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Excerpt from The Quarterly Review, Vol. 200: Comprising Nos. 399, 400, Published in July and October, 1904
Allegory (he tells us), as it was understood and used by Dante, the accepted method of interpreting nature and Scrip ture, derived from the Pl atonised theology of the fifth and sixth centuries, and methodised in the system of the school men, first becomes a mechanical part of poetry, and then slowly falls into disuse, in proportion as the scholastic logic itself gives way before the new experimental tests applied to the interpretation of nature. Allegory, again, regarded as a literary form of expression, has its original source in the genius for abstraction peculiar to the Latin language, which encouraged the use of the figure of personification in poetry In this sphere it enjoyed a longer life than in philosophy. Lastly, the habit, common to the mediv poets, of inventing allegories, in which all these abstract personages should be grouped round the central figure of Love, had, doubtless, its far-off origin in the metaphysical conception of Eros per vading the Platonic philosophy. A stream of kind sentiment coloured the whole code of chivalrous manners; and, from the new impulse thus given to the ancient Teutonic reverence for women, the troubadours, by the aid of Ovid and of models borrowed f mm the Arabs, developed the elaborate system of Provencal love poetry. The lyrical fervour of the Provencals, in the cooling atmosphere of the times, gradually became in its turn conventional and didactic; and the long series of allegories following the Romance of the Rose is mainly interesting as marking the fall of temperature in the institutions of chivalry (vol. I, pp. 891.
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