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For this, that wins for whom he holds his peace."
The "Forest" and "Underwoods "— names by which Jonson designated two collections of his minor poems-consist, with some love-songs, chiefly of eulogistic epistles and addresses to his friends and patrons. It is usual to speak of these poems as abounding in profound thought and wise insight into human life. They certainly look as if they did. They have a grave sententious air which their matter really hardly warrants. There are good things in them, and even striking things; but such are rare. They are ingenious and labored, while the body of thought in them is sufficiently common-place. The same thing may be observed in his "Discoveries," a collection of his ideas on various disconnected subjects expressed in prose. Thoughts which occurred to him he wrapped up in large bundles of language, and put by here for posterity. For the most part, they are by no means "discoveries." They are not such things as Bacon wrote in his essays, or Selden said at his table. They contain none of the subtle penetrating judgments of an original genius. They are weighty and often acute dicta; but always within certain limits of knowledge already established. Jonson can select true judgments to give his authority and sanction to, but he has none of that quality which loves to unfold the inner heart of true notions, or of that which loves to lay naked and confute
those which are false.
The free use of satire always requires something of vulgarity in the mind, and recklessness in the temper, of him who employs it. You can not strike hard, and also strike with discrimination; and the deeper a man's insight, the more certainly does his knowledge of the complex intertangling of good and evil restrain his hand from sweeping blows of censure. But there is a certain sharpness, vigor, and healthy indignation, which ennoble to some extent just satire. Jonson has these qualities in great perfection; but he is apt to descend into vituperation, and to rail with a disregard of all limits either in his applications or his expressions. Read his description of his own times:
"No part or corner man can look upon, But there are objects bid him to be gone As far as he can fly, or follow day, Rather than here so bogged in vices stay. The whole world here leavened with madness swells;
And, being a thing blown out of naught, rebels
Against his Maker, high alone with weeds
But more licentious made and desperate!
And even our sports are dangers! what we call
Friendship, is now masked hatred! justice fled,
And shamefacedness together! all laws dead That kept men living! pleasures only sought! Honor and honesty, as poor things thought As they are made! pride and stiff clownage mixed
To make up greatness! and man's whole good fixed
In bravery, or gluttony, or coin,
All which he makes the servants of the groin
Thither it flows!"
Further we can not quote; what follows is worse than the worst parts of Juvenal.
Jonson and some of his friends thought his translations his best things. For vigorous closeness, and a large command of the resources of his own language in conveying the meaning of another, they have scarcely any parallels. Gifford who was trained in a different school, does them great injustice.
But we have no further space in which to discuss them, and must here conclude our notice. Jonson in his lifetime made warm friends and bitter enemies; and the same fate has attended his reputation. He has been extravagantly lauded, and unjustly undervalued and maligned. Our object has been to set down as accurately as possible the estimate of an unbiased judg ment. He was a great though not an write his name high in the roll of literary engaging man; and history will always achievement. No man ever owed less to others. It was part of his deficiency, as well as part of his greatness, to be formed for standing alone:
"Thy star was judgment only and right sense, Thyself being to thyself an influence."
From Fraser's Magazine.
THE HISTORY OF SCIENCE; AND SOME OF ITS LESSONS.*
AMONG the many and varied works which bear the familiar name of William Whewell on their title-page, the one which we take as the text for this article -The History of the Inductive Scienceswill perhaps be the most widely read and the longest remembered.
Elementary treatises, however able, are in due time superseded; sermons, moral dissertations, and educational writings, are, with only a few illustrious exceptions, forgotten, or but locally remembered; metaphysics find but few readers at any time; poetry, unless of rare merit, scarcely endures for half a generation; even scientific memoirs run the greatest risk (in this age of universal publication) of being buried in the course of a few years under a merciless accumulation of learned lumber but a history of the greatest ef forts of discoverers in science in all ages, bids fair, if executed with ability, impartiality, and vigor, to be read from generation to generation, and to remain a permanent work in British libraries. In fact, it is not in the nature of history to become obsolete.
