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PROLOGUE




"Remember how long thou hast already put off these things, and how often a certaine day and houre as it were, having been set unto thee by the gods, thou hast neglected it. It is high time for thee to understand the true nature both of the world, whereof thou art a part; and of that Lord and Governour of the World, from whom, as a channell from the spring, thou thy selfe didst flow: And that there is but a certaine limit, of time appointed unto thee, which if thou shalt not make use of to calme and alay the many distempers of thy soule, it will passe away and thou with it, and never after returne."

--From The Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius, published by J. M. Dent & Co., Aldine House, London, W. C., Page 16.

"Bare tabulation will not do; simple enumeration is plainly insufficient. There must be a hint of perspective. The historian must select, and in the awkward process of selection he becomes an artist. One seems to see the historian at this uncomfortable stage desert the laboratory and furtively approach the studio. And why not? There is no need for him to blush when we detect him in the questionable company of artists. For history is an art as well,--the art of representing past events through facts of scientific accuracy. If the facts are inaccurate, it is not history. But if they are not embodied in a picture of a living past, it is not history either. For a smear on a palet is not a picture. So the historian, when his work among the test-tubes of research is done, must turn artist, abandoning his overalls for the velvet jacket. If he can not, so much the less historian he.

"It is so easy for the historian to forget his duty in the multiplicity of his business. To put it crudely, he is asked to raise the dead, to bring the past to life, to give a continuous performance of the miracle of Endor. He must achieve this feat with a restricted armory. For he is not allowed the novelist's liberty of invention. His incantations are strictly limited to the ascertained facts, and with their aid alone he is expected to evoke the past. We ask of the historian a great tapestry, crowded with figures, filled with shifting lights and crowds and landscapes; and we insist sternly (though with perfect propriety) that he shall use no single thread for his weaving that can not be vouched for as to its color, length, and weight by reference to his unvarying authorities, the scientific facts. "

--From "The Missing Muse," by Philip Guedalla, in The Forum for November, 1927, Page 666.







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