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WILLIAM STUBBS Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects

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WILLIAM STUBBS
Seventeen lectures on the study of medieval and modern history and kindred subjects
page 389



wonderful renaissance which I believe exists at the present day, in prize essays and schools examinations, much more vividly, and alas in much greater solid bulk than it ever had in the most flourishing days in rerum natura. And it is a period too in which we begin to have, more distinctly and more numerously than before, representative men as they are called; that is, men whose greatness and prominence consists not in their being exceptions to or protests against, or glories or shames to the age in which they lived, but in concentrating in themselves and giving force to the ideas, the accomplishments, the hopes and aspirations, the greatnesses and littlenesses of their own times. In the play of character also there should be something interesting in a period which embraces Ferdinand and Isabella the Catholic, the delightful old Frederick III, and the still more charming Maximilian; the age of Charles VIII and Philip the handsome, not to speak of the Borgias, the Medici, and the Farnesi. Yet the reign of Henry VII is dull. Look at it in relation to English history ; there also it should be important ; there also it comes between the ancient and the modern ; bridges over the strait between the Wars" of the Roses and the Reformation, between England isolated and England taking a first place in the counsels of Europe, between England weak and England strong. The reign itself may be almost exactly divided between fifteenth century influences and sixteenth century influences ; the one series winding up in final bloodshed, the other opening with initial intrigue. We are really able to trace the last links of the chain of political murders which had begun when Warwick and Lancaster slew Piers Gaveston, and which ends or almost ends with the sacrifice of Edward of Warwick and the de la Poles; and we trace the first links of the policy which grew and strengthened in intensity to the days of Waterloo.


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