directly through the publication of classical writings and to an even greater degree indirectly through the commentaries and original treatises of Italian scholars.
The indebtedness to the Italian critics is well known and has been widely discussed. Although the present study does not hope to add to what is known of the influence exerted on the literary criticism of the English renaissance by the Italians, it does propose to show the English critics to have been more indebted than has been supposed to the mediaeval development of classical theory. For this relationship to be clear it will be necessary to review classical literary criticism and to trace its development in post-classical times and in the middle ages as well as in the Italian renaissance. Only by such an approach will it be possible to show in what form classical theory was transmitted to the English renaissance.
As the restoration of the Stuarts to the throne of England inaugurated a new period in English criticism, during which English critical theories were largely influenced by French criticism, this study will stop short of this, restricting itself to the years between the publication of Thomas Wilson's _Arte of Rhetorique_ in 1553 and that of Ben Jonson's _Timber_ in 1641. Throughout this period the English mediæval tradition of classical theory was highly important, losing ground but gradually as the influence first of the rhetoric newly recovered from the classics and then of Italian criticism produced an increasingly stronger effect on English criticism. I hope to show that the English critics who formulated theories of poetry in the renaissance derived much of their critical terminology, not directly from the rediscovered classical theories of poetry, but through various channels from classical theories and practice of rhetoric. The tendency to use the terminology of rhetoric in discussing poetical theory did not originate in the English renaissance, but is largely an inheritance from classical criticism as interpreted by the middle ages. Both in England and on the continent this mediæval tradition persisted far into the renaissance. Renaissance English writers on the theory of poetry use to an extent hitherto unexplored the terminology of rhetoric. This rhetorical terminology was derived from three sources: directly to some extent from the classical rhetorics themselves; indirectly through the influence of classical rhetoric upon the terminology of the Italian critics of poetry; and indirectly, to a considerable extent, through the mediæval modifications of classical and post-classical rhetoric.
1. The Distinction between Rhetoric and Poetic
Aristotle wrote two treatises on literary criticism: the _Rhetoric_ and the _Poetics_. The fact that he gave separate treatment to his critical consideration of oratory and of poetry is presumptive evidence that in his mind oratory and poetry were two things, having much in common perhaps, but distinguished by fundamental differences. With less philosophical basis these fundamental differences were maintained by nearly all the classical literary critics. It is important, therefore, to review briefly what the classical writers meant by rhetoric and by poetic, and to trace the modifications which these terms underwent in post-classical times, in the middle ages, and in the renaissance, in order better to show that in the literary criticism of the English renaissance the theory of poetry contained many elements which historically derive from classical and mediaeval rhetoric.
Literature--the spoken and the written word--was divided by the classical critics into philosophy, history, oratory, and poetry. Thus Aristotle, in addition to treating the theory of poetry and the theory of oratory in separate books, asserts that even though the works of philosophy and of history were composed in verse, they would still be something different from poetry. Lucian severely criticises the historians whose writings are like those of the poets. Quintilian advises students of rhetoric against imitating the style of the historians because it is too much like that of the poets. Clearly these critical writers are insisting on some fundamental difference between the forms of communication in language--a difference which they thought their contemporaries were in some danger of ignoring.
If the number of critical writings devoted to these different forms of communication is taken as a criterion, rhetoric ranks first, poetry second, and history third. This preponderance of rhetoric may be one reason for the tendency of the critics who wrote on the theory of poetry to use much of the terminology of rhetoric, and for the ease with which a modern student can formulate the classical theory of rhetoric, as compared with the difficulty he has in formulating the theory of poetry.
To the Greeks and Romans rhetoric meant the theory of oratory. As a pedagogical mechanism it endeavored to teach students to persuade an audience. The content of rhetoric included all that the ancients had learned to be of value in persuasive public speech. It taught how to work up a case by drawing valid inferences from sound evidence, how to organize this material in the most persuasive order, how to compose in clear and harmonious sentences. Thus to the Greeks and Romans rhetoric was defined by its function of discovering means to persuasion and was taught in the schools as something that every free-born man could and should learn.
In both these respects the ancients felt that poetic, the theory of poetry, was different from rhetoric. As the critical theorists believed that the poets were inspired, they endeavored less to teach men to be poets than to point out the excellences which the poets had attained. Although these critics generally, with the exceptions of Aristotle and Eratosthenes, believed the greatest value of poetry to be in the teaching of morality, no one of them endeavored to define poetry, as they did rhetoric, by its purpose. To Aristotle, and centuries later to Plutarch, the distinguishing mark of poetry was imitation. Not until the renaissance did critics define poetry as an art of imitation endeavoring to inculcate morality. Consequently in a historical study of rhetoric and of the theory of poetry separate treatment of their nature and of their purpose is not only convenient, but historical. The present discussion, therefore, considers various critics' ideas of the nature of poetry in Part I, and then separately in Part II their ideas of its purpose. The object of this division is not to make an abstract distinction between nature and purpose. Such a distinction cannot, of course, be made. It is to approach the subject first from one point of view and then from the other because it was in fact thus approached successively, and because also the intention of the successive writers can thus be better understood.
The same essential difference between classical rhetoric and poetic appears in the content of classical poetic. Whereas classical rhetoric deals with speeches which might be delivered to convict or acquit a defendant in the law court, or to secure a certain action by the deliberative assembly, or to adorn an occasion, classical poetic deals with lyric, epic, and drama. It is a commonplace that classical literary critics paid little attention to the lyric. It is less frequently realized that they devoted almost as little space to discussion of metrics. By far the greater bulk of classical treatises on poetic is devoted to characterization and to the technic of plot construction, involving as it does narrative and dramatic unity and movement as distinct from logical unity and movement.
It is important that the modern reader bear these facts in mind; for in the nineteenth century text-books of rhetoric came to include description of a kind little considered by classical rhetoricians, and narrative of an aim and scope which they excluded. Thus the modern treatise on rhetoric deals not only with what the Greeks would recognize as rhetoric, but also with what they would classify as poetic. Furthermore, narrative and dramatic technic, which the classical critics considered the most important elements in poetic, are now no longer called poetic. What the ancients discussed in treatises on poetic, is now discussed in treatises on the technique of the short-story, the technique of the drama, the technique of the novel, on the one hand, and in treatises on versification, prosody, and lyric poetry on the other. As these modern developments were unheard of during the periods under consideration in this study, and as the renaissance used the words rhetoric and poetic much more in their classical senses than we do today, it must be understood that throughout this study rhetoric will be used as meaning classical rhetoric, and poetic as meaning classical poetic.
Many modern critics have found the classical distinction between rhetoric and poetic very suggestive. In classical times imaginative and creative literature was almost universally composed in meter, with the result that the metrical form was usually thought to be distinctive of poetry. The fact that in modern times drama as well as epic and romantic fiction is usually composed in prose has made some critics dissatisfied with what to them seems to be an unsatisfactory criterion. On the one hand Wackernagel, who believes that the function of poetry is to convey ideas in concrete and sensuous images and the function of prose to inform the intellect, asserts that prose drama and didactic poetry are inartistic. He thus advocates that present practise be abandoned in favor of the custom of the Greeks. On the other hand Newman, while granting that a metrical garb has in all languages been appropriated to poetry, still urges that the essence of poetry is fiction. Likewise under the influence of Aristotle, Croce differentiates between the kinds of literature not because one is written in prose and the other in verse, but because one is the expression of what he calls intuitive knowledge obtained through the imagination, and the other of conceptual knowledge obtained through the intellect. Similar to the distinction expressed by Croce in the words imaginative and intellectual, is that expressed by Eastman in the words poetical and practical. And according to Renard, Balzac distinguishes two classes of writers: the writers of ideas and the writers of images.
In view of these modern efforts to make a more scientific differentiation between kinds of literature than is possible on the basis of the traditional distinction between prose and poetry, the present historical study of the distinction made by Aristotle and other Greek writers between rhetoric and poetic may be suggestive.
A survey of what Aristotle includes in his _Poetics_, what he excludes, and what he ignores, will be a helpful initial step in an investigation of what he meant by poetic. Five kinds of poetry are mentioned by name in the _Poetics_: epic, dramatic, dithyrambic, nomic, and satiric; and lyric is included by implication as a form of epic, where the poet narrates in his own person.
The choruses, also, are lyric. Otherwise Aristotle does not discuss lyric poetry. Of the other five kinds, nomic, dithyrambic, and satiric poetry are mentioned only as illustrative of something Aristotle wishes to say about epic or drama. Aristotle's _Poetics_ discusses only epic and, especially, drama. Thus of the twenty-six books into which the _Poetics_ is conventionally divided, five are devoted to the general theory of poetry, three to diction, two to epic, and sixteen to drama. Although Aristotle includes dithyrambic, nomic, satiric, and lyric poetry in his discussion, he practically ignores them.
On the other hand he specifically excludes from poetry such scientific works as those of Empedocles and historical writings as those of Herodotus. The rhetorical element in the speeches of the characters of drama or epic, Aristotle calls Thought (διάνια). Although Aristotle includes Thought as an element in drama, he does not discuss it in the _Poetics_, but refers his reader to the _Rhetoric_. Metrics, which occupies so large a place in modern treatises on the theory of poetry, Aristotle likewise mentions several times, but does not discuss. A metrical structure he accepts as the usual practice in poetical composition, but he rejects verse as the distinguishing mark of poetic. Thus he refuses to classify as poetry the scientific writings which Empedocles had composed in meter as well as the histories of Herodotus, even if he had written them in verse. On the other hand, the mimes of Sophron and Xenarchus, although composed in prose, he considers within the scope of poetic.
If to Aristotle, then, verse is not the characteristic quality of poetic, the next step in an investigation must be to discover the criterion by which he classifies some literature as poetry and other as not poetry. The characteristic quality, according to Aristotle, which is possessed by the Socratic dialogs, by the Homeric epics, and by the dramas of Aeschylus, Sophocles, and Euripides, and which classifies them together as poetic, is not verse but _mimesis_, imitation. Exactly what Aristotle meant by imitation has furnished subsequent critics with an excuse for writing many volumes. The usual meaning of the word to the Greek, as to the modern, seems to be little more than an aping or mimicking. Aristotle himself uses imitate in this sense when he speaks of the delight children take in imitation. But in establishing imitation as the criterion of poetic, Aristotle seems to have injected something of a private, or at least a special scientific meaning into the word. As the characteristic quality of poetic, imitation to Aristotle evidently did not mean a literal copy. Plato had attacked poetry as unreal, a thrice-removed imitation of the only true reality. To defend poetic against the strictures of his master Aristotle reads more into the word than that.
In discovering what Aristotle had in mind when he speaks of imitation, the student must read from one treatise to another, for few writers of any period are so addicted to the habit of cross-reference. In the _Psychology_ Aristotle states that all stimuli received by the senses at the moment of perception are impressed upon the mind as in wax. The images held by the image-forming faculty are thus the after effect of sensation. These images remain and may be recalled by the image-forming faculty. From this store-house of images, or after effects of sensation, the reasoning faculty derives the materials for thought as well as those for artistic expression. Imagination evidently has much to do with Aristotle's conception of the nature of poetic. Imitation, then, to him, meant a conscious selection and plastic mastery of the sense impressions stored as images by the image-forming faculty of the author, whose writings are addressed to the imagination of the reader or auditor. Furthermore, Butcher's interpretation of "imitation of nature" seems both sound and suggestive. According to him the imitation of nature is the imitation of nature's ways. In this sense the act of the poet may well be called creation.
As imitative arts Aristotle mentions poetry, dancing, music, and painting. They differ, he says, in their medium, objects, and manner. Poetry, dancing, and music he classifies together because they use the similar media of rhythm, language, or harmony either singly or combined. Music, for instance, uses both rhythm and harmony, dancing uses rhythm alone, and poetry uses language alone. Aristotle by this does not, as might seem, exclude rhythm and harmony from poetry. Indeed, he states explicitly that most forms of poetry do use all of the media mentioned: rhythm, tune, and meter. He is only insisting that imitation in unmetrical language is still poetry; that meter is not the characteristic element of poetic. It is important to recognize that in classifying poetry with music and dancing, Aristotle is insisting that the common element in these arts is movement. Movement is characteristic of poetry, as color and form are characteristic of painting and sculpture. Thus in discussing the plot of tragedy, which he holds to be the highest and most characteristic form of poetry, Aristotle urges the necessity of unity and magnitude, both of which he defines in terms not of space relations, but of movement. For instance, to possess unity a plot must have a beginning, a middle and an end.
A beginning is that which does not itself follow anything by causal necessity, but after which something naturally is or comes to be. An end, on the contrary, is that which itself naturally follows some other thing, either by necessity, or as a rule, but has nothing following it. A middle is that which follows something as some other thing follows it.
Furthermore, the magnitude which this dramatic movement should possess is also discussed not in terms of bulk, but of length.
As, therefore, in the case of animate bodies and organisms, a certain magnitude is necessary, and a magnitude which may be easily embraced in one view; so in the plot, a certain length is necessary, and a length which can easily be embraced by the memory.
It is noteworthy that to Aristotle the characteristic movement of poetic depends on the dramatic unity and progression of a dramatic action, a plot. In the _Rhetoric_ he shows that the arrangement of the movement of a speech is governed by entirely different considerations. The unity of rhetoric is not dramatic, but logical. The order of the parts of a speech is determined not by a plot, but by the needs of presentation to an audience. For instance, a statement of the case is given first, and then the proof is marshalled.
The objects of poetic imitation, Aristotle says, are character, emotion, and deed, i.e., men in action, inanimate nature and the life of dumb animals being subordinate to these. The manner of imitating, if poetic, Aristotle says is either narrative or dramatic. Under the narrative manner he includes lyric, where the speaker expresses himself in the first person, and epic, where the speaker tells his story in the third person. In the dramatic manner he says that the characters are made to live and move before us.
Answering Plato's charge that poetic is not real, Aristotle erects the distinction between the real and the actual, claiming a reality for poetic which is not the actuality of science or of practical affairs. It is thus that he distinguishes the poet from the historian: although the historian also uses images, he is restricted to relating what has happened--that is, to fact; while the poet relates what should happen--what is possible according to the law of probability or necessity. Instead of rehearsing facts, the dramatist or the epic poet creates truth. We expect him to be "true to life," and that is what is implied in Aristotle's "imitation of nature." This truth to life controls, according to Aristotle, both the characterization and the action. In the first place
Poetry tends to express the universal--how a person of a certain type will on occasion speak or act according to the law of probability or necessity.
Aristotle goes so far as to say that probability, not actuality, controls the structure of a narrative or dramatic plot in that, "what follows should be the necessary or probable result of the preceding action," even to the extent that the poet should prefer probable impossibilities to improbable possibilities, for by a logical fallacy even an irrational premise in an action may seem probable provided that the conclusion is logical and made to seem real. For instance, the irrational elements in the Odyssey "are presented to the imagination with such vividness and coherence that the impossible becomes plausible; the fiction looks like truth." Such a result occurs only when the characters and action are made real. We believe that which we see, even though we know in our hearts that it is not so.
How important Aristotle feels it to be that the spectator or reader should see before him the characters and situations of an epic or drama is evinced by his suggestion to the poet on the process of composing. The author, he says, should visualize the situations he is presenting, working out the appropriate gestures, for he who feels emotion is best at transmitting it to an audience. It is only when the poet thus completely realizes his characters and situations that the audience can be induced to feel sympathetically the pity and fear which produces the _katharsis_, so important a result of successful tragedy. If human beings did not possess that tendency to feel within themselves the emotions of the people on the stage, they would be unable to experience vicariously the fear animating the tragic hero. Thus tragedy, which is the type of all poetic, depends vitally, according to Aristotle, on imaginative realization.
Aristotle's theory of poetry, which influenced so profoundly the criticism of the renaissance, was not followed by other classical treatises of the same scope. In fact, very little Greek or Roman literary criticism is concerned with poetical theory as compared with the keen interest of many critics in oratory. Perhaps the most significant and valuable critical treatise after Aristotle is that golden pamphlet _On the Sublime_ erroneously ascribed to Longinus, which, anonymous and mutilated as it is, still holds our attention by its sincerity, insight, and enthusiastic love for great poetry.
However important its contribution to classical theory of poetry, the treatise is not specifically on poetic. In fact, it sets out as if to treat rhetoric, and actually treats both; for it is mainly a treatise on style, which as Aristotle says in the _Poetics_ is in essence the same both in prose and verse. Nevertheless it does distinguish between rhetoric and poetic and does contribute to the theory of poetry.
"_Sublimitas_," misleadingly translated "sublimity," the author defines as elevation and greatness of style. It springs from the faculty of grasping great conceptions and from passion, both gifts of nature. It is assisted by art through the appropriate use of figures, noble diction, and dignified and spirited composition of the words into sentences. It is the insistence on passion, emotion, which makes the treatise _On the Sublime_ stand out above other classical treatises on writing. Both poets and orators attain the sublime, says the author, but passion is more characteristic of the poets.
Passion moves the poet to intensity, which is attained by selection of those sensory images which are significant. Thus the treatise praises the ode by Sappho which it quotes, because the poet has taken the emotions incident to the frenzy of love from the attendant symptoms, from actuality, and first selected and then closely combined those which were conspicuous and intense. This intensity which is characteristic of the poet he contrasts with the amplification of the orators, which strengthens the fabric of an argument by insistence and is especially "appropriate in perorations and digressions, and in all passages written for the style and for display, in writings of historical and scientific nature." Yet Demosthenes when moved by passion attains the sublimity of intensity and strikes like lightning. Both in oratory and in poetry sublimity is attained by image-making, as when "moved by enthusiasm and passion, you seem to see the things of which you speak, and place them under the eyes of your hearers." It would be difficult to phrase better the conditions of imaginative realization. But the author felt truly that this realization was different in poetry from what it was in rhetoric. In commenting on a quotation from the _Orestes_, of Euripides, he says:
There the poet saw the Furies with his own eyes, and what his imagination presented he almost compelled his hearers to behold.
And after an imaginative passage from the lost _Phaethon_, of the same author, he says:
Would you not say that the soul of the writer treads the car with the driver, and shares the peril, and wears wings as the horses do?
From this the rhetorical imagination differs in that it is at its best when it has fact for its object. Longinus would seem to say that the realization of poetic is untrammeled by fact, while the imagination of the orator is bound by the actual; it is always practical.
Because the imaginative realization of poetry is characterized by passion, intensity, and immediacy, the author of the treatise feels with Aristotle that the dramatic is the most characteristically poetic. On this basis he judges the _Odyssey_ to be less great than the _Iliad_. It is narrative instead of dramatic; fable prevails over action; passion has degenerated into character-drawing. This grouping of drama, action, and passion as the qualities of great poetry is significant. Bald narrative can never realize character or situation as can the dramatic form, either in narrative or for the stage, when the whole action takes place before the mind's eye instead of being told.
The treatise makes this point exceedingly clear by two quotations which bear repeating.
"The author of the _Arimaspeia_ thinks these lines terrible:
"Here too, is mighty marvel for our thought: 'Mid seas men dwell, on water, far from land: Wretches they are, for sorry toil is theirs; Eyes on the stars, heart on the deep they fix; Oft to the gods, I ween, their hands are raised; Their inward parts in evil case upheaved.
"Anyone, I think, will see that there is more embroidery than terror in it all. Now for Homer:
"As when a wave by the wild wind's blore Down from the clouds upon a ship doth light, And the whole hulk with scattering foam is white, And through the sails all tattered and forlorn Roars the fell blast: the seamen with affright Shake, and from death a hand-breadth they are borne."
The first quoted passage is indeed not only "embroidery," but mere talk about shipwrecks, and the terrors of the deep. Homer realizes the situation by sensory images; he makes the reader see the white foam, and hear the wind howl through the torn sails, yes, and shake with the frightened sailors.
But judgments like those of the appreciative and discerning author of the treatise _On the Sublime_ are rare. Plutarch in his essay _On the Reading of Poets_, is much more representative of late Greek criticism. This essay is not a treatise on the theory of poetry, but a thoughtful discussion of the place of poetry in the education of young men. Consequently the greater part of the essay is devoted to the moral purpose of poetry, and as such will be treated in the second section of this study. Two points, however, are of importance to treat here: his theory of poetical imitation, and his comparison of poetry with painting.
The "imitation" of Plutarch was far narrower than that of Aristotle. To Plutarch, imitation meant a naturalistic copy of things as they are. "While poetry is based on imitations ... it does not resign the likeness of the truth, since the charm of imitation is probability." As a result of his naturalism, Plutarch admitted as appropriate poetical material immorality and obscenity as well as virtue, because these things are in life. If the copy is good, the poem is artistic and praiseworthy, just as a painting of a venomous spider, if a faithful representation of its loathsome subject, is praised for its art.
Perhaps it was Plutarch's naturalistic theory of imitation in poetry which led him to compare poetry with painting. This he does in what he says was a common phrase that "poetry is vocal painting, and painting, silent poetry." The false analogy, "_ut pictura poesis_," establishing, as it does, a sanction in criticism for the static in drama, flourished until Lessing exposed it in his _Laocoon_. Aristotle at the beginning had made clear that the essential element in drama is movement, a movement which could have a beginning, a middle, and an end.
The remains of Roman literary criticism are not so philosophical as are the Greek. The treatise of Horace is not in Aristotle's sense a _poetic_; it is an _ars poetica_. _Ars_, to the Roman, meant a body of rules which a practitioner would find useful as a guide in composing. As a practitioner himself, Horace is more interested in the craft of poetry than in its philosophy or theory. He writes as a poet to young men who desire to become poets. The essence of poetry he ignores or takes for granted. He says, in effect, "Here are some practical suggestions which I have found of assistance."
In structure, also, the _ars poetica_ is not a critical analysis, but a text-book. The first ninety-eight lines cover the fundamental considerations which the poet must have in mind before he starts to compose. He should choose a subject he can handle; he should plan it so that it be unified and coherent, and have each element in the right place; he should choose words in good use, and write in an appropriate meter.
The subject of the second section is the Roman theatre. From line 99 to line 288, Horace devotes his attention to the rules governing the writing of tragedy. This is significant, again, of the classical opinion that the most important poetical form is drama. Whatever differences there are between the views of Aristotle, Longinus, and Horace, they all agree in that. In his treatment of characters and plot, however, Horace places his emphasis on character, while Aristotle had emphasized plot. Of plot Horace says little, only suggesting that the poet should not begin _ab ovo_ but plunge at once into the midst of the action. Concerning character he says much. The language should be appropriate to the emotions supposed to be animating the character who is speaking. No person in the play should be made to do or say anything out of character. By the laws of decorum, for instance, old men should be querulous and young boys given to sudden anger. The chorus, also, must be an actor and carry along the action of the play instead of interrupting the play to sing. Horace further warns his pupils to restrict the number of acts to the conventional five, and the number of characters to the conventional three. As an episode presented on the stage is more vivid than if it were narrated as having taken place off stage, horrors and murders should be kept off lest they offend.
The third section of the book is mainly concerned with revision. This is good pedagogy, for advice as to how to improve sentences or verses is appropriate only after the sentences have been planned and written. Besides urging the young poet to revise and correct his manuscript carefully, to put it aside nine years, and to seek the criticism of a sincere friend, Horace considers the value of the finished product. A poem will please more people if it combines the pleasant with the profitable. If a poem is not really good, it is bad. If the young poet finds that his work is not of high excellence, he would do better not to publish it. A poem is like a picture, Horace says, in that some poems appear to better advantage close up, and others at a distance. It is noteworthy that in his "_ut pictura poesis_" Horace is not pressing the analogy between the arts as did subsequent critics who quoted his phrase incompletely.
Of the four classical discussions of the theory of poetry which are here treated, that of Horace was best known throughout the middle ages and the early renaissance. Just what the influence of the _Ars poetica_ was and why it was so great a favorite will be discussed in subsequent chapters.
The importance of rhetoric in ancient education and public life is reflected in the wealth of rhetorical treatises composed by classical orators and teachers of oratory. An understanding of classical rhetoric can be gained only by a study of its purpose, subject-matter, and content. The _Rhetoric_ of Aristotle has sometimes been called the first rhetoric. In two senses this is not true. Aristotle's contribution to rhetorical theory is not a text-book, but a philosophical treatise, a part of his whole philosophical system. In the second place, even in his day there were many text-books of rhetoric with which Aristotle finds fault for their incomplete and unphilosophical treatment. If the _Rhetoric ad Alexandrum_, at one time falsely attributed to Aristotle and incorporated in early editions of his works, is typical of the earliest Greek text-books, the failure of the others to survive is fortunate. Aristotle's rhetorical theories superseded those of the early text-books, and through the influence of his _Rhetoric_ and the teaching of his pupil Theophrastus set their seal on subsequent rhetorical theory. In practice as distinct from theory, Isocrates probably had an influence more direct and intense, but briefer.
"Rhetoric," says Aristotle, "may be defined as a faculty of discovering all the possible means of persuasion in any subject."
He compares rhetoric with medicine; for the purpose of medicine, he believes, is not "to restore a person to perfect health but only to bring him to as high a point of health as possible." Neither medicine nor rhetoric can promise achievement, for in either case there is always something incalculable.
Although Aristotle, with philosophical caution, was careful to state that the function of rhetoric is not to persuade but to discover the available means of persuasion, his successors were more direct, if less accurate. Hermagoras affirms that the purpose of rhetoric is persuasion, and Dionysius of Halicarnassus defines rhetoric as the artistic mastery of persuasive speech in communal affairs. But the anonymous author of the Latin rhetorical treatise addressed to C. Herennius, long believed to be the work of Cicero, qualifies this by defining the purpose of rhetoric as "so to speak as to gain the assent of the audience as far as possible." And the sum of Cicero's opinion is that the office of the orator is to speak in a way adapted to win the assent of his audience. In his definition of rhetoric Quintilian makes a departure from the habits of his predecessors by defining rhetoric as the _ars bene dicendi_, or good public speech. Here the _bene_ implies not only effectiveness, but moral worth; for in Quintilian's conception the orator is a good man skilled in public speech, and there are times when, as in the case of Socrates, who refused to defend himself, to persuade would be dishonorable. Quintilian's precepts, however, are more in line with Aristotle than his definition. He busies himself throughout twelve books in teaching his students how to use all possible means to persuasion. The consensus of classical opinion, then, agrees that the purpose of rhetoric is persuasive public speaking.
2. Subject Matter
If then the purpose of classical rhetoric was to come as near persuasion as it could, what was its subject matter? Aristotle, following Plato, says in his definition "any subject," for any subject can be made persuasive. But this was too philosophical for his contemporaries and successors, who saw in their own environment that in practice rhetoric was almost entirely concerned with persuading a jury that certain things were or were not so, or persuading a deliberative assembly that this or that should or should not be done. Consequently Hermagoras defines the subject matter of rhetoric as "public questions," Dionysius of Halicarnassus, as "communal affairs," and the _Ad Herennium_ as "whatever in customs or laws is to the public benefit." The same influence caused Cicero in his youthful _De inventione_ to classify rhetoric as part of political science, and in the _De oratore_ to make Antonius restrict rhetoric to public and communal affairs, although in another section he returns to Aristotle's "any subject" as the material of rhetoric as does Quintilian later.
Although Aristotle did state in his definition that any subject was the material of rhetoric, in his classification of the varieties of speeches he practically restricts rhetoric as did Hermagoras, Dionysius, and the _Ad Herennium_; for here he finds but three kinds of oratory: the deliberative, the forensic, and the occasional, ἐπιδεικτικός. Forensic oratory he defines as that of the law court; deliberative, of the senate or public assembly; and occasional, of eulogy and congratulation. Perhaps the most illustrative modern examples of the third would be Fourth-of-July addresses, funeral sermons, and appreciative articles or lectures. Aristotle suggests that exaggeration is most appropriate to the style of occasional oratory; for as the facts are taken for granted, it remains only to invest them with grandeur and dignity.
Occasional oratory seems to have given no little concern to the classical rhetoricians. Since it existed to adorn an occasion, it had to be considered; but unlike the oratory of the forum or of the council chamber it was not primarily practical. Quintilian comments on this; for it seems to aim almost exclusively at gratifying its hearers, in this respect resembling poetry, which to Quintilian, seems to have no visible aim but pleasure. Occasional speeches relied much more on style than did those of the law court and senate, thus meriting Aristotle's adjective "literary," that is written to be read instead of spoken to be heard. Cicero, like Quintilian, considers these less practical, as remote from the conflict of the forum, written to be read, "to be looked at, as it were, like a picture, for the sake of giving pleasure." Consequently he declines to classify this form of oratory separately, reducing Aristotle's three kinds of oratory to two. It is valuable, to his mind, as the wet-nurse of the young orator, who enlarges his vocabulary and learns composition from its practice. Aristotle includes it in rhetoric; for in its field of eulogy, panegyric, felicitation, and congratulation, it too uses the available means of persuasion to prove some person or thing praiseworthy or the reverse.
