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A COMPLETE MANUAL 



ENGLISH LITERATURE. 



Br THOMAS B, SHAW, M.A. 



EDITED, WITH NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS, 
By WILLIAM SMITH, LL, D., 



A Sketch of Amekican Literature 

By henry T. TUCKERMAN. 



Sheldon & Company, 

NEW YORK & CHiCAGO. 



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SCHOOL AND COLLEGE TEXT-BOOKS. 

SHELDON & CO.'S 
MODERN SCHOOL READERS. 



OLNEY'S ARITHMETICS, in two BOOKS, 
OLNEY'S ALGEBRAS. 

OLNEVS NEW GEOMETRY. 

PATTERSON'S SPELLERS. 

PATTERSON'S ELEMENTS OF ENGLISH GRAMMAR, 

COLTON'S GEOGRAPHIES. 

SHAWS HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE 

AVERY'S NATURAL PHILOSOPHY AND CHEMISTR1. 

HILL'S RHETORIC AND LOGIC. 

LOSSING'S UNITED STATES HISTORY. 

HOOKER'S MEW PHYSIOLOGY. 

ALDEN'S SCIENCE OF GOVERNMENT. 

HAVEN'S MENTAL AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY. 

WAYLAND'S MENTAL AND MORAL PHILOSOPHY. 

LONG'S CLASSICAL ATLAS. 

Cafiirighl, 1867, by Sheldon &• Co. 



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The present work, which was originally published undet 
the title of " Outlines of English Literature," has been entirely 
re-written with a special view to the requirements of Students, 
so as to make it, as far as space would allow, a complete 
History of English Literature. The Author devoted to its 
composition the labor of several years, sparing neither time 
nor pains to render it both instructive and interesting. In 
consequeiTce of Mr. Shaw's lamented death the MS. was placed 
in my hands to prepare it for publication as one of Mr. Mur- 
ray's Student's Manuals, for which purpose it seems to me 
peculiarly well adapted. Through long familiarity with the 
subject, and great experience as a teacher, the Author knew 
how to seize the salient points in English literature, and to give 
prominence to those writers and those subjects which ought 
to occupy the main attention of the Student. Considering the 
size of the book, the amount of information which it conveys 
is really remarkable, while the space devoted to the more im- 
.portant names, such as Bacon, Shakspeare, Milton, Dryden, 
Aildison, Sir Walter Scott, and others, is sufficient to impress 
upon the Student a vivid idea of their lives and writings. The 
AutJior has certainly succeeded in his attempt " to render die 
work as little dry — as readable, in short — as is consistent 
with accuracy and comprehensiveness." 

As Editor, I have carefully revised the whole work, com 
pleted the concluding chapters left uniinished by the AuUior, 



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4 PREFACE. 

and inserted at the end of the flrat aud second chapters a brief 
account of Anglo-Saxon, Norman, and early English Litera- 
ture, in order to render the work as usefbl as possible to 
Students preparing for the examination of the India Civil 
Service, the University of London, and the like. Moreover I 
have, in the other Notes and Illustrations, given an account 
of the less important persons, which, though not designed far 
continuous perusal, will be useful for reference, for which pur 
pose a copious Index has been added. All living writers are, 
for obvious reasons, excluded. 



w. s. 

London, January, 1864. 



SECOND EDITION. 
In this Edition a few errors in names and dates have been 
atrrectcd, and considerable additions have been made to the 
later chapters of the work. A brief account of the lives and 
works of more than two hundred and twenty authors has been 
added ; and it is believed that the work, in its present form, 
will be found to contain information respecting every write* 
Who deserves a place in the history of oui literature 

IfONSOK, January, 1S65. 



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A BRIEF MEMOIR OF THE AUTHOR. 



Thomas Bubd Shaw, born in Gower Street, London, on the nth of 
October, 1813, was the seventh son of John Shaw, F. R. S., an eminent 
architect. From a very early period of hifl life, though of delicate 
constitution, he manifested that delight in the acquisition of knowledge 
which was continued throughout his subsequent career. In the year 
iSia he accompanied his maternal uncle, the Rev. Francis Whitfield, to 
Berbice in the West Indies, where that gentleman was the ofSciatmg 
clergyman, and who was eminently qualified as a scholar and an 
accomplished gentleman to advance his nephew in his studies and in 
h f -n t on of his character. On his return from the West Indies, 
8 7 h entered the Free School at Shrewsbury, where he became 
a fa t pupil of Dr. Butler, afterwards Bishop of Lichfield. Here 
lb wr t of this brief record recollects that it was remarked of the 
ub t of t that, although inferior to some of his contemporaries m the 
t 1 actness of his scholarship, he was surpassed by none m the 
nh t power with which he comprehended the genius and spirit of 
th g t writers of antiquity At this early period also, apart from 
hi c ses he » apidly iccumulated that ge leral and varied knowl- 
dg f books and things wh ch when acqui ed seemed never to be 

F m Shrew bury in 1833 Mr Shaw proceeded to St. John's Col- 
I g I. mbr dge On tak ng his degr n 836 he b came tutor in 
tl f n ly of in em nent merchant and b eq ntly, in 1840, he 
vra d ed to lea^e England for Ru a wl e h mmenced his 
useful and honorable career finally settl ng n St P t sburgh in the 
year 1841. Here he formed in nt ma y w th M W rrand. Professor 
■It the University of St Petersburgh thro gh wl 9 ence, in 1841, 

he obtained the appointment ot Professo f Engl 1 L terature at the 
Imperial Alexander Lyceum. - -^ lectures were eagerly attended : no 
..Tofessor acquired more thoro ^niy the love and respect of hts pupiU, 
;nanvof whom continued his warmest admirers and friends nj atler 
life. " In October in the same year he married Miss Annette Warrand, 
daughter of the Professor. 

In 1851 he came to England for the purpose of taking his Master of 

Arts degree ; and on his return to Russia was elected Lector of English 

Literature at the University of St. Petersburgh. His first pupils were 

tlie Princes of Leuchtenbiirg; and, his reputation being now thoroughlji 

(51 



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6 A BRIEF MUMOIR OF THE AUTHOR. 

established, he was in 1853 engaged as tutor and Professor o( fing^iteh 
to tlie Grand Dulies, an appointment which he retained till hii death. 

For nine years Mr. SliaVs position was in every respect enviable: 
liappy in his married life, loved by his pupilSj respected and honored 
dy ail for his high attainments and many virtues, his life j,assed in 
].['.ace and prosperity. A few years more, and his means would liave 
isnabled him to retire and pass the evening of his life in literary pur- 
suits. But this was not to be. In October, 186a, he complained of 
jjaiii in the region of the heart; yet he struggled hard against his 
malady, until nature could bear no more. For a few days Ijefore hii 
iii;ath he suffered acutely, but bore his sufferings with manly fortitude. 
On the 14th of November he was relieved from them, dying suddenly 
Df aneurism. His death was regarded as a public loss, and his funeral 
was attended by their Imperial Highnesses, and a large concourse of 
present and former students of the Lyceum. A subscription was raised, 
and a monument is erected to his memory. 

The following is a list of such of Mr. Shaw's works as have come to 

In 1836 he wrote several pieces for "The Fellow," and "Fraaet's 
Magazine." In 1837 he translated into verse numerous German and 
Latin poems, and wrote a few original poems of merit, some of which 
appeared in " The Individual." Two well-written pieces, " The Song 
of Hrolfkralien the Sea King," and "The Surgeon's Song," were con- 
tributions to " Fraser's Magazine." In 1S38 and two following years he 
contributed several translations from the Italian to " Fraser." In 1842 
he started "The St. Petersburgh Literary Review; " he also published 
in " Blackwood " a translation of " Anmalet Bek," a Russian novel, by 
Mariinski. In 1844 he published his first work of considerable length, 
a translation of " The Heretic," a novel in three volumes, by Lajetch- 
nikoff. The woi-It was well received, and an edition was immediately 
reprinted in New York. In the following year apjieared in " Black- 
wood " his " Life of Poushkin," accompanied by exquisite iranslations 
of several of the finest of that poet's productions. In iS^ei his leisure 
time was entirely occupied in writing his " Outlines of Englisli Litera- 
ture," a work expressly undertaken at the request of the authorities of 
the Lyceum, and for the use of the pupils of that establishment. The 
edition was speedily sold, and immediately reprinted in Philadelphia, 
A second edition was published bj Mr. Murraj'in 1849; and the edition 
now offered to the public is the fruit of his later years and mature 
i\idgnient. It may, indeed, be said to lie an entirely new work, as tlir 
Bhole has been re-written. In 1S50 he published in the " Quarter- 
ly " an exceedingly original and curious article, entitled " Forms of 
Salutation." 



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h Bribf Memoir of thk Aothor. S 

CHAPTER I. 

Ofiph op riiE English Language and Ljteraturk . . . . ii 

Notes and Illustrations: — 

A. Anglo-Saxon Literature ^ 

B. Anglo-Norman Literature sS 

C. Serai-Saxon Literature 3' 

D. Old English Literature 33 

CHAPTER II. 

The Agb of Chaucbk 35 

Notes \nd Illustrations : — 

A. The FredeceseorH of Gower, and Chaucer. 53 

B. John Gower 55 

C. Wicliffe and his Schooi. 57 

CHAPTER III. 

Crom the Death op Chaucer to tub Age of Elizabeth. . sg 

NoTJSs AND Illustrations ; — 

A. Minor Poets ^ 

B. Minor Prose Writers 7o 

CHAPTER IV. 

r*i Elizabethan Poets (including the Reign of James I.). 71 
Notes and Illustrations: — 

A The Min-oiir for MagUuates 84 

B. Minor Poeta iit the Reigns of Elizabeth and James I. . . 8* 



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8 f^-l^TENTS. 

CHAPTER V. 
THa New Pji.Losopny and Prose Literature in tub Reighs 

OF Elizabeth amd James I SS 

Notes and Illustrations : — ■ 
Minor Prose Writers in the Reigns of Elizabelli and James I \ir, 

CHAPTER VI. 
Ilia Dawn of thk Drama loS 

CHAPTER VII. 
Skakspbars ii8 

CHAPTER VIII. 

THS SHAKSPEARIAN Uh.lMATISTS . . ISJ 

NoTBs AND Illustrations 1 — 
Other Dramatists t66 

CHAPTER IX. 

Thb eo-called Mbt a physical Pobts 167 

Notes and Illustrations : — 
Otlier Poets 176 

chapter x. 
Thbdlogical Writers of the Civil War and thb Common- 



Notes AND Illustrations;^ 

Other Theoiogical and Moral Writers 186 

CHAPTER XI. 

jijHN Milton tSj 

Notes and Illustrations : — 
Contemporaries or Milton nj 

CHAPTER XIl. 

Vhh Asa OF THE RestOiation 3OT 

NllTBS AND iLLUarilATIONS ; — 

Other Writers , . . . 8|l 



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COlfTEtfTg. 9 

CHAPTER XIII. 
Thb New Drama and thk Correct Poets 131 

CHAPTER XIV. 

1)11 Second Rsvolutiom 149 

Notes and Illustrations : — 

A. Other Theological WriterB 26j 

B, Other Prose WriterB , . 164 

CHAPTER XV. 

PfPB, Swift, and the Augustan Pocts 361 

Notes and Illustrations! — 
Minor Poets iSt 

CHAPTER XVI. 

The Essayists aSj 

Notes and Illustrations: — 

A. Minor Essayists, &c 3«» 

B. Bojle and Bentley Controversy. 301 

Other Writers 304 

CHAPTER XVII. 

THt Great Novelists 305 

Notes and Illustrations : — 

Other Novelists 3^5 

CHAPTER XVIII. 

Itsturical, Moral, Political, and Theological Writers 

OF THE Eighteenth Century 3ifi 

Notes and Illustrations 1 — 

Theological Writers. . 34! 

Philosophical Writers 34* 

HUtori.ins and Scholars 347 

Miscellaneous Writers 34& 

NoveU»t« 349 



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10 aONTENTS. 

CHAPTER XIX. 
Tmt Dawn of Romantic Pobtrv jj« 

Notes and iLnisTitATioNS : — 
Olher Poets of the Eighteenth Century 3)j 

CHAPTER XX. 
Walter Scott jj; 

CHAPTER XXI. 
Btron, Moore, Shbllby, Keats, Campbeil, Leigh Hunt, ami 

Walter Savage Landor 396 

CHAPTER XXII. 

Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey ^lo 

Notes and Illustrations ; ~ 

Other Poets of the Nineteenth Century 431 

More Modern Poets 434 

CHAPTER XXIII. 

I^m Modern Novelists 43O 

Notes and Illustrations ; — 
Other Novelists 458 

CHAPTER XXIV. 

Prose Literature op the Nineteenth Century 459 

Notes and Illustrations : — 
Other Prose Writers of the Nineteenth Centurj 174 



SKETCH OF AMERICAN LITERATURE 477 



Index to B^clish Literature . 533 

bnwx to American Litbraturb 538 



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A. D. 4Sf>-SSO-] LANGUAGE AND LITERATURE. 



19 

Kufficient to destroy the prejudice; so common not only among foreign' 
ers, but even among Englishmen, of regarding alt the inhabitants of 
Scotland as Celts alike ; of representing William Wallace, for instance, 
in allighlandkilt — a mistake as ludicrous as would be that of painting 
Washington armed with a tomahawk, or adorned, like a Cherokee 
chief, with a belt of scalps or a girdle of wampum. It is probable that 
even the haJf-Romanized Britons who first invited the Saxon tribes to 
rome to their aBsistance were speedily involved by their dangerous allies 
in the same persecution as their savage mountain countrymen r at all 
events one fact is certain, that the Celt in generr", irhether friendly or 
itostile, posseasing a less powerful organization and a less vigorous 
moral constitution than the Teuton, was in the course of tir.ie either 
ijuietlj absorbed into the more enei^tic race, or gradually disappeared, 
with that fatal certainty which seems to be an inevitable law regulating 
thecontactof two unequal nationalities, just as the aboriginal Indian 
has disappeared before the descendants of the very same Anglo-Saxons 
in the New World. It is only a peculiar combination of geographical 
conditions that has enabled the primeval Celt to retain a separate exist- 
ence on the territory of Great Britain, while the predominance — a 
numerical predominance only— of the Celtic race in the population of 
Ireland may be traced to other, but no less exceptional causes. 

J 5. The true parentage, therefore, of the English nation, is to be 
.raced to the Teutonic race. The language spoken by the Northern 
invaders was a Low-Germanic dialect, akin to the modern Dutch, but 
with many Scandinavian forms and vrards. Like the people who spoke 
it, it was possessed of a character at once practical and imaginative; 
at once real and ideal ; and required but the influence of civilization to 
become a noblj vehicle for reasoning, for eloquence, and for the expreb 
sion of the social and domestic feelings. In the modern English, all 
ideas which address themselves to the emotions, and all those which 
bring man into relation with the great objects of nature and with the 
sentiments of simple existence, will be invariably found to derive their 
'inguistic representatives directly from the Teutonic tongue. The con- 
.jraion of the Anglo-Saxons to Christianity, which took place in the 
sixth century, brought them into contact with more intellectual forms 
of life, and with a higher type of civilization : the transfer of their 
religious allegiance from Thor, Woderf, Tuisk, and Freya to the Sa- 
viour, wfiile it softened their manners, exposed their language to t'ne 
modifying influences of the corrupt but more civilized Latin liferature 
ar the Lower Empire, and gave rapid proof how improvable a tongue 
rasthot in which tliey had hitherto produced nothing, probabl)-, but 
fude war-songs and sagas like that of Beowulf A very varied and 
extensive literature soon arose among the Anglo-Saxons, embracing 
compositions on almost every branch of knowledge, law, historieal 
chronicles, ecclesiastical and theological disquisitions, together wivh h 
larg-^ body of poetry in which their very peculiar metrical system was 
»dap(.-1 to subjects derived either from the Scriptures, or from the 
modiieval Uvea of the saints. The curious, tut rather tedious, versified 



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16 ORiem OF THE ENGLISH [Chap. 1. 

parapbrase of the Bible by Casdmon — generally attributed lo the 
middle of the seventh century — was long considered to be one of the 
most ancient, among the more considerable Saxon poems ; but the 
discovery, at Copenhagen, of the Lay of Beowulf, to which we have 
just alluded, has furnished us with a specimen of Anglo-Saxon poetry 
decidedly more ancient, as well as far more interesting; inasmuch as, 
having been composed in all probability at a period anterior to the 
general conversion of the race to Christianity, it is free from any traces 
of that imitation of the rhPtorical style of the lower Latinity which 
prevwits Cfedmon from being a good representative of the national 
literature of his race. This poem, the picturesque vigor of which 
gives it a right to be placed among the most interesting monuments of 
early literature, is not inferior in energy and conciseness to the Ifibe- 
lungen-Lied, though undeniably so in extent of plot and development 
of character. The subject is the expedition of Prince Beowulf, a lineal 
descendant of Woden, from England to Norway, on the adventure of 
delivering the king of the latter country from a kind of demon or mon- 
ster which secretly enters the royal hall at midnight, and destroys some 
of the warriors who are sleeping there. This monster, called in the 
poem the Grendel, is probably nothing but the poetical personification 
of some dangerous exhalations from a marsh, for it is represented as 
issuing from a neighboring swamp, and as taking a refuge in the same 
abode, when, after a furious combat, Beowulf succeeds in driving it 
bacit, together with another evil spirit, into the gloomy abyss. The 
description of the voyage of Beowulf in his " foamy-necked " ship 
along the " swan-path " of the ocean, of his arrival at the Norwegian 
court, and his narrative of his own exploits, are In a very similar style 
to the ancient Scandinavian Sagas. The versification of this, as well 
a& of all Saxon poetry in general, is exceedingly peculiar; and the sys- 
tem upon which it is constructed for a long time defied the ingenuity 
of philologists. The Anglo-Saxons based their verse not upon any 
regular recurrence of syllables, accented and unaccented, or regarded, 
as among the Greeks and Romans, as long or short ; still less upon the 
employment of similarly sounding terminations of lines or parts or lines. 
that is, upon what we call rhyme. With them it was sufficipnt to con- 
stitute verse, chat in any two successive lines — which might be of any 
length — there should be at least three words beginning with the same 
letter. This very peculiar metrical system is called alUteraticn.* 

The language in which these works are composed is usually called 
Anglo-Saxon; but in the works themselves it is always styled EiigliiA, 
and the country England, or the land of the Angles. The itrm Aaglo- 
S.iKiM, is meant to distinguish the Saxons of England from the Saxons 
oi' the Continent, and does not signify the Angles and Saxons. But 
why English became the exclusive appellation of the language spoken 
by the Saxons as well as the Angles, is not altogether clear. It has 

• Fcr a fuller account of Anglo-Saxon literature, see Notes and TlluaitHlioni 



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A. D. 450-5SO-] LAlsGUAOE AND LITERATURE. 17 

been suppOBed by some writers that the Saxons were only a Bastion of 
the Angles, and consequently that the latter name was always recog- 
nized among the Angles and Saxons as the proper national appellation 
Another hypothesis is, that, as the new inhabitants of the island 
became first known to the Roman see through the Anglian captives 
who were carried to Rome in the sixth century, the name of this tribe 
was given by the Romans to the whole people, and that the Christian 
mitsionaries to Britain would naturally continue to employ this i.tme 
%s the appellation both of the people and the country.* Some modern 
nriiters have proposed to discard the term Anglo-Saxon altogether, and 
employ E«ffihk as the name of the language, from the earliest date to 
the present day. But, as has been already observed in a previous work 
of the pnssent series, " a change of nomenclature like this would 
expose us to tlie inconvenience, not merely of embracing within one 
designation objectr, which have been conventionally separated, but of 
confounding things logically distinct : for, though our modern English 
is built upon and mainly derived from the Anglo-Saxon, the two dia- 
lects are now so discrepant, that the fullest knowledge of one would not 
alone suffice to render the other intelligible to either the eye or the 
ear." For all practical purposes, they are two separate languages, as 
different from one another as the Italian from the Latin, or the present 
English from the German. 

For a long period the Saxon colonization of Britain was carried on 
by detached Teutonic tribes, who established themselves in sucii por- 
tions of territory as they found vacant, or from which they ousted less 
warlike occupants ; and in this way there gradually arose a number of 
separate and independent states or kingdoms. This epoch of out 
history is generally denominated the Heptarchy, or Seven Kingdoms. 
the names of the principal of which may still be traced in the appella 
tiotiB of our modern shires, as Essex and Northumberland. As might 
easily have been foreseen, one of these tribes or kingdoms, grawing 
gradually more powerful, at last absorbed the others. This important 
event took place in the ninth century, in the reign of Egbert, from 
which period to the middle of the eleventh century, when there occurred 
the third great invaeion and change of sovereignty to which the coun- 
try was desUned, the history of the Anglo-Saxon monarchy presents a 
confused and melancholy picture of bloody incursions and fierce resist- 
ance to the barbarous and pagan Danes, who endeavored to treat the 
Karons as the Saxons had treated the Celts. The only brilliant figure 
in this period is the almost perfect type of a patriot warrior, king, and 
philosopher, in the person of the illustrious Alfred; whose virtues 
. For further particulars see the "Student's Manual of the English Ian- 
juaef " PP- 14. 15- I' " ''^'^'^ '1""™ *''^' ^""^ common account of the imposi- 
tion of the name of England upon the country by a decree of King Egbert, ia 
nuBUppsrted by any coiitempDrmeous or orediblo testimony ; and that the titU 
of A^igliiS or AnylofniB. Rm. is much more naturally explained by the supposi- 
tion that En^limA and EngUsh had been already adopted aa the eoOtctive namai 
of thB country and its inhabitautB. 



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»* ORIGIN OF THE ENGLISH [Chap. I. 

would appear ta iiosterity almost fabulous, were they not handed down 
in tlie minute and accurate records of a biographer who knew and 
served him well. The two fierce races, so obstinately contending foi 
mastery, were too nearly allied in origin and blood for their araalgama 
tion to have produced any very material change in the language or 
institutions of the country. In tho p t f E gl d p p lly 
the North and East, as in some of tl m nt f S tl d 

where colonies of Danes established tl I tl bj q t 

by settlement, the curious philolo t m y tra th d m f ti 

peasantry and still more clearly in tl am f f m 1 d pi ce 

evident marks of a Scandinaviao t d f Angl & P P 1 

tion. Aa examples of this we may t th m t I m f 

Haveloci, derived from a famous s ki f th m n wh 

said to have founded the ancient tow f Wh tby th 1 tte b g tt 
Scandinavian ^piViy. As to memo I ftl S p d n th 

names of men, families, or places, or m the less imperishable monu 
nients of architecture, they are so numerous that there is hardly a 
locality in the whole extent of England where a majority of the names 
is not pure and unaltered Saxon; the whole mass of the middle and 
lower classes of the population bears uamistakable marks of pure 
Saxon blood; and the sound and sterling vigor of the popular lan- 
guage is so essentially Saxon, that it requires but the re-establishment 
of the now obsolete inflections of the Anglian grammar, and the 
substitution of a few Teutonic words for their French equivalents, 
to recompose an English book into the idiom spoken in the days of 
Alfred. 

§ 6. It would be, however, an error to suppose that all the words of 
Latin origin found even in the earlier period of the English language 
were introduced after the introduction into England of the Norman- 
French element; that is to say, after the conquest of the country by 
William in the eleventh caitury. For a long time previous to that 
event the cultivation of the Latin literature in the monasteries and 
among the learned, as well as the employment of the Latin language 
in the services of the Church, must have tended to incorporate with 
;he Saxon tongue a considerable number of Latin words. Alfred, we 
know, visited Rome in his youth, acquired there a considerable portion 
of the learning which he unquestionably possessed, and exhibited hia 
patriotic cai-e for the enlightenment of his countrymen by translating 
'nto Saion the " Cons-^-lattons " of BoSthius. The Venerabl! Bede, 
«nd other Saxon ecclesiastics, composed chronicles and legends iti Latin, 
and we may therefoi-e conclude that, though the sturdy Teutonic na- 
!ionality of the Anglo-Saxon language guarded it from being corrupted 
by any overwhelming admixture of Latin, yet a considerable influx of 
Latin words may have become perceptible in it before the appearance 
of Normans on our shores. It is also to be remarked that tlie superior 
rivi' nation of the French race must have exerted an influence on at 
i"-' the aristocratic classes ; and the family connections between \\\i 
\ iigfon dynastj anJ the neighboring dukes of Normandy, of wWeb 



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A.D. io66.] LANGUAGE AND LITEUATURE. 19 

the reign of Edward the Confessor furnishes examples, must haro 
tended to increase the Gallicizing character perceptible in Anglo-Saxon 
writings previous to the Conquest. In tracing the influence of that 
mighty revolution on the language, the institutions, and the national 
character of the people, it will be advisable to advert separately to its 
-ffects as regarded from a political, a social, and a philological point 

The most important change consequent upon the subjugation of th 
country by the Normans was obviously the establishment in England 
of the great feudal principle of the military tenure of land, of the 
chivalric spirit and habits which were the natural result of feudal insti- 
tutions, and lastly, of the broad demarcation which separated societj 
into the two great classes of the Nobles and the Serfs. It is unnecessary 
t y th t 1 f d 1 t t which lay at the bottom of all these 

m d ficat t t lly k wn to the original Saxons who 

thlhdtltnl Egld and were indeed utterly repugnant 

tthtfeedm ti g tinof society which they brought 

w th th f th t G many, and which Tacitus shows to 

li lly pre 1 d g the primitive dwellers of tlie Teu- 

j w p d f t Tl Scandinavian pirates, who carried 

J tat y t ble to their " sea-horses," and who, 

d th 1 t 1 d h p f H olf the Ganger, wrested from the 
feebl d d t of Charlemagne the magnificent 

province to which they gave their own North-man appellation, adopted, 
from the force of circumstances, that strong military organization 
which could alone enable a warlike minority to hold in eubjecUon a 
more numerous but less vigorous conquered people. Like the Lom- 
bards in Italy, like a multitude of other races in different parts of the 
world and in different historical epochs, they found feudal institutions 
an indispensable necessity of tlieir position ; and what had been forced 
upon them at their original occupation of Normandy they naturally 
practised on their irruption into England. But as the invasion of 
William was carried on under at least a colorable allegation of a legal 
light to the inheritance of the EngUsh throne, his investiture of the 
crown was accompanied hy a studied adherence to the constitutional 
ibrma of the Saxon monarchy ; and it was perhaps only the obstinate 
resistance of the sullen, sturdy Saxon people, that at length wearied 
him into treating his new acquisition with all the rigor of a conquering 
invader. The whole territory was by his orders carefully surveyed and 
registered !n that curious monument of antiquity, which stilf exists, 
entitled Domesday Booh : the severest measures of police, as for exam- 
ple the famous institutiof. of the Curfew (which was, however, no new 
Invention of William to tyrannize over Uie enslaved country, but a very 
tommon regulation in feudal states), were introduced to keep down the 
rising of the people; the territory was divided into 6o,ooo fiefs; the 
original Saxon holders of these lands were as a general rule oufted 
from their estates, which were distributed, on the feudal conditions of 
4#ma^B and general defence, to tlie warriors who had enabled hini to 



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20 ORIGm OF THE ENOLISS [Chap, r, 

subjugate the country; vast tracts of inhabited lands were depopulated 
and transformed into forests for the chase, and the higher functions of 
the Church ind State were with few exceptions confided to men of 
Norman blood The nitural consequence of such a Ktate of things, 
when it continued at it did in England, through the reigns of the long 
series of Norman and Plaotagenet sovereigns, was to create in the 
EOi-ntrj- two dtstmct and intensely hostile nationalities. The Saxon 
race gradually descended to the level of an oppressed and servile class j 
but being far superior in numbers to their oppressors, they ran no risk 
of being absorbed and lost in the dominant people. The high qualities, 
too, of the Norman race, qualities which made them greatly superioi 
in valor, wisdom, and intellectual activity, to any other people then 
existing on the continent of Europe, no less saved them from gradually 
disappearing in the subjugated population. It required several ages to 
amalgamate the two nationalities; but, partly in consequence of their 
high, though very different merits, and partly in consequence of a most 
peculiar and happy combination of circumstances, they taere ultimately 
amalgamated, and formed the most vigorous people which has ever 
existed upon earth. In the present case the two nationalities were not 
dissolved in each other, but like some chemical bodies their afQnities 
combined to form a new and powerful substance. But for several cen- 
turies the two fierce and obstinate races felt nothing but hatred towards 
each other, a hatred cherished by the memory of a thousand acts of 
tyranny and contempt on the one part, and savage revenge and sullen 
degradation on the other. Maca 1 j h w 1 b erved that so 
strong an association is established t m d between the gr at 

ness of a sovereign and the great f th t n vh cl 1 e r les 

that almoot every historian of Eng! d 1 p t ted w th a sent 

ment of exultation on the power and pi d f 1 lor gn masters 
and has lamented the decay of that p w d pi do is a cala n ty 

to our country. This is, in truth, a b d t uld be n a Hay 

Uan negro of our time to dwell witl t I p d on the greatness 
of Lewis XIV., and to speak of Blenh m d R m Hies with patriotic 
regret and shame. The Conqueror d h d d nts to the fo.irtli 

generation were not Englishmen ; m t f tl born in , ance ; 

their ordinary speech was French Im t y h gh office i-i their 

gia was filled by a Frenchman : eve y q t wh ch they m^de on 
the continent estranged them more and f m the populaiion of 

our island." Though every trace of this double and hostile naiionaiitj 
has long passed away, abundant monuments of its having once exi.^Led 
may be still observed in our language. The family names of thu highii 
aristocracy in England are almost universally French, while tiiose of 
the middle and lower orders are as unmistakably German, Thus out 
peerage abounds in Russells (Roussel), Mortimers (Mortemai), Cour- 
tenays, andTalbots, while the Smiths, Browns, Johnso s, andHodgkins 
plainly betray their Teutonic origin. Under the Noiman rigtme the 
Saxon subdivisions of the country were transformed flora the demo- 
Rratici^tre into Ihe feudal counti, administered by a military goverDq) 



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A b. io66.] LAmWAOE AND LITERATUSE. ^1 

or count The ancient Saxon wilanagemsle, or thing, was metamor- 
phoBed Into the kViAf^l Parleme?U, the members of which occupied Lheii 
seats, not as elective representatives of the peop-e, but in their feudal 
capacity as vassals in the enjoyment of military fiefs. Thus the great 
ecelesiasUcal dignitaries took part of right in the deliberations of the 
legislative body, in their quality of holders of lands, and as such diP. 
posing of a certain contingent of military force. 

But it is witli the effects of the Norman Conquest upon the language 
nf fhe country that we are at present concerned : and it is here thai 
tlie task of tracing the process of admixture between the two races 
btcomes at once more complicated and more interesting. On then 
arrival in Normandy, the piratical followers of Hrolf the Ganger had 
found themselves exposed to the civilidng influences which a small 
minority of rude conquerors, placed in the midst of a subject popula- 
Uott superior to them in numbers as well as intellectual cultivat.on, 
can never long resist with success. Like the hordes of barbarian 
invaders who shared among them the territories of the Roman empire, 
the Northmen, with the Christianity of the conquered nation, imbibed 
also the language and civilization so intimately connected with that 
Christianity, and in an incredibly brief space of time exchanged for 
their native Scandinavian dialect a language entirely similar, in its 
words and grammatical forms, to the idiom prevalent in the -northern 
division of France. It was a repetition of the introduction of Greek 
art and culture into republican Rome : — 

QttDCia espta femm vJctorBm oepit et artea. 

The language thus communicated by the subject to the conquered 

nation was a dialect of that great Romance speech which extended 

during the Middle Ages from the northern shore of the Mediterranean 

a U.e British Channel, and which may be defined as the decomposition 



of the classical Latin. 



I divided into two great sister- 



dioms, the Langue-d'Oc and the Langue-d'Oil (so called from the 
di^rent words for yh), the general boundary or line of demarcation 
between them being roughly assignable as coinciding with tiie Loire. 
The former of these languages, spoken to the south of this nver, was 
closely allied to the Spanish and Italian, and was subsequently called 
the Provencal ; the latter was the parent of the French. Knowing the 
circumstances under which such a dialect as tiie Romance was formed, 
it is no difficult problem to establish & priori the changes which the 
nother-tongue, or Latin, must have d g t> p / ' j 

ibrmation into what, though afterw d d 1 p d t 1 

Ijeauliful dialects, was at first littl b t th b b ', . , 

The language of ancient Rome, a 1 hlj fl t d d mpl t d 
tongue, naturally lost all, or nearly 11 t fl t „ ,f. 

complexity. Thus the Latin subst d dj t 1 t 11 Ih 

terminations which in tiie original 1 g P '' ' * ^. l! 

various cases of the different declensions ; these relations being thence- 
forward indicated by the simpler expedient of pi'epositlons. 



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a 



CRlam OF THE ENOLiSlt [tJHAP. t 



S l. The literary models introduced Into England by the Norman 
invasion wei*e no less important than the linguistic changes consequeni 
upon the admixture of their Romance dialect with the Saxon speech. 
Together with the institutions of feudalism the Normans brought with 
them the poetry of feudalism, that is, the poetry of chivalry. Thfi 
lais and romances, the fabliaux and the legends of mediieval chivalry 
soon began to modify the rude poetical sagas and the tedious narratiTet 
of the lives of saints and hermits which had formed the bulk of thf 
iiterat.ire of Sason England, Few subjects have excited more lively 
i.-ontro\ ersy among the learned than the origin and specific sharactei 
If I he Romance literature. In particular the distinction between ths 
L-(jmpo9itions of the Norman Trouvfires and of the' Provencal Trouba 
ilouis has given rise to many elaborate dissertations and many con- 
tending theories : and yet the fundamental question may be easily, and, 
we think, not unsatisfactorily, solved by the simple comparison of the 
two terms. Treavere and Troubadour are obviously the two forms of 
the same word as pronounced respectively by the population who 
spoke the Langue-d'Oil and the Langue-d'Oc. The natural and pic- 
turesque definition of a poet as n finder or inventor bears some analogy 
with the term Skald, ot polisher of language, by whidi the same idea 
was represented among the Scandinavians, with the Greek nmirtin, a 
term exactly reproduced in the Maker of the Lowland Scots ; and the 
beautiful qualification of the poetic art as el gay saber and la guaye 
science, no less faithfully corresponds to the idea contained in the 
Saxon term gleeman^ applied to the singer or bard, whose invention 
furnished the joy of the banquet. Now, if we keep in mind the charac- 
teristic diiferences which are universally found to distinguish a North- 
ern as compared with a Southern people, we shall generally find that 
in the former the imagination, the sentimenis, and the memory are 
most developed, while the latter will be more remarkable for the 
vivacity of the passions and the intensity — and consequently also the 
transitory duration — of the affective emotions. We might therefore 
predict h priori, given respectively a Northern aitd a Southern popula- 
tion, that among the former an imaginative or poetical literature would 
have a natural tendency to take a narrative, and among the latter a 
lyric, form ; for narrative is the necessary type in which the first- 
mentioned class of intellectual qualities would clothe themselves, while 
arde it and transitory passion would as inevitably express itself in the 
IjtIc form. And this is what we actually find, on comparing the 
]>revailing literary type of the Trouvkre with that of the Troubadom 
literature. It is evident that the composition of long narrative recitah 
iif real or imaginary events would require a certain degree of literarj 
liillure, as well as a considerable amount of leisure; and therefort 
many of the interminable romances of the Trouv^res may be traced tij 
tlie ecclesiastical profession; wnile IJie shorter and more lively lyrii: 
and satiric effusions which constitute the bulk of the Troubadour litei - 
«ture wero .Vequently the productions of princes, knights, and ladlei, 



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A. D. 1066.J LANGUAGE AND LIfERATURM ^^ 

the power of writing verse being considered as one of the neces&arj 
accomplishments of a gentleman : — 

" Hb coude soiigea make, and wel endite." 
Concerning the source from which the Romance poets, both of the 
Northern and Southern dialects, drew the materials for their ch.valrit 
ri linns, great diversity has prevailed; and the various theories whicL 
■lave beeti broached on this curious subject may be practically reduced 
to two hypotheses ; the one tracing these inventions to an Oriental, and 
Itie other to a Celtic source; while a third class of investigators have 
endeavored to assign to them a Teutonic paternity, whether in tha 
general German or the exclusively Scandinavian nationality. Each of 
these theories has been supported with much ingenuity, and defended 
with an immense display of learning: but they are all equally obnox- 
ious to the reproach of having been made too exclusive : the existence 
of the well-marked general features of Chivalric Romance long before 
the European nations acquired, by the Crusades, any familiarity with 
the imagery and scenery of the East renders the first hypothesis 
untenable in its full extent; while the second is in a great lucasure 
invalidated by the comparatively barbarous state into which the Celtic 
tribes had generally fallen at the time when the Chivalric literature 
began to prevail, and the little knowledge which the Romance popu- 
lations of Europe possessed of the ancient Gaulic language and 
historical legendary lore. It is true that the Trouvferes almost inva- 
riably pretend to have found the subjects of their narratives in the 
traditions, or among the chronicles of tlie " olde gentil Bretons," just 
as Marie de France refers her reader to the Celtic or Armorican 
authorities; but this was in all probability in general a mere literary 
artifice, like that which induced other poets to place the venue of their 
wondrous adventures in some distant and unknown region : — 

" In Sarra, !n the lond of Tartarie." 
The important part played m these legends by the half-mythical Ar- 
thur and his knights might seem to argus in favor of a Celtic origin 
for these fiLtions , for if ever such a personage as Arthur really existed 
he must have been a British prmce ; but when we remember that 
Arthur, though mentioned in the authentic traditional poems of the 
niiraint Britons, is a comparatii ely insignificant character, and that 
ihese same traditions contain no trace whatever of the existence of 
that chualnc state of society of which Arthur and his prenx are the 
idpal, we shall hnd oursehes as much warranted in accepting the 
aulheaticity of a Celtic origin on these grounds, as in attributing the 
diivalric chaiacter with which Alexander, Hector, and Hercules are 
■Iso invested in the medieval poets, to an intimate acquaintance with 
Ihe Homeric .and classical poems, from which tha Troubadour maj- 
ndeed have borrowed some striking names and leading incidents, bui 
with the true spirit of which every line shows him to be unacqu^nted.' 
5 8. For two centuries after the Norman conquest, the Anglo-Saxon 

* See Mote* and Illu>trationa.(B), Angio-Normmi Lileraturt. 



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lii ORIOIN OF TUB EMGLrSS [Chap I 

nnd the Norm an- French continued to be spoken in the inland, ai two 
distinct languages, having Lttle intennixtuie with one another The 
most important change, which convertid the Anglo Sivon into Old 
English, and which consists chieflj m the substitution of the vowel « 
for the different inflections, was not due in any coooidcrable degree to 
tiie Norman conquest, though it was probably hastened \y that event. 
It commenced even before the Norman conquest, and was owing to the 
same causes which led to similar changes in the kindred G"im»7i 
Jialects. The large introduction of Fi-ench words into English "Jates 
ftom the time when the Normans began to speak the language of the 
conquered race. It is, however, an error to .represent the English lan- 
guage as springing from a mixture of Anglo-Saxon and French, ; since 
a mised language, in the strict sense of the term, may be pronounced 
an impossibility. The English still remained essentially a German 
tongue, though it received such large accessions of French words as 
materially to change its character. To fix with precisitm the date when 
this change took place is manifestly an impossible task. It was a 
gradual process, and. must have advanced with more or less rapidity 
in diifei^nt parts of the country. In remote and less frequented districts 
the mass of the population long preserved their pure Saxon speech. 
This is sufficiently proved by the circumstance, that even in the present 
day, the inhabitants of such remote, or upland districts, still show in 
their patois an evident preponderance of the Saxon element, as ex- 
hibited in the use of many old German words which have long ceased 
to form part of the English vocabulary, and in the evident retention 
of German peculiarities of pronunciation. " Nothing can be more 
difBcult," says Hallam, "than to determine, except by an arbitrary 
line, the commencement of the English language; not so much, as in 
those of the Continent, because we are in want of materials, but rather 
from an opposite reason — the possibility of tracing a very gi-adual suc- 
. cession of verbal changes, that ended in a change of denomination. 
For when we compare the earliest English of the thirteenth century 
with the Anglo-Saxon of the twelfth, it seems hard to pronounce why 
it should pass for a separate language, rather than a modification or 
simplification of the former. We must conform, however, to usage, 
and say that the Anglo-Saxon was converted into English : i. by con- 
tracting or otherwise modifying the pronunciation and orthography of 
words; 2. by omitting many inflections, especially of the noun, and 
consequently making more use of articles and auxiliaries; and 3. b;r 
the introduction of French derivatives. Of these the second »lone, 
I think, can be considered as sufficient to describe a new form of 
language; and this was brought about so gradually, that we are not 
relieved of much of our difficulty, whether some compositions shall 
pass for t!ie lates {.offspring of the mother, or foi- the earliest proofs of 
the fertility of the daughter," 

The picturesque illustration, so happily employed by Scott in thtj 
opening chapter of I-aankoe, has often been quoted as a good popular 
exemplification of the mode in which the Saxon and French elements 



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A. D. 1250.] LAl^tiVAGM AND T.ITSRATVllM. 23 

were blended : the common animals serving foi- food to man, while 
iindei* the charge uf Saxon serfs and bondmen, retained their Teutonic 
appellation ; but when served up at the table of the Norman oppressor 
received a French designation. As exantpies of this, he cites the par- 
'iX^€\.% Ox ^XiA Beef, Swine 3'a^ Pork, Sheep extA Mutton, Calf^aA Veal. 
ft is curious to see, on examining the grammar and vocabulary of the 
Burly English language, as exhibited in the writings of our old poets 
Dnd chroniciei-s, how often the primitive Saxon forms continued ver_v 
padiially lu,become effaced, while the French orthography nnd pro- 
nandationof the newly introduced words have not yet become harmo- 
nized, BO to iipeak, with the general character of the new idiom. Thus, 
fn the following lines of Chaucer: — 

" The sleer of himself yet sttugh I there, 

Hia hertB-blood hath bathed al his here j 

The najl y-drjvB In the ehode a-njght ; 

The colde deth, with mouth gapjog upright. 

Amyddes of the tempul t in' ch 

With Eory comfort and I y 
In these vei-ses we see the Saxon gra m c I f b I tl 

large importation of Norman-Fi*ench d wh h h j t 1 t 

their original accentuation. The old G m f d n t 

as it were, and overlapping the lat ly t d d G 11 fa h 

was the state in which Chaucer found th ti Idmtthbg 
ning of the fourteenth century, and tl dm bl t tl t 1 

poet may he said to have put the last t h t th I d t 1 th 

English language. For a considerabi pnd 1 h tm hw 
such writings as were addressed to th j p tl 1 th I I 

continued to retain much of the Saxo I t t ls 1 S P' 7 

grammatical structure, and versificat f pl ' f th 

peculiar alliterative system are percept blf p dlgbq t 
30 the reign of Richard II., while the 1 bo t comp t ddre d 

to the still purely Norman nobility retain much of the French spirit in 
their diction and imagery. 

§ 9. Though it is impossible to assign any exact date to the change 
of Anglo-Saxon into English, the chief alterations in the language may 
be arranged approximately under the following cpocliK ; — 

I. Aagla-Saxon, from A. D. 450 to 1150. 

II. Semi-Saxoa, from A. D. 1150 to 1250 (from the leign of Stephen 
bl the middle of the reign of Henry III.), so called because it partakes 
flrongly of the characteristics of both Anglo-Saxon and Old English. 

III. OldEnglish, from A. D. 1150101350 (from the middle of the reign 
»i Heiry III. to the middle of the reign of Edward III.). 

IV. Middle English, from A. D. 1350 to about 1550 (from the middle 
of tlie reign of Edward III. to the reign of Edward VI.). 

V. Modem BiigUsi-, from A. D. 1530 to the present diiy.* 



• The writers who wish to discard the t*rm An<jlo-Saaon call the i 


Lllglo. 


Saxon First EngUah, the Semi-Sason Second English, and sive the nan 


le of 


T^rd BngEah to the remaining periods. 





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85 



mxES AifD itLmTRAnom. 



