Page:Elizabethan People.djvu/28

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8
THE ELIZABETHAN PEOPLE

its variety of ideas. The defeat of Spain gave her time to reflect, to study, to produce. The whole intellectual horizon was crowded with the fleeing clouds of mediæval ignorance. The earth had become round. Its face was daily growing more familiar. A new map was published with "the augmentation of the Indes." Blood had begun to circulate in the veins of Harvey. All these new ideas were tending to increase the extent of the plain bounded by the mental horizon to a degree unheard of before, and with astounding rapidity.

Equally rapid and dazzling was the accession of new literature daily fed to the people. Homer appeared as a new book in English. The publication of Holinshed, together with numerous historical poems and plays nourished the growing patriotism. Epic and lyric poetry delighted mankind. Novels appeared in great numbers. Every tavern group was entertained by marvellous tales of oysters that grew upon trees, of manlike monsters, and so forth,—tales brought home by the man before the mast in the ships of Frobisher and Hawkins.

Trade, both export and import, had outgrown the fondest fancy of a generation before. The lost art of gardening had been rediscovered. Fruits and rare vegetables were being introduced