1859 ENGLISH POETRY 1579-1830: SPENSER AND THE TRADITION

Rev. Henry More

David Masson, in Life of John Milton (1859-94; 1965) 6:305.



Perhaps every form of the transcendental philosophy has been necessarily, in some sort, such a philosophy of constitutional postulation; but in More the liberty of of constitutional postulation ran riot, and loaded his main doctrine with excrescences and learned whimsicalities which made his Platonism as a whole a far less effective counteractive to Hobbism than a simpler Transcendentalism might have been. He was devoutly deep in witchcraft and in the lore of angels and their possible and progressive intercommunication with man; he held that there was a cabalistic tradition of the true philosophy from Moses on through Plato and the neo-Platonists; and the mere fact that he was a divine led him to pack into his Platonism all the fragments he could of school theology. Hence there may be some jocose significance in the saying attributed to Hobbes, that he would certainly adopt Dr. More's philosophy if ever he gave up his own. He may have meant, "You see mine, and you see the extraordinary jumble he calls his: well, there is no medium." More, it ought to be added, names Hobbes respectfully, and opposed him rather by continual implication than by overt attack.