[Ch; 



.1 



The three f5rat psrioda ecarcelj belong to a history of English litera- 
lure, and consequently only a brief acwjunt of them is given in the 
Notee and Illustrations appended to the present chapter. The real 
history of English literature begins with Chaucer, in the brilliant reign 
of Edward III. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

— 4NOL0-9AXON WTEBATORB. 

^ layd in tlioir primeval btesEv, the ean- 
I of the rich provutcu of BriUJn had Bulk 
itiDD u coiiCempl&dou, and their lilerature 
Jfli^fLl, Tlicro WDJ buL little difi^l^ncB of 

fka produced were, with only three cxcep- 



spired \tY a peapje'a auelei 
BObJocU iTMfl moral, reliaiou 
Ua Undei^s tuning of 



lie traatiUr^s aai\g, aa 



D. «I3). 13.) Of ilf (illiDiiI PoeA-s, t 



It woAhe profluet of fbre^ ecf 



wilhitcli^Dus 
pDEtryoflhed 



Ae WBB atreriHitJieri^ Dua thd Urentty troaS' 
satea by the hotilt of viaiting 1{ome, which 
IVeqiKiLt in the ^^h^i centujy. Uon/ 



W imii<« F&fffHflnB 



:iono/£^iu;j^^}f>«e b^ fAe i 



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dttAP. 1.3 ANGLO-SAXON LITERATURE. 



^Iilluyd (BumbBrbm). in the bLxUj C4Dtiny> and 
About A- 1^. £43-015) of Ireland) who. having Joined 



lb oliuiclLea of Llie Aofflo 



alatlng chiefly of coianKllLarie' on Lii 
pervaded \tj IhQ Allegoilail meLho; 
iua[£KS, €Ehliiitin]f the im^rf^ know 

Wmity ^Ich display wi 



II BMorv V'Al J>lirta-& 



^hich h« I4lnl«a with KnipulOhB & 
very plHkEJnf Btyla Thg l£!^t<trii 
Into Anglo-SniQn l>y King Alfifll. 
BedewMBDrioDLHl^dbyi ^ ~ 



e splc^ndld libnuy ob 

td in AnglD-Sa^ioa u 
JE ( Wii\fiiil), a nnlii 



Hid echQQl if^A^l^l'i^l^^l^ ^ghci 
tkvoritfl pnpililf that prehLte's b 

bishopric (A. D. IBS), Oio school 



ri Bis latin poeiM hJb' 
HoUeliieflyitijpomoti 



in Ulitary of Emg Alfliid, ot 1 



ofwMohliehiniwlf te]liUB.IhRt the peuple mlglil 

to the cuiturt of thfl DBtiTe tODgue fitr popular In- 
ptOi the d«&7 of HcholuThip. the biug liinuelf iM 



ties, while he btaught to the woi'lcuuririiiBinduati?, 

end meaning, and eouud ^goient upon polnU 
needing lUutmtioil. His moit lm(POItiil tor-' '- 



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uiotte PfHilfKrp/ii/e, ooCl, for i 
u ftnloraJs of e*. Oregnij. 






NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. tCHAP. t 



re p/ hS. Gj-eyor^, by Weii^w]! Bioko 

policy of calling fbr^gn scEloFua liU 
hicb miB tblinwed hy oUim bLngB dow 



lis tigllty ifeinil<« Bn hJg ciileTltorb. 
evive tba n^octed Etji^ of Lnlja by . 



it is fiE^Ully naslaned to him, 

;, Abbot of MBlmeBbiaj {0. A. I 
i, BvxpaniA BAla, ArcJiblohop ol 

la CoUoqoium ba repuMisbed, besUlea 
1 of Bishop Elteiitoia (A. D. flSS-SSlJ. 



3r AJflal, by PUgnmnd, ArchWabt 
my. who biuugbllt dava to A. D. 31 

nd of Ihc Aiglo-Sasc 



chiooolc^icLil r 
riliblGsl tb^o 



obnipHylu 
and tlSbis etonB wilhonl 



BBghlog eviilence, or of judgmriil in Ihe selK 
rflhefettJ narreled " (Kirah, Orisftl nod J]il 
IT l*> £ieIM iluif nogai LkI. UI- P- U13)> ' 



17 ootlYily Ihii maa teftlo 



of Peterborough- The chief worka of 
re iDniposed In IaUd; while tbl lightel 
ta the £be^> adopted the huigonge of 



ooivnl of lonmliig on 
Ih tlio Greek lEUnidE 
10 brighter TEvJVEIl in 

fVom Uie groit poe[« 



thttln of irreftj^blo reaooi 



lheConqiiral,UioughEhohsahdped p epare 
-, by ecndlDg forth auch men oa Crlgcna IW) 

iiy» hsd employed phlloaophLcnl method in 

obnen WEte Ar^toteliaoa. The usw iMHdllg 
inly enletell In the Inin of Uie Conqinm. M 



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Chai.1.1 ANGLO-NORMAN l.lVERATJRE. 






Oies were a BiEt ngatflei. ntlier « poiBIb lo the 
grxitluFnlBl UoLi-eraiUts, 10 wUcb Ei^lish iUlJjaeU 
nained ia erciit niunbcia, eapeciuUi' Id fsria. 



-l-AHimAMO (b. A,D. 1005, d. A. D. 1060) 






EHf phon ol Oocii. and in IIAV Ite ltd 
ff CiMiterinuT. iu pU«B 4^' tlie de4i 

I" 



dleLiiigidBli«Ll prelntH, only In 



tfuirii Omdiim el VeOigiia f AUosoiiSom 



19. anil tUcd St BdIokdu, 



ir, ROHEB BAOOB (stm! A- D. 12U- 
leroaod lo physical Kioncs, jrinp* 
of a fflirceiec. vMle dimly anUflpat- 






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NOTES AKD ILIUSTBATIONS. [Chap. I 



UaUry hoA alisady heau commenced b 

(A. D. IWC-llM). sad He coatimuitioa ( 

quaroTr exTHiullnir tram A. H- 1035 to A^ 
b^EriQbdl^milD^aad end RTQ lost; ne km 

lEir a. A, D, IIISI wuipilel a chnmlile 



lancUugofUejteHUDdHana 



er 4. D. ilJi), alED a sorth)' follower of Dedo, 






iQ-ntw Bluer, b. iboui A. D. inn, d. A. D. isaai, 



cvkbnled Histona MnJOTy tl 
iKle, or Fhna UiHariuivn, 



tbe ReV' Henry O- Coxe. for tin EiigUalL 



un MCBlloul hialoij, frjm Stepheu 1 
(A. S. 1139-191;), vbkli WIS editei 
Hog, London, 1^. Fkpili Qkk lu 
corapiled Uie CHnu'cte iff St. -JOm 






p' I^SUFS Sf- Sdiutatdt t 



lulutlolfl l^t IHr. Coily^'i 









h>vebet|«diMI>r«(I.;' 



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CiiAi-. I.] ANGLO-NORMAN LITERATURE. 

Bf John of SaUliuiy are tlioruuBia^ inalyzod in | meill, Bud cootoinlng Man 
Biein(raogtJph)rDr.3chiis«cluriiai,I.Hpiie,lSa2. tempoBij hJHloiJ'. His ovi 
0. LaHn PotKy HUB oulllvalcd « Bn flBgsiit ac- BMnoff" death is mllrbiqd b, 
oODipltBlmicnl by tbe ■BO of leamliie, u Luwrenoe alldrMdng Mm ss 



uUized In Enrope b7 Gie end of the eleve 
It WM applied to hyDiiiolofty by SL 



nofll dlBLLFf eared bj Ihe middle of tlw 
J alicadr Dbafflvcd, chiefly in poeliy, 



)N (0. A. D. J19! 






UiiiiudD qiUfiloi^tur, bo^e »A 
Deriaum rBUl>ir, atit litfei to u 



,) JEoTAORCdl, relating ciilelly 10 thMB 



WM cMeBr used fiir iilire. Hpeei»liy lij the BBS, 



cmplojE^ *3bo for all mam 



ele^y. Hap also mote In regular Loljn verae, slid 
too, in Anglo-Honnaa poelrj anil proBC, chiefly uii 



Enali— (3-) Saitra, of V 



ic »^ if JnufclerM of WAGE (d. a 



h poeliy 1b of grent importune? 
m It fljrniflhed btNlli flubjecla ( 

datei and the univcTEBlly flccoi 



!)T, ft iijulH poem, X 



11 eotbin, «t Kicat D 



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urOTBS AKD ILLUSTBATIONS. [Chj 



r'S Bnti, or Chroaa^ofSnlahi, of 
aOe of " the En^lab EnDlDi," Sir- 



'^liofHawiifoA, aoA Oag ttf 



IMt Oapi-, His Somm^ lUiiia, die .Rinnan < 

^taH^rtArtkmi Willi Ji Bcquel. ko two porta, tl 
Boaaaile TMam {01 TileUani. l^cliLefwril 
vnt Vi-vrsa uiras (ulieiu]; mesUanEd) ; b 



h> the gnma (^fotiiCIt of 



m. and lUeUiuil U. (A, S. Um-Um). Ue II 
(UM) be piHBiiud hie poetlciil noiki (o Kb 



I Aogle-^jLipiii XifuigLi^gc, Mnell as 



Tie laaguago diei ou 



he KBa u pileiE of SniUr, n;il[ RediloDC, on tbi 
Heveni (proliihiy Iojcb- Jr!«W,add IhatliE com- 
piled biB work partly fiom a, book In Bngluh by 



pAlUy from one maile by b Pivneh olerh^ rnui 
Wue, aud ptuenled Lo EJeanor, qaeen of Ifei 
IL UeBHuis^haveverftohavefbllovedoiilyB 
In tUo Blozy of Pops Greyly and the EagliBb bId 



apuaed fiiim l/i,a» Imea lo 82,250, partly ftj pn 
irjulng, partly by iDBertiji^ Epecthca and OIJ 
imposition?, BUCh AS the Dream of Arthur, vh 



th tejria only oboiit idaot^. " We And prc- 
of Layemou's poem tbe spirit BudBtyle of the oarliel 
in of bnttlee vitiumt 1ieEii£ reminded of tbe 

1, "A foreign Bcliolar and poet (anindlvl((), 
both iu Aoglo-fioxen and goandinaviau 

loment feiiiinding tlie reader of [he splendid 
ilo^y of Auftlo-finxon veree. It mny aleo he 

[in^Kgc. since it eervBa to eonvi^ to ns, bi in 
piobabUlty, tlio current epeiN^ Qf tile writer'! Ilrae.'' 



LoyaiDOD ueci tiie Icluili^d dovice of OBBonwte 
the coniruTreDce of ByltahleD eontniniug tl 
owcl. The fh^raing cou^etl Art fbunilf 



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CHAr. I.] OLD ENGLISH 

of five Uld iix being Oie uuret frequeut- The Im- 
porLant Hearing of LnjailiQTi'a dkJect ou Hie histoid 
rf the ftmuJIon of Hu! EngU* topiaje " (""y 



LITERATURE. 



AuchoiiteB. <^ ff. J^uu} A code of monastie f veceplap 



1 eyUnble. Hod enUrelj 



ioilh-»tt(pHh»pBn«r] 



only exMa In one US. (in (he BodleiBa LIbnuy). 
KUdi ia thouEhl to be the sutogBlpli; its ' 

LerofUiulanBuagl^Dnd the re£uJlLt llLytEiiu 



rorke lD Btud^^Sition IMI hni 

il'K^, in Hid Rtilii^« JiOi^ve, QitAi- 
4 Abnf (« t Ae Atdy, pmded by Sir Th0IULt9 



diBtingiEiflli 
goine r^eoid ttie I 



liie ^lle of OM SugJah. 

I dUcuiKd byMBrghCtilgli 
ne divi^ng Ibg lira penodh 



lie second p&it only luu been yub- 
edilLont of Robert of Gloucester 
^ The work ji erldentlf «i imU^' 



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NOTES ANV ILLUSTRATIONS. 



[n rhynied octoajilablc i 



j(i,y1^<U4j,BtJeaBtunaiieth««duoi 



■Aiiih WailUD placed ImRire Ihe idgn of Hour)' n 



ed fin by the nt&ai\!l of >tg 
iQd the later AnglD-Soion 



Wr^hl, BioipapMa flrilnnnfci 

^# AngtO'Sonpint Pe'iod, 

BfU^ace B/Anciaa SaffUih Paelrs. Bra puDluuea 

la 17M ! Warton, JSUors ri/RKglith Foelrg, ITH, 

-■ - ■ - - - ■ • ., Lond. IMIt Tyr. 









Cunlnturs JiiJw. Willi Pi 

tcbel-l lie Stnulle, 1T3S; Htlaon, 



fiit*iird Oeur di Om, m 



, Uanh. Orfff'i wuf Ifittorf- q/" fAj £hv'«'> ^^b*- 



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TBB AOE OF CHAUCER. 



THE A.GE OF CHAUCER. A. D. 1350 — A 0.1400. 

i I. The fourteenth century a great period of tranaition - Uhaueer, tlio t]p< J 
Ms age. i 2. HU Uterarj predeceesorE, eapecially Gowbr. i 3. InflnEnee ol 
WlOLiFFB. H. CHiucER: bis personal history, character, and appearance 
S fi Two periods in his literary career, oorrespondins to the ItomanUe and 
iimniMance tendencies. The reUgious element: his relations to Wicliff^ 
S 6 CriUeal survey of his works. Of the BomanliG type : — (1.) Homama oj 
the flow : (ii.l Co«rt of Lot» ; (iii.) Assimbhj of Fo«>l> ; (iv.) CiBiAoio <md 
NigMingale ,■ (v.) The Floieer and the Leaf; (vi.) Clui'ucer'i Dream ; (Tii.) Bokt 
of the Duckeise 1 (riii.) House of Famfl. Of the Renaissance type .- (11.) The 
LeoendeofGoodWimm: (x.) IVw'fia onrf Cresseide. f 7. TheCANTEBnuns 
Taleb- the Prologue and Portrait Gallety. j 8. Plan incomplete. The 
eristingTalesj their arrangement, nxetrical forms, and sources. §9. Critical 
esamination of tlie chief Tales, in their two classes, serious and humorous. 
The two prose Tales, j 10. Clianoet's services to the English language. 

g 1. The fourteenth century h the most important epoch in the 
intellectual history of Europe. It is the point of contact between two 
wideiv-ditFering e^as in the social, religious, and political annah of oui 
race ; the slack water between the ebb of Feudali-^m and Chivalry, and 
ihe "" young flood " of the Revival of Letters and the great Protestant 
Reformation. As in the long bright nights of the Aictic summer, the 
alow of the setting sun melt» imperceptibly into the redness of the 
dawning, so do the last brilliant splendors of the feudal institutions 
and the chivalric literature transfuse themselves, at this momentous 
period, into the glories of that great intellectual movement which has 
(riven bii th to modern art, letters, and science Of thia great ti-ansform- 
ation the personal career, no less than the works, of the fii-st great Eng- 
lish poet, Chaucer, -will furnish us with the most exact type and espres- 
sion ; for, like all men of the highest order of genius, he at once followed 
and directed the intellectual tendencies of his age, and is himself the 
" abstract and brief chronicle " of the spirit of his time. Dante is not 
more emphatically the representative of the moral, religious, and 
political ideas of Italy, than Chaucer of English literature. He was, 
ndeed, an epitome of the time in which he lived ; a time when chivalry, 
»bout to perish forever as a political institution, was giving forlh lU 
last and most dazzling rays, " and, like the sun, looked larger at iU 
setting! " whet the magnificent court of Edward HI. had earned u.e 
tplendoroftba system to the height of its development; andwhenthe 
victories of Slujs, of Crecy, and Poitiers, by exciting the national pride, 
tended to consummate the fusion into one vigorous nationality of the 
two elements which formed the English people and the English lan- 
guage. It was these triumphs that gave to the English character lu 



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56 TITM AGE OF GlIAUGER. [Chap. II. 

peculiar inmlarity; and made the Engliehman, whether knight oi 
jeoman, regard himself as the member of a separate and superior race, 
enjoying a higher degree of iibertj and a more solid material welfare 
than existed among the neighboring continental monarchies. The 
literature, too, abundant in quantity, if not remarkable for much orlgi- 
natitj" of form, was rapidlj taking a purelj' English tone ; the rhyming 
chronicles and legendarj" romances were either translated into, oi 
iriglnallj composed in, the vernacular language. 

g 2. Thus, among fiie predecessors of Chaucer, tlie literary staiB 
that heralded the splendid dawning of our national poetry, Richard 
Rolle, Laurence Minot, and the remarkable satirist Langlande in South 
Britain, ar.;i Barbour, Wyntoun, and Blind Harry in Scotland, all show 
evident traces of a purely English spirit.* The immediate poetical 
predeceEBor of Chaucer, however, was undeniably Gower, whose 
interminable productions, half moral, half narrative, and with a con- 
niderable infusion of the scholastic theology of the day, though they 
certainly will terrify a modem reader by their tiresome monotony and 
the absence of originality, rendered inestimable services to the infaii 
literature, by giving regularity, polish, and harmony to the language, 
Indeed, the style and diction of Gower is surprisingly free from difficult 
and obsolete expressions ; his versification is extremely regular, and he 
runs on in a full and flowing, if commonplace and unpoetical, stream 
of disquisition. It is very curious, as an example of the contemporary 
existence of the French, the Latin, and the vernacular literature at this 
period in England, that the three parts of GnDwei-'s immense work 
should have been composed in three different languages : the Vox Cta- 
mantis in Latin, the Speculum Medilaniis in Norman-French, and the 
Coafessio Amantia in English-f 

% 3, In endeavoring to form an idea of the intellectual situation of 
England in the fourteenth century, we must by no means leave out of 
the account the vast influence exerted by the preaching of WiclifFe, and 
the mortal blow struck by him against the foundations of Catholic 
supremacy in England. This, together with the general hostility 
excited by the intolerable corruptions of the monastic orders, which 
had gradually invaded the rights, the functions, and the possessions of 
the far more practicall -/-useful working or parochial clergy, still furthei 
intensified that inqi-img spirit which prompted the people to refus* 
obedience to the temporal as well as spiritual authority of the Roman 
See, and paved the way for an ultimate rejection of the Papal yoke. 
Much influence must also be attributed to Wicliffe's translation of th« 
Bible into tl:ii English language, andto the gradual employment of thai 
Idioni in the iervices of the church, towards the perfecting and regu- 
iilling of the English language ; an influence similar in kind to the 
settlement of the German language by Luther's version of the sam* 
holy book, though, perhaps, less powerful in degree; for in the latter cas« 

• For an account of Chaucer's prpdeeeesotB, see Notes and IlluatrationB (A) 
t For a fuller account of Gower, see Notes and Illuatratioiie (B}, 



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fc.D. t35a] TffH AGE OF CHAUCER. 81 

the reading class in Germany must hat s been more numerous than in 
the England of the fourteenth century." 

§ 4. Geobprey Chaucer was bora in 1328, and his long and acUva 
life extended till the 2Sth of October, 1400. Consequently the poet's 
career almost coincides, in its commencement, with the splendid admic- 
istration of Edward III. ; and comprehends also the short and disastrous 
reign of Richard JI., whose assassination preceded the poet's death by 
only a few months. In the brilliant court of Edward, in the gay and 
fejitastic tourney, as well as in the sterner contests of actual warfare, 
the poet appears to have plajed no insignificant part. He is supposed 
to have been sprung of wealthy, though uot illustrious parentage, and 
must have been of gentle blood; his surname, which is the French 
CAoBSiief, evidently pointing at a continental — at that period equiv- 
alent, in a certain degree, to an aristocratic — origin. Besides this, we 
have distinct proof, not only in the fact of his having been " armed a 
knight" (which is shown by his evidence in the disputed cause of the 
Scrope and Grosvenor arms), but also in the honorable posts which he 
held, that Chaucer must have belonged to the higher sphere of society 
His marriage, too, with Philippa de Roet, a lady of Poitevin birth, 
the daughter of a knight, and one of the maids of iionor in attendance 
upon Queen Philippa, would still further tend to confirm this sup- 

Tliough but little credit is due to the details set forth in the ordinary 

biographies of the poet, I will condense into a rapid sketch such as are 

be testabl hed for every trait is interesting that helps us to realize 

the nd dual ex tence of so illustrious a man. 

The n cnpl on upon his tomb in Westminster Abbey, which still 

X t tl ougl tl e recumbent Gothic statue of the poet, originally a 
port t 1 a be ome unhappily so defaced that even the details of the 
d a o I nger distinguishable, fises the period of his birth in 

3j8 and tl at of his death in 1400. This tomb, however, was not 
erected till 1556, hy Mr. Nicholas Brigham, probably an admirer of his 
genius. Chaucer calls himself a ionrfesi^ii or ii?«i£e»e»- in the Testa- 
ment of Love. In his Court of Love he speaks of himself under the 
name and character of "Philogenet — o/" Camiwif^, Clerk; " but tliis 
hai-dly proves that he was educated at Cambridge. According to an 
authentic record, he was taken prisoner in 1359 by the French xX the 
siege 3f Rhetiers, and being i-ansomed, according to the custom of those 
timeS; was enabled to return to England, in 1360. 

His marriage with Philippa de Roet, which took place in 1367, may 
have brought him more under the notice of the court : for in 1367 we 
find him named one of the "valets of the king's chamber," and writs 
are addressed to him under the then honorable designation " dilectus 
valettUB noster." His official car?2r appears to have been active and 
even diiitinguished ! he enjoyed auring a long period various profitable 
officeb connected with the customs, having been comptroller of the 

• l^or Ml account uf WicliSe and his school, see Notes and Ulmttatioa* (OS- 



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SS THE AGE OF CHAUCER. rCnAP. II. 

important revenue arising from the large importation of Bordeaux and 
Gascon wines into tiie port of London; and he seems also to haw 
been occasionally employed in diplomatic negotiations. Thus, he was 
joined with two citizens of Genoa in a commission to Italy in 1373, on 
which occasion he is supposed to have made the acquaintance of 
Pf'j^rch, then the most illustrious man of letters in Europe. Partlj 
in consequence of his marriage with Philippa de Roet, whose sister, 
Catherine Swynford, was first the mistress and afterwards the wife of 
ycrhn of Gaunt, and partly perhaps from sharing in some of the political 
Itid religious opinions of that powerful prince, Chaucer was identified 
to a considerable degree both with the household and party of the 
duke of Lancaster; and the death of the duchess Blanche in 1369 ia 
believed to have suggested to him the subject of his Boke of the 
Dackesse, and the Complaynte of the Blache Knyght. One of the most 
interesting particulars of his life was his election as representative for 
Kent in the parliament of 1386, which was dissolved in December of 
the same year. 

The year 1383 was the signal for 1 great and unfavorable change it 
the poet's fortunes. In consequence of the active part taken by him in 
the struggle between the court and the city of London, on occasion of 
the re-election of John of Northampton to the mayoraitj-, Chaucer fell 
into disgrace and difSculty, and was exposed to serious persecution, 
and even imprisoned in the Tower, whence he is said to have attained 
his liberation only on condition of accusing and denouncing his aeso- 
ciates. This imprisonment lasted three years; and in. addition to 
heavy fines and the loss of his offices, the poet underwent a severe 
domestic calamity in the death of his wife, in 1387, The catastrophe 
in his affairs to which we have alluded was, however, followed by a 
partial restoration to favor; for in 1390 he was appointed to the office of 
clerk of the king's works, which he held for only about a year; and 
there is reason to believe that, though his pecuniary circumstances 
must have been, during a great part of his life, proportionable to the 
position he occupied in the state and in society, his last days were 
more or less clouded by embaiTassment. It is with regret that we are 
obliged to abandon the supposition, founded on insufficient evidence, 
of his having resided, during the latter part of his life, at Donnington 
Castle. It is more probable that the close of his career was passed at 
Woodstock, where a house was long shown as having been the poet's 
residence. His death took place at Westminster, and the house in 
►h.ich this event occuiTed was afterwards removed to make room foi 
'JlC chapel of Henry VII. 

If we may judge from an ancient and probably authentic portrait 
of Chaucer, attributed to his contemporary and fellow-poet, Occleve, 
as well as from a curious and beautiful miniature introduced, according 
to the fashion of those times, into one of the most valuable manu- 
script copies of his works, our great poet appears to have been a man 
of pleasing and acute, though somewhat meditative and abstracted 
aring a long beard; and he seems to have becora* 



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A. D. 1400.] TBE AGE OF CHAUCER. 39 

lomewhat corpulent towards Ihe en J of his life, at whicft time the Can- 
lereury Tales were written. These peculiarities of pereonal appear- 
ance as well as some others, f,iving indications of nis manners and 
character, are also alluded to by the poet himself in the Tales them- 
selves. When Chaucer is in his turn called upon by the host of the 
Taoard, himself represented as a " lai^ man," and a " faire but^ess,' 
tj contribute kis story to the amusement of the pilgrims, he is ralliefl 
by nonest Harry Bailey on his corpulency, as well as on his ttudtoi" 
iiH.<< obslracted air : — 

"What man ai-t lhou>" quod he, 
"Thou lolteat ns thou woMest fynde an hare : 
For ever on the ground I sa the staio. 
Approach noi'e, and loke merrily. 
Now ware you, sires, and let this man have spaoB, 
He in the wast is shape as wel aa I : 
This were a popet in an arm to embrace. 
For any womman, smal and fait of face. 
He semelli elvisch by his countenance, 
For unto no wight doth he daliaunoc." 
The good-nature with which the poet receives these jokes, and the 
readiness with which he commences a new story I i ncourteously 
;ut short, all seem to point to the gentlemanly and bl q 1 t f 

in accomplished man of the world. 

§ S. The literary and intellectual career of Ch ce t J d 

itself naturally into two periods, closely corresp d g th th tw 
great social and political tendencies which meet Ji f t 1 
tury. The earlier productions of Chaucer bear tl t nip d 1 t 
of the Chivalric, his later and more original ere t f Ih R 

sance literature. It is more than probable th t th p f t t 

Italy, tlien the fountain and centre of the gre t it aij It 

brought him into contact with tlie works and the m by wh =e m 
pie the change in the taste of Europe was brought b t D t t 
[rue, died before the birth of Chaucer; and tho gh h fi 
poet, a theologian, and a metaphysician, may not j 1 1 f !ly re h d 
England, yc^ Chaucer must have fallen under it i d gr Th re 

is a third element in the character of Chaucer's writings, besides the 
imitation of the decaying Romance and the rising Renaissance litera- 
(ure, which must be taken into account by all who would form a true 
conception of his intellect; and this is the religious element. II is 
difScult to ascertain how far the poet sympathized with the bold di>c 
triiiea of Wicliffe, who, like himself, was favored and protected ^i 
John of Gaunt, fourth son of Edward III. It is, however, probable, 
tl>at though he sympathized — as is shown by a thousand satirical 
aassages in his poems —with Wicliffe'a hostility to the monastic orders 
»nd abhorrence of tha corruptions of the clergy, and the haughty 
clfunii ?*■ uapal supremacy, the poet did not share in the theological 
opinions of the reformer, then regarded as a dangerous heresiarch. 
Chaucer probably remained faithful to the creed of Catholicism, whiU 



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TBE AGE OP CUAUGEll. [Qni 



10 

altacking vrith irresistible satire the abuses of the Catholic ecclesiaatii al 
administration. How intense that satire is, maj be gathered from tlie 
contemptible and odious traits which he has lavished on nearly all hii 
portraits of monastic personages in the Canterhuty Tales; and nol 
less clearly from the strong contrast he has made between the sloth, 
sensua'Uy, and trickery of these persons, and the almost ideal per- 
fection of Christian virtue which he has associated with his Persounc, 
Uie onl: member of the secular or parocliial clergy he has introduced 
into his inimitable gallery. It is by do means to be understood thai 
ti:e iirincipal works of this great man can be ranged ckronologically 
anu'er the two strongly marked categories just specified; or that al) 
Uiose bearing manifest traces of the Pravenval spirit and forms were 
written previously, and those of the Renaissance or Italian type sub- 
sequently, to any particular epoch in the poet's life ; but only that his 
earlier productions bear a general stamp of the one, and his later of the 
other literary tendency; while the greatest and most original of all, 
the Canterbicry Tales, may be placed in a class by itself, 

§ 8. A brief critical examination of Chaucer's works may serve to 
point out, however ipiperfectly, the boundless stores of imagination and 
pathos, of wisdom and of wit, which the father of English poetry has 
embodied ia language that has never been surpassed, and seldom 
equalled, for harmony, variety, and picUiresqueness. I shall reserve to 
the last the more detailed analysis of the Canterbury Tales. On a 
rough general inspection of the longer works which compose the rather 
voluminous collection of Chaucer's poetry, it will be found that about 
eight of them are to be ascribed to a direct or indirect imitation of 
purely Romance models, -while three fall naturally under the category 
of the Italian or Renaissance type. Of the former class the principal are 
(he Romauni of the Rose, the Court of Love, the Assembly of Fo-ails, 
the Cucko-Bi and the Nightingale, the FloToer and the Leaf, Chaucer's 
Dream, the Boke of the Duckesse, and the House of Fame. Under the 
latter we must range the Legend of Good Women, TroHtis and Creseide, 
Aneiyda and Arcyte, and above all the Canterbury Tales. 

(i.) The Romaunt of the Hose is a translation of the famous French 
allegory Le Roman de la Rose, which forms the earliest monument of 
French literature ia the thirteeoth century. The original is of inordinate 
length, containing, even in the unfinished state ia which it was left, 
2i,(no verses, and it consists of two distinct portions, the work of two 
i-ery different hands. It was begun by Guillaume de Lorris, who com- 
plete; about 5000 lines, and was continued after his deatli by the wiltj 
Jiid sarcastic Jean de Meun; the former of these autiiors died in 1260, 
ind the latter probably about 1318, which will make him nearly tJ,* 
contemporary of Dante. The portion composed by Lorris has great 
poetical merit, much invention of incident, vivid character-painting, 
and picturesque description; the allegorical coloring of the whole, 
though wire-drawn and tedious to our modem taste, was then highly 
udmired, and gave the (ale immense popularity. The continuation by 
Meun, though following up the allegory, diverges into a mudl more 



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A. D. 1400.] THE AGE OF CHAUCER. 4t 

Bntirical spirit, and abounds in what wcie then regarded as most auda- 
cious attacks on religion, social order, the court, and female reputation. 
Even at this distance of time it is imposEible not to admire the bold- 
ness, the vivacity, and the severity of the satire. According to the 
almost universal practice of the old Romance poets, the story is put 
into the form of a dream or vision ; and the principal allegoric pereon- 
ages introduced, aa Hate, Felony, Avarice, Sorrow, Elde, Pope-Holy, 
I'overty, Idleness, &c., are of the same kind as usually figui'e in thv 
. poetical nairative; of the age. Lover, tlie hero, is alternately aidii J 
and obstructeu in his undertaliings, the principal of which is tliat of 
culling the enclianted rose which gives its name to the poem, by a 
multitude of beneficent or malignant personages, such as Bel-Accueii, 
FauK-Seniblant, Danger, Male-Bouche, and Constrained -Abstinence. 
Clifiucet's tianalation, which is in the octosyllabic Trouvere measure 
of the original, and consists of I'ov) verses, comprehends the whole of 
the portion written by Lorris, together with about a sixth part of 
Miun's continuation; the portions omitted having eithe» never been 
iianslated by the English poet in consequence of his dislike of the 
immoral and an ti- religious tendency of which they were accused, 01 
left out by tlie copyist from the early English manuscripts. The trans- 
lation gives incessant proof of Chaucer's remarkable ear for metrical 
harmony, and also of his picturesque imagination ; for though in many 
places he has followed his original with scrupulous fidelity, he not 
unfrequeatiy adds vigorous touches of his own. Thus, for example, in 
the description of the Palace of Elde, a comparison between the original 
and the trauElation will show us a ^ fand image entirely to be ascribed 
to the English poet ; — 

Travail et Douleur la hcrbergent, With liii Labour and Travailc 
MoiB lis la tient et enfergent. Logged ben with Sorwe and Woo, 

Et t[int la batent ct tormentent. That aesev out of Lir court goo. 

Que mort prochaine U pr^sentent. Peyne andUistresse, Sj'kenesse and Ire, 
And Malencoly, that angry sire, 
Ben of hii paleys aenatourea ; 
Oronyngand Grucchynghir herbejeoum, 
The day and nyght, hit to turmei ,t, 
And tellen hir, erliche and late. 
That Det^ stondith armed at liir gate. 

tii.) The Court of Love is a woik bearing, both in its form and 
Ipiiit, strong traces of that amorous and allegorical mysticism which 
runs through all the Provencal poetry, and which seems to have been 
developed into substantive institutions in the Cours d'Amoi.r of 
Picardy and Languedoc, whose arrSts lorra such a curious example of 
Ihe refining scholaslic subtleties of mediieval theology transferred to 
the fashions of chi\alric society. It is written in stanzas of seven 
^nes, each line being of ten syllables; the first and third rhyming 
together, as do the second, fourth, and fifth, and again the sixth anil 
seventh. It is written in tlie name of "Philogenet of Cf.mbridge," 



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*2 TBE AOE OF OEAUGER. [Chap. II 

clerk (.or student), who is directed by Mercury :o appear at the Court 
of Venus. The above designation has induced some critira to suppose 
that the poet meant under it to ind' f 1 " If d h C awn from 
it a most unfounded supposition tl t Ch Id t d d at Cam 

bridge. The poet proceeds to gii d j F th L tie of Love, 

whei-e Admetus and Alcestis pre d k g d q Philogeni>l 

is then conducted by Philobone t th T rapl h h ees Venui 
and Cupid, and where the oatli f U d b d nee lo 'i.t 

Iffcnty commandments of Love dm te d t th f hful. tlu. 
I^eti is then presented to the Lad R i tl wh t ict accord- 

ance with Provencal poetical cust m h h b moured in s 

dream. We then have a descript f 1 of whom, 

Golden and Leaden Love, seem t b b w d f ti Eros and 
.Vnteros of the Platonic philosophers. The most curious part of the 
poem is the celebration of the grand festival of Love on May-day, when 
an exact parody of the Catholic Matin service for Trinity Sunday is 
chanted by«arious birds in honor of the God of Love. 

(iii.) In the Assembly of Fowls we have a poem not very dissimilar 
m form and versification to the preceding. The subject is a debate 
carried on before the Parliament of Birds to decide the claims of three 
eagles for the possession of a beautiful ^/p^Hiei (female or hen) of the 
<ame species, which perches upon the wrist of Nature. The principal 
incidents of this poera were probably borrowed from a fabliau to which 
Chaucer has alluded in another place, and the popularity of which is 
proved by the existence of several versions of the same subject, as for 
instance, Hseline et Rgiantine, Le Jugement d' Amour, and Florenet 
et Blanckeflor. 

(iv.) The Cnckoii! and the Nightingale, though of no great length, 
is one of the most charming among this class of Chaucer's productions; 
it describes a controversy between the two birds, the former of which 
was among the poets and aliegorists of the Middle Ages the emblem 
of profligate celibacy, while the Nightingale is the type of :;onetant 
and virtuous conjugal love. In this poem we meet with a striking ex- 
ample of that exquisite sensibility to the sweetness of external nature, 
and in particular to the song of birds, which was possessed by t'hau'»r 
in a higgler degree, perhaps, than by anjf other poet in the w< rid ■ ai 
witiit!ss th£ following inimitable passage : ~ 

" There snt I downe Bmong the feiie Houcea, 
And sawe the birdes Ciippe out of hir bouics, 
There as they rested hem alls the night ; 
They were so joyful of tlie daves light, 
They bogan of May for to done honour",B. 

They eoude that sevvico al bj rote i 
There was many a lovely note I 
Some Bonge loud as they had plained. 
And some in other mnntier voice yfainej, 
And sunie !|1 oute ivitli the fiille t)!rote> 



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THE AGE Of GHAUGEB. 

They proyned hem, ar^d maden hem right gay, 
And daimpeden and kjitan on the spray 
And evermore livo and tn-o in fere, 
Right BO as they had chosen hem to-yere 
In Feverere upon Saint Valentine's day. 



And the tiveve that ] 


[ snt upon, 


It made such a noise 




Accordount with the 


birdSB armony. 


Me thought it was t! 


le bests roelody 


That mighte ben yhe 


ard of any man. 



i^ii.) The Flower and t&e Leaf is, like tlie pre:;eding poeins \a 
Bllegoij related in the form of a chivalric and pastoral adventure. A 
lady, unable to sleep, wanders out into a forest on a spring morning— ai. 
opening or mise en scdne which often recurs in poems of this age — and 
seating herself in a delicious arbor, listens to the alternate song of the 
goldfinch and the nightingale. Her reverie is suddenly interrupted bj 
tiie approach of a band of ladies clothed in white, and garlanded with 
laurel, agnns-castus, and woodbine. These accompany their queen in 
singing a roundel, and are in their turn interrupted by the souni? of 
trumpets and by the appearance of nine armed knights, followed by a 
splendid train of cavaliers and ladies. These joust for an hour, and 
then advance to the first company, and each knight leadf a lady to a 
laurel to which they make an obeisance. Anotiier troop of ladies now 
approach, habited in g ee a d 1 d by queen who do reverence to a 
tuft of flowers, while th 1 d g b t pastoral song, 

in honor of the daisj d t 1 M g t The sports are 

broken off, first by th h t 1 th wh h w h 11 the flowers, 

and afterwards by a 1 t t rm f tl d d n, in which the 

knights and ladies g p t f lly d Id while the white 

company shelter the ! d th 1 1 Th q n and ladies m 

white then comfort and refresh the green band, d th whole retire to 
sup with the pai-ty of the white ; the nightingale, as they pass along, 
flying down from the laurel to perch upon the hand of the white queen, 
while the goldfinch settles upon the wrist of the leader of the green 
party. Then follows the explanation of tiie allegory: the white queen 
and her party represent Chastity; the knights the Nine Worthies; the 
cavaliers crowned witii laurel the Knights of the Round Table, the 
•'eers of Charlemagne, and the Knights of the Garter, to which i'..u»- 
trious order, then recently founded, the poet wished to paj a ccmpli- 
ment. The queen and ladies in green represent Flora and the followed 
of sloth and idleness. In general the flower typifies vain pleasure, the 
leaf, vii-tue and industry; the former beii g "a thing fadingwith every 
blast," while the latter " abides with Uie root, notwithstanding the 
frosts and winter storms." The poem is written in the seven-lined 
stanza, and contains many curious and beautiful passages. 

(vi., vii.) The t^vo poems entitled Chaucer's Dream, and the Book oj 
tie DHcMesi, tlioiigh now found to be separate and distinct works, wern 
long confounded togeUier. ThU error ww cwsed by the similarity rf 



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44 THE AGE OF CHAUCER. [Chap. H, 

their stylt and versification (for tliey are botli written in the octo- 
BvUabic l^ouvCre measure, the same as that employed in the Hamaaiil 
of the Rose), and in some degree also by the connection of their sub- 
ject with John of Gaunt, Cliaucer's friend and patron, and the marriage 
of that nobleman with Blanclie, heiress of Lancaster. This prince, 
then bearing the title of Earl of Richmond, was united to his cousin in 
'359, and the Duchees dying ten years after, John was married a second 
time, in 1371, to Constance, daughter of Peter the Cruel, King trf 
Spain. Both poems are all_egorical ; and allude, though aomelime 
rather obscurely as regards details, to the courtship of John of Gaunt 
and his grief, under the person of the Black Knight, at the loss of his 
first wife. There may be traced in the Dream allusions to Chaucer's 
own courtship and marriage to which we have referred in our bio- 
or ph I m k d wh h t k pi b t 36 

C ) r t t d y f b II t d pU wth 

1 dhratlpmfth^ f F fEtf 

t If t t p Ch p t t It wr ttP th T e 

m ddtlfhbJf-mfd 1 

d dtkgpt flTmplfOly cldwtl! 

asp t f tal d d d 1 mj d t tu f 

gtptdht dthH fR tl dth 

pig pd 1 dth tl fwdflpts. 

Th T mpl th gh Uy b rr w d f m th Mi j,l f 

Od Ibt ts htt dd mtthtt g te 

fpg tqtywththOth dtl f d^l thd -als, 

U t tnk th poet yd tl 11 m t d MSS f th f - 

tth ty dtld pt fthtt fthgtpts 

we meet with a curious proof of that mingled influence of alchemical 
and astrological theories perceptible in the science and literature of 
Chaucer's age. In richness of fancy it far surpasses Pope's imitation, 
The Temple of Fame. 

(is.) The Legend of Good Women is supposed, from many circum- 
stances, to have been one of the latest of Chaucer's compositions, and 
to have been written as a kind of amende honorable or recantation for 
his unfavorable pictures of female character; and in particular for hia 
■laving, by translating the Roman de la Rose, to a certain degree idenli 
Bed himself with Jean de Meun's bitter sarcasms on the sex. Though 
the matter is closely translated, for the most part, from the Heroidei 
?f Ovid, the coloring given to the stories is entirely Catholic anfl 
Inediseval. Tlie misfortunes of celebrated heroines of ancient ctoij 
Bte related in the manner of the Legends of the Saints, and Didj, 
Cleopatra, and Medea are regarded aa the Martyrs of Saint Venus and 
Saint Cupid, The poef s original intention was to compose the legends 
3f nineteen celebrated victims of the tender passion ; but tlie work 
having been left incomplete, we possess only those of Cleopatra, 
Thisbe, Dido, Hypsipyle, Medea, Lucretia, Ariadne, Philomela, and 
Pbillis. The poem is in ten-syllable heroic couplels, the rhymed herok 
measure, and exhibits a consummate maste.'r over the resources of the 



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A.D. I400.J THE AGE OF OITAUOEB. 



45 



Snglish language and prosody, and many striking paBiiageB of -luscrip- 
tioii interpolated bj Chauter. A few droll anachronisms also a-.aj be 
noted, as the introduction of cannon at the Battle of Actium. 

(x.) The poem which the generationa contemporary with, or suc- 
ceeding to, the age of Chancer placed nearest to the level of the Can- 
terbury Tales, was unquestionably the Troilns and Cresetde ; and this 
judgment will be confirmed bj a comparison of the two works; though 
[he wonderful variety and humor of the Tales has tended to throw into 
the shade, for modem readers, the graver beauties of the poem we are 
now about to esamine. The source from which Chaucer drew hi", 
materlala for this work was indubitably Boccaccio's poem entitled File" 
trato. The story itself, which wbb extremely popular in the Middle 
Ages (and its popularity continued down to tlie time of Elizabeth,, 
■ Shakespeare himself having dramatized it), has been traced to Guida 
i\ Colonna, and to the mysterious book entitled Troche of the equally 
aiysterious author Lollius, so often quoted in Chaucer's age, and 
■espectiHg whom all is obscure and enigmatical. Some of the names 
ind personages of the story, as Cryseida (Chryseis), Troilus, Pandariis, 
Oiomede, and Priam, fire obviously borrowed from the Iliad; but 
heir relative positions and personality have been most strangely 
Jtered ; and the principal action of the poem, being the passionate 
wve of Troilus for his cousin, her ultimate infidelity, the immoral 
Aubserviency of Pandarus, all of which became proverbial in conse- 
quence of the popularity of this tale, — all details, in short, bear the 
stamp of medieval society, and have no resemblance whatever to the 
incidents and feelings of the heroic age, a period when the female sex 
was treated as it is now in Eastern countries, and when consequently 
Ihit sentiment which we cill chivalric or romantic love could have 
had no existence Chaucer his lieque tlj dh d t tl t t f the 
Filosfrato and has adopted the mus cal d fl It 1 tania 

Dt'ieienlnes but m tlie conduct of h t y! I 1 w him- 
self fir supe or to h s or gmal the 1-1 fT I P darus, 
andCre ede m tie -Fi/os//«/ contra t y f blj h the 
puie noble and idcil per onages of th E I 1 p t wh ality, 
■.ndeed, is iar h gher -ind more refined tl th t f h g t Floren- 
tine contemporary. I may remark in CO I tl t th be utifui 
poem is of great length, nearly equal i th p t t th jE d of 
Virgil, and that it abounds in charming d pt q t traits 
',if character, and in incidents which, tl gh mpl d t 1, an- 
iHvnlved and developed with great inge ty 

§ 7. Chaucer's greatest and most or gi i w k b j d 11 com- 
parison, the Canterbury Tales. It is i th th t h h p ^ d fortli 
(II inexhaustible abundf.nce all his 



dor, and knowledge of iiumanity : it 


i tl 


■wh h w II pi 


h m, till 


the remotest posterity, in the fir«t r 


a k 


p t d 1 


icter- 


painters. 