That the Master of Trinity brings un common qualifications to the task, no competent judge will question; and circumstances have favored his natural aptitude. His diligence, his extensive reading, and the judicial character of his mind, constitute the fundamental requisites for such an undertaking. He is also in some respects more qualified for it than one who has devoted his exclusive energy to the cultivation of any special branch of science, and who has earned for himself a conspicuous position as a discoverer. Such a concentration of mind exhausts more of a man's energies than the mere result would seem to account for. Hence the notorious fact that men of science are
* History of the Inductive Sciences from the Earliest to the Present Time. By William Whewell, D.D. Third Edition. Three Volumes. London: John
W. Parker and Son. 1857.
often very ignorant of what has been done by any one but themselves.
Dr. Whewell seems to have secured for himself all the advantages of an academic life with few of its drawbacks. Highly distinguished as an under-graduate and as a prize-man, he has passed in succession through almost the whole range of College appointments, working his way steadily upwards till he attained the enviable position of head of the most influential College of his University, But as he always maintained the character of a general scholar and a man of the world while passing through the subordinate grades, so neither did he suffer the demon of indolence to overmaster him when he attained a position compatible with dignified ease. La vie c'est le travail, might be considered his motto, as it was that of an illustrious French mathematician. The extent and variety of his acquirements, his known superiority to all petty intrigue, and his masterly command of language, enabled him to carry out a work like the History of Science with advantages which few men possess. Among these might be reckoned the seemingly incompatible benefits of academic privacy and all the aparatus of learning, with sufficient proximity to the metropolis to enable him to form a part of its society, and personally to know its most illustrious men.
The appearance of a third edition of the History of the Inductive Sciences, which gives us the occasion of making these remarks, is a proof that the merit and value of the work correspond to the favorable circumstances of its composition. And this edition, we are glad to observe, is issued in a less expensive shape than the two former ones, at a price, indeed, which ought to bring it quite within the reach of ordinary students as well as of general readers. Both these classes, we are satisfied, will be benefited by its perusal. For if history be of any value, it must be of value to those who study the subjects of which it treats. As the history of Eng
land is of importance to the student of the art of government, or the history of the Jewish people conduces to a correct interpretation of the Old Testament, so the history of science is of the utmost importance in giving fresh interest to the details of science; and being "Philosophy teaching by Example," it is a most practical lesson to those who desire to learn how they too may promote its onward march, as well as to the larger class who consider it merely as an interesting picture of human intelligence.
motics, and atmology; magnetism, elec tricity, chemistry, mineralogy, botany, zoology, physiology, and geology. Of course the greater number of these sciences are entirely modern, or the offspring of the last three hundred years. The author treats of them in succession, and instead of bewildering us by attempting to assign to each author all the facts and laws he has brought to light, he disposes the progress of discovery into periods to which were annexed the development of some considerable theory, of which he traces, 1, the rise of anticipation, 2, the full development, and 3, the extension and application. Thus, to take a familiar example, the theory of physical astronomy had its anticipatory period under Galileo and Kepler, its grand development under Newton, and its extension and application through the labors of Lagrange and Laplace. Physical optics, or the undulatory theory of light, was in like manner heralded by the labors of Hooke and Huyghens, it attained the full dignity of a science in the hands of Young and Fresnel, and was farther established and happily applied by the profound labors of Airy and Hamilton, of Cauchy and of Lloyd.
The form into which Dr. Whewell has thrown his work fits it, we think, all the better for these ends. A complete bibliography of science would have been incomparably more bulky and of course far less readable. It does not profess to be a systematically complete history. Of this the author repeatedly warns us; and the special student must expect rather to be guided by it in his inquiries than to have his inquiries fully answered. It is throughout remarkable rather for the elevation of the point of view assumed, and the correct and often picturesque groupings of the parts, than for the completeness of the detail. As a faithful and artistic panorama often gives rise to a more lively and impressive conception of a country This mode of arranging the History is than a geometrical ground plan, so does not only in the main founded on the acDr. Whewell's history differ from those of tual progress of knowledge in any dethe meritorious compilers whom he cites partment, but it serves as an impressive in his preface. It is on this very ground technical memory by relieving the readthat his work may be read, while the other's attention from a multiplicity of minute ers are only consulted; and by leading the reader imperceptibly onwards from the facts to the philosophy of the subject, this mode of treatment not only adds to it a higher interest, but encourages the student to make deductions for himself, or to accept these which in the sequel or complement to the "History," Dr. Whewell himself has placed before those who have the courage to follow him through the less popular pages of his Philosophy of the Inductive Sciences.