3. Content of Classical Rhetoric
Classical rhetoricians commonly divided their subject into five parts. This analysis of rhetoric into _inventio, dispositio, elocutio, memoria_, and _pronuntiatio_ is to all intents and purposes universal in classical rhetoric and must be understood to give one a valid idea of its content. _Inventio_, so often lazily mistranslated as "invention," is the art of exploring the material to discover all the arguments which may be brought to bear in support of a proposition and in refutation of the opposing arguments. It includes the study of arguments and fallacies; and is that part of rhetoric which is closest neighbor to logic. The kinds of argument treated in the classical rhetoric were two: the enthymeme, or rhetorical syllogism; and the rhetorical induction or example. In the practice of rhetoric _inventio_ was thus the solidest and most important element. It included all of what to-day we might call "working up the case." _Dispositio_ is the art of arranging the material gathered for presentation to an audience. Aristotle insists that the essential parts of a speech are but two: the statement and the proof. At most it may have four: the _ex ordium_, or introduction; the _narratio_, or statement of facts; the _confirmatio_, or proof proper, both direct and refutative; and the _peroratio_, or conclusion. This is the characteristic movement of rhetoric, which, as is readily seen, is quite different from the plot movement of poetic. The parts are capable of further analysis. Consequently most writers of the classical period subdivide the proof proper into _probatio_, or affirmative proof, and _refutatio_, or refutation. And the _Ad Herennium_ adds a _divisio_, which defines the issues, between the statement of facts and the proof. Cassiodorus divides the speech into six parts and so does Martianus Capella. Thomas Wilson (1553) offers seven.
The third part of rhetoric is _elocutio_, or style, the choice and arrangement of words in a sentence. Quintilian's treatment of style is typical. Words should be chosen which are in good use, clear, elegant, and appropriate. The sentences should be grammatically correct, artistically arranged, and adorned with such figures as antithesis, irony, and metaphor. Correctness is usually presupposed by the rhetoricians. To the sound of sentences all classical treatises give an attention that seems amazing if we forget that in Greece and Rome all literature was spoken or read aloud. The sentence or period was considered more rhythmically than logically, and subdivided in speech into rhythmical parts called commas and cola. The end of the sentence was to be marked not by a printer's sign, but by the falling cadence of the rhythm itself. Furthermore, great care should be taken to avoid hiatus between words, as when the first word ends and the word following begins with a vowel. But the glory of style to the classical rhetorician lay in its use of figures. Here rhetoric vindicated its practicality by a preoccupation with the impractical; and here, as in analysis, rhetoric bore the seeds of its own decay. Although Aristotle devoted relatively little space to the rhetorical figures, later treatises emphasized them more and more until in post-classical and in mediaeval rhetoric little else is discussed. The figures of course had to be classified. First there were the _figurae verborum_, or figures of language, which sought agreeable sounds alone or in combination, such as antitheses, rhymes, and assonances. Then the _figurae sententiarum_, or figures of thought, such as rhetorical questions, hints, and exclamations. Quintilian classifies as tropes words or phrases converted from their proper signification to another. Among these are metaphor, irony, and allegory. In our day we consider as figures of speech only the classical tropes, and indeed Aristotle pays little attention to the others. He says that in prose one should use only literal names of things, and metaphors, or tropes--which therefore are not literal names but substituted names. For instance in this metaphor, which Aristotle quotes from Homer, "The arrow flew," "flew" is not the literal word to express the idea. Only birds fly, reminds the practical person. Max Eastman has pertinently called attention to the fact that it is only to rhetoric, which is a practical activity, that these figures are indirect expressions, or substituted names. Apostrophe is not a turning away in poetic, because in poetic there is no argument to turn away from. Rather in poetic it is a turning toward the essential images of realization, as metaphor in poetic is direct, not indirect, because in poetic a word that suggests the salient parts or qualities of things will always stand out over the general names of things.
The last two parts of rhetoric, _memoria_ and _pronuntiatio_, are really not permanent parts of rhetoric, but only of the rhetoric of spoken address. _Memoria_, the art of memory, did not mean to the Greeks and Romans the art of learning by heart a written speech, but rather the art of keeping ready for use a fund of argumentative material, together with the features of the case which the speaker might be pleading. The discussion of it in the treatises is usually an exposition of the mnemonic system of visual association, the discovery of which is ascribed to Simonides. Cicero deliberately leaves a discussion of _memoria_ out of his _Orator_, because as he says, it is common to many arts; and the Dutch scholar Vossius in the renaissance denied that it was a part of rhetoric. _Pronuntiatio_, or delivery, has also been found hardly an integral part of rhetoric. It is concerned with the use both of the voice and of gesture. Quintilian, for instance, records the effectiveness of clinging to the judge's knees, or of bringing into the court room the weeping child of the accused. Aristotle discusses only the use of the voice.
Thus classical rhetoric was almost exclusively restricted to the practical oratory of persuasion. In the republics of Greece and Rome a mastery of rhetoric gave its possessor political power; for by persuasive public speech a public man could gain a following by defending his clients in the law courts, and influence the destinies of the state by his deliberations in the legislative assembly. As long as these republican institutions prevailed, the theory and practice of rhetoric continued to be sound and practical.
4. Rhetoric as Part of Poetic
Implicit in Aristotle and throughout classical literary criticism there is a clear-cut distinction between poetic and rhetoric. Aside from the metrical form of poetic, accepted by all but Aristotle as a distinguishing characteristic, and the non-metrical form of rhetoric, the essentially practical nature of rhetoric marked it off to the Greeks and Romans as something quite different from poetic and infinitely more important in education and public life. But however clear-cut this distinction may be in principle, in practical application there is rarely to be found such ideal isolation.
Aristotle, for instance, carries rhetoric bodily over into poetic by including Thought, διάνοιᾰ, as the third in importance of the constituent elements of tragedy. This Thought is the intellectual element in conduct, and in drama is embodied not in action, but in speech. Aristotle says,
It is the faculty of saying what is possible and pertinent in given circumstances. In the case of oratory, this is the function of the political art and of the art of rhetoric. Concerning thought, we may assume what is said in the _Rhetoric_, to which inquiry the subject more properly belongs. Under thought is included every effect which has to be produced by speech, the subdivisions being--proof and refutation; the excitation of the feelings, such as pity, fear, anger and the like; the suggestion of importance or its opposite.
This is a transfer of the content of rhetoric to poetic, but poetic remains an art of imitation. Imaginative realization of the life of man would be incomplete if the characters in a narrative or in a drama did not use the same rhetorical art as do the characters of actual life. The poets justly carry over rhetoric when the scene demands it, and have often proved themselves excellent rhetoricians. Quintilian praises the peroration of Priam's speech begging Achilles for the body of Hector, and Cicero gives a rhetorical analysis of the speech of the old man in the _Andria_ of Terence, where the arrangement is especially appropriate to the character of the speaker. Norden, therefore, seems to go too far in giving this as an example of contamination of poetic by rhetoric. Dante remains an excellent poet when he puts into the mouth of Virgil that persuasive speech to Cato in the first canto of the _Purgatorio_. Antony's speech in _Julius Caesar_ is the best known modern example of the legitimate place of rhetoric in poetic.
5. Poetic as Part of Rhetoric
Just as rhetoric is justly carried over into poetic when in the realization of a character or situation a speech must be made or conduct rationalized, so poetic is constantly utilized by the orator. Public speech would be less persuasive if the characteristic imaginative qualities of poetic were excluded. The ideas and propositions of rhetoric would most ineffectually reach an audience if they were not made vivid. That rhetoric is not thus made synonymous with poetic is due to the fact that in rhetoric the images exist to illuminate the concept, while in poetic they are woven into the movement of the plot. Oratory, like poetry, is emotional, as Longinus asserts. Cicero phrases the aim of the orator as "docere, delectare, et movere," to prove, to delight, to move emotionally. The vividness and emotion, as well as the charm, of poetic are indispensable in attaining the ultimate aim of rhetoric-- persuasion. The orator must be himself moved, according to Quintilian, just as the poet, according to Aristotle. That essential quality, indeed, of poetic, the realization of character and situation which presents vividly a situation or event to the mind's eye of the reader or hearer so that he seems to participate in the action and vicariously live through it, was incorporated into rhetoric as ἐνέγεια, a figure of speech. There petrified in an alien substance, this characteristic quality of poetic was transmitted to another age which knew of it through no other source. Thus a successful orator narrated with descriptive vividness the circumstances, for instance, of a cruel murder, and even dramatized, speaking now in the person of one actor, now of another, the situation which he was endeavoring to realize for his audience. He was thus enabled better to carry his audience with him to his ultimate goal of persuasion.
But though rhetoric might for the moment thus borrow poetic, and though poetic might borrow rhetoric, the two remained distinct in the large, each conceived as having its own movement, its composition, distinct from that of the other.
Classical Blending of Rhetoric and Poetic
1. The Contact of Rhetoric and Poetic in Style
The coincidence of rhetoric and poetic is in style. They differ typically in movement or composition; they have a common ground in diction. And in this common ground each influenced the other from the beginning of recorded criticism. Aristotle says, for example, that the ornate style of the sophists, such as Gorgias, has its origin in the poets, while the modern student, Norden, asserts that the poets learned from the sophists. The evidence at least points to a very marked similarity between the styles of the sophists and of the poets in the fourth century B.C. This is well illustrated by the literary controversy between Isocrates and Alcidamas, both sophists and both students of the famous Gorgias. Alcidamas reproaches Isocrates because his discourses, so elaborately worked out with polished diction, are more akin to poetry than to prose. Isocrates cheerfully admits the accusation, and prides himself on the fact, affirming that his listeners take as much pleasure in his discourses as in poems.
That there are characteristic differences in style between rhetoric and poetic Aristotle justly shows when he asserts that while metaphor is common to both, it is more essential to poetic. Consequently in the _Rhetoric_ he refers to the _Poetics_ for a fuller discussion of metaphor. At the same time he says that metaphor deserves great attention in prose because prose lacks other poetical adornment. Furthermore, epithets and compound words are appropriate to verse but not to prose. And though both verse and oratorical prose should be rhythmical, a set rhythm, a meter, is appropriate only to verse.
A distinction between the style of poetic and of rhetoric similar to that of Aristotle is maintained by Cicero, but the distinction was losing its sharpness. In the _Orator_ he considers the orator and the poet as similar in style, but not identical. Formerly rhythm and meter were the distinguishing marks of the poet, but the orators in his days, he says, made increasing use of rhythm. Meter is a vice in an orator and should be shunned. The poet has greater license in compounding and inventing words. Both prose and verse, he adds, may be characterized by brilliant imagery and headlong sweep. The only essential difference between Cicero's treatment of style and that of Aristotle is that whereas Aristotle had shown imagery to be an integral part of poetic, Cicero felt it both in poetic and in rhetoric to be superadded as a decoration. Whether or not this difference was caused by lack of discrimination on the part of Cicero, his position was at least in line with a tendency which in later criticism received increasing development. Both the poet and the orator, he says, use the same methods of ornament, and the orator uses almost the language of poetry. And again, in a phrase which was taken up and repeated for fifteen hundred years, the poets are nearest kin to the orators.
2. The Florid Style in Rhetoric and in Poetic
But the public interest in style was increasingly comparable to that in athletic agility. As Socrates applauded the dancing girl who leaped through the dagger-studded hoop, the popular audience of imperial Rome was delighted at a clever turn of speech, a surprising rhythm, or a startling comparison. Literary study of style in occasional oratory must have been extensive and extravagant at a very early date, to judge by the rebukes of such practical speakers as Alcidamas. Moreover, such stylistic artifice as was practiced and taught by Gorgias, Isocrates, and other sophists crept into tragedy, says Norden, beginning with Agathon. The result was that with the poets style became as it had become with the sophists, an end in itself. The epideictic orators became less orators and more poets, and the poets cultivated less the characteristic vividness and movement of poetic than those turns of style which began in oratory.
Thus it was very natural that the discussions of artistic prose in the treatises of the later rhetoricians should be copiously illustrated by quotations from the poets, and that the poets should, in turn, be influenced in the direction of further sophistical niceties by the rhetorical treatises on style, such as those of Demetrius and Dionysius of Halicarnassus, who devoted whole treatises to style alone. The obsession of style is well exemplified by a comparison of Dionysius and Longinus in their discussion of Sappho's literary art. Longinus praises her passion, and her masterful selection of images which realize it for the reader, while Dionysius, no less enthusiastic, points out that in the ode which he quotes there is not a single case of hiatus. Dionysius is here much the more characteristic of his age, as he is in his belief that there is very little difference indeed between prose and verse. Longinus, while showing the relations of rhetoric and poetic, keeps the two apart; Dionysius draws them together. To Dionysius the best prose is that which resembles verse although not entirely in meter, and the best poetry that which resembles beautiful prose. By this he means that the poet should use enjambment freely and should vary the length and form of his clauses, so that the sense should not uniformly conclude with the metrical line. In this regard he would approve of Shakespeare's later blank verse much more than of his earlier because it is freer and more like conversation. Thus, to Dionysius, the diction of prose and the diction of poetry approach each other as a limit.
3. The False Rhetoric of the Declamation School
Later antiquity carried the mingling further in the same direction. As time went on, the over-refinement and literary sophistication of the florid school of oratory became more and more powerful. The puritan reaction of the Roman Atticists in the direction of the simplicity of Lysias defeated itself in over emphasis and ended in establishing coldness and aridity as literary ideals. Such a jejune style could never hold a Roman audience, and Cicero in theory and in practice took as model not only Demosthenes, but also Isocrates. As Roman liberty was lost under the Caesars, style very naturally assumed greater and greater importance. Bornecque has shown that the strife of the forum and the genuine debates of the senate no longer kept tough the sinews of public speech, and the orators sank back in lassitude on the remaining harmless but unreal occasional oratory and on the fictitious declamations of the schools. In these declamation schools under the Empire the boys debated such imaginary questions as this: A reward is offered to one who shall kill a tyrant. A. enters the palace and kills the tyrant's son, whereupon the father commits suicide. Is A. entitled to the reward? In the repertory of Lucian occurs a show piece on each side of this proposition. For two hundred years there had been no pirates in the Mediterranean; yet in the declamation schools pirates abounded, and questions turned upon points of law which never existed or could exist in actual society. The favorite cases concerned the tyranny of fathers, the debauchery of sons, the adultery of wives, and the rape of daughters. In the procedure of the declamation schools the boys arose and delivered their speeches with frequent applause from the other students and from their parents. The master would criticise the speeches and, when the students had finished, would himself deliver a speech which was supposed to outshine those of his pupils and give promise of what he could teach them.
The utter unreality and hollowness of such rhetoric could show itself no better than in contrast with the practical oratory of the law courts. Albucius, a famous professor of the schools, once pleaded a case in court. Intending to amplify his peroration by a figure he said, "Swear, but I will prescribe the oath. Swear by the ashes of your father, which lie unburied. Swear by the memory of your father!" The attorney for the other side, a practical man, rose--"My client is going to swear," he said. "But I made no proposal," shouted Albucius, "I only employed a figure." The court sustained his opponent, whose client swore, and Albucius retired in shame to the more comfortable shades of the declamation schools, where figures were appreciated. But in spite of the ridiculous performance of the professors of the schools when they did come out into the sunlight, in spite of the protests of Tacitus who complained justly that debased popular taste demanded poetical adornment of the orator, style continued to be loved for its own sake, extravagant figures of speech were applauded, and verbal cleverness and point were strained for. As Bornecque has shown, the fact that the rhetoric of the declamation schools was so unreal, so preoccupied with imaginary cases, and so given over to attainment of stylistic brilliancy, in no small measure explains the loss in late Latin literature of the sense of structure. "It is not surprising," says Bornecque, "that during the first three centuries of the Christian era the sense of composition seems to have disappeared from Latin literature." Thus Quintilian lamented that in his day the well constructed periods of Cicero appealed less to the perverted popular taste than the brilliant but disjointed epigrams of Seneca.
4. The Contamination of Poetic by False Rhetoric
As style gained this preponderence in rhetoric, it continued to increase its hold on poetic. While the rhetoricians were exemplifying from the poets their schemes and tropes, their well joined words, "smooth, soft as a maiden's face," the poets on their part were assiduously practicing all the rhetorical devices of style. Thus the literature of the silver-age is rhetorical. The custom of public readings by the author encouraged clever writing and a declamatory manner, even had the poets not received their education in the only popular institutions of higher instruction--the declamation schools. The fustian which passed for poetry and equally well for history is well illustrated by the contempt of the hard-headed Lucian for those historians who were unable to distinguish history from poetry. "What!" he exclaims, "bedizen history like her sister? As well take some mighty athlete with muscles of steel, rig him up with purple drapery and meretricious ornament, rouge and powder his cheeks; faugh, what an object one would make of him with such defilements!" But meretricious ornament was popular, and poets, historians, and orators alike scrambled to see who could most adorn his speech. Quintilian's pleas for the purer taste of a former age fell on deaf ears, and despite his warnings orators imitated the style of the poets, and the poets imitated the style of the orators. Gorgias may or may not have learned his style from the ancient poets of Greece, but the poets of the silver age learned from the tribe of Gorgias.
Not only did poetry and oratory suffer from the same bad taste in straining for brilliance of style, but in practice, as Bornecque has shown, both poetry and oratory suffered for lack of structure. The poets paid so much attention to style that they neglected plot construction and the vivid realization of character and situation. The orators paid so much attention to style that they lost the art of composing sentences, and of arranging sound arguments in such a way as to persuade an audience. In effect there was a tendency for the late Latin writers to ignore those elements of structure and movement wherein poetry and oratory most differ, and stress unduly the elements of style wherein they have the most in common. Indeed, so completely did any fundamental distinction between poetic and rhetoric become blurred that in the second century Annaeus Florus was able to offer as a debatable question, "Is Virgil an orator or a poet?"
The Middle Ages
1. The Decay of Classical Rhetorical Tradition
The seven liberal arts of mediaeval education carried the blending almost to the absorption of poetic by rhetoric, and the debasement of rhetoric itself to a consideration of style alone.
As for poetic, it had no distinct place except in the analyses of the grammaticus, who from classical times had prepared boys for the schools of rhetoric partly by analyzing with them the style of admirable passages. These passages were commonly taken from the poets, whose art was thus considered mainly as an art of words and applied to the art of the orator. Consequently, as a result of this tradition, poetic in the middle ages was commonly grouped with grammar or with rhetoric, although Isidore includes it in his section on theology.
The rhetorical treatises of the middle ages exhibit two phases. On the one hand the earlier post-classical treatises composed by Martianus Capella, Cassiodorus, and Isidore, all inhabitants of the Mediterranean basin, are fairly close to the classical tradition of Quintilian. Their weakness consists not in that they restricted rhetoric to style, but in that their whole treatment of rhetorical theory was compact, arid, and schematic. The second phase of mediaeval rhetoric is characteristic of a geographical position more remote from the center of classical culture. Thus it is in the rhetorical treatises of England and Germany in the middle ages that rhetoric was to the greatest extent restricted to a consideration of style. Illustrative of this tendency is the fact that the only surviving rhetorical work by the Venerable Bede is a treatise on the rhetorical figures.
But although the conventional study of rhetoric in such condensed treatment as that of the sections in Martianus, Isidore, or Cassiodorus, was definitely intrenched in the educational system of the seven liberal arts, it had no vitality. In the first place these treatises gave only the dry husks of rhetoric, the conventional analyses, the stock definitions. In the second place rhetoric was little applied. The political life of western Europe centered in the camp, not in the forum. The classical tradition of trial by a large jury, as the Areopagus or the Centumviri, had given place to trial before the regal or manorial court. Thus rhetoric dried up and lost whatever reality it had possessed in imperial Rome.
But if the middle ages had no opportunity to apply rhetoric in its function of persuasion in communal affairs, they did have real need of an art of writing letters and of preparing lay or ecclesiastical documents, such as contracts, wills, and records, and of preaching sermons. Thus in the teaching of the schools, as well as in practice, the oration gave place to the epistle and dictamen. "Dictare" was to write letters or prepare documents. And the rhetorical treatise or "_ars rhetorica_" often yielded to the "_ars prosandi_," or the "_ars dictandi_."
A characteristic treatise of this sort is the _Poetria_ of the Englishman John of Garland (c. 1270). In his introductory chapter John explains that he has divided the subject into seven parts:
First is explained the theory of invention; then the manner of selecting material; third, the arrangement and the manner of ornamentation; next, the parts of a dictamen; fifth, the faults in all kinds of composition (dictandi); sixth is arranged a treatise concerning rhetorical ornament as necessary in meter as in prose, namely, the figures of speech and the abbreviation and amplification of the material; seventh and last are subjoined examples of courtly correspondence and scholastic dictamen, pleasantly composed in verse and rhythms, and in diverse meters.
Under the head of invention John gives definitions, several examples of good letters, a long list of proverbs under appropriate captions so that the letter writer can quickly find the one to fit his context, and an "elegiac, bucolic, ethic love poem" in fifty leonine verses, accompanied by an inevitable allegorical interpretation. Then he comes to selection. Tully, he admits, puts arrangement after invention, "but," he pleads, "in writing letters and documents poetically the art of selection after that of invention is useful." For he thinks of selection only as the selection of words. A writer, he says, should select his words and images according to the persons addressed. The court should be addressed in the grand style; the city, in the middle style; and the country, in the mean style. One should arrange in three columns in a note-book the words and comparisons appropriate to each style so that the material will be handy when he wishes to write a letter. These principles John illustrates with leonine verses and ecclesiastical epistles. Under arrangement he says that all material must be so arranged as to have a beginning, a middle, and an end. Then there are nine ways to begin a poem and nine ways to begin a dictamen or epistle. Next he states that there are six parts to an oration: "exordium, narracio, peticio, confirmacio, confutacio, conclusio." As an example of this division of the oration into parts he quotes a long poem which persuades its reader to take up the cross. Still under the general head of arrangement John explains the ten ways of amplifying material. The tenth, "interpretacio," he illustrates by telling a joke, and then amplifying it into a little comedy. "Comedy," he says, "is a jocose poem beginning in sadness and ending in joy: a tragedy is a poem composed in the grand style beginning in joy and ending in grief." Next follow the six metrical faults, the faults of salutations in letters, a classification of the different kinds of poems, and further talk on different styles in writing. His sixth chapter, on ornament in meter and prose, presents what he has up to this left unsaid about style. It includes a list of fifty-seven figures of speech (_colores verborum_) and eighteen figures of thought (_colores sententiarum_). This is logically followed by the ten attributes of man. The seventh and final chapter gives a long narrative poem of the horrific variety as an example of tragedy and several letters as examples of dictamen.
Such a digest shows better than any generalization a complete confusion of poetic and rhetoric. Poems were to be written according to the formulae of orations; allegory throve. Infinite pains were to be expended on the worthless niceties of conceited metrical structure and rhetorical figures. Garland has neither real poetic nor real rhetoric.
2. Rhetoric as Aureate Language
As to the late middle ages rhetoric had come to mean to all intents nothing more than style, it is frequently personified in picturesque mediaeval allegory, never as being engaged in any useful occupation, but as adding beauty, color, or charm to life. In the _Anticlaudianus_ of Alanus de Insulis, Rhetoric is represented as painting and gilding the pole of the Chariot of Prudence. In the rhymed compendium of universal knowledge which its author, Thomasin von Zirclaria, justly calls _Der Wälsche Gast_, for learning was indeed a foreign guest in thirteenth century Germany, rhetoric appears in a similar rôle. "Rhetoric," says Thomasin, "clothes our speech with beautiful colors," and he gives as his authority, "Tulljus, Quintiljan, Sidônjus," although Apollinaris Sidonius seems to be the only one of the trio he had ever read. This theory lived to a vigorous old age. Palmieri, in his _Della Vita Civile_ (1435), defines rhetoric as "the theory of speaking ornamentally." And Lydgate traces all the beauty of rhetoric to Calliope, "that with thyn hony swete sugrest tongis of rethoricyens."
The most complete example, however, of the mediaeval restriction of rhetoric to style, and of the absorption of poetic by rhetoric is afforded by Lydgate in his _Court of Sapyence._ The passages which refer to rhetoric are given in full because they can otherwise be consulted only in the Caxton edition of 1481 or in the black letter copy printed by Wynkyn de Worde in 1510.
O Clyo lady moost facundyous O ravysshynge delyte of eloquence O gylted goddes gaye and gloryous Enspyred with the percynge influence Of delycate hevenly complacence Within my mouth let dystyll of thy shoures And forge my tonge to gladde myn auditoures.
Myn ignoraunce whome clouded hath eclyppes With thy pure bemes illumynyne all aboute Thy blessyd brethe let refleyre in my lyppes And with the dewe of heven thou them degoute So that my mouth may blowe an encense oute The redolent dulcour aromatyke Of thy deputed lusty rhetoryke.
_The section of rhetoric._
Dame Rethoryke moder of eloquence Moost elegaunt moost pure and gloryous With lust delyte, blysse, honour and reverence Within her parlour fresshe and precyous Was set a quene, whose speche delycyous Her audytours gan to all Joye converte Eche worde of her myght ravysshe every herte.
And many clerke had lust her for to here Her speche to them was parfyte sustenance Eche worde of her depured was so clere And illumyned with so parfyte pleasaunce That heven it was to here her beauperlaunce Her termes gay as facunde soverayne Catephaton in no poynt myght dystane.
She taught them the crafte of endytynge Whiche vyces ben that sholde avoyded be Whiche ben the coulours gay of that connynge Theyr dyfference and eke theyr properte Eche thynge endyte how it sholde poynted be Dystynctyon she gan clare and dyscusse Whiche is Coma Colym perydus.
Who so thynketh my wrytynge dull and blont And wolde conceyve the colours purperate Of Rethoryke, go he to tria sunt And to Galfryde the poete laureate To Janneus a clerke of grete estate Within the fyrst parte of his gramer boke Of this mater there groundely may he loke.
In Tullius also moost eloquent The chosen spouse unto this lady free His gylted craft and gloyre in content Gay thynges I made eke, yf than lust to see Go loke the Code also the dygestes thre The bookes of lawe and of physyke good Of ornate speche there spryngeth up the flood.
In prose and metre of all kynde ywys This lady blyssed had lust for to playe With her was blesens Richarde pophys Farrose pystyls clere lusty fresshe and gay With maters vere poetes in good array Ovyde, Omer, Vyrgyll, Lucan, Orace Alane, Bernarde, Prudentius and Stace.
Throughout this passage rhetoric is never mentioned in any other context than one of pleasure to the ear of the auditor. Of the three aims of rhetoric which Cicero had phrased as _docere, delectare, et movere_, only the _delectare_ remains in the rhetoric of Lydgate. From his initial invocation to Clio, in which he prays that his style be illuminated with the aromatic sweetness of her rhetoric, to the passage in which he refers to his own writings for examples of ornate speech Lydgate never refers to the logic or the structure of persuasive public speech. Rhetoric, in Lydgate, is not used in its classical sense, but as being synonymous with ornate language--style. Here and here only does Lydgate discuss any part of rhetoric in its classical implications. When, in his poem, he discusses the craft of writing as including "coulours gay," he refers to the figures of classical rhetoric--Cicero's "_colores verborum_." And when he refers to the "coma, colum, perydus," he is harking back to the classical divisions of the rhythmical members of a sentence: the "comma, colon, et periodus." In the classical treatises on rhetoric this division of "elocutio" or style into two parts: (1) figures of speech and language, and (2) rhythmical movement of the sentence, is universal. Lydgate's rhetoric is thus a development of only one element of classical rhetoric--style.
But Lydgate's rhetoric was not only restricted to style; it was expanded to include the style of the poets as well as that of the prose writers, as the last stanza shows. If Lydgate thought poetry to include anything more than this style, he does not say so.
Lydgate does not present an isolated case of this meaning of rhetoric. Throughout the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries in England the term rhetoric and its related words regularly connoted skill in diction. A rhetor was one who was a master of style. Henryson, for instance, calls rhetoric sweet, and Dunbar, ornate. Chaucer admired Petrarch for his "rethorike sweete" which illumined the poetry of Italy, and was himself in turn loved by Lydgate as the "nobler rethor poete of brytagne," who is called "floure of rethoryk in Englisshe tong," by John Walton. According to James I both Gower and Chaucer sat on the steps of rhetoric, while Lyndesay includes Lydgate in the number and asserts that all three rang the bell of rhetoric. Bokenham calls Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate the "first rethoryens"; and as late as 1590, Chaucer and Lydgate are called "The first that ever elumined our language with flowers of rethorick eloquence." The entire period was thus in substantial agreement that rhetoric was honeyed speech exhibited at its best in the works of the poets.