The exact portraiture of the manne 


r« 1 


<m dh bt 


f jciety 


i» a remote ag* could not fail, even 


if 


t d by f 


hand, 



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*® fffi! AG& OP GltAtlGMk. iCnki. M. 

to possess deep Interest; as we may judge fror: the aviditj with ivhich 
we TOUtemplate such traits of real life as ate laboriously dug up bv Mie 
patient curioBity ol' the antiquary from the dust and rubbish of bygone 
days. IIow great then s our delight when the magic force of a greal 
poet evokes a whole e es of our ancestors of the fourteenth century, 
making them pass befo e u in their habit as they lived,' acting, 
speaking, and ieel ng n a manner invariably true to general nature 
and stamped w th all the nd viduality of Shakespeare or Hioliere 
The plan of tl e CaaUrbu y Tales is singularly hr.ppy, enabling tlif 
poet to give us fi t a collect on of admirable daguerreotypes of thi 
various rli^ses of English society, and then to place in the mouths of 
lliest persons a seiies of sepirate tales highly beautiful when i-egai'ded 
as compositions and judged on their own independent merits, bul 
deimng an infiniti.Iy higher mteiest and appropriateness from the 
way in whidi they harmonize witli their respective narrators. The 
work cin be divided into two portions which are, however, skiifulLv 
m lied up and incorporated the first being the general prologue, de- 
"Lnbing the ocLasion on which the pilgrims issemble, the por1;raits of 
the various members of the troop, the adventures of their journey and 
their commentaries on the tales as they are successively related : and 
the second the tales themselves, vie\?ed as separate compositions. 

The general plan of the work may be brieily sketched as follows. 
The poet informs us, after giving a brief but picturesque description of 
spring, that being about to make a pilgrimage from London to the 
shrine of St. Thomas i Becket in the Cathedral of Canterbury, he 
passes the night previous to his departure at the hostelry of the Tabard 
in Southwark, While at the inn the hostelry is filled by a crowd o! 
pilgrims bound to the same destination : — 

" In Southwerk at the Tabard as I lay, 

Eedy to wanden on my pilgrimage 

To Canterbury with fol devout corage. 

At niglit was come into thiit hostelria 

Wei njfne and tnenty in a companje * 

Of aonilry folk, by aventure i-falle 

In febivschipe, and pilgryms were tliei nlle, 

That toward Canterbury wolden rjde." 

The goodly company, assembled in a manner so natural in those 
riinesof pilgrimages and of difficult and dangerous roads, agree to travel 
in a body; and at supper the Host of the Tabard, a jolly and sociable 
I ersonage, proposes to accompany the party and serve as a guide, 
liaving, as he says, often travelled the road before; and at the same 
l^me suggests that they may much enliven the tedium of their joumei 
by relating stories as they ride. He is to be accepted by the whole , 

society as a kind of ji ge or moderator, by whose decisions every one 

's to abide. As the journej to Canterbury occupies one day, and the 
return another, the plan of the whole work, had Chaucer compleled it, 

■ But in bis subsequent enumeration (see next page) Chancer count* thirti 



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A.n. 1400.1 fl^E AGS OF OMAVOSS. ^^ 

would have comprised the adventures on the outward ioiirnej, the 
ariival at Canterbury, a description, in all prabability, of Uie apleildiil 
■ ' -B and relief 



ppet at the Ta- 



re! ^ dti C t u 

in th C th d I th t t L d tl 

ba d d d 1 t f th pi t Dip J 1 ch would sepHrate 

as t lly th y h d bl d H y B 1 y p p 'es that endi 

i>il nm h Id 1 t tw t 1 h y t d two more on 

d th t th t t h p tj oLondon.bo 



Id b dj d? d t 



it amusing 
a tf Hg or frame- 
ivo 1, h h "th P t 1 t d d th circumstance? 

and 1 i 1 =• '■'^*^' "'^"^ "" 

re d ref d t th t t d t f r great poet s 

hagfddhwkp tipim t Canterbury, 

in h h h h d h m 11 t k par Th t 1 tl m Ives are admi- 
rably d ce w th tl h t f th p as who relate 
thm dtl k d U twhhthyge rise are no 
le h m d t ral m f th t ggesting otbera, 
iu t as Id h pp 1 1 f d th matances. The 
pdgnm ar p f U k d 1 es f ty; and in the 
inimitable description of their manners, persons, dress, horses, _&c., 
with which the poet has introduced them, we behold a vast and minutf 
portrait gallery of the social state of England in the fourteen century. 
Tl,eyare — Ci.)A- Knight; (a.) A Squire; (3.) A Yeoman,or militarj 
retainer of the class of the free peasants, who in the quality of ai 
archer was bound to accompany his feudal lord to war; (4.) A Prioress, 
a lady of rank, superior of a nunnery ; (s, 6, 7, 8.) A Nun and three 
Priests, in attendance upon this lady; (9.) A Monk, a person repre- 
sented as handsomely dressed and equipped, and passionately fond of 
hunting and good cheer; (10.) A Friar, or Mendicant Monk; (11.) A 
Merchant; (12.) A Clerk, or Student of the University of Oxford; 
(13.) A Serjeant of the Law ; (14.) A Franklin or rich country-gentle- 
man ; (is, i6i 17. i8i "90 f"™^ wealthy burgesses or tradesmen, de- 
scribed in general but vigorous and chariicteristic terms; they are A 
Haberdasher, or dealer in silk and cloth, A Carpenter, A Weaver, A 
Dyer, and A Tapisser, or maker of carpets and hangings ; (20.) A Cook, 
iir rather what in old French is called a r&tissear, i. e. the keeper of a 
cook's-shop; (31O AShipman,themasterofatradingvessel; (32.) A 
Doctor of Physic; (13.) A Wifeof Bath, a rich cioth-manufaclurer; (24.) 
A Parson, or secular pariah priest; (25.) A Ploughman, the brother of 
i>e preceding personage; (26.) A Miller; (27.) A Manciple, or steward 
01 a college or religious house; (28.) A Reeve, bailiff or intendant of 
Ibc estates of some wealthy landowner ; (29.) A Sompnour, or Sumner, 
i.n ofScer in the then formidable ecclesiastical courts, whose duty was 
to summon or cite before the spiritual jurisdiction those who had of- 
fended against the canon laws ; (30,) A Pardoner, or ve idor of Indul- 
gences from Rome. To these thirty persons roust be added Chaucep 
himseif, and the Host of the Tal»ir>l, making in all thirty-two, 



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THE AGS OF CBAUGER. [Chap. 11 



48 

§ 8, Now, if eai:h of these pilgrims had related four tnlea, viz., twc 
tm tlie journey to Canteibiirj-, and two on their return, the work would 
have contained laS stories, independently of the subordinate incidents 
and conversations. In reality, however, the pilgrims do not arrive al 
Iheir destination, and there are many evidences of confusion in tlie 
tnles which Chaucer has given us, leading to the conclusion that thf 
nialerials were not only incomplete, but left in an unaiTanged state bi 
llie poet The stories that we possess are 25 in number, and ar« dii 
ttibutedas follows: The Knight; The Miller; The Reeve; The Cook 
to whom two tales are assigned ; * The Man of Law ; The Wife of Balh \ 
The Friar ; The Sompnour ; The Clerk of Oxford ; The Merchant ; The 
Squire, whose tale is left unfinished ; The Franklin ; The Second Nun ; 
Tlie Canon's Yeoman — a personage who does not form a part of the 
original company, but joins the cavalcade on the journey ; The Doctor ; 
The Pardoner ; The Shipman ; The Prioress ; Chaucer himself, to whom 
two tales are assigned in a manner to which Isball" refer presently; 
The Monk; the Nun's Priest; The Manciple, and the Parson. Thus it 
will be seen that many of the characters are left silent, while some of 
them relate more than one story, and two persons altogether extraneous 
are introduced. These are the Canon and his Yeoman, who unexpect- 
edly join the cavalcade during the journey; but it is uncertain whether 
this- episode, which was probably an afterthought of the poet, takes 
place on the journey to or from Canterbury. The Canon, who is repre- 
sented as an Alchemist, half swindler and half dupe, is driven away 
fron; the company by shame at his attendant's indiscreet disclosures; 
and the latter, remaining with the pilgrims, relates a most amusing 
story of the viilanous artifices of the charlatans who pretended to pos- 
sess the Great Arcanum. The stories narrated by the pilgrims are ad- 
mirably introduced by what the author calls "prologues," consisting 
Either of remarks and criticisms on the preceding tale, and which nat- 
urally suggest what is to follow, of tlie incidents of the journey itself, 
an excellent example of which is the drunken upi-oariousness of tiie 
Miller and the Cook, or of the infinitely varied manner in which the 
Host proposes and the Pilgrims receive the command to perform their 
part in contributing to the common entertainment. The Tales are all 
in verse, with the exception of two, that of the Parson, and Chaucer's 
second narrative, the allegorical story of Melibieus and his wife Patience. 
Those in verse exhibit an immense variety of metridal forms, ranging 
frora the regular heroic rhymed couplet, in which the largest portion 01 
the work is composed, as well as the general prologue and introductions 
to each story, through a great variety of stanzas of different lengths 
*tid arrangement, down to the short irregular octosyllable verse of the 
Trouv^re Gestours, and — in the case of the Tale of Gamelyn — the 
• The first is broken off abruptly almost nt the beginning, and the second ia 
Djf some auspeoted not to he the work ot Chaucer at all, as it is written in a sljle 
and versifloation nnlike the rest of his poems, and soema to belong to an oWei 
and ruder period of English literature. The Cook's Talo of Gamelyn, if inallj 
written by Chaucer, was perhaps intended to be related on the journey home. 



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A.D. I400.J rf£E AGE OF CHAUCER. *& 

long Ionic, not syllabic, measure of tlie old English popular legeid, 
which ivas itself a relic of the ancient Sa^toii metrical aj-stcni. All these 
forms Chaucer handles with consummate ense and dexterity; indeed, it 
may he holdly affirmed that no English poet whatever is more exqui- 
sitely melodious than he : and the nature of the versification will often 
Msist us in tracing the sources from whence Chaucer derived or adapted 
Uis materials. Of him it maybe truly said, as MoH^re alarmed of him- 
eelf, that " i! prenait son bien oi il le trouvait," for he appears in no 
single demonstrable instance to have taken the trouble to invent tht 
intrigue or subject-matter of any of his stories, but to have freely bor- 
rowed them either for the multitudinous fabliaux of the Provencal poets, 
the legends of the medisevat chroniclers, or the immense storehouse of 
the Gesta Romrinoritm, and the rich treasury of the early Italian writers, 
Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio. 

§ 9, The Tales themselves may be roughly divided into the two great 
classes of serious, tragrc, or pathetic, and comic or humorous ; in both 
styles Chaucer has seldom been equalled, and assuredly never surpassed. 
His wonderful power of object and character-painting, tlie incomparable 
conciseness and vividness of his descriptions, the lofiiness of his senti- 
ment, and the intensity of his pathos, can only be paralleled by the 
richness of his humor and the outrageously droll, yet perfectly natural 
extravagance of his laughable scenes. Both in the one style and in the 
other, the peculiar saiveti and sly infantine simplicity of his language 
add a charm of the subtlest kind, the reality of which is best proved by 
the evaporation of this delicate perfume in the process, so often and so 
unsuccessfully attempted, of modernizing his language. The finest of 
the elevated and pathetic stories are the Knights Tale — the longest of 
them all, in which is related the adventure of Palamon and Arcite ; — 
the Squire's Tale, a wild haif-Oriental story of love, chivalry, and en- 
chantment, the action of which goes on " at Sarray (Bakhtchi-Sarai) in 
(he lond of Tartary ; " the Man ofLav/s Tale, the beautiful and pathetic 
story of Custance ; the Prioress's Tale, the charming legend of " litel 
Hew of Lincoln," the Christian child murdered by the Jews for so per- 
severingly singing his hymn to the Virgin ; and above all the Clerk of 
Oxford's Tale, perhaps the most beautiful pathetic narration in the 
whole range of literature. This, the story of Griselda, the model and 
heroine of wifely patience and obedience, is the crown and pearl of all 
the serious and pathetic narratives, as the Knight's Tale is the master- 
piece among the descriptions of love and chivalric magnificence. 

I win rapidly note the sources from which, as far as can be ascer 
mined at present, Chaucer derived the subjects of the narratives ahoif 
particularized. The Knig&fs Tale is freely borrowed from the Theseiiia 
of Boccaccio, many of the incidents of the latter being themselves taken 
from the Thehais of Statius. Though the action and personages of this 
noble story are assigned to classical antiquity, It is needless to say thai 
the sentiments, manners, and feelings of the persons introduced are 
those of chivalric Europe -, the " Two Noble Kinsmen," Palamon and 
Arcite, being the purest ideal types of the knightly character, and tlw 



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6d THE AGE OF GnAUGEB. [Chm. fl 

decision of tlteir claims to tlie hand of Emilie bja combat in ciamji clos, 
an incident completely' alien from the habits of the hEroic age. Tha 
Sgaire's Tale beara evident marks of Oriental origin; but whether it be 
a legend directly derived from Eastern literature, or received by Chau- 
cer after having filtered through a Romance version, is now uncertain. 
It is equal to the preceding story in splendor and variety of incidenl 
and word -painting, but far inferior in depth of pathos and ideal eleva- 
tion of (sentiment; yetitwas hy ths Sgaire's Ta/e that Milton chaioi-' 
lorized Cliaucer in that inimitable passage of the P^nsetoso where he 
evokes the recollections of the great poet ; — 

" And call up him that left half-told 

The story of Cumbusc^n bold, 

Of Cambal, and of Algersife, 

And tvho had Canace to nife 

That owned the victuoua ring and glass ; 

And of the wondrous horse of brass 

On which the Tartar king did tide." 
The Man of Law's Tale is taken with little variation from Gower's 
voluminous poem " Confessio Amaniis," th^ incidents of Gower's narra- 
tive being in their turn traceable to a multitude of romances, as for 
instancethoseof SMjaj-e, the Ciifiiia/i'e>*aa Cygae, tha Soman de la Vio- 
lette, Le Bone Florence de Rome, and the ineshaustible Gesta Roma- 
Korum. The character of the noble but unhappy Custance, beautiful as 
it is, is idealized almost beyond nature; and the employment of the 
Italian stanza harmonizes well with the tender but somewhat enervated 
graces of the narrative. The legend of the " litel clergion," foully mur- 
dered by tlie Jews at Lincoln, and whose martyrdom is so miraculously 
. itested, was in all probability founded on fact, at least so far as regards 
KOiel punishment having been inflicted on the Jews accused of such a 
crime. An infinity of ballads were current in England and Scotland 
on this subject, and one indeed has been preserved in Percy's Reliquei 
of Ancient Eaglish Poetry, entitled " The Jewes Daughter." Moreover 
there still ei:ists a record of the trial of some Jews for the assassina- 
tion of a Christian child at Lincoln in 1256, in the reign of Henry III. 
Though Chaucer has retained the principal incidents of the English 
legend, he has laid tiie scene in Asia ; but many allusions to the story 
of Hugh of Lincoln prove that the fundamental action is identically the 
same. The tale is exquisitely tender and graceful in sentiment, anil 
GKliibits preciicly that union of religious sentimentality ^nd reiinemeiil 
ivbvch makes it so appropriate in the mouth of Madame Eglantine the 
Prioress. 

The pedigree of the most pathetic of Chaucer's stories, that of Patient 
Gri^lda, narrated by the clerk of Oxford, is traceable to Petrarch, who 
communicated the incidents to his friend Boccaccio. The latter has 
made them the groundwork of one of the novels of the Decameron, viz., 
the lotii and last of the Tenth Day; and tiiere is evidence that the 
pathos of this beautiful story was found to transgress the limits of or- 
dinary endurance. The eubmiesion of Griselda to the ordeaU imposed 



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JL.D. 1400.] fffE AOE OP CnAUCER. 



&\ 



upon her conjugal and mnternal feelings by tlie diabolical tj'iannjol 
Ihe Marquis of Saluzzo, her husband, seems exaggerated beyond al- 
the bounds of reality. Yet we should remember that the very intensltj 
of Griselda's sufferings is intended to convey the highest sspression of 
the inexhaustible goodness of the female heiirt. 

The finest of Chaucer's comic and humorous stories are thore of the 
Miller, the Reeve, the Sompnour, tlie Canon's Yeoman, and the Nun's 
PiiesL Though all of these are excellent, the three best are the Miller's, 
Ihe Reeve's, and the Sompnour's ; and among these last it is difficult to 
7,\ve the palm of drollery, acute painting of human nature, and exqui- 
site ingenuity of incident. It is much to be regretted that the comic 
stories turn upon events of a kind which tlie refinement of modern 
manners renders it impossible to analyze; but it should be remembered 
that society in Chaucer's day, though perhaps not less moral in reality, 
was far more outspoken and simple, and permitted and enjoyed allusionK 
which have been proscribed by the rao" precise delicacy of later ages. 
The first of these irresistible drolleries is probably the adaptation to 
English life — for Uie scene is laid at Oxford — of someold fabliau ; the 
fieeire's Tale may be found in substance in the 6th novel of the Ninth 
Day of the Decameron : the Sompnour's Tale, though probably fram a 
mediiEval source, has not hitherto been traced. The admirable wit, 
humor, and learning, with which in the Canon's Yeoman's Tali 
Chaucer exposes the rascalities of the pretenders to alchemical knowl- 
edge, may have been derived from his own experience of the arts of 
these svrfndlera. The tale maybe compared with Eeri junson's comedj 
of the Alchemist. The tale assigned to the Nun's Priest is an exceed- 
ingly humorous apologue of the Cock and the Fox, in which, though 
the dramatis fsrsonie are animals, they are endowed with such a droll 
similitude to the human character, that the reader enjoys at the same 
time the apparently incompatible pleasures of sympathizing with them 
IS human beings, and laughing at their fantastic assumption of reason 
as lower creatures. 

I have remarked, some pages bad;, on the circumstance of two of the 
stories being ivritten in prose. It may be not uninteresting to investi- 
gate this exception. Wlien Chaucer is applied to by tiie Host, he com- 
mences a rambling puerile romance of chivalry, entitled the Rhyme of 
Sir Tkopas, which promises to be an interminable story of knight- 
errant adventures, combats with giants, dragons, and enchanters, anil 
is written in the exact style and metre of the Trouv6re aarrative poems 
~ t'.ic only instance of this versification being employed in the Canftr- 
\uty Tales. He goes on gallantly " in the style his books of chivalry 
had taught him," and, like Don Quixote, " imitatirg, as near as ha 
w.uld, their very phrase ; " but he is suddenly ititermpted, with Kianj 
ixpreesions of comic disgust, by the merry host : — 
"'No raor of this, for Goddes dignite ! ' 
Quod our Hoste, ' for thou malteBt me 
80 mery of thy verray lewedneaae. 
That, al GO wisly Qo& my suuU tileSBe, 



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TEE AGS OF OHAOOM. 



This may wel be ryni doge^el,' quod he." 
Theie can be no doubt that the poet took this ingenious method of 
lidiculing and caricaturing the Romance poeU'j', which had at this time 
reached the lowest point of effeteneas and commonplace. Chaucer 
then, with great good-nature and a readiness which marks the man of 
'he world, offers to tell "a lite! thing in prose;" and comme aces the 
wne; allegorical tale of Meiibieas and his ■wife Patience, in which, 
though the matter is often tiresome enough, he shows himself as great 
n master of prose as of poetry. Indeed it would be difficult to find, an 
terior to Hooker, any English prose so vigorous, so harmonious, and 
so free from pedantry and affectation, as that of the great Father of 
our Literature ; — 

"The moming-Btarof Kong, who made 
His music heard helow ; 
Dan ChaQcer, the lirst warWer, whose eweet breath 

Preluded those melodious hursts, that All 
The spacious timea of gtpat Elizabeth 
With Bounds that echo still." 

The other prose tale is nan-ated by the Parson, who, being represent- 
ed as a somewhat simple and narrow minded though pious and large- 
hearted pastor, charactensticallj refuses to indulge the company with 
what can only minister to vain pleasure, and proposes something that 
may tend to edification, "moralite and vertuous matiere;" and com- 
mences a long and very cunous sermon on the Seven Deadly Sins, 
their causes and remedies — a most interesting specimen of the theolo- 
gical literature of the daj It is divided arid subdivided with all the 
painful minuteness of scholastic divinity; but it breathes throughout a 
noble spirit of evangelical piety, and in many passages attains great 
dignity of espression. 

Besides these two Canterbury Tales, Chaucer wrote in prose a trans- 
lation of BoStihius' Oe Consolatione, and an imitation of that work, 
under the title of The Testament of Love, and an incomplete astrolo- 
gical work, On the Astrolabe, addressed to his son Lewis in 1391. 

The general plan of the Caitterbary Talcs, a number of detached 
stories connected together by their being narrated by a troop of imagi- 
nary pilgrims, is similar to the method so frequently employed in l!ie 
thirteenth and fourteenth centuries, and of which we find examples in 
the Decameron of Boccaccio, the Cent Nouvelles Noavelles, and a multi- 
^ide of similar collections of stories. The idea may have come origi- 
nally from the East, the very inartificial plan of the Thousand and One 
Nights being not altogether dissimilar, in which the stories at the in- 
exhaustible princess Dinarzadeh are inserted one within the other, like 
a set of Chinese boxes. Chaucer's plan, however, must be allowed to 
be infinitely superior to that of Boccaccio, whose ten accomplished young 
gentlemen and ladies assemble in their luxurious villa to escape from 
the terrible plague, the magnificent description of which forms tin 



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A D, 1400.] 



THE AGE OF CUAUGi-K. 



53 



Introduction, and which was tiien, in sad reality, devastating Florence. 
Boccaccio's interlocutors being all nearly of the same age and social con- 
aition, — for Uiey are little else but repetitions of the graceful types o! 
Dioneoand Fiammetta, — it was imposEible to make their tales corre- 
spond to their characters as Chaucer's do ; independently of the shock t^i 
the reader's sense of propriety in finding these elegant voluptuapiek 
whiling away, with stories generally of very doubtful morality, ths 
hours of seclusion in which they find a wwardly and selfish aayi iw 
during a most frightful national calamity. . 

§ 10. Chaucer rendered to the language of his country a service in 
some respects analogous to that which Dante rendered to that of Italy. 
He harmonized, regulated, and made popular the still discordant ele- 
ments of the national speech. The difficulty of reading and under- 
standing him has been much exaggerated: the principal rule that the 
Btudent should keep in mipd is that the French words, so abundant ii: 
his writings, had not yet been so modified, by changes in their orthog- 
raphy and pronunciation, as to become anglicized, and are therefore 
to be read with their French accent ; and secondlj-, that the final e which 
terminates so many English words was not yet become an e mute, and 
is to be pronounced as a separate syllable, as love. Safe, love, hopi ; 
and finally, the past termination of the verb ed is almost invariably to 
be made "a separate syllable. Some curious traces of the old Anglo- 
Saxon grammar, as the inflections of the personal and possessive pro- 
nouns, are still retained ; as well as of the Teutonicpast participle, in the 
prefix ('or y {ifalle, yron, G^tms-Ti gef alien, geroimert), and a few cjthe' 
details of the Teutonic formation of the verb. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

B PBBDECESS0H3 OF COW 




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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chap. II 



• wtM dlseovBtsa by Tynvhllt, in 
id by Rlt»D Id 1700 (reprinted tn 
[uttoduoLloq OP Gib re'L&\ «iul -no 
H- Tlier Gelebrau Lea TioLorira <■ 
> wDu villi Fnuice ami Soatluid. < 
iitgli'essuaceoiiiilot liis laale of 



lo bnllBd^ they have more 



IinQ('4paemarhymeLai4^laTl7en 



Tlt&nls AijoTbtr f^oiu 



■Jail 1^ eUri PtouffSmm, or nilhet 
VHBam m«cen.t,a Hen («■ FlUr) 

u We, kUldnsd In conc^pdau (o 



>r conpleu), oiTangcd II 



, among tho M.lTBra Hills (Ihe pi 
d wllJl Uie moilemlaisd ^elUiig a 



iicribed to Walter de Alnpes. Tlie fiKat Interest 

•opulor BOittJtnent of tJie mge. Louiglqade Ib oi 
utonsaly national ae Chnnceri but, Vr'liLle tbo lotttl 
Feely avi^hunBelf afUieflninslntl^hluetd bytht 
In^lD-Nonunn literatDre. the Jbl'iner mukea a iHd 
LUeDi|>l U reviie those of Uio Anglo-Ecxon. Tlili 

ommon [Kopls, The Piiim ef ftai Bbnabo'sx 

idltlon viQB pLibllehed by Mr. Wiif^it, nith Inlro- 



«.E«T>E.Pet«ln.»wlPn 



en chteLlj. oiiginnl. He t^srto^'A freuly I>rji. 



1 Moop mo Into lAntuOs* 



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ripokcQ laneuA^e of Lhe day- ' 



IMh, unci GLiwMiT, by Mr. HnULwell. 1 
lSS9,avo. ThoUaialaHonofthalJiUnPoi 
faod of Knlph H^deB (b« p. 30). bj Jf 
TBK¥igi, Vicar of BeridiTp compfPW^ *D I 
I381I, is clilclly ii]l<!»Bl]iig its innng tieeo 



id OeKffrZd lo Gower, by a 
led tpitha of Iha bUlerpoeli 

30WISI Ihil bl 
HUlloSephiloi 



Ouaafi (teii(i«ili*mni'("(SnLshediil 



IlhyDaT, of En^ldDui 



-JOtIS OOWER. 



Kdin Qtmer. lhe coMempoiaiJ t-n 



va proYcd. frttm eiisUug dp 



n, and H>liiHimllJ' In 



ower, at St- MoiJ M^oleu' 
^llluinl of Wjlifihani. pipai 



i splendid canoj^fd Bmb, bBiili^ hl» " 



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IfOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. TCkap. II 



Di. PbuUi "The txut dile sf 



iug to &e Soke of guUierlanil, ind €lll[ea b; the 
kle Ouke Rr Iho Koxburglis Club. ID IBIS. "TIibji 
ftTBr" myfl Paull IJT^frod. Hffay, p. J3yj,) " ' " 

Im^ui^ md (brm, espEcilllly [f me ctmsli 
Ihej- ttifl Hie wort of b foidguer. They Lreat of 
Lttye io Ihe iiiemiei' [vtroduced hy the Frovcn^ol 
potffl, ^rhidi mas ajtcticm^? geneniTty EdopLed by 



French, ohiuli maa non so ftlly regordea a 
sign langaagc, Uiot Ouwer ^ola^zea (ttr his IPreiM^ 
nyioB, "IimEagUsV'while he^iGBua 
for using the limgoiLge. tiiaE lie was eddiees 



X, prlntAl &v tlie BoxburgI 
ODS to hHTO been jidopLed fn 



■a i Uie^ffilto the nUlltaiT ! 



tor, Burl of DeEby. In 

W slei> inlo Ihe tojmi bs 

xtsatUi qf Kins Ricliard (A. D. 

lu (£jA «* Ctouvr, p. 39), who 
aw not dodinilohis mitS loHenij 

I Duko of Lfiucmtcr, but EorJof 



rlied himself to Ueur/ of Lnneutor, fto 
94 (prohnhjy in nckuomlcdgmeut of tin 



ui his ubltiajy 
s^oa of tbo eom 

Iw oEpl^ned by 






™ of WldllR is proici by hi 



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Chap. II.] WICLIFFE AND SIS SCHOOL. 



Flchue of Cebeo, \o Uear t 






:'e peCitlon ia i, aljapliic po 



the ivniaiicQ ttt Sir Lancefot and Uia C/lronicfet of 
Caasiodorua (tod IsLdonu." (fiifrA^ ^ait/, pp. 



■□ of (he puiuta-Ai'UI 



r'f gfivIiH luLit gLvtn bliUi, <jk 






Tbe £Aift;'«0fo Atnaiuii vfM fint ptlc 
on, Lond. US3, &L (the BriUah Unse 

Jind. 1E33, £il., repiintcd INH, fUL (lil 






.nd. if (he aeimim Kbleof Lulher, 



m»,d,A,£.13M). Henagbon]UTCiGliffit,nsu 

HUM Ihe priesi of FyiLngliiin, In Uncolo: (nil 
succoMively Mual« mnd Warden of BnlUol CoIliigB 



inga and by LhoDloglcol 



«. br Iba ^oUolon tf ttx iioK'f 



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NOTES AlfD [LLUSTRATIONS. 



of lASlf (CoT«dflle'j} dbd 1011 (King Jdi 



imple YCHSbutui? and Hriuitu: 



B onler of the LXX.). v 



bu led UB m very ioiat^lag CHRf dn (he priiKlplu 

■ BcOTlarpnift«MirshIriBli<illKiiiryBcilalilHli-i 
WIcUltS ttuelil •! Osfurd by Ihat rleUl wlii 
ItuHieh niM donnanl, li i^ inhenS. si lb 
■vuDci Imply* bi tbe i>CBjeea of Vaeter lad A 



ji high &axs, 

lidr tangmsB Hi 



B iocure dlgnily und 
ICeotPleriFlmia^ 



i^butlHaubJouttoLbue inflimiia 



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.1553-] SLOW FKOGEUSS OF LiTEEATUJlS. 



CHAPTER III. 

riOM THE DEATH OF CHAUCER TO THE AGE OF ELIZA- 
BETH, A. D. 1400-1558. 
. „ e -n „i;,i. i;t=-nt....o fi-nm Hhaiicer to tha aee of Elizabeth 

„i. i H..1.1.0. ; lun. n^m. j 3. K.ig. of B.m, VIL, -tml. « 
UUnure. HmiTVIII.i Bib THO«i. Mora, f 1. Migion. Lmnlu,. _ 
S,;.M... rf 11. BibU i B..k or Oommo- P,.,..; L™. ^^ott ! S. 
Chronielers and Historians; Loan Behners' Froisaact; Fabtab, Hall, 
U PM'",;r.S Bdnoatio. . W,l.o.'. Loj.'.,' Sm JoH, C.K.i Eo 

Z," d Haw.. , WTAr. ..4 Bra-T. i 8. B.H.d. of ft, ».on.l, and 
■7 *.. „,.,...io,. tBoifsnorefa metre, and modes of eirculation. Modem 

sixteenth centuries . tneir sontces, metre, auu „„n„iiipv„,nM, 

.olle.tiDnsO,Peroj,S.ott,Se. Mnen.e on tlie remal of romantio literatim. 

Ballads of the Scottish holders and of Kobin Hood. 

8 1. Tint progress of Englisli Literature, inaugurated in so splendid a 
minner b, tlie genios of Chaucer, though unlnternipled, wa. for a long 
time comparalivelj slow. Manj social and political cau.e. contributed 
10 retard it for . lime, or rathe, to accumulalethenaton., energies for 
that eiorioua intellectual burst which distinguishes the Age ot Jlliza- 
bcth, making that period the most magnificent in Ui. hi.lorj of the 
English people, if not in the annals of the human race. The cause, 
lust alluded to were the Intestine commotions of the Wars of the Rose., 
be sliugule between the dying energies of Feudalism and the nascent 
liberties of our municipal institutions, and the mightj transformation 



resulting from the Reformation. , . .^ 

In point of splendor, fecundity, intense originality, and national spirit, 
none of the most brilliant epochs in the history of mankind can be 
considered a, snp.no, to the Blicabethau. In nni»er.ality of scope 
and in the inilnence it was destined to ekert upon the thought, and 
knowledge of future generations, no other epoch can be brought into 
Muiparison with it. Neither lb. age of Pericles nor that of Angu.tu. 
in-lhe ancient world, nor tho.e of the Medici and of Loms XIV. in 
«od.n, history, can be regarded as approaching in importance to tt. 
period which, independently of • multitude of brilliant but mfeiioi 
Cnaries, piodnceS the Prince of Poets and the Prince of Pbiloso- 
'™°-Wn'am Shakespeare and Francis Bacon. But the internil 
between the end of the fourteenth century and the latter part of the 
slUeenth, though de.tlluto of any names comparabi. for creative cnei- 
„ to that of Chaucer, wa. n period ot great literary activity. The 
taoortation into England of the art of printing, first ekcrei.cd among 
™b,CAirO»,who wasWmseif a useful and laborious .illhor, and 



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60 FROM THE DEATH OF GIIAUGEE [Chap. Ul. 

who died in 1491, unquestionably tended to give a more regular and 
literary form to the productions of that age ; the increase in the num- 
ber of printed books Beems in particular to have been peculiarij' effica- 
cious in generating a good prose style, as well as in enlarging the circle 
of readers and extending the influence of popular intellectual activity, 
ae for eicample by disseminating the habit of religious and political 
discusiiioi!. Thus Mandeviile, i-egardad as one of the founders of prose 
writii g in England, and who, at the period of Chaucer, gave to thf 
Wiirlc the curious description of his travels and adventures in man; 
lands-,* was followed 6y Chief Justice Fobtescue (11. 1430-14J0), 
who, besides his celebrated Latin work "De Laudibus Legum An- 
glia:," also wrote one in English on " The Diiierence between in 
Absolute and Limited Monardiy." t 

g 2. But tlie most brilliant names which occupy the beginning of 
this interval are those of Scotsmen. James I. (1394-1437), who was 
taken prisoner when a child (1405) and carefully educated at Windsor, 
must be regarded as a poet who does equal honor to his own country 
and to that of his captivity- This accomplished prince was the author 
of a collection of love-verses under the title of the King's ^uhair 
(i, e. ^icire or Eaai), wiitten in the purest English and breathing the 
romantic and elegant grace which the immense popularity of PetrarcK 
had at that time made the universal pattern throughout Europe. His 
own national dialect, too, was that of the Lowland Scots, then ana 
long after the language of literature, of courtly society, and of theol- 
ogy, and by no means to be regarded as the mere patois or provincial 
dialect which it has become since the union of the two crowns has 
destroyed the political independence of Scotland. In it James com- 
posed a number of songs and ballads of extraordinary merit, recount- 
ing with much humor his own amorous adventures; some, unfortu- 
nately, of a cliaracter rather too warm for the delicacy of modern times. 
This intellectual and patriotic prince was assassinated in 1437 at Perth, 
by the nobles, among whom his own uncle was a chief conspirator, to 
revenge the king's concessions to the people. Besides King James, 
Scotland produced about tliis time several poets of great merit, 
the cliief of whom are William Dunbar (about 1465-1520), and 
GaWin or Gavin Douqlas, Bishop of Dunkeld (1474-1523), the former 
a truly powerfi;! and original genius, and the second a voluminous and 
miscellaneous poet, whose example tended much to regulariae and 
improve the naJionai dialect, and to enrich the national literature. 
Among Dunbar's numerous poetical compositions we must in particu- 
jir specify his wild aUegorical conception of " Tke Dance of the Seven 
Deadly Sins," a fantastic and terrible impersonation, with the intense 
reality of Dante and the picturesque inventiveness of C allot. Gawin 

* For an noeonnt of Mandeviile see p. 64. 

t Sir John Fortcstue was oiig^oally a Lancastrian. Ho accompanied Ilenty 
VI. into exile; was afterwards taken prisoner at the hnttle of Tcivkesbury in 
1471, and was attainted. He obtained his paidan hy acknowlcd^ng the titli 
*f Kdwarf IV. 



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A. D. 1480-1535.] TO TEE AGE OF ELIZABBTS. *)1 

Douglas is now chieRj remembered as the translator of Vii^il into 
Scottish verse, and in both this and his original compositions the 
reader will be struck by thu much greater preponderance of French 
and Latin words in the dialect of Scotlai d than in contemporary Eng- 
lish writings. This is partly to be attributed to the close political con- 
nection maintamed by Scotland with France, with which country she 
generally sided out of hostility to England ; and partly, no doubt, to a 
\ind of pedantic affectation, a sort of Scottish estilc culto, like the 
■>ongorisni of the Spaniards. Robert Hekbyson (d, about 1500), a 
.monk or schoolmaster of Dunfermline, wrote, in imitation of Chaucer, 
the Testament of Faire Creseide, and the beautiful pastoral of Robin 
and Matyae (in Percy's Relives). Another Scottish poet, known 
under the appellation of Blind Harry or Harry the Minstrej,, but 
concerning the details of whose life nothing accurate has been discov- 
ered, wrote, in long rhymed couplets, a narrative of the exploits of the 
second great national hero, William Wallace. This work is not des- 
titute of vigorous and picturesque passages. Barbour and the other 
writers of the fourteenth century have been already mentioned (p. 55). 

S 3. The reign of Henry VH., as might have been expected fronj the 
sombre character of that politic prince, was by no means favorable 
to literary activity; but Henry VIII. was possessed of much of the 
learning of his age, and even distinguished bimself by his controver- 
sial writings against Luther. The title of "Defender of the Faith," 
by which the Pope recompensed this sceptred polemic, has been evei 
since retained in the style of English sovereigns — a singular example 
of the vidssitttdes of names. The great and good chancellor Sir 
Thomas More, the poets Skelton, Wyatt, and Surrey, belong to tiiis 
memorable reign. Of the three last we shall speak among the poets. 
Sir Thomas More (1480-1535) is unquestionably one of the most pi-om- 
inent intellectual figures of this reign, whether as statesman, polemic, 
or man of letters. The ardent attachment which More felt to the 
Catholic raligion, and which he so often testified by acts of persecution, 
contrary to his gentle and genial character, he firmly maintained when 
himself persecuted and in the presence of acruel and ignominious deaib. 
His philosophical romance of the (/topia, written in Latin, is a striking 
example of the extreme freedom of speculative and political discussion, 
exercised not only with impunity, but even with approbation, under the 
Bternest tyranny. The fundamental idea of this work was boi-rowed from 
the Atlantis of Plato. It is one of the earliest of many attempts to give, 
under tiie form of a voyage to an imaginary island, the theory of an 
ideal republic, where the laws, the institutions, the social and political 
usages, are in strict accordance with a philosophical perfection. Eng- 
land has been peculiarly fertile in these sports of political fancy. Bacon 
also left an unfinished sketch of an imaginary republic; and the Oceana 
of Harrington is a similar attempt to realine the theory of a perfectly 
happy and philosophic government.* 

• Of Sit Thomas More'a English works, the most recittrkaUle, on actouiit of 
lU Wjle, is his l^fe of Edaurd V., whieh Mt. Halllun pconouuiGi to be "tU« 



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82 FROM TBE DEATH OF CBAUOER [Chap. HI. 

§ 4. Parallel with the irnprovement of general literature, and indeed 
■e connected with it, must be noted the very general 



diffusion of religious controversj connected with the doctrines of the 
Reformation, and the dissemination of English tra.nslationB of the 
Scriptures. Tyndale and Covehdalb, the former of whom waa 
burned near Antwerp, in 1536, and the latter made Bishop of Es:etei 
about the middle of the same centur_)', gave to tlie world the first por- 
ti.ns, and the bvo together the whole, of the sacred writings in an 
English version ; and the compilation of the English Booi of Common 
Prajet in the reign of Edward VI. combined with the diifusioo of the 
Scriptures ii: the English language to furnish the people with models 
of the finest possible style — grave and dignified without ostentation, 
vigorous and intelligible without vulgarity. The Liturgy itself was 
little else but a translation, with some few omissions and alterations, 
from the Latin Mass-book of the Catholic Church; but the simple and 
majestic style of the version, as well as that preserved in the English 
translation of the Bible, has endowed the Anglican Church with the 
noblest religious diction possessed by any nation in the world. It was 
formed at the critical period in the history of our native tongue when 
the simplicity of the ancient speech was still fresh and living, and yet 
when the progress of civilization was suffidently advanced to adorn 
that ancient element with the richness and expressiveness of a more 
polished epoch. The singular felicity of these circumstances has had 
an incalculable effect on the whole character of our language and liter- 
ature, and has preserved to the English tongue the force and pictur- 
esqueness of the fifteenth century, while not excluding the refinements 
of the nineteenth. Nor is it possible that the majestic style or our 
older writers can ever become obsolete, while the noble and massive 
language of our Bible and Prayer-Booli continues to exert — as it prob- 
ably ever will ■ — so immense an influence on the modes of thinking and 
speaking of all classes of the population. Many of our ancient preach- 
ers and controversialists too, like good old Hugh Latimer, burned as 
1 heretic by Mary in 1555, and the chronicler of the Protestant Martyrs, 
/OHN FoxE, who died in 1587, contributed, in writings which, though 
sometimes rude and unadorned, are always fervent, simple, and idi- 
omatic, to disseminate among the great mass of the people not only an 
inient attachment to Protestant doctrines, but a habit of religious dis- 
cuEQ'on and consequently a tendency to intellectual activity. 

g 5. Independently of purely religious disquisition the period ante- 
rior to the reign of Elizabeth was not barren of literary productions of 
nore general interest. Lord Berners, governor of Calais undei 
ilcnry VIII., translated into the picturesque and vigorous English of 
that day the Chronicle of Froissarl, that inexhaustible storehouse of 
chivalrous incident and mcdisva! detail. The translation is not onlj 
remarkable for fidelity and vii'acity, but the archaism of Berners' lan- 
guage, by preserving to the modem English reader the quaintness of 
Brst example of ROod English language pure and pfispicuou*, Hell-Dhoicu, 
irithoul yulgarisnu ot pedaotrj." 



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A. D. 1400-1S58.] TO THE AGE OF ELIZABETH. fi3 

the original, produces pre ely th ne n pre on as. tl e pichiresqus 
old French. 