The method, then, which our author adopts, or the scheme of the panoramic principle to which we have referred, is briefly this. By the inductive sciences he means, in this instance at least, the inductive physical sciences; and among these he includes a sufficiently wide range of knowledge to meet the wishes, one may presume, of the most aspiring student namely, formal astronomy, mechanics, physical astronomy, acoustics, optics, ther
details, and by fixing his notice on the turning points of observation and of theory, and on the truly eminent men who have illustrated each department. No doubt it involves as a primary condition, that inferior men and third-rate advances in science shall be nearly overlooked, and as it were (though not in reality) forgotten. This is likely to be unpopular when the history is brought down, as it is in these volumes, to our day. Hundreds of persons are ready to complain that their contributions to science have been neglected. Self-love is also ready enough to suggest that other inventions or theories not more important than their own have found a passport to general appreciation in the pages of Dr. Whewell. All that we can say is, that the public, for whom Dr. Whewell writes, ought to be very grateful to him for exercising an unfettered judgment in this respect, and in doing with regard to writers and discover
ers of the nineteenth century, that which | but to relations of space and the like." the slow but sure decision of mankind at This, no doubt, is true. Whether it large has already done for those of the really offers an analysis of the defect of seventeenth and eighteenth, gleaming the the understanding which constituted the productions destined permanently to sur- primary error of the ancients, or whether vive, and leaving to comparative obscurity it only states their error in different words, those which, though by no means value- is another question. less in themselves, are sure to be absorbed into the wider generalizations by which they are replaced.
In referring to the laws which appear to regulate the progress of physical science, we are met at the very threshold of the inquiry by the startling fact that the most civilized nations of antiquity advanced but a little way in the interpretation of nature. The marked contrast between the continuity of triumphant discovery during the last three or four centuries of the world's duration, and the excessive slowness and uncertainty of its progress in all the long previous ages of human history, must forever remain, in one sense at least, a curious enigma. We may indeed analyze the cause of the anomaly so far as to say that the Greeks and Romans fell into such and such mistakes in the interpretation of nature and in the construction of science, but the greater difficulty remains behind-Why should philosophers so acute as those of the schools of Athens have fallen into errors which men of not superior intelligence were able, nearly two thousand years later, to perceive and avoid? Does it not appear like a sort of judicial blindness which blunted the perceptions of those ancient speculators to the reality and importance of truths which they were perpetually touching, but never distinctly acknowledged to be truth, much less acquired a mastery over them?
Dr. Whewell ascribes the error of the ancients (History, book i. chap. iii. sect. 2,) not to ignorance of the value of experience, nor to indolence in collecting facts, nor yet to the absence of effort to classify and systematize these facts. Nor, he adds, can it be ascribed to a deficiency in their speculative powers, for which indeed the Greeks were famous. According to him, "the defect was that though they had in their possession Facts and Ideas, the ideas were not distinct or appropriate to the facts." For example, "The reason of Aristotle's failure in his attempts at mechanical science is, that he did not refer the facts to the appropriate idea, namely Force, the Cause of Motion,
But whatever may be the mental constitution which induced this defect, it may perhaps be more familiarly illustrated by noticing the generic difference between different classes of thinkers coëxisting in our own age of the world, none of whom are destitute of ability-nay, whose abilities may be respectively of the highest order, but being heterogeneous, admit of no accurate comparison. We have often had occasion to observe how a person whose mind has long run in metaphysical grooves, finds it difficult even to conceive clearly a fact or a group of phenomena in science; and still more difficult to find any thing to prefer in a true to a false explanation of them. The preposterous heresy as to the cause of color, maintained by Goethe, is a single example of this kind of partial paralysis of the understanding.
But a similar weakness of perception and energy obtains even amongst cultivators of mathematics and the natural sciences. There appear to us to be three orders of mind which prevail amongst those who are popularly known as "philosophers "—that is, physical philosophers: first, those whose ideas run in the channel of mathematics, or whose leading "ideas" (in the somewhat technical sense in which the word is used by Dr. Whewell) are Space and Number. Secondly, we have the physicists or natural philosophers, who (usually with more or less aid from mathematics) trace the mutual dependence of events or phenomena with reference to cause and effect, and whose ultimate aim it seems to be to obtain numerical proof of the accuracy of their conjectures as to such mutual relations. To such reasonings, the "ideas" of Cause, and Force or pressure, would, in the language of Dr. Whewell, be "appropriate." Finally, we have those cultivators of science who have attained just distinction by classifying the objects of animate or inanimate nature according to their forms and properties, constituting Natural History. And this last, though it might appear the humblest effort of the three, requires, as we know, a very rare saga
city and a very peculiar constitution of mind. Such classifiers were Linnæus and Cuvier, and such are Owen and Agassiz. In Dr. Whewell's phraseology the "ideas" of Likeness and Natural Affinity are predominant in the minds of such persons.
were the stronger, and the natural historians the weaker section. The absence of the notion of efficient casual relation, so conspicuous in the writings of the ancient Greeks and Romans, and which is characteristic of their small success in Physics Proper, so far accounts for this. For what principle of classification can be satisfactory which has not a connection. more or less specific with some common cause, producing like configurations, or certain organs having a common end or intention?
with certain studies seems to paralyze (we repeat the expression, though we have employed it before, since no other appears so well to describe the fact) those organs of thought which are essential to pro-. gress in other departments. Those of the ancients who succeeded at all in promoting Now, though two of the habits of mind natural knowledge, belonged chiefly to pointed at in this triple division are not the first or to the third class-to men of unfrequently-nay, very frequently-geometrical minds, or to those who foundfound to be highly developed in one in-ed science upon the classification of redividual, it is exceedingly rare if not un- semblances. Of these the geometers exampled to find all three. Newton himself was a mathematician and natural philosopher, and both as one and the other he stood in the very highest rank. But he was nothing of a naturalist; perhaps he could not have been one. Dr. Young, the nearest approximation to that purely ideal man, "an Admirable Crichton," though he possessed extraordinary mathematical ability of a certain but limited description, and a penetration into the causal relations of things little inferior even to that of Newton: and though to these two endowments he added the We do not now enter farther into this usually incompatible accomplishment of inquiry, nor shall we pause to characterize a first-rate linguist, yet showed not the the remarkable state of hybernation which smallest aptitude for the study of natural affected the human intelligence during history, and certainly did not succeed in the middle ages, regarding which Dr. that of medicine, which is most nearly Whewell has entered into some curious allied to it. On the other hand, natural-details; but we turn at once to the strik ists, or those who have devoted them selves to the sciences of classification and homological studies, have not often attained to eminence in the pursuits of natural philosophy even in its more purely experimental department, and have hardly ever ranked as profound either in pure or applied mathematics. We can not just now recall a single example of the latter combination, and not above one or two (and those not illustrious) of the former. Now, we are anxious to observe that the exclusiveness of these forms of intellectual action and apprehension, amounting almost to an antipathy or natural "abhorrence" of certain combinations of thought, is a curious phenomenon well worthy of study on its own account, whilst it serves, as we conceive, to account in a great measure for the strange failure of the ancients in speculations relating to natural philosophy. For surely it goes some way to explain a state of things which prevailed among certain nations in certain ages of the world, if we can show that in our age and our own nation an addiction to certain forms of thought in connection
ingly contrasted progress of physical science since the revival of letters. We propose to regard this progress in its general and collective aspect, and from a somewhat different point of view from that in which Dr. Whewell presents it.
The first thing which strikes us is the rapidity and continuity of modern progress, and also the smallness of the capital (so to speak) with which the revivers of science embarked on their great undertakings for enlarging the intellectual wealth of mankind.
THREE HUNDRED YEARS AGO, men hardly knew more of physical science than they had known fifteen hundred years previously. Whether the sun moved round the earth, or the earth round the sun, was a question which had only then begun to excite an interest, and which was far from being satisfactorily answered. The force required to support a body on a smooth slope was a problem insoluble by the theoretical mechanics of the day.* Whe
*We do not overlook Leonardo da Vinci's solu
tion; but it was unpublished, and formed no part of the received doctrines of the age.