What we witness is a momentous dispensation from the master of men. 'Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo with the revolution of centuries there is born to the world a new order of things, sang the Mantuan poet at the birth of the Augustan age. So to-day we proclaim a new order of things has appeared. "America is too great to be isolated from the world around her and beyond her.
The following is a copy of the original: Servabis Ecclesiae Dei, Cleroque, et Populo, pacem ex integro et concordiam in Deo secundum vires tuas ? Facies fieri in omnibus Judieiis tuis equam et rectam justioiam, et discreeionem, in misericordia et veritate, secundum vires tuas?
Upheaval was the order of the day, kings became exiles and exiles kings, dynasties and creeds were being subverted, and empires seemed rocking as on the surface of an earthquake. They were years of great aspirations, with beliefs in all manner of swift regeneration Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo, all varieties of doctrinaire idealisms.
Ultima Cumaci venit jam carminis aetas; Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo; Jam redit et Virgo, redeunt Saturnia regna; Jam nora progenies coelo demittitur alto. This was taken in the Middle Ages as referring to the birth of Jesus; and on the strength of having thus prophesied, Virgil came to be looked on as either a true prophet or a black magician.
There is a new note, as there is a new rhythm in: Magnus ab integro saeclorum nascitur ordo. Julius Caesar had learned from bitter experience that poets were dangerous enemies. Cicero's innuendoes were disagreeable enough but they might be forgotten. When, however, Catullus and Calvus put them into biting epigrams there was no forgetting.
That will be a change so vast, that the imagination almost fails to grasp it. Ab Integro soeclorum nascitur ordo. If I have insisted so much on the course which criticism must take where politics and religion are concerned, it is because, where these burning matters are in question, it is most likely to go astray.
Lambarde, following perhaps the chronicler who said, "Ecclesiam Andreæ, pæne vetustate dirutam, novam ex integro, ut hodie apparet, ædificavit," does not seem to suspect the incompleteness of Gundulf's work of which he gives the following quaint account.
"Sed nullus major labor quam libri de Rerum Varietate quem cum sæpius mutassem, demum traductis quibuscunque insignioribus rebus in libros de Subtilitate, ita illum exhausi, ut totus denuo conscribendus fuerit atque ex integro restituendus." Opera, tom. i. p. 74. He seems to have utilized the services of Ludovico Ferrari in compiling this work. Opera, tom. i. p. 64. De Varietate, p. 661.
Aspiring to begin ab integro and reform the foundations of knowledge, he ignored or made little of what had been achieved in the past. He attempted to cut the threads of continuity as with the shears of Atropos. For any such doctrine must take account of the past as well as of the future. But a theory of progress was to grow out of his philosophy, though he did not construct it.