It IE curious to trace tfie grad al transforn ation of h storical litera- 
ture. Its first and earl e t t3pe n tl inc ent as well ■» the modern 
world, is invariably m tl al or legend<iry and tl e fo m in which jt 
then appears is universally poet cal The legend by 1 natural transi- 
tion, gives way to the chron cle or regular con p lation of legends ; and 
the chronicle becomes after many aees of c 1 zat on the mine from 
whsnce the philosophical h stor an extracts the n de naterials for hiu 
work. As the detached legendary or ballad ep sodes of Homer verge 
Into the chronicle iislory ^a fresh n ts nfant ne s mpl c ty, of Herod- 
otus, or the old rude Lat n bill ds nto tl e chron cle h tory of Livy, 
and as these in their t rn gene te tl e p ofou d ph losophical reflec- 
tions of Thucydides or Tic t s so n the parallel depa -tment of mod- 
ern literature in Engla d we fi d tl e tab Ions B t 1 legends com- 
bining themselves in the Mona& a d Trouvere chron cles, and these 
again generating the prosaic but useful narratives from which the mod- 
ern historian draws the materinls for his pictures and reflections. In 
the minute and gossiping pages of such writers as old Fabyan (d. 1512), 
who was an alderman and sheriff of London, and Edward Hai-L (d, 
IS47) ™'''° ™"^ " Ju'^g^ '" ^^ Sheriff's Court of the same city we find 
the trans t on fron the poetical, ballad, 1 ^ 1 m f h t ry 
rhe r wnt ngs tho fh totally devoid of ph i p! 1 v t g 

enl knowledge and though exhibiting mpl t w t f t 1 

d scnmmat on between trifling and imp rt t t t m ly 

valuable not only as vast storehouses offtwhhtl dmh 

tonanhasto ft and classify, but as mon t fl <^ g d m 

pies of the popular feeling of their «me. In En„l d th h les 

wear a peculiar bourgeois air, and were indeed generally, as in the case 
of the former of these writers, the production of worthy but not very 
highly-cultivated citizens. Mixed with much childish and insignificant 
detail, which, however, is not without its value as giving us an insight 
into the life and opinions of the age, we find an abundant store of facts 
and pictures, invaluable to the modern and more scientific historian.'- 

S 6. Among numerous works on philosophy and education (which 
now takes its place as a branch of literature) Thomas Wilson's Trea- 
lise ef Logic and Bietoric, published in iS53. """st be regarded as u 
work far superior in originality of view and con-ectness of literary prin- 

• The earUest English Chronicle is John de Ticvisa's translation of Higden' 
'Poljohronioon,' with a continuation by Caxton down to 1460, whioh la noticed 
on p 65. Neit comes the metrical chronicle of John Harding, coming down to 
Ihe reign of Edward IV. (See p. 69.) Then followthe Chronii^iea of Fabyan »nd 
Hall mentioned in the text. Fabyan's Chronicle, which he called the Cerator- 
d<mU Of HiOoris,. heg^ns with the fabulooB stories of Brnla the Trojan and 
wmes down to his own time. Hall's Chronicle, first pirated hy Grafton in 1548 
under the title of T/te Union qf the Tu>o Noble imd lUuatnciis Faaiihea of Tori 
»d La,^!ter, gives a history of England under the licuees if Tork and Lanci* 
M, and of the reigns of Henry VII- and Uenry VIIL 



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64 



FROM THE DEATH OF CHAUCER [Chap. 10 



cip;e to aojthing that had at that time appeared in England or else- 
where, relative to a subject of the highest importance; and the writings 
cf Sir John Chkke (1514-1537) not only rendered an ineetimable service 
to philQlogjr by laying Uie foundation of Greek studies in the Univer- 
sity of Cambridge, wl.;re he was professor, but tended powerfully to 
regulate and improve the tone of English prose. The excellent precepts 
^1 en by Wilson and Cheke concerning the avoidance of pedantic and 
affected expressions in prose, and in particular their ridicule of the tbeu 
prevailing vice of alliteration and exaggerated subtlety of antithesis, weie 
jxeiiiplified by the grave and simple propriety of their own writings. 
To the same category as the preceding writers mentioned will belong 
Roger Ascham (1515-1568), the learned and affectionate preceptor of 
Elizabeth and the unfortunate Jane Grey. His ti-eatiae entitled the 
Schoolmaster, and the boolt called Toxo^hilus, devoted to the encour- 
agement of the national use of the bow, are works remarkable for the 
good sense and reasonableness of the ideas, which are expressed in a 
plain and vigorous dignity of style that would do lionor to any epoch 
of literature. The plans of teaching laid down in Ascliam's School- 
ntaaler have been revived in our own day as an antidote to shallow 
novelties, and his advocacy of the bow has been more than carried out 
by the modei"n rifle. 

§ 7. But though the popular literature of England in the reign of 
Henry VIII. naturally took, from the force of contemporary circum- 
stances, a polemical, conti-oversial, or philosophical tone, and writers 
busied themselves chiefly about those great religious questions which 
were then exciting universal interest, there were poets who cannot be 
passed over by one desirous of fonning an idea of the intellectual char 
acter of that momentous period of transformation. John Skklton, 
the date of whose birth is unknown,. but who died in 1529, was un- 
doubtedly a man of considerable classical learning. He is spoken of 
by Erasmus, who passed some time in England, where he was received 
with warm hospitality by More, and even read lectures before the Uni- 
versity of Cambridge, as " litteramra Anglicarum decus et lumen." 
He belonged to the ecclesiastical profession, was rector of Diss in Nor- 
folk, and incessantly alludes in his writings to the honor of the laurel 
which he had received from Oxford; but whether thisindicates a specific 
personal distinction, conferred upon him alone, or merely an academical 
degree, is not quite clearly established. He appears also to have en- 
joyed the privilege of wearing the king's colors or livery, and to have 
been to a certain degree the object of court favor: but there is reason 
to believe that he was not remarkable for prudence or regularity of con- 
<luct. Hia poetical productions, which are tolerably voluminous, may 
be divided into two very marlted and distinct categories, his serious and 
comic or satiric writings. The fonner, which are either eulogistic 
poems addressed to patrons or allegorical disquisitions in a grave, lofty, 
and pretentious strain of moral declamation, will be found by the 
modern reader, who may be bold enough to examine them, inaupport- 
«blj stiff, tiresome, and pedantic, exhibiting, it is true, considerahia 



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A.D. I4i»-i558-] TO THE AQE OF ELIZABETH. M 

learning, an elevated tone of ethical disquisition, and a pure and Bome- 
times vigorout English style, wliert the poet can free himself from Um 
trammels of LaUnizing pedantry: but they are destitute of invention 
and grace. These poems, however, were in all probability much ad- 
mired at n time when, English literature being as yet in its infancy, 
readers as well as writers thought more of borrowed than original con- 
ceptions, and placed learning — which was of course admired in prop'>r. 
tion to its larity— higher than invention. But it is in his comic and 
latiricii writings that Skelton is truly original ; he struck out a path in 
iteratiire, not very high it is true, but one n vh'cl he had no prede- 
cessors and has found no equals. He engaged w th aa audacity and 
XT. apparent impunity which now appear equally nciplicable, in a 
series of the most furious attacks upoa the then all powerful favorite 
and minister Wolsey : and in the whole 1 te at e ol 1 bels and pas- 
quinades there is nothing bolder -and mo e s veep ng than these invec- 
tives. They are written in a peculiar sho t dog„e el measure, the rhymei 
of which, recurring incessantly, and sometimes repeated with a rapidity 
that almost takes away the reader's breatli, form an admirable vehicle 
for violent abuse, invaiiably couched in the most familiar language of 
the people. He has at once perfectly described and eKemplified thf 
ciiatac'ter of his "breathlesse rhymes" in the following passage ; - 
" For though my rime be ra^ed. 
Tattered and jagged, 
Eudely raine-beaten, 
Bust; and mooth-eaten, 
If jc take wel Ihorewith 
It hath in it eom pith." 
All that is coarse, quaint, odd, familiar, in the speech of the commonest 
of the people, combined with a command of learned and pedantic im 
agery almost equal to the exhaustless vocabulary of Rabelais, is to be 
found in Skelton ; and his writings deserve to be studied, were it only 
as an abundant source of popular English. In one strange extrava- 
ganza, entitled " The Tsuning ofElinoar Rummyng" he has described 
the attractions of the browat of a certain alewife, and the furious eager- 
ness of the women of the neighborhood to taste the barley-bree of 
Dame Rummyng, who is said to have been a real person and to have 
kept an alehouse at Leatherhead, in Surrey. Elinour and her establish- 
ment, and her thirst/ customers, are painted witli extraordinary hu- 
mor and with a vastfeiundity of images, some ofwhicli are so coarse at 
to exceed all bounds of moderation and even of decency. Of the 
humor, knowledge of low life, and force of imagination displayed, 'here 
lan be but one opinion. Another very strange pleasantry of this 
humorist is the Boke of the Sparrow, a sort of dirge or lamentation on 
the death of a tame sparrow, the favorite of a young lady who belonged 
to a Convent. The bird was unfortunately killed by a cat, and al^er 
devoting tliis cat in particular and the whole race of cats in general ttJ 
eteroa) punishment in a sort of humorous excoiunmnication, tiie poel 
proceeds to describe a funeral service performed, for tlie rep M* of Philip 



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66 FROM THE DEATH OF CHAUCER [Chap. Ill 

Sparrow's soul, by all the birds; in which we have aparodj' of the vari- 
ous parts of the Catholic funeral ritual. In this work, ifs well as in 
most of Skelton's writings, we find Latin and French freelj inter- 
mingled with his nervous and popular English; and this singularlj 
heightens the comic effect. SkcHon's purely satiric productions are 
principally directed against Wolsey, and against the Scottish king and 
nation, over whose fatal defeat at Flodden the railing satirist exults in a 
rtianiier unworthy of a generous spirit. His principal attacks upon 
Wolsey are to be found in the poems entitled the Booke of Colin Claut, 
Why Come Te not to Court, and the Bouge of Court. 

Two poetfi, who flourished nearly at the same time, Stephen tiawes 
and Alexander Barklay, deserve mention for the influence they exerted 
on the intellectual character of their age, though their writings have 
fallen into neglect. Stephen Hawes (fl. 1509)7 the elder of the two, 
whom Warton describes as the " only writer deserving tlie name of a 
poet in the reign of Henry VII.," was a favorite of that monarch, and 
the author of the Pastime ef Pleasure, a long and in many passages a 
striking allegorical poem in the versification of old Lydgate. Alkxan- 
DBR Barklay, who lived a little later under Henry VIII. and died at an 
advanced age, at Croydon, in Surrey, in 1552, translated into English 
verse Sebastian Brandt's once-celebrated satire of the Ship of Fools, 
an epitome of the various forms of pedantry and affectation.* la the 
writings of both we see the rapid development of flexibility and har- 
mony of English versiBcation, the approach to that consummate pei^ 
fection which was at no long period to be attained by Spenser and 
Shakspeare, under the influence, particularly in the former case, of the 
enlightened imitation of Italian metrical melody. How rapid this 
progress In taste and refinement really was, may be deduced from an 
examination of th p f S Th W (the elder) and Uie 

Earl of Surrr wh w ly mp s in their lives and 

early deaths. Thfmw rr 53 d died in 1541 ; the 

second, one of tl t 11 t b t th splendid house of 

Howard, was b 57 dbhdd da false and absurd 

charge of high t by H y VIII n 547 B th these nobles were 

men of rare v! tu d mpl hm t W tt the type of the wit 

and statesman, and Surrey of the gallant cavalier; and both enjoyed 
a high popularity as poets. In their works we plainly trace the Italian 
spirit, and the style of their poems, though not free from that amorous 
and metaphysical casuistry which the example of Fetrarch long ren- 
dered so universal throughout Europe, is singularly free from haislr.ess 
3f expression and that uncouthness of form whidi is perceptible: In liic 
inrlicr attempts of English poetry. 

Surrey may justly be regarded as the first English classical pou He 
was the first who introduced blank verse into our English poeti-y, which 
■he employed in translating the second and fourth books of Vii^il's 
,f:neid. "Surrey," says Mr. Hallam, "did much for his own country 
B»s«), iind published in UH a satire in 



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§8 I 
th b3 
wh h E 


mpre 

prt 
Thes 



ft.. D. 1400-ISS8.] TO TEE AGE OF ELIZABETH. M 

and his native kngu.ge. His vereification differs very considerable 
from tliatof his predecessors. He introduced a sort of involution into 
Iiis stvle, wliich gives an air of dignity and remoteness from common 
life, 'it was, in fact, borrowed from the licei.je of Italian poetry, which 
our own idiom has rejected. He avoids psdantic words, forcibly ob- 
truded from the Latin, of which our earlier poets, both English and 
Scots, had been ridiculously fond. The absurd epitliets of Hoccleve, 
Lvdoate, Dunbar, and Douglas are applied eqiia.ly to the most different 
things, eo as to show that they annexed no meaning to them. Surrey 
larelr lays an unnatural stress on final syllables, merely as such, which 
they would not receivein ordinary pronunciation - another usual trick 
jfthe school of Chaucer. His words are well chosen and well ar- 
i-anged." Wyatt is inferior to Surrey in Jjarmony of numbers and ele- 
Rance of sentiment. Their " Songs and Sonnettes " were first collected 
and printed at London by Tottel, in i557- '" his Miscellany, which was 
the first printed poetical miscellany in the English language. 

- - b tt 1 de this transitional or intercalary chapter 

t w m k pe 1 I f P t 

lly h wh h ra k d w th t 

<aty dwhlh td md Itt 

fl 1 t t t mp bl 

t \ B II d p d dt pbbl grt 

„„....„ UififtthdtUcet dmy 

ta t ce bl t th N th C th B d g 

Mtw E gl d d S tl d Th t J th / , . 

t t y f m b th d f th f t d g ti t Pt d 

warfrebtw th tw tn w t lly th h t f ml 

titnde of wild and romantic episodes, consigned to memory in the rude 
strains of indigenous minstrels. No country indeed (excepting Spain, 
in the admirable rom^«ce:< which commemorate the long struggle 
between the Christians and the Moors, and tiie collection contammg 
the cycle of the Cid) possesses anything similar in kind or comparable 
in merit to the old ballidt. of England They bear the marks of "laving 
been composed, somewhat like the Rhapsodies of Uie old Ionian bards 
from which the mysterious per=omiitj whom we call Homer derived 
at once his materials and his inspnation bj rude wandenng min- 
strels Such men — piobibb often blind or oUierwise incapacitated 
from taking part in active life — gained their bread by singing or 
repeating them These poets ind narrators were a very different clas: 
from the wandering tioubadours or jongleurs of SonU-ern Europe ar.d 
cf France; and living m a connti-. much ruder and less chivalric, 
though certainly not le-^s wailike tiiin Linguedoc or PiNT^ance, then 
Eompositions are inimitable for simple pathos, fiery inteositj- of feiling. 
»nd picturesqueness of description. In every counh-y there must exist 
some typical or national form of versification, adapted to the ^.-niuE ol 
the language and to the mode of declamation or musical accompan,. 
ment generally employed for assisting the effect Thus the legen.iar, 
pwtry Of th? GreeHB naturally took Uie form of the Homeric h«saw 



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o8 FROM TUB DEAIH OF U IUCI.S. [Ch III 

eter, and that of the Spanmids tl 1 /fit n 

the ballads of the Cid, so well ad pt d t th comp m t f Iha 
guitar. The English ballads, al t h t pt ff t the 

iambic measure of twelve or fou t jU bl fiy {, pl t , 

which, however, naturally divide tli m ! by m f tl ee s 

or pause, into stanzas of four line th 1 j g \ly m g I 

the end of the second and fourth Th f rm t f d 

predominating throughout all th t t g 1 ix d w tself, 

in ail probability, a relic of the old I hj dlltt mdse, 

examples of which may be seen in the Lay of Gataefyn, or in the mon 
recent Vision of Piers Plowman. The breaking- up of the long linei 
into 6hort hemistichs, to which I have just alluded, may have been 
originally nothing but a means. for facilitating the copying of the lines 
into a page too narrow to admit them at full length : and the readiness 
with which these lines divide themselves into such hemistichs may be 
observed by a comparison with the long metre of the old Germar 
Nibelungen Lied, each two lines of which can be easily broken uj 
into a stanza of four, the rhymes being then confined, as in tlie English 
ballads, to the second and foui-th lines. 

Written or composed by obscure and often illiterate poets, these pro- 
ductions were frequently handed down only by tradition from genera- 
tion to generation : it is to the taste and curiosity, perhaps only to the 
family pride, of collectors, that we owe the accident by which some of 
them were copied and preserved ; the few that were ever printed, being 
destined for circulation only among the poorest class, were confided to 
the meanest typography and to flying sheets, or broadsides, as they are 
termed by collectors. Vast numbers of them — perhaps not inferior to 
the finest that have been preserved — have perished forever. The first 
considerable collection of these ball d w p bl I d, with most agree- 
able and valuable notes, by Bishop Th P r v, in 1765, and it is 
to his example that we owe, not o ly th p -v t on of these invalu- 
l)le relics, but the immense revol t p d d by their study and 
imitation, in the literature of the p t tur It is no esaggera- 
tion to Bay that the old English ball d had th g test share in bring- 
ing about that immense change in ta>t d f 1 gwhich characterizes 
the revival of romantic poetry; and that the relics of the rude old moss- 
trooping rhapsodists of the Border, in !^ great measure, generated th» 
admirable inspii-ations of Walter Scott. Constructed, like the Homerit 
rhapsodies or the Romances of Spain, upon a cei"tair. regular model, 
these ballads, like the productions just mentioned, abound in certali 
regularly recurring passages, turns of espression and epithets : thesi 
must be regarded as the meclianical or received aids to the composei 
in hie task; but these commonplaces are incessantly enlivened by some 
stroke of picturesque description, some vivid painting of natural objects, 
lome burst of simple heroism, or some touch of pathos. Among tlj! 
oldest and finest of these works I may cite " the grand old lallad " jf 
Sir Patrick S^eiis, the Batile of Ollerhurue, Chevy Chase, the Death 
»f Douglas, all commemorating sone btttle, foray, ji military exjilASf 



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A. D. 1 4t». j 



TO THE AGE OF ELIZABETH. 



of the Border. The class of whicli the above are striking specimens, 
bear evident marks, in their subjects and the dialect in which tliey are 
composed, of a Northern, Scoltieh, or at least Border origin t it would 
be unjust not to mention that there exist large nurabers, and those often 
of no inferior merit, which are distinctly traceable to an English — 
meaning a South British — source. To this class will belong the 
Imn^siiBe cycle or collection of ballads describing the adventures of the 
CimouG outlaw Robin Hood, and his "merry men." This legendary 
personage is described in such a multitude of episodes, that he must be 
considered a sort of national type of English character. Whetliei 
Robin Hood ever actually existed, or whether, like William Tell, he 
he merely a popular myth, is a question that perhaps no research will 
ever succeed in deciding: but the numerous ballads recounting his 
exploits form a most beautiful and valuable repertory of national tra- 
dition and national traits of character. In the last-mentioned class of 
ballads, viz. those of purely English origin, the curious investigator 
wil' trace the resistance opposed by the oppressed class o( yeomen to 
the tyranny of Norman feudalism! ^""1 this point has been turned to 
admirable account by Walter Scott in his romance of Ivan/toe, in those 
exquisitely dalineated scenes of which Robin Hood, under the name 
of the outlaw Locksley, is the hero. In these compositions we see 
manifest traces of the rough, vigorous spirit of popular, as contradis- 
tinguished from aristocratic, feeling. They commemorate the hostility 
of the English people against their Norman tyrants : and tJie bold and 
joyous sentiment which prevails in them is strongly contrasted with 
the lofty and exclusive tone pervading the Trouv^re legends. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



^ryV. But he hardly dcsei-ves the 

LB his veraeB mo f^ebU (mtl fllupid, YeiT 



r IhiuUieEDgllstitDlhDfll 



' (H»>-UlW),lhoL)'OilKi 



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tiOfSS AND tLLtTStkAfiOHS. LChap. Itl, 



□d WyaU^B poenis void pubUshcd kn 
le £iigiish LAnguogd. Aino 



]iaifluy Uio obJocUva pliml p 
pluml poBsesri™ pratiDuu Jb 
vayi Ttenim: Gm Jjersaridl oi 






LAS OmilDALD (obmit I92I)-1SG3). u 1 
iDuges " in TolUl'a Mls«Uluiy. Ha 



ofWminm.LortPoBtt. He BfterantdB be«. 

■ppMKd ill 165?. unfler Hie UUo of ■■ A HuodieUi 
Qood FuinLei of Huabsiidrie." Ila pi^Used ~ 



icont, WAS deprived of hli blflbnpvle, 

itork. BitilUd UiB SfjBtsor lif ovtr- 
\0 of tht dergti, appeared lu I14& 



oDandcivbly bebiod tbat 



BCppcwd, a vulvar rDrrDptiim of 
lecdve plural, nhieh, \a OUT vpok^u 



aa MLOiliy took the work 
ioundTollk. Thoi^ls 



I THOKSB ELTOT (i. UW. 0" OUllUM.! 



ceot vnloe for £ii^l9h lupogiapby. 

loot WolEcyi nod wrote Ibe lift of tha Csrdliul. 
om nbieh Shokipeate Ijns tobon manypofliofce En 

^UKiEfLlLon of tbe ScoLUbIi UksEor; of BDGtMm, 3t 

hMClui (Boeu), VI1I3 publlslied m U3;. 

Joun Balb <Mli-iea!l}, Blllli^ of Oa»i7 In Jr» 



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TBM ELtZABMTHAM POETS. 



CHAPTER IV. 



THE ELIZABETHAN POETS (INCLUDING THE REIGN OB 
JAMES I.;- A. D. 1558-1625. 

1 1. CharactBriaties of the Elizabethan age of Literature, j 2, The less Itiiown 
writers of this period; Ga3coiosb; Tcrbebville ; Thomas Sacktillh, 
Lord Buclihiirst. } 3. BDMnun Spensek ; his personal history 1 the Sliep- 
herd'a Calendar; his friendship with Harvey and Sidnej ; favored by Leioestw 
and Eliaabeth i disappointments at court; residence in Ireland; misfortunes, 
and death. {4. Analysis and criticism of the Fairy Queen .■ hrillianoy of 
imagination ; defects of plan ; allusions to persons and events. { S. Detailed 
analjsia of the Second Book, or the Legend of Tempenniee. § 8. Versifica- 
tion of the poem ; adaptation of the lai^^nage in the metre ; Spenser's hold- 
nesB in dealing with English. } 7. Character of Speneev'e genius : his minor 
works. } 8. Sib Philip Sidney ; his accomplishments and heroic death ■ 
ids SmneH, Arcadia, zni Dsfenee of Poesy. §9. Other loading Poets of tho 
ai^e: — (i.) Daniel; (ii.) Dbaytos; (iii.) Sir John Da vies ; (is.) Joan 
Donne; (t.) Bishop Hill; English Satire. 5 10. Minor Poets; Phineai 
and GILE8 Fleicheb ; ChdechtaW) ; the Jesuit Southwell ; Faiufax, thi 
translator of Taeso. 

g 1, The Age of Elizabeth is character izeil by features which causa 
it to stand alone in the literaiy history of the world. It was a period 
of sudden emancipation ol thought, of immense fertility and origi- 
nality, and of high and generally diffused intellectual cultivation. 
The language, thanks to the various causes indicated in the preceding 
chapters, had reached its highest perfection; the study and the imita- 
tion of ancient 01 loreign models had furnished a vast store of majeri- 
als, images and literary forms, which had not yet had time to become 
commonplace and overworn. The poets and prose writers of this age, 
therefore, united the freshness and vigor of youth with the regularity 
and majesty of manhood; and nothing can better demonstrate the 
intellectual activity of the epoch than the number of excellent works 
which have become obsolete in the present day, solely from their merits 
having been eclipsed by the glories of a few incomparable names, as 
those of Spinser in romantic and of Shakspeare in dramatic poetry. It 
Bill be my task to give a rapid sketch of some of the great woiku 
II1U8 " darkened witli the excess of light," 

J 2- The first name is that of George Gascoigne (i530-i577)- who, 
is one of the founders of the great English school of the drama, as a 
Sitirist, as a narrative and as a lyric poet, enjoyed a high popularity 
for ai-t and genius. His most important production, in point of length, 
is a species of moral or satiric declamation entitled tlie S/eel Glass, 
in which he inveighs against the vices and follies of his time. It is 
written in, blank verse, and is one of the earliest examples of that kind 



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72 THE ELIZABETHAN POETS. ICmw.W. 

of metre, so well adapted to the genius of the Engliiih language, am' 
ill which, independeatlj- of the drama, &o many important composi- 
tions were afterwarde to be written. The vei'sification of Gascoigne ia 
this work, though somewhat harsh and monotonous, is dignified anil 
regular; and the poem evinces close obEcrvation of life and a lofty tone 
of morality. His career was a very active one; he figured on the bril- 
liant Btr.ge of the court, took part in a campaign in Holland against 
the Spaniards, and has commemorated some of the unfortunate inci 
dents of this expedition in a poem in seven-lined stanaas, entitled Tii 
Fhii'is of War ; and many of his minor compositions are well deserv- 
ing of perusal. He was an example of a type of literary men which 
abounded in England at that period, in which the active and contem- 
plative life were harmoniously combined, and which brought the acqui- 
f itions of the study to hear upon the interests of real life. 

Nearly contempoi-ary with this poet was Gkorge Turbervilh 
('530"i594)i whose writings exhibit a less vigorous invention than 
those of Gascoigne. He very frequently employed a peculiar modifica- 
tion of the old English ballad stanza which was extremely fashionable 
at this period. The modification consists in the third line, instead of 
being of equal length to the iirst, viz, of six syllables, containing eight. 
It must not, however, be understood from this that Turbervile did 
not employ a great variety of other metrical arrangements. The 
majority of his writings consist of iove epistles, epitaphs, and compli- 

A poet whose writings, of a lofty, melancholy, and moral tone, un- 
doubtedly exerted a great influence at a critical period in the formation 
of the English literature, was Thomas Sackville, Lord Budchurst 
(1536-1608), a person of high political distinction, having filled the office 
of Lord High Treasurer. It was for his children that Ascham wrote 
the Scioolmasler. He prajected, and himself commenced, a work 
tntUX^A A Mirrour for Magisfraies, which was intended to contain a 
series of tragic examples of the vicissitudes of fortune, drawn from the 
annals of his own country, serving as lessons of virtue to future kings 
and statesmen, and as warnings of the fragility of earthly greatness 
and success. Sackville composed the Taducii'on (Introduction) of this 
grave and dignified work, and also the first legend or complaint, in which 
are commemorated the power and the fall of the Duke of Buckingham, 
favorite and victim of the tyrannical Richard III. The poem was 
afterwards continued by other writers in the same style, though gener- 
ally with a perceptible diminution of grandeur and effect. Such collec- 
tions of legends or short poetical biogi-aphies, in which celebrated and 
unfortunate sufferers were introduced, bewailing their destiny, or warn- 
ing mankind against crime and ambition, were frequent in literature at 
an earlier period. Chaucer's Monk's Tale, and the same poef 8 Legend 
of Good Women, are in plan and character not dissimilar; nay, the 
origin of such a form of composition may be traced even to the vast 
ethical collection of the Ges/a JRomanorum, if not to a still higher 
antiquity i for the Heroides of Ovid, though confined lo 



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A. D. 1558-1599.] SPHNSEB. 73 

of xmhappj love, form a somewhat similar gallerj of examples. The 
Mirrotir for Magistrates is written in stanzas of seven lines, and 
eifhibits great occasional power of expression, and a remarkable force 
and compression of language, though the general tone 1b gloomj and 
somewhat monotonous. Some of the lines reach a high elevation 
of Bomhre picturesqueness, as these, of old age : — 

" His scalp all pilled, and he with eld forlote, 
His withered fist still knocldng at death's door," 

which is stritinglj like what Chaucer himself would have written.* 

5 3. A period combining a scholar-like imitation of antiquity and of 
foreign contemporary literature, principally that of Italy, with the 
force, freshness, andoriginalityof the dawn of letters in England, might 
have been fairly expected, even a priori, to produce a great imagina- 
tive and descriptive work of poetry. The illustrious name of Edmund 
Spemser. ('553-1599) occupies a place among the writers of England 
similar to that of Ariosto among those of Italy; and the unicn in his 
works — and particularly in his greatest work, ih& FaEry ^neen — of 
original invention and happy use of existing materials, fiilly warrants 
the unquestioned verdict which names him as the greatest English poe' 
intervening between Chaucer and Sbakspeare. His career was brilliant, 
but unhappy. Born in 1553, a cadet of the illustrious family whose 
name he bore, though not endowed with fortune, he was educated al 
the University of Cambridge, where he undoubtedly acquired an 
amount of learning remarkable even in that age of solid and substantial 
studies. He is supposed, after leaving the University, to have been 
compelled to perform the functions of domestic tutor in the North of 
England; and to have gained his first fame by the i,ublication of the 
Shepherd's Calendar, a series of pastorals divided into twelve parts or 
months, in which, as in Virgil's Bucolics, under the guise of idyllic 
dialogues, his imaginary interlocutors discuss high questions of morality 
and state, and pay refined compliments to illustrious personages. In these 
eclogues Spenser endeavored to give a national air to his work, by painting 
English scenery and the English climate, by selecting English names for 
his rustic persona, and by infiising into their language many provincial 
and obsolete expressions. The extraordinary superiority, in power of 
thought and harmony of language, exhibited by the Shepherd's Calen- 
dar, immediately placed Spenser among the highest poetical names of 
his day, and attracted the favor and patronage of the great. Tiie 
young poet had been closely connected, by friendship and the com 
Diunity of tastes and studies, with the learned Gabriel Harvey — a man 
of unqitestionabie genius, but rendered ridiculous by certain literary 
hobbies, as, for example, by a mania for employing the ancient cla'isical 
metres, founded on quantity, n Eiglsh \er=e ai d 1 e for some 11 mt 
infected Spenser with his own freaks Th ough Harvei', Spenser 
acquired the notice and favor of the accompl abed S dney; and it waa 

* For a further aeooant of tlie X rrow fo Mij si at s see Notes and Oln*- 



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.74 THE ELlZABETIIAIf POSTS. [Chrp. IV 

At Penshurst, the fine mansion of the latter, that he is bi pposed to have 
revised the S&ep&erd's Calendar, which he dedicated, under the titU 
(^the Poet's Tear, to " Maister Philip Sidney, worthy of all titles, both 
of Chivalry and Poesy." Sidney, in his turn, recommended Spensei 
to Dudley Eai-l of Leicester, and the powerful favorite brought the 
poet under the personal notice of Elizabeth herself The great queen, 
surfeited ns she was with all the refinements of literary homage, certainij 
hud not, among the throng of poets that filled her court, a worshippei 
V, bof>e incense arose before her altar in richer or more fragrant clouds ; 
Lut tlie poet, in his court career, naturally exposed himself to the hos- 
tility of those who were the enemies of his protectors ; and there are 
soverai traditions which relate the disappointments experienced by 
Spenser at the hands of the great minister Burleigh, whose influence 
on the mind of his misti-ess was too firmly established to be seriously 
shaken by the Queen's attachment to her favorites. Spenser has left us 
a gloomy picture of the miseries of courtly dependence. The poet 
appears to have been occasionally employed in unimportant diplomatic 
services ; but on the nomination of Lord Grey de Wilton as Deputy or 
Lieutenant of Ireland, Spenser accompanied him to that country as 
secretary, and received a grant of land not far from Cork, which he waa 
to occupy and cultivate. This estate had formed part of the domains 
of the Earls of Desmond, and had been forfeited or confiscated by the 
English Government. Spenser resided several years at Kilcolmao 
Castie, during which time he exercised various important administra- 
tive ftinctions in the government of the then newly-subjugated country. 
It was during his residence in Ireland that he composed the most im- 
portant of his works, amongwhich the first place is occupied hy his great 
poem of the FaSry ^aeen. About twelve years after his first estiblish- 
luent in the province of Munster, the flam f It mm t d 

from the great rebellion called Tyrone's In wl h h d been 

raging in the neighboring province of Ul t p d t 1 n 

which surrounded Spenser's retreat. He h d p b bly d d h ra- 
self hateful to the half-savage Celtic pop It wh m 1 E gl h 
colonists had ejected and oppressed: indeed th j n 1 tl h 

entitled A View of He State of Ireland, in wl ch h 1 d b d 1 e 
curious manners and customs of the indigenous race, indicates plainly 
enough that the poet shared the prejudices of his race and position. 
Kilcolraan Castle was attacked and burned by the insurgents. Spenser 
and his family escaped with difficulty, and with the ioss not only of all tl:ej 
p.osseesed, but with the still more cruel bereavement of a young chi.d, 
nliich mas left behind and perished in the house. Completelj' ruined, 
and overwhelmed by so tragic an affliction, the poet returned to Lon- 
don, where he is reported to have died in the greatest poverty, ibigoltei 
by the court and neglected by his patrons, in 1599. He was, howevei, 
followed to the grave with the unanimous admiration of his counTy- 
men. wlio bewailed in his death the loss of the greatest poet of his age. 
He was buried with great pomp in Westminster Abbey, near the toint> 
of Chaucer. 



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K t>. 1558-1599.] SPElfS&'lt. 7A 

1 4. Spenser's greatest work, T&e Faei^ ^»ee», is a poem tlie sub- 
ject of which is chivalric, allegorical, narrative, and deeciiptive, while 
the execution is in a great measure derived from the manner of Ariosto 
and Taaso. It was ur^ginaily planned to consist of twelve books 01 
moral adventures, each typifying the triumph of a Virtue, and couched 
under the form of an exploit of knight- errantry. The hero of the 
whole action was to be the mythical Prince Arthur, the type of perfect 
■virtue in Spenser, as he is the ideal hero in the vast collection of 
mediatval legends in which he figures. This fabulous personage ''- v:i^ 
posed to become enamoured of the Faery Queen, who appears to him 
iii a dream ; and arriving at her court in Fairy-Land he finds her hold- 
ing a solemn feudal festival during twelve days. At her court there is 
a beautiful lady for whose haad the twelve most distinguished knights 
are rivals ; and in order to settle their pretensions these twelve heroes 
undertake twelve separate adventures, which furnish the materials for 
the action. The First Book relates the expedition of the Red-Cross 
Knight, who is the allegorical representative of Holiness, while his 
mistress Una represents true Religion ; and the action of the knight's 
exploit shadows forth the triumph of Holiness over the enchantiuents 
and deceptions of Heresy. The Second Book recounts the adventures 
of Sir Guyon, or Temperance; the Third those of Britomartis — a 
female champion — or Chastity. It must be remarked that each of 
these books m subdivided info twelve cantos, consequently that the 
poem, even in the imperfect form under which we possess it, is ex- 
tremely voluminous. The three iirst books were published separately 
in 1590, and dedicated to Elizabeth, who rewarded the delicate flattery 
which pervades innumerable allusions in the work with a peiision of 
50^. a year. After returning to Ireland Spenser prosecuted bis work 
and in 1596 he gave to the world three more books, namely, the Fourth, 
containing the Legend of Cambell and Triaraond, a ilego rising .Fj-Zearf- 
thipi the FifHi, the Legend of Artcgall, or of Justice; and the Sixth, 
that of Sir Calidore, or Courtesy. Thus half of the poefs original 
design was executed. What progress he made in the six remaining 
books it is now impossible to ascertain. There are traditions which 
assert that this latter portion was completed, but that the manuscript 
was lost at sea; while the more probable theory is, that Spenser had 
not time to terminate his extensive plan, but that the dreadful misfor- 
tunes amid which his life was closed prevented him from completing 
his design.^ The fragment consisting of two cantos of Muiahility was 
intended to be inserted in the legend of Constancy, one of the books 
Vroje^ted. The vigor, invention, and splendor of expression that glow 
so brightly in the first three books, manifestly decline in the fourth, 
6ith, and sixth; and it is perhaps no matter of regret that tlie poet 
never completed so vast a design, in which the very nature of the plan 
necessitated a monotony that not all his fertility of genius could have 
obviated. We may apply to the Faery ^tieen the paradox of Hesiod 
— " the half is more than the whole." In this poem are united and 
harmonizud three different elements which at first sight would appeal 



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7« THE SlTZABETlTAS POETS. [Chai. IV. 

Irnconcilalik ; for the Kkeleton or framework of the action is derivpd 
from the feudal or chivalric legends; the ethical or moral sentimenl 
from the lofty philosophy of Plato, combined with the most elevated 
Christian purity; and the form and coloring of the language and ver 
tification aie saturated with the flowing grace and eensuous elegance of 
U e gr?at Italian poets of the Renaissance. The principal defects of 
;ho Fa/fry ^ueen, viewed as a whole, arise from two causes apparently 
jpposed, yet resulting in a similar impression on the reader. The firsl 
Is a want of unity, involving a loss of interest in the story ; for we alto- 
getlier forget Arthur, the nominal hero of the whole, and follow eacll 
separate adventure of the subordinate knights. Each book is therefore, 
intrinsically, a separate poem, and excites a separate interest. The 
other defect is the monotony of character inseparable from a series of 
adventures which, though varied with inexhaustible fertility, are all, 
from their chivalric nature, fundamentally similar, being either com- 
bats between one knight and another, or between the hero of the 
moment and some supernatural being — a monster, a dragon, or a 
wicked enchanter. In these contests, however brilliantly painted, we 
feel little or no suspense, for we are beforehand nearly certain of the 
victory of the hero; and even if this were otherwise, the knowledge 
ihat the valiant champion is himself nothing but the impersonation of 
some abstract quality or virtue, would be fatal to that interest with 
which we follow the vicissitudes of human fortunes. Hardly any degree 
of genius or invention can long sustain the interest of an allegory; 
and where the intense realism of Bunyan has only partially succeeded, 
the unreal phantasmagoria of Spenser's imagination, brilliant 'as it 
was. could not do other than fail. The strongest proof of the justice 
of tliese remarks will be found in the fact that those who read Spenser 
with the intensest delight are precisely those wlio entirely neglect the 
moral lessons typified in his allegory, and endeavor to follow his recital 
of adventures as those of human beings, giving themselves voluntarily 
up to the mighty magic of his unequalled imagination. Another result 
flowing from the above considerations is, that Spenser, though ex- 
tremely monotonous and tiresome to an ordinary reader, who deter- 
mines to plod doggedly through two or three successive hooks of the 
Faery ^aeen, is the moat enchanting of poets to him who, endowed 
with a lively fancy, confines his attention to one or two at a time of his 
delicious episodes, descriptions, or impersonations. Independently of 
(he ger.era! allegorical meaning of the persons and adventures, it must 
be remembered that many of these were also intended to contain allu- 
eions to facts and individuals of Spenser's own time, and particularly 
to convey compliments to his friends and patrons. Thus Gloriana, the 
Faflrj Queen herself, and the bcautiftil huntress Belphcelie, were in- 
tended to allude to Elizabeth; Sir Artegall, the Knight of Justice, to 
Lord Grey; and the adventures of the Red-Cross Knight shadow forth 
the history of the Anglican Church. In all probability a multitude of 
such allusions, now become obscure, were dear enough, when the poem 
first appeared, to those who were familiar with Ihe courti/ and political 



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1I..D.I558-.599.] SPSmER. " 

life of the time; but tlie modern reader, I thintt. will little regret tht 
-"imness in which time has plunged these allusions, for they only stiU 
further complicate an allegory which of itself often detracts from the 
charm and interest of the narrative. _ 

§ 5. As a specimen of Spenser's mode of conducting his aliegoiy, 
I will give here a rapid analysis of the Second Book, or the Legend of 
Temperance. In Canto I. the wicked enchanter, Archimage, meeting 
Sir Guyon, informs him tiiat a fair lady, whom the latter supposes tt. 
be Una, but who is really Duessa, has been foully outraged by the Red 
Cross Knight. Guyon, led by Archimage, meets the Red-Cross Knight, 
and is on Uie point of attacking him, when Uie two champions recog- 
nize each other, and, after courteous conference, part. Sir Guyon then 
hears the despairing cry of a lady, and finds Amaria, newly stabbed, 
Jyins beside a knight (Sir Mordant), and holding in her lap a babewitk 
his hands stiiined by its motiier's blood. After relating her story, the 
lady dies. Canto II. describes Sir Guyon's unsuccessful attempts to 
wash tiie babe's bloody hands. He then finds his steed gone, and pro- 
ceeds on foot to the Castle of Golden Mean, where dwell also her two 
sisters, Eiissa and Perissa-Too Little and Too Much-with then 
knights. Canto III. describes the adventures of tiie Boaster, Eragadoc- 
chio, who has stolen Guyon's steed, but who is ignommiously com- 
peiled to give it up, and is abandoned by Belphcebe, of whom Unf 
canto contains a description, of consummate beauty. In Canto IV 
Guyon delivers Phaon from the violence of Furor and the malignitj 
of the hag Occasion. Canto V. describes the combat of Guyon witt 
Pvrochles, who unbinds Fury, and is tiiea wounded by him ; and Atii: 
lies to obtiiin the aid of Cjmochles. Canto VI. gives a most nch anc 
exquisite picture of the ten ptafon of Guyon by Uie Lady of the Idle 
Lake In Canto VII is contained the admirible de-ici ption of fht 
Cave of Mammon, who tempts S r Gujon with riches The Vlllth 
Canto depicts Guyon in b s trance di irmed by the sons of Aerates 
and delivered by Arthur Canto IX describes the House of Temper 
ance inhabited by Alma Th s is a most ingenious and beautifully 
developed allegory of the human body and mind C'^ch part and faculty 
beine typified. Canto X gives a chronicle of the ancient British k ng» 
down to the reign of Glon.na or El zabeth In the ^Itl c.nto th. 
Castle of Temperance s bes eged and del ve ed bj Arthur The 
xnth and last canto of this book descr be-; the attack of Guyon upon 
the Bower of Bliss and the ultimate defeat of A^ras a or Sensua 
Pleasure. From Ui s very rough and meagre anal3'' s which is all 
chat my limits will permit, the reader may in some meas ire judge of 
Die conduct of the fable in Spender's gieit potm 

fi 6. The versification of the work is a peculiar stanza, based upon 
the ottava rlma so universally employed by the romant.c and nairative 
poets of Italy, and of which Uie masterpieces of Tasso and Ariosto 
fui-nish familiar examples. To the e!ght lines composing Ui is form of 
metre Spensers exquisite taste and consummate ear for harmonj 
induced him to add a ninth, which, being of tiselve instead of, as in 



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78 TSE ELIZABETHAN POETS l.t=HAP. iV', 

Ihe others, ten sj'Uables, win Is up each phrase with a long, lingering 
cadence of the most delicious melody. 1 have already observed how 
Extensively the formB of Italian versification — as in the various exam- 
ples of the sonnet and the heroic stanza — had been adopted Ly th-^ 
English poets; and I have insisted, particularly in the case of Cliauce.r. 
on the skill with which our language, naturally vude, monosyllabic, niiri 
un harmonious, had been softened and melodized till it was little infe- 
rifir, in power of musical expression, to the tongues of Southern Europe, 
.''ione of our poets is more exquisitely and uniformly musical than 
iipense r. In deed the sweetness and flowingness of his verse are sometimes 
lairried so far as to become cloying and enervated. The meti-e he 
i.inpioyed being very complicated, and necessitating a frequent recur- 
rence in each stanza of similar rhymes — namely, four of one ending, 
three of another, and two of a third — he was obliged to take consid- 
Erable liberties with the orthogi-aphy and accentuation of the English 
l.\nguage. In doing this, in giving to our metallic northern speech the 
BLxibility of the liquid Italian, he shows himself as unscrvDuIous &i 
masterly. By employing an immense mass of old Chauccnaii n>>iab 
and provincialisms, nay, even by occasionally inventing words himself, 
he furnishes his verse with an inexhaustible variety of language; but 
It the same time the reader must remember that much of the vocabu- 
lary of tlie great poet was a dialect that never really existed. Its pecu- 
liarities have been less permanent than those of almost any other of 
our great writers. 

§ 7. The power of Spenser's genius does not consist in any deep 
analysis of human passion or feeling, in any skill in the delineation of 
character; but in an unequalled richness of description, in tlie art of 
representing events and objects with an intensity that makes them visi- 
ble and tangible. He describes to the eye, and communicates to the 
airy conceptions of allegory, the splendor and the vivacity of visible 
objects. He has the exhaustless fertility of Rubens, with that great 
[lainter's sensuous and voluptuous profusion of color. Among t|ie 
most important of his other poetical writings, I must mention his 
Mother Habhard's Tale ; his Daphnaida, an idyllic elegy bewailing 
the early death of the accomplished Sidney; and above all his Amo- 
retti, or love poems, the most beautiful of which is his Epithalamiam, 
or Marriage-Song on his own nuptials with the " fair Elizabeth," 
This is certainly one of the richest and chastest marriage-hymns to be 
found in the whole range of literature, combining warmdi with dignity, 
'.he intensest passion with a noble elevation and purity of sentiincnL 
Here, too, as well as in innumerable passages of the FaSry ^anen, di 
we see tht influence of that lofty and abstract philosophical id?a of the 
'den tity between Beauty and Virtue, which he borrowed from the Pla- 
tonic speculations. 