The best example of this view of rhetoric is furnished by Stephen Hawes in his delectable educational allegory of the seven liberal arts which he calls _The Pastime of Pleasure_ (1506). He begins, of course, with an apology for
Thys lytle boke, opprest wyth rudenes Without rethorycke or coloure crafty; Nothinge I am experte in poetry As the monke of Bury, floure of eloquence.
And in another place, again addressing Lydgate, he exclaims:
O mayster Lydgate, the most dulcet sprynge Of famous rethoryke, wyth balade ryall.
The poem records the experiences of Grande Amour, who, accompanied by two greyhounds, seeks knowledge. After visiting Grammar and Logic in their rooms, he goes upstairs to see Dame Rhetoric. Rhetoric sits in a chamber gaily glorified and strewn with flowers. She is very large, finely gowned and garlanded with laurel. About her are mirrors and the fragrant fumes of incense. Grande Amour asks her to paint his tongue with the royal flowers of delicate odors, that he may gladden his auditors and "moralize his literal senses." She pretends to understand him, but when he asks her what rhetoric is,
Rethoryke, she sayde, was founde by reason Man for to governe wel and prudently; His wordes to ordre his speche to purify.
It has five parts,--and so on. The introduction, however, to the beflowered dwelling place of the fair lady and the request of Grande Amour to have his tongue perfumed are much more characteristic of the temper of the age than are the professed reasons for the origin of rhetoric. Rhetoric in their hearts they felt to be gay paint and sweet smells.
Hawes's five parts have the same names as the five parts of classical rhetoric. The first part of rhetoric, he says, is "Invencyon," the classical _inventio_. It is derived from the "V inward wittes," discernment, fantasy, imagination, judgment, and memory. Anyone, however, who is familiar with the _inventio_ of classical rhetoric, concerned as it is with exploring subject matter, will be at a loss to see the connection with Hawes. In fact the whole chapter, and the one following, are devoted not to rhetoric, but to the theory of poetical composition, and explanation of the allegorical conception of the end of poetry, and a defense of the poets against detractors. The classical term _inventio_ is thus lifted over bodily, with both change and extension in meaning, from rhetoric to poetic.
In the chapter on Disposicion, instead of discussing the arrangement of a speech, Hawes devotes most of his space to praise of the rhetoricians because they turned the guidance of the drifting barge, the world, over to competent pilots, the kings. Here, perhaps, Hawes is using the word rhetorician more closely than usual in its classical sense. He may even have known that the fact of kingship had robbed rhetoric of its purpose. At any rate, his Disposicion is like the classical _dispositio_ only in name, and again it is transferred from rhetoric to poetic.
Pronunciation (_pronuntiatio_), or delivery, of course applies to either poets or orators. But whereas classical writers applied it to the orator's use of voice and gesture, Hawes applies it only to the poet's reading aloud. He recommends that when a poet reads his verses, he should make his voice dolorous in bewailing a woeful tragedy, and his countenance glad in joyful matter. It is important, however, that the reading poet be not boisterous or unmannered. Let him be moderate, gentle, and seemly. The final section, that on memory, comes closer to its classical sense than does any other. Here the mnemonic system of "places," supposedly invented by Simonides, is explained obscurely. Even more obscure is its applicability to Hawes's subject.
It is noteworthy that the chapter on Elocution (_elocutio_), or style, far outweighs all the others in scope and bulk. Of the 108 seven-line stanzas which Hawes devotes to rhetoric, 20 praise the poets; 7 define rhetoric; 13 explain _inventio_; 12, _dispositio_; 40, _elocutio_; 8, _pronuntiatio_; and 8, _memoria_. "Elocusyon," says Hawes, "exorneth the mater."
The golden rethoryke is good refeccion And to the reader ryght consolation.
Rhetoric and style, to Hawes and his contemporaries, mean the same thing. Both have to do, in Hawes's own language, with choosing aromatic words, dulcet speech, sweetness, delight; they are redolent of incense; they gleam like carbuncles in the darkness; they are painted in hard gold. But beyond these picturesque generalizations there is little trace in Hawes of any discussion of style such as one would find in a classical treatise. A few figures of speech are mentioned, but not dwelt upon. Hawes consistently confines himself to poetry. Tully, the only orator mentioned, shares a line with Virgil. The main concern is with the devices used by the poets to cloak truth under the veil of allegory. Rhetoric is an adjunct of the poet.
my mayster Lydgate veryfyde The depured rethoryke in Englysh language; To make our tongue so clerely puryfyed That the vyle termes should nothing arage As like a pye to chatter in a cage, But for to speke with rethoryke formally.
In a word, the whole traditional division of rhetoric is transferred to poetry, and at the same time both rhetoric and poetic are limited to the single part which they have in common--diction. The style cultivated by this focus is ornamental and elaborate. If Lydgate or Hawes had believed that rhetoric included more than aureate language, surely the scope of their treatises would have afforded them opportunity to correct this impression. Each of them is endeavoring to present a compendium of universal knowledge according to the conventional analysis of the seven liberal arts. Illustrative details might be omitted, but not important sections of the subject matter.
The meanings of words change, and with such changes we have no quarrel. It is important, however, that we should know what the English middle ages meant by rhetoric if we are to appreciate how powerful was the tradition of the middle ages and in what direction it influenced the literary criticism of the English renaissance. To resume, the middle ages thought of poetry as being composed of two elements: a profitable subject matter (_doctrina_), and style (_eloquentia_). The profitable subject matter was theoretically supplied by the allegory. This will be discussed in the second part of this study, as historically being a phase of critical discussions of the purpose of poetry. The English middle ages, as has been shown, considered style synonymous with rhetoric.
Logic and Rhetoric in the English Renaissance
1. The Content of Classical Rhetoric Carried Over into Logic
But among serious people the painted and perfumed Dame Rethoryke of Lydgate and Hawes was in disrepute. She had turned over her business in life to the kings and devoted too much attention to ornament. Such a serious person was Rudolph Agricola, who, in his treatise on logic, accepted the mediaeval tradition that rhetoric was concerned only with smoothness and ornament of speech and all that went toward captivating the ears, and straightway picked up all the serious purpose and thoughtful content of classical rhetoric which mediaeval rhetoric had abandoned, to hand them over to logic. Consequently, in a work which he significantly entitles _De inventione dialectica_, he defines logic as the art of speaking in a probable manner concerning any topic which can be treated in a speech. According to Agricola's scheme, rhetoric retains "_elocutio_," style; and logic carries over "_inventio_," as his title shows, and "_dispositio_." His whole-hearted disgust with the stylistic extremes of rhetoric he shows by denying to oratory any aim of pleasing and moving. Of Cicero's threefold purpose, to teach, to please, and to move, he retains only teaching as pertinent to effective public speech. "Docere," to teach, he uses in the classical sense which includes proof as well as instruction. Thus he says it has two parts: exposition and argument. The parts of a speech he reduces to the minimum proposed by Aristotle: the statement and the proof. Thus although Agricola admits that rhetoric is most beautiful, he will have none of her.
Following this lead, Thomas Wilson, the English rhetorician and statesman, defines logic and rhetoric as follows:
Logic is occupied about all matters, and doeth plainlie and nakedly set forth with apt wordes the sum of things, by way of argumentation. Rhetorike useth gaie painted sentences, and setteth forthe those matters with freshe colours and goodly ornaments, and that at large.
According to Agricola and Wilson logic has supplanted rhetoric in finding all possible means of persuasion in any subject. Following Peter Ramus, Wilson finds that logic has two parts: _judicium_, "Framyng of thinges aptlie together, and knittyng words for the purpose accordynglie," and _inventio_, "Findyng out matter, and searchyng stuffe agreable to the cause." Hermagoras and others had in antiquity considered _judicium_, or judgment, as a part of rhetoric, although Quintilian thought it less a part of rhetoric than necessary to all parts. _Inventio_, of course, has always been the most important part of rhetoric. This same carrying over of the content of classical rhetoric into logic is further illustrated by Abraham Fraunce, who divides his _Lawiers Logic_ (1588) into two parts: invention and disposition.
2. The Persistence of the Mediaeval Tradition of Rhetoric
But while the survival of the mediaeval notion that rhetoric was concerned mainly with style thus gave over in the English Renaissance _inventio_ and _dispositio_ to logic, there naturally remained nothing of classical rhetoric but _elocutio_ and _pronuntiatio_. A brief survey of the English rhetorics of the late sixteenth and early seventeenth centuries will show that this was the case. Richard Sherry devotes an entire book to style in his "Treatise of Schemes and Tropes" (1550). He begins by defining "eloquucion, the third part of Rhetoric," as the dressing up of thought. Rhetoric to him had not in theory become style, but style is the only part which he finds interesting enough to treat. His schemes and tropes are of course the rhetorical figures; but let him explain them in his own artless way. "A scheme is the fashion of a word, sayyng or sentence, otherwyse wrytten or spoken then after the vulgar and comon usage. A trope is a movynge and changynge of a worde or sentence, from thyr owne significacion into another which may agree with it by a similitude." Henry Peacham's _Garden of Eloquence, Conteyning the Figures of Grammer and Rhetoric_ (1577) likewise deals only with the rhetorical figures.
In the anonymous, _The Artes of Logike and Rhetorike_ (1584), rhetoric is denned as "an arte of speaking finelie. It hath two parts, garnishing of speach, called Eloqution, and garnishing of the manner of utterance, called Pronunciation." Thus by definition rhetoric includes only style and delivery. Under garnishing of speech the author treats only the rhetorical figures. This restriction of style to figures is characteristic. The rhythm of prose upon which classical treatises on style lavished such enthusiastic pains is practically ignored in those English treatises. The _comma, colon_, and _periodus_ which to classical authors signified rhythmical units in the sentence movement had already come to mean to most people only marks of punctuation. Garnishing of utterance Fenner does not discuss at all.
In _The Arcadian Rhetorike_ (1588), Abraham Fraunce treats both. "Rhetorike," he says, "is an Art of Speaking. It hath two parts, Eloqution and Pronuntiation. Eloqution is the first part of Rhetorike, concerning the ordering and trimming of speech. It hath two parts, Congruity and Braverie." Congruity (as pertaining more to grammar) he does not discuss. "Braverie of speach consisteth of tropes or turnings, and in figures or fashionings." The remainder of the first book deals with meter and verse forms, baldly of prose rhythm, epizeuxis, conceited verses, and various rhetorical figures. The second book deals with the voice and gestures. This rhetoric of Fraunce's, then, complements his _Lawiers Logike_ of the same year, the latter dealing with the finding out and arrangement of arguments in a speech, and the former with style and delivery. Rhetoric is thus concerned only with stylistic artifice in verse as well as in prose.
The same tradition is upheld by Charles Butler, who in his Latin school rhetoric (1600) defines rhetoric as the art of ornate speech and divides it into _elocutio_, a discussion of the tropes and figures, and _pronuntiatio_, the use of voice and gesture. And John Barton is worse. In his _Art of Rhetorick_ (1634) he says:
Rhetorick is the skill of using daintie words, and comely deliverie, whereby to work upon men's affections. It hath two parts, adornation and action. Adornation consisteth in the sweetness of the phrase, and is seen in tropes and figures.
There are foure kinds of tropes, substitution, comprehension, comparation, simulation. The affection of a trope is the quality whereby it requires a second resolution. These affections are five: abuse, duplication, continuation, superlocution, sublocution. A figure is an affecting kind of speech without consideration had of any borrowed sense. A figure is two-fold: relative and independent,
and he names over in his jargon the six figures which are of each kind. If this be rhetoric, perhaps there was justification for John Smith's _The Mysterie of Rhetorique Unvailed_ (1657), which continued the fallacious tradition by dividing rhetoric into elocution and pronunciation.
This perversion of rhetoric which considered it as concerned only with style, or aureate language, was not restricted to the school books. The popular use of rhetoric as synonymous with "fine honeyed speech," is seen in a passage from _Old Fortunatus_, where it carries the modern connotation of a meretricious substitute for genuine feeling, as where Agripyne says,
"Methinks a soldier is the most faithful lover of all men else; for his affection stands not upon compliment. His wooing is plain home spun stuff; there's no outlandish thread in it, no rhetoric."
3. The Recovery of Classical Rhetoric
A half century before Smith unveiled the mysteries of rhetoric, Bacon had in his _Advancement of Learning_ (1605) pointed out the fallacies of the renaissance obsession with style. He briefly traces the causes of the renaissance study of language and adds:
"This grew speedily to an excesse; for men began to hunt more after wordes than matter, and more after the choisenesse of the Phrase and the round and cleane composition of the sentence, and the sweet falling of the clauses, and the varying and illustration of their workes with tropes and figures, then after the weight of matter, worth of subject, soundness of argument, life of invention, or depth of judgement."
Sooner or later the school books had to reform. The Latin school rhetoric of Thomas Vicars (1621), after one has perused the treatise of his predecessors and contemporaries, is so conservative as to appear startling. It has all the air of a novelty. Yet all he does is to return to the classical tradition by defining rhetoric as the art of correct or effective speech having five parts: _inventio_, _dispositio_, _elocutio_, _memoria_, and _pronuntiatio_. And Thomas Farnaby, whose _Index Rhetoricus_ appeared in six editions between 1633 and 1654, gives a fairly proportioned treatment of _inventio_, _dispositio_, _elocutio_, and _actio_. _Memoria_ he omits, following here, as elsewhere, the sound leadership of Vossius.
4. Channels of Classical Theory
This perversion of rhetorical theory in the middle ages and early renaissance had resulted not from mere wrong-headedness on the part of the rhetoricians, but from the limited knowledge of classical tradition during the middle ages. Especially was this true in those parts of western Europe, such as England, which were remote from the Mediterranean countries which better preserved the heritage of Greece and Rome. Moreover, the most important classical treatises on the theory of poetry--by Aristotle and Longinus--were almost unknown throughout the middle ages, and the rhetorical writings of Cicero and Quintilian were known only in fragments.
Servatus Lupus (805-862), Abbot of Ferrieres and a learned man, was unusual in his scholarship; for he knew not only the rhetoric _Ad Herennium_ which was believed to be Cicero's but also the _De oratore_ and fragments of Quintilian. The current rhetorical treatises of the middle ages were Cicero's _De inventione_, and the _Ad Herennium._ The _De oratore_ was used but slightly, and the _Brutus_ and the _Orator_ not at all. What little classical rhetoric there is in Stephen Hawes was derived from the _Ad Herennium_.
The survival and popularity of the _Ad Herennium_ during this period is one of the most interesting phenomena of rhetorical history. Of the classical treatises on rhetoric which survive to-day it undoubtedly arouses the least interest and can contribute the least to modern education or criticism. Yet it is the most characteristic Latin rhetoric we possess. It is a text-book of rhetoric which was used in the Roman schools. In fact, Cicero's _De inventione_ is so much like it that some suspect that Cicero's notes which he took in school got into circulation and forced the publication of his professor's lectures. Aristotle's philosophy of rhetoric, Cicero's charming dialog on his profession, Quintilian's treatise on the teaching of rhetoric--none of these is a text-book. The rhetoric _Ad Herennium_ is. It is clear and orderly in its organization. It defines all the technical terms which it uses, and illustrates its principles. As one might expect, it delights in over-analysis, in categories and sub-categories, the four kinds of causes, the three virtues of the _narratio_. In the hands of a skilled teacher of composition, however, and with much class-room practice, it undoubtedly would get rhetoric taught more effectively than would more philosophical or literary treatises. Thus in Guarino's school at Ferrara (1429-1460) the _Ad Herennium_ was regarded as the quintessence of pure Ciceronian doctrine of oratory, and was made the starting point and standing authority in teaching rhetoric. In more advanced classes it was supplemented by the _De oratore, Orator_, and what was known of Quintilian. The _Ciceronianus_ of Erasmus testifies that by the next century the scholarship of the renaissance had discovered that the _Ad Herennium_ was not from the pen of Cicero, and that the _De inventione_ was considered apologetically by its famous author, who wrote his _De oratore_ to supersede the more youthful treatise. But six years after the publication of the _Ciceronianus_ of Erasmus, the edition of Cicero's _Opera_ published in Basel in 1534 still incorporates the _Ad Herennium_, and Thomas Wilson in England owes most of his first book and part of the second of his _Arte of Rhetorique_ to its anonymous author, whom he believed to be Cicero. For instance in his section on _Devision_ as a part of a speech, Wilson says, "Tullie would not have a devision to be made, of, or above three partes at the moste, nor lesse then three neither, if neede so required."
"Tullie" says no such thing. Indeed, Cicero never considers _divisio_ as one of the parts of a speech. But the _Ad Herennium_ does make _divisio_ a part of a speech, and does require not over three parts. As late as 1612, Thomas Heywood quotes the authority of "Tully, in his booke _Ad Caium Herennium_."
The relative importance of Cicero's rhetorical works to the middle ages is well illustrated by a count of the manuscripts preserved. In the libraries of Europe today there exist seventy-nine manuscripts of the _De inventione_, eighty-three of the _Ad Herennium_, forty of the _De oratore_, fourteen of the _Brutus_, and twenty of the _Orator._ Thus in the University of Bologna the study of rhetoric was based on the _De inventione_ and the _Ad Herennium_. The _De inventione_ is the source for Alcuin's rhetorical writings, and was the only Ciceronian rhetoric known to Abelard or Dante. Brunette Latini translated seventeen chapters of it into Italian. Although mutilated codices of the _De oratore_ and the _Orator_ were known to Servatus Lupus and John of Salisbury, complete manuscripts of these most important works were not known previous to 1422. The _Ad Herennium_ and the _De inventione_ were first printed by Jenson at Venice in 1470. The first book printed at Angers (1476) was the _Ad Herennium_ under the usual mediaeval title of the _Rhetorica nova_. The first edition of the _De oratore_ was printed in the monastery of Subaco about 1466. The _Brutus_ first appeared in Rome (1469) in the same year which witnessed the first edition of the Orator. Before its first printing the _Orator_ was used as a reference book for advanced students by Guarino in his school at Ferrara.
Castiglione's indebtedness to the _De oratore_ is well known, but few notice that his first paragraphs are a close paraphrase of Cicero's dedicatory paragraphs of the _Orator._
But in England the first reference to the _Orator_ appears in Ascham's _Scholemaster_ (1570) one hundred years after its first printing. Thus the Ciceronian rhetoric of the middle ages was derived from the pseudo-Ciceronian _Ad Herennium_ and from the youthful _De inventione_, not from the best rhetorical treatises of Cicero as we know them. Moreover the mediaeval tradition persisted in England for over a hundred years after it had been displaced in Italy.
The _Rhetoric_ of Aristotle was known to the middle ages only through a Latin translation by Hermanus Allemanus (c. 1256) of Alfarabi's commentary. The Greek text was first published in the Aldine _Rhetores Graeci_ (1508), and was for the first time incorporated in the works of Aristotle published in Basel, 1531. As early as 1478, however, the Latin version by George of Trebizond had been published in Venice. This was frequently reissued in the _Opera_ of Aristotle together with the _Rhetorica ad Alexandrum_, long believed to be the work of Aristotle, in the Latin translation by Filelfo, and the _Poetics_ in Pazzi's translation. As the true _Rhetoric_ of Aristotle, known to the renaissance as the _Ars rhetoricorum ad Theodecten_, was so frequently published with the spurious _Rhetorica_, references to Aristotle's _Rhetoric_ in the sixteenth century are likely to be confusing. Thus it is difficult to tell whether the _Rhetoric_ required to be read by Oxford students in the fifteenth century is the one or the other. The surprising thing is, however, with all the editions and translations of Aristotle which were available, that the _Rhetoric_ of Aristotle had so slight an influence on English rhetorical theory.
The _De institutione oratoria_ of Quintilian was too long to be preserved intact. From the fourth to the seventh centuries, however, it was well known and highly valued by Hilary of Poitiers, St. Jerome, and Rufinus, and closely followed and abridged in their rhetorical works by Cassiodorus, Julius Victor, and Isidore of Seville. From the eighth century until Poggio discovered the complete manuscript at St. Gall in 1416, the world knew only mutilated fragments of the text. On the basis of an incomplete manuscript Etienne de Rouen prepared in the twelfth century an abridgment of Quintilian, and soon after an anonymous enthusiast made a selection of the _Flores Quintilianei_. Thus, while the rhetorical works of Aristotle were practically unknown, and the Ciceronian tradition rested on the _De inventione_ and the _Ad Herennium_, the rhetorical ideas of Quintilian, as preserved in abridgments and in the treatises of Cassiodorus and Isidore, passed current throughout the middle ages. When the first edition was published by Campano in 1470, the world of scholars welcomed a familiar friend.
Other classical critical treatises filtered into England even more slowly. The _De compositione verborum_ of Dionysius of Halicarnassus received its first printing at the hands of Aldus in 1508 and was edited again by Estienne in 1546, and by Sturm in 1550. Yet had Ascham not been a friend of Sturm's, it might not have been heard of in England as early as 1570, when the _Scholemaster_ was published. Ascham says it is worthy of study, but shows no great familiarity with the text.
The _De sublimitate_ of pseudo-Longinus has a similar history in England. Published by Robortelli in Basel in 1554, it was reissued three times, once with a Latin translation, before Langhorne edited it (1636) at Oxford. No Elizabethan writer alludes to it or seems to have been aware of its existence until Thomas Farnaby cites it as an authority for his _Index Rhetoricus_ (1633). The advance of classical scholarship in England is indeed no better illustrated than by a comparison of Farnaby's cited sources with those of Thomas Wilson (1553). Wilson knew and used Cicero, Quintilian, Plutarch, Basil the Great, and Erasmus. Farnaby cites an imposing list of sources.
"Greek: Aristotle, Hermogenes, Sopatrus, Dionysius of Halicarnassus, Demetrius Phal, Menander, Aristides, Apsinus, Longinus _De sublimitate_, Theonus, Apthonius. Latin: Cicero, Quintilian, Martianus Capella, Curio Fortunatus, Mario Victorino, Victore, Emporio, Augustino, Ruffinus, Trapezuntius, P. Ramus, L. Vives, Soarez, J. C. Scaliger, Sturm, Strebaeus, Kechermann, Alstedius, N. Caussinus, J. G. Voss, A. Valladero."
Whether Farnaby had read the works of these gentlemen through from cover to cover is another matter. He at least knew their names, and had read in Vossius, whose footnotes would refer him to all these sources as well as to others, both classical and mediaeval.
With this evidence before us it is easy to understand why the traditions of the English middle ages persisted so long in the literary criticism of the English renaissance. The theories of rhetoric and of poetry in mediaeval England had in the first place, because of remoteness and the lack of easy transportation, become farther and farther removed from such classical tradition as was preserved in the Mediterranean countries. In the second place, the recovery of classical criticism in the Italian renaissance antedated by a hundred years the domestication of classical theory in England. Not until the seventeenth century, as has been shown, did rhetoric in England come again to mean what it had in classical antiquity. Subsequent chapters will show that classical theories of poetry, as published and interpreted by the Italian critics, made almost as slow head against English mediaeval tradition.
1. The Reestablishment of the Classical Tradition
In concluding his authoritative study, _A History of Literary Criticism in the Renaissance_, Spingarn asserts that before the sixteenth century, "Poetic theory had been nourished upon the rhetorical and oratorical treatises of Cicero, the moral treatises of Plutarch (especially those upon the reading of poets and the education of youth), the _Institutions Oratoriae_ of Quintilian, and the _De Legendis Gentilium Libris_ of Basil the Great." With the turn of the century, he goes on to say, a great change was brought about by the publication of the classical critical writings, especially the _Poetics_ of Aristotle. Then the mediaeval criteria of _doctrina_ and _eloquentia_ were superseded by many new ones.
The development of Aristotelian poetic in the Italian renaissance is a separate inquiry, which has been made extensively, and need not be gone into here. The results which bear upon the present inquiry may be summarized as follows:
The recovery of Aristotle's _Poetics_ brought about a complete change in poetical theory, and stimulated in Italy a great body of critical writing and discussion, the results of which did not reach England until almost a hundred years later.
_The Poetics_ had been known to the middle ages only through a Latin abridgment by Hermannus Allemanus. This was derived from a Hebrew translation from the Arabic of Averroes, who, in turn, knew only a Syriac translation of the Greek. Although the _Poetics_ was not included in the Aldine _Aristotle_ (1495-8), the Latin abstract by Hermannus was printed with Alfarabi's commentary on the _Rhetoric_ for the first time at Venice (1481). Valla published a Latin translation in 1498. The Greek text was first published in the Aldine _Rhetores Graeci_ (1508) badly edited by Ducas. A Latin translation made by Pazzi in 1536 appears in the Basel edition of Aristotle's _Opera_ (1538) with Filelfo's version of the _Rhetorica ad Alexandrum_, falsely attributed to Aristotle, and George of Trebizond's (Trapezuntius) translation of the _Rhetoric_. Robortelli edited it in 1548. Segni translated it in 1549. It was edited again by Maggi in 1550, by Vettori in 1560, by Castelvetro in 1570, and by Piccolomini in 1575. It had inspired the _De Poeta_ (1559) of Minturno and the _Poetics_ (1561) of Scaliger. But in England its critical theories were ignored before Ascham, who cites them in the _Scholemaster_ (1570), and never elucidated before Sidney's _Defense of Poesie_ (c. 1583, pub. 1595).
But with all the changes which were worked in the literary criticism of the renaissance by the recovery of Aristotle's _Poetics_, renaissance theories of poetry were nevertheless tinged with rhetoric. Vossler has summarized renaissance theories of the nature of poetry as passing through three stages: of theology, of oratory, and finally of rhetoric and philology. While the influence of Aristotle is most clearly seen in the new emphasis on plot construction and characterization, the importance the renaissance attached to style is in no small measure a survival of the mediaeval tradition of classical rhetoric. Moreover, as Spingarn has pointed out, there was a tendency in the renaissance for the classical theories of poetry to be accepted as rules which must be followed by those who would compose poetry. If a poet followed these rules and modeled his poem on great poems of classical antiquity, some critics suggested, he could not go far wrong. Thus one should follow the precepts of Aristotle for theory, and imitate Virgil for epic and Seneca for tragedy. The rhetorical character of these poetical models is significant. Both are stylists, of a distinct literary flavor. Both recommended themselves to the renaissance because they too were imitators of earlier literary models.
Although with good taste as well as classical erudition Ascham preferred Sophocles and Euripides to the oratorical and sententious Seneca, his view was not shared by the renaissance. Scaliger, preoccupied as he was with style, found his ideal of tragedy not in the plays of the great Greeks, but in the closet dramas of the declamatory Spaniard. Seneca appealed to the renaissance not only on account of his verbal dexterity and point, but also on account of his moral maxims or _sententiae_. In England the two greatest literary critics, Sidney and Jonson, followed Scaliger in this high regard for Seneca. Sidney found only one tragedy in England, _Gorbuduc_, modeled as it should be on his dramas. Its speeches are stately, its phrases high sounding, and its moral lesson delightfully taught. And Jonson conceived the essentials of tragedy to be those elements found in Seneca: "Truth of argument, dignity of person, gravity and height of elocution, fullness and frequency of sentence."
The middle ages conceived of poetry as being compounded of profitable subject-matter and beautiful style. The English renaissance never entirely evacuated this position. Consequently the Aristotelian doctrine that the essence of poetry is imitation was either entertained simultaneously, as in Sidney, or interpreted to mean the same thing, as in Jonson. The commoner renaissance idea of imitation is not that of Aristotle, but that of Plutarch, whose speaking picture so often appears in the critical treatises.
Robertelli thought poetic might be either in prose or in verse if it were an imitation; Lucian, Apuleius, and Heliodorus were to him poets. Scaliger, on the other hand, insisted that a poet makes verses. Lucan is a poet; Livy a historian. Castelvetro probably came nearest to Aristotle in asserting that Lucian and Boccaccio are poets though in prose, although verse is a more fitting garment for poetry than is prose. Vossius anticipates Prickard's explanation of Aristotle by defining poetry as the art of imitating actions in metrical language. To him verse alone does not make poetry. Herodotus in verse would remain a historian; but no prose work can be poetry. These are only a few examples typical of the general tendency which Spingarn has so thoroughly studied.
2. Rhetorical Elements
This tendency to follow Aristotle in allowing that the vehicle of verse was not characteristic of poetry tended to preclude any vital distinction between rhetoric and poetic. The renaissance had inherited from the middle ages the belief that poetry was composed of two parts: a profitable subject matter _(doctrina)_ and style (_eloquentia_). If the definition goes no further, then the only difference between the poet and the orator lies in the Ciceronian dictum that the poet was more restricted in his use of meter. Consequently, when Aristotle's theory that poems could be written in either prose or verse was accepted, there remained no stylistic difference at all. In fact, there is very little. But throughout the middle ages this common focus on style had led to undue consideration of style as ornament. In the renaissance this same tendency appears in Guevara, for instance, and in Lyly. The Euphuistic style, as Morris Croll has pointed out, is more largely than was formerly supposed to be the case, derived from mediaeval rhetoric.
In the theoretical treatises on poetry produced on the continent there is frequent use of rhetorical terms. It was to be expected that scholars whose education had been largely rhetorical should carry over the vocabulary of rhetoric into what was on the rediscovery of the _Poetics_ practically a new science. The rhetorical influence is readily recognized in Vida's preoccupation with the mechanics of poetry and in Scaliger's over-analysis and extensive treatment of the rhetorical figures, the high, low, and mean styles, the three elements (material, form, and execution) of poetry. Lombardus makes poetry include oratory. Maggi and Tifernas echo Cicero that the poet and the orator are the nearest neighbors, differing only in that the poet is slightly more restricted by meter. J. Pontanus insists that epideictic prose and poetry have the same material, that poets should learn from the precepts of rhetoric to discriminate in their choice of words.
As an interpretation of classical doctrine this is not illegitimate; but Pontanus runs into confusion by applying to the narrative of epic the _narratio_ of classical rhetoric, which meant the lawyer's statement of facts. Confusing the _narratio_ of oratory with narrative, Pontanus says:
There are three virtues of a narration, brevity, probability and perspicuity. The epic poet should diligently strive to attain the second and third, and may learn how to do it from the masters of rhetoric.
Thus a poet should seek in an epic the same qualities which an orator is supposed by classical rhetorics to strive for in the statement of facts of his speech. Furthermore, says Pontanus, one can write very good poetry by paraphrasing orations in verse. No wonder Luis Vives complained in his _De Causis Corruptarum Artium_,
The moderns confound the arts by reason of their resemblance, and of two that are very much opposed to each other make a single art. They call rhetoric grammar, and grammar rhetoric, because both treat of language. The poet they call orator, and the orator poet, because both put eloquence and harmony into their discourses.
From this brief summary, derived for the most part from the exhaustive studies of Vossler and Spingarn, one may recognize some of the rhetorical elements in the theories of poetry current in the Italian renaissance. The Aristotelian studies of the Italian scholars very largely accomplished the overthrow of the mediaeval theories of poetry and the re-establishment of the sounder critical theories of classical antiquity. Their service to subsequent criticism has been so great and their critical thinking on the whole so sound that it may seem ungracious to call attention to a few cases where they were unable to shake themselves entirely free from the mediaeval tradition of classical rhetoric.
Theories of Poetry in the English Renaissance
1. The Rhetorical Period of English Criticism
Spingarn has carefully traced the introduction of the theories of poetry formulated by the Italian critics into England at the end of the sixteenth century. It is the purpose of this study not to go over the ground which Spingarn has so admirably covered, but to point out in English renaissance theories of poetry those elements which derive from the mediaeval tradition and from the classical rhetorics, and to trace the gradual displacements of these elements by the sounder classical tradition which reached England from Italy.
"The first stage of English Criticism," say Spingarn, "was entirely given up to rhetorical study." In his period he includes Cox and Wilson, the rhetoricians, and Ascham, the scholar. Of the second period, which he characterizes as one of classification and metrical studies, he says, "A long period of rhetorical and metrical study had helped to formulate a rhetorical and technical conception of the poet's function." These two periods have so much in common that they may readily be considered together.
Throughout this period in England there was no abstract theorizing on the art of poetry. The rhetorics of Cox (1524) and Wilson (1553) were rhetorics and made no pretence of treating poetry. This is significant of a direct contact with classical rhetoric. Because Cox founded his treatise on the sound scholarship of Melanchthon, and Wilson wrote with the text of his Cicero and his Quintilian open before him, neither was so completely under the mediaeval influence as were most of the subsequent writers on rhetoric in England.
Another scholar in classical rhetoric was Roger Ascham, whose _Scholemaster_ (1570) contains the first reference in England to Aristotle's _Poetics_. But except as a teacher of language and of literature Ascham does not treat of poetry. Following Quintilian, he classifies literature into _genres_ of poetry, history, philosophy, and oratory, each with its appropriate subdivisions. Both Ascham and Quintilian are interested in literature as professors who must organize a field for presentation to students; and as is frequently the case, the result is apt to become arid, schematic, and lifeless. In his criticism of individual poems, also, Ascham praises the authors less for creative power than for adherence to certain formal tests. Watson's _Absolon_ and Buchanan's _Iephthe_ he considers the best tragedies of his age because only they can "abide the trew touch" of Aristotle's precepts and Euripides's example. They were good because they were according to rule, and in imitation of good models. Watson he especially praises for his refusal to publish _Absolon_ because in several places an anapest was substituted for an iambus. Thus far we have the influence of classical rhetoric urging as an ideal for poetry formal correctness.
The rhetoric of Gascoigne, however, was not derived from the classical treatises, but from the middle ages. His _Certayne Notes of Instruction_ (1575) marks the beginning of the period of metrical studies. Now in the English middle ages, prosody had consistently been treated as a part of grammar, following the classical tradition; but in France prosody had regularly been discussed in treatises bearing the name of rhetoric. As Spingarn has shown, this tradition of the French middle ages persisted in the works of Du Bellay and Ronsard, whose works in turn inspired Gascoigne.
Following Ronsard, Gascoigne devotes a great deal of attention to what, borrowing the terminology of rhetoric, he calls "invention." But whereas Ronsard had meant by invention high, grand, and beautiful conceptions, Gascoigne means "some good and fine devise, shewing the quicke capacitie of a writer." That Gascoigne takes invention to mean a search for fancies is illustrated by his own example.
If I should undertake to wryte in prayse of a gentlewoman, I would neither praise her christal eye, nor her cherrie lippe, etc. For these things are _trita et obvia_. But I would either find some supernaturall cause whereby my penne might walke in the superlative degree, or els I would undertake to answer for any imperfection that shee hath, and thereupon rayse the prayse of hir commendacion.
By far the greater part of Gascoigne's treatise is devoted to metrics and to style. One can use, he says, the same figures or tropes in verse as are used in prose. It is noteworthy that in this treatise on making verses Gascoigne restricts himself to externals of form and style. When he does discuss the subject-matter of poetry, instead of emphasizing the seriousness of content, he talks about his mistress' "cristal eye."
What has been said about Gascoigne applies almost equally well to the _Schort Treatise_ (1584) of James VI which was modeled on it. Like Gascoigne's _Notes_, it is rhetorical and concerned with only the externals of poetry. The treatise is almost entirely a metrical study, although the author does call attention to three special ornaments of verse, which are comparisons, epithets, and proverbs. The other figures of rhetoric which are so appropriate to poetry James says may be studied in Du Bellay. In both these writers, poetry is treated in the categories of the middle ages. Poetry to them is composed of subject-matter and style. The characteristic structure and movement of poetry is not considered at all.
2. The Influence of Horace
Thus far there had been no fundamental criticism of poetic in England, no attempt to arrive at the basis of critical theory. Horace had been known long before, but not until Drant's translation of the _Ars Poetica_ into English in 1567 is its influence seen to be definite and extensive in England. One of the earliest published evidences of this influence is George Whetstone's _Dedication to Promos and Cassandra_ (1578). The passage is short, but contains two very important points in the creed of classicism. Whetstone inveighs against the English dramatist who "in three howers ronnes throwe the worlde, marryes, gets children, makes Children men, men to conquer kingdomes, murder Monsters, and bringeth Gods from Heaven, and fetcheth Divels from Hel." This is the earliest record in England of an insistence on unity of time and place. Then he urges the claims of decorum in comedy. The poet should not make clowns the companions of kings, nor put wise counsels into the mouth of fools. "For, to worke a comedie kindly, grave olde men should instruct, yonge men should showe the imperfections of youth, Strumpets should be lascivious, Boyes unhappy, and Clownes should speake disorderlye."
It is interesting that this conception of the characters in a drama should ultimately trace back through many perversions to Aristotle's rhetorical theory. There are three kinds of proof, says Aristotle in the _Rhetoric_: the character of the speaker, the production of a certain disposition in the audience, and the argument of the speech itself. The last kind of proof is derived from logic; the first two, from psychology. Consequently, Aristotle devotes almost a third of his _Rhetoric_, the second book, to an elaborate exposition of the passions (πάθη) of men, so that the orator may know how to excite or allay them according as the necessities of his case demand, and a full explanation of the character (ᤦθος) of men, that the speaker may know how to impress upon his audience his own trustworthiness, and adapt his arguments to the character of the particular audience which he is addressing. Varieties of character in an audience depend upon its passions, its virtues and vices, its age or youth, and its position in life. Aristotle's generalizations on the character of young people and old, of the wealthy, noble and powerful, display penetrating acumen. That flesh and blood character realizations in drama or story could be attained by this method Aristotle never intended. He is talking of public address. But the study of characterization as part of the education of an orator became fixed in the curriculum of rhetoric schools. The boys were supposed to study certain types of persons and then write character sketches to show their sharpness of observation. Theophrastus, Aristotle's favorite student and successor as head of the school in Athens, wrote his _Characters_ to show how it was done, and did it with such ability as to elevate the school exercise to a literary form. These "characters" were epitomized in the Latin rhetorics and the school exercises continued. The rhetoric _Ad Herennium_ calls them _notatio_, Cicero, _descriptio_, and Quintilian, _mores_.
Quintilian furthermore makes interesting comments on the use of the character sketches by the poets. Character (Greek: ᤦθος) in oratory, he says, is similar to comedy, as the passions (πάθος) are to tragedy. Professor Butcher calls attention to the early influence of the character sketches on the middle comedy. Here the "humours," to anticipate Ben Jonson, give names not only to the characters of the play, but to the plays themselves. As adopted by the drama, the orator's view that people of a certain age and rank are likely to behave in certain fashions was perverted to the dramatical law of _decorum_, that people of certain age or rank must on the stage act up to this generalization of what was characteristic. This law of decorum was formulated by Horace in his _Ars Poetica_, whence it was derived by the renaissance. Thomas Wilson, in his _Arte of Rhetorique_, gives a Theophrastian character sketch as an illustration of the figure _descriptio_.
"As in speaking against a covetous man, thus. There is no such pinch peney on live as this good fellowe is. He will not lose the paring of his nailes. His haire is never rounded for sparing of money, one paire of shone serveth him a twelve month, he is shod with nailes like a Horse. He hath bene knowne by his coate this thirtie Winter. He spent once a groate at good ale, being forced through companie, and taken short at his words, whereupon he hath taken such conceipt since that time, that it hath almost cost him his life."
In 1592 Casaubon edited Theophrastus in Latin. Thereafter the character sketch became a literary form, as in Hall, Overbury, and Earle, instead of remaining merely a rhetorical exercise. In the theory of the drama the rhetorical method of characterization, fixed as the law of decorum, flourished throughout the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries. In England from Whetstone on it was made much of. Thus a rhetorical tradition of classical pedagogy, derived ultimately from Aristotle, and a poetical tradition of later classical drama, derived from Horace, coincide in the English renaissance.
In _The Epistle Dedicatory to the Shepheards Calender_ (1579), for instance, E.K. praises Spenser for "his dewe observing of decorum everye where, in personages, in seasons, in matter, in speach." The archaisms are defended in the first place, indeed, because they are appropriate to rustic speakers, but in the second because Cicero says that ancient words make the style seem grave and reverend. Further praise E.K. grants the author because he avoids loose sentence structure and affects the oratorical period. "Now, for the knitting of sentences, whych they call the ioynts and members thereof, and for all the compasse of the speach, it is round without roughness." The "ioynts and members" are the _cola_ and _commas_ of the oratorical prose rhythm. Stanyhurst in the _Dedication_ to his translation of Virgil (1582), like E. K., is concerned with style rather than matter, and of course primarily with the revival of classical meters, a subject already so thoroughly investigated that it need not be gone into here. Stanyhurst's praise of Virgil is largely concerned with formal and rhetorical excellences.
Our _Virgil_ dooth laboure, in telling as yt were a _Cantorburye tale_, too ferret owt the secretes of _Nature_, with woordes so fitlye coucht, wyth verses so smoothlye slyckte, with sentences so featlye ordered, with orations so neatlie burnisht, with similitudes so aptly applyed, with eeche _decorum_ so duely observed, as in truth hee hath in right purchased too hym self thee name of a surpassing poet, thee fame of an od oratoure, and thee admiration of a profound philosopher.
Thus in accord with the mediseval tradition he analyzes poetry into profitable subject matter and style.
3. The Influence of Aristotle
In 1579 the Puritan attack on poetry and the stage began with Gosson's _School of Abuse._ and was answered by Lodge's _Defence of Poetry_ in the same year. The attack and defense both rested on moral, not aesthetic, sanctions and will be discussed in a later section. It is only in Sidney's _Defense_ (c. 1583) and that of his follower Harington that theories of the nature of poetry are included. And with Sidney the Aristotelianism of the Italian renaissance makes its first appearance in English criticism.
"Poesie," writes Sidney, "therefore is an arte of imitation, for so Aristotle termeth it in his word _Mimesis_, that is to say, a representing, counterfeiting, or figuring forth: to speake metaphorically, a speaking picture." Thus not only Aristotle's imitation enters English criticism, but Plutarch's speaking picture as well, with all the power of its false analogy. That Sidney himself was not, however, carried away by the analogy is apparent from other passages. Aristotle, classifying poetic with music and dancing as a time art with its essence in movement, had insisted that a poem must have a beginning, a middle, and an end--qualities which do not exist in space. So in the most quoted passage from Sidney's _Defense_, it is a "tale forsooth," which draws old men from the chimney corner, and children from play, and "the narration" which furnishes the groundplot of poesie. Thus he introduces into English criticism, as an important element of poetry, the essentially sound idea that the characteristic structure of poetry lies in its narrative and dramatic movement. Poetry cannot lie because it never pretends to fact. He establishes this assertion on Aristotle's "universal not the particular" as the basis of poetic. Sidney had followed Scaliger in classifying poets into three kinds: the theological, the philosophical, and the right poets. The third class, the real poets, he says, "borrow nothing of what is, hath been, or shall be: but range, onely rayned with learned discretion, into the divine consideration of what may be, and should be."
In considering the vehicle of poetic Sidney parts company with Scaliger and agrees with Castelvetro that verse is but an ornament and not the characteristic mark of poetry. The _Cyropaedia_ of Xenophon, and the _Theagines and Cariclea_ of Heliodorus are poems, although written in prose, because they feign notable images of virtues and vices, "although indeed the Senate of Poets hath chosen verse as their fittest rayment." Proceeding thence, he defends verse as being a far greater aid to memory than prose, borrowing his terminology of "rooms," "places," and "seates," from the mnemonic system of Simonides usually incorporated in the section on memory in the classical rhetorics. Furthermore, Sidney is the first in England to insist on the vividness of realization which comes from the poet's being himself moved. Discussing lyric poetry, Sidney says:
But truely many of such writings as come under the banner of unresistable love, if I were a Mistres, would never perswade mee they were in love; so coldely they apply fiery speeches, as men that had rather red Lovers writings, and so caught up certaine swelling phrases,... then that in truth they feele those passions, which easily (as I think) may be bewrayed by that same forcibleness or _Energia_ (as the Greeks call it), of the writer.
Sidney's _Energia_ came to him from the rhetorics of Aristotle and Quintilian via the _Poetice_ of Scaliger. _Energia_, the vivifying quality of poetry, had at the earliest age been adopted by rhetoric to lend power to persuasion. Carefully preserved among the figures of rhetoric, it had survived the middle ages, and appears in Wilson's _Arte of Rhetoric_ as "an evident declaration of a thing, as though we saw it even now done."
Sidney makes _energia_ an essential quality of poetic; but even with him it seems to have a rhetorical cast. It is especially to be used, says Sidney, by a lover to persuade his mistress, urging her to yield while yet her beauty endures. This _genre_ of versified oration to one's mistress was unusually popular in Elizabethan England. It may even be one reason for Bacon's classification of lyric poetry as part of rhetoric. Although _energia_ does belong to both poetic and rhetoric, as pseudo-Longinus implies, there seems to be here a definitely rhetorical conception of poetic style. Sidney, however, keeps the classical distinction between rhetoric and poetic, although he was conscious of their contact in diction. "Both," he says with Aristotle, "have an affinity in this wordish consideration." While many renaissance critics interpreted this affinity as permitting rhetorical elaboration in poetry as well as in prose, Sidney with innate good taste pleaded for more restraint. The diction of the writers of lyrics is even worse, he says, than their content.
So is that honny-flowing Matron Eloquence apparalled, or rather disguised, in a Curtizan-like painted affectation: one time with so farre fette words, they seem monsters, but must seem strangers to any poore English man, another tyme with coursing of a Letter as if they were bound to follow the method of a Dictionary; another tyme, with figures and flowers extreamelie winter-starved.
Prose writers, he adds, are as badly infected as "versers," even scholars and preachers. That he himself was infected appears in the examples of interminable "tropes" and "schemes" quoted by Fraunce in his _Arcadian Rhetoric_ (1588) from Sidney's own _Arcadia_. But the concession of his own style to the habit of his age did not involve any fundamental confusion of rhetoric with poetic.
Thus Sidney's _Defense of Poesie_, by domesticating in England the Aristotelian theories of the Italian critics, went far in displacing mediaeval tradition by sounder classical criticism. To object that Sidney's criticism contains elements which derive from the middle ages and from the classical rhetorics would be captious. It is asking too much to expect that a man can shake off at once the traditional habits of thought which are part of the air he breathes. The important thing is that Sidney instituted a tendency toward classicism which during the next fifty years established itself in criticism. That this classicism tended in some cases toward over-emphasis does not alter the fact that English criticism profited greatly by the return to classical poetical theory. It is interesting, however, that Sidney's influence did not at once dislodge the mediaeval tradition. Although the manuals of Webbe and Puttenham do show classical influence, their theories of poetry still show a notable residuum of theory characteristically mediaeval.
4. Manuals for Poets
Before William Webbe wrote his _Discourse of English Poetry_ (1586) there had been no attempt in England to compose a systematic and comprehensive study of the art. The rhetorical studies of Ascham and Wilson merely glanced at poetry as something related to rhetoric. Gascoigne and James attempted no more than manuals of prosody. Lodge and Harington were primarily interested in justifying poetry on moral grounds against the Puritan attack; and Sidney, though he goes beyond this, still keeps it as a main object. In his _Discourse_ Webbe modestly asserts that his purpose in writing is primarily to stir up some one better than he to write on English poetry so that proper criteria of judgment may be established to discern between good writers and bad, and that the poets may thereby be aided in the right practice and orderly course of true poetry. If as much attention were devoted in England to poetry as to oratory, he thinks, poetry would be in as good state as her sister "Rhetoricall _Eloquution_, as they were by byrth Twyns, by kinde the same, by original of one descent." As an example of the high degree of excellence attained by eloquence, he cites Lyly's _Euphues_.
Whose workes surely in respecte of his singuler eloquence and brave composition of apt words and sentences, let the learned examine and make tryall thereof through all the partes of Rethoricke, in fitte phrases, in pithy sentences, in gallant tropes, in flowing speech, in plaine sence.
Thus rhetoric is considered merely as style; and the implication seems to be that the poets who would improve their style might well imitate Lyly. Webbe evidently means what he says in identifying poetry and rhetoric in style. He adds:
Thus it appeareth both Eloquence and Poetrie to have had their beginning and original from these exercises, beeing framed in such sweete measure of sentences and pleasant harmonie called ῥυθμός which is an apt composition of wordes or clauses, drawing as it were by force the hearers eares even whether soever it lysteth, that _Plato_ affirmeth therein to be contained γοητεία, an inchantment, as it were to persuade.
The confusion thus is carried pretty far by Webbe, who makes poetry and rhetoric the same in style, both aiming at persuasion. Not only have poetic and rhetoric for him a common ground in diction, but the ideal of diction is the same for both. The diction of poetry is the same as the diction of oratory. The only difference to him is that poetry is in verse and oratory in prose.
Poetry, therefore, is where any worke is learnedly compiled in measurable speech, and framed in wordes conteyning number or proportion of just syllables, delighting the readers or hearers as well by the apt and decent framing of wordes in equal resemblance of quantity--commonly called verse, as by the skylfull handling of the matter.
Webbe organizes his treatise in good rhetorical fashion. First come seventeen pages of history, mentioning with perfunctory comment the best known poets of classical antiquity and of England. The remainder of the _Discourse_ is devoted to the theory of poetry, which he divides into matter and form. Matter, which receives nineteen pages, is the mediæval _doctrina_, for the whole gist of this section is that moral lessons are derivable from the poets. By form he means verse, making no mention of the figures of speech. English rimes receive half of this space, and classical meters the remainder. Webbe's fund of critical opinion is not opulent. His treatise is based on traditional English opinion of the middle ages, with an increment of Horace, of whom he thinks so highly as to append to his treatise an English translation of the "Cannons or generall cautions of poetry," which Georgius Fabricius Chemnicensis (1560) had digested from the _Ars Poetica_, and the _Epistles_.
Perhaps the author of _The Arte of English Poesie_ (1589), generally supposed to be Puttenham, had in mind to be the some-one-better-than-Webbe, whom that worthy tutor hoped to stir up to write a treatise for the benefit of poetry in England. At any rate, Puttenham is primarily concerned with teaching his contemporaries how to write verses. Like classical authors of text-books, he calls his treatise an "Arte." Furthermore, as a courtier himself writing for courtiers, Puttenham does not lay down rules for the drama or the epic, but devotes most of his attention to occasional verse: lyrics, elegies, epigrams, and satires. His structure is significant. The first book, 58 pages in the Arber reprint, deals with definition, purpose and subject matter of poetry. The poet, he says, is a maker who creates new forms out of his inner consciousness, and at the same time an imitator. Thus he reconciles Aristotle and Horace. Moreover, Puttenham calls attention to the importance of the imagination in the composition of poetry as well as in war, engineering and politics. That the art of poetry is eminently teachable, Puttenham is entirely convinced, for he defines it as a skill appertaining to utterance, or as a certain order of rules prescribed by reason and gathered by experience. It is verse, according to Puttenham, not imitation, which is the characteristic mark of poetry. This makes poetry a nobler form, for verse is "a manner of utterance more eloquent and rethorical then the ordinarie prose, because it is decked and set out with all manner of fresh colours and figures, which maketh that it sooner invegleth the judgment of man." It is because poetry is thus so beautiful, he says, that "the Poets were also from the beginning the best persuaders, and their eloquence the first Rethoricke of the world." Rhetoric to Puttenham is beauty of speech: and because poetry is more beautiful than prose, as being in this sense more rhetorical, it is better able to persuade. The remainder of the book explains the nature and history of the various poetical forms, as lyric, epic, tragedy, pastoral, and so on. The second book, _Of Proportion_, 70 pages, is a treatise on metrics. The first half, like the section in Webbe, is devoted to English versing, dealing with stanza forms, meters, rime, and conceited figures such as anagrams and verses in the form of eggs. The second half is devoted to classical meters. In his third book, _Of Ornament_, 165 pages, Puttenham gives an exhaustive and exhausting treatment of the figures of speech. Of the 121 figures which Puttenham defines and illustrates, Professor Van Hook has traced 107 to Quintilian's rhetoric. Professor Schelling refuses to treat this third book in his _Poetic and Verse Criticism in the Reign of Elizabeth_, because, he says, it does not fall within the scope of his purpose, being made up of matters rhetorical, as applicable to prose as to verse. That Puttenham did include it, however, is most significant evidence that both the author and his reading public considered these adornments an essential part of poetry. As the ladies of the court, be they ever so beautiful, should be ashamed to be seen without their courtly habiliments of silks, and tissues, and costly embroideries, even so poetry cannot be seen if any limb be left naked and bare and not clad in gay clothes and colors, says Puttenham.
This ornament is given to it by figures and figurative speaches, which be the flowers, as it were, and colours that a Poet setteth upon his language of arte, as the embroderer doth his stone and perle or passements of gold upon the stuffe of a Princely garment.
The figures Puttenham divides according to his own scheme. First come the figures _auricular_ peculiar to the poets, then the figures _sensable_ common to the poets and the rhetoricians, and finally the figures _sententious_ appropriate to the orators alone. After he has explained the first two varieties, however, and enters on the third, Puttenham says:
Now if our presupposall be true, that the Poet is of all other the most auncient Orator, as he that by good and pleasant perswasions first reduced the wilde and beastly people into publicke societies and civilitie of life, insinuating unto them, under fictions with sweete and coloured speeches, many wholesome lessons and doctrines, then no doubt there is nothing so fitte for him, as to be furnished with all the figures that be _Rhetoricall_, and such as do most beautifie language with eloquence and sententiousness. So as if we should intreate our maker to play also the Orator, and whether it be to pleade, or to praise, or to advise, that in all three cases he may utter and also perswade both copiously and vehemently.
Puttenham was writing in the same age and with the same tradition which defined Rhetoric as the art of ornament in speech. The only difference between oratory and poetry lay in that the latter was composed in verse.
5. Rhetorical Elements in Later English Classicism
From Puttenham to Bacon no serious contributions were made to the general theory of poetry. Critical attention was absorbed by controversies of Campion and Daniel over native and classical versification, and the flyting of Harvey and Nash. Harvey was a classical scholar and rhetorician who knew that poetry and oratory were different things, and believed verse to be the mark of the first and prose of the latter. He preferred the periodic style of Isocrates and Ascham to the tricksy pages of Euphues. Chapman, likewise, considered verse the mark of poetry, and prose of rhetoric.
In the _Advancement of Learning_ (1605) Bacon clears up some of the misconceptions of the English renaissance by judicious borrowing from the Italian. He says:
Poesie is a part of Learning in measure of words for the most part restrained, but in all other points extremely licensed, and doth truly referre to the Imagination, which, beeing not tyed to the Lawes of Matter, may at pleasure joyne that which Nature hath severed, & sever that which Nature hath joyned, and so make all unlawful Matches & divorses of things: It is taken in two senses in respect of Wordes or Matter. In the first sense it is but a _Character_ of stile, and belongeth to Arts of speeche. In the later, it is, as hath beene saide, one of the principall Portions of learning, and is nothing else but _Fained History_, which may be stiled as well in Prose as in Verse.
Bacon's focus of attention on the substance of poetry is in keeping with his attack on mere sophistication of style in rhetoric. Poetry as style does not interest him. Like Castelvetro and Sidney, he considers the vehicle of verse not essential to poetry, which, as a product of the imagination, he considers to be occupied with fiction. To Bacon, perhaps, the imagination seems to be too much the organ of make-believe, imaging things which never were on land or under the sea. Nevertheless his claim for the imagination is fortunate in ruling out those theories of art which set up slavish fidelity to fact, under the name of imitation, as the essence of poetry. Bacon was not concerned with formulating a complete theory of poetry, but his pithy _obiter dicta_ were influential in further establishing the sounder criticism of the Italian classicists.
As Spingarn points out, Ben Jonson was first led to classicism in poetical theory by the example of Sidney. But during the intervening years the scholars of Holland had supplanted those of Italy; and whereas Sidney derived his Aristotelianism from Scaliger and Minturno, Jonson derived his even more from Pontanus, Heinsius, and Lipsius and from the Latin rhetoricians, Cicero and Quintilian.
A Poet (says Jonson) is a Maker, or a fainer: His Art, an Art of imitation or faining, expressing the life of man in fit measure, numbers, and harmony.... Hence hee is called a _Poet_, not he which writeth in measure only, but that fayneth and formeth a fable, and writes things like the truth. For the Fable and Fiction is, as it were, the form and Soule of any Poeticall worke or Poeme.
So convinced was Jonson that the essence of poetry does not lie in verse but in fiction that Drummond reports, "he thought not Bartas a Poet, but a Verser, because he wrote not fiction." Jonson was misled by the false analogy of poetry and painting.
_Poetry_ and _Picture_ are Arts of a like nature, and both are busie about imitation. It was excellently said of _Plutarch, Poetry_ was a speaking Picture, and _Picture_ a mute _Poesie_. For they both invent, fame, and devise many things.
