When the Renaissance began we cannot tell. Far back in the Dark Ages we can see the spirit stirring, now manifesting itself here, now there, but always sternly repressed by the bigotry of the time. But when at length the human intellect broke its fetters, its advance was extremely rapid. Petrarch was already seventeen years of age when Dante died, yet, while the spirit of Dante is almost entirely medizeval, the spirit of Petrarch is almost en tirely classic. Still, as showing how the two spirits were intermingled, the very groundwork of Petrarch's poetry, is of the Middle Age. One of the peculiarities of the Middle Age was its constant yearning for the unattainable.