5 8. The name of Sir Philip Sidiiey (1554-1586) oct-irs b^ fte- 
quently in the literary history of tliis age, and that illustrious man 
exenod so powerful an influence on the intellectual spirit of the epoch, 
Ihat PHr notice of the age would b? incomplete wiOiout some aUusion 



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\. D. I5.S4->S86.] SIR PBILIF SIDNEY. 79 

lo his life, even did not the intrinsic merit of his writings give him a 
place among the beiit poets ar.d prose--writerB of the Ume. He united 
in his own person almost all the qualities that give splendor to a char- 
acter, natural as well as adventitious — nobility of birth, beauty of per 
son bravery, generosity, learning, and courtesy. He was almost the 
teau idial of the courtier, the soldier, and the <!cholar. The jewel of 
the court, the dariing of the people, and the literal and judicious patron 
of arts and letters, his early and heroic death gave the crowning grace 
te a consummate character. He was born in 1554, and died at the agf 
of thirty-two, of a wound received in the battle of Zutphen (October 
19, 1586), fought to aid the Protestants of the Netherlands in their 
heroic struggle against the Spaniards. His contributions to the litera- 
ture of his country consist of a small collection of Sonnets, remarkable 
for their somewhat languid and refined elegance; and the prose ro- 
mance, once regarded as a manual of courtesy and refined ingenuity, 
entitled The Arcadia. Judging only by its title, many critics have 
erroneously regarded this work as a purely pastoral composition, like 
the Galatea of Cervantes, the Arcadia of Sannazzaro, and the multi- 
tude of idyllic romances which were so fashionable at that time; but 
the narrative of Sidney, though undoubtedly written on Spanish and 
Italian models, is not exclusively devoted to pastoral scenes and descrip- 
tions. A great porU fthwkchl dtig d ani- 
mation with which th k htly p f S d j p ts tl 1 k f the 
tourney, and the nobl w f f th h t p d bj- the 
luxurious elegance of h p t ! d npt I tl tjl we see 
perpetual traces of h t e; t th t 1 ff t t wh h the 
imitation of Spanish m d 1 h d d d f h bl E 1 d, and 
which became at la t k d i P/ib d hj g t 1 ourt, 
until it was ultimately annihilated by the ridicule of Shakspeare, just 
as Moliere destroyed the style pricieax which prevailed In his day in 
France. One charming peculiarity of Sidney is the pure and elevated 
view he takes of the female character, and which his example power- 
fully tended to disseminate throughout the literature of his day. This 
alone would be sufficient to prove the tnily chivalrous character of his 
mind. The story of the Arcadia, though occasionally tiresome and 
involved, is related with co "derible skill- and the reader will he 
enchanted, in almost every p g th ome of those happy thoughts 
and graceful expressions which h 1 tat hether to attribute to the 
felicity of accident or to a p I ar 1 1 a y of fancy. Sidney also 
wrote a small tract entitled A D f f P /.in which he strives lo 
show that the pleasures derivable f om m g native literature are pow- 
erful aids not only to the acqu t on of k owledge, but to the cultiTa- 
tion of virtue. He exhibits a pecul ar n bllity to the power and 
genijs so oiten concealed in rude national legends and ballads. ^ 

5 D, The epoch which I am endeavoring to describe was fertile in a 
class of poeta, not perhaps attaining to the highest liteiary merit, bul 
whose writings are marked hy a kind of solid and Bchol«r-like dignitj 
which will render them permanently valuable. 



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"" THE ELTZABETHAlf POETS. [Chap. IV 

(i.) Such was Sakuel Daniel (1563-1619), whose career seems to 
have been tranquil and happj-, and who enjojisd among hie contcm 
poraries tlie respect merited not only by his talents, but by a regularity 
of conduct then sufficiently rare among poets who, like Daniel, were 
connected with the stage. His works are tolerably voluminous, and all 
beai' the stamp of that grave vigor of thought and dignified evenness 
of expression which, while it seldom soars into sublimity, or penetrates 
deep into the abysses of passion, is never devoid of sense and reflecLion. 
His most celebrated work is The History of the Civil Wars, a poe^ wt 
the Civil Wars between. the houses of York and Lancaster, in thai 
peculiar style of poetical narrative and moral meditation the example 
of which had been set by Sackville's Mirrour for Magistrates, and 
which was at this time a favorite type among the literary men of 
England. Dan 1 p m n ght books, in stanzas of eight lines; 
and the tiilente f th t tr ggle in vain against the prosaic nature 

of the subject, f D 1 1 ly adheres to the facts of history, which 
he can only occa Ily nl by a pathetic description or a sensible 

and vigorous refl t HI •^age is exceedingly pure, limpid, and 

intelligible. Th p m t tl d MusopMlus is an elaborate defence of 
learning, cast i to th f fa dialogue. The two interlocutors, 

Musophilus and Ph 1 m p onounce, in regular and well-turned 
stanzas, the uau 1 a g n t wl ich the subject suggests. Many of 
Daniel's minor poe a h £/ gies. Epistles, Masques, and Songs, 
Together with h nt b t n to the dramatic literature of the day, 
justify the reputat n 1 h h possessed. Good sense, dignity, and 
an equable flow f p I <ra and harmonious versification, are tha 
qualities which p t ty 11 k owledge in his writings. He is said 
to have succeeded Spenser to the post of poet laureate. 

(ii.) A poet somewhat similar in general character to Daniel, but en- 
dowed with a much greater originality, was Michagl Drayton (1563- 
1631), a voluminous writer. His longest and most celebrated produc- 
tions were the topographical and descriptive poem entitled Polyolbion, 
in thirty cantos or songs. The Sarong Wars, England's Heroical 
Mpistles, The Battle of Agincourl, The Muses' Elysium, and the deli- 
dons fancies of The Court of Fairy. The Polyolbion is a minute 
poetical itinerary of England and Wales, in which the affectionate 
patriotism of the writer has enumerated — county by county, village 
by village, hill by hill, and rivulet by rivulet — the whole surface of hia 
native land; enlivening his work as he goes on by immense stores of 
picturesque legend and the richest profusion of allegory and personifi- 
cation. It is composed in the long-rhymed verse of twelve syllables, 
and is, both in design and execution, absolutely unique in literature. 
The notes attached to this work, in which Drayton was assisted bj 
'' that gulf of learning," the incomparable Selden, are a wonderful mass 
of curious erudition. Drayton has described his country with the pain- 
ful accuracy of the topographer and the enthusiasm of a foei; in d the 
Polyolbion will ever remain a most interesting monument of industry 
lind taste. In The Barnns' Wnrs Di.i.vton bns descriiitd the prin'.ipsj 



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A. D. 1562-1625.] DAmEL. DRAYTON. DAVIES. 8' 

events of the unhappy reign of Edward II. The poem is composed in 
the stanza of Ariosto, which Drayton, in his preface, selects as the most 
perfect and harmonious i and the merits and defects of the work ma? 
be pretty accuratelj' characterized by what has been said above concern- 
ing Daniel's poem on a not dissimilar subject. The Heroical Bpisllet 
are imagined to be written by illustrious and unfortunate personages in 
English history to the objects of their love. They are therefore a kin^ 
of adaptation of tlieplan of Ovid to English annals. It was quit* 
natural that a poet so fei-tile as Drayton, who wrote in almost everj 
fo'm, should not have neglected the Pastoral, a species of composilion 
at that time in general favor. His ofForts in this department are cer- 
tainly not inferior to those of any of his contemporaries, not ever 
excepting Spenser himself ; while in this class of his writings, as well 
as in his inimitable fairy poems, Drayton has never been surpassed. 
In the series entitled Tie Muses' Elysium, consisting of a series of nine 
idyls, or Nytnfhals, as he calls them, and above all in the exquisite 
little mock-heroic of NymfMdia, everything that is most graceful, 
delicate, quaint, and fantastic in that form of national superstition — 
almost peculiar to Great Britain — the fairy mythology, is accumulated 
and touched with a consummate felicity. The whole poem of Nym- 
phidia is a gem, and is almost equalled by the Epitkalamium in the 
VHIth Nymphal, on the marriage of " our Tita to a noble Fay. ' It is 
interesting to trace the use made of these graceful superstitions in the 
Midsummer Night's Dream and the Merry Wives of Windsor. 

(iii.) The vigorous versatility of the age, founded on solid and ex 
tensive acquirements, is well exemplified in the poems of Sm Jo^^ 
DAV1K3 {1570-1626), a learned lawyer and statesman, and Chief Justice 
of Ireland, who has left two works of unusual merit and originality, on 
subjects so widely different that their juxtaposition excites almost a 
feeling of ludicrous paradox. The subject of one of them, Nosa 
Teipum, is the proof of the immortality of the soul ; that of the other, 
entiUed Orchestra, the art of dancing. The language of Daviea is pure 
and masculine, his versification smooth and melodious; and he seems 
to have communicated to his metaphysical arguments in the first poem, 
something of the easy grace and rhythmical harmony of the dance, 
while he has dignified and elevated the comparatively trivial subject of 
the second by a profusion of classical and learned allusions.* The Nosce 

• On the Nosce Teipsum, Mr. Hallam remarks, "Perhaps no langungc can 
produce a poem, extending to so great a length, of more condensation of 
llioa^ht, or in which fewer languid verses will ba found. Yet according to some 
definitions, the Nosce Teipsum is wholly unpuetical, inasmuch as it shuwa nc 
pBSBion BDii little fancy. If it reaches the heart at all, it is through the reason 
But since strong argument, in terse and correct style, fails not to give us pl=a!:u ra 
in prose, it seems strange that it should lose its effect when it gains the aid of 
le^ukr metre to graUfy the ear and assist tho memory. Lines there are ii- 
Davics wliich far outweigh much of the descriptive and imaginative poetry of th< 
Ijst two centurioB, whether we estimate them by the pleasure they impart to us 
Bi by the intellectual vigor they display. Bspetienee has shown that tbc facut 



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0* THE ELIZABETHAN POETS. [Chap. IV, 

Tetpmm, pabl-^shcd ia 1599, is written in four-lined stanzas of heroic 
lines, a measure which was afterwards honored by being taken as tha 
vehicle ol one of Dryden's early efforts ; but Dryden borrowed it more 
immeaiateiy from the Gondibert of T>s.vaa3.at. The Orchestra is com- 
posed m a peculiarly-constructed stanza of seven lines, extremely well 
adapted to express the ever-varying rhythm of those dancing move 
menta which the poet, by a thousand ingenious analogies, tracet 
Ihroughoui alt nature, 

(iv.) i'iic unanimous admiration ofcontemporariea placed the genius 
of John Ixjnne Ci573-'63"). Dean of St. Paul's, in one of the foremost 
places amcing .he men of letters of his day. His life, too, full of vicissi- 
tudes, ann nis devotion of great and varied powers, jirst to scholastic 
study and letii-ement, then to the service of the state in active life, and 
last to ihe ministry of the Church, by familiarizing him with all the 
phases of Jiuman life, furnished his mind with rich materials for poetry 
of various .sinds. When entering upon the career of the public service, 
as secretary to the Treasurer Lord Eilesmere, he made a secret mar. 
riage wilh the daughter of Sir George Moor, a lady whom he had long 
ardently lOved, and the violent displeasurB of whose family involved 
Donne in tevere persecution. Though distinguished in his youth for 
wit and giyety, he afterwards, under deep religious convictioo, embraced 
the clerical profession, and became as remarkable for intense piety as 
he had previously been for those accomplishments which had made 
him the Pico di Mirandola of his age. The writings of Donne are very 
voluminous, and consist of love verses, epigrams, elegies, and, atiJ7« 
all, satires, which latter department of his works is that by which nc 
is now principally remembered. As an amatory poet he has been justly 
classed by Johnson among the meto/^^jico/ poets — writers in whom 
the intellectual faculty obtains an enormous and disproportionate 
supremacy over sentiment and feeling. These authors are ever on 
the watch for unexpected and ingenious analogies; an idea is racked 
into every conceivable distortion; the most remote comparisons, the 
obscurest recesses of historical and scientific allusion, are ransacked to 
furnish comparisons and illustrations which no reader can suggest to 
himself, and which, when presented to him by the perverse ingenuity 
of the poet, fill him with a strange mixture of astonishment and shame, 
like the distorHonBOftheposture-raaster or the tricks of sleight-of-hand. 
It is evident that in this cultivation of the odd, the unexpected, and 
the monstrous, the poet becomes perfactly indifferent to the natural 
graces and tender coloring of simple emotion; and in his incessant 
leari^ after epigrammatic turns of thought, he cares very little whether 
reason, taste, and propriety be violated. This false taste in literature 
was at one time epidemic in Spaii and Italy, from whence, in all probe- 
ties peculiarly deemed poetical are frcqueutlj exhibited in a considerable degree, 
but very few have been able to preserve a perspicuous brevity without stiffnesi 
or pedaulry {allowance made for the subject and the times), in metaphyiic*! 
Kasoniug, lo •ueceufullj as Sir John DaTies." — (LiK. it ISO.) 



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A. D. 1573-1625.] nONNE. ITALL 88 

'>ilitv, it infected English poets, who have frequently rivalled theii 
-.nodels in ingenious nbsurdity. The verEification of Donne is singu 
iarly harsh nnd tuneless, and the contrast between the ruggedness ol 
his expreasion and tlie far-fetdied ingenuity of his thought adds to the 
oddity of the effect upon the mind of the reader, hy making him con- 
trast the unnatural perversion of immense intellectual activity with the 
nidcnesE and frequent coarseness both of the ideas and tlie expression, 
[n Donne's Satires, of which he wrote seven, and in his Epislles to 
friends, we naturally find less of this portentous abuse ..f intellectual 
legerdemain, for the nature of such compositions iraplieb that they arf 
written in a more easy and colloquial strain ( and Donne has occas on- 
ally adapted, with great felicity, the outlines of Horace and Juvenal to 
the manners of his own time and country. Pope has translated aomt 
of Donne's Satires into the language of his own time, under the title of 
"The Satires of Dr. John Donne, Dean of St. Paul's, versified." 

(v.) But the real founder of Satire in, Eogland, if we are to judge hy 
the relative scope and completeness of his works in this department, 
was Joseph Hall (1574-1656), Bishop of Norwich, a man equally 
remarkable for the learning, dignity, and piety with which he fulfilled 
his pastoral functions, and the hei-oic resignation witli which he sup- 
ported poverty and persecution when deprived of them. He produced 
six books of Satires, under the title of Virgidemiamm (i. e. a harvest 
or collection of rods, a woi-d modified from the similar tenn R'aife- 
miarunt, vintage), which form a complete collection, tliough they wera 
not all published at the same time, the first tliree books, quaintly en- 
titled by their author toothless- Satires, having appeared in 1597, while 
a student at Cambridge ; and the latter three, designated biting Satires, 
two years afterwards. Some of these excellent poems attack the vices 
and affectations of literature, and others are of a more general moral 
application. For the vivacity of their images, the good sense and good 
taste which pervade them, the abundance of their illustrations, and 
the ease and animation of the style, they are deserving of high admi- 
ration. Read merely as giving curioua pictures of the manners and 
society of the day, they are very interesting in themselves, and throw 
frequent light on obscure passages of the contemporary drama. Hail, 
like Juvenal, often employs a peculiar artifice which singularly heightens 
the piquancy of his attadts, viz. that of making his secondary alhisiona 
or illustrations themselves satirical. Some of these satires are ex- 
tremely short, occasionally consisting of only a few lines. His vers! 
fication la always easy, and often elegant; and the languagt offet-a an 
Ldmirable union of the unforced facility of ordinary conversation with 
ihe elevation and conciseness of a raoi-e elaborate style.* 

§ 10. Space will permit only a rapid allusion to several secondary 
poets who adorned Uiis period, so rich in variety and vigor. The two 
brothers, Phineas Fletcher and Giles Fletcher, who lived, approx- 

■ To I)anne and Hall sliould he added the name of John M4kbton, the 
dramatic poet, as one of the chief satiriata of the Elizabethan eriu In 1.^ h* 
published three hooka of Satires, iindsr the tido of The Seaurj/e of Fiffinuqr, 



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u 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



[CHi 



P. rv. 



tmatel/, between the years ij84and 1650, and who were connected bi 
blood with their great contemporary the dramatist, produceu, tlif 
former one of those long elaborate allegorical works which had been 
so fashionable at the beginning of the century, and in which science 
called in the aid of fiction, as in the case of Davies's poem on the Im- 
mortality of the Soul. This was Tke Purple Island, a minute descrip- 
tion of the human body, with all its anatomical details, which is 
followed by an equally searching delineation of tt.e intellectual faculties, 
Giles Fletcher's work is Christ's Victory and Tritt.nfh, in which, as in 
his brother's production, we see evident traces of the rich and musical 
diction, as well as of the lofty and philosophical tone, of the great 
master of allegory, Spenser. With a mere notice of the noble religious 
enthusiasm that prevails in tlie writings of Churchyard, and of the 
unction and truly evangelical resignation of the unfortunate Jesuit 
Southwell, and a word of praise to the faithful and elegant transla- 
tion of Tasso by Fairfax, I must conclude the present chapter.* 



• For a fuller at 



te Notes and Illustrations (B). 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



^oFIloiii7TITL,aDdnho£ikd 



^:klc]«s of Fabjftn eJ 



ar^ jdud£€bL dau£hL«r. Is the ulubL AriUnf 






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Plays owca lldv 


ligin 10 liils cullBJ- 








thtonid™ «CH,llr 


OD.pUed byr.!,,"!!. 


lI«UiashE(l,»hllh 


0|.e.»I»MwBsldrf 


nd tveuta; aoil, I 






I,opi.brkiumlcdge. 



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Chap. IV.] JfOTSS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

» memorial mupl tbelr unigs. I'his. htnrever. 



alTylluiii in Urat, on Kccount of Jli! betEg aBocoIah 
' prlG^, IjLough not involved In any poliUcjrJ plota. 
■ ~* imJbroatlLtaBtJritof reiigiom vcalguilimi. 



wu Iha chief cc 

vbldi liBt not lliillUsl^ed 



id frBLOer oF a p«U«J J 



IBS (ltSr-l«»),ofClitiit CUmcli, 
u ffodejl, CSirdDiol, pullUalied in 

ETOH (lEES-lBM?), tlie author oT » 



ii, boloDg to the hlgiier I 



10 Potticid RhapKdi/,'pj\l- 



nnily of all bu 



toiy of EnglBiMi Com the Deluge to i 
JamaL It supplanted in popular ib.voj 
ftr Mmiiaratea. The sljle of the woi 






1I> (lG94-iaU), 



lefl ave ehleflj of a nicrir caHt. an 
HiB WMaoN (Isro-lWS), Ui8 intl 
HA SVLYEBTEB (:i.«3-I61E), a 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chap. IV. 

Ld Muffopha, Deltll«r of vhich 



ID to ha™ formed bis tragic B^le ] 



mHEHSEWDTTON(lC!i&-IG39>,llcllBtll1gUilhf4 
lomadBl In tbe natm n) Mizjbetii and Jinia I. 
yjax SHRtoc; to the Earl of Eaiex; bnt ijpi>u 
APprchennoD of bifi ^Ifon^ he [eft the Idn^iHi^ 






Y Imputation resta Dhielly uf 
\saieaUof Jirrll 



^ETT (1683-1535). Bldiop of 



EoWABD PimViX (fl. 1800). ILo li 

Tlie tist Gdillon VIS pnbllahcd In IGO 
dediCEled to Queen ElizabeUi. Thli In 



le dqi Df Saekville, 



la a e^le not much diffiirlng. it 
^ag^t voiit and phntBCQ. from tl 
dtf." But thii pudse, odds Mr. I 



id Hi Trinity CoiLcge, OxTfixA, and fir. 
ai an aulhoi nbmil 1C30. Ten of lAdgs's 
lui contained in llie " Englis)L Hcliixm," 
LcdlnlflOO. TobLBpiHU)ifntiaedAMa7rN4£»; 
B OoMai LaiiK^ (lew), SbakEpeai 
d £» Ihe plot and InddenH of hl> i 



miB of the body and mind of man. Througli 
IB tolBtab]/ Bhilled. erlndug a Breot deal of 






ionaJ>le indelicacy. Bnt on 






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t;HAP.IV.] NOTES AND ILLUSTBATIOlfS. 

lUo first, bill nut pnbliahefl, I tfelSave, mi 






taru, of belns follinrtfl by Mi 
grrt raeellnH of our Saviour v 
din Eegnined. BoLh of thrai 

•minsnflj posUwl, mnd not ii 



BIB at-EIASEEB SOOTT (fl. 1(68) WI 



he PWM writers (p. IW). 
Db. AnraoE JODBSEOH lisar-iMi), also Mle. 

nd WM ippoialea phraiclan 10 CharlM L HeOiQl 
t Oiibrf. AccopJiDB lo Ibo tesUnionr of Mr. 

EABI. OF SnttUNQ (Uai-ll»0), published IB 

ragvVM, oF DO grenl mflilt, but Gunpboll obattvcH 
lint '' tbere is eli^aiico of otprEBHon In « ftw of itis 






re of which voa adopUi: by t 



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PHILOSOPHY AND PROSE LtTERATVBM. PCmap. V 



CHAPTER V. 

THE NEW PHILOSOPHY AND PROSE LITERATURE IN THE 
REIGNS OF ELIZABETH AND JAMES I. 



( 1. IctroduBtioD. ^ 2. Chroniclers: Srow, HoLLinshed, SPEED. { 3. ElE 
Waitek KiLBiQir. § 4, Collections of Vojagea and TravEls : HaKluyt, 
PuKCEAS, Davis. § 6. The English Church: Hooker's Eccksiastical Pol- 
ity. § 6. Life of ioaD Bacon, { 7. Services of Bacon : the echolaKtic 
philosophy, 5 8. History of previous attempts to throw oif the yoke of the 
scholastic philosophy, } 9. Bacon's Imtavratio Magna. J 10, First and 
Second Books: De Aiigmentia SchjitiarKm and the Novum Organon: the 
Indnotive Method. } II. Third Book ; Silva Sihanim : eolleelion and olassi- 
flcation of facts and experiments: remaining books, f 12, Estimate of 
Bacon's services to science. J 13. His Essays and other English writings, 
j 14. BueAju's Anatomy of Melancholy. Lord Hbbbebi op Chbbbuey 

\ 15. TaOHAB HOBBES. 

§ 1. The principal object of the present chapter is to trace the nature 
and the results of that immense revolution in philosopliy brought aboul 
by the immortal writings of Bacon. It will, however, be unavoidable, 
in accordance with the chi-onological order generally adopted in our 
work, to sketch the character of other authors, of great though inferior 
importance, who flourished nt the same time. Of the general intellec- 
tual character of the Age of Elizabeth, something has already been 
said: it maybe observed that much of the peculiarly ^/-ac/i'ca/ charac- 
ter which distinguishes the political and philosophical literature of this 
time is traceable io the general laia'siaffoT the higher functions of the 
public service, and is not one of the least valuable results of the Prot- 
estant Reformation. The clergy had no longer the monopoly of that 
learning and those acquirements which during the Catholic ages secured 
them the mijnopoly of power: and the vigorous personal character of the 
gi^at queen combined willi her jealousy of dictation to surround her 
throne with ministers dioscn for the most part among the middle classes 
o" ^e^ people, and to whom she accorded unshaken confidence, while 
■^he never allowed them to obtain any of that undue influerc; which 
the weaknesses of the woman experienced from unworthy favorites '.ike 
Leicester and Essex. Sucli men as Burleigh, Walsingham, and Sir 
lliomas Smith belong to a peculiar type and class of statesmen; and 
their administration, though less brilliant and dramatic than might be 
found at other periods of our history, was incontestably more wise and 
fjatriotic than can easily be paralleled. 

J 2, In the humble but useful department of historical chronicles a 
few words must be said on the labors of Jotin Stow (1515-11)05) ant* 



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A. D. i5S3-'6i8.] SIB WALTER RALEIGB. 



89 



Raphael Hollcnshed (A. 1580), • the former of whcim, aLondon citi- 
zen of very slight literary pretensions, devoted the whole of his long 
life to the task of collectiflg materials for numerous chronicles and 
descriptions of London. The latter undertook a somewhat similai 
work, though intended to commemorate the history of England gen- 
erally. From Hollinshed, it may be remarked, Shakspeare drew the 
materialf for many 01' his half-legendary, half-historical pieces, such as 
Macbeth, King Lear, and the like; and it is curious to observe tlie 
mode ir which ihe genius of the great poet animates and transfigures 
file flat and prosaic language of t!ie old chronicler, whose very words 
Tie often quotes textually. Striking examples of this will be fouud if 
Tfexry V. and Henry VI. 

g 3. The raoat extraordinary and meteor-like personage in the liter- 
aiy history of this time is Sir Walter Raleigh (1552-1618), the 
brilliancy of whose courtly and military career can only be equalled by 
the wonderful variety of his talents and accomplishments, and by the 
tragic heroism of his death. He was born in 1552, and early attracted 
the favor of Elizabeth by an act of romantic gallantry, which has fur- 
nished the theme of a famous anecdote; and both by his military 
exploits and his graceful adulation, he long maintained possession of 
her capricious favor. He highly distinguished himself in the wars in 
Ireland, where he visited Spenser at Kilcolraan, and was consulted by 
the great poet on the Fatry ^ueen, and no less as a navigator and 
adventurer in the colonization of Virginia and the conquest of Guiana. 
He is said to have first introduced the potato and the use of tobacco 
into England. On the accession of James I. he seems to have been, 
though without the least grounds, involved in an accusation of high 
treason connected with the alleged plot to place the unfortunate Ara- 
bella Stuart upon the throne, and he was confined for many years in 
the Tower under sentence of death. Proposing a new expedition to 
South America, he was allowed to undertake it; but, it proving unsuc- 
cessful, the miserable king, in order to gratify the hatred of the Span- 
ish court, which Raleigh's exploits had powerfully excited, allowed him 
to be executed under the old sentence in 1618. During his imprison- 
ment of twelve years Raleigh devoted himself to literary and scientific 
occupations; he produced, with the aid of many learned friends, 
among whom Jonson was one, a History of the World, which idll 
ever be regarded as a masterpiece of Englisli prose. The death of 
few illustrious men has been accompanied by so many traits of heroic 
•implicity as that of Raleigh.f 

• Blow's chief works are a Sximmary of English Chranicht, first pnblished la 
1586, Ms Annals in 1573, and his Survey of Loitdon in 15B8. To the names of 
Stow ana HoUinshed aTiould be added that of John Speed (1552-1629), who 
published in 1614 A History of Great Britain, from the earliest times to th« 
reign of James I. 

f Raleigh's History comes down only to the Second Macedonian War. lie- 
epecting its style, Hallam remarks that " there is Utile now obsolete In tli* 
BWds of Raleigh, nor, to any great degree, in his torn of phrase ; the period*, 



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ilO PHILOSOPHT AND PROSE LITERATURE. [Chap. V. 

§ 4. The immense outburst of intellectual activity wliich renders Ihe 
middle of the sixteenth century so memorable an epoch in the historj 
of philosophy, was not without a parallel in the rapid extension of 
geographical knowledge. England, which gave birth to Bacon, the 
liuccessful conqueror of new worlds of philosophical speculation, wat 
foremost among the countries whose bold navigators explored unknown 
regions of the globe. Innumerable expeditions, sometimes fitted ou' 
by the state, but far more generally the undertaltingfi of private specu- 
lation, exhibited incredible skill, bravery, and perseverance in opening 
new passages for commerce, and in particular in the endeavor to solve 
the great commercial and geographical problem of finding a north- 
west passage to the eastern hemisphere. The commercial rivalrj 
between England and Spain, and afterwards between England and 
Holland, generated a glorious band of navigators, whose exploits, par- 
tiAing of the double character of privateering and of trade, laid the 
foundation of that naval skill which rendered England the mistress of 
the seas. Drake, Frobisher, Davies, Raleigh, were the worthy ances- 
tors of the Nelsons, Cooks, and Franklins. The recital of their dan- 
gers and their discoveries was frequently recorded by these hardy 
navigators in their own simple and picturesque language; and the 
same age that laid the foundation of the naval greatness of our coun- 
try, produced also a branch of our literature which is neither the least 
valuable nor the least characterislic — the narration of maritime dis- 
covery, Hakluyt (1533-1616), PuBCHAH (d. i638), and Davis (d. 1605) 
have given to posterity large collections of invaluable materials con- 
cerning the naval adventure of those times : the first two authors 
were merely chroniclers and compilers ; the third was himself a famous 
navigator, the explorer of the Northern Ocean, and gave his name to 
the famous strait which serves as a monument of his glory. The lan- 
guage in all these works is simple, grave, and unadorned; the narra- 
tive, in itself so full of the intens est dramatic excitement, has the charm 
of a brave old seaman's description of the toils and dangers he has 
passed; and the tremendous dangers so simply encountered with such 
insignificant means are painted with a peculiar mixture of professional 
sangfroid and child-like trust in Providence, The occasional acts oi 
Ity d ppre wh h t b m ly tt b t d t 1 

d d tat Of !t m tl dmdbtl dm 



t th R f t 
Ij tip 

J d t d bj 



ivhers pains have been taken with (hem, show tl 
Sna in Sidney and Hooker; he is leas pedaiitit 
rie». seldom low, never affeetefl." 



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A- J>- 1553-1598-] nOOKER. Vi 

Calvinistic theol Jgians. The Church of ISngland is CBBenlially a com' 
promise between opposite extremes; and it ia perhaps to this modera- 
tion that it owes its solidity and its influence : it is unquestionably thii 
moderation which recommended it to ao reasonable and practical a 
people as the English. On its first appearance on the stage of historj 
it was eKposed to the most violent hostility and persecution at the hands 
of the ancient faith which it had supplanted; but no sooner had it 
become firmly established as the dominant and official religion of th 
state, than it was exposed to attacks from the very opposite pomt 01 
the theological compass — attacks under whose violence it temporirilj 
■iiiceumbed. The Catholic persecutions of Mary's reign were followed 
by tlie gradually increasing hostility of Puritanism, which hid beer 
insensibly acquiring more and more power from the middle ot tht 
reign of Elizabeth. The great champion of the principles of Anglican 
ism against the encroachments of the Genevan school of theology wis 
Richard Hooker (1553-1598), a man of evangehcil piety and of 
vast learning, sprung from the humblest origin, and educited in the 
University of Oxford. He was for a long time bmied m the obocurity 
of a country parsonage ; but his eloquence and erud tion obtained for 
him the eminent post of Master of the Temple m London, where his 

n on n the ministry, Walter Travers, propounded doctnnea m 

h h g rnment which, being similar to those of the Calvimstic 

f n ere incompatible with Hooker's opinions The mildness 

a d m d ty of Hooker's character, rendering controv-er=y and dispu 

t.t pportable to him, urged him to implore his ecclesiastical 

p t emove him from his place, and restore him to the more 

gen al duties of a country parish : and it was here that he executed 
that great work which has placed him among the most eminent of the 
Anglican divines, and among the best prose writers of his age. The 
title of this work is A Treatise on the Lams of Ecclesiastical Polity, 
audits object is to investigate and define the fundamental principles 
upon which is founded the right of the Church to the obedience of its 
members, and the duty of the members to pay obedience to the Church. 
But, though the prindpal object of this book is to establish the relative 
rights and duties of the Anglican Church in particular, and to defend 
its organization against the attacks of the Roman Catholics on the one 
hand and the Calvinists on the other. Hooker has dug deep down into 
the eternal granite on which are founded all law, all obedience, and all 
right, political as we!' as religious. Ths Ecclesiastical Polity is a mon- 
ument of close ai.o cogent logic, supported by immense and varied 
erudition, and is written in a style ao free from pedajitry, so clear, vig- 
orous, and unaffected, as to form a remarkable contrast with the gen- 
erality of theological compositions, then generally overloaded with 
quotation and deformed by conceits and antithesis. It is to he regret- 
ted that this excellent work was never finished by the author, or, al 
■east, if finished, has not descended to us as Hooker intended it to do, 

'or the Sixth Book is supposed, though certainly the compoailior, ol 

he same puthor, to be » fragment of a quite different work. 



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82 PBtLOSOPHT AND PROSE LITERATURE. [Chap. V. 

S 6. The political life of Framcis Bacon (1561-1616) forms, with hii 
purely intellectual or philosophical career, a contrast so striking that il 
would be difficult to find, in the records of biographical literature, any- 
thing CO vividly opposed. He was the son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, long 
a favonte and trusted minister of Queen Elizabeth, in whose service he 
held liie high ofiice of Keeper of the Great Seal Sir Nicholas was » 
fair specimen ot tKat peculnr class of able statesmen with whoin thai 
great sovereign surrounded her administration a type which we ana 
repeated la Burleigh Walsingham EUesmere and Smith — men of 
great practical knowledge of tlie world, of powerful though not per 
haps invcntue fan Itics and of great prudence and moderation in their 
religious opinions a point of muiii importance at a period when the 
recent Reformation in the Church had exposed the country to the 
agitations arising fiora theolog cal disputes Frinds Bacon was the 
nephew of Burleigh Sir Nicholas and the great Chancellor having 
married two sisters, apd the boy gave earnest, from his tenderest 
childhood, of those powers of mtellect and that readiness of mind 
which afterwards distinguished him among men. He was born in 1561 ; 
and received a careful education, completed at an age even for that 
time exceedingly early, in the University of Cambridge. He is said, 
' even as a boy, to have shown plain indications of that inquiring spirit 
which carried him to the investigation of natural laws, and a gravity 
and presence of mind which attracted the attention of the Queen ; and 
while studying at Cambridge it Is reported that he was struck with the 
defects of the philosophical methods, founded upon the scholastic 01 
Aristotelian system, then universally adopted in the investigations of 
science. Then, perhaps, first dawned upon his mind the •*' »« outline 
of that great reibrmation in philosophy which he was afterwards des- 
tined to bring about. His father, who certainly intended to devote Iiim 
to the public service, probably in the department of diplomacy, sent 
him to travel on the Continent ; and a residence of about four years in 
France, Germany, and Italy, not only gave him the opportunity of 
acquiring a remarkable stock of political knowledge respecting the 
state and views of the principal European courts, but rendered him the 
still more valuable service of enlarging his knowledge of mankind, and 
making him acquainted with the state of philosophy and letters. He 
was recalled from the Continent by the death of his father in 5580, and 
found himself under the necessity of entering upon some active career. 
He appears to have felt that ^e natural bent of his genuis inclined to 
the study of science ; and he begged his kinsman and natural protector, 
Bmleigh, to obtain for him the means of devoting himself to thost 
puisuits The Chancellor, however, who was jealous of his nephew's 
extraordinarj abilities, which he feared might eclipse or at least inter- 
fere with the talents of his own son Robert, just then entering upon 
that brilliant career which he so long followed, treated Francis with 
great harshness and indifference, and insisted on hie embracing the 
proiession of tlie law. He became a student of Gray's Inn ; and thai 
wonderful aptitude, to which no labor was too arduous and no subtlety 



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K. t>. .56. -1626.) LORD BAGOK. »8 

too »^;Bncd very soon made him the most distinguished :i jvotate' of hii 
aay, and an admired teacher of the legal science. The jealousy of h.s 
kinsmen the Cecils, both father and son, appears to have veiled itself, 
degree perhaps uneonsciouslj-, under the pretext that Bacon 



in tome degree periiapa uiTi^unoti^*--'*^ , «..v.w.. — r 

m. . nighlr «nd boolUb joung man, too fonJ of project, .nd tbeoTO. 
In lie likely to become a useful servant of the State. But the counte- 
•laaee which was refused to Bacon bj his uncle and eon.in, he obtained 
irorn the generous and enthu.lastic friendship of Esse,, .ho used all 
hi. in£neuce to obtain for his friend the place of Solicitor-General, and 
,hen uhsnccessfu! In this attempt, consoled him for the disappomlmenl 
bv the ffiit of a considerable estate. During this period of his lite 
Bacon continued to rise rapidly, both in professional reputation a. . 
lawyer, and in fame both for philosophy and eloquence. He sat m the 
House of Commons, and gave evidence not only of his unequalled 
powere as a speaker, but also of that cowardly and interested snhs.r.1- 
tnce to the Court which was the great Hot upon hi. glory, and the 
cause of his ultimate disgrace. There I. nothing In the whole rmge 
of historvmore melancholy than to trace this suMime intellect true, 
klin, to every f.vorite who had power to lielp or to hurt, and betraying 
in .uccesslon all those to whom self-interest for the moment had 
attached him. Aftersubroittlng.with asubserviencyunworthyofaman 
of the least spirit, to the haughty reproaches of the Cecils, he aban- 
doned their faction for that of Essei, whom he Hattered and betrayed. 
On the unhappy EarP. trial for "gh treason in co„.e,~ hi. 



On the unhappy i^aris iriai lor mg.. ..^<.-.., - ^^-~-~^~- ^ 
franti p v d It B n though he certainly felt for his 

^ ^ tt 1 m t w p t bl w th a mean and 

Ivbd dhfrmf dbt volunteered 

y - ~ ■ f his '- 



ben f 
phi t 



i" 1 / 11 h m n w d t and a pam- 

and mpl idUhrnpw " 1 

obit t p pht h n dt bid h m lorj. Bacon 

5; , f t Is h as dy a Me, nn.crupu- 

bnsconnier, and showed m his .He th m g ble roadines. 

to betray the duties of the judge a. he now did in foigettmg the obli- 
gations of the friend. , r T 
On the death of Elizabeth, and the transfer of the crown to James i. 
in -60^, Bacon, who had been gradually and steadily rising in the ser- 
rfce of the Stale, attached himself Orst to Carr, the Ignoble favor ite of 
that prince, and afterwards to CarV, successor, the haughty Bnckmg. 
ham. He had been knighted at the coronation, and at the same time 
married Alice Barnh.m, a young lady of considerable tirtime, th. 
toghter of a London alderman. He sat in more than one par lament, 
■nd was successively made Solicitor-General, Attomey-General, and at 
last in 1617, chieay by the Interest of Bucklngliam, Lord High Ch.n- 
Lltor of England and Baron Vernlam, whicli l.tlor title was thje 
year, afterward, replaced by the still higher .tyle of Vi.count St. 
Alban-.. Though the whole of hi. public career wa. .tamed with act. 
of the basest servility and corruption, it Is not uiiinstrnctive to tnention 
that Bacon was one of the last, it uoi the very last, Btni.ler. of the law 



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94 PHitOSOPHt AifD PROSE LlTeAATVR& [Chap. V 

in England to employ and to defend the application of torture in juilicial 
procedure. Bacon occupied the highest office of justice during font 
years, and exhibited. In the dischai^e of his great functions, the wisdoni 
and eloquence which characterized his mind, and the servility and 
meannees which disgraced his conduct; and on the assembling of I'ar- 
Hamentin 1631, the House of Commons, then filled with jnst indignation 
against the insupportable abuses, corruptions, an] raonopolies counte' 
nanced by the Government, oi-deved a deliberate investigation into vari- 
ous acts of bribery of which the Chancellor was accused. The King 
and the favorite, though ready to do all in their power to scieen a 
criniinn! who had always been their devoted servant, were not bold 
enough to face the indignation of the whole country; and the investi- 
gation was allowed to proceed. It was carried on before the House of 
Lords, and it resulted in his conviction, on the clearest evidence, of 
many acts of gross corruption as ajudge.* Independently of the cases 
thus proved, it cannot be doubted that there must have existed numer- 
ous others which were not inquired into. Bacon himself fully confessed 
his own guilt ; and in language which under other dreumstaoces would 
have been profoundly pathetic, threw himself on the indulgence of his 
judges. The sentence, though it could not be otherwise than severe, 
was evidently just: it condemned him to be deprived of his place as 
Chancellor, to pay a fine of 40,000/. (a sum, be It remarked, not 
ami lunting to half the gains he was supposed to have corruptly made), 
to be imprisoned during the King's pleasure in tlie Tower, to be ever 
afte. incapable of holding any ofiice in the State, and to be incapacitated 
from sitting In Parliament or coming within twelve miles of the Court 
In imposing so severe a punishment it must be recollected that Bacon's 
iudges well knew that much of it would be mitigated, or altogether 
remitted; and the result showed how just were these anticipations. The 
culprit was almost immediately released from confinement; the fine 
was tiot only remitted hj royal favor, but by the manner of its remission 
converted into a sort of protection of the fallen Chancellor against the 
claims of his importunate creditors ; and he was speedily restored to 
the privilege of presenting himself at Court. There can be no doubl 
that James and his favorite had felt great reluctance in abandonlns 
Bacon to the indignation of Parliament, and that they only did so in 
the conviction tliat any attempt to save their servant would not onl.v 
have been inevitably unsuccessful, but must have involved the Govern' 
ynent itself in odium, without in the least alleviating the lot of the 
yuilty Chancellor. 

The life of the fallen minister was prolonged for five years after hii 
i^vere but merited disgrace; and these years were passed'in intriguing, 
Mattering, and imploring pecimiary relief in his distresses. During hie 
• hole life he had lived splendidly and extravagantly. His taste foi 

* Many of the cliaT^es against Bacon, related in thf text, have been proved 
oj-Mr. Hepwtrth Pison, In his " Personal Hist Dry *f Lord Bacon," to he un 
fotinded. 



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ft. D. is6i-i636.] LOSS SACOlf. 



u 



magnificence in houses, gatdei-B, and trains of domestics had been suet 
ns may generally be found in men of lively imagination i aid it was fj 
escape fi-om the perpetual embarrassments whirh are the natural coi. 
sequences of such tastes that he in all probability owed that gradual 
deadening of the moral sense, and that blunting of the sentiment of 
honor and self-respect, which were the original source of h.s crimes. 
Common experience shows with what fatal rapidity rises the flood of 
•orruption in the human heart when onee the firstbarriers are removed. 
Bacon's death toolc place, after a few days' illness, on the 9th April, 
1626, aad was caused by a cold and fever caught in travelling neai 
London, and in part is attributed to an experiment which he tried, of 
preserving meat by freezing. He got out of his can-.age, bought a 
fowl, and filled the inside of the bird with snow, which then lay thick 
upon the ground. In doing this he received a chill, which was aggra- 
vated by being put into a damp bed at Lord Arundel's house near 
Highgate. Bacon was buried, by his own desire, by his mother's side 
in St. Michael's Church, St. Alban's, near which place was the magnif- 
icentseatofGorhambury, constructed by himself. He had no children, 
and lefthis affairs involved in debt and confusion. 

§ 7. In order to appreciate the services which Bacon rendered to the 
cause of truth and knowledge, and which have placed his name foremosl 
wnong the benefactors of the human race, two precautions are indis- 
pensable. First we must form a distinct idea of the nature of the phil- 
osophical methods which his system of investigation supplanted for- 
ever in physical research; and, secondly, we must dismiss from oui 
minds that common and most erroneous imagination that Bacon wat 
an inventor or a discoverer in any specific branch of knowledge. His 
mission was not to teach mankind a philosophy, but to teach them 
how to philosophize. A contr y pp 'f n would be as gross an 
error as that of the clown who im g d th t N wton was the discoverei 
of gravitation. The task which B p p d to himself was loftiei 

and more useful than that of h tor in any branch of 

science i and the excellence of 1 m hd b nowhere more clearly 

seen than in the instances in ^ h h h h h mself applied it to facts 
which in his day were imperf ly k w rroneouely explained. 

