ies that did not bear the stamp and character of fine art. If the methods of science may be truly said to regulate our modes of thinking at the present time, it is no less true that, during the Renaissance, art exercised a like controlling influence. Not only was each department of the fine arts practised with singular success; not only was the national genius to a very large extent absorbed in painting, sculpture, and architecture; but the aesthetic impulse was more subtly and widely diffused than this alone would imply. It possessed the Italians in the very centre of their intellectual vitality, imposing its conditions on all the manifestations of their thought and feeling, so that even their shortcomings may be ascribed in a great measure to their inability to quit the aesthetic point of view.
We see this in their literature. It is probable that none but artistic natures will ever render full justice to the poetry of the Renaissance. Critics endowed with a less lively sensibility to beauty of outlin