Every interest was turned to account. In their pursuit of perfection they required an ampler environment. The age of the Renaissance is the age of the great discoveries, of Diaz, Columbus, Vasco da Gama, Vespucci, the Cabots, Magellan, Francis Drake,〖For the narratives of these explorers see H. C., xliii, 21ff., xxxiii, 129ff.〗 and others, whose journeys were undertaken with a far different purpose than the mere satisfying of restless curiosity.

Equally practical was the study of the heavens. The stars had long been regarded as flaming beacons in the sky, prophets and guides for man to his ultimate goal. Their influence, benign or malignant, determined the fates of individuals and nations. It behooved the prudent man to consult them, and he studied the hidden workings of nature not only to comprehend them, but to make them serve his purpose. There were many failures, but if the Renaissance is the age of Faust, it is also that of Copernicus.

In the study of the world about him, of the firmament, of the past and the future, the Renaissance man felt his subject was something created. In his turn he took up the rôle of creator. To escape from an importunate world he called into existence the Arcadia of the pastorals, the fairyland of the adult man. It has almost vanished from our sight, but its music and fragrance still hover in the air. Another manifestation of dissatisfaction with the actual world, more practical, is the creation of ideal commonwealths, Cities of the Sun, or Utopias.〖See, for example, Sir Thomas More’s “Utopia” in H. C., xxxvi, 135.〗

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