The most brilliant name among the ancient ph losophers is incontesta- 
bly that of Aristotle: the immensity of his acquirements, which ex- 
tended to almost every branch of physical, political, moral, and inte.. 
Icctual re-^earch, and the powers of a mind unrivalled at once for grasp 
^f viev and subtlety of discrimination, have justly secured to him the 
rery highest place among the greatest inte.lects of the earth : he was 
indeed, in the fullest sense, 

" '1 maestro di color che sanno." 
But the instrumental or mechanical part of his system, the mode by 
wnich he taught his followers that they could arrive at true deduction* 
in scientific investigation, when falling into inferior hands, was singu- 
larly liable to be abused. That careful examination of nature, and 



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96 PBILOSOPBr AND PkOSE LITESATURE. [Chap. V, 

that iviF;H and cautious prudence in the application to particular phe- 
nomena, of general foriuulas of reasoning, which are so perceptible in 
the works of the master, were very soon neglected by the disciples, 
who, finding themselves in possession of a mode of research which 
seemed to them to promise an infallible con-ettness in the results ob' 
tained, were led, by their very admiration for the genius of Aristotle, 
!o leave out of sight his prudent reserve in the employment of hia 
method. The synthetic mode of reasoning flatters the pride of human 
intellect hy causing the truths discovered to appear the conquest made 
bj its unassisted powers ; and the great part played in tlie investigation 
by those powers renders the method peculiarly susceptible of that kind 
Df corruption which arises from over-subtlety and the vain employment 
of words. Nor must we leave out of account the deteriorating influence 
of the various nations and epochs through which the ancient deductive 
philosophy had been handed down from the time of Aristotle himself 
till the days of Bacon, when its uselessness for the attainment of truth 
had become so apparent that a great reform was inevitable — had been 
indeed inevitable fi-om a much more remote period. The acute, dispu- 
tatious spirit of the Greek character had already from the very first 
commenced that tendency towards vain word-catching which was still 
further accelerated in the schools of the Lower Empire. It was from 
the schools of the Lower Empire that the Orientals received the philo- 
sophical system already corrupted, and the mystical and over-subtJe 
genius of the Jewish and Arabian speculators added new elements of 
decay. It was in this state that the doctrines were received among the 
monastic speculators of the Middle Ages, and to the additional errors 
arising from the abstract and excessive refinements of the cloister were 
added those proceeding from the unfortunate alliance between the phil- 
osophical system of the Schools and the authority of the Church. The 
solidarity established between the orthodoxy of the Vatican and the 
methods of philosophy was indirectly as fatal to the authority of the 
one as ruinous to the value of the other. In this unhallowed union 
between physical science and dogmatic theology, the Church, by its ar- 
rogation to itself of the character of infallibility, put it out of its own 
power ever to recognize as false any opinion that it had oni e reeogniited 
AS true; and theology being in its essence a stationary science, while 
philosophy is as inevitably a progressive one, the discordance between 
the two ill-matched members of the union speedily strnck the one with 
impotence and destroyed the influence of the other. Independently' 
too, of the sou ce of co ruption which I have been endeavoring t: 
■point out, the Ar tot I nmethod of investigation, even in its pureand 
normal state, had b n alw js obnoxious to the charge of infertility, 
ar.d of being e enball tatonary and unprogressive. The ultimata 
aim and object of t p la ons were, by the attainment of abstrad 
trutii, to exercis p fy a d e! vate the human faculties, and to carrj 
the mind highe and 1 ghe towards a contemplation of the Supreme 
Good and the Supreme Beauty ; the investigation of nature was merely 
B means to this end. Practical utility was regarded as a result which 



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A. b. 1561-1636.] LORD BAOOy. 97 

tiiight or might not be attained in this process of raising the mind to n 
certain ideal heiglit of wisdom ; but an end which, whether attained or 
not, was below the dignity of the true sage. Now, the aim proposed by 
the modern philosophy is totally different; and it follows that the 
methods by which that end is pursued should be as different. Since 
the time of Bacon all the powers of human reason, nnd all the energies 
of invention and research, have been concentrated on the object of im- 
proving the happiness of human life — of diminishing the sufferings 
atjii increasing the enjoyments of our imperfect existence here below — 
of extending the empire of man over the realms of nature — in shoit, of 
making our earthly state, both physical and moral, more happy. Thin 
is an aim less ambitious than that ideal virtue and that impossible wis- 
dom which were the aspiration of the older philosophy; but it has the 
advantage of being attainable, while the experience of twenty centuries 
had sufficiently' proved that the lofty pretensions of the former system 
had b^n followed by no corresponding results; nay, that the incestanl 
disputations of the most acute and powerful intellects, during so many 
generations, not only had left the greatest and most vital questions 
where they had found them at first, but had degraded philosophy to the 
level of an ignoble legerdemain. 

§ 8. Many attempts had been made, by vigorous and independent 
minds, long before the appearance of Bacon, to throw off the yoke of 
the scholastic philosophy! but that yoke was so riveted with the 
shacldeB of Catholic orthodoxy, that the efforts, being made in coun- 
tries and at epochs when the Church was all-powerful, could not possi- 
bly be Buccessliil ; all they could do was to shake the foundations of an 
mtellectual tyranny which had so long weighed upon mankind, and to 
prepare the way for its final overthrow. The Reformation, breaking 
up the hard-bound soil, opened and softer ..d it so that the seeds of true 
science and philosophy, insteadof falling upon a rock, brought forth fruit 
4 hundred fold. Long and splendid is the list of the great and liberal 
minds who had revolted against the tyranny of the schools before the 
appearance of the New Philosophy. In the writings of that wonderful 
monk, the anticipator of his great namesake — in the controversy 
between the Nominalists and Realists — in the disputes which preceded 
the Reformation — the standard of revolt against the tyranny of the 
ancient system had been raised by a succession of brave and vigorous 
hands; and though many of these champions had fallen in their con- 
test against an enemy intrenched in the fortifications of religious 
orthodoxy, and though the stake and the dungeon had apparentlr 
silenced them forever, nevertheless the tradition of their exploits had 
iormed a still-increasing treasury of arguments against orthodox 
tyranny. England, in the reign of Elizabeth and James I., was pre- 
cisely the country, and a country precisely in the particular state, in 
which the great revolution in philosophy was possible; and it was a 
most providential combination of circumstances and qualities that wat 
concentrated in Francis Baron so as to make him, and perhaps him 
■lone, the apoetle of the new philosophical faith. 



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•38 PBILOBOPHY AND PROSE LITERATURE. [Chap. V 

§ 0. The great object which Bacon proposed to himBcir, in pi-oclaiiH' 
ing the advantages of the Inductive Method, was fmrt : the improve- 
ment of the condition of mankind ; and his object being different from 
that of ;he elder philosophers, the mode by which it was to be attained 
was different likewise. From an early age he had been struck with the 
defects, with the stationary and unproductive character, of the Deduc- 
tivf Method ; and during the whole of his brilliant, agitated, and, alas I 
loi rjlten ignominious career, he had constantlj- and patiently labored, 
add;.ig stone after stone to that splendid edifice which will enshrine hit 
niime when his crimes and weaknesses, his ambition and servility, shal" 
be forgotten, tlis philosophical system is contained in tlie great work, 
or rather series of works, to which he intended to give,the general title 
of Isslauraiio Magna, or Great Institution of True Philosophy. The 
Bhole of this neither was nor ever could have been executed by one 
mai', or by the labors of one age ; for every new addition to the stock 
of human knowledge, would, as Bacon plainly saw, modify the conclu- 
sions, though it would not affect otherwise than by confirming the 
soundness, of the philosophical method he propoiinded. The Insiaa- 
ratio was to consist of six separate parts or books, of which the follow- 
ifig is a short synoptical arrangement r — 

I. Partitiones Scicntiarttm : a summary or classification of all 
knowledge, with indications of those branches which had been 
more or less imperfectly treated. 
II. Nozmm Organum : the New Instrument, an exposition of Che 
methods to he adopted in the investigation of truth, with indi- 
cations of the principal sources of human error, and the reme- 
dies against that error in future. 
ni. Pkeenofaena Universi, sive Historia Naturalis et Experimen talis 
ad condendam Philosophinm : a complete body of weil-ob- 
served facts and experiments in all branches of human knowl- 
edge, to furnish the raw materia! upon which the new method 
was to he applied, in order to obtain results of truth. 
IV. Scala Intellectus, sive Filum Lahyrinthi : rules for the gradual 
ascent of the mind fiom particular instances or phenomena, 
to principles continually more and more abstract; and >ifarn. 
ings against the danger of advancing otherwise than grad 
ually and cautiously. 
V. JVorfrflwi", sive Anticipatioiies Philosophic Secund^ ; anticipa- 
tions or forestallings of the New Philosophy, i. e. such trutlK 
as could be, so to say, provisionally established, to be after, 
wards tested by the application of the New Method. 
VI, Fhilesofkia Seciiada, sive Scientia actlva; the result of the just, 
careful, and complete application of the methods previously 
laid down to the vast body of facts to be accumulated and 
observed in accordance wjlii the rules and precautions con- 
tained in the lid and IVth parts. ' 
Let m compare the position of Racon, with respect to science in gen- 
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A, b. 1561-16260 



LORD SACON. 



n 



eral, to that of an architect invited to undertaV* the recoils' .ruction of 
A palace, ancient and splendid, but which, in consequence of the lapsa 
of time and the changes of the mode of living, is found to be in a ruir- 
Dua or uninhabitable condition. What would be the natural mode of 
proceeding adopted bjan enlightened artist under these circuinatancesi 
lie would, 1 think, make it hia first care to draw an exact plan of tha 
ediRce in its present state, so as to form a clear notion of the extent, 
llie defects, and the conveniences of the building as it atands; and not 
111 then would he proceed to the demolition of the existing edifice. He 
ftould iiCKt prepare such instruments, tools, and mechanical aids, aa 
noiUd be iikely to render the work of construction more rapid, certain, 
and economical. Thirdly, he would accumulate the necessary mate- 
rials. Fourthly, he would provide the ladders. Lastly, he would begir 
to build : but should the edifice be go vast that no human life would be 
long enough to terminate it, he would construct so much of it as would 
euflice to give his succesaors an idea of the general plan, style, and dis- 
position of the parta, and leave it to be completed by future genera- 
tions. It will easily, I think, be seen, how accurately the mode of pro- 
ceeding in Bacon's great work corresponds with common sense and 
with the method followed by our imaginary architect. Bacon is the 
builder; the great temple of knowledge is the edifice, which the labors 
of our race have to terminate according to his plan. 

g 10. Let ua now inquire what portion of this project Bacon was able 
to execute. The first portion, consisting of a general view of the state 
of science at his time, with an explanation of the causes of its sterility 
and unprogressiveness, was published in 1605, in an English treatiae, 
bearing the title of T&e Proficience and Advancement of Learning- ■. 
this was afterwards much altered and extended, and republished in 
Latin, in 1623, under the title De Augmenfis Seientiarum. Th&Novum 
Organmit, the moat important portion of Bacon's work, is that in whicl> 
tlie necessity and the principles of the Inductive Method are laid down 
and demonstrated. It is, in 
short, the compendium of the 
Baconian logic. It was pub- 
lished in Latin, in 1620. The 
fundamental difference be- 
tween the method recommend- 
ed by Bacon and that which 
hod so long been adopted by 
philosophers, may, I think, be 
rendered clear by a compari- ■ 
son of the accompanying little " c n 
diagrams : — 

In the firet of these the point a may u 
general principle upon which depend ani 
phenomena b, C, d, k, f. Now let it be supposed that we 
for the explanation of one or all of these phenomena; c 




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m 



pmtosoFitr ANb Prose tiTSSAFVSS. [Chap.v. 



words, desirous of discovering the law upon which they depend. It i> 
obvious that we may proceed as the aritdraetician proceeds in the solu- 
tion of B problem involving the search after an unknown quanlitj oi 
number; that is, we may suppose the law of nature to be so and so, 
and applying this law to one or all of the phenomena within our obser- 
vatior, see if it corresponds with them or not. If it does, we conclude, 
so far as our examination has extended, that we have hit upon the true 
result of which we are in search : if not, we must repeat the process, 
M the arithmetician would do in a like case, till we obtain an answer 
that corresponds with all the conditions of the problem : and it is evi- 
dent, that the greater the number of separate facts to which we suc- 
cessfully apply our theoretical explanation, th? greater will be the 
probability of our having- hit upon the true one. Now this applieatioit 
of a pre Established theory to the particular facts or phenomena is pre-. 
cisely the signification of the word synthesis. It is obvious that the 
march of the mind in this mode of investigation is from the general to 
the particular — that is, in the direction of the arrow, or dowmoards — 
whence this mode of investigation is styled dediKtion, or a descent {torn 
the general law to the individual example. Similarly, the Aristotelian 
method has received (he designation a priori, because in it the estab- 
I 1 m t f th t 11 events, the provisional employment 

f th y ^ t t ppl cation in practice, just as in meas- 

k w p w j) viousfy establish a rule, as of a foot, 
yd& whhw ftn d apply to the space to be so deter- 
m d IthdormUth lements are the same as in the pie- 
ced w th tl p It here the process follows a precisely 

pp ted U — tht fma careful comparison of the different 
facts, the mmd travels graduiUj upward= with slow and cautious 
advances, from bare phenomena to more general consideration, till at 
last it reaches some point m which all the phenomena agree, and this 
point is the law of nature or general principle of which we were in 
search. As syn/iesis signifies competition so analysis signifies resolu- 
tion; and it is by a continual and c-iutious process of resolution that 
the mind ascends — in the direction marked by the arrow — from the 
particular to the general. This ascending process is clearly designated 
by the term (W»t;^»fn, which eignilieBana.!ce«/ from particular instances 
to a general law; and the term h posteriori denotes that the theory, 
being evolved from the examination of the individual facts, is neces- 
itrily posterior or subsequentto the examination of those facts. 

All human inventions have their good and their bad sides, their 
idt antages and their defects r and it is only by a comparison between 
he relative advantages and defects that we can establish the superiority 
t,C one system or mode of action over another. On contemplating tl.f 
two methods of which I have just been giving a very rough and popular 
explanation, itvrill be at once obvious that the Deductive mode enables 
us, wien He rigkt theory has been kit upon, to arrive at absolute, at 
almost mathematical truth ; while analysis, being dependent for its 
V upon thenumber of phenomena which furnish the materwii 



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A. D 1561-1626.] LORD BACON. 101 

(or our mduction, can never arrive at absolute certainty ; inasmuch ax 
It 18 Impossible to examine all the phenomena of a single class, ind ai 
while any phenomena remain unexamioed we never can be certain that 
the discovery of some new fact will not completely overset our conclu- 
sions. Tiie utmost that we can arrive at, therefore, by this route, is ( 
very high degree of probability — a degree which will be highe? i« 
proportion as it is founded upon a greater number of instances, and 
attained by a more careful process of sifting. But the nature of tlit 
human mind is such that it is practically incapable of distinguishing 
between a very high probability and an absolute certainty ; at least the 
■stter is able to produce upon the reason the same amount of conviction 
— in some cases, perhaps, even a greater amount — than even an abso- 
lute certainty. If we consider, therefore, the enormous number of 
chanceo against anj-givenA/^-ion deduction being the right one, — for, 
as in an arithmetical problem, there can be only one correct solution, 
while the number of possible incorrect solutions is infinite, — and 
observe that till all the possible plienomena have been submitted to 
the synthetic test we never can be sure that we have the right theory, 
we shall easily agree that the possible certainty of a theory is dearly 
bought when compared with the far greater safety of the analytical 
method of reasoning, which, keeping fast hold of nature at each step 
of its progress, has the possibility, nay, even the certainty, of correcting 
its errors as they may arise. 

The most important portion of the whole Tnstauraiio is the Novuta 
Organiim, in which Bacon lays down the rules for the employment of 
Induction in the investigation of truth, and points out the origin and 
remedies of the eiTors wliich most commonly oppose us in our search. 
The earlier philosophers, and particularly Aristotle, assigning a 
great and almost unlimited efficacy in this research to the intellectual 
faculties alone, contented themselves with perfecting those logical 
formulas, among which the syllogism was the principal, by whose aid, 
as by the operation of some infallible insti-ument, they conceived that 
that result would assuredly be attained ; and gave rules for the legitimate 
employment of their syllogism, pointing out the means of detecting 
and guarding against fallacies or irregularities in the expression oithexT 
reasoning. Bacon went far deeper than this, and showed that the most 
dangerous and universal sources of human error have their origin, not 
in the illegitimate employment of terras, but in the weaknesses, the 
prejudices, and the passions of mankind, exhibited either in the rare ot 
the individual. He classifies these sources of error, which in his vivid 
(jicturesque language he calls Idols or false appearances, in four cate- 
gories ; the Idols of the Tribe, of the Den, of the Market-place, of thu 
Theatre. Under the first he warns us against those errors and prejudices 
which are common to the whole human race, the tribe to which we all 
belong; the idols of the Den are those which arise from the particulat 
circumstances of the individual, as his country, his age, his religion, 
his profession, or his personal character; the erroi-s of the Market-place 
»rc the result of the universal hab't of using terms the mfaning cjf 



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103 



PaiLOSOFHY AND PROSE LITERATUSE. [Chap. V, 



which we huve either not distinctly agreed on, or which we do v.oi 
clearly understand. These terras are used in the interchange of 
tliought, as money is passed from hand to hand in the market; and we 
accept and transfer to others coins whose real value we ha\e not taken 
the trouble to test. The idols of the Theatre arc the enora arising 
from false systems of philosophy, which dress up conceptions in unreal 
disguises, like comedians upon the stage. We may compare tlie precau- 
tions of the older logic to that of a physician who should diject \\U 
•fforts to the getting rid of the external efflorescence of a disorder, and 
ilioiilc! think his duty performed when he had purified the skin, though 
perhaps at the cost of driving in the disease and rendering it doubly 
dangerous. Bacon, like the more enlightened practitioner, sought oul 
the deep-seated constitutional source of the malady; it is to that thai 
he addresses his treatment, certain that when the internal cause is 
removed, the symptoms will vanish of themselves. 

§ 11. Of the Third Book Bacon has given only a specimen, intended 
lo show the method to be adopted in collecting and classifying facts 
and experiments ; for in a careful examination of facts and experiments 
consists the whole essence of his induction, and in it are concealed the 
future destinies of human knowledge and power. Bacon contributed 
to this portion of the work a History of tlie Winds, of Life and Death, 
written in Latin ; and a collection of experiments in Physics, or, as he 
tails it. Natural History in English. This portion of the work is alone 
sufficient to show how small are Bacon's claims or pretensions to the 
cliaracter of a discoverer in any branch of natural science, and how 
completely he was under tlie iniluence of the errors of his day; but at 
the same time it proves the innate merit of his method, and the power 
of that mind which could legislate for the whole realm of knowledge, 
and for sciences yet unborn. To the English fragment he gives the title 
of Silva Silvanim, i. e. a collection of materials. 

The Fourth Book, Scala Intellectus, of which Bacon lias given but 
a brief extract, was intended to show the gradual march to be followed 
by induction, in ascending from the fact perceptible to the senses to 
principles which were to become more and more general as we advance ; 
and the author's object was to warn agaiiist the danger of leaping ab- 
ruptly over the intermediate steps of the investigation. Of tiie Fifth 
ttook he wrote only a preface, and the Sixth was never commenced. 

§ la. Of the soundness and the fertility of Bacon's method of inves- 
ligation, the best proof will be a simple and practical one: we have 
only to compare the progress made by humanity in all the useful arts 
-.hiring the two centuries and a half since induction has been general'/ 
imployed in ail branches of science, with the progress made during tlie 
twenty centuries which elapsed between Aristotle and the age of Bacon. 
It is no exaggeration to say that in the shorter interval tliat progress 
has been ten times greater than in the longer. That this progress is in 
any degree attributable to any superiority of the human intellect in 
inod'irn times is a supposition too c:itravagant to dciserve a moment's 
4ttenli 'n. Never did humanitj- produce intellects moi? vast, niorc 



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i\ D. I56i-i6i6.j LOAD BAGON. 10!^ 

penetrating, and more active, I will not say than Aristotle h mself but 
than the series of great men who wasted their powers in all I act que 
tions which never could be solved, or in the sterile Itletes of 
Bcholaetic disputation. We may remark, too, is a strong onfirmat on 
of the truth of what we are saying, that in those scien e wh 1 a e 
independent of experiment, and pi-oceed by the efforts of reasoning and 
contemplation alone, — as theology, for instance, or pure geometij, — 
Uie ancients were fully as far advanced as we are at this moment 
The glory of Bacon is founded upon a union of specu'Jative power with 
practical utility which were never so combined before. He neglected 
nothing as too smail, despised nothing as too low, by which our happi- 
ness could be augmented ; in him, above all, were combined boldness 
and prudence, the intensest enthusiasm, and the plainest common sense. 
He could foresee triumphs over nature far surpassing the wildest dreams 
of imagination, and at the same time warn posterity against the most 
trifling ill consequences that would proceed from a neglect of his rules. 
It is probable that Bacon generally wrote the first sketch of his works 
in English, but afterwards caused them to be translated into Latin, 
which was at that time the language of science, and even of diplomacy. 
He is reported to have employed the services of many young men of 
learning as secretaries and translators : amomg these the most remark- 
able is Hobbes, afterwards BO celebrated as the authorof thei^wiaWom. 
The style in which the Latin books of the /«s/a»riift'oweregiven to the 
woild, though certainly not a model of classical purity, is weighty, 
rigorous, and picturesque. 

§ 13. Bacon's English writings are very numerous : among them 
unquestionably the most important is the little volume entitled Essays, 
the first edition of which he published in 1597, and which was several 
times reprinted, with additions, the last in 1615. These are short 
papers on an immense variety of subjects, from grave questions of 
morals and policy down to the arts of amusement and the most trifling 
accomplishments; and in them appears, in a manner more appreciable 
10 ordinary intellects than in his elaborate philosophical works, the 
wonderful union of depth and variety which characterizes Bacon. The 
intellectual activity they display is literally portentous; the immense 
multipiidty and aptness of unexpected illustration is only equalled by 
the originality with which Bacon manages to treat the most wom-oul 
and commonplace subject, such, for instance, as friendship or garden- 
ing. No author was ever so concise as Bacon; and in his mode of 
writing there is that remarkable quality which gives to the style ol 
Shakspeare such a strongly-marked individuality; that is, a combina- 
tion of the intellectual and imaginative, the closest reasoning in the 
3oldest metaphor, the condensed brilliancy of an illustration identified 
- with the development of thought. It is this that renders both the 
dramatist and the philosopher at once the richest and tlie most concise 
of writers. Many of Bacon's essays, as that inimitable one on Studies, 
are absolutely oppressive from the power of thought compressed intc! 
[he smallest possible compass. Bacon wrote also an Essay on the Wif 



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104 TSIL080PBT AND PROSE LITERATURE. [Chap. V 

Amu of the Ancients, In which he endeavored to explain the political 
and moral truths concealed in tiie mythology of the classiciil ages; 
and in this work he exhibits an ingenuity which Macaulay justly de- 
scribes as almost morbid i an unfinished romance, The New Atlantis, 
which was intended lo embody the fulfilment of hie own dreams of a 
philosophical millennium; a History of Henry VII., and a vast num- 
ber of state-papers, judicial decisions, and other professional writings. 
All these are marked by the same vigorous, weighty, and somewhat 
oi-namented style which is to be found in the Instaaratio, and aig 
among the finest specimens of the English language at its period of 
highest majesty and perfection. 

§ 14. In every nation there may be found a small number of writers 
who, in their life, in the objects of their studies, and in the form and 
manner of their productions, bear a peculiar stamp of eccentricity. No 
country has been more prolific in such exceptional individualities than 
England, and no age than the sixteenth century. There cannot be 
a more striking example of this small but curious class than old Rob- 
ert BuKTON (1576-1640), whose life and writings are equally odd 
Hie personal history was that of a retired and laborious scholar, and 
his principal work, the Anatomy of Melancholy, is a strange combina- 
tion of the most extensive and out-of-the-way reading with just obser- 
vation and a peculiar kind of grave saturnine humor. The object of 
the writer was to give a complete monography of Melancholy, and to 
point out its causes, its symptoms, its treatment, and its cure : but the 
descriptions given of the various phases of the disease are written in 
so curious and pedantic a style, accompanied with such an infinity of 
quaint observation, and illustrated by such a mass of quotations from a 
crowd of authors, principally the medical writers of the fourteenth and 
fifteenth centuries, of whom not one reader in a thousand In the pres- 
ent day has ever heard, that the Anatotny possesses a charm which no 
one can resist who has once fallen under its fascination. The enormous 
amount of curious quotation with which Burton has incrusted every 
paragraph and almost every line of his work has rendered him the 
favorite study of those who wish to appear learned at a small expense ; 
and his pages have served as a quarry from which a multitude of authors 
have borrowed, and often without acknowledgment, much of their 
materials, as the great Roman feudal families plundered the Coliseum 
to construct their frowning fortress-palaces. The greater part of Bur- 
ton's laborious life was passed in the University of Oxfoi-d, where ha 
died, not without suspicion of having hastened his own end, in ordei 
that it might exactly correspond with the astrological predictions which 
he is said, being a firm believer in that science, to have diawn from his 
Dwn horoscope. He is related to have been himself a victim to thai 
melancholy which he has so minutely described, and hie tomb bears 
the astrological scheme of his own nativity, and an inscription emi- 
nently characteristic of the man : " Hie jacet Democritus, iunior, cui 
»itani dedit et mortem Melancholia," 
Pur notice of the prose writers of this remarkable period would b» 



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A. D. 1588-1679.] HERBERT. HOBHES. 'O-' 

incomDietii without some mention of Lord Herbert of Chbhburk 

(1581-1648), who was remarkable as a theologian and also as an his- 
torian. «e was a man of great learning and rare dignity of personal 
character, and was employed in an embaasj to Paris in 1616. Tliere 
he first publifihed his principal work, the treatise Be Veritate, an elab- 
orate pleading in favor of deism, of which Herbert was one of the ear- 
liest partisans in England. He also left a History of Henry VIIL, not 
published until after his death, and which is certainly a valuable mon 
ument of grave and vigorous prose, though the historical merit of the 
work is diminished by the author's sh-ong partiality in ' 
cliaracter of the king. Though maintaining the doctrii 
thinker, Herbert gives indications of an intensely enthusii 
mysticism, and there is proof of his having imagined hire 
than one occasion the object of miraculous communicati' 
the Deity confirmed the doctrines maintained in his books 
§ 15. But in force of demonstration, and clearness and 
language, none of the English metaphj^icians have surpa 
HoBBEs (1588-1679), who, however, more properly beloi 
period. Hobbes was a man of extraordinary mental acl 
remarkable, during the whole of a long literary career, f 
as for the variety of his philosophical speculations. The theories ol 
Hobbes exerted an incalculable influence on the opinions, not only of 
English, but also of Continental thinkers, for nearly a century, and 
though that influence has since been much weakened by the errors and 
sophistries mingled in many of this great writer's works, in some 
important and arduous branches of abstract speculation, as for exam- 
ple in the great question respecting Free Will and Necessity, it i« 
doubtful whether anj later investigations have thrown any new light 
upon the prindples established by him. He was born at Malmesbury 
in Wiltshire in 1588, was educated at Magdalen Hall, Oxford, and sub- 
sequently travelled abroad as private tutor to the Earl of Devonshire. 
On his return he became intimate with the most distinguished men of 
his day, through the Influence of his patron the Earl of Devonihire, 
His first literary work, the translation of Thucydides, was published in 
the third year of the reign of Charles I., in ifisS. He subsequently 
passed several years in Paris and Italy, and he was in constant com- 
munication with the most illustrious minds among his contempo- 
raries, as with Descartes for example, with Galileo, and with Harvey. 
Though of extreme boldness in speculation, Hobbes was an advocata 
for high monarchical or rather despotic principles in government ; his 
theory being that human nature was essentially ferocious and corrupt, 
he concluded that the iron restraint of arbitrary power muld alono 
suffice to bridle its passions. This theory necessarily flowed from the 
fnndamental proposition of Hobbes's moral system; viz. that tbe 
frimatn motile of all human actions is selfish interest. Attributing 
all our actions to intellectual calculation, and thus either entireh 
ignoring or not allowing sufficient influence to the moral elements 
•nd the affections, which play at least an equal part ir the drama of 



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106 PHILOSOPHY AND PROSE LITERATURE. [Chap. V. 
life, Hobbes fell into a narrow and one-sided view oJour motives which 
maltes hii tlieorjonljlialf true. He was a man whose reading, though 
not extensive, was singularly profound : and in the vanoua tranches 
of science and literature which he cultivated we see that clearness of 
view and vigor of comprehension which is found in men offew bookf. 
The most celebrated work of this great thinker was the Leviathan (pub- 
lished in 1651), an argument in favor of monarchical government: the 
reasonings, however, will apply with equal force to the justification of 
[leBpotism. But though the Leviathan is the best known of his works, 
the Treatise on Human Nature, si.-aA Oit Letter en Liberty and Ifeees- 
tfty, are incontestable those in which the closenees of his logic and the 
purity and clearness of his style are most visible, and the correctness 
of his deductions least mingled with error. Two purely political trea- 
tises, the Elementa PhilosopMca de Give, and De Corf ere Politico* 
are remarkable for the cogency of the arguments, though many of the 
results at which the author struggles to arrive are now no longer con- 
sidered deducible from the premises. In the latter portion of his life, 
Hobbes entered with great ardor upon the study of pure mathematics, 
and engaged in very vehement controversies with Wallis and others 
respecting the quadrature of the circle and other questions in which 
novices in those sciences are apt to be !ed away by the enthusiasm of 
.maginary discoveries. Hobbes has often been erroneously confounded 
rith the enemies of religion. This has arisen from a misconception 
of the nature of his doctrines, which, in apparently lowering the moral 
faculties of man, have seemed to exhibit a tendency to materialism, 
though in reality nothing can be more opposed to the character of 
Hobbes's philosophical views ; for the seliiBh theory of human actions, 
when divested of thoee limitations which confine the motive of self to 
those low and short-sighted views of interest with which it is generally 
asGOciated, no more necessitates a materialistic line of argument than 
any other system for clearing up the mysteries of our moral nature.f 

• These two treatises were published before the Lemathan, and were incor. 
porated in the latter work. 

t It may also he mentioned that Hobbes wiote, in 1672, at the oge of fit 
B curious Latin poem on his own life ; and he also published in 1675, at the igt 
of 87, a translation in veise of the Iliad and Odyseey. His Behemoth, or a His- 
lory (^ the Civil Wan Jhm\eiaic 1660, appeared in 167», a fewmonthJi ifimi 
Ufdntk. 



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Chap v.] NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

MINOE rnOSG WBITEHS IB THE BE 



EogllBh hisKPT 



slLve QUI odtnlt. Bli BtTlti 



lind.IiiibIl>]iediDlI»S. 



BLUSH (d. 1E93). 



HevenI poEUpbleti LnpplBe>areiiiealloucduiu 
dntnofJoti <pp, 134, 125). 

GEOBOE] BDOBANAH 1 1IiOI!-lSB3). cekbtuled as su 

kndi wL^ch wufl pnbUshed in 16B3, imder the 
oT tlw FflBlmi lias been ireful/ mention^ (p. 



veiy pnpidar, HJid were repeirl^dly republiabcd ] 



WjLUiM Lmiaow (d. 16*1), o nnHyo of St 



ipaat ElaalxOi, which wM imbliahed in IIWI. ol 
RioBUm KxoLUta (1. 16KIJ, bkMu of lli« fr 



iften found In Ihat age. I 



(UiidoBliv 



.nuDon stHom of «£:7 writii^. A slight tidgfl 
' atchalsm, lUJd a certidn nif^4>t7 of eipnQLon, 
IoIL"e1j oj colloguiil umge. "ore thoi^lit by 
icDD aud Raleigh eongenle) to an elevated elyliii 

rol* Ds Ihe eoart spoka, and his licilily wonld be 
eaiing if his Boolences had a lea neillgent bItoc- 



«hkh beatJ hie name. HU most ceiebmted »M» 
:g in Lalin, enllUrf SriMania, Aral puhlisheS It 
IB38. glvii^ a topogmphical deacriplion of Grent 

LoFlLiim account oftlierdgii of QuceikEliiabeEh. 
Due of the prludpai ig ( Biriory Ihe &i^ M 



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TEE J) AWN OF TEE DRAMA. 



CHAPTER VI. 
THE DAWN OF THE DRAMA. 

f 1. Origin of the Drama. Earliest religious speotaiteH, called Myiteriel «l 
JUiraofes. § 2. Plays, called Mos-alitiea : Bishop Bsle. } 3. Interbidea : Jomt 
Hbth-ood. i i. PageantB. Latin Playe. } B. Chronicle Plays. Bale's 
King John. First EngUsh tragedies. The tragedy of Gorbodiw. Other earlj 
tragediea. § 6. Pitst English comedies. Ralph Roysler DmjsteT. Gammer 
GuHin,'s Needle. ^7- Actors. Theatres. Soenery and properties of the stage, 
}8. Dramatic authors usually actors. } 9. Early English playivcighta. Ltly. 
Peble. Kyd. Nisn. Gkeehe. Ldboe. { 10. ChribtopherMaklqwe, 
5 11. Anonymous plays. 

1. As the Drama h one of the most splendid and perhaps the most 
intensely national department of our literature, so its orig n and devel- 
opment were peculiar, and totallj' different from anything to be 
found in the history of other European countries. It is only Spain and 
England among all the modern civilized nations, that possess a theatri- 
cal literature independent in its origin, characteristic in its form, and 
reflecting faithfully the features, moral, social, and intellectual, of the 
people among which it arose: and the nationality of Spain being 
strongly distinguished from that of England, it is natural that the 
Spanish drama should possess a character which, though, like that of 
Britain,, strongly romantic, should be very dissimilar in its tjpe. It is 
possible to trace the tirst dim dawning of our national stage to a very 
remote period, to a period indeed not very fai lemovedfrom the era 
of the Norman Conquest: for the custom of repiesentmg, in a rude 
dramatic form, legends of the lives of the Saints and striking episodes 
of Bible History seems to have been introduced from France, and to 
have been employed by the clergy as a means of communicating reli- 
gious instruction to the rude population of the twelfth century. There 
exists the record of one of these religious spectacles, which received the 
name of Mysteries i>' Miracles, from the sacred nature of their subject 
and personages, hav:r,g been represented in the Convent of Dunstable 
In IT19. It was called the Play of Si. Catherine, and in all probability 
ctinfiisted of a rude dramatized picture of the miracles and martyrdom 
of that saint, performed on the festival which commemorated her death, 
jj! an age when the great mass of the laity, from the highest to the low- 
*st, vrere in a state of extren-^ ignorance, and when the little learm-.g 
that then existed was exclusively in the hands of ecclesiastics, it was 
quite natural that the latter, which was then the governing class, should 
employ so obvious an expedient for communicating some elementary 
religious instruction to the people, and by gratifying the curiosity of 
their rude heareiB, extend and strengthen the influence of the Church 
It is known that this play of St. Catherine was performed in Frencli. 



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iLD. iiig.] MYSTSETES OR MIRACLES. 109 

which is fteuffident proof that the custom of these representations was 
imported from abroad ; but the great and rapid extension of these per- 
formances soon showed how well this mode of religious amusemeat 
accorded with the tastes and requirements of the times. Mysteries and 
Miracle-plajs abound in theearly literature of all the Catholic countries 
of Europe; Spain, Germany, France, Italy possess examples so abun- 
dant that a considerable iibrarj" might be formed of these barbarous 
pieces; and the habit of seeing them represented in publichas certainlj" 
left very perceptible traces in mediseval literatui-e and art. For example, 
the title, the subject, and the arrangement of Dante's immortal poem are 
closely connected with dramalicrepresentatJonsof Hell, Purgatory, and 
Paradise, which formed a common feature among the festivities of 
Florence. The Divine Comedy, the very name of which ehows its re- 
lation to some theatrical performance, is nothing but a Miracle in n 
narrative form. These plays were composed and acted by monks, the 
cathedral was transformed for the nonce into a theatre, the stage was 
a species of graduated platform in three divisions rising one over the 
other, and placed near or over the altar, and the costumes were fur- 
nished by the splendid contents of the vestry of the church. It will 
appear natural enough, that on any of the high religious festivals, on 
the anniversary of any important religious personage or event, that 
personage or event should be represented in a visible form, with such 
details as either Scripture, legend, or the imagination of the author 
could supply. The childish and straightforward art of these old 
monkish dramatists felt no repugnance in following with strict literal 
accuracy every circumstance of the original narrative which they 
dramatized; and the simple faith of tlieir audience saw no impropriety 
in the Introduction of the most supernatural beings, the persons of the 
Trinity, angels, devils, saints, and martyrs. The three platforms into 
which the stage was divided represented Heaven, Earth, and Hell ; and 
the dramalisfersgnce made their appearance on that part of the stage 
which corresponded with their nature. It was absolutely necessary that 
some comic element should be Introduced to enliven the graver scenes, 
particularly as some of these representations were of inordinate length, 
there being one, for example, on the subject of the Creation and the 
Fall of Man, which occupied six days in the performance. Besides, the 
rude audience would have absolutely required some farcical or amusing 
episoda. This comic element was easily found by representing tl»e 
wicked personages, whether human or spiritual, of the drama as placed 
lin ludicrous situations, or surrounded by ludicrous accompaniments; 
tbius the Devil generally played the part of the clown or jester, and nu 
exhibited in a light half terrific and haif farcical. Nor were they con- 
teiited with such dralleriea as could he extracted from the grotesque 
gambols and often baffled machinations of Satin and his imps, or with 
the mistiire of merriment and horror inspired by horns, and tails, and 
hairy howling mouths i the authors of these pieces introduced human 
buffoons; and the modern puppet-play of Punch, with his struggles 
with the Devil, is unquestionably a direct tradition handed down from 



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110 THE DAWN OF THE DRAMA. [Chap. VI. 

these ancient miradea in which the Evil One Wfs alternately the con- 
queror and the victim of the Buffoon, Jester, or Vice, as he was called. 

Some idea may be formed of these ancient religious dramas from tho 
titlesof some of them which have been preserved; for the general reader 
is scarce likely to consult such of them as have been piloted, though 
curious monuments of the faith and art of long-vaniahed ages. The 
Ctealionofthe tforld,tht Fall of Man, the story of Cain and Abel, 
the Crucifixion ofOurLordjthe Massacre of the Innocents, \he Delugy., 
besides an infinite multitude of subjects taken from the lives and miracles 
of tlie saints; such were the materials of these simple dramas. They 
are generally written in mixed prose and verse, and though abounding 
in anachronisms and absurdities both of character and dialogue, they 
sometimes contain passages of simple and natural pathos, and some- 
times scenes which must have affected the spectators with intense awe 
and reverence. In an English mystery on the subject of the Deluge, a 
comic scene is produced by the refusal of Noah's wife lo enter the Ark, 
and by the beating which justly terminates her resistance and scolding 
But, on the other hand, a mystery on the subject of the Sacrifice of 
Isaac contains a dialogue of much pathos and beauty between Abrshani 
and his son ; and the whole action of the Mystery of the Holy Sacra- 
ment was capable of producing a strong impression in an age of child- 
like, ardent faith. These representations were got uf with all the mag- 
nificence attainable, and every expedient was employed to heighten the 
illusioQ of the scene. Thus there is a tradition of a condemned crimi- 
nal having been really crucified on the stage, in a representation of the 
Passion of Our Lord, in the character of the Impenitent Thief Very 
evident traces of the universality of these religious dramas may be 
found in the early works of sculpture and painting throughout Catholic 
Europe. Thus the practice of representing the Deity in the costume 
and ornaments of a Pope or a Bishop, which appears to us an absurdity 
or an irreverence, arose from such a personage being generally repre- 
sented, on the rude stage of the miracle-play, in a dress which was then 
associated with ideas of the highest reverence: and the innumerable 
anecdotes and apologues representing evil spirits as baffled and defeated 
by a very moderate amount of cunning and dexterity may easily have 
been generated by that peculiarity of Mediceval Chriationity which pic- 
tures tlie wicked spirits, not as terrible and awful beings, but as mischiev- 
ous goblins whose power was annihilated at the foundation of our faiih, 

I 2. To trace the gradual changes which establish the afSliation 
from the early Mysteries of the twelfth century to the regular drama of 
modern times, is nothing else but to point out the steps by which the 
dramatic art, from an exclusively religious character acquir",d more and 
more of a lay or worldly spirit in its subjects and its personages. The 
Myslaries, once the only form of dramatic representation, continued to 
je popular from the eleventh to the end of the fourteenth century; nay, 
m some pastoral and remote corners of Europe, where the primitive 
faith glows in all its ancient ardor, and where the manners of the 
people ha\e been little modified by contact with /Dreign civilization, 



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ft,. D. 1495.] MORALITIES. tl\ 

iM>methmg very sitntl&r to the Mveteries maybe atill seen even in tne 
prefient day. In the retired vallsye of Catholic Switzerland, in the 
Tyrol, and in Eome little-Tislted districts of Germany, the peasants stil' 
annually perform dramatic spectacles representing episodes in tlie life 
of Christ. The first stage in the process ai latching the drama was th* 
substitution for the Miracle-play of another kind of representatibn, 
entitled a Morality. This species of entertainment seems to have bean 
popular from about the beginning of the fifteentb century, and gradually 
supplanted the exclusively religious Mystery. It ia quite evident thai 
the composition as well as the representation of these pieces was far 
\evi etclusively in the hands of ecclesiastics, who thus began to lose 
th'it influence over the popular mind which they derived from their 
monopoly of knowledge. Perhaps, however, it would be a more legiti- 
mate explanation of this change to say, that the spread of civilization 
among the liity, and the hostility which was gradually but rapidly un- 
dermining the foundations of Catholicism in England, had contributed 
to put an end to that monopoly; for many of our early Moralities, 
though the production of Churchmen, as in the case of Bishop Bale, 
were tin, production of Churchmen strongly tainted with the unortho- 
dox opinions of the early reformers. The subjects of these dramas, 
instead of being purely religious, were moral, as their name implies; 
and the ethical lessons were conveyed by an action and dramatis per- 
tona! of an abstract or allegorical kind. Thus, instead of the Deity 
and his angels, the Saints, the Patriarchs, and the characters of the 
Old and New Testament, the persons who figure in the Moralities are 
Every-Man — a general type or expression ofhumanity — Lusty Juven- 
Lus — who represents the follies and weaknesses of youth — Good 
Counsel, Repentance, Gluttony, Pride, Avarice, and the like. The 
action was in general exceedingly simple, and the tone grave and doc- 
trinal, though of course the same necessity existed as before for the 
introduction of comic scenes. The Devil was far too popular and useful 
a personage to be suppressed; so his battles and scoldings with the 
Vice, or Clown, were stiil retained to furnish forth " a fit of mirth," 
Our readers raay form some idea of the general character of these pieces 
by the analysis of one, entitled The Cradle of Security, the outline of 
which has been preserved in the narrative of an old man who had 
formed one of the audience in his early childhood. It was intended as 
a lesson to careless and sensual sovereigns. The principal personage is 
a King, who, neglecting his high duties and plunged in voluptuous pleas 
ures, is put to sleep in a cradle, to which he is bound by golden chaiit 
held by four beautiful ladies, ivho sing as they rock the cradle, Sud 
denly the courtiers are all dispersed by a terrible knock at the door, 
and the king, .iwaking, finds himself in the custody of two stem and 
b-emendous figures, sent from God to punish his voluptuousness and vice. 
In a similar way the action of the Moi-ality Lusty yuventus contains a 
vividandevenhumorousplctureof the extravagance and debauchery of a 
TOung heir, surrounded by companions, the Virtues and the Vices, some 
of wlioin endeavor in vain to restrain his passions, while others flatter 



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112 THE DAWN OF THE DRAMA. [Chap. VL 

hia depraved inclinations. Tliia piece also ends with a cemonBtration 
ofthe inevitable misery nndpunishment which follow a departure from 
the path of virtue and religion. It is impossible to draw any strung 
line of demarcation, either chronological or critical, between the Mys- 
tery and Moralif J. The one species imperceptibly melts into the other i 
though the gene;al points of distinction are clear and obvious enough, 
The Morality also had a strong tendency to partake of the character of 
the court masque, m which the Elements, tlie Virtues, the Vices, or tht 
various reigns ofnature, were introduced either to convey some physical 
or philosophical instruction in the guise of allegory, or to compliment 
a king or great personage on a festival occasion. Of this class is Skel- 
ton's masque, to which I have alluded in a former chapter, and to which 
he gave the title of Magnificence. A very industrious writer of these 
Moralities was Bishop Bale Ci495-'S63). who will also be mentioned 
presently (p. 114) as one of the founders of our national drama. 

§ 3. Springing from the Moralities, and hearing some general resem- 
blance to them, though exhibiting a still nearer approach to the regu- 
lar drama, are the Interludes, a class of compositions in dialogue much 
shorter in extent and more merry and farcical in subject, which were 
exceedingly fashionable about the time when the great controversy was 
raging between the Catholic cliui-ch and the Reformed religion in Eng- 
land. A prolific author of these grotesque and merry pieces was John 
Heywood, a man of learning and accomplishment, but who seems to 
have performed the duties of a sort of jester at the court of Henry VIII. 
Heywood was an ardent Catholic; and the stage at that time was used 
by both religious parties to throw odium and ridicule upon the doc- 
trines of their opponents; the Catholics delighting to bring forward 
Luther, Catherine de Bora, and the principal figures among the reform- 
ers, in a light at once detestable and ridiculous, and the Protestants 
returning the compliment by showing up the corruptions and vices of 
the Pope and the hierarchy. The Interludes, being short, were, it is sup- 
posed, performed either in the entr'acies of tlie longer and more solemn 
Moralities, or represented on temporary stages between the irtervals 
of the interminable banquets and festivities of those days. 