This structural and static conception of poetry is well exemplified by his comparisons. Whereas Aristotle classified poetry with music and dance, Jonson compares the epic or dramatic plot to a house. The epic is like a palace and so requires more space than a drama. The influence of Jonson was beneficial, however, in that he did emphasize in poetry the element of structure which the middle ages had largely neglected. In his ideals of style Jonson is rhetorical. In the twelve sections of _Timber_ which he devotes to rhetoric he incorporates a sound treatise on prose style, urging restraint and perspicuity as especial virtues. In his nine sections on poetry he says nothing about style, except to quote Oicero to the effect that "the _Poet_ is the nearest Borderer upon the Orator, and expresseth all his vertues, though he be tyed more to numbers." It would seem that the section on style in oratory was meant to serve for poetry as well. Jonson's own methods of comparison, as related to Drummond, would bear this out: "That he wrote all his (verses) first in prose." From the same authority one may learn that "He recommended to my reading Quintilian, who, he said, would tell me the faults of my Verses as if he lived with me," and "That Quintilian's 6, 7, 8, bookes were not only to be read, but altogether digested," Though Jonson makes no more distinction than Petrarch, between Horace, Cicero, or Quintilian as authorities on poetical style, his rhetorical cast does not imply the style advocated by Webbe and Puttenham. This was the exuberant style of mediaeval rhetoric, whereas by temperament and scholarly training Jonson threw his influence in favor of the classical rhetorical style of the best period.
The influence of Bacon in favor of the sound rhetoric of Cicero and Quintilian, seconded by that of Jonson, finally did away with the mediaeval ideal of rhetoric as being one with aureate language and embroidered style. The stylistic exuberance of the Elizabethans gave place to a more restrained and polished phrase in the reign of Charles. Bolton, for instance, in his _Hypercritica_ (c. 1618) warns the historians against the style of the _Arcadia_. "Solidity and Fluency," he says, "better becomes the historian, then Singularity of Oratorical or Poetical Notions." Henry Reynolds, in his _Mythomystes_ (c. 1633), although he goes wool-gathering with mystical interpretations of poetry, yet evinces the same reaction against the ornate style in terming the flowers of rhetoric and versification as mere accidents of poetry. In his _Anacrisis_ (1634) the Earl of Stirling likewise urges that "language is but the Apparel of Poesy." The "but" marks the difference between the ideals of two ages. Fiction remains for him the essence of poetry, for fiction in prose is poetry. But he will not go the whole way with Jonson and deny the name of poet to one whose material is not fictitious.
Unfortunately, for English criticism, Milton wrote very little on the theory of poetry. His casual remarks, however, show such enlightened scholarship and keen insight that what little he did write makes up in importance what it lacks in bulk. In the Treatise _Of Education_ (1644) he refers to the sublime art of poetry "which in _Aristotle's poetics_, in _Horace_, and the _Italian_ commentaries of _Castelvetro, Tasso, Mazzoni_, and others, teaches what the laws are of a true _Epic_ poem, what of a _Dramatic_, what of a _Lyric_, what decorum is, which is the grand master peece to observe." His rhetoric, also, he knew at first hand from the best classical sources. He gives as his authorities Plato, Aristotle, Phalereus, Cicero, Hermogenes, Longinus. This is the first time that an English critic mentions the treatise _On the Sublime_ in connection with poetry. It can thus hardly be a coincidence that Milton, while citing the only surviving literary critic of classical antiquity who gave proper emphasis to the importance of passion in poetry, should himself be the first English critical writer to urge for passion the same importance. This he does in his famous differentiation of rhetoric and poetic. In the educational scheme, he says, after mathematics should be studied logic and rhetoric "To which Poetry would be made subsequent or indeed rather precedent, as being lesse suttle and fine, but more simple, sensuous, and passionate." Milton has sometimes been thought to be here defining poetry, but he is only distinguishing it from rhetoric. A definition of poetry he never attempted. Meter he deemed essential to poetry, but rime he disliked. Thus, as far as he goes, Milton represents the best in English renaissance criticism. He knew at first hand the best classical treatises on poetic and on rhetoric; and he recognized the distinctions which the ancients had made between them.
With the English literary criticism in the second half of the Seventeenth Century, when the influence of French classicism was in the ascendant, this study is not concerned. In the period which has just been surveyed three points are noteworthy: the character of the English critics, the slowness with which the classical theories penetrated English thought, and the modifications which they underwent in the process. Gregory Smith calls attention to the influence of Sidney and Daniel in establishing "the claim of English criticism as an instrument of power outside the craft of rhetoricians and scholars." Of the English critical writers Ascham is the foremost of the scholarly type; Harvey is the only other example. Thomas Wilson, although he wrote a rhetoric, wrote a better one in many ways because he was not a professional rhetorician, but a man of affairs. Gascoigne, Lodge, Spenser, were poets who incidentally wrote on the technic of their art or in defence of its value. Sidney, the poet, courtier, and soldier, wrote not from the musty alcoves of libraries. Webbe, it is true, was a pedant, but certainly not a scholar. Puttenham was a bad poet, a well-read man, and a courtier. Jonson's scholarship was thorough, but sweetened and ventilated by his activities as poet and dramatist. Bacon was a scholar, but even more a philosopher and a statesman. Milton, our most scholarly poet, during most of his life could not keep his mind and pen from church and national politics. Indeed, during the entire English renaissance there was no professional critic. Literary criticism was not a field to be tilled, but a wood to be explored by busy men who could find time for the exploit.
This amateur character of English critics accounts in a measure for the slowness with which classical and Italian renaissance critical theories filtered into England; for a statesman or a soldier is less likely to be up-to-date on theories of poetry than is a professional critic whose business it is to know what is written on his specialty. Another powerful influence in the same direction was the characteristic English conservatism which preferred the traditional paths of thought to Italian innovations.
This same common-sense conservatism accounts also for the modifications of Italian renaissance critical theories before they were incorporated into the fund of English criticism. Classical meters, slavish imitation of the ancients, close adherence to the rules of unity and decorum never made much headway in the English renaissance. Such contaminations of poetic by rhetoric as are clearest seem to arise not from the new Italian influence, but from the mediaeval tradition.
To sum up, classical critics had recognized two categories of literature: a fine art, poetic; and a practical art, rhetoric. Poetic they thought characterized by narrative or dramatic structure or movement, and by vividness of realization, and by passion. Rhetoric was characterized by a logical structure determined by the necessity of persuading an audience. Although most classical critics accepted prose as characteristic of rhetoric, and verse of poetry, Aristotle pointed out that the distinction was far more fundamental. As these two kinds of literature had a common ground in diction, there was a tendency from very early times for them to merge. In the artistic degeneracy of late Latin literature both rhetoric and poetic paid less attention to structure and other elements which distinguished them, and more attention to style, which they had in common. Moreover, under the influence of sophistical rhetoric, preoccupied with style, poetic and rhetoric practiced the same rhetorical artifices. As a result Virgil might be either an orator or a poet. This was the rhetoric which the middle ages inherited. To them rhetoric was synonymous with stylistic beauty. Poetry was a compound of _doctrina_ and _eloquentia_, in other words of theology and style, in verse. In England this mediaeval tradition persisted into the seventeenth century, as the school rhetorics and the treatises on poetry show. The English renaissance poetic never freed itself from this influence of mediaeval rhetoric until the middle of the seventeenth century. With the recovery of classical literature and literary criticism, the new theories were interpreted in the light of the old ideas.
On its creative side the renaissance sought to produce in the vernacular a literature comparable to that of Greece or Rome. Thus literary criticism was prescriptive, and the typical treatises were text-books. Rhetoric, which had long been taught, very naturally furnished the methods, the teachers, and in many cases the subject matter for this instruction in poetry. As has been shown in the preceding section of this study, the renaissance theory of poetry was rhetorical in its obsession with style, especially the figures of speech, in its abiding faith in the efficacy of rules; and in its belief that the poet, no less than the orator, is occupied with persuasion. This latter rhetorical view that the poet's office is to persuade will be studied more fully in the following section on "The Purpose of Poetry." The traditional view is that by persuading the reader to adhere to the good and shun the evil the poet achieves the proper end of poetry--moral improvement.
The Purpose of Poetry
The Classical Conception of the Purpose of Poetry
To say that poetry has a moral effect on the reader is not the same as to say that moral improvement is the purpose of poetry. The following section of this historical study will be devoted to tracing the substitution of the second assertion for the first.
As has been shown, the classical critics were in substantial agreement with Aristotle in defining rhetoric as the faculty of discovering all possible means to persuasion. Although the consensus of classical opinion agreed that poetry does have a moral effect on the reader, it never defined poetry as an art of discovering all means to moral improvement. As will be shown, such a definition of poetry was not formulated previous to the renaissance. Then by combining Aristotle's definition of tragedy from the _Poetics_ with his definition of rhetoric, Lombardus defined poetic as
a faculty of finding out whatsoever is accommodated to the imitation of actions, passions, customs, in rhythmical language, for the purpose of correcting the vices of men and causing them to live good and happy lives.
The same definition, derived as Spingarn has shown from the same sources, was formulated by Varchi.
Poetic is a faculty which shows in what modes one may imitate certain actions, passions, and customs, with rhythm, words, and harmony, together or separately, for the purpose of removing the vices of men and inciting them to virtue, in order that they may attain their true happiness and beatitude.
I propose, after reviewing the classical conception of poetry as an educational agent, to trace briefly the rise of allegorical interpretation of poetry in post-classical times and in the middle ages; to exemplify the tendency of renaissance criticism to borrow the terminology of classical rhetoric when it asserted that the purpose of poetry is moral improvement; and finally, to study in the literary criticism of the English renaissance those moral theories of poetry which derive from the middle ages, from the classical rhetorics, and from the criticism of the Italian renaissance.
2. Moral Improvement through Precept and Example
The ancients believed that great poetry produces moral improvement in the reader. Before the judgment seat of Dionysos, as is recorded in _The Frogs_ of Aristophanes, Aeschylus and Euripides engage in an interesting and instructive dispute. "Come," says Aeschylus, "tell me what are the points for which we praise a noble poet." Euripides replies, "For his ready wit and his wise counsels and because he trains the townsfolk to be better citizens and worthier men." Aeschylus then goes on to show that he has merited well of his countrymen because he has preached the military virtues and his dramas have been full of Ares. Euripides he accuses of softening the moral fibre of the Athenians by introducing on the stage immoral plots and love-sick women. Such drama Aeschylus asserts to be immoral in its effect. "For boys a school teacher is provided; but we, the poets, are teachers of men."
This represents the well-nigh universal Greek opinion. Poetry inspires, teaches, makes better men. A further example of this idea is furnished by Timocles. "Our spirit," says one of the characters in the drama, "forgetting its own sorrows in sympathizing with the misfortunes of others, receives at the theatre instruction and pleasure at one time."
The real opinions of Plato are here difficult to discover. In the _Protagoras_, however, he puts into the mouth of that famous sophist an exposition of the conventional Greek opinion.
When a boy has learned his letters and is beginning to understand what is written, as before he understood only what was spoken, they put into his hands the works of great poets, which he reads sitting on a bench at school; in these are contained many admonitions, and many tales, and praises, and encomia of ancient famous men, which he is required to learn by heart, in order that he may imitate them and desire to become like them.
It is in the _Republic_, of course, that Plato enunciates his capital objections to poetry. The first objection is that poetry as an imitative art is three removes from truth. The divine powers, for instance, create the idea of a table--the only true table. A carpenter makes a particular table which is not the real, but only an appearance. A graphic artist making a picture of this appearance is only an imitator of appearances. "And the tragic poet is an imitator and therefore thrice removed from the king and from the truth." The second objection which Plato raises against poetry is that poetry is addressed to the passional element in man. The man of noble spirit and philosophy will not lament his misfortunes, especially in public, while the lower orders of intellect are likely to express all their feelings with greater freedom, and thus furnish the poet with easier subjects for imitation. Consequently poetry has the power of harming the good, for a good man will be in raptures at the excellences of the poet who stirs his feelings most by representing a hero in an emotional condition. As a result, when he himself suffers sorrow or is moved by his own passions, it becomes more difficult for him to repress his feelings. Plato thus examines the popular contention that the study of poetry educates the moral character of a man, and still maintaining that it should be a moral force for good, demonstrates to his own satisfaction that it fails to have the supposed beneficial effect because it is three removes from truth, and because it encourages unrestrained emotionalism in conduct. Plato's moral standard of poetry is even better illustrated, perhaps, by the kind of poetry which he does not ban from his ideal commonwealth. "We must remain firm in our conviction," he says, "that hymns to the gods and praises of famous men are the only poetry which ought to be admitted into our state." As his utmost concession to poetry, he will admit her if her defenders can prove "not only that she is pleasant, but also useful to states and to human life." According to a later view, to be sure, Plato has been thought to justify pleasure of a most refined and exalted variety as an end of art. "The view which identifies the pleasant and the just and the good and the noble has an excellent moral and religious tendency." In view, however, of other pronouncements, such an endeavor to father upon him the hedonistic theory of the purpose of art seems strained and ineffective.
It was to justify poetry against the attacks of Plato that Aristotle advanced a hedonistic view of poetry and propounded his theory of katharsis. Nowhere in the _Poetics_ does Aristotle explicitly state that the function of poetry is to give pleasure. Indirect evidence, however, is plentiful. For instance, Aristotle justifies poetry as an imitative art because children learn by imitation and the pleasure in imitation is universal. Furthermore, plot in tragedy is more important than character; for in painting, a confused mass of colors gives less pleasure than a chalk drawing of a portrait. Beauty in any art depends in a measure on magnitude; therefore a play must not be too short. Most of the tragic poets of Greece derived their plots from a limited number of well known stories. But Aristotle justifies Agathon for departing from this custom and making both his plot and characters fictitious, for the plays of Agathon give none the less pleasure. But not all pleasure, he says, is appropriate to tragedy. In comedy we are pleased to see enemies walk off the stage as friends, but in tragedy the "pleasure which the poet should afford is that which comes from pity and fear through imitation." Marvels, too, and wonders in poetry he justifies because "the wonderful is pleasing; as may be inferred from the fact that everyone tells a story with additions of his own, knowing that his hearers like it. It is Homer who has chiefly taught other poets the art of telling lies skilfully." And at the very end of the _Poetics_, where he is endeavoring to prove that tragedy is a higher art than epic, he does so by showing that drama has all the epic elements, and in addition music and spectacle, which produce the most vivid of pleasures. Moreover the drama is more compact; "for the concentrated effect is more pleasurable than one which is diluted." Thus, in the _Poetics_, Aristotle takes a non-moral attitude toward literature, although in the _Politics_ he grants that poetry and music are eminently serviceable in conveying moral instruction to young people. His mature attitude is well illustrated in contrast with that of Aristophanes. Aristophanes criticises Euripides severely as a perverter of Athenian morality. Aristotle mentions Euripides about twenty times in the _Poetics_, and frequently criticises him adversely, not, however, for his evil moral influence, but because he uses his choruses badly, and is faulty in character-drawing.
In answer to Plato's second objection to poetry, that it encourages unrestrained emotionalism, Aristotle propounded his theory of katharsis. "Tragedy," he says, "is an imitation of an action ... through pity and fear effecting the proper purgation of these emotions." That Aristotle had in mind an analogy with medicine is better understood from a passage in the _Politics_ which describes the beneficial effect of music on patients suffering from religious ecstasy. The stimulating music furnishes the patient with an outlet for the expression of his religious fervor. Afterwards, says Aristotle, the patients "fall back into their normal state, as if they had undergone a medical or purgative treatment." Thus the theory of katharsis seems to have the same basis as the modern psychological theory which encourages the expression of emotions in their milder form lest, if inhibited, they gather added power and finally burst disastrously through all restraints. Consequently, although hedonist theorists have been anxious to establish katharsis on a purely aesthetic foundation, it seems that the theory has inescapable moral implications. To be sure, Aristotle in the same section of the _Politics_ says that the emotional result of katharsis is "harmless joy," and in the _Poetics_ he says that pity and fear produce the appropriate pleasure of tragedy. Nevertheless Aristotle is answering Plato's objections to unrestrained emotionalism, and by his theory of katharsis endeavors to show not only that the emotional excitation of tragedy is harmless to the spectator, but that it is actually good for him.
But if the spectator is to derive these emotional excitations from tragedy, his aesthetic experience cannot be passive. Aristotle recommends as the ideal tragic hero a man not preeminently good nor unusually depraved, but a man between these extremes; "for pity is aroused by unmerited misfortune, fear by the misfortune of a man like ourselves." Evidently, then, through his imagination the spectator must in a lively fashion participate in the action of the drama. Not only is he present at the action, even when he reads the drama, but he identifies himself with the hero and vicariously experiences his emotions.
But neither the hedonism of Aristotle, nor his defense of poetry on moral grounds through his theory of katharsis, is usual in Greek criticism. Isocrates and Xenophon adhere to the usual opinion. Isocrates believes that Homer was prized by the earlier Greeks because his poems instilled a hatred of the barbarians, and kindled in the hearts of the readers a desire to emulate the heroes who fought against Troy. One might think that the hatred of the barbarians was not the highest degree of morality, but perhaps for the political integrity of Greece it was. That Homer especially was supposed to have a moral influence is illustrated also by Xenophon. Niceratus, in the _Symposium_, is telling the diners of what knowledge he is most proud. "My father," he says, "in his pains to make me a good man, compelled me to learn the whole of Homer's poems."
Strabo in a famous passage records an exceptional hedonism in Greek thought and goes on to expound the conventional belief.
Eratosthenes says that the poet directs his whole attention to the amusement of the mind, and not at all to its instruction. In opposition to this idea, the ancients define poesy as a primitive philosophy, guiding our life from infancy, and pleasantly regulating our morals, our tastes, and our actions. The Stoics of our day affirm that the only wise man is the poet. On this account the earliest lessons which the citizens of Greece convey to their children are from the poets; certainly not for the purpose of amusing their minds, but for their instruction.
This same moral and educational view of poetry so permeates Plutarch's essay _On the Study of Poetry_ that it is difficult to quote from him without reproducing the whole treatise. The young man who is being taught poetry, Plutarch believes, should be made "to indulge in pleasure merely as a relish, and to seek for the useful and the wholesome," in his reading. Some believe that, because some of the pleasures of poetry are pernicious, young men should not be allowed to read. This, Plutarch believes, would be every whit as foolish as to cut down the vineyards because some people are addicted to drunkenness. Young men should be taught to use poetry intelligently. "Poetry is not to be scrupulously avoided by those who intend to be philosophers, but they are to make poetry a fitting school for philosophers, by forming the habit of seeking and gaining the profitable in the pleasant." The profit of poetry he believes to come from two sources: maxims and examples. He praises very highly such _sententiae_ as "Virtue keeps its luster untarnished," and "know thyself." Indeed, the moral value of such precepts weighed so heavily with Plutarch that he advocated emending the poets to bring them in more strict accord with the ethics of the Stoic philosophy. For instance:
Thus, why not change such a passage as this, "That man is to be envied who so aims as to hit his wish," to read, "who so aims as to hit his advantage"? for to get and have things wrongly desired merits pity, not envy.
But greater than the moral value of maxims in the poets is that of example. "Philosophers employ examples from history for our correction and instruction, and the poets differ from them only by inventing and presenting fictitious narratives." For instance, according to Plutarch, Homer introduces the story of Hera's vain endeavor to gain her ends from Zeus by means of wine and the girdle of Aphrodite to show that such conduct is not only immoral, but useless. Again we may conclude that frequenting women in the day time is a shame and a reproach because the only man who does such a thing in the _Iliad_ is that lascivious and adulterous fellow Paris. It is interesting that this essay of Plutarch's, which gives probably the most complete classical exposition of the moral use of poetry, should have been well known in the renaissance and translated into English by Philemon Holland in 1603.
The Romans had very much the same feeling about the moral value in poetry as had the Greeks. The only fundamental difference lay in that the Roman was less philosophical and more practical. This practical element in Roman criticism is well illustrated by Horace, whose statements have sometimes been made to support opinions which Horace did not hold. Let it be noted, for one thing, that Horace is talking not about the purpose of poetry, but about the purpose of the poet.
Poets desire either to profit or to delight, or to tell things which are at once pleasant and profitable.
His reason for favoring the third view is important.
Old men reject poems which are void of instruction; the knights neglect austere poems: he who mixes the useful with the sweet wins the approval of all by delighting and at the same time admonishing the reader. This book makes money for the book-sellers, and passes over the sea, and prolongs the reputation of the well-known author.
But aside from the desirability of mingling pleasure with profit in his poetry in order to gain the greatest popularity, the poet does have an educational value in the training of youths by presenting in an attractive manner examples of noble conduct which the young people may desire to emulate.
His lessons form the child's young lips, and wean The boyish ear from words and tales unclean; As years roll on, he moulds the ripening mind, And makes it just and generous, sweet and kind; He tells of worthy precedents, displays The example of the past to after days, Consoles affliction, and disease allays.
Moreover the consensus of conventional opinion in the Roman world was that the study of the poets did succeed in moulding the moral character of the youth. Apuleius, writing of a certain virtuous young man, the hero of one of the episodes of the _Metamorphoses_, makes the following incidental remark: "The master of the house had a young son well instructed in good literature, and consequently remarkable for his piety and modesty."
Although Lucretius may not have been assured of the moral value, he was so convinced of the seductive powers of poetry that he deliberately utilized them to make palatable the forbidding thoughts of his essay _On the Nature of Things_. The long passage is worth quoting entire because his comparison is borrowed so frequently by renaissance critics to illustrate the poetic doctrine of pleasurable profit. Lucretius says:
But as physicians, when they attempt to give bitter wormwood to children, first tinge the rim round the cup with the sweet and yellow liquid of honey, that the age of childhood, as yet unsuspicious, may find its lips deluded, and may in the meantime drink the bitter juice of the wormwood, and though deceived, may not be injured, but rather, being recruited by such a process, may acquire strength; so now I, since this argument seems generally too severe and forbidding to those by whom it has not been handled, and since the multitude shrink back from it, was desirous to set forth my chain of reasoning to thee, O Memmius, in sweetly-speaking Pierian verse, and, as it were, tinge it with the honey of the Muses.
From this survey of classical opinion we may conclude that the public looked for two things in poetry: pleasure and profit. Eratosthenes took an extreme view in seeking pleasure alone. Both Aristotle and Horace emphasized the pleasure to be derived from poetry, although neither denied that poetry is beneficial. Horace takes almost a cynical view in suggesting that, as some readers seek pleasure in poetry and others improvement, a poet will be more popular and make more money for the book-sellers if he mingles both elements. The extreme view of the moral value of poetry was taken by the educators of youth. This view is well exemplified in the quotations from Aristophanes, Xenophon, Strabo, and especially Plutarch. But even Plutarch, who goes so far as to suggest emending the poets to make their effect more moral, does not suggest that the purpose of poetry is to afford moral instruction. He distinguishes; some poetry is distinctly immoral and should be enjoyed only for its art. Other poetry is moral in its effect, and consequently should be utilized extensively by the school-master in educating young men. For such purposes no poetry was thought to be better than Homer, whose epics furnish so many examples of heroic conduct.
3. Moral Improvement through Allegory
When the Roman arms conquered a new city, the story runs, the commander of the forces took over in the name of the Emperor the gods; but before the gates of Jerusalem this ceremony proved ineffective. The fathers of the Christian church, Tatian, Hermas, Theophilus, and Tertullian, believing that all the truth was contained in Christianity, utterly condemned the philosophy and religion of the Greeks and consequently the poetry which, according to Greek popular belief, was the inspired vehicle for its presentation. Furthermore, the gods of the Greeks were immoral and furnished their worshippers with bad examples of conduct. Long before Tertullian the moral philosophers of antiquity had already attacked the poetry of Greece and Rome on the ground of immorality. Plato in his day called the war between philosophy and poetry "age-long." The ancient Greeks had considered Homer and Hesiod as the inspired recorders of the facts of religion. They had looked to the poets for moral dogma and example. Of necessity the philosophers condemned the poets for the immorality of their thievish, lying, and adulterous pantheon.
When the Christian fathers were confronted with the Syriac gospel of the youth of Jesus, they called a council to declare it apochryphal. Lest some devout reader should take literally the love poetry of the Canticles, the fathers allegorized it as the love of Christ for his Church. Unfortunately for Greek religion the philosophers did not determine which episodes in the histories of the gods were valid as doctrine and which were fictitious. They did, however, anticipate the fathers in their allegorical interpretations. Socrates in the _Phaedrus_ laughs at allegory; and Plutarch believes that the poets intended to teach a moral idea by example instead of expressing a hidden meaning by allegory. For him allegory involved distortion and perversion. "For some men _distort_ these stories and _pervert_ them into allegories or what the men of old times called hidden meanings ὑπόνοιαι." But allegory none the less flourished. Theognis of Rhegium, Anaxagoras, and Stesimbrotus of Thasos, were assiduous and startling in their interpretations. The Greek allegorical interpretations were of two kinds: one an explanation of the secrets of nature, the other the teaching of morality. Although the practice was very old, the word "allegory" is not recorded before Cicero, who says:
When the imagery of the metaphor is sustained for a long time, the nature of the style assuredly becomes changed. Consequently the Greeks call this sort of thing allegory.... But he is nearer the truth who calls all of these metaphors.
From Cicero on, allegory has a long history as a rhetorical figure--a trope. St. Augustine recommends that students of the scriptures study the rhetorical figures so that they may be able to interpret the tropes in the Bible, such as allegory.
The result will always be the same whenever the poets are considered theologians and moral teachers. They will be condemned or allegorized. Fortunate are the poets when they are not believed. "How much better," exclaims St. Augustine, "are these fables of the poets" than the false religious notions of the Manichees. "But Medea flying, although I chanted sometimes, yet I maintained not the truth of; and though I heard it sung, I believed it not: but these phantasies I thoroughly believed." For it is only when one believes devoutly that Zeus procured access to Danae in a shower of gold, that his action gives a divine sanction to such traffic in beauty on the agora or in the forum. It is only when the poets make no pretense of recounting facts that they can escape the clutches of the philosophers. It was to save the poets from such attacks that Aristotle asserts that poetry deals with the universal, not with the particular. Or, as Spingarn explains his meaning, "Poetry has little regard for the actuality of specific event, but aims at the reality of an eternal probability."
4. The Influence of Rhetoric
Thus the general consensus of classical opinion agreed that poetry has inescapable moral effects on those who listen or read. The moralists, especially the Stoics, when confronted with traditional poetry whose literal significance was immoral, leaned toward allegorical interpretations which brought out a kernel of truth. The greater number, however, of Greeks and Romans in the classical period believed that poetry exerted the most potent influence for good when it enunciated crisp moral maxims and afforded examples of heroic conduct which young people could be induced to follow.
In all these respects the classical view of poetic has much in common with classical rhetoric. Allegory has been shown to have had a long history as an extended metaphor--a rhetorical figure. Maxims are considered fully by Aristotle as aids to persuasion in rhetoric. The exemplum is obviously a stock means of rhetoric.
"Examples," says Aristotle, "are of two kinds, one consisting in the allegation of historical facts, and the other in the invention of facts for oneself. Invention comprises illustration on the one hand and ... fables on the other." Then he tells how Aesop defended a demagogue by the fable of the fox caught in the cleft of a rock. The fox was infested with dog-ticks which sucked his blood. A benevolent hedge-hog offered to remove the ticks, but the fox declined the kind offer on the ground that his ticks were already full of blood and had ceased to annoy him much, whereas if they were removed, a new colony of ticks would establish themselves and thus entirely drain him of blood. "Yes, and in your case, men of Samos," said Aesop, "my client will not do much further mischief--he has already made his fortune--but, if you put him to death, there will come others who are poor and who will consume all the revenues of the state by their embezzlements." "Fables," continues the shrewd master of those who know, "have this advantage that, while historical parallels are hard to find, it is comparatively easy to find fables." Quintilian, like Aristotle, believes in the persuasive efficacy of examples. But Quintilian has less faith in the probative value of fictitious examples than he has in those drawn from authentic history. He thinks that fables are most effective with a rustic and ingenuous audience, which "captivated by their pleasure in the story, give assent to that which pleases them." Thus Menenius Agrippa reconciled the people to the senators by telling them the fable of the revolt of the members against the belly. And Thomas Wilson, in his _Arte of Rhetorique_, repeats the story, in his section on examples, and ascribes to Themistocles the fox story which Aristotle tells of Aesop.
But Aristotle, Quintilian, and Wilson are talking about rhetoric. Very justly they believe that if one wants to persuade an audience to a course of action, he must interest his audience sufficiently to hold their attention. As Wilson sagely remarks, "For except men finde delite, they will not long abide: delite them and winne them." Cicero expressed in memorable phrase the relationship between proof and pleasure as instruments to persuasion and added a third element. He classified the aims of an orator as "to teach, to please, to move" (_docere, delectare, movere_). The teaching is the appeal to the intellect of the hearer by means of proof. The pleasure is afforded by a euphonious style, and by fables and stories. The audience is moved to action by the appeal to their feelings.
Not until the renaissance did writers on the theory of poetry carry over Cicero's threefold aim of the orator and make it apply to the poet. But already in post-classical times rhetoric had, as Seneca the father clearly shows, vitiated the Latin poetry of the Silver Age. Under the Empire the declamation schools in Rome had a profound influence on literature. It could not be otherwise in a society where the school of rhetoric was the only temple of higher education, for which the grammaticus, or elementary professor of literature, was constrained to prepare his students. Rhetoric was the organon of Roman education, and declamation was the aim of rhetoric. It was such an educational system which prepared Ovid and Lucan for their careers as poets and men of letters. Seneca the father records the brilliant declamations of Ovid as a schoolboy, quoting at some length his plea for a wife who threw herself over a cliff on hearing of the death of her husband, and calling attention to several passages in Ovid's poems where the poet has borrowed the clever sayings of his professors in the school of rhetoric. Ovid makes his characters prove that they are moved by passion instead of being passionate in word and deed. He vitiates his emotions with his wit. This is characteristic of almost all the poets who attended the declamation schools. They talk about situations and characters instead of realizing them. They write as if they were speaking to an audience. One can almost see the gestures, the wait for applause after the enunciation of a noble platitude. Not only historically, but also in the worst modern sense this is rhetoric. It is not unreasonable to conclude that such a preoccupation with rhetoric, such a sustained search for all possible means of persuasion, should have strengthened rather than weakened the utilitarian theory of poetry. The school-master endeavored to mould the characters of his students by examples from heroic poetry; the teacher of rhetoric, in turn, taught them that to persuade an audience they must prove, please, and move, and that ficticious examples were about as persuasive as historical parallels and much easier to find. When the student left school he continued to seek means of persuasion in canvassing votes, pleading in the courts, or deliberating in the senate. If he became a poet, he did not forget the lessons of his youth; or if he became a teacher of literature or a professor of rhetoric, he perpetuated the tradition.
Mediaeval Ideas of the Purpose of Poetry
With the breaking up of the Empire the stream of classical culture was restricted to a narrow channel--the Church. Opposed as it was to pagan morals and theology, the church could honestly retain classical literature only if it were allegorized. This explains the allegorical nature of mediaeval poetry and of poetical theory.
From the beginning the learning of the Church was of pagan origin. St. Augustine was a professor of rhetoric and the author of a treatise on aesthetics before he wrote the _City of God_, and his _Confessions_. In fact, he never quite got over being a professor of rhetoric. Clement of Alexandria was a product of the same rhetoric schools and an excellent teacher of his subject before he recognized the divine origin of Christianity. St. Basil was a college friend of Gregory Nazianzen and of Julian, later emperor and apostate, when the three studied rhetoric at Athens. Indeed, the most cunningly cruel decree which Julian later promulgated against the Christians forbade them the use of the ancient pagan literature of Greece and Rome. This decree Basil bitterly resented. "I forgo all the rest," he says, "riches, birth, honor, authority, and all the goods here below of which the charm vanishes like a dream; but I cling to oratory nor do I regret the toil, nor the journeys by land and sea, which I have undertaken to master it."
But within the Church the lovers of Greek literature did not have it all their own way. Tatian, Hermas, Theophilus, and Tertullian savagely attacked profane poetry, and in defending it Basil, Athenagoras, Clement, and Origen were forced not unwillingly to rely more and more on the traditional moralistic theory of poetry which was so familiar to them. St. Chrysostom records that in the fourth century Homer was still taught as a guide to morals.
1. Allegorical Interpretations in the Middle Ages
Allegorical interpretation was the main weapon of the apologists for poetry. The basis, indeed, of the Gnostic heresies of the second and third centuries was an allegorical interpretation of the Greek poets and philosophers and of the Scriptures. This soon degenerated into an extravagant system of speculative mysticism. Clement of Alexandria and Origen rejected the extravagances, but sought to retain the mysticism of the Gnostics. They reconciled Greek literature and the Scriptures by allegorizing both, much as today Darwin and Genesis are reconciled by allegorizing Genesis. Thus in the declining years of the Roman Empire the rhetoricians had become ecclesiastics, and the Church had adopted pagan literature with allegorical interpretation.
This tradition dominated the middle ages; Lady Theology reigned over the kingdom of the seven liberal arts, and to make Homer and Virgil theological it was necessary that they be interpreted allegorically. As Vossler has shown, theology and philosophy furnished, during the middle ages, the subject matter of poetry; they were the _utile_ of Horace. The _dulce_ became for them too exclusively the pleasing garment of style and story.
Throughout the middle ages, however, many continued to look askance at poetry, and were skeptical as to its value. To Boethius, weeping in prison, came Philosophy to console him. She found him surrounded by the friends of his youth, the Muses, who now were inspiring him to write dreary verses of complaint. But these poetical Muses Philosophy sent packing. "Who has allowed," said she, "these common strumpets of the theatre to come near this sick man? Not only do they fail to assuage his sorrows, but they feed and nourish them with sweet venom. They are not fruitful nor profitable. They destroy the fruits of reason, for they hold the hearts of men." Here Philosophy is voicing the objections of Plato. The arts are attacked because they are not successfully utilitarian, and because they appeal to the emotions instead of to the reason. In a later book Boethius gives a clearer key to the objection. He postulates four mental faculties: sensation possessed by oysters, imagination possessed by higher animals, reason possessed by man, intelligence possessed by God. Consequently man should aspire towards God instead of indulging his faculties of sensation and imagination, which he shares with the lower animals.
But such objections as those of Boethius were usually explained away by allegory. When Isidore of Seville (†633 or 636), for instance, was compiling his book of universal knowledge, the _Etymologiae_, he incorporated his section on the poets in the chapter entitled _Concerning the Church and the Sects_. So between a section devoted to the _Philosophers of the Gentiles_ and a section entitled _Concerning Sibyls_ he wrote concerning the poets as follows:
Sometimes, however, the poets were called theologians, because they used to compose songs concerning the gods. In doing this, however, it is the office of the poets to render what has actually been done in a different guise with a certain beauty of covert figures.
The poet, to Isidore, was the inspired bard who sings of the gods and the eternal verities, not directly, but under the veil of a beautiful allegory. Among these allegorical or indirect means of expression used by the poet to veil truth are fables.
The poets invent fables sometimes to give pleasure; sometimes they are interpreted to explain the nature of things, sometimes to throw light on the manners of men.
His illustrations of a fable show that he is talking about allegory. For instance, the fable of the centaur was invented to show, by the union of man and horse, the swiftness of human life.
It is very natural, then, that Dante should as the supreme poet of the middle ages furnish the supreme example of allegory. In the _Convivio_ (c. 1306), Dante gives a very full and complete exposition of the proper method of interpreting a text. Any writing, he says, should be expounded in four senses. The first is the literal. The second is called the allegorical, and is the one that hides itself under the mantle of these tales, and is a truth hidden under beauteous fiction. The reason this way of hiding was devised by wise men he promises to explain in the fourteenth treatise, which he never wrote. The third sense, he goes on to say, is the moral, as from the fact that Christ took with him but three disciples when he ascended the mountain for the transfiguration we may understand that in secret things we should have but few companions. The fourth sense is the analogical. Here the text may be literally true, but contain a spiritual significance beyond. That to Dante, however, all but the literal sense naturally coalesced as the allegorical is quite clear from the close of the chapter and from the letter to Can Grande, in which he discusses the interpretations of his _Commedia_. "Although these mystic senses are called by various names, they may all in general be called allegorical." That the "beauteous fiction," the _bella menzogna_, of allegory is rhetorical in origin is clear from a passage in the _Vita Nuova_. Dante is defending his personification of Love as one walking, speaking and laughing on the assumption that as a poet he is licensed to use figures or rhetorical colorings. These colorings, however, must have a true but hidden significance. The rhetorical figures are a garment to clothe the nakedness of truth.
2. Allegory in Mediaeval England
England as well as Italy furnished a congenial soil for allegory in the thirteenth century. In his _Poetria_, John of Garland explains allegorically an "elegiac, bucolic, ethic, love poem" which he quotes. "Under the guise of the nymph," he says, "is figured forth the flesh; under that of the corrupt youth, the world or the devil; under that of the friend, reason." In another illustrative poem, this time introduced to show the proper use of the six parts of an oration, John inserts between the "_confirmacio_," and the "_confutacio_," an "_expositio mistica_" in which the Trojan War is allegorized in this fashion: "The fury of Eacides is the ire of Satan," etc.
As late as 1506 Stephen Hawes's _Pastime of Pleasure_ is as mediaeval as the _Romance of the Rose_. In this allegory of the education and love adventures of Grandamour the young man sits at the feet of Dame Rethoryke to be instructed at great length in her art. To none other of the seven liberal arts, in fact, does Hawes devote so much space. In the chapter on _inventio_, however, the lady seems to have forgotten all about her traditional past, for instead of discussing the method of finding all possible arguments in favor of a case, she discusses the poets, their purpose, and their fame.
The purpose of poetry is to her what it had been throughout the entire period of the middle ages. The poet presents truth under the guise of allegory.
To make of nought reason sentencious Clokynge a trouthe wyth colour tenebrous. For often under a fayre fayned fable A trouthe appereth gretely profitable.
This, says Dame Rethoryke, has the sanction of antiquity; for the old poets, who are famous for their wisdom and the imaginative power of their invention, pronounced truth under cloudy figures. This fortified the poets against sloth.
The special treasure Of new invencion, of ydleness the foo!
Then she addresses herself directly to the poets to laud their virtues.
Your hole desyre was set Fables to fayne to eschewe ydleness,... To dysnull vyce and the vycious to blame.
Furthermore she praises them for recording the honorable deeds of great conquerors and for furnishing the modern poets with such illustrious models of the poetic art. This praise of the poets is complementary to a condemnation of the foolish public, whose limited intelligence prevents them from seeing the cloaked truth of the poets. Thus the dull, rude people, when they are unable to understand the moral implications of the poet's allegory, call the poets liars, deceivers, and flatterers. This, she insists, is the fault not of the poets, but of the people. If the people would take the trouble to understand these clouded truths, they would praise and appreciate the moral poets.
The conclusion is not difficult. The mediaeval poets are on the defensive, as their brothers had been through all the past. To justify art, the middle ages had to show its usefulness not only to morals, but to theology. Thus Dame Rethoryke in her talk on _inventio_, is conducting a defense of poetry on the following grounds: it teaches profound truth under the guise of allegory; it blames the vicious and overcomes vice; it is the enemy of sloth; it records the honorable deeds of great men.
The chapter on style only continues the song. It is the art, says Hawes, to cloak the meaning under misty figures of many colors, as the old poets did, who took similitudes from beasts and birds.
And under colour of this beste, pryvely The morall sense they cloake full subtyly.
The poets write, he continues, under a misty cloud of covert likeness. For instance, the poets feign that King Atlas bore the heavens on his shoulders, meaning only that he was unusually versed in high astronomy. Likewise the story of the centaurs only exemplifies the skill of Mylyzyus in breaking the wildness of the royal steeds. Pluto, Cerberus, and the hydra receive like explanations. The poets feign these fables, of course, to lead the readers out of mischief. A poet to be great must drink of the redolent well of poetry whence flow the four rivers of Understanding, Close-concluding, Novelty, and Carbuncles. These rivers are translatable into: understanding of good and evil, moral purpose, novelty, rhetorical adornment of figures and so forth.
The poets praised--Gower, Chaucer, and Lydgate--deserve their fame, he says, for their morality. They cleanse our vices. They kindle our hearts with love of virtue. Lydgate's _Falls of Princes_ is an especially great poem,
A good ensample for us to dispyse This worlde, so ful of mutabilyte.
Other cunning poets are, however, not so praiseworthy. Instead of feigning pleasant and covert fables, they spend their time in vanity, making ballades of fervent love and such like tales and trifles. This, he insists, is an unfruitful manner in which to spend one's efforts.
This unanimous judgment of the middle ages that the purpose of poetry is to teach spiritual truth and inculcate morality under the cloak of allegory was perpetuated far into the renaissance, especially in England, where, as has been shown, the recovery of classical culture made slow progress.
Rhetorical Elements in Italian Renaissance Conceptions of the Purpose of Poetry
In his study of the function of poetry in the literary criticism of the Italian renaissance, Spingarn has shown that the characteristic opinions reflect the ideas of Horace in his famous line,
Aut prodesse volunt aut delectare poetae.
The purpose of poetry, they thought, was to please, to instruct, or to combine pleasure and instruction. He goes further to show that with the notable exceptions of Bernardo Tasso and Castelvetro, who claimed no further function for poetry than delight and delight alone, the general conception was ethical. "Even when delight was admitted as an end, it was simply because of its usefulness in effecting the ethical aim." This chapter, resuming briefly the results of Spingarn's investigations where they help the reader to understand better the situation in English criticism, will bring into sharper relief than has heretofore been done two influences which affected the renaissance view not a little--scholastic philosophy and the classical rhetorics.
To St. Thomas Aquinas, logic was the art of arts, because in action we are directed by reason. Thus all arts proceed from it, and rhetoric is a part of it. The Thomistic philosophy which included rhetoric and poetic in logic, whereas Aristotle had classified the three arts as coördinate within the same category, seems, says Spingarn, "to have been accepted by the scholastic philosophers of the middle ages." The appearance of this scholastic grouping in the renaissance criticism is parallel with a gradual abandonment of the popular mediaeval preoccupation with allegory, in favor of the classical view which considered example as the best vehicle for moral improvement.
In the age of the Medicis, when refined courts of Italy were so greatly delighted at the recovery of the least edifying literary monuments of classical antiquity, allegorical interpretation had probably so often become but a cloak for licentiousness in poetry that it was becoming discredited. At any rate, Loyola rejected allegorical interpretation of classical literature for the Jesuit colleges. He based moral education on example, and expurgated any element which he thought might have a pernicious effect on young people. For instance, except in the most advanced class, the Dido episode was deleted from the _Æneid_.
Savonarola rejected allegory and considered logic, rhetoric, and poetic as parts of philosophy. Logic proceeds by induction and syllogism, rhetoric by the enthymeme, and poetic by the example. Therefore the office of the poet is to teach by examples, to induce men to virtuous living by fitting representations. Because our minds delight greatly in song and harmony, the early poets used meter and rhythm better to incline the soul of man to virtue and morality. It is impossible, however, for a person ignorant of logic to be a true poet. A mere concern with rhythm and the composition of sentences profits nothing, for what is the use of painting and decorating a ship if it is going to be swamped in the storm and never come to port? The poets who endeavor to place their poems on a par with the Scriptures overlook the fact that only the sacred writings can have an allegorical, parabolical or spiritual meaning. Since Dante had made all these claims, the inference is that Savonarola declined to accept poetry as part of theology, and rejected both Dante and the popular mediaeval tradition. Poets, he goes on to say, use metaphors because of the weakness of their material. If you took away the verbal ornament, you would not read the poets, because there would be nothing left. The theologian uses metaphor only as an adornment to his solid matter. The poet who sings of love, praises idols, and narrates lies has a very bad effect on young men. He incites to lust and immorality. But poets who describe in verses moral actions and the deeds of brave men should not on that account be condemned.
1. The Scholastic Grouping of Poetic, Rhetoric and Logic
The scholastic grouping of logic, rhetoric, and poetic which Savonarola derived from St. Thomas Aquinas persisted for four centuries, rejuvenated by contact with the richer classical scholarship of the renaissance. B. Lombardus, for instance, in his preface to Maggi's edition of Aristotle's _Poetics_ (1550), differentiates logic, rhetoric, and poetic by the same criteria. Logic, he says, proves by syllogism, and in this is different from both rhetoric and poetic, which use enthymeme and example as more appropriate to a popular audience, while poetic uses example almost entirely and scarcely ever enthymeme.
Spingarn calls attention to a similar distinction in the _Lezione_ (1553) of Benedetto Varchi. Varchi says:
Just as the logician uses for his means the noblest of all instruments, that is, demonstration or the demonstrative syllogism; so the dialectician, the topical syllogism; and the sophist, the sophistical, that is, the apparent and deceitful; the rhetorician, the enthymeme, and the poet, the example, which is the least worthy of all. So the subject of poetry is the feigned fable and the fabulous, and its means or instrument is the example.
This has its ultimate source in the _Rhetoric_ of Aristotle, who made the following distinction between logic and rhetoric: Logic aims at demonstration by the syllogism and by induction; rhetoric aims at persuasion by the enthymeme and the example. The enthymeme is a rhetorical syllogism, usually with the conclusion or either premise unexpressed. Moreover the premises of an enthymeme are likely to rest on opinion rather than on axioms. The example is a rhetorical induction, usually from fewer cases than are necessary to scientific induction.
The same scholastic grouping of logic, rhetoric, and poetic appears in the treatise _On the Nature of the Art of Poetry_ (1647) of the Dutch scholar Vossius, who writes:
As rhetoric is called by Aristotle the counterpart of dialect and that especially because it teaches the manner by which enthymemes may be utilized in communal matters, without a doubt poetic is also to be thought a part of logic, because it discloses the use of examples in fictitious matters.... But rhetoric and poetic seek not only to prove something, but also to delight; they seek not only understanding, but action as well. Wherefore poetic has this in common with rhetoric; that both are the servants of the state.
Vossius thus, like Scaliger, makes poetic and rhetoric one in their end to promote desirable action.
How persistent is this rhetorical view of poetry is well illustrated by the _Ars Rhetorica_ of the Jesuit Martin Du Cygne, first published in 1666, and still used as a text-book in Georgetown University. He is discussing the three kinds of argument: syllogism, enthymeme, and example, or induction.
Induction is delightful and is appropriate to an ignorant audience because of its similitudes and examples. This argument is frequently used by rhetoricians and poets, especially Ovid; because it explains attractively and clearly.
Thus the grouping of poetic with rhetoric and logic naturally tended to make it partake more and more of the nature of the other two. All of them were taken to be occupied with proving something in an effort to make other people good. They differed only because they used different kinds of proof.
2. The Influence of the Classical Rhetorics
A more explicit influence on the renaissance belief that the function of poetry is to improve social morality is readily seen in the definitions of poetry which have already been quoted from Lombardus and Varchi, who formulated their definitions of poetry by combining Aristotle's definition of tragedy with his definition of rhetoric. Another explicit borrowing from classical rhetoric was of Cicero's three-fold aim of the orator: to teach, to delight, to persuade (_docere, delectare, permovere_). Several important Italian critics carried this terminology over into their theories of poetry along with the purpose which has always animated rhetoric--persuasion.
Making Horace a point of departure, Daniello, in 1536, says that the function of the poet is to teach and delight, but more than that--to persuade. He must move his readers to share the emotions of his characters, to shun vice, and embrace virtue. This extreme rhetorical parallel was further insisted on by Minturno (1559), who defined the duty of a poet as so to speak in verse as to teach, to delight, and to move. And as Aristotle had affirmed in his _Rhetoric_ that the character of the speaker was one of the three essential elements in persuasion, Minturno is constrained to make the moral character of the poet an indispensable quality of his poetry. Thus he borrows Cato's definition of the orator as a "good man skilled in public speech" (vir bonus dicendi peritus) from Quintilian, and defines the poet as "a good man skilled in speech and imitation" (poeta vir bonus dicendi et imitandi peritus).
Like Minturno, Scaliger insisted that poetry must teach, move, and delight. It is thus the result in action which Minturno and Scaliger emphasize. The poet must work on the feelings of his reader so that he shall embrace and imitate the good, and spurn the evil. Philosophy, oratory, and poetry have thus one end--and only one--persuasion. Without the "movere," the incentive to action, of course poetry could not serve its purpose of moral improvement on which the renaissance so sternly insisted. A reader might enjoy a story, play, or poem which presented impeccable examples of virtue rewarded and vice punished, or which abounded in noble platitudes gilded with wit, and still smile and be a villain. It was thus inevitable that an acceptance of the moral purpose of poetry should sooner or later drive any logical minded critic of poetry completely into the camp of rhetoric. There the poet would find a complete panoply of arms forged for the arousing of the feelings in an audience, and for stirring the springs of action. He could make his readers hate sin by the same means Demosthenes made his hearers hate Philip, and love any virtue by appropriating the methods of Cicero _Pro Archia_. According to this belief, the difference between poetic and rhetoric was minimized. In theory a poem or a speech might indifferently be composed either in prose or in verse. Both endeavored to teach, to please, and to move. Both looked toward persuasion as an object. The speech used the enthymeme and the example as proofs, while the poem used the example to a greater, and the enthymeme to a lesser degree. Both in theory and in practice the example was regarded as being a pleasanter argument than the precept, as well as being more effective. This was the age of Ciceronianism. The school-masters of Europe had recently rediscovered imitation as the royal road to learning, and in their system of language teaching emphasized imitation of classical authors more than following the precepts of the grammarians or of the rhetoricians. The epigram of Seneca, "longum iter per praecepta, breve per exempla," was the popular catchword of the age. The example was popular.
Thus by the end of the sixteenth century, the Italian critics had formulated a logical and self-consistent theory of the purpose of poetry. Inheritors of the allegorical theory of the middle ages, which they in part discarded, and discoverers of classical rhetoric which they carried over bodily into their theories of poetry, they passed on to France, Germany, and England their rhetorical theories. The purpose of poetry, as well as of rhetoric, was to them persuasion--to teach, to please, to move. The instrument of poetry was the rhetorical example.
English Renaissance Ideas of the Purpose of Poetry
In England the Italian interpretations of the literary criticism of Greece and Rome made slow headway against the established traditions of the middle ages. In particular the vogue of allegory did not yield to the idea of the moral example transferred from rhetoric to poetic.
1. Allegory and Example in Rhetoric
When Thomas Wilson published the first edition of his _Arte of Rhetorique_ in 1553, the corpus of Greek criticism in the Aldine _Rhetores Graeci_ had been in print forty-five years, and the commentaries of Dolce, Daniello, Robortelli, and Maggi were available. But Wilson wrote a very good rhetoric with no books before him but Quintilian, Cicero and the rhetoric _Ad Herennium_, which he thought to be Cicero's, Erasmus, Plutarch _De audiendis poetis_, and St. Basil. His treatment of poetry is quite naturally, then, that of a rhetorician who had been reared in the mediaeval tradition of allegory.
Allegory in the sense of Quintilian as a trope, an extended metaphor, Wilson mentions only once. His instance will bear quotation:
It is evil putting strong Wine into weake vesselles, that is to say, it is evil trusting some women with weightie matters. The English Proverbes gathered by John Heywood, helpe well in this behalfe, the which commonly are nothing els but Allegories, and darke devised sentences.
Allegory in its more general mediaeval sense of the kernel of moral truth within the brilliant husk of the poet's fables he discusses at greater length elsewhere with full exemplification.
For by them we may talke at large and win men by persuasion, if we declare beforehand that these tales were not fained of such wisemen without cause.
This obvious rhetorical discussion of the use of poetical illustrations by orators leads him to express his conviction of the moral value of poetry. That poetry did have this improving effect he is quite sure.
For undoubtedly there is no one tale among all the Poetes, but under the same is comprehended something that parteineth, either to the amendment of maners, to the knowledge of the trueth to the setting forth of Nature's work, or els the understanding of some notable thing done.... As Plutarch saieth: and likewise Basilius Magnus: In the _Iliades_ are described strength, and valiantnesse of the bodie: In the _Odissea_ is set forth a lively paterne of the minde. The Poetes were wisemen, and wished in hart the redresse of things, the which when for feare, they durst not openly rebuke, they did in colours painte them out, and tolde men by shadowes what they should doe in good sooth, or els because the wicked were unworthy to heare the trueth, they spake so that none might understand but those unto whom they please to utter their meaning.
Wilson seems to mean not only that poetry has a moral effect, but that the moral value is the main intention. He then proceeds to elucidate the story of Danae as signifying that women have been and will be overcome by money. The story of Io's seduction by the bull shows that beauty may overcome the best of women. From Icarus we should learn that every man should not meddle with things above his compass, and from Midas, to avoid covetousness. As a Protestant he explains St. Christopher and St. George in like manner allegorically.
But Wilson is a rhetorician, not a theorist of poetry; he is not concerned with the moral example as the purpose of poetry. In his section on example as a rhetorical argument he shows how stories and fables may enliven and enforce a point. He illustrates by Pliny's story of the grateful dragon, and by Appian's story of the grateful lion, how a speaker may enlarge on the duty of gratitude among men. But though he does not postulate pleasurable instruction as the aim of poetry, he clearly implies it in his comment on the use of stories in argument.
Nor does Roger Ascham in his _Scholemaster_, written between 1563-1568 and published posthumously in 1570, concern himself with the purpose of poetry. His interest in poetry seems to be confined to prosody. As a school-master himself he is interested in guiding grammar-school boys in their mastery of Latin prose. "I purpose to teach a yong scholer, to go, not to dance: to speake, not to sing." That he is not blind to the fact that poetry does influence the character of a reader, whether that be its purpose or not in the mind of God, he shows by his comment on Plautus. The language, Ascham says, is good and worthy of imitation; but the master must choose only such passages as contain honest matter. And the same fear of the possible evil moral influence of fiction is evinced in his famous condemnation of the _Morte Darthur_ "the whole pleasure of which booke standeth in two speciall poyntes, in open mans slaughter, and bold bawdrye," and in his attacks on English translations of Italian poems and stories. In this his position is substantially that of Savonarola, Loyola and Vives. Nowhere does Ascham advance the claims of allegory as cloaking moral truth under the guise of fiction. He is too good a classicist and Ciceronian. What he fears from poetry is evil example. If he believed that the purpose of poetry was to teach truth by example pleasantly, at least he does not say so. Ascham represents the advance guard in England against allegory. But since he was not writing on the theory of poetry primarily, he did not endeavor to establish that the function of poetry is to teach by example.
2. Allegory and the Rhetorical Example in Poetic
Thus far we have had to draw inferences from the asides of rhetorician and school-master. But in 1575, five years after the publication of Ascham's treatise, George Gascoigne, a poet, published his _Certayne Notes of Instruction Concerning the Making of Verse or Ryme_. The title is not misleading. Gascoigne is concerned with the style of poetry, not with its philosophy. His only reference to either example or allegory is in a passage where he recommends methods of avoiding triteness in the praise of his mistress.
If I should disclose my pretence in love, I would eyther make a strange discourse of some intollerable passion, or finde occasion to pleade by the example of some historie, or discover my disquiet in shadowes _per Allegoriam_.
Slight as this is, it hints at the rhetoric of Ovid and the declamation schools. The poet is "to pleade by example." He is making a speech to his mistress trying to prove to her his undying passion that she may grant him the ultimate favor. The genre is the same that includes the _Epistles_ of Ovid and the _Love Letters_ of Aristenetus. It is the genre of versified speech-making. Wilson recommended the _Proverbs_ of Heywood as furnishing "allegories" useful in the amplification of a point in a speech. In his _Euphues_ Lyly did use such "allegories" in what his contemporaries generally considered a poem. Lyly drew examples, anecdotes, and fables which he used as Gascoigne suggested, not only from Heywood, but from the _Similia_ and _Adagia_, of Erasmus, and from the _Emblems_ of Alciati.
So far the moral example is counseled or practised only as a recognized device of rhetoric. It is not transferred to poetic until George Whetstone's _Dedication_ to his _Promos and Cassandra_. For Whetstone asserts that in his comedy he has intermingled all actions "in such sorte as the grave matter may instruct, and the pleasant delight ... and the conclusion showes the confusion of Vice and the cherising of Vertue." That the philosophy of this moral improvement resides in the extreme application of poetic justice he shows as follows: "For by the reward of the good the good are encouraged in wel doinge: and with the scowrge of the lewde the lewde are feared from evill attempts." Whetstone's _Dedication_ was published in 1578, one year before Gosson launched his attack against poetry and poets in his _School of Abuse_, which was answered by Lodge and Sidney in their _Apologies_. In this controversy, in which Whetstone later took sides with the anti-stage party in his _Touchstone for Time_ (1584), the age-long conflict between the poets and the philosophers was renewed with vigor and acrimony. But both the attackers and the defenders argued from the same premise, that the purpose of poetry was to afford pleasant moral instruction. Gosson and the Puritans objected that current poetry and plays failed to afford this moral instruction and should consequently be condemned. Lodge, Sidney and the other defenders of poetry retorted that poetry had a noble function--the teaching of morality, and that an occasional poem which did not serve this purpose did not invalidate the claims of poetry as a whole.
The right use of auncient poetrie was to have the notable exploytes of worthy captaines, the holesome councels of good fathers and vertuous lives of predecessors set down in numbers, and sung to the instrument at solemne feastes, that the sound of the one might draw the hearers from kissing the cup too often, and the sense of the other put them in minde of things past, and chaulke out the way to do the like.
The benefit, according to Gosson, which poetry should produce is that of good moral example. Moral doctrine, he believes accessible in the churches, and against the poets he urges that the evil social environment of the theatre offsets the benefit to be derived even from good plays. What profits the moral lesson of such a play if after witnessing the performance a man walk away with a woman whose acquaintance he has just made in the theatre. He may drink wine, he may play cards, he may even enter a brothel.
In his _Defence of Poetry_ (1579), Lodge retreats to the caverns of the middle ages to equip himself with arms. Under the influence of Campano, who died in 1477, he advances allegory as the explanation which makes the apparently light and trifling poets moral teachers of the utmost seriousness. Addressing Gosson he exclaims:
Did you never reade that under the persons of beastes many abuses were dissiphered? Have you not reason to waye that whatsoever ether Virgil did write of his gnatt or Ovid of his fley was all covertly to declare abuse?... You remember not that under the person of Aeneas in Virgil the practice of a dilligent captaine is described; you know not that the creation is signified in the Image of Prometheus; the fall of pryde in the person of Narcissus.
And he quotes Lactantius as comparing poetry with the Scriptures. If either are taken literally, they will seem false. We should judge by the poet's hidden meaning. The purpose of the poets, to Lodge, was "In the way of pleasure to draw men to wisdome." When he defends comedy, Lodge drifts away from allegory. Terence and Plautus he praises for furnishing examples of virtue and vice upon the boards, thus to amend the manners of his auditors. He believed that poetry did amend manners, and correct abuses--if properly used. But he is very quick to admit the very abuses which Gosson attacked.
I abhore those poets that savor of ribaldry: I will admit the expullcion of such enormities, poetry is dispraised not for the folly that is in it, but for the abuse whiche manye ill Wryters couller by it. I must confess with Aristotle that men are greatly delighted with imitation, and that it were good to bring those things on stage that were altogether tending to vertue; all this I admit and hartely wysh, but you say unlesse the thinge be taken away the vice will continue. Nay I say if the style were changed the practise would profit.
Thus he defends poetry bcause it teaches morality by example and by allegory.
With that higher intelligence and learning which have already been contrasted with the unthinking acceptance of his times Sir Philip Sidney wrote his _Apologie for Poetrie_. In this dignified and vigorous pamphlet, written about 1583, and published in 1595, Sidney presents the best and most consistent argument for the moral purpose of poetry that appeared in England. That the main line of his argument and his best material is drawn from Minturno and Scaliger, as Spingarn has demonstrated, in no way invalidates his claim to distinction. The purpose of poetry is to Sidney, in the first place, to teach and delight, "that fayning notable images of vertues, vices, or what els, with that delightfull teaching which must be the right describing note to know a poet by." But as the end of all earthly learning is virtuous action, in Sidney's mind, he agrees with Minturno and Scaliger in borrowing from rhetoric Cicero's three-fold aim of the orator: to teach, to delight, to move. Sidney says that the poets "imitate both to _delight_ and _teach_, and delight to _move_ men to take the goodnes in hande ... and _teach_, to make them know that goodnes whereunto they are mooved." It is incredible that he did not know this terminology as rhetoric. Poetry, he believes, fails if it does not persuade its reader to abandon evil and adopt good.
And that _mooving_ is of a higher degree than _teaching_, it may by this appeare, that it is well nigh the cause of teaching. For who will be taught, if he bee not mooved with desire to be taught? and what so much good doth that teaching bring forth (I speak still of morall doctrine) as that it mooveth one to do that which it dooth teach?
The effectiveness of poetry, then, in accomplishing this moral end lies in its pleasantness. The poet, says Sidney, in that most famous passage which is too frequently quoted incompletely,
commeth to you with words sent in delightful proportion, either accompanied with, or prepared for, the well inchaunting skill of Musicke; and with a tale forsooth he commeth unto you, with a tale which holdeth children from play, and old men from the chimney corner. And _pretending no more, doth intende the winning of the mind from wickedness to vertue_: even as the childe is often brought to take most wholsom things by hiding them in such other as have a pleasant tast.
According to Sidney, then, it is the very purpose of poetry to win men to virtue by pleasant instruction. The argument of poetry in accomplishing this end is primarily the example. Sidney compares very elaborately philosophy, history, and poetry in an endeavor to show that poetry is the most effective instrument for forwarding virtue. In the first place poetry is better adapted than philosophy to win men to virtue because it persuades both by precepts and by examples, while philosophy persuades by precepts alone. His sanction for this high opinion of the persuasive power of example is the rhetorical commonplace of the renaissance that the way is long by precept and short by example. To enforce this point he tells the story of how Menenius Agrippa won over the people of Rome to support the Senate by telling them the story of the revolt of the members against the belly. Quintilian and Wilson had already told this story to prove the effectiveness of the example as a rhetorical argument, a device of the public speaker.
The main advantage which poetry possesses over history, Sidney goes on, is that while the historian must stick to his facts, which too frequently are unedifying, the poet can and does create a world better than nature, and presents to his reader ideal figures of human conduct such as Pylades, Cyrus, and Æneas. This is Sidney's application of Aristotle's assertion that history is particular and poetic universal; history records things as they are and poetic as they are, worse than they are, or better. Lest his readers might fear that the arguments of the poet might lose some of their persuasive force from their being fictitious, Sidney hastens to add: "For that a fayned example hath as much force to teach as a true example (for as for to moove, it is cleere, sith the fayned may be tuned to the highest key of passion);" and here he is drawing from Aristotle's _Rhetoric._ Through admiration of the noble persons of poetry, the reader is won to a desire for emulation. "Who readeth _Æneas_ carrying olde _Anchises_ on his back, that wisheth not it were his fortune to perfourme so excellent an acte?"
Although Sidney believes the principal moral value of poetry to reside in its power to teach and move by the use of examples, he devotes at least half a page to the beneficent effect of parables and allegories. The parables which he uses, however, are all Christian, and the allegories are all the _Fables_ of Æsop. From the allegorical interpretation of poetry current in the middle ages and to a scarcely less degree among his English contemporaries Sidney remains conspicuously aloof.
In answering the specific charges against poetry, that it is a waste of time, the mother of lies, the nurse of abuse, and rejected by Plato, Sidney asserts that a thing which moves men to virtue so effectively as poetry cannot be a waste of time; that since poetry pretends not to literal truth, it cannot lie, that poetry does not abuse man's wit, but man's wit abuses poetry, for "shall the abuse of a thing make the right use odious?" and that Plato objected not to poetry but to its abuse.
Sir John Harington who published his _Brief Apologie of Poetrie_ in 1591, four years before the publication of Sidney's _Apologie_, based much of his treatise on Sidney. Unfortunately, he did not digest fully the arguments of the manuscript in his hand, and instead of a first-hand knowledge of Minturno and Scaliger had only the commonplaces of Plutarch. In spite even of Plutarch, allegory, not moral example, is his main line of defence. His fundamental basis is the stock Horatian "omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci," or as Harington paraphrases, "for in verse is both goodness and sweetness, Rubarb and Sugarcandie, the pleasant and the profitable." The objection that poets lie Harington meets as Sidney does, "But poets never affirming any for true, but presenting them to us as fables and imitations, cannot lye though they would." At this point Harington parts company with his master and goes back to the middle ages.
The ancient Poets have indeed wrapped as it were in their writings divers and sundry meanings, which they call the senses or mysteries thereof. First of all for the litteral sence (as it were the utmost barke or ryne) they set downe in manner of an historie the acts and notable exploits of some persons worthie memorie: then in the same fiction, as a second rine and somewhat more fine, as it were nearer to the pith and marrow, they place the Morall sence profitable for the active life of man, approving vertuous actions and condemning the contrarie. Many times also under the selfesame words they comprehend some true understanding of naturall Philosophie, or sometimes of politike government, and now and then of divinitie: and these same sences that comprehend so excellent knowledge we call the Allegorie.
Nothing could be more specifically mediaeval. He then proceeds to explain the historical, moral, and three allegorical senses of the story of Perseus and the Gorgon--the highest allegory being theological. Further, to defend the allegorical senses of poetry, which conceals a pith of profit under a pleasant rind, Harington explains fully how Demosthenes, Bishop Fisher, and the Prophet Nathan enforced their arguments by allegorical stories. To Harington, then, poetry is useful as an introduction to Philosophy. Paraphrasing Plutarch _On the Reading of Poets_, he says:
So young men do like best that Philosophy that is not Philosophie, or that is not delivered as Philosophie, and such are the pleasant writings of learned Poets, that are the popular Philosophers and the popular divines.
_A Discourse of English Poetrie_ (1586) by the laborious but uninspired tutor, William Webbe, is not a defense; but interspersed among his remarks advocating the reformed versifying, and his arid catalog of poets, ancient and modern, is a good deal about the moral purpose and value of poetry. A thoroughgoing Horatian, he cannot forbear to quote at length and comment upon the "miscere utile dulci," of his master. Poetry, in Webbe's conception, therefore, is especially effective in its "sweete allurements to vertues and commodious caveates from vices." In appraising the methods of producing the moral effect, Webbe fails to share with his contemporaries their high opinion of moral example and their depreciation of precept. Poetry, he says, contains great and profitable fruits for the instruction of manners and precepts of good life. And he finds much profit even in the most dissolute works of Ovid and Martial because they abound in moral precepts. He does not, however, entirely discount the moral effect of example. Ovid and Martial should be kept from young people who have not yet gained sufficient judgment to distinguish between the beneficial and the harmful, and Lucian should not be read at all. But he seems to fear the moral effect of bad example more than he applauds the effect of good. Thus his main reliance is upon allegory. The _Metamorphoses_ of Ovid, for instance,
though it consisted of fayned Fables for the most part, and poeticall inventions, yet being moralized according to his meaning, and the trueth of every tale beeing discovered, it is a worke of exceeding wysedome and sounde judgment [and the rest of his writings] are mixed with much good counsayle and profitable lessons, if they be wisely and narrowly read.
Perhaps because he was not pledged to defend poetry against the attacks of the Puritans, Webbe thus allows himself to admit "the very summe or cheefest essence of poetry dyd alwayes for the most part consist in delighting the readers or hearers with pleasure." Aside from his emphasizing allegory, which Plutarch had rejected, Webbe is thus closer to the doctrines of Plutarch than he is to the Italians. Poetry has, he believes, a moral effect, but he does not establish this moral effect as its motivating purpose. And again, after descanting on the exhortations to virtue, dehortations from vices, and praises of laudable things which characterized the early poets, he defines the comical sort of poetry as containing "all such _Epigrammes_, _Elegies_, and delectable ditties, which Poets have devised respecting onely the delight thereof.
Like Webbe, the author of _The Arte of English Poesie_ (1589) ascribed to Puttenham, believes much in the pleasure of poetry. He does not, however, advance pleasure as the purpose any more than he does profit. Instead of endeavoring to discover what the end or purpose of poetry may be, Puttenham explains why certain forms of poetry were devised, or what may be the intention of certain poets in certain poems. The passage is worth quoting at length. The use of poetry, says Puttenham,
is the laud, honour, & glory of the immortall gods (I speake now in phrase of the Gentiles); secondly, the worthy gests of noble Princes, the memoriall and registry of all great fortunes, the praise of vertue & reproofe of vice, the instruction of morall doctrines, the revealing of sciences naturall & other profitable Arts, the redresse of boistrous & sturdie courages by perswasion, the consolation and repose of temperate myndes: finally, the common solace of mankind in all his travails and cares of this transitorie life; and in this last sort, being used for recreation onely, may allowably beare matter not alwayes of the gravest or of any great commoditie or profit, but rather in some sort vaine, dissolute, or wanton, so it be not very scandalous & of evill example.
The poems of "this last sort" which Puttenham had in mind were anagrams, emblems, and such trifling verse especially, which, as he says, have been objected to by some grave and theological heads as "to none edification nor instruction, either of morall vertue or otherwise behooffull for the commonwealth." These trifles "have bene in all ages permitted as the convenient solaces and recreations of man's wit." But Puttenham does not advocate that these poems whose only aim is recreation should be released from the restraints of accepted morality. They may be vain, dissolute or wanton, but not very scandalous. They should not offer evil examples, nor should their matter be "unhonest."
Not all poetry, according to Puttenham, is given over to refreshing the mind by the ear's delight. Although the poet is appointed as a pleader of lovely causes in the ear of princely dames, young ladies, gentlewomen, and courtiers, none the less much poetry has a didactic purpose. Satire was first invented to administer direct rebuke of evil, comedy to amend the manners of common men by discipline and example, tragedy to show the mutability of fortune and the just punishment of God in revenge of a vicious and evil life, pastoral to inform moral discipline, for the amendment of man's behavior, or to insinuate or glance at greater matters under the veil of rustic persons and rude speeches. Here Puttenham pays his respects to all accepted methods of poetical instruction: in satire, to precepts; in comedy and tragedy, to example; in pastoral, to allegory. Yet it is in historical poetry, which may indifferently be wholly true, wholly false, or a mixture, the moral effect of example is most potent. Speaking of examples in poetry, he says, "Right so no kinde of argument in all the Oratorie craft doth better perswade and more universally satisfie then example." It is on this account that historical poetry is, next the divine, the most honorable and worthy. For the historians have always been not so eager that what they wrote should be true to fact as that it should be used either for example or for pleasure.
Considering that many times it is seene a fained matter or altogether fabulous, besides that it maketh more mirth than any other, works no less good conclusions for example then the most true and veritable, but often more, because the Poet hath the handling of them to fashion at his pleasure.
This conception of history as moral example is common enough. To Budé all history was a moral example and Puttenham's inclusion of didactic fiction is in line with much renaissance thought, which regarded the two as almost interchangeable.
Puttenham, like Webbe, was more in accord with Horace in admitting both the pleasant and profitable effects of poetry than he was with Minturno, Scaliger, and Sidney. He grants that some poetry exists only for pleasure, but he puts his emphasis on poetry as a power of persuasion accomplishing the moral improvement of society. As late as the _Hypercritica_ (1618) of Bolton, history is defined as nothing else but a kind of philosophy using examples. Bolton enforces his view by quotation from Bede, William of Malmesbury, and Sir Thomas North.
3. The Displacement of Allegory by Example
A most interesting view of the purpose of poetry was evolved in the brain of Francis Bacon--that baffling complexity of mediaeval tradition and penetrating original thought. To him the use of feigned history, as he defines poetry, "hath beene to give some shadowe of satisfaction to the minde of man in those points wherein the Nature of things doth deny it." That is, poetry represents the world as greater, more just, and more pleasant than it really is. "So as it appeareth that _Poesie_ serveth and conferreth to Magnanimitie, Moralitie, and to delectation." Here Bacon seems to imply that the essential pleasure of poetry is in affording vicarious experience through imaginative realization. Poetry does this by "submitting the shewes of things to the desires of the minde." It truly makes a world nearer to our heart's desire. But while Bacon derives the moral benefit of poetry from examples of conduct and outcomes of events more nearly just than those of actual life, when he analyses poetry into its kinds, he makes a place for allegory. In this division he provides for narrative, drama, and allegory. But with penetration he sees what few renaissance critics had noted before--that allegory is of two varieties. The first variety is essentially the same as a rhetorical example; it is an extended metaphor used as an argument to enforce a point and thus persuade an audience. The fables of Aesop are such allegories or examples; and they are useful because they make their point more interestingly than other arguments and more clearly. The other sort of allegory, says Bacon, instead of illuminating the idea, obscures it. "That is, when the Secrets and Misteries of Religion, Pollicy, or Philosophy, are involved in Fables or Parables." He then gives political allegorical interpretations of the myths of Briareus and of the Centaur and suddenly adds: "Nevertheless in many the like incounters, I doe rather think that the fable was first and the exposition devised than that the Morall was first and thereupon the fable framed." Bacon's final conclusion seems to be that, although allegorical poetry does exist, allegory is not essential to poetry and that the wholesale allegorizing of the middle ages was far off the mark. In his suspicion that in most cases the fable was first and the interpretation after, Bacon was in complete agreement with Rabelais in the prologue of _Gargantua_. At any rate Bacon seems to have given the _coup de grace_ to allegory in England.
Under the influence of Pico della Mirandola it was resurrected from its tomb by Henry Reynolds; but it was a much less moral allegory and a more mystical. In his _Mythomystes_ (licensed 1632) Reynolds admits, that the ancients mingled moral instruction in their poetry, but reprehends this as an abuse. Prose is the proper vehicle of moral doctrine and should have been employed by Spenser. The true function of poetry, then, is to give secret knowledge of the mysteries of nature to the initiated. Thus the story of the rape of Proserpine signifies, when allegorically interpreted; "the putrefaction and succeeding generation of the Seedes we commit to Pluto, or the earth." This is the most plausible example of mystical interpretation to be found in the whole treatise.
To the allegorist, the fable or plot in epic or dramatic poetry was only a rind to cover attractively the kernel of truth. It was a means to an end, not an end in itself. As the influence of Aristotle's _Poetics_ spreading through Italy, Germany, France, and England, gave the plot or fable more importance, allegory lost its hold on the minds of the critics. When Ben Jonson writes in his _Timber_ "For the Fable and Fiction is, as it were, the forme and Soule of any Poeticall worke or _Poeme_" the change had come. Jonson, like Sidney, was steeped in classical criticism as interpreted and spread abroad by the sixteenth-century critics of the continent. But while Sidney made a place for allegory in his scheme of poetry, Jonson does not so much as mention it. His idea of the teaching power of poetry, for to him poetry and painting both behold pleasure and profit as their common object, is rhetorical--depending on precept and example--and attaining its true aim when it moves men to action. Poesy is "a dulcet and gentle _Philosophy_, which leades on and guides us by the hand to Action with a ravishing delight and incredible Sweetnes." Jonson evidently knew that he was merging oratory and poetry in their common purpose of securing persuasion; for he says:
"The _Poet_ is the neerest Borderer upon the Orator, and expresseth all his vertues, though he be tyed more to numbers, is his equal in ornament, and above him in his strengths: Because in moving the minds of men, and stirring of affections, in which Oratory shewes, and especially approves her eminence, hee chiefly excells."
In his dedication to _Volpone_ he says this power of persuasion which the poet possesses to so eminent a degree is to be applied to the moral well-being of men, "to inform men in the best reason of living." Himself a writer for the theatre, Jonson is naturally more concerned with comedy and tragedy than he is with any narrative forms of poetry. And to him the office of the comic poet is "to imitate justice and instruct to life--or stirre up gentle affections." In _Timber_ he iterates the same praise of poetry as being no less effective than philosophy in instructing men to good life, and informing their manners, but as even more effective in that it persuades men to good where philosophy threatens and compels. In order to accomplish this beneficial effect on public morals, the poet must have an exact knowledge of all virtues and vices with ability to render the one loved and the other hated. As a natural result of this conception, so similar to Cicero's demand that the orator must know all things and in line with Aristotle's _Rhetoric_, Jonson concludes that the poet, like Quintilian's orator, must himself be a good man; for how else will he be able "to informe _yong-men_ to all good disciplines, inflame _growne-men_ to all great vertues, keepe _old men_ in their best and supreme state."
Aside from Sidney and Jonson no English critic, however, thought through to the logical conclusion that in moral purpose rhetoric and poetic are identical. The others continued to echo Horace, or lean toward allegory, or see profit in poetry from its moral example. For instance in his preface to his second instalment of Homer entitled _Achilles' Shield_ (1598) Chapman dwells at length on the moral value and wisdom contained in the _Iliad_, and enunciates the same idea in his _Prefaces_ of 1610-16. Peacham, in his _Compleat Gentleman_ (1622), repeats the usual commonplaces to the effect that poetry is a dulcet philosophy, for the most part lifted from Puttenham. In his _Argenis_ (1621) Barclay reminds his reader of the children who for so many centuries had shunned the cup of physic until the bitter taste had been removed by sweet syrop. Thus also, says he, is it with the moral value of poetry disguised with sweet music. "Virtues and vices I will frame, and the rewards of them shall suite to both"; for it is on the moral example of poetic justice that Barclay depends. The models of virtue will be followed.
The Earl of Stirling, in _Anacrisis_ (1634?) acknowledges the works of the poets to be the chief springs of learning, "both for Profit and Pleasure, showing Things as they should be, where Histories represent them as they are." Consequently he has a high opinion of the _Cyropaedia_ of Xenophon, the _Arcadia_ of Sir Philip Sidney, and other such poems, as "affording many exquisite Types of Perfection for both the Sexes." These types the reader is expected to imitate in his own conduct, guided by the moral precepts with which the poet must not neglect to decorate his work.
* * * * *
Within the period of this study two views were taken of the moral element in poetry. With the exception of Sidney and Jonson, who knew the theories of the Italian renaissance, the English critics believed with Horace that poetry was at once pleasant and profitable, and agreed with Plutarch that poetry, if rightly used, would be of benefit in the education of youth. But there was little tendency to follow this to the conclusion of asserting that because poetry has a moral effect on the reader, it is the purpose of poetry as an art to exert this moral effect for the good of society. Most of these critics believed that the moral effect which poetry did exert came through allegory. In this respect, as has been shown, they were carrying on the traditions of the middle ages.
The opposing view derived ultimately from the classical rhetorics, and entered England through the criticism of the Italian scholars--particularly Minturno and Scaliger. Starting from the saying of Horace that poets aim to please or profit, or please and profit together, these critics borrowed from rhetoric Cicero's three-fold aim of the orator: to teach, to please, to move, and applied these three aims to the poet. Accordingly, to them the poet has the same aim as the orator--persuasion. He pleases not for the sake of giving pleasure, but for the sake of winning his readers so that he may better attain his real object of teaching morality and moving men to action in its practice. The emphasis on the example as the means of attaining this end was further derived from scholastic philosophy which, as has been shown, classed logic, rhetoric, and poetic together as instruments for attaining truth and improving the morality of the state. Furthermore, according to this scholastic view, the three arts differed only as they utilized different means to attain this end. Logic used the demonstrative syllogism and the scientific induction, rhetoric used the enthymeme or rhetorical syllogism and the example or popular induction, poetic used the example alone. According to the renaissance developments of this last view, allegory was emphasized less and less as the example was felt to be more appropriate. Thus Sidney and Jonson, the outstanding classicists in English renaissance criticism, exhibit to the highest degree the influence of the most rhetorical of Italian renaissance critics. They alone in England assert that the purpose of poetry is to move men to virtuous action.
* * * * *
Thus a study of rhetorical terminology in English renaissance theories of poetry throws into sharp relief the fact that all criticism of the fine art of literature in England in the 16th century and the first half of the 17th century was profoundly influenced by rhetoric. This influence was two-fold. On the one hand the less scholarly critics perpetuated the popular traditions of rhetoric which they inherited from the middle ages. These traditions of allegory and the ornate style were, as has been shown, in turn derived from post-classical rhetoric. On the other hand the more scholarly critics applied to poetry the canons of classical rhetoric which they derived in part from the classics themselves and in part from the critics of the Italian renaissance.
In one sense this has been a study of critical perversions. Although many of the critics of the English renaissance are remarkable for their wisdom and discerning judgments, their writings are far less valuable than those of Longinus and Aristotle. But Aristotle and Longinus did not allow their theories of poetry to be contaminated by rhetoric. The best modern critics have studied and understood the classical treatises on poetic and have consequently avoided the confusion between rhetoric and poetic into which many renaissance critics fell. Others have not been so fortunate. For these the object-lesson of renaissance failure should serve as a warning.
Abelard Aeschylus Aesop Agathon Agricola, Rudolph Alanus de Insulis Alciati Alcidamas Albucius Aldus Alfarabi Alstedius Anaxagoras Annaeus Florus Appian Apsinus Apthonius Apuleius Aristenetus Aristophanes Aristotle Aristides Ascham Athenagoras Augustine Averroes
Bacon, Francis Barclay, John Barton, John Basil the Great Bede Bokenham Boccaccio Bolton, Edmund Bornecque, Henri Boethius Brunetto Latini Butcher, S.H. Buchanan, George Budé Butler, Charles
Can Grande Campano, G. Campion, Thomas Casaubon Cassiodorus Castelvetro Castiglione Cato Caussinus, N. Chapman, G. Chaucer Chemnicensis, Georgius Cicero Clement of Alexandria Cox, Leonard Croce, B. Croll, Morris Curio Fortunatus
Daniel, Samuel Daniello Dante Darwin, Charles Demetrius Demosthenes de Worde, Wynkyn Dio Chrysostom Dionysius of Halicarnassus Dolce Drant, Thomas Drummond of Hawthornden DuBellay Ducas DuCygne, M. Dunbar, William
Earle, John Eastman, Max Empedocles Emporio Erasmus Eratosthenes Estienne, Henri Etienne de Rouen Euripides
Farnaby, Thomas Fenner, Dudley Filelfo Fraunce, Abraham
Gascoigne George of Trebizond (Trapezuntius) Gorgias Gosson, Stephen Gower Gregory Nazianzen Guarino Guevara
Hall, Joseph Harington, John Harvey, Gabriel Hawes, Stephen Heinsius, D. Henryson Heliodorus Herodotus Hermagoras Hermannus Allemanus Hermogenes Hilary of Poitiers Holland, P. Homer Horace Hermas Hesiod Heywood, John
Isidore of Seville Isocrates
James I James VI Jerome John of Garland John of Salisbury Jonson, Ben Julian
Lactantius Langhorne Lipisius Livy Lodge Lombardus, B. Longinus Loyola Lucan Lucian Lucretius Lydgate, John Lyly, John Lyndesay, David. Lysias
Maggi Martial Martianus Capella Mazzoni Melanchthon Menander Menenius Agrippa Milton Minturno
Nash, T. Newman, J.H. Norden, Eduard North, Sir Thomas
Origen Overbury, Thomas Ovid
Palmieri Pazzi Peacham, Henry Petrarch Piccolomini Pico della Mirandola Plato Plautus Pliny Plutarch Poggio Pontanus, Jacob Prickard, A. O. Puttenham
Rabelais Ramus, Peter Reynolds, Henry Robortelli Ronsard Rufinus
Sappho Savonarola Scaliger, J.C. Schelling, Felix Segni Seneca Servatus Lupus Shakespeare Sherry, Richard Sidney Sidonius, Apollinaris Simonides Smith, John Soarez Socrates Sopatrus Sophocles Sophron Spenser Spingarn, J.E. Stanyhurst Stesimbrotus of Thasos Strabo Strebaeus Sturm, John
Tacitus Tasso, B. Tatian Terence Tertullian Theognis of Rhegium Theon Theophilus Theophrastus Themistocles Thomas Aquinas Thomasin von Zirclaria Tifernas Timocles
Valla Valladero, A. Van Hook, L. Varchi Vettore Vicars, Thomas Victor, Julius Victorino, Mario Vida Virgil Vives, L. Vossius (J.G. Voss) Vossler, Karl
Wackernagel, Jacob Walton, John Watson, Thomas Webbe, William Whetstone, George William of Malmesbury Wilson, Thomas
 _Modern Philology_, Vol. XVI, No. 8, Dec., 1918.
 _Poetics_, I, 8.
 _Quomodo historia conscribenda sit_, 8.
 _De institutione oratoria_, X, ii, 21.
 _Poetik, Rhetorik, und Stilistik_ (Halle, 1886), pp. 14, 261.
 _Poetry, with Reference to Aristotle's Poetics_, Ed. A.S. Cook (Boston, 1891), pp. 10-11.
 _Estetica_ (Milano, 1902), I, II, and appendix.
 _Enjoyment of Poetry_ (New York, 1916), p. 66.
 Georges Renard, _La method scientifique de l'histoire littéraire_. (Paris, 1900), p. 385.
 III, 1.
 I, 8; and IX, 2.
 Prickard thinks Aristotle misread in this passage. According to Prickard, Aristotle means that poetry must be in meter, but that not all meter is poetry. Aristotle's _Poetics_, p. 60. Most critics do not share Prickard's opinion.
 _Ibid._, I, 6.
 _Ibid._, IV, 2.
 _Psychology_, ed. E. Wallace, III, 3, cf. also introd., p. 77, ff.
 _Poetics_, I.
 VII, 3.
 VII, 5.
 S.H. Butcher, _Aristotle's Theory of Poetry and Fine Art_, p. 123. Poetics, II, 1.
 III, 1.
 _Ibid._, IX.
 _Ibid._, IX, 3-4; of. XV, 6.
 _Ibid._, X, 3.
 _Ibid._, XXIV, 9-10.
