To say the truth, there was not, in this retired and thoughtful nook, anything that indicated to Redclyffe that the Warden had been recently engaged in consultation of learned authorities, or in abstract labor, whether moral, metaphysical or historic; there was a volume of translations of Mother Goose's Melodies into Greek and Latin, printed for private circulation, and with the Warden's name on the title-page; a London newspaper of the preceding day; Lillebullero, Chevy Chase, and the old political ballads; and, what a little amused Redclyffe, the three volumes of a novel from a circulating library; so that Redclyffe came to the conclusion that the good Warden, like many educated men, whose early scholastic propensities are backed up by the best of opportunities, and all desirable facilities and surroundings, still contented himself with gathering a flower or two, instead of attempting the hard toil requisite to raise a crop.
"Where do you live?" he asked, interrupting their scholastic efforts. "Up thar," she pointed, and, above, he could just see the top of a mud-and-stick chimney rise above a crag between the trees. "Have you brothers or sisters?" "Ain't got nobody," she answered, and to her face there came a look of keen resentment rather than of sorrow or of resignation. "I'm all th' feud left," she said simply.
His metaphysical Scottish mind delighted in the scholastic arguments that were now first set before him, and his readiness, appreciation, and eager power of acquiring surprised his teachers, and made him the pride of New College. When he looked back at his year of court and camp, he could only marvel at having ever preferred them.
The story of Shamash, himself, laying the trap for the eagle looks like a myth produced with some specific intent, an illustration of legitimate sun-worship against rival cults. As a matter of course, in the case of such a myth, it is difficult to say where its popular character ends and the speculative or scholastic theory begins.
This opinion has been refuted by the greater number of Scholastic theologians, and it appears that in the past it met with disapproval in the writings of Pelagius. Nevertheless a Capuchin named Louis Pereir of Dole, about the year 1630, wrote a book expressly to revive it, at least in relation to free actions.
A great meeting was appointed, in London, for a public disputation as was common among the puritans and in which the poor country mechanic was to be overwhelmed with scholastic learning and violence; but Bunyan wisely avoided a collision which could have answered no valuable purpose, and which bid fair to excite angry feelings.
Finally, scholastic speculation takes hold of Gilgamesh, and makes him the medium for illustrating another and more advanced problem that is of intense interest to mankind, the secret of death. Death is inevitable, but what does death mean? The problem is not solved. The close of the eleventh tablet suggests that Gilgamesh will die. The twelfth tablet adds nothing to the situation except a moral.
His image is before my mind's eye at this moment; slowly approaching me with a lamp in his hand, his hair gray, his face solemn and pale, his tall and portly figure bent with heavier infirmity than befitted his years. His dress, though he had improved in this particular since middle life, was marked by a truly scholastic negligence.
Every day you corresponded with each other. Before school time the girl dictated his lessons to her young brother, beginning with the usual scholastic flowers of rhetoric but ending in the passionate voice of love, and after school was over, you, in your turn dictated a similar lesson for the lad to carry back with him.
Some, through an ambition of understanding the unintelligible, have wasted their energies in a labyrinth of scholastic subtleties; others have surrendered themselves to a vague unpractical mysticism. But, whatever may have been the errors common in other ages, it was certainly no characteristic of the eighteenth century to linger unhealthily upon the contemplation of mysteries.