5 4. In the preceding rapid sketch of tlie dramatic amusemjnts of 
our ancestors, I have endeavored to give a general idea of thes ; enter- 
tainments in their complete and normal form ; that is, when the action 
selected for the subject of the piece was illustrated with dialogue, and 
the exhibitor addressed himself to the ears as well as to the eyeri of hig 
audience. It must not be forgotten that both the subjects of the Mya. 
teries and those of the Moralities were sometimes exhibited in dumb 
show. A scene of Holy Writ or some event in the life of a saint was 
represented in a kind of tableau I'li'nn/ by disguised and costumed per- 
sonages; and thi:; i-epresentatioa was often placed on a sort of wheeled 
piiitform and exhibited coatinually during those It ngprocessionf, which 
ibrmed the principal feature of the festivities of ancient times, riiesa 
taUeaux vivanis wer,! also intioduced into the great halls du hig th< 
elaborate banquets which were the triumphs cf andeni magn Qcence' 



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A.D. 1500.] LATIN PLATS. 113 

and thus this p f t rt m t p bly nected witli 

those fugeanl fte mpl j d t gr t fj th ty f citizen.i, oi 

to compliment 11 t t Th p g t h ther simplj 

consisting of th h b t m 1 ftj pi tf m the porch oi 

churchyard of th d 1 tl T w H II th ity gate, of 

a number of figi tablj d d mp -y g their actioo 

with poetical d I m t dm cc Ij p t It in all the 

change" of ta t wl h h t d th |, th P ph tfi and Saints 
who welcome 1 tl J ' * tl th rt tl t ry with bar- 

barouB Latin 1 j w g d lly pplaiit d by th. Virtues and 

allegoiical qu 1 1 d th tl t wh th Renaissance 

had dissemin t d ! p f 1 I m g y, made way 

for the Cupids the Me d tl e cl c 1 pe ^ wliose infiu- 
ence has cant nued alma t to the literature of our own time. Such 
spectacles as 1 ha e just been alluding to, which were so common that 
the chronicles of eve y Eu opean nation are Blled with records of them, 
were of course frequently exhibited at the Universities : but in the 
hands of these bodies the shows naturally acquired a more learned 
character than they had elsewhere. It was almost universal in those 
times that the students should employ Latin on all official occasions . 
this was necessary, partly from the multitude of nations composing the 
body of the students, and who required some common language which 
they could all understand. Latin, therefore, was by a thousand differ- 
ent laws and regulations obligatory ; and this occurred not only in the 
Universities, but also in many conventual and monastic societies. It 
was therefore natural that the public amusements of the University 
ehould partake of the same character. A large number of pieces, gen- 
erally written upon the models of Terence and Seneca, were produced 
and represented at this time. In the great outbreak of revolt against 
the authority of scholaEticisra which preceded the Reformation, the 
return to classical models in dramatic composition was general, and 
Reuchlin boasted that he was the first to furnish the youth of Germany 
with comedies bearing some similarity to the masterpieces of Terence. 
The times of Elizabeth and James were peculiarly fertile in Latin dramas 
composed at the Universities ; and these sovereigns, the first of whom 
was remarltably learned in an age of general diffusion of classical studies, 
while in the second erudition had degenerated into pedantry, were en- 
tertained by the students of Oxford and Cambridge with Latin piays. 

§ 5 We have now traced the progress of the Dramatic art from its 
fir t ude nf o J n E gla d d 1 a e seen how every step of that 
ad an e remo ed t fa the and fa th from a purely religious, and 
b ougl t t do e and I se t p ofane character. The last step of 
the p g wa the reat on of wh twe now understand under tlie 
te n d amati iz th n p ntation, by means of the action 

and d alo of hu nan pe ona of ome event of history or sociai 
life As n th fi t appea a of th , ths most perfect form which 
the art could attain, the influence of the grer.l models of ancient litero- 
fure must have been very powerfn'., dramatic compositions class thein' 



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114 THE DAWIf OF THE DRAMA. [Chap. VI 

selves, b/ the very nature of the case, into Ihe two gieat categories of 
Tragedy and Comudy, and even borrow from the classical models detaili 
of an unessential kind, as for example the use of the Chorus, whicl., 
originally consisting of a numerous body of performers, was gradually 
reduced, though its name and functions w'ere retained to a certaii 
degree by the old English playwrights, to a single individual, as in sev- 
eral of Shaltsire are's dramas. It was about the middle of the sixteenth 
century that a considerable activity of creation was first perceptible in 
this department. John Bale (1495-1563), tlie author of many semi- 
polemical plays, partaking in some measure of the character of the 
Mystery, the Morality, and the Interlude, set the example of extracting 
materials for rude historical dramas from the Chronicles of his native 
country. His drama of King John occupies an intermediate place 
between the Moralities and historical plays. But the most remarkable 
progress in this department of literature is to be found in a considera- 
ble number of pieces, written to be performed by the students of the 
Inns of Court and the Universities, for the amusement of the sov- 
ereign on hiij'h festival occasions ; for it must be remembered that the 
establishment of regular theatres and the formation of regular theatri- 
cal troops did not take place for a considerable period after these first 
dramatic attempts. The great entertainments of the ricli and power- 
fill municipal corporations, of which the Lord Mayor's annual Show in 
London, and similar festivities in many other towns, still exist as curi- 
ous relics, prove that the same circumstances which had generated the 
annual performance of the Chester and Coventry plays, and maintained 
(hose exhibitions uninterruptedly during a very long succession of 
years, still continued to exist. Contrary to what might have beer. 
expected, the first tragedies produced in the English language were 
remarkable for the gravity and elevation of their language, the dignity 
of their sentiments, and the dryness and morality of their style. Thej* 
are, it is true, exti-emcly crowded with bloody and dolorous events, 
rebellions, treasons, murders, and regicides ; but there is very little 
attempt to delineate character, and certainly not the slightest trace of 
that admixture of comic action and dialogue which is so characteristic 
of the later theatre of England, in which the scene struggled to imitate 
the irregularity and the vastness of human life. A good example of 
these early plays is the Tragedy of Gorboduc, or Ferrex and Pormt, 
wrifen by Thomas Sackville, Lord Buclthurst (the principal writi;r in 
this ''Mirroui for Magistrates"), and Thomas Norton, and acted in 1561 
fOf tlie er iertainment of Queen Elizabeth, by the gentleiucn of he 
li^nei Te/ople. The subject of this play Is borrowed from the old hjlf- 
Tiythological Chronicles of Britain, and the principal event is siinilai 
tr. the story of Eteocles and Polynices, a legend which has furnished 
the materials not only to the genius of jEschylus, but to that of Racine 
and Schiller. But though the subject of this piece is derived from tlie 
national records, whether authentic or mythical, the Ireatmenl exhibits 
strong marks of classic imitation, thoiigh rather after the manner ol Sen- 
Its thftn of ^ecbj'lus or Sophocles, Seneca enjoyed a most surprising 



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A. n. 1S66.J EARLY TRAGEDIES. US 

reputation at the reviva" of Letters. The dialogue of Gtrbmlac is ii. 
blank verse • which Is regular and carefully constructed ; but it 'u 
lotally destitute of i ar ety of pause and conseq lently is a most insuffi- 
c ent lei icle for dramatic d alogiie The sentence almost invariahl_y 
termintes H th the line aid the effect of the v hole is insupportablj 
formal ind heavy for no we ght ind depth of moial and political 
apothegm with wh ch the work abounds ct compensate for the 
total want of !ife of sentiment and pasaion Another work of a simi- 
lar ci aracter i? D imoa at d Pythias acted before the Queen at Christ 
Church Oxford in 1 1;66 This play wh cli is m rhyme, is a mixture 
of tragedy and con edj Its authoi was Richard Enwdaos, the com-, 
p ler of the m cellany called The Paradise of Dainty Devices (see p. 
85). He also wiote Palamon and Arcrie, the beautiful story so inim- 
itably treated by Chaucer in Tie Knights Tale, and afterwards in Beau- 
mont and Fletcher's romantic play The T-mo Noble Kinsmen. In 1578 
was acted Promos and Cassandra, by George Whetstone, chiefly 
curious as having furnished the subject of Shakspeare's Measure for 
Measure. All these plays are marked by a general similarity of style 
ind treatment, and belong to abouj the same period. 

§ 0. In the department of Comedy the first English works which 
made their appearance very little anterior to the above pieces, offer a 
most striking contrast in their tone and treatment. It would almost 
seem as if the national genius, destined to stand unrivalled in the pecu- 
liar vein of humor, was to prove that while in tragic and sublime delin- 
eations it might encounter, not indeed superiors, but rivals, — in the 
grotesque, the odd, the laughable, it was to stand alone. The earliest 
comedy in the language was Ralfh Royster Doyster, acted in iSS'i ""'' 
written by Nicholas Udall, who for a long time executed the duties 
of Master of Eton College. This was followed, about fourteen years 
later, by Gatitmer Gurton's Needle, composed by John Still, after- 
wards Bishop of Bath and Wells, and who had previously been Master 
of St. John's and Trinity Colleges in Cambridge. This piece was prob- 
ably acted by the students of the society over which the author pre- 
sided, and was long considered to have been the earliest regular comedy 
in the English language: but it was afterwards established that the 
work of Udali preceded it by a short interval. Both these works ire 
highly curious and interesting, not only as being the oldest specimens 
of the class of literature to which they belong, but in some measure 
from their intrinsic merit. There can be no question that the formei: 
comedy is far superiw to the second : it is altogether of a higher order, 
both in conception and execution. The action takes place in London, 
and Uie principal characters are a rich and pretty widow, her lover, and 
several of her suitors, the cliief of whom is the foolish personage who 
ijives the title to the play. This ridiculous pretender to gayety and 

• Blank verse was first introduced by Lord Surrey in hia translatloii of the 
/Kneirf (seo p. 66). It was next uE"d by Grimoald (see p. 70), who, aocording 
lo Warton, gave it " new strengtli, elefnanoe, ar 4 jno<l (latiofi." Sackville irai 
(fee thff 4 writer wko eniployed i(, 



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116 TEE DAWN OF THE DRAMA. [Chap. rt. 

love, a young heir just put into possession of his fortune, is surroundtd 
by a number of intriguers and flatterers who pretend to be his friends, 
and who lead their dupe into all sorts of absurd and humiliating 
scrapes ; and the piece ends with the return of the favored lover from 
a "'oyflge which he had undertaken in a momentary pique. The man- 
ners represented are those of the middle class of the period, and tha 
picture given of London citizen life in the middle of the sixteenth aen- 
tury is curious, animated, and natural. The language is lively, and 
the dialogue is carried on in a sort of loose doggerel rhyme, very well 
adapted to represent comic conversation. In genera! the iutrigue of 
this drama is deserving of approbation; the plot is well imagined, and 
the reader's curiosity well kept alive. Gammer Gurton's Needle is a 
composition of a much lower and more farcical order. The scene is. 
laid in the humblest rustic hfe, and all the dramatis perion<e belong to 
the uneducated class. The principal action of the comedy is the sud- 
den loss of a needle with whicii Gammer {Coinm&rel') Gurton has been 
mending the inexpressibles of her man Hodge, a loss comparatively 
serious, when needles were rare and costly. The whole intrigue con- 
sists ia the search instituted after this unfortunate little implement) 
which is at last discovered by Hodge himself, on suddenly sitting down, 
sticking in the garment which Gammer Gurton had been repairing. 

A comparison between these early comedies, and Gammer Gurton in 
particular, and that curious and interesting piece Maistre Pierre Palke- 
lin, which is regarded as the first specimen of the French comic stage, 
would not be un instructive. In both the transition from the totiie or 
farce to regular comedy is plainly perceptible; and it must be con- 
fessed that in the humorous delineation of character, as well as in 
probability and variety of incident, the French piece has decidedly the 
advantage. The form of the dialogue, being in both cases a sort of 
easy do^erel verse, little removed from the real language of the classes 
represented, has great similarity; though tlie French comedy is, as far 
as its diction is concerned, far more archaic and difllcult to a modern 
French reader than the English of Gammer Gurton to an English one. 
This indeed may be generally remarked, that our language has under- 
gone less radical changes in the space of time which has elapsed from 
the first appearance of literary productions among us than £ny of the 
other cultivated dialects of Europe. 

% 7. It will be inferred from what has been said respecting the cus- 
tom of acting plays at Court, in the mansions of great lords, in the 
Universities, and in the Inns of Law, that regular public theatres were 
not yet in existence. The actors were to a certain degree amateurs, 
and were frequently literally the domestics of the sovereign and the 
nobles, wearing their badges and liveries, and protected by their pa- 
tronage. The line of demarcation between nmsical performers, singers, 
Jugglers, tumblers, and actors, was for a long period very faintly traced. 
The Court plays were frequently represented by the children of the 
royal chapel, and placed, as the dramatic profession in general was for 
« long fime, under the peculiar sujiervision of the Office of the Reveis, 



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4.t>. 1580.J MASLT TffEATRES. 1I7 

which was obliged also to exercise the duties of a i.i-nmalic censor. 
These bodies of actors, singers, tumblers, &c., were frequently in tlie 
habit of wandering about the couiltrj, performing wherever they could 
(ind an audience, sometimes in the mansions of rural grandees, some- 
times in the town halls of provindal municipalities, sometimes in the 
court-yards of inns. Protected by the letters-patent and the livery of 
(hrir master against the seiere laws which qualified stroUe t, 

houds, they generally began their proceedings by begging th t 

nance and protection of the authorities ; and the accounts of th t 

niuijicipal bodies, and the household reg'ster of the great f ! f 
former times, abound in entries of perm ss ons g en to such tr 11 g 
parlies of actors, tumblers and mus c ans and of sum g t d t 
them in recompense of the r exert ons It c nous to k th t 

the amount of such sum e n to have been ca cul ted le f 

ence to the talent displ ed n the repre ent t on than to th d gr 
of respect which the gnntor w shed to nw to the pat d 

whose protection the troop happened to be. This state of tl I w 

eier had eisted long before; for in the accounts of the an t m 
astenea we frequently meet with entries of graUiities give t ly 

to travell ng preachers from other religious bodies, but ev t 
Btrels lugn-lcrs, and other professors of the arts of ente t m t 
Noth ng was more easy than to transform the ancient hall of II 
palice or nobleman's mansion into a theatre sufEciently con t n 

the then pr mitive state of dramatic representation. The dai 1 t 

ed platform at the upper extremity was a stage ready made ; t w ly 

necessary to hang up a curtain, and to establish a few scree Ted 

with tapestry, to produce a scene sufficient for the purpose. W h th 
performance took place in an inn, which was very common, the stage 
was established on a platform in the centre of the yard; the lower classes 
of spectators stood upon the ground in front of it, which custom is 
preserved in the designation /ar/fl/re, still given by the French to the 
pit. The latter denomination is a record of the circumstance that in 
England theatrical representations often took place in cackpils. Indeed 
there at one time existed in I,ondon a theatre called the Codtpit, from 
the circumstance of its having been originally an arena for that sport. 
The ancient inns, as may be seen by many specimens still in existence, 
were built round an open court-yard, and along each story internally 
ran an open gallery, upon which opened the doors and windows of the 
■mall chambers occupied by the guests. In order to witness the perforra- 
»nce die inmates had only to come out into the gallery in front of their 
rooms ; and the convenirnce of this arrangement unquestionably sug- 
l^ted the principal featares of construction when buildings were first 
ipecifically destined for scenic performances. The galleries of the old 
inns were the prototypes of the circles of boxes in our modern theatres. 
But the tBl^ for dramatic entertainments grew rapidly more general 
and ardent; and in the course of time, in many places, particularly :n 
London, not only did special societies of professional aciors begin to 
come into CKistence, but special edifices were constructed for their exhJ- 



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118 TirM t>AWN ilF THE DRAMA. [Chap. VI 

bitions. Indeed at one period it is supposed that I.ondon and its 
suburbs f.ontained at least twelve different theatres, of various degrees 
of "iize and convenience. Of these the most celebrated was undoubt' 
edlj the Globe, for at that time each playhouse had its tign, and the 
companj which performed in it were also the proprietors of a smiillei 
house fn the opposite, or London side of the Thames, called the Black- 
friars, situated vei-y nearly on the spot now occupied by the gigantic 
establishment of the "Times" newspaper. The great majority of th( 
r^ndoa theatres were on the southern or Surrey bank of the Thames, 
isi order to be out of the jurisdiction of the municipality of the City, 
which, having been from a very early period strongly infected with the 
gloomy doctrines of Puritanism, was violently opposed to theatrical 
erilertainments, and carried on against the players and tlie playhouses 
a constant war, in which their opponents repelled the persecutions of 
authqrity with all the petulance of wit and caricature. Some of these 
theatres -were cockpits or arenas for bull-baiting and bear-baiting, 
either transformed into regular playhouses, or alternately employed for 
theatrical and other spectacles : but the Globe, and probably others as 
well, were specifically erected for the purpose of the drama. They 
were all, however, very poor and squalid, as compared with the mag- 
nificent theatres of the present day, and retained in their form and 
arrangement many traces of the ancient model — the inn-yard. The 
building was octagon, and entirely uncovered, excepting over the stage, 
where a thatched roof protected the actors from the weather; and this 
thatched roof was. In 1613, the cause of the total destruction of the 
Globe, in consequence of the wadding of a chamber, or small cannon, 
lodging in it, fired during the representation of Shakspeare's Henry 
Vnr. The boxes or rooms, as they were then styled, were of course 
arranged nearly as in the present day, but the musicians, instead of 
being placed, as now, in the orchestra, or space between the pit and the 
stage, were established in a lofty gallery over the scene. 

The most remarkable peculiarity of the ancient English theatres was 
the total absence of painted scenery, which in more recent times has 
been carried to such a height of artistic splendor and illusion. A few 
traverses, as they were called, or screens of cloth or tapestry, gave the 
actors the opportunity of making their exits and entrances; and in 
order to give the audience an idea of the place where the action was 
lo be supposed, they employed the singularly primitive expedient of 
exhibiting a placard, bearing the name of Rome, Athens, London, or 
Florence, as the case might be. So exceedinglv rude an expedient at 
tliifl is the more singular as the English drama is remarkable for its 
frequent changes of -scene. But though they were forced to content 
ihei-iselves with this very inartificial mode of indicating the place of 
the action, the details of the locality could be represented with a mucb 
more accurate imitation. Thus, if a bedroom were lo be supposed, ( 
bed was pushed forward on the stage ; a table covered with bottles and 
tankards, and surrounded with benches, easily suggested a tavern ; a 
gilded chair surmounted by a cnnopv, and called a state, gave the idea 



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O.J 



EARir fffBAmM. ii9 



of a palace, nn altar of a diurch, and the like. At the back o1 Ih? 
stage waa ereL-tcd a permanent wooden construction, like a scaffoiJ ni 
a high wall ; and this served for those innumerable incidents where on^ 
of the dramatis fersonee is to overhear the others without being him- 
self seen, and also represented an infinity of objects according to the 
requirements of the piece, such as the wall of a castle or besieged city, 
tl e outside of a house, as when a dialogue is to take place between on? 
person at a window and another on the exterior. Thus in the admira- 
Lle garden-scene of Romeo and Juliet, Juliet probably spoke either 
from the summit of this wall or from a window established in it, whili: 
Romeo stood on the ground outside; in the same way the "men of 
Angiers ' spoke to the besieging English from the top of their wall, 
and the storming of Harfleur divided the iiction between Henry and his 
troops upon the stage and the defenders of the city upon the platform. 
In those accessories to scenic illusion which in the language of tlie 
English stage are called froferties, the old Elizabethan theatres were 
better pravided than could have been expected, as may be seen from 
very curious lists of such articles which have accidentally descended to 
us from the ancient greenrooms. In point of costume very little atten- 
tion was paid to chronological or national accuracy. The dramatii 
persona of all ages and countries were in general habited in the dress 
of the period; this was fortunately a graceful, rich, and picturesque 
costume ; and we may judge, from the innumerable philippics of divinef 
and moralists against the luxury of the actors, that a very considerable 
degree of splendor in theatrical dress was common. The employment 
of the contemporary costume in plays whose action was suppo.ed to 
take place in Greece, Rome, or Persia, naturally led into gross ai ich- 
ronisms and absurdities, arming the assassins of Ca;sar with Spanish 
rapiers, or furnishing Carthaginian senators with watches; but these 
anachi-onisms were not likely to strike in a very offensive manner the 
mixed and uncritical spectators of those times. It may indeed be said 
that the meagre material aids to the illusion of the scene which were 
then at the disposal of the dramatic author were in reality of the great- 
est service to the poetical and imaginative department of his art. Not 
being able to depend upon the scene-painter and the machinist, he was 
obliged to trust to his own resources, and to describe in words what 
could not be " ocnlis subjecta fidelibus." It is to this circumstance that 
we owe those inimitable pictures of natural and artificial objects iiii 
swnery with which the dramas of this age are so prodigally adorned. 
Ihoiigh the majority of the characters were clothed in the habit of the 
■J jy, there were certain conventional attributes always aesodated with 
pailicular svipernatural personages, such as angels, devils, ghosts, and 
K on. Thus " a roobe for.to goo invieibell" is one of the items in the 
Bsts of properties to which 1 have ailuded above ; and in all probability 
the spectral armor of the Ghost in Hamlet was to be found in the ward- 
rqbe of the ancient tlieatres. It appears that the dresses and propertiei 
belonged '3 persons who derived their Livelihood from hiring thes4 
uticles at a fixed price per night to the performers. 



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f™ fBE VAWN OF VIIE DRAMA. [Chap. VJ, 

The curtain, tl at essential appendage to every theatre, is supposed 
to have opened perpendiculariy in the middle, instead of being wound 
up and let down as at present ; and besides this principal curtain there 
seem to have been others occasionally drawn so as to divide the stage 
into several apartments, and withdrawn to exhibit one of the charac- 
ters as in a tent or closet. 

The cost of admission tc the theatres was small, and it was possible 
to secure the use of a private box or room ; for it was then considered 
hardly proper for a lady to, be present at the representations of the 
public theatres : it was certainly long before any of our sovereigns 
deigned to witness any of those performances. Whenever the monarch 
desired to see ft play the actors were summoned to court; and the 
sccounts of the chamberlain's ofiice furnish abundant entries of the 
recompenses ordered to be distributed on such occasions among the 
performers. Several of the companies of actors wei-e under the imme- 
diate patronage of the sovereign, of different members of the royal 
family and other great personages of the realm ; they were hound to 
"eiKrcise themselves industriously in the art and quality of stage- 
playing," in order to be always ready to furnish entertainment to their 
employer, and in return for these services they were protected against 
interlopers and rivals, and above all against the implacable hostility of 
the Puritanical municipality of London. It is perhaps to this clt^ 
cumstance that M'e may attribute the designation at Her Majesifs Ser- 
vants, which our modern companies of actors still retain in their play- 
bills ; and the old custom of the actors at the end of the piece falling 
upon their knees and putting up a solemn prayer to Heaven in favor 
of the sovereign is perhaps commemorated in the words Vivat Eegina, 
with which our modern playbills terminate. The usual hour of repre- 
sentation was anciently very early, in accordance with the habit of 
dining before midday, and the signal was given by the hoisting of a 
flag at the summit of the theatre, which remained floating during the 
whole performance. 

The piece commenced with three flourishes of a trumpet, and at the 
Ikird sounding, as it was called, the prologue was declaimed by a 
solemn personage whose regular costume was a longblack velvet cloak. 
At the end of the piece, or occasionally perhaps between the acts, the 
clown or jester performed what was called a jig, a species of entertain- 
ment in which our ancestors seem to have delighted, This was a kind 
of comic ballad or declamation in doggerel verse, either really or pro- 
fessedly an improvisation of the moment, introducing any person oi 
event which was exciting the ridicule of the day, and accompanied by 
li:; performer with tabor and pipe and with grotesque and farcical 
dancing. As the comic actors who performed the clowns and jesters, 
then indispensable personages in all pieces, tragic and comic, were 
allowed to introduce extemporary witticisms at their pleasure, they 
were probably a clever and inventive class ; and the enormous popular- 
ity of several of them, as Tarlton, Kempe, and Annin, seems to provs 
that their drollery must have been intensely amusing. 



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During the reprciiC t ton if a deep tragedy the wholi. stage wm 
sometimes l.ung with 1 lack a ery ■; ngulir custom to which innu 
merable allusions are made in our older p ece^ On ordinary occasions 
the stage was strewed w ih rushes as indeed we e lOom ^.enerally in 
those days; and on the=e ru'shes or on stools hrouitht lor the purpose 
if was customary for the hne gentlemen to s t amid the full business 
of the stage, displaying their splendid clothes smoking clay pipes 
which was then Ihe height of fashion exchanging repartees and often 
coarse abuse wiiU the audience before the curtain and cr ticising in a 
loud v(txe the acitirs and the piece. In England, as in Spain, the com 
ponies of players have been generally, from time immemorial, private 
and independent associations. The property and profits of the thEStri 
were divided into a number of shares, as in a joint-stock company; 
and the number ol ihese shareholders being limited, whatever addi- 
tional assistance the society required was obtained by engaging the 
twvices of hired mtn, who usually acted tlie inferior parts. Many 
hortfls stipulating the terms of such engagements arc in existence; and 
ont of the conditions usually was, that the actor so engaged should 
give his services at n llxed price, and should undertake to perform for 
no oUiei company during the time specified in his engagement. These 
men bail no right to <iny share in the profits of the society. That 
these profits were very tonsiderable and constant, and that the career 
of an attoi of eminencL was often a very lucrative one, is abundantly 
proved, not only by the frequent allusions to the pride, luxury, and 
magnificence in dress ol the successful performers, which are met with 
in the seimons, pamphlets, and satires of the day, but still mort 
decisively by the wills left by many of these actors, specifying the large 
fortunes they sometimes accumulated by the practice of their art Ex- 
amples of this will be found in the cases of Shakspeare, the great 
tragedian Burbage, and the well-known charitable institution due to 
the philanthropy and piety of Edward Alleyn. 

It must never be lost sight of, by any one who wishes to form a clear 
notion of the state of the elder English drama, that the female parte 
were invariably acted by boys or young men. No woman appeared on 
our stage till about the time of the Restoration, and then, singularly 
enough, the earliest part acted by a female was the Desdemona of our 
great dramatist. This innovation was at first considered as something 
shocking and monstrous; but the evident advantages and propriety of 
the change soon silenced all opposition. The novelty itself first origi- 
nated in Italy. We must not, however, imagine that because the parts 
of women were intrusted to male representatives they were necessarily 
ttl performed ; there are abundant proofs that some of the young actors 
who devoted themselves to this line of their art, attained by practice 
to a high degree both of elegance and pathos They were oftert sing- 
ing-boys of the royal chapel, ind as long is their falsetto voice re- 
mained pure, not " cracked i' the ring " as Hamlet says they were no 
unfit representatives of the gracef 1 ard beaut f 1 hero nes of Shak- 
Boeare, Ford, or Fletcher. The test nony of con temporaries provM 
I! 



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122 TBE t>AWN OF TliS DRAMA. [CHAt^.Vt 

that some of tliem, as for example the famous Kynaslon, so adniirablj 
seized all the details of the characters they personated, that the illusion 
was complete; and they were no unworthy rivals of the great iirtists of 
those days. It is true that this custom of the female parts being acted 
by boys may have in some degree exaggerated that t'enilency to douhh 
eaiendre and indecent equivoque which has unfortunately been but too 
universally tlie vice of the stage ; but even this objection will lose somti 
of itE weight when we reflect that the habitual appearance of wotneri 
(n the stage seems, so far from checking, absolutely to have aggravated 
Ihe frightful profligacy and immorality which defiled tlie society and 
Jhe literature of the country at the epoch of the Restoration, and which 
reached its highest intensity in compositions destined for the stage. 

§ 8, Perhaps the most remarkable peculiarity of the dramatic pro- 
fession at this period of our literary history was the frequent combina- 
tion, in one and the same person, of the qualities of player and 
dramatic author. I do not mean to insply, of course, that all the 
actors of this splendid epoch were dramatists ; but nearly all the dra- 
matic authors were actors by profession. This circumstance nmst have 
obviously exerted a mighty influence in modifying the dramatic produc- 
tions composed under such conditions — an influence not of course 
exclusively favorable, but which must have powerfully contributed to 
give to those productions that strong and individual character, that 
ga&t da terrair, which renders them so inimitable. It is evident that 
a dramatic writer, however great his genius, unacquainted practically 
with the mechanism of the stage, will frequently fail in giving to his 
work that directness and vivacity which is the essential element of 
popular success. Such a poet, writing in his closet under the influence 
not of scenic but of merely literary emotions, may produce admirable 
declamation, delicate anatomy of character, profound exhibition of 
human passion ; but the most valuable element of scenic success, viz., 
dramatic effect, may be entirely absent. This predous quality_may be 
possessed by a writer with not a tithe of the genius of the former, and 
for the absence of this quality no amount of abstract literary merit can 
compensate. A striking ex:iinplc of this maj- be found in the French 
theatre. All the admirable qualities of Racine and Corneille have nol 
been able to preserve their tragedies from comparative neglect as trage- 
dies, /'. e. in a theatrical point of view. As literary compositions they 
will always he studied and admired by every one who desires to make 
acquaintance with the higher qualities of the French language and 
poetry; but as tragedies, few persons can now witness their perform- 
ance without experiencing a sensation of weariness which they may 
af'empt to disguise, but which they certainly cannot escape. It has 
been the fashion to explain this by attriliuting it to changes in the 
manners and habits of society; but how happens it that the scenes of 
MolvSre alvsays retain their freshness and vivacity? The recson is, thai 
MoliJire, himself a skilful actor, as well as an unequalled painter of that 
range of comic character which he has delineated, gave to his pieces 
the element of iconic effect ; an element which will successfully reptac* 



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i. ft. tsSo.] ACfokS Am Airrmss. 



m 



the absence of much higher literary qualities, and which can be acquired 
onlj by the instinct of the stage. An immense majority of the dram_a 
lists of our Elizabethan Uieatre were actors, and this is why their writ- 
ings are so often defiled by very gross faults of coarseness, violence, 
buiTooncry, bombast, bad taste, and extravagance - such faults, in 
short, as were naturally to be expected from actor-authors wntmg in 
great haste, addressing themselves to a very miscellaneous fi-tjic. ■\ni 
Blinking not of future gloiy, but of immediate profit and surxess; buf 
at the same time it is the reason why their wriUngs, despite of all these, 
and even graver faute, invariably possess intense dramatic interest, and 
an effectiveness for the absence of which no purely literary merit can in 
any way compensate. But though professional actors, this brilliant con- 
stellation of writers, by a chance which has never been repeated in liter- 
ary history, consisted of n.en of liberal and often learned education. 
Generally young men of strong passions, frequently of gentle birth, they 
in many cases left the university for the theatre, where they hoped to 
obtain an easy subsistence at a time when both writing for the stage 
and acting were well recompensed by the public, and where the joyous 
and irregular mode of life possessed such charms for ardent passions 
and lax morality. Their career was, in too many cases, a miserable 
succession of revelry and distress, of gross debauchery and ignoble 
privation ; but the examples of many showed that prudence and indus- 
try would be rewarded in this career with the same certainty as in oth- 
ers, and the success of Burbage, Alleyn, and Shakspeare can be put 
forward as the contrast to the debauched lives and miserable deaths of 
Marlowe, Greene, and Nash. This very irregularity of life-, however, 
may have contributed to give to the works of this time that large spirit 
of observation, that universality of painting, which certainly distm- 
e-uished them. The career of these men, at least in its commencement 
and general outlines, was the same. They attached themselves, in the 
double quality of actors and poets, to one of the numerous companies 
then existing; and in many instances began their literary labors by 
rewriting and rearranging plays already exhibited to the public, and 
which a little alteration could often render more suitable to tlie peculiai 
resources of the company. Having by this comparatively humble 
work of making rechaufis acquired skill and facility, the dramatic 
aspirant would bring out an original work, either alone or in partner- 
ship with some brother playwright; and in this way he would be fairlj 
sUrted as a writer. It was of course very much to the interest of a 
company of actors to possess an exclusive right to the services of an 
able or popular dramatist; and his productions, while they remained 
n manuscript, continued to be the exclusive property of the company. 
Thus the troops of actors had the very strongest motive for lakicg 
every precaution that tiieir pieces should Kot be printed, publication 
Instantly annihilating their monopoly, and allowing rival companies to 
profit by their labors ; and this is the reason why comparatively so few 
af the dramas of this period, in spite of their unequalled merit and 
their great popularity, were committed to the press during the lives, M 



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124 TBE DA WN OF THB DRAMA. [Chap. VI, 

least, of tiieir autliors. It also explains the aingularlj' careless execu- 
tion of Euch copies as were printed, these having been given to tha 
public in many cases BurreptitiousJj', and In direct contravention to the 
wishes and interests of the autlior. It must be confessed that in the sii- 
teenth century in England theatrical ivritmg was considered the very 
loivest brand! of literature, if indeed it was regarded as literature al 
all. The profession of actor, though often profitable, and exercised by 
many individuals with dignity and respectability, was certainly nol 
looked upon hy society in a very favorable light. The vices and prof- 
ligacy (if many of its members seemed almost to justify the infamy 
itamped on the occupation by the old law, which classed players with 
"rogues and vagabonds." Placed in such a social atmosphere, and 
exposed to such powerful and opposing influences, the dramatic author 
of those times was likely to exhibit precisely the tendencies wliich we 
actually find characterizing his works, and recorded in his life. 

g 9. I will now give a rapid sketch of the principal English play- 
wrights anterior to Shakspeare. John Luxy (b. about 1554) composed 
several court plays and pageants, and is supposed to have enjoyed in 
some degree the favor of Elizabeth, for we know that he was at one 
time a petitioner for the reversion of the oiB.ce of Mt^ter of the Revels. 
His few plays were written upon classical, or rather mythological sub- 
jects, as the story of Endymion, Sappho and Phao-a, and Alenander 
and Camfaspe. He has a rich and fantastic imagination, and hie writ- 
ings exhibit genius and elegance, though strongly tinctured with a 
peculiar kind of affectation with which he infected the language of the 
Court, the aristocracy, and even to a considerable degree literature 
itself, till it fell under the ridicule of Shakspeare, like the parallel 
absurdity in France, the PMbus of the Hotel de Rambouillet, under 
the lash of the Pricieuses Ridicules and the Critique de I'Mci/le des 
Femmes, Lyly was the English Gongora; and his absurd though 
ingenious jargon, like the e&tilo culto in Spain, became the fashionable 
affectation of the day. It consisted in a kind of exaggerated vivacity 
of imagery and expression ; the remotest and most unexpected analo- 
gies were sought for, and crowded into every sentence. The reader 
may form some notion of this mode of writing (which was called Eu- 
phuism, from Lyly's once fashionable book cntitlrd Eupkues and kh 
England) by consulting the caricature of it which Scott has introduced 
in the character of the courtier Sir Piorcy Shafton in The Monastery. 
Va fact the Euphuism of Lyly was the somewhat exaggerated wit of 
ihe style- of Sydney, still further outre, Lyly was a man of consider- 
able classical acquirements, and had been educated at Oxford. His 
lyrics are extremely graceful and harmonious, and even as a playwright 
his merits are rather lyrical than dramatic. 

George Peele, like Lyly, had received a liberal education at Oxford. 
He was one of Shakspeare's fellow-actors and fellow-shareholders in 
tlie Blackfriars Theatre. He had also been employed by the City of 
London in composing and preparing those spectacles and shows which 
IbniKd so great a portion tk ancient civic festivity. His earliest work) 



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A. D. i58o.] EARLY DRAMATISTS. I2t 

The Arraigame>,t of Paris, was printed anonj-mouslj- in 1534. Hia 
most celebrated dramatic works were tlie Davta. and Betksabe, and 
Msolom, in wiiicli tliere are great richness and beauty of language, and 
occasional indications of a high order of pathetic and elevated emc' jn; 
but his versification, though sweet, has little variety; and the 'nuri- 
Dus and sensnous descriptions in which Peele ma-^t delighted are so 
numerous that they become rather tiresome in the end. Ii should (k 
remarked that this poet was the first to give an example oJ' that ptciii,*, 
kind of historical ^/ly in which Shakspeare was afterwards so conni^l. 
mate a master. His Edtaard I. ia, though monotonous, deLlnmato.-y 
and stiff, in some sense the forerunner of such works as Richard II,, 
Richard II/., or Henry V. 

Thomas Kyd, who lived about the same time, is principally notice- 
able' as having probably been the original author of that famous plaj 
upon which so many dramatists tried their hands in the innumerable 
recastings which it received, and which have caused it to be ascribed in 
BUCcesMon to almost the whole body of the elder Elizabethan dramatists 
Of thispiece, in spite of its occasional extravagance, even the greatest of 
these authors might have been proud. It is called Ilieronynto, tie S^iin- 
isk Tragedy. Its popularity was very great, and furnishes incessant 
allusions to the playwrights of the day. The subject is exceedingly 
gloomy, bloody, and dolorous ; but the pictures of grief, despair, re- 
venge, and madness, with which it abounds, not only testify high dra- 
matic power of conception, but must have been, as we know thej were, 
exceedingly favorable for displaying the powers of a great tragic actor. 

Thomas Nash and Robert Greene, both Cambridge men, both 
sharp, and, I fear, mercenary satirists, and both alike in the profligacy 
of their lives and the misery of their deaths, though they may have 
eked out their income by occasionally writing for the stage, were in 
reality rather pnsquinaders and pamphleteers than dramatists — con- 
dottieri of the press, shamelessly advertising the services of their ready 
and biting pen to any person or any cause that would pay them. Thej 
were both unquestionably men of rare powers ; Nash probably the bet. 
ter man and the abler writer of the two. Nash is famous for the bitte' 
controversy he maintained with the learned Gabriel Harvey, whom he 
has caricatured and attacked in numerous pamphlets, in a mannei' 
equally humorous and severe. He was concerned with other drama- 
tists in the production of a piece entitled Sammer'i Last Will anA 
Tbslament, and in a satirical comedy The Isle of Dogs whicti dreiii 
down upon him the anger of the Go ern nent for we know that hs 
1 as imprisoned for some time in con equence 

Greene was, like Nash, the a thor of a m it tude of tracts axi 
pamphlets on the most miscella eous- subjects Sometimes they were 
tales, often translated or expanded f o n tl e Ital a novel ts s me- 
times amusing exposures of tl e var ous a-ts of co y catc! g t e. 
cheating and swindling, practised at thitt me n London, and n wl ch. 
it !s to be feared, Greene was personally not unversed; fioirKtiinc* 
moral confessions, like Nash's Pierze Pennilessi his Su^^licatioit to fM 



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i26 THE DAWN OF THE DRAMA. [Chap, VI 

Devil- or Greene's Groals-woi-tk of Wit, purpoiting to be i, warning to 
others against the consequences of unbridled passions. Some o! thes6 
confessions are exceedingly pathetic, and would be more so could the 
reader divest himself of a lurking suspicion that the whole is often n 
mere trick to catch a penny. The popularity of these tracts, we know, 
v/as very great. The only dramatic woik we need specify of Greene's 
was Gaorge-a'Green. tlie legend of an old English popular heroi 
reiToiiiited with mucn occasional vivacity and humor. 

Thomas Lodge (.1550-1625?) is described by Mr. Collier as " secon. 
:ii Kyd in vigor and Domness of conception ; but as a drawer of char- 
ictei-, so essential a part 01 dramatic poetry, he unquestionably has tlie 
idviintage." Hia prmcipai work is a tragedy entitled The Hounds of 
Civil War, lively sec Jorth in the Two Tragedies of Maritis.and Sjlla 
(1594)' 1e aiso composed, in conjunction with Greene,^ Looking- 
Glassfor /.ondon ana England:, the object of which is a defence of the 
stage against the Puritanical party. (See also p. 86.) 

§ 10. But ny far the most powerful genius among the dramatic poets 
who immediately preceded Snakspeare was Christopher Marlowe 
(is63f-i593)- '-This man, if destiny had granted to him a longer life, 
which might have enabled him to correct the luxuriance of an ardent 
temperament and an unregulated imagination, might have left works 
ihat would have placed him very high among the foremost poets of bis 
iige. As it is, his remains strike us with as much regret as admiration 
— regret that such rare powers should have been bo irregularly culti- 
vated. Marlowe was born at Canterbury in 1563, and was educated 
at Cambridge. On leaving the University he joined a troop of actors, 
and is recorded to have broken his leg upon the stage. His mode of 
life was remarkable for vice and debauchery, even in a profession so 
little scrupulous; and he was strongly suspected by his contemporaries 
Df having been little better than an Atheist. His career was as short 
as it was disgraceful : he was stabbed in tbe head with bis own da^er, 
wliich he had drawn in a disreputable scuffle with a disreputable antag- 
onist, in a disreputable place ; and he died of this wound at the age of 
thirty. His works are not numerous, but they are strongly distinguished 
from those of preceding and contemporary dramatists by an air of 
astonishing power, eneigy, and elevation — an elevation, it ia true, 
which is sometimes exaggerated into bombast, and an energv which 
>ccaEionally degenerates into extravagance. His first work was tbe 
ti'agedy of Taiaiuriaine, and the rants of the declamation in this piece 
rurnished rich materials for satire and caricature; but in spite of this 
fcombast the piece contains many passages of great power and beai: y. 
Marlowe's best work is incontesfably the drama of Ftiastiis, fouuds'ii 
ipot! the very same popular legend which Goethe adopted as l.e 
groundwork of his tragedy; but the point of view taken by Mariowe 
IS far simpler than that of Goethe ; and tlie English poem contains na 
krace of the profound self-questioning of the German heio, of the 
Extraordinary cieation of Mephi'-topheli;':, nor anjMhmg likt the 
pathetic episode of Margaiet. The w'tch element, whtch reigns ^g 



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A. D. 1563-15930 



MARLOWE. 127 



wildly and picturesquely in the German poem, is here entirely absent 
But, on the other hand, there is certainly no passage in the tragiidy of 
Goethe in which terror, despair, and remorse are pointed with such a 
powerful hand, as the great closing scene of Marlowe's piece, when 
FaustUE, after the twenty-four years of sensual pleasure which weifl 
stipulated iQ his pact with the Evil One, is waiting for the inevitable 
arrival of the Fiend to claim his bargain. This ia truly dramatic, and 
is assuredly one of the most impressive scenes that ever were placed 
upon the stage. The tragedy of the yeia of Malta, though inferior (c 
Faustus, is characterized by similar merits and defects. The hero, 
Barabbas, is the type of the Jew as he appeared to the rude and bigoted 
imaginations of the fifteenth century— a monster ha'.f terrific, half 
ridiculous, impossibly rich, inconceivably bloodthirsty, cunning, and 
revengeful, the bugbear of an age of ignorance and persecution. 
Though the exploits of cruelty and retaliation upon his Christian 
oppressors make Barabbas a fantastic personage, the intense eitpres- 
sion of his rage, his triumph, and his despair, give occasion for many 
noble bursts of Marlowe's powerful declamation. The tragedy of 
Edward II., which was the last of this great poef s works, shows that 
in some departments of his art, and particularly in that of moving ter- 
ror and pity, he might, had he lived, have become no. insignificant 
rival of Shakspeare himself. The scene of the assassination of the 
unhappy king is worked up to a very lofty pitch of tragic pathoa, 
Charles Lamb observes that " the reluctant pangs of abdicating roy- 
alty in Edward furnished hints which Shakspeare scarce improved in 
his Richard II. ; and the death-scene of Marlowe's king moves pity 
and terror beyond any scene, ancient or modern, with which I am 
acquainted." Marlowe was the morning star that heralded the rising 
of the great dramatic Sun. 

8 11. I pass over the names of a number of comparatively insignifi- 
cant authors who appeared about this time, whose dramatic works have 
not yet been collected and printed. They in some ir.stances, according 
to the custom of that age, either composed plays in partnershipf or 
revised and altered plays written before, so that it is exceedingly diffi- 
cult to assign to each playwright his just share of merit. ^ There are, 
however, two or three pieces which have come down to us, either anony- 
mous, or at least attributed to so many different authors, that it is now 
impossible to father them with precision. Some of these pieces ore of 
great merit, and others are curious as being examples of the practice 
rfhich afterwards became general in our theatre, of dramatizing either 
episodes from the chronicle history of our own or other countries (of 
which class we may cite the old Hamfe?, ThePamoiis Victories, nad King 
yohn), or remarkable crimes — cassw ci!;^5res — which had attracted 
the public attention by their unusual atrocity or the romantic na'ure 
of their details Good examples of these a.vtArdettofFeverskam,e.aA 
The Torkshlre Tragedy, both founded on fact, both works of no mean 
merit, and both attributed, though without any probability, to the pen 
ef Shah"peare, 



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aSAKSPEARM. 



