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PROLOGUE

   "Remember how long thou hast already putoff these things, and how often a certaine day and houre as it were, having beenset unto thee by the gods, thou hast neglected it. It is high time for thee to understandthe true nature both of the world, whereof thou art a part; and of that Lord andGovernour of the World, from whom, as a channell from the spring, thou thy selfedidst flow: And that there is but a certaine limit, of time appointed unto thee,which if thou shalt not make use of to calme and alay the many distempers of thysoule, it will passe away and thou with it, and never after returne."

   "Bare tabulation will not do; simple enumerationis plainly insufficient. There must be a hint of perspective. The historian mustselect, and in the awkward process of selection he becomes an artist. One seems tosee the historian at this uncomfortable stage desert the laboratory and furtivelyapproach the studio. And why not? There is no need for him to blush when we detecthim in the questionable company of artists. For history is an art as well,--the artof representing past events through facts of scientific accuracy. If the facts areinaccurate, it is not history. But if they are not embodied in a picture of a livingpast, it is not history either. For a smear on a palet is not a picture. So the historian,when his work among the test-tubes of research is done, must turn artist, abandoninghis overalls for the velvet jacket. If he can not, so much the less historian he.

   "It is so easy for the historian to forgethis duty in the multiplicity of his business. To put it crudely, he is asked to raisethe dead, to bring the past to life, to give a continuous performance of the miracleof Endor. He must achieve this feat with a restricted armory. For he is not allowedthe novelist's liberty of invention. His incantations are strictly limited to theascertained facts, and with their aid alone he is expected to evoke the past. Weask of the historian a great tapestry, crowded with figures, filled with shiftinglights and crowds and landscapes; and we insist sternly (though with perfect propriety)that he shall use no single thread for his weaving that can not be vouched for asto its color, length, and weight by reference to his unvarying authorities, the scientificfacts. "


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