Last of the Great Scouts : the life story of Col. William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill" as told by his sister eBook

This eBook from the Gutenberg Project consists of approximately 234 pages of information about Last of the Great Scouts .
and Alaric, Gordianus, and Pilate, and Homer, and Cambyses, and the Canaanitish woman.  Among them, one visionary figure flits with a mysterious pre-eminence, flickering over every page, like a familiar and ghostly flame.  It is Methuselah; and, in Browne’s scheme, the remote, almost infinite, and almost ridiculous patriarch is—­who can doubt?—­the only possible centre and symbol of all the rest.  But it would be vain to dwell further upon this wonderful and famous chapter, except to note the extraordinary sublimity and serenity of its general tone.  Browne never states in so many words what his own feelings towards the universe actually are.  He speaks of everything but that; and yet, with triumphant art, he manages to convey into our minds an indelible impression of the vast and comprehensive grandeur of his soul.

It is interesting—­or at least amusing—­to consider what are the most appropriate places in which different authors should be read.  Pope is doubtless at his best in the midst of a formal garden, Herrick in an orchard, and Shelley in a boat at sea.  Sir Thomas Browne demands, perhaps, a more exotic atmosphere.  One could read him floating down the Euphrates, or past the shores of Arabia; and it would be pleasant to open the Vulgar Errors in Constantinople, or to get by heart a chapter of the Christian Morals between the paws of a Sphinx.  In England, the most fitting background for his strange ornament must surely be some habitation consecrated to learning, some University which still smells of antiquity and has learnt the habit of repose.  The present writer, at any rate, can bear witness to the splendid echo of Browne’s syllables amid learned and ancient walls; for he has known, he believes, few happier moments than those in which he has rolled the periods of the Hydriotaphia out to the darkness and the nightingales through the studious cloisters of Trinity.

But, after all, who can doubt that it is at Oxford that Browne himself would choose to linger?  May we not guess that he breathed in there, in his boyhood, some part of that mysterious and charming spirit which pervades his words?  For one traces something of him, often enough, in the old gardens, and down the hidden streets; one has heard his footstep beside the quiet waters of Magdalen; and his smile still hovers amid that strange company of faces which guard, with such a large passivity, the circumference of the Sheldonian.

1906.

SHAKESPEARE’S FINAL PERIOD

The whole of the modern criticism of Shakespeare has been fundamentally affected by one important fact.  The chronological order of the plays, for so long the object of the vaguest speculation, of random guesses, or at best of isolated ‘points,’ has been now discovered and reduced to a coherent law.  It is no longer possible to suppose that The Tempest was written before Romeo and ’Juliet;

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Last of the Great Scouts : the life story of Col. William F. Cody, "Buffalo Bill" as told by his sister from Project Gutenberg. Public domain.
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