CHAPTER VII. 
SHAKSPEARE. A. D. 1564-1616. 

{ 1. Parentage and education of Shakspeare. J 2. His early life and manUga 
i 3, He comes to london, joins the Globe Thentre, and turns author. { 4. Com' 
pan? of the Globe Theatre. 4 5. Shakspeare's career at the Globe. His act 
ing. } 6. Continuation of his life. His success and prudence. Returns to 
Stratford. His death. ^ 7. Classifioation of his Dramas into History and 
Fiction. Sources of the Dramas. { 8. His treatrnent of the Historical Dra- 
mas. { 9. His treatment of the Dramas founded upon Fiction, j 10. Hil 
Vemis and Adams, Rape of Lucrece, and Sonnets. 

§ 1. William Shakspeare was bom on the 23d of April, 1564, in 
the small county town of Stratford-on-Avon, Warwickshire, and was 
baptized on the 36th of the same month. His father, John Shakspeare, 
respecting whose trade and position in life inuch controversy has beeo 
raised, was, in all probability, a felltnotiger and wool-dealer, to which 
commerce he appears to have added that of glover or manufacturer of 
the many articles of dress that were then made of leather. He unques- 
tionably belonged to the burgher or shopkeeper class ; but had married 
an heiress of ancient and even knightly descent, Isabella Arden or 
Arderne, the scion of a family which had figured in the courtly and 
warlike annals of preceding reigns ; and thus in the veins of the great 
poet of humanity ran blood derived from both the as-istocratic and 
popular portions of the community. Isabella Arderne had brought her 
husband in dowry a small freehold property; but this acquisition, 
though apparently advantageous, seems to have been ultimately the 
cause of misfortune to the family ; for John Shakspeare, who had ori- 
ginally been a thriving and prosperous tradesman, gradually descended, 
during the boyhood and youth of his illustrious son, to a condition of 
comparative indigence. This is to be attributed, as far as may be 
jessed, to his acquisition of land having tempted him to engage, with- 
out experience, in agricultural pursuits, which ended disastrously in his 
being obliged at different times to mortgage and sell not only his farm, 
but even one of the houses in Stratford of which he had been owner. 
He at last retained nothing but that sraall, but now venerable dwelling, 
consecrated to all future ages by being the spot where the greatest of 
[lOets first saw the light, and which will ever be carefully preserved as 
tlie shrine of England's greatest glory. That John Shakspeare had 
been originally in flourishing circumstances is amply proved by his 
having long been one of the Aldermen of Stratford, and having served 
the office of Bailiff or Mayor in 1568. His distresses appear t» have 
become severe in 1579, when he was excused by his brethren of the 
municipality from contributing a small snm at a lime of public calair^- 



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A. D. is64-i6i6.] SHAKSPEARE. !29 

'sty, an exemption grounded, probably, on hia poverty. He also, most 
likely from the same cause, was obliged to resign his post of Alder- 
man ; and seems at the end of his life to have been entirely dependent 
upon the aasistaiice of his son, when the latter, as he speedily •iiA, 
raised himself to a position of competence, and even of afBuencc 

These details will no. be regarded as trivial by any one who will 
reflect how closely connected they are with the important and much- 
agitated qiiestioD of the kind and degree of education enjoypd by Wil- 
liam Sbakspenre — a question of the very deepest import in Suing our 
fstimal« of his works and our appreciation of his genius. That he 
couid have derived even the most elementary instruction from his 
parents is impossible; for we Jtnow that neither John nor Isabella Shak- 
speare could write — an accomplishment, however, which, it should be 
remarked, was comparatively rare in Elizabeth's reign, in even a higher 
class of society than the one to which such persons belonged. E:it we 
are not to conclude from this, as is done by those who think to elevate 
the genius of the great poet by denying him all the advantages of 
regular instruction, that the poverty and ignorance of his parents 
necessarily deprived him of education. There existed at that time, and 
there exists at the present day, in the boroughof Stratford, one of thosa 
endowed " free grammar-schools " of which so many country towns in 
England offer examples, where the pious charity of past ages has pro- 
vided t r the gratuitous education of posterity. In these establishments 
provision is always made for the children of the burgesses of the town; 
and to the old grammar-school in Stratford, founded in the reign of 
Edward IV., it is quite certain that John Shakspeare had the right, as 
Alderman and Past Bailiff of the town, of sending his son without ex- 
pense. It is inconceivable that he should have neglected to avail him- 
self of so useful a privilege : and that William enjoyed at all events the 
advantage of such elementary instruction as was offered by the gran^ ■ 
mar-schools of those days, is rendered more than probable, not onlj' 
by the extensive though irregular reading of which his w.irks give 
evidence, but by one among the vague traditions which have descended 
to us. This legend relates that the poet had been " in his youth a 
schoolmaster in the country," a fact which cannot, of course, be strictly 
true, as we know at what an early age he left his native town to enter 
upon his career of actor and author in the Globe Theatre in London. 
It may, however, be the misrepresentation of fact, namely, that after 
passing through the lower classes of Stratford Gram mar-School he 
may have been employed, as a lad of his aptitude would not improba 
bly have been, in assisting tlie master in instructing the junior pu[.i]ls. 

§ 2. Among the various legends connected with the early life of so 
^reat a man, and which posterity, in the singular absence of more 
trustworthy details, swallows with greediness, tlie most celebrated and 
romantic is that which represents his youth as iri'egular and even 
profligalc, and in particular recounts his deer-stealing expedition, in 
ronipany with other riotous young fellows, to Sir Tliomaa Lucy's part 
>t Cluirl~)l£, near Stratford. The young poacher, who had " bioken 



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IfW SHAESFEABE. [Chap. VO. 

-he park, stolen the deei, and kissed the keeper's daughter," is said to 
have been seized, brought before the indignant Justice of the Peace, and 
treated with so much severity by Sir Thomas, that he revenged himself 
on the rural magnate hy affixing a doggerel pasquinade to tiie gates of 
Charlcote. The wrath of the magistrate is said to have blazed so high 
at this additional insolence that Shakspeare was obliged to withdraw 
himself from more serious persecution by escaping to London, Here, 
continues the legend, which is so circumstantial and picturesque that 
we cannot but regret its total want of proof and probability, the young 
poet arrived in such deep poverty, as to be for some time reduced to 
earn a livelihood by holding horses at the doors of the theatres, where 
"hia pleasant wit" attracting the notice of the actors, he ultimately 
obtained access " behind the scenes," and by degrees became a cele- 
brated actor and valuable dramatic author. Eager as we are for every 
scrap of personal information which can help to realize so great a man 
as Shakspeare, we are naturally reluctant to renounce our belief in so 
striking a story; but, though the deer-stealing story may very possibly 
be not altogether devoid of foundation, the romantic incidents connect- 
ed with his leaving Stratford and embracing the theatrical career, are 
to be explained in a different and much less improbable manner. It is 
quite certain that he left his native town in 1586, at the age of twenty-two ; 
and it Is quite possible that the distressed situation in which his parents 
-hen were, and, what is no less likely, the iroprudence and irregularitj 
ef his own youthful conduct, may have contributed to render a longei 
stay in Stratford disagreeable, if not impossible. One event, which had 
occurred about four years before, most probably contributed more 
poweriuliy to send him forth " to seek his fortune," than the ire of Sir 
Thomas Lucy, or the perhaps not very enviable reputation which his 
boyish escapades had probably acquired among the steady burgesses 
of the little town, who probably shook their heads at the young scape- 
grace, prophesying that he would never come to any good. This event 
was his marriage, contracted when he was only eighteen, in 1583, with 
Anne Hathaway, the daughter of a small farmer, littieabovethc rank of a 
laboring man, who resided at the hamlet of Shottery, about two miles 
from Stratford. Anne Hathaway was seven years and a half older than 
her boy-husband ; and the marriage appears to have been, pressed on 
with eager haste, probably by the relatives of the bride, whomay have 
forced young Shakspeare to heal a breach which he had made in Ihe 
young woman's reputation. There is still in existence the undertaking, 
legally signed by the parties, giving Shakspeare, then a minor, the 
power of contracting marriage. The whole of this important episode 
in th< poet's life bears strong trace of a not over reputable family mys- 
tery 'Ihe fruit of this union was first a daughter Susanna, the poefs 
favorite child, born in 1583, and in the following year twins, Judith and 
Hamnet. The latter, the poet's only son, died at twelve years of age; his 
two daughters survivedbim. After these he had no more children; and 
there are several facts which seem to point, significantly though ob- 
kdkIjt, to the .conclusion that the married lile of the poet ««« not 



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A. D. 1564-1616.] SEAESFEARE. 131 

markciJ by that love and confidence which is the usual resulfof well- 
fonsidered and -wel!- as sorted unions. Thus, though Shakspeare passed 
the most active portion of his life, fixim is36 to 1611, almost constant!^ 
ir. London, there is evidence to show that his wife, during the wliole oi 
Uiat long period, never resided with her husband, but with his parents 
in Stratford; and therefore could only have seen him on the occasions, 
1 robEbij pretty frequent, of h's flying visib lo his native place. In lh« 
great poet's Will, too, which invaluable document gives us to mioj 
details concerning his private life, Mrs. Shakspeare appears to be 
treated in a manner very different from that which a beloved tnd re- 
spected wife might have expected from so generous and gentle a charac- 
ter as William Shakspeare's unquestionably was. To his wife the 
poet leaves only " his second-best bed, with the hangings," a very 
Blighting and inconsiderable legacy when we reilect that he died com- 
(iflratjvely rich.* 

Concerning the boyhood and youth of the great painter of nature 
mid of man we know little or nothing. J* =fl more than probable that 
Uis education was neglected, his passions strong, and his conduct far 
ftom regular: yet we may in some sort rejoice at the destiny which 
allowed him to draw his earliest impressions of nature from the calm 
iind graceful scenery of Warwickshire, and placed him in a situation to 
utudy the passions and characters of men among the unsophisticated 
inhabitants of asraali provincial town. Perhaps, too, the very imper- 
fection of his intellectual training was an advantage to his genius, in 
nllowing his gigantic powers to develop themselves, untrammelled by 
the bonds of regular education. It is not improbable that atone period 
of his youth he had been placed in tbe office of some country practitioner 
of the law: in all his works he shows anextraordinary knowledge of the 
technical language of that profession, and frequently draws his illustra- 
tions from its vocabulary. Besides, such terms as he employs he 
almost always employs correctly; which would hardly be possible but 
to one who had been professionally versed in them : add to which in 
one of the few ill-natured and satirical allusions made to Shakspeare by 
his contemporary rivals, there is a distinct indication of the pock's hav- 
ing in his youth exerdsed " the trade of Noverint," that is, the occupa 
tion of a lawyer's clerk, this word being the usual commencement ot 
writs — " noverint universi." 

§ 3. At the age of twenty-two, therefore, Shakspearc.now the father o, 
three children, in all probability not enjoying in his native place a verj 
enviable reputation, without means of support, his father having at thii 
I'me descended to a very low ebb of worldly fortunes, for we know th*I 
St this period, 1586, he was obliged to retire altogether fiom the 
municipal council, determined upon the great step of leaving Stratford 
■Itogether, and embarking on the wide ocean of London theatrical life. 
The^storyofhifi being reduced to hold horses at the doors of theatres is 

• On the other hand, it should tie recollected that, as Shatapeare'i propert] 
iTM chisfly freehold, hi« wife was entitled lo dower. 



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i^'^ SffAKSFEASE. 



[Chap. VII 



too absurd to deserve a moment's consideration. In Uie first place it is 
establislied by a thousand passages and allusions in the dramatic coin- 
positioiiB of that day, that the audiences universally visited the theatres 
either on foot or In boats, for which facility these establishments were 
built upon the banks of the Thames, then a much more nonvenieal 
highway tlian the narrow and tortuous streets of London of the six. 
teenth century. Consequently there could be no horses to hold. 
Secondly, it is not conceivable that a young man endowed with such 
,talents as Shakspeare, talents of which he had most certainly given 
evidence in his early poems, many of tliera probably written before this 
time, should have found the least difficulty in entering a profession so 
easy of access as the theatre then was. The companies of actors were 
always glad to enlist among tliem such men of ready genius as could 
render themselves useful as performers and dramatists; and this com 
bined occupation Shakspeare, like Ben Jonaon, Marlowe, and many 
others of his contemporaries, fulfilled with an aptitude of which the 
proofs are evident. Besides, theatrical performances had befi.re this 
time been popular in Warwickshire. Various companies had visited 
Stratford in the.V summer peregrinations, and had performed for the 
amusement of tiie corporation. The greatest tragic actor of that day 
Richard Burbage, was a Warwickshire man, and Thomas Greene, a 
distinguished member of the troop of the Globe, then the first theatre 
in London, was a native of Stratford, and is by many supposed to have 
been even a relation of Shakspeare. Nothing, therefore, is more prob- 
able than that the young adventurer, whose talents could not have been 
unknown, received an invitation to throw in his lot with the company 
of the Globe. It is certain that he joined that undertaking ; for we find 
him m 1589, that is, only three years after his arrival in London, en- 
rolled among the shareholders of the above thcat.-e, his name being the 
eleventh in a list of fifteen. It will be remembered, as I have indicated in 
a preceding chapter, that the number of shareholders in the Elizabethan 
theatrical companies was generally small, and that the profits of the 
representation were divided among them; the additional actois neces- 
sary fqr the performance being " hired men," receiving a fi-^ed salary, 
and havmg no claim upon the general profits of the undertaking Like 
other young men of that time, he rendered himself useful to h:B com- 
pany in the double capacity ofacior a«a arranger of pieces .■ and ther« 
IS no reason to suppose that his professional career differed from that 
of Marlawe, Jonson, Fletcher, Ford, and others, in any respect save in 
I ;e industry and success with which he pursued his double calling, and 
ihf prudence with which he accumulated the pecuniary results of that 
uctivity. He began, in all probability, by adapting old plays to the 
EiLigenci3s of his theatre, and while engaged in this h:,mble employmeni 
acquired that consummate knowledge of stage eflect which distinguished 
limi, and which first struck out tf.c spark of that inimitable di-.imatic 
genius which placef him above a!l other poets in the world. His con- 
nection with the theatre continued from 1586 to his retirement in 1611 
(1 period of twenty-Jive years, embracing tl-e splen.or of his youth ant' 



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K. D. 1564-1616.] SUAKSPEARB. 139 

the vigor of his manlijod. It is between these dates that were produced 
the thirty-seven drawae which compose his best-known works. 

It would evidently be no less curious than useful could we establish, 
witli some degree of accuracy, the dates and sequence of these thirty, 
seven plays : such an investigation would furnish us with inestimable 
materials for tracing the intellectual and artistic development of the 
greatest of all dramatists; but though many such attempts have been 
mndp, some of them with extraordinary acuteness and erudition, none 
*f thsm have resulted even in an approach to a satisfactory chronology 
of Shakspeare's dramatic history. The notices of the first performance 
of some of these wonderful works, the minute CKamination of possible 
historical allusions contained in them, the order of their sequence in 
the first complete edition of the plays, which was not given to the 
world till 1623, that is, seven years after the poet's death, all these 
apparently promising materials for establishing a sound theory of their 
order of composition, will be found on trial not to be relied on. Inter- 
nal evidence founded upon shades of style and a higher or lower degree 
of artistic perfection in treatment, is a test of a still more tempting but 
even more visionary nature; and from the employment of all these 
methods combined (.e may indeed sometimes class the plays of Shak- 
speare into certain great but not very accurately marked periods, but 
we can never hope to attain anything like an exact chronological order. 
This is of course to be deeply regretted, but cannot be an object of sur- 
prise; for during the whole of his literary career our great dramatic 
master-workman, in all likelihood, continued to adapt and arrange old 
plays as well as to compose original pieces; and working foi- bread, and 
probably with great rapidity, he was not scrupulous as to liow far the 
inferior composition of an earlier and ruder poet passed for his own 
production. This consideration will also explain the extraordinary 
diiference in point of merit, literai-y as well as theatrical, which even 
the least critical reader may discern in his performances, some of them, 
as Ot&ello for example, being specimens of the most consummate per- 
fection both in style and construction, while others, as Tilas Androni- 
ens, Pericles, and parts oi Henry VI., are not only markedly inferior to 
his other compositions, but are unworthy of a dramatist even of the 
humblest pretensions. 

§4. The Company of the Globe Theatre, to which Shakspeare 
remained attached as an actor and shareholder during the whole of hi« 
London career, was, as I have said, the richest and most prosperous 
of the numerous troops that then furnished amusement to the capitaL 
Their principal place of representation was the playhouse which gave 
them their name, so called from its sign bearing the effigy of Atlat 
supporting the globe, with the motto "TotusMundus agit His trio nem,' 
and was situated on the Bankside in Soutbwark near the Surrey et 
tremity of London Bridge. Most of the theatres of that day were 
placed on the river's bank in the southern suburb of the capital, paitly, 
no doubt, for Uie convenience of access by water, but mainly to placH 
IbCmout of the Jurisdiction of the Corporation of l^ndon, which, bang 



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13* SHAKSFEASB. [Chap VU. 

tt H'.at linte deeply infected with Puritan doctrines, used iill its effort! 
to discountenance and crusli the players. The enmity between the 
■■'witty vagabo:iJs" of the theatre and the fanatLc Alderraen was 
envenomed by incessant jokes and pasquinades on the part of the for- 
mer, and by constant persecution from the latter : and on the ultimate 
triumph of the Puritans at the outbreak of the Civil War, the vindic- 
tive bigotry of the city succeeded in completely annihilating the theatre. 
The Globe company was undoubtedly the most respectable as well as 
the most prosperous of tiie then theatres, and partly by prudently 
•voiding to give offence by political allusions, and partly by securing 
liowerful protection at Court, as for instance that of Lord Keeper 
Kgerton and the accomplished Earl of Southampton, the liberal patron 
and personal friend of Shakspeare himself, this society obtained the 
uiiusual permission of opening, as a theatre, a private house altered 
foi the purpose, in the forbidden precincts of London itself. This was 
the Blackfriars playhouse', situated nearly on the exact spot now occ, 
pied by the printing-house of the Times newspaper. This edifice, 
mud] smaller than the Globe, was entirely roofed over, and the com- 
pany were in the habit of performing here in the winter, whereas dur 
ing the summer their representations were given on the Bankside, th' 
inclemency of the weather being then less inconvenient. 

§ 5. Guided by the faint and feeble lights of tradition and occasional 
obscure allusions in the writings of the day, we may trace Shakspeare's 
professional and literary career from his joining the Globe company in 
1589 till his retirement from active life in i6ii. That career appears to 
have been a highly successful one. During the first years he probably 
rendered himself useful to his theatre as an actor; and here arises the 
question of the degree of talent he displayed in this brancb of his pro- 
fession; some maintaining him to have been a tragic and comic per- 
former of the first class, while others accord him only a very moderate 
amount of talent. That he was better acquainted than perhaps any 
man has ever been with the theoretic principles of the actor's art is 
unquestionable from many passages in his writings; it will suffice v, 
allude to the inimitable "directions to the players" put into the moutli 
of Hamlet, which, in incredibly few words, contain the whole system 
of the art. But in all probability the truth, as far as regards his own 
personal proficiency as a performer, lies between the two extremes. 
From some clear and other obscure indications, we may guess at cer- 
tain I'arts which he ;i_ted in his own dramas as in those of other poets. 
Thus we have good authority for supposing that he acted the Ghost in 
hi% Ung^iy o( Hamlel ; the secondary, but graceful and touching char- 
acter of Adam, the faitliful old servant, in his As To-u Like It ; uie 
paEsionate and deeply pathetic impersonation of grief and despair 
.n Kyd's popular tragedy of ^i'ej-OByBJO; and the sensible citizen. Old 
Kiiowell, in Ben Jonson's Eveiy Man In His Humor. Such parts, it ia 
evident, would never have been intrusted, in a company so rich in 
talent as was that of the Globe, to an incompetent actor : at the samo 
time they alt belong to a particular and perhaps secondary type, from 



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A. D. 1564-1616.] SHAKSPEARE. 13S 

which we may conclude that Slnk-ipeare a line or emploi, as it is now 
tailed in the technical jirgon of the Engh';!' and French stages, wai 
that of the old men— the pins nobles It is probable, however, thai 
he soon abandoned the practice of appearing e\cept perhaps occa- 
sionallj, on the stage and found that his services as an adapter and 
arranger of plajs, and then as an original author, were more valuable 
to his (Toop than his exertions as an actor. Burbage, we know, wm 
ihe origmal and most popular performer of his comrade's great tragic 
creations, Richard III., Hamlet, Othello, and the lilie. 

§ 6. Shakspeare's first original poems were not dramatics he must 
bu regarded as the creator of a peculiar species of narrative composi- 
lion which was destined to achieve an immediate and immense popu- 
larity. Vetoes and Adonis, which, in his dedication to Lord Southamp- 
ton, he rails " the first heir of hie invention," was published in 1593, 
It is highly probable that this poem^exhibiting all the luxuriant 
sweetness, the voluptuous tenderness, of a youthful genius —was con- 
ceived, if not composed, at Stratford. The Rape of Lmtece, a some- 
what similar but inferior work, written, like its companion, in a species 
of Italian ctanza, enjoyed a great but inferior popularity. The former 
of these works was reissued in five several editions between the years 
1593 and 1602 ; while the Lucrece, during nearly the same lapse of 
time, appeared in three. The first years of Shakspeare's theatrical life 
were probably devoted to mere arrangement and adaptation of old 
plays ; and the traces of his pen might perhaps be found in an immense 
number of works of earlier dramatists — Kyd, Marlowe, Lyiy, &c. 
Even among his published and collected works, several — as Pericles, 
Titus Androuicus, Henry VI., perhaps much oi Henry V/II.-~&ttta 
to be examples of this ; and though difficult, it would not be impossi- 
ble to track his gerfius here and there through the rude and undigested 
chaos of the older plaj'wright, vivifying some stroke of passion or 
character, or interspersing one of those inimitable touches of descrip- 
tion and refiection which glow and sparkle like gems amid the rubbish 
of the original piece. At what period he began to be fully conscious 
of his own vast powers, and abandoned sucli adaptation for original dra- 
matic composition, it is qiLite impossible to ascertain ; for son.e of those 
mmortai works which bear the strongest and deepest impress of hU 
wondrous genius were undoubtedly based upon former productions bj 
former hands, and had undergone repeated i-ecastings and alteration* 
by himself and others. As examples of this I may mention Hamlel 
Henry V., and King John. Shakspeare must have speedily risen tt 
BO much importance in the Globe company as sufficed to call dovrt 
upon h™ the attacks of envious or disappointed rivals ; for the learned 
an J witty but disreputable Nash makes bitter allusions unjnistakablj 
pointing at Shakspeare'a name and alleged want of learning, as weli 
as at his activity in " bolstering out a blank verse," and producing 
"whole Hamlets, or handluls, of tragical speeches." He is " Johanne* 
Factotum," and on the strength of a few blustering tommonplacea 
■ancles himself 'the only Shakescene [Shakspe&r-»1 in a country." 



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136 



SEAESPEARE. [Ch ip. VII 



That he gradually and steadily rose in importance among his " fellows ' 
is proved by his name, which in 1589 was eleventh in a list of fifteen 
shareholders, being found seven years afterwards fifth in 11 list of eighty 
and again in iJie license renewed to the company on the accession of 
James I., Shakspeare stands secoi.d. In the scurrilous pamphlet enti- 
tled Greene's Groatsworth of Wit, published by Chettle after the death 
of that unhappy but clever profligate, there was a libellous attack upoc 
Shakspeare, evidently dictated by the envy of a disappointed rival ; bul 
for this unfounded calumny Chettle was speedily obliged to apologiza 
in the fullest manner, and in terms which bear high testimony not only 
to the great poet's genius as a writer, but to his respectability as a man, 
nnd to his amiable, gentle, and generous disposition — a quality which 
all contemporary notices conspire in attributing to our bard. 

But it is not only from the effusions of spite and literary jealousy 
that we can gain some feeble insight into Shakspeare's personal hia- 
lory. It is quite certain that the accomplished Pembroke and the 
generous Southampton were his admirers and patrons. The former, 
indeed, is related to have made the poet a present of lOOoA — an im- 
mense sum, if we take into consideration the far higher value of monej 
in those days ; but though this princely gift was in aU probability not a 
personal gratuity to Shakspeai-e, but rather a generous contribution to 
the support of the drama as represented by Shakspeare's company, ana 
designed to assist them in building a new theatre, the action, neverthe- 
less, shows the high respect whicH the poet had inspired. That Shak- 
speare, in his business relations with the theatre and the public, exhibited 
great good sense, prudence, and knowledge of the world, seems proved 
by the skill with which the actors of the Globe managed to steer clear 
of the various dangers arising from the puritanic opposition of the 
London Corporation, and the still more serious perils incurred by 
offending, in political or satirical allusions, the susceptibility of thr 
Court and the Censorship, then so severe that almost ail the other com- 
panies of players suffered more or less for their imprudences, some in 
the forcible closing of their theatres, some in tlie imprisonment of their 
authors and performers. That the singular good fortune of the Globe 
company in this respect was in no small degree attributable to Shak- 
speare's prudence, or to the powerful patronage he had secured among 
the great, is rendered probable by the fact that no sooner had hi- retired 
fiom an active interference in the concerns of the theati-e than repeated 
causes of complaint arose from the petulance of his comrades, and were 
pimished with considerable severity. Shakspeare's worldly prosper! Ij 
seems to have gone on steadily increasing, and he appears to havecareful- 
ly invested his gains ; for in 1597, when he was aged thirty-three, he pur- 
chased tlie landed estate of New Place in Stratford, and either built en- 
tirely or partially rccanstructed a house long considered the most con- 
siderable in the town, and to which he determined to retire as soon as th« 
state of his fortune would permit, to pass the evening of his life far from 
(he turmoils of the stage, in the competency he had so wisely earne ', 
Dmnng the whole of his Loi don life he no doubt made frequent visu. 



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A.D,isfi4-'6i6] SHAKSPEARE. 137 

to hiB native place, keepingup s lively interest in the public and private 
affairs of his townsmen. He was able to afford a tranquil nsylum to his 
parents, who appear to have closed their Uvea under the protection of 
his roof. The death of his onij eon, Hamnet, in 1596, when the boy wai 
in his twelfth year, must have been a severe shock to so loving a heart; 
but in genera! his life seems to have beenoneof continued prosperity. In 
1602 he purchased one hundred and seven acres of land, and most prob- 
ably engaged in Er^-mlng speculations, with the assistance of his brother 
GilbirL Two y«ars after this we get a curious insight into his private 
ife, by finding him the plaintiff in an aclion for the delivery of a cer- 
ain ijuantity of malt, in which alfair the justice of the case seems to 
have been entirely on his side. About the same time he purchased a 
share in the tithes of Stratford, as a means of securing a safe revenue ; 
and there is extant an interesting note in which some of his 1 
employed him, as a man resident in London and well versed in 
to obtain a favorable hearing from the legal authorities in a matter con- 
cerning the enclosure of some lands near Stratford. In 1607 (the poel 
now aged forly-three) his favorite daughter Susanna married Dr. Hall, 
and in the following year she brought into the world a granddaughter 
to the dramatist. Both at the marriage and at the christening it is highly 
prcftiable that Shakspearc visited Stratford. He certainly was godfather, 
at the latter period, to William Walker, the child of one of his friends 
and fullow-townsmen. In 161 1, the poet, having disposed of most of 
his interest in the Globe, finally retired to New Place, where he livet 
with his daughter Mrs. Hall and her husband, who enjoyed a consider- 
able proTinciai reputation for medical skill, and who most probabl; 
treated his illustrious father-in-law in his last illness. Shakspeare di» 
not long enjoy the retirement which he had labored for so long. Hi 
died, after a short illness, on the 33d April, the anniversary of hit 
birthday, in 1616, having exactly completed his fifty-second year. A 
short time before his death his second daughter, Judith, was married to 
Thomas Quiney; but her career in life appears to have been altogether 
humbler than her sister's. Respecting the details of Shakspeare's last 
illness and decease we have no information. Dr. Hail indeed has left 
us a curious record of some of the most remarkable cases occurring in 
his practice, but unluckily his notes exhibit a void for the years befon. 
and after this precise period. There exists indeed a traditii>n that the 
grfp.t poet had been suffering from fever, when, desiring to entertain 
iritli his usual hospitality Ben Jonson and Drayton, who had come 
fown from London to visit him, he imprudently arose from his bed, 
srd brought 00 a relapse by sharing too freely in conviviality. He was 
tiiried in the parish church of Stratford, !he registers of which furnish 
the greater part of the meagre though trustworthy information we 
possess concerning the family vicissitudes of the Shakspeares. Over 
his grave is erected a mural monument in the Italianized taste of that 
day, which is chiefly remarkal le as containing a bust of the poet — an 
authentic though not very well cKeciiled portrait. Indeed the like- 
passes of Shakspeare, whether sculptured, painted, or engraved, ar* 



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138 SSAKSPEARE. [Chai-. VII 

neither Vci/ numerous nor altogether to be rtlied on. The bust jusl 
mentioned, and thecoaise engraving bj'Droeshout, prefixed to the firs) 
folio edition ol'hia works in 1623, appear to have the best claims to ouf 
confidence. The latter, in particular, is vouched for as a failhful e- 
semblance in the eulogistic verses placed under it by Ben Jonson, ™ho 
knew intimately his great contemporary, and was not a man to as art 
what he did not think, 

The tomb and the biithplace of Shakspeare will ever be sacred spot* 
— shrines of loving pilgrimage for all the nations of the earth. The 
house of New Place has long been destroyed, but the garden in which 
it Ktood, as well as the house where the poet was bom, will be preserved 
to the latest ages by the piety of his countrymen and the veneration of 
the civilized world. A short time before his death Shakspeare made 
his will j and thus we have, singularly enough, a very exact accouct of 
the nature and extent of his property at tlie time of his decease. In the 
mode of its disposal we see evident traces of that kind and affectionate 
disposition which every proof seems to establish as having characterized 
him — a careful remembrance of his old comrades and " fellows," to 
Bach of whom he leaves some token of regard, generally a ring. This 
document is unspeakably precious to us on another ground, viz. from 
its containing his signature twice repeated. These and one or two 
more autographs, consisting likewise of nothing more than the signa- 
ture, are literally the only specimens that have been preserved of the 
writing of that immortal hand. 

§ 7. It is with the most unfeigned diffidence — diffidence arising from 
a veneration which no words can express — that I approach the difficult 
but delightful task of examining the writings of Shakspeare. From 
the number, no less than the excellence, of the dramatic portion of 
these works, it will be absolutely necessary to employ some method 
of classifying them into groups. This would possess the advantage 
of conciseness in the treatment, as well as of assisting the memory of 
the student. The most valuable principle of classification would be one 
based upon the chronological order of production, because such a 
method would give us a chart of the intellectual and artistic develop- 
ment of Shakspeare's mind, enabling us to trace the course of that ma- 
estic river from its first sparkling but inegular sources to the full flow 
cif its calm and mighty current : but this mode, as has already been 
pointed out, though it has exercised the ingenuity and research of many 
laborious and acute investigators, has furnished no results which car 
be depended upon — a fact evidenced by the extreme discrepancy 
anmng the various systems of chronological arrangement which havi 
Hitherto been given to the world. Upon the order of the pieces as giv« 1 
iiith' first folio edition, published in 1623 by Hemings and Ccndell, 
Shakspeare's friends and " fellows," it is evident no reliance can bf 
placed. Independently of the many contradictions and impossibiiitiei 
involved in the adoption of their order as the true order of compc'tion 
-- impossibilities which arc obvious on a superficial examination — tlie 
extreme negliifence of the p:in*ing of that editicn, in evincing a loU) 



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A. D. 1564-1616.] SHAKSPEARE. 189 

abse:.ce of care in the editing and correction of the p. ess, leads us 
inevitably to the conclusion that, in spite of the assurances of the editor- 
as to its having been based upon the "papers" of fheir immortal col- 
league, tlie publicatiop niust be regarded as little better than a hastj 
speculation, carelessly entered into for tiie purpose of snatching a 
momentary and liot very honorable profit, without much regard to the 
literary reputati<>n of the great poet. 

Another mode of classifying Shakspeare's dramas is founded on Ida 
principle of ranging them respectively under the heads of Tragedies. 
Comedies, and Histories or Historical Plays, without attempting td 
enter into the question of the order of their production; and this 
system has at all events the advantage of clearness, as well as that of 
dividing them into manageable groups, easily retained in the memory. 
This is the principle upon which are based most of the editions of the 
dramas. But this method is in some measure open to objection, 
rhough some of the pieces (such as Oikello, Lear, Hamlet) are dis- 
Unctly tragedies, in the ordinary sense of that word, — a sense common 
to the critical nomenclature both of the Classical and Romantic types of 
the drama, — and though others (as As Tou Liie It, the Merry Wives 
of Windsor, the Taming of the Skretv, or Ttvelfth Night) are as 
evidently comedies, there exists a considerable number of the plays 
which, from their tone and incidents, might be ranged equally under 
both heads. Nay, in all the pieces of Shakspeare we find such a miic 
hire of the tragic and comic elements as would withdraw them equally 
from the strongly marked boundaries appropriated, as in the French 
theatre for instance, respectively to Tragedy and Comedy; and where 
Thalia and Melpomene are never permitted to intrude upon each other's 
domains. Indeed, as has been said some pages back, it is precisely 
this mixture of tragedy and comedy in the same piece, the same char- 
acter, the same scene, and in even the same phrase, which constitutes 
the peculiar distinguishing trait of the noble romantic drama of Eng- 
land in the Shakspearian Age ; and not only its distinguishing trait, 
but also, in the opinion of the English reader, as well as of the mosi 
profound art-critics of Germany, its peculiar excellence and title of 
superiority, as a picture of life and nature, over the national drama of 
Every other country. 

There remains a third mode of classification, which we may adopt as 
not devoid either of convenience or of philosophic truth; and this is 
based upon the sources from which Shakspeare drew the materials for 
his dramatic creations. If we follow the classification according to the 
three heads we have just been alluding to, we shall find that the thirtj-- 
seven plays composing the collection will range themselves as follows ; 
eleven tragedies, two tragi-comedies, ten historical plays, and fourteen 
comedies. But the classification according to sources will give some- 
what different results. The sources in question will naturally divide 
themselves first into the two great genera — History and Fiction, Wakv- 
teit und Dicktang; while the former of these two genera will naturally 
lubdivide into different clssses or degree? of histaric»l autbentici^i 



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wo SHAKSPEARB. LCiuf. VII 

ranging from vague and half-poetical legend to the comparatively finr 
ground of recent historical events. Again, the legendary categorj 
may be referred to the different countries from whose chronicles ths 
events were borrowed ; thus Hamlet is taken from the Danish chroni- 
cler Saxo-Grammaticu6 ; Macbeth, Lear, and Cymheline refer respec- 
tively to the legends, more or less fabulous, of Scottish and British 
history; while Coriolanus, Julias Ctssar, and Antony and Cleopatra 
are derived from the annals of ancient Rome. Many of the historical 
dramas of Shakspeare are intended to depict the events of the more 
recent and consequently more reliable details of the history of his owr 
country; and these, beginning with ffi'«^ ^oin and terminating with 
Henry VIII., embrace materials possessing various shades of authen- 
ticity, from what may be called the aemi-legendary to a degree of pre- 
cision as great as could be expected in the then state of historical 
literature. For these pieces Shakspeare mainly drew his materials 
from the old annalist Hollinshed ; and both in their form and peculiar 
excellences this class of dramas, though not perhaps invented by 
Shakspeare, was certainly carried by him to a wonderful degree of 
perfection. These pieces are not tragedies or comedies in the stricl 
sense of the word, but they are grand panoramas of national glory ot 
national distress, embracing often a very considerable space of time. 
even a whole reign, and retracing — with apparent irregularity in their 
plan, but with aa astonishing unity of general feeling and sentiment- 
great epochs in the life of the nation. Examples of such will be found 
in Richard II., Richard III., the two unequalled dramas on the reign 
of Henry IV., and the glorious chant of patriotic triumph embodied in 
Heury V., in which Shakspeare has completed the ij^s of the Hero- 
King. To such pieces is applied the particular designation of Histo- 
ries; and of such histories Shakspeare, tliough not the inventor, was 
certainly the rnost prolific author. 

The second general category, that of pieces derived from Action, need 
not detain us long. The materials for this — the largest — class of his 
dramas, Shakspeare derived from the Italian novelists and their imita- 
tors, who supplied the chief element of light literature in the sixteenth 
century. The most brilliant type of this species of writer was Boc- 
caccio, whose No-nelle, translated and copied into all the tongues of 
Europe, furnished a mass of excellent materials, from Chaucer down to 
Lafontaine. These short tales, which so long formed the predominant 
type of the literature of amusement in many countries, were in many 
instances derived from a still more ancient source — ih^ fahliaun biiJ 
piquant stories with which the narrative poets, the moralists, and theo 
logians of the middle ages enlivened their compositions; but in uie 
form which they ultimately attained in Boccaccio and liIs innumerable 
imitators they were most singularly adapted to furnish an appropriate 
canvas or groundwork upon which Shakspeare was to construct his 
humorous or pathetic actions. In the fitsi place, these tales were, fi*om 
the nature of the case, exceedingly short ; they depended for their pop. 
nlarity rather upon wnusing and surprising incidentt than upon ani 



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A.t>. 1564-1(516.3 SffAKSPSA&R 14i 

licvclopuicnt of cli;ii ictef, which would have been impracticable within 
the narrow limits of a few pages. In dramatizing buch stories, there- 
fore, the I liaywright enjoyed full liberty for the exercise of his peculiai 
talent of I'ortraying human character, while at the same time he had 
ready pre|>.'ired to his hand a series of striking events which he could 
ciim]ires3 or expand as best suited his purpose; he was left free just 
where freedom was most essential to his particular form of art, and 
ipar^d the necessity of invention precisely where the task of invention 
wouiJ be likely to embarrass him. It is susceptible of proof that in 
no one ins tance has Shakspeare taken the trouble of inventing the plot 
of a piece for himself; certainly from no want of genius, but simply 
frojn his cor.summate knowledge of his art. He knew that he would 
act more profitably for his dramatic success by combining materials 
already prepared, and directing all his energies to that department in 
which he has never met an equal — the exhibition of human nature and 
human passion. How nobly he performed his task may be perceived 
by a simple comparison of the original novel or legend which he selected 
as the groundwork of his pieces, with such creations as Othello, the 
Tempest, or the Merchant of Venice. The number of Shakspeare's 
pieces deiived from fiction amounts to eighteen; by far the majority of 
these are traceable, as already remarked, to the Italian novelists and 
their French or Spanish imitators. We are not, however, to infer that 
the great poet necessarily consulted the tales in the original language. 
From a careful examination of his works it seems to result that our 
great dramatist has rarely, if ever, made use, whether in the way of 
subjects for his piays or quotations introduced into the dialogue, of any 
ancient or foreign materials not then existing in English iranslaiioiis -■ 
and this important fact, while it does not necessarily lead to the mon- 
strous conclusion of his having been a t t. lly II t t J t f 
nishes proof that Ben Jonson was neith C rp 
malicious perverter of the truth when, in h q t b te t tl 
genius and virtues of his departed friend h q 1 fi h m 1 g 
" small Latin and less Greek." We may I k tl t wl J 
son, one of the most learned men of his d y m j ] p d by 
«Ba// may have been in reality no incons d bl t t f h 1 

The following general classification may b f d t It th 
^ss n;- uninteresting! in it I have ends d t mb t g th 

with a iTiugh indication of the class to»i h hpcebl g th 

ptrti'iular origin whence Shakspeare drew h m t 1 — 

I. History. 
legendary : — 

Hamlet (Tragedy). The CI ronicle of Saxo-Grammaticus, and 

an older play. 
King Lear (Tragedy). Holiinshed, and older dramas. 
Cymbeline (Tragi -comedy). IloUinshed, and old French v* 



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!42 MAksPMaH^. tCHAf. \i! 

Macbeth (Tragedy). HoUinshed. 

yulins CiBsar (Tragedy). Plutarch. 

Antony and Cleofatra (Tragedy). Plutarch. 

Cqr'olanus (Tragedy). Plutarch. 

TVftM Andronictis (Tragedy). Probably an older play on th« 

same subject, 
li Authentic: — 

Henry VI., Part I. 1 Various old plays, among which The 

Part II. j- Contention bettaeen the famous Ho%in 

Part m. J of York and Lancaster. 

King John. Founded on an older play on the same subject. 
Richard II. The Chronicles of Hall, Fabian, and Hollinshed. 
Richard III. TLie Chronicles, and an older but very inferiot 

play. 
Henry i r., Part I. | ^^ ^jj ^^^^ ^^ r^^^ Famous Victories o) 

1^^ 1 "•""'■ 

Henry VIII. 

Ul these belong to the department of " Histories," or Historical 
dramas 

II. Fiction. 

Midsummer Night's Dream (Comedy). Chaucer's Knights 

Tale. 
Comedy of Errors (Comedy). The Mencechmi of Plautus. 
Taming of the Shrevi (Comedy). An old English piece of the 

Lev^s Label's Lost (Comedy). Unknown ; probably an Italian 

play. 
Two Gentlemen of Verona (Comedy). Exact origin unknown. 
Romeo and Juliet (Tragedy). Paynter's Palace of Pleasure. 
Merchant of Venice (Comedy). Thu Pecorane and the Gesta 

Romanoriim. 
All's Well that Ends Well (Coiatdy) . Tht Palace of Pleasure, 

translated from Boccaccio. 
Much Ado about Nothing (Comedy). An episode of the Or- 

lando Farioso. 
As Ton Like It (Comedy). Lodge's Rosalynde, and Ihe Cufe* 

Tale of Gamelyn. 
Merry Wives of Windsor (Comedy). Exact origin unknown 
Troilus and Cressida (Tragedy) Chaucer, and the Recuyell oj 

Troye. 
Measure for Measure (Comedy). Cinthio's Hecatommithi, Dec. 

viii. Nov. J. 
Winter's Zafe (Comedy). Greene's tale of iJo>'nJ^BSanrf-F«w;i/o. 
Timon of Athens (Tragedy). Plutarch, Lucian, and Palace aj 

Pleasure. 



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K. n. 1564-16160 SliA£sPSAM. 

Othello (Tragedy). Cinthio's Hecatoiamilki, Dec viji. Nov. 1 
Ttmpest (Comedy). Exact ori^ti unknown, probablv Italian- 
T-mel/ti Nighl (iZotna6y). A novel by Bandello, imitaled bj 

Belleforeat. 
Pericles (Comedy). Twine's translation of the Gesta Ro- 



% B. In the htstoricai department of the above 1 fl t t will 
bo seen that many plays were based upon preced d m t w ks 
treating of th an ly the same Bubjects d m f w 

e«ses we posse tl e m n nt pieces themaelve 1 b t g d ff 

ent degrees of mp fe t on and barbarism. We th P t 

to compare th h ntrod iced by the consumm t t f Sh k 

speare into th rud d ght of his theatrical pred ce d t 

appreciate the n my he showed in retain ght t d h 

purpose, aa well a the 1^ 11 1 exhibited in mod fj d It g 

what did not. In one or two examples we have mo tl d t 

of the same play in its different stages towards mpl te p f t 
under the hand of Shakspeare, instances of which y b t d th 
cases of Hamlet and Lear. A careful and minute 11 t f ch 

various editions furnishes us with precious materials for the investiga- 
tion of the most interesting and profitable problem that literary crit- 
icism can approach — the tracing of the different phases of elaboration 
through which every great work must pass. It is no mean privilege 
to be thus admