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whose eyes the world is out of joint, and the days are very evil; to whom the paths of ambition seem fit only to be trodden by the unprincipled, the covetous, and the selfish; and who finds in Nature the one thing left which can neither deceive nor betray, and in rural scenes the last remaining home where the ancient religion and ancient manners, whose disappearance he laments, may still linger.

The study of Nature has been to many of us like a spring of water in a dry land, and from Nature to natural history is only one step. The augmented interest which is now taken in studies of this description is one branch of, or at least a vigorous offshoot from, that general revival which began with the birth of this century. One thing springs out of another, and already a newly awakened interest in our native fauna, and a laudable desire to preserve many interesting species from extinction, have in turn brought the sportsman into the field of literature with his own views of the subject to expound. The process, however, has been gradual. The father of sporting literature in England is undoubtedly Isaac Walton. But it would detain us too long to reascend the stream as far as the 'Compleat Angler.' The three books which in our own time have done the most to popularise these tastes among us are undoubtedly White's 'Selborne,' Waterton's Wanderings and Jesse's Gleanings.' But these are too well known now to make any description necessary. But from the loins of these delightful writers have sprung another class in whose pages sport, landscape, and natural history are more evenly mingled than in theirs, and who have, in fact, created a literature of their own, which Mr. Kingsley calls a tenth muse.' We refer to such men as Mr. St. John, Professor Wilson, the authors of that very interesting book The Birds of Devon;' Mr. Bromley-Davenport's 'Sport;' Mr. Atkinson and his Forty Years in a Moorland Parish;' Charles Kingsley himself; and, last not least, Mr. Jefferies, A Son of the Marshes,' and Mr. T. E. Kebbel. The purely sporting writers, such as Scrope, Hawker, and the authors of the Badminton Library, together with the pure naturalists, such as Buckland, Broderip, Sir John Lubbock, and others, hardly come within the scope of the present article.

In this class of literature the book which took the public most completely by storm was no doubt The Gamekeeper at Home,' by Mr. Jefferies. Since its first publication, some fourteen or fifteen years ago, so many books of a similar kind have been written that the public has now got

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used to them; and few persons, perhaps, remember the effect that was created both by the novelty of the subject and the freshness of the treatment which distinguish these popular sketches. The book was devoured by hundreds who did not know an oak from an ash, or an owl from a woodcock. In fact, if we want to see the secret of its success, we have only to compare it with another of the same kind, 'The Autobiography of a Gamekeeper,' which is far more realistic, and in our opinion gives a far truer picture of a gamekeeper's life, but is deficient in what painters call atmosphere, and in the prose poetry of The Gamekeeper 'at Home,' which literally smells of the woods. Mr. Jefferies followed up this success with some other works of the same kind which maintained, but did not extend, his reputation. He, perhaps, knew as much about natural history as the marsh man, and more, we should say, about sport. But his style is less pictorial, though not less graphic, nor does he cover so much ground as the writer who may in some sense be considered his successor. Neither of the two, however, is guilty of the pathetic fallacy. Where their prose is poetic it is purely descriptive. In 'Sport and Nature' we find passages which touch a different key, and appeal more closely to the imagination. But the author, though he communes with Silvanus and the Nymphs, is not in the technical sense of the term a Naturalist like a Son of the Marshes. Such seem to be the distinctive characteristics of these three writers, who in common with those that we have named, and some that we have not named, have drawn their inspiration from the tenth Muse.'

It is in an age of rapid change and social revolution that the contrast presented by the stability of nature is the most impressive. The hills and the fields, the trees and the brooks, remain unchanged. We see them in our age as we saw them in our youth. Life goes on as before. It is far otherwise with the removal of ancient institutions, the repudiation of venerable traditions, the rupture of immemorial associations. These things, abuses or the reflection of abuses though they be, have been part of our inner life from infancy, and no one tinctured with that moral conservatism so well described by George Eliot but will seek at times in the contemplation of Nature the tranquillity and permanence which have fled before the footsteps of progress.

ART. IV.-1. The Annals of Tacitus. Edited, with Introduction and Notes, by HENRY FURNEAUX, M.A., &c. &c. In two volumes. Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1884-1891. 2. The Histories of Tacitus. With Introduction, Notes, and an Index, by the Rev. W. A. SPOONER, M.A., &c. &c. London: 1891.

IT T is no longer possible to win a reputation for originality by an edition of any of the great writers of classical antiquity. Of course, from time to time new material accumulates, but it is homogeneous with that pre-existing, to be sifted by the same tests and classified on the same principles. Had either of the editors whose works are prefixed to this article enjoyed the treasure-trove of the entire fifth book of the 'Annals,' or of a manuscript containing the yet larger lost portion of the 'Histories' of Tacitus, there is ample proof in the excellence of their present work that they would have done full justice to so brilliant an opportunity. But, as it is, the ground is so thickly trampled with the footprints of predecessors that there is no margin left for a successor to impress his own. Here and there, indeed, an inscription turns up to close some open question of detail, or a coin may drop into and fill some slight lacuna of chronology; and for such small mercies, when they fall in his way, a modern editor has to be thankful.

