Page:An Academic Sketch.djvu/31

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28
The Romanes Lecture 1892

men whom they produced, Cambridge confronts her ancient rival with that formidable triad, which I know not how we are to match. The names of Bacon, Milton, and Newton, which I arrange in the order of chronology rather than that of greatness, are names before which we can only bow.

In naming Milton, I am led to observe by the way upon a fact which may or may not be worth examination as to its cause. It is that, until the close of the last century, Oxford had made hardly an appreciable contribution, so far as I am aware, to the noble catalogue of English Poets. During the nineteenth century, which is almost entirely excluded from the scope of this address, she has shown no such deficiency. She can claim, from Shelley onwards, many real poets, and some who have a title to greatness. This very fact gives point to the question why or how it is that there should have been for many generations almost a void in this department of her academic history. I now revert to the main stream of my remarks.

With reference to one of the three superlative names, lately credited to Cambridge, there may be those who would contend that philosophers are largely to be judged by the influence they exercise; and that the thoughts of Locke operated far more powerfully, in the generations which followed him, than those of Bacon. And this I suppose to be emphatically true.

As the German philosophy has in recent times largely dominated the thought of the world, it is matter of interest for us all to look back to its fountain-heads. In a work of authority by Zart, on the amount of influence