Introduction to the Literature of Europe in the Fifteenth, Sixteenth, and Seventeenth Centuries, Volume 1

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Baudry's European Library, 1839 - European literature
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Page 173 - If any doubt could be harboured, not as to the right of Lionardo da Vinci to stand as the first name of the fifteenth century, which is beyond all doubt,* but as to his originality in so many discoveries, which probably no one man, especially in such circumstances, has ever made — it must be by an hypothesis not very untenable, that some parts of physical science had already attained a height which mere books do not record.
Page 130 - Letters are an important testimony to the progressive condition of Society, and come in as a precious link in the chain of moral history of England, which they alone in this period supply. They stand, indeed, singly, as far as I know, in Europe ; for though it is highly probable that in the archives of Italian families, if not in France or Germany, a series of merely private letters equally ancient may be concealed ; I...
Page 121 - It is a very striking circumstance, that the high-minded inventors of this great art tried at the very outset so bold a flight as the printing an entire Bible, and executed it with astonishing success. It was Minerva leaping on earth in her divine strength and radiant armor, ready at the moment of her nativity to subdue and destroy her enemies.
Page 334 - In the latter end of the same king's reign sprang up a new company of courtly makers, of whom Sir Thomas Wyatt the elder and Henry Earl of Surrey were the two chieftains, who having travelled into Italy and there tasted the sweet and stately measures and style of the Italian poesy as novices newly crept out of the schools of Dante, Ariosto and Petrarch...
Page 173 - The discoveries which made Galileo and Kepler, and Mrestlin , and Maurolycus , and Castelli , and other names illustrious, the system of Copernicus , the very theories of recent geologers, are anticipated by da Vinci, within the compass of a few pages...
Page 139 - In a villa overhanging the towers of Florence, on the steep slope of that lofty hill crowned by the mother city, the ancient Fiesole, in gardens which Tully might have envied, with Ficino, Landino, and Politian at his side, he delighted his hours of leisure with the beautiful visions of Platonic philosophy, for which the summer stillness of an Italian sky appears the most congenial accompaniment.
Page 113 - between this Pope and his famous predecessor Gregory I., who, if he did not burn and destroy heathen authors, was at least anxious to discourage the reading of them ! These eminent men, like Michael Angelo's figures of Night and Morning, seem to stand at the two gates of the middle ages, emblems and heralds of the mind's long sleep, and of its awakening.
Page 227 - Of all birds the Eagle alone has seemed to wise men the type of royalty, a bird neither beautiful nor musical nor good for food, but murderous, greedy, hateful to all, the curse of all, and with its great powers of doing harm only surpassed by its desire to do it.
Page 243 - The Orlando Furioso, as a great single poem, has been very rarely surpassed in the living records of poetry. He must yield to three, and only three, of his predecessors. He has not the force, simplicity, and truth to nature of Homer, the exquisite style and sustained majesty of Virgil, nor the originality and boldness of Dante. The most obvious parallel is Ovid, whose Metamorphoses, however, are far excelled by the Orlando Furioso, not in fertility of invention, or variety of images and sentiments,...

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