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The Battalion. (College Station, Tex.) 1893-current, December 01, 1893, Image 6

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THE BATTALION. • • T ft- 4 her language, should have been so rich a genius and so cheerful a spirit ; that he should have lived in that splendid fourteenth century, which was the flower of the age of chivalry, and the prep aration for the wonders of the next age ; and that he should have belonged to the English court when that court was the most magnificent in Europe. This fair beginning had much to do with endow ing English literature with a largeness of view hardly to have been expected from the literature of an insular people. Large indeed was the canvass of Chau cer! From the coarse fun and practical jokes that were to re-appear at a far-dis tant day in the inn-scenes of Fielding and Smollett—art such as Hans Sachs put on the stage and the Flemish paint ers in their pictures—to the glowing ideals of love and heroism which chiv alry formed, such as Sir Philip Sidney afterward poured into his sonnets and his Arcadia; surely the range is wide. He inherits from the troubadours, the trou- veres, and the minnesingers, on the one hand, and from the makers of the fabii- ayx and the cotypes, on the other. At the same time, he is possessed of a treas ure richer than any amassed by either ©f these classes of writers. He has the great gift of seeing and reproducing char acter. The prelude to the Canterbury Tales is a prelude to the great picture- galleries of Shakspeare, Marlowe Jonson, Fletcher, Webster, Massinger and all that rich array of dramatists ; it is a pre lude to the whole literature of the novel, from Richardson to our too analytical character-painters of to-day, the story tellers who leave out the story altogether. Nor in all the literature since Chaucer have there been characters etched more truly and clearly than those of the '“veray parfit gentil knight:’ 7 the squire that “was as fresshe as is the rnoneth of May;” that elegant lad3% “Madame Eglantine,” the prioress ; the monk that Scott expanded into his Prior of Jorvaux ; the friar that lisped “To make his English sweteupon his tongue the clerk “of Oxenforde,” who is believed to present the poet himself; the law3 7 er who “semed besierthan he was the doctor whose study “was but litel on the P»ible;’ ? the wife of Bath, who had married five husbands; the good parson who taught “Cristes lore, and his apostles twelve, But first he lolwed it himselye,”’ that exquisite picture of a true shepherd of souls which even Goldsmith’s copp in The Deserted Village can scarcely be si^d. to have improved upon the merry host of the Tabard. ‘‘Bold of his spoche, and wys and w 7 el i-taught,” and all the rest of that delightful company of pilgrims to the shrine of St. Thomas of Canterbury. He maltos his England luminous-for us. Government. To write intelligently upon am r sub ject it should be well understood and carefully defined. The first step then, in all inquiry, as well as in discussion of whatever character undertaken for the expansion of truth, is to set forth 0*5 clearly and distinctly as possible the meaning of the words and terms which constitute your subject matter, and from which your conclusions are to be drawn. This is the work of definition, and is no less essential in political investigations than it is in scientific. ' It is the begin ning of progress in every department of learning whether moral, intellectual or material. Government then in its. true