Mr. Spooner, who edits the portions of the Histories which we possess, remarks that

'Tacitus was one of the earliest classical authors to command the attention of scholars at the revival of learning in the fifteenth century. This was natural. It was as models of style that the works of the ancients were at that time most eagerly studied, and such a master of style as Tacitus was not likely long to escape notice.'

It is difficult to agree with this dictum. In the first place, three styles at least are distinguishable in the extant works of Tacitus, if with the consensus of the majority of scholars we reckon the Dialogue 'de Oratoribus' as his. As this, however, is his first fruit of authorship before his literary genius was fully matured, hardly equalling in bulk the first book of the Annals,' we may reduce the three to two-the more loose and flowing style of the Histories' and the more condensed defrutum of the Annals.' This latter, although dealing with an earlier period, yet, as being that to which the gradations of his form were throughout tending, and as that approved by his ultimate judgement, may be taken as

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the characteristically Tacitean style. But neither in his middle nor his latest period does the influence of Tacitus on the literary form of cultured Latin, as the vehicle of fifteenth or sixteenth century thought, appear anywhere considerable. Indeed, the distinction between the golden and silver ages of Latinity was early assumed by scholars, and the dictum of Quintilian adopted by Erasmus-ille se multum in Latino sermone profecisse sciat, cui Cicero valde placebit-represents probably the matured preference towards which the drift of scholarship was tending throughout the fifteenth century. Suetonius forms an anecdotic fringe on the robe of Tacitus, has little literary merit, is even prosaic, but, owing to the unflagging interest of his subject, never prosy. He trundles, as it were, in the same wheelbarrow the pathetic and the grotesque; but no book in the first flush of its recovery from the wreck of ages was ever more popular than the 'Vitæ 'Cæsarum.' Its first printed edition of which the date is known appeared in 1470 A.D., and before 1500 fifteen editions had seen the light.

The Annals' of Tacitus were first published in Rome by Philippus Beroaldus in 1515. They were unknown in the fifteenth century. But as Machiavelli lived till 1527, he doubtless became cognisant of the later work. All references to the work of Tacitus prior to 1515 do not include the 'Annals.'

The interest felt in the subject-matter of both may be taken as the more probable reason for this wide and rapid acceptance which each secured. Europe was, in fact, settling down into Cæsarism everywhere; but into a Cæsarism differentiated everywhere, save in the papacy itself, by the hereditary principle. Our own Tudor dynasty and the regale of Louis XI. and Francis I. in France are the nearest examples of the set of this current of despotism. The papacy itself, after the failures to temper it at Constance and Basle, was by reaction become more doggedly absolute, as well as more indecently corrupt. But the most significant fact of all is to be found in the change of the Holy Roman Empire, not in form but in fact, from elective to hereditary, which took place in the accession of the House of Hapsburg to a practically secure inheritance. Frederic III. of that House was elected emperor in 1440, and his reign nearly fills the rest of the century. From his posterity' the imperial dignity never departed except in a 'single instance, upon the extinction of his male line in


6 1740.'* Actual experience had taught Germany the mischief of the elective principle, in the struggles which threw her into confusion for several years together at every change of dynasty, and almost at every demise of the crown. But the object lesson of Roman Imperialism, given in the pages of Tacitus, drove the warning home, in that awful picture of nearly two years of civil war which followed the death of Nero; crowned by that butcherly struggle in the streets of Rome, its saturnalia of carnage and plunder, and the conflagration of the capital itself, which threw a lurid horror over the writer's own boyhood, and forms in his narrative one of the most tremendously impressive of his descriptive pieces. In the testimony of Tacitus elective monarchy stood condemned, especially when united with institutions predominantly military. No crown was worth such risks, no protection conferred by it could ensure against such atrocities.

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The exhumation of the remains of Tacitus was marked by the reanimation of history in Machiavelli. The latter is in time longo proximus intervallo to the former, and between them there stands none worthy to be rated with either. In his Florentine History' (ii. 1, § 3) he quotes Ann.' i. 79, where Florence is classed as a colonia, for a trifling incident relating to that city. His career (1469-1527 A.D.) covers the period when the Annals,' published through the zeal of his own friend and patron, Pope Leo X., were making their influence felt in the world of letters. But in his Prince,' though dwelling more than once on the Dictator Julius, and reviewing the careers of a series of the later Caesars (chap. xix.) he exactly skips all mention of those whose newly recovered portraits shone before him in the genius of Tacitus-the only great ancient historian of despotism, as such. Tacitus wrote to uphold amidst that darkness that might be felt' the beacon of moral principle, and show that under its blight high ideals were yet possible. The virtues which he revered existed in spite of it, not flourished by means of it. The 'Prince' assumes the purely selfish standpoint of the despot's interest; who is to cultivate only the virtues consistent with a safe supremacy, to be retained, in Horace's

Hallam, Middle Ages,' ch. v.

Compare the same writer's remarks on 'The Progress towards Absolute Government,' 'Literature of Europe,' ch. iv. sec. ii. 19.

Hist. iii. 71-83.

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