 Butcher, _op. cit._ p. 392.
 _Poetics_, XVII.
 VI, 18.
 Longinus, _On the Sublime_, trans, by A. O. Prickard (Oxford, 1906) I and XXXIII. The treatise has been variously ascribed to the first and fourth centuries. A valuable edition of the text accompanied by translation and critical apparatus, was published by W. Rhys Roberts, Cambridge University Press.
 _Ibid._, VIII.
 _Ibid._, X.
 _Ibid._, XII.
 _Ibid._, XV. This is almost exactly Aristotle's phrase in the _Rhetoric_.
 _Ibid_, X.
 _De audiendis poetis_, VII, VIII.
 _Rhetoric_ (J. E. C. Welldon's trans., London, 1886), I, ii.
 _Rhetoric_, I, i.
 _Ibid._, I, i.
 Wilkin's ed. of Cic. _De oratore_, introd. p. 56.
 Cope, _Introduction to the Rhetoric of Aristotle_ (London, 1867), p. 149.
 _Ad Herennium_, I, 2. Published in the _Opera Rhetorica_ of Cicero, edited by W. Friedrich for Teubner (Leipzig, 1893), Vol. 1.
 _De oratore_, I, 138.
 _De institutione oratoria_, II, xv, 38.
 _Ibid._, XI, i, 9-11. The "vir bonus dicendi peritus" is from Cato.
 _Gorgias_, St. 453.
 _Loci cit._
 I, v.
 I, 213.
 _Op. cit._, I, 64.
 _De inst. orat._, II, xxi, 4.
 _Rhet._, I, ix.
 _De inst. orat._, III, iv, 6.
 _Ibid._, X, i, 28.
 γραθική, Rhet. III, xii.
 _Orator_, 37-38.
 _Rhet._, I, ix.
 _Ad Herennium_, I, 2; Cicero, _De inventione_, I, vii. _De oratore_, I, 142; Quintilian, _De inst. orat._, III, iii, i.
 Aristotle, _Rhetoric_, III, xiii-xix; Cicero, _Partit. orat._, 15.
 See above, pp. 13-14.
 Cicero, _De oratore_, I. 143; Quint., _De inst. orat._, III, ix.
 I, 4. Cicero, also, _De invent._, I, xiv.
 _Opera omnia_ (1622), p. 1028.
 _De nuptiis_, 544-560.
 _The Arte of Rhet._, p. 7.
 _De inst. orat._, VIII, i, I
 _De inst. orat._, VIII, vi, I ff.
 _Rhetoric_, III, ii.
 _Ibid._, III, xi.
 _Enjoyment of Poetry_, pp. 76-78. The best classical treatments of style are to be found in Arist. _Rhet._, III; Cic., _Orat._; Quint., _De inst. orat._, VIII, x; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, _De comp. verb._; and Demetrius, _De elocutione_.
 Sec. 54.
 _Commentarioum Rhetoricorum libri_ IV, I, i, 3, in his _Opera_, III. (Amsterdam, 1697).
 VI, 1.
 _Rhet._, III, 1.
 The six elements are Plot, Character, Thought, Diction, Spectacle, and Song. _Poetics_, VI, 7 and 16.
 Butcher, _op. cit._, pp. 339-343.
 _Poetics_, VI, 16, and XIX, 1-2.
 _De inst. orat._, X, i, 46-51.
 _De inventione_, I, xxiii, 33.
 _Die antike kunstprosa_ (Leipzig, 1898), p. 884, note 3.
 See above, p. 17.
 _De optimo genere oratorum_, I, 3; _Orator_, 69; _De oratore_, II, 28.
 _De inst. orat._, VI, ii, 25-36.
 _Poetics_, XVII, 2.
 Arist. _Rhet._, III. xi; Dionysius of Halicarnassus, _De Lysia_, 7; Quintilian, VIII, iii, 62.
 _Rhetoric_, III, i.
 _Op. cit._, pp. 883-884.
 La Rue Van Hook, "Alcidamas _versus_ Isocrates," _Classical Weekly_, XII (Jan. 20, 1919), p. 90. Professor Van Hook here presents the only English translation of Alcidamas, _On the Sophists_. Isocrates made his reply in his speech _On the Antidosis_.
 _Rhetoric_, III, ii.
 _Ibid._, III, viii.
 _Orator_, 66-68.
 _De oratore_, I, 70.
 "Verba prope poetarum," _ibid._, I, 128.
 "Id primum in poetis cerni licet, quibus est proxima cognatio cum oratoribus." _De orat._, III, 27. cf. also I, 70.
 Xenophon, _Banquet_, II, 11-14.
 _Die antike kunstprosa_, pp. 75-79.
 _De compositione verborum_, XXV-XXVI.
 Sénèque le rheteur, _Controverses et suasoires_, ed. Henri Bornecque (Paris). Introduction pp. 20 ff.
 _Op. cit._ vol. II, p. 5.
 _Dialogus_, 20.
 _Op. cit._, Introd. p. 23.
 Dionysius of Halicarnassus, _De comp. verb._, XXIII.
 Hardie, _Lectures_, VII, p. 281.
 _Quomodo historia conscribenda sit_, Sec. 8. Trans, of Lucian by H.W. Fowler and F.G. Fowler (Oxford, 4 vols., 1905).
 Id quoque vitandum, in quo magna pars errat, ne in oratione poetas et historicos, in illis operibus oratores aut declamatores imitandos putemus. _De inst. orat_, X, ii, 21.
 Virgilius orator an poeta? quoted by Karl Vossler, _Poetische Theorien in der italienischen Frührenaissance_. (Berlin, 1900) p. 42, note 2.
 _Etymologiae_, II.
 P. Abelson, _The Seven Liberal Arts_ (New York, 1906), p. 60, ff.
 _Poetria magistri Johannis anglici de arte prosayca metrica et rithmica_, ed. by G. Mari, _Romanische Forschungen_ (1902), XIII, p. 883 ff.
 _Ibid._, p. 894.
 _Ibid._, p. 897.
 Cf. G. L. Hendrickson, "The Origin and Meaning of the Ancient Characters of Style," _Am. Jour. of Phil._ (1905), xxvi, p. 249.
 Cf. the _auctor ad Her._, I, 4, who gives them as exordium, narratio, divisio, confirmatio, confutatio, conclusio.
 _Ibid._, p. 918.
 III, 3.
 "Rhetoricâ, kleit unser rede mit varwe schône." Ed. by H. Rückert, _Bibl. der Deutsch. Lit._, Vol. 30, 1. 8924.
 Caius Sollius Apollinaris Sidonius (430-488) can be consulted in a modern ed. by Paulus Mohr (Leipzig, 1895).
 Doctrina dell' ornato parlare." Woodward, _Educ. in the Ren._ p. 75.
 _Chron. Troy_ (1412-20), Prol. 57.
 I am indebted to my friend Dr. Mark Van Doren for the transcript which I am here publishing.
 _Mor. Fab._ Prol. 3. (c. 1580).
 _Poems_, LXV, 10 (1500-20).
 _Clerk's Prolog._ 32.
 _Life of our Lady_ (1409-1411), (Caxton) lvii b.
 Trans, of Boethius (1410), quoted by Skeat, _Chaucer_, II, xvii.
 _Kingis Q._ (1423), CXCVII.
 _Test. Papyngo_ (1530), II.
 _Seyntys_ (1447), Roxb. 41.
 _Serp. Devision_, c. iii b.
 Reprinted from the ed. of 1555 for the Percy Society (London, 1845), p. 2.
 _Ibid._, p. 55.
 _Ibid._, p. 28.
 _See_ p. 27.
 _Ibid._, p. 37.
 _Ibid._, p. 46.
 "Proximum grammatice docet, quae emendate & aperte loquendi vim tradit: Proximum _rhetorice, quae ornatum orationis cultum que & omnes capiendarum aurium illecebras invenit_. Quod reliquum igitur est videbitur sibi dialectice vendicare, probabliter dicere de qualibet re, quae deducitur in orationem." _De inventione dialectica_ (Paris, 1535), II, 2. cf. also II, 3.
Cf. "_Gram_ loquitur; _Dia_ vera docet; _Rhet_ verba colorat." Nicolaus de Orbellis (d. 1455), quoted by Sandys, p. 644.
 _Ibid._, I, 1.
 _Rule of Reason_ (1551), p. 5. Fraunce, _Lawiers Logike_, takes the same view.
 _Dialecticae libri duo_, A. Talaei praelectionibus illustrati (Paris, 1560), I, 2.
 _Rule of Reason_, p. 3.
 Wilkins introd. to Cic. _De orat._, p. 57.
 _De inst. orat._, VI., v, 1-2.
 Printed in London by John Day, without a date. The dedication is dated Dec. 13, 1550. The title page says it was "written fyrst in Latin--by Erasmus."
 Ascribed to Dudley Tenner by Foster Watson, _The English Grammar Schools_ (Cambridge, 1908), p. 89.
 Chapter IX.
 Thomas Heywood, _Apology for Actors_ (London, 1612), in _Pub. Shak. Soc._, Vol. III, p. 29.
 Book I, ch. 1.
 "Rhetorica est ars ornate dicendi." _Rhetoricae libri duo quorum prior de tropis & figuris, posterior de voce & gestu praecepit: in usum scholarum postremo recogniti._ (London, 1629)
 _The Art of Rhetorick concisely and completely handled, exemplified out of Holy Writ_, etc. (London, 1634)
 Dekker and Middleton, _The Roaring Girl_, III, 3.
 Dekker, III, 1.
 Spingarn, _Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century_, I, 2.
 χειραγωγια _Manductio ad Artem Rhetoricam ante paucos annos in privatum scholarium usum concinnata_ (London, 1621). "Rhetorica est ars recte dicendi, etc."
 Norden, _op. cit._, pp. 699-703.
 A.C. Clark, _Ciceronianism_, in _Eng. Lit. and the Classics_, ed. Gordon (Oxford, 1912), p. 128.
 Woodward, _Educ. in the Ren._, p. 45.
 Erasmus, _Dialogus, cui titulus ciceronianus, sive, de optimo dicendi genere_, in _Opera omnia_ (Lugduni Batavorum, 1703), I. It was composed in 1528.
 _Arte of Rhet._, p. 109.
 I, 4. Wilson follows the analysis on p. 7.
 I, x, 17.
 _An Apology for Actors_, p. 29.
 This count is based on the Cicero MSS. listed by P. Deschamps, _Essai bibliographique sur M. T. Ciceron_ (Paris. 1863). Appendix.
 H. Rashdall, _Universities of Europe in the Middle Ages_ (Oxford, 1895), I, 249.
 J. E. Sandys, _History of Classical Scholarship_, p. 590.
 Sandys, p. 624 _seq._
 Deschamps, _op. cit._, pp. 59-63.
 Arber reprint, p. 124.
 M. Schwab, _Bibliographie d'Aristote_ (Paris, 1896).
 Rashdall, II, 457.
 Fierville, C. _M. F. Quintiliani de institutione oratorio, liber primus_ (Paris, 1890). Introduction, xiv-xxxii. M. Fierville prints for the first time the complete texts of these abridgments in an appendix.
 Arber, p. 95.
 The pseudo-Demetrius, author of the _De elecutione_.
 P. 316.
 Sandys, _History of Classical Scholarship_, pp. 541-2.
 M. Schwab, _op. cit._
 _Poetische Theorien in der italienischen Frührenaissance_ (Berlin, 1900), p. 88.
 _Defense_, in Smith, I, 196-197.
 Vossius, _De artis poeticae natura_, II, 3-4.
 _Poetics_, I, 2.
 _Poetica_, 23, 190.
 _De artis poeticae natura_, II, 4.
 _Euphues_, edited by M. W. Croll and H. Clemens (New York), Introd. iv.
 Preface to Maggi's _Aristotle_ (1550), p. 2.
 Prolog. _ibid._, p. 15.
 Spingarn, p. 312.
 Jacob Pontanus, S. J., _Poeticarum institutionum libri tres_ (Ingolstadi, 1594), p. 36.
 _Ibid_, p. 81.
 "Tres autem sunt virtutes narrationis, brevitas, perspicuitas, probabilitas. Secundam & tertiam diligentissime consectabitur Epicus, earumque rationem a Rhetoricae magistris percepiet," p. 72. These three virtues of a "narratio" are based on the analysis of the _Rhetorica ad Alexandrum_.
 Arist., _Rhet._, III. 16.
 _Op. cit_,, p. 26.
 Spingarn, p. 313.
 _Lit. Crit._, p. 255.
 _Ibid._, p. 262.
 Arber, pp. 138-141.
 Spingarn, pp. 174, 256.
 Smith, I, 48.
 Smith, I, 59.
 _Ibid._, p. 60.
 I, 2.
 II, 12.
 IV, 63.
 _Topics_, 83.
 VI, ii, 8 _seq._ Quintilian also uses the Greek terms.
 X, i, 46-131.
 _Op. cit._, pp. 275-398.
 II, 154 seq.
 P. 187.
 G.S. Gordon, "Theophrastus" in _Eng. Lit. and the Classics_, p. 49-86.
 Smith, I, 128
 _Ibid._, 130-131.
 Cf. Spingarn, pp. 298-304, for a good account of reformed versifying in England.
 Smith, I, 137.
 John Northbrooke anticipated Gosson by two years in his attack on the stage, but did not include poets in his title.
 Spingam, pp. 256-258.
 Smith, I, 158.
 _Ibid._, I, 172.
 _Ibid._, I, 185.
 _Ibid._, I, 158-159.
 _Ibid._, I, 160.
 I, 183.
 I, 201.
 Arist. _Rhet._, III, 2; Quint. VIII, iii. 62; Scaliger, iii, 25. Cf. ante p. 33.
 _De aug._ II, 13.
 See pp. 18, 19.
 I, 203.
 I, 202.
 Smith, I, 227-228.
 I, 256.
 I, 231.
 I, 247-248.
 I, i.
 I, ii.
 I, viii.
 I, iv.
 La Rue Van Hook, "Greek Rhetorical Terminology in Puttenham's _The Arte of English Poesie." Trans. of the Am. Phil. Ass._ (1914) XLV, 111. Puttenham was also familiar with the _ad Herennium_ and with _Cicero_.
 (Philadelphia, 1891), p. 59.
 III, i.
 III, xix, p. 206 Arber reprint; of. also p. 230, on the figure _Merismus_ or the Distributor, and the remainder of the chapter.
 Smith, II, 249, 282.
 _Ibid_, II, 274.
 Preface to Homer, in Spingarn, _Critical Essays of the Seventeenth Century_, I, 81.
 Spingarn, I, 5.
 _Literary Criticism in the Seventeenth Century, Introduction_, I, xiii.
 _Timber_, Sec. 128. Cf. _Pastime of Pleasure_, VIII, 29.
 Spingarn, I, 211.
 _Timber_, Sec. 109.
 _Timber_, Sees. 132-133.
 Spingarn, I, 214.
 _Ibid._, p. 210, 213.
 Vossler, _op. cit._, p. 48.
 Spingarn, I, 107.
 _Ibid._, I, 142.
 _Ibid._, I, 182.
 _Ibid._, I, 188, 185.
 Spingarn, I, 206.
 Pseudo-Demetrius, _De elocutione_.
 The _De sublimitate_.
 _De sublimitate_, VIII.
 Spingarn, I, 206.
 _Reason of Church Government_ (1641), in Spingarn, I, 194.
 _Introd. to Eliz. Crit. Essays_, I, lxx.
 Pp. 23-25.
 VI, 2.
 Poetica est facultas videndi quodcunque accommodatum est ad imitationem cuiusque actionis, affectionis, moris, suavi sermone, ad vitam corrigendam & ad bene beateque vivendum comparata. _Praefatio_ to _Maggi's_ ed. of the _Poetics_ (1550), p. 9.
 Spingarn, p. 35.
 La poetica è una facoltà, la quale insegna in quai modi si debba imitare qualunque azione, affetto e costume, con numero, sermone ed armonia; mescolatamente a di per sè, per remuovere gli uomini dai vizi e accendergli alle virtù, affine che conseguano la perfezione e beatitudine loro. _Lezione della poetica_ (1590) in _Opere_ (Trieste, 1859), II, 687.
 Verses 1008-1010.
 Verse 1055.
 _The Women at the Feast of Bacchus_, quoted by Emile Egger, _L'Histoire de la Critique chez les Grecs_ (Paris, 1886), p. 74.
 _Protagoras_, 325-326, Jowett's translation.
 _Republic_, 596-598.
 _Ibid._, 605-606.
 _Ibid._, 607
 _Laws_, 663.
 _Poetics_, IV, 2.
 _Ibid._, VI, 15.
 _Ibid._, VII.
 _Ibid._, IX, 7.
 _Ibid._, XIII. Cf. also XXVI.
 _Ibid._, XXIV.
 _Ibid._, XXVI.
 _Politics_, V, v.
 _Poetics_, VI. (Butcher). Cf. Butcher's _Aristotle's Theory of Fine Art_, Chapter VI, for a full discussion of katharsis.
 _Politics_, V, vii.
 _Poetics_, XIII.
 _Panegyric_, § 159.
 _Symposium_, III, 5.
 _Geography_, I, ii, 3. Trans, by H. C. Hamilton (Bohn ed, London, 1854), 1, 24-25.
 _De audiendis poetis_, trans, by F.M. Padelford under the title _Essays on the Study and Use of Poetry_ (New York, 1902), I. Cf. also Julian, _Epistle_ 42.
 _Ibid._ XIV. Cf. Harrington in Smith's _Eliz. Crit. Essays_, II, 197-198.
 _Ibid._ XII. Cf. Chemnicensis, _Canons_, LII, in Smith, I, 421.
 _Ibid._, IV. Cf. Aristotle, _Rhetoric_, II, xx.
 _Ibid._, III.
Aut prodesse volunt, aut delectare poetae Aut simul et jucunda et idonea dicere vitae
* * * * *
Centuriae seniorum agitant expertia frugis; Celsi praetereunt austera poemata Rhamnes: Omne tulit punctum qui miscuit utile dulci, Lectorem delectando, periterque monendo. Hic meret aera liber Sosiis; hic et mare transit, Et longum noto scriptori prorogat aevum.
_Ad Pisonem_, 333-334, 342-346.
 _Epistles_, II, i, 11. 126 ff. Conington's trans.
 _Metamorphoses_, X, 2.
 _De rerum natura_, I, 936-950.
 _Phaedrus_. See also _Republic_, II.
 _How to Study Poetry_, IV.
 Cf. Cicero, _De nat. deor._ i, 15-38 ff., and Hatch, _Hibbert Lectures_, 1888, Ch. III.
 A. Schlemm, _De fontibus Plutarchi commentationum De aud. poet._ (Göttingen, 1893), pp. 32-36.
 "Iam cum confluxerunt plures continuae tralationes, alia plane fit oratio; itaque genus hoc Graeci appellant ἀλληγορίαν nomine recte genere melius ille qui ista omnia tralationes vocat." _Orator_, 94. Cf. _Ad. Att._ ii, 20, 3.
 Quintilian, VIII, vi, 44. Isidore, _Etym._ I, xxxvii, 22.
 _De doctrina christiana_ (397), III, 29, 40.
 _Confessions_ (Watts's trans.), III. vi., Lionardo Bruni, _De studiis et literis_ (1405), uses the same argument to defend poetry.
 Terence, _Eun._ 585-589, shows a young man justifying his vices on this ground.
 _Poetics_, IX.
 _Literary Criticism_, p. 18.
 _Rhet._ II, xxi.
 _Rhetoric_, II, xx. (Weldon's translation).
 _De inst. orat._ V, xi, 6, 19.
 Edited from the edition of 1560 by G.H. Mair (Oxford, 1909), p. 198.
 _Ibid._, p. 3.
 "Docere debitum est, delectare honorarium, permovere necessarium." _De optimo genere oratorum_, I, 3. He gives the same threefold aims as "ut probet, ut delectet, ut flectet," in the _Orator_, 69; and in the _De oratore_, II, 121.
 _Vide_ pp. 136-137.
 Cf. _ante_, I, iv.
 _Controv._ II, 2 (10). Bornecque ed., I, 145-148.
 Quoted by Padelford, p. 36.
 _Orat._ xi, p. 308.
 Padelford, _op. cit._ pp. 39-43.
 Karl Vossler, _Poetische Theorien in der italienischen Frührenaissance_ (Berlin, 1900), pp. 5, 18, 45.
 Boethius, _De consolatione philosophiae_, Book I, prose 1. Boethius lived 480-524. Cf. Skeat, _Chaucer_, II, introd. xiv ff. for references to the surprising number of translations in most European languages throughout the Middle Ages. The most famous are, perhaps, those of Ælfred, Notker, and Chaucer.
 _Ibid_, Book V, prose v.
 "Quidam autem poetae Theologici dicti sunt, quoniam de diis carmina faciebant. Officium autem poetae in eo est ut ea, quae vere gesta sunt, in alias species obliquis figurationibus cum decore aliquo conversa transducant." _Etym._ VIII, vii, 9-10.
 "Fabulas poetae quasdam delectandi causa finxerunt, quasdam ad naturam rerum, nonnullas ad mores hominum interpretati sunt." _Etym._ I, xl, 3.
 "Una verita ascosa sotto bella menzogna." II, 1.
 _Epistle_, X, 11, 160-1. Quoted by Wicksteed, _Temple Classics_, pp. 66-67.
 "Vesta di figura o di colore rettorico." _La Vita Nuova_, XXV.
 See above, pp. 45-47.
 "Per nimpham fingitur caro, per iuvenem coruptorem mundus vel dyabolus, per proprium amicum ratio." _Poetria magistri Johannis anglici de arte prosayca metrica et rithmica_. Ed. by G. Mari, Romanische Forschungen (1902) XIII, 894.
 "Est furor Eacides ire sathanas," _Ibid_, p. 913.
 See above, pp. 51-55.
 _Pastime of Pleasure_, p. 29.
 _Ibid._, p. 38.
 _Ibid._, p. 54; see further above, p. 54.
 Cf. ante, pp. 97-99.
 _Lit. Crit._, p. 47-59.
 _Ibid._, p. 58.
 I _anal._ 1a.
 _Lit. Crit._, p. 25.
 André Schimberg, _L'education morale dans les collèges de la compagnie de Jésus en France_ (Paris, 1913). p. 138.
 _Opus de divisione, ordine, ac utilitate omnium scientiarum, in poeticen apologeticum_. Autore fratre Hieronymo Savonarola (Venetiis, 1542), IV, pp. 36-55. Savonarola died in 1498.
 Cartier, "L'Esthetique de Savonarola," in Didron's _Annales Archoelogiques_ (1847). vii, 255 ff.
 "Rhetorica, Poeticaque contra: quod non adeo vere ac proprie Logicae appellantur, neque, syllogismo fere, sed exemplo atque enthymemate, rationibus quasi popularibus utuntur...." Poetic, furthermore, differs from rhetoric, "neque usurpat enthymema fere, sed exemplum." Vincentius Madius et Bartholomaeus Lombardus. In _Aristotelis Librum de poetica communes explanationes_ (Venetiis, 1550), pp. 8-9.
 "Onde come il loico usa per suo mezzo il più nobile strumento, ciò è la dimostrazione o vero il sillogismo dimonstrativo; cosi usa il dialettico il sillogismo topico; il sofista il sofistico, ciò è apparente ed ingannevole: il retore l'entimema, e il poeta l'esempio, il quale è il meno degno di tutti gli altri. É adunque il subbietto della poetica il favellare finto e favoloso, ed il suo mezzo o strumento l'esempio." _Delia Poetica in Generale, Lezione Una _ I, 2. _Opere_ (Trieste, 1850), II, 684. In his paraphrase of this passage and in his comments, Spingarn (_Lit. Crit._ pp. 25-26) misunderstands both his author and his rhetoric when he says, "The subject of poetry is fiction, or invention, arrived at by means of that form of the syllogism known as the example. Here the enthymeme or example, which Aristotle has made the instrument of rhetoric, becomes the instrument of poetry."
 _Rhet._ I, ii.
 "Nimirum arbitrantur, quemadmodum Rhetorice ab Aristotele ipso appellatur particula Dialecticae; idque propterea, quod doceat rationem, qua enthymema applicetur ad materiam civilem: ita & Poeticen esse Logices partem, quia aperit exempli usum in materia ficta ... at Rhetorice, & Poetice, non solum docere student, sed etiam delectare; nec cognitionem tantum spectant, sed & actionem. Quamquam vero hoc commune habet cum Rhetorica, quod utraque sit famula Politicae." Gerardi Joannis Vossii, _De artis poeticae, natura, ac constitutions liber_, cap VII, in _Opera_ (Amsterdam, 1697), III.
 "Inductio delectat, et est vulgo apta, propter similitudines et exempla. Hanc argumentationem frequentant Rhetores et Poetae, praesertim Ovidius; quia venuste ac perspicue explicat argumenta." I, ii.
 _Vide_, pp. 103-104.
 _Vide_, pp. 119-120.
 _Poetica_ (Vinegia, 1536), p. 25. Spingarn, p. 48.
 "Sic dicere versibus, ut doccat, ut delectet, ut moveat." _De poeta_, p. 102.
 _Rhetoric_, I, ii.
 XII, i, 1.
 _De poeta_, p. 79. Vossius echoes the same idea from the same rhetorical source.
 "Sed & docendi, & movendi, & delectandi." _Poetice_ (1561), III, xcvii.
 _Ibid._, I, i.
 _Arte of Rhet._ p. 176.
 These two names were frequently connected in the renaissance.
 _Ibid_, p. 195.
 _Arber Reprint_ (London, 1870), p. 151.
 _Ibid._, pp. 142-143.
 _Ibid._, p. 80.
 _Vide_, p. 132.
 _Vide_, pp. 77-78.
 Smith, _Eliz. Crit. Essays_, I, 48.
 Croll, Introd. to ed. of _Euphues_ (New York, 1916), p. vii.
 Smith, I, 60.
 _School of Abuse_ (Pub. of the Shak. Soc., 1841), Vol, 2, p. 15.
 _Ibid._, pp. 20, 25, 29.
 Smith, I, 65.
 Smith, I, 73.
 Smith, I, 76.
 Smith, I, 83.
 _Vide_, pp. 86-87.
 _Lit. Crit. in the Ren._ 2d ed., pp. 269-274.
 Smith, I, 158-160.
 _Ibid._, 160.
 _Ibid._, I, 159.
 _Ibid._, I, 171.
 _Ibid._, p. 172.
 Cf. above, p. 138.
 _De inst. orat._, V, xi, 19.
 _Arte of Rhet._, p. 198.
 _Ibid._, I, 157.
 Smith, I, 169.
 _Rhetoric_, II, xx.
 Smith, I, 173.
 Cf. St. Augustine, _Confessions_, III, vi.
 Smith, I, 187. Cf. Arist. _Rhet._ I, i, and Quint. _De inst. orat._ II, xvi, who defend rhetoric on the same ground. Sidney's "with a sword thou maist kill thy Father, and with a sword thou maist defende thy Prince and Country" is in Quintilian.
 See also p. 38.
 Smith, II, 208.
 Smith, II, 201.
 _De audiendis poetis_, XIV. Plutarch believed that poetry gained this end by enunciating moral and philosophical _sententiae_, not by allegory, which Plutarch made sport of.
 See pp. 87-89.
 Smith, I, 250-252.
 Smith, I, 232.
 Smith, I, 238-239.
 Smith, I, 235-236.
 Smith, I, 248-249.
 _Vide_, pp. 89-92.
 Smith, II, 25.
 Smith, II, 115-116.
 Smith, II, 160.
 Smith, II, 32-40.
 Smith, II, 41-42.
 Woodward, _Educ. in the Ren._ p. 135.
 Krapp, _Rise of Eng. Lit. Prose_ (New York, 1915), pp. 408-409.
 _Vide_, pp. 91-92.
 Spingarn, _Crit. Essays of the 17th Century_, I, 98, 99.
 Springarn, I, 6.
 Spingarn, I, 6-8.
 The author's prolog to the first book.
 Spingarn, I, 170.
 Spingarn, I, 50; for Jonson see also pp. 93-96.
 Spingarn, I, 29.
 _Ibid._, 51-52.
 _Ibid._, p. 55. Cf. Cicero, _ante_ p. 37.
 Ded. to _Volpone_, Spingarn, I. 15.
 Spingarn, I, 28-29.
 Ded to _Volpone_, Spingarn, I, 12.
 Smith, II, 306.
 Spingarn, I, 67.
 Spingarn, I, 117-120.
 A.H. Tieje, _Theory of Characterization in Prose Fiction Prior to_ 1740 (Minneapolis, 1916), p. 14.
 Spingarn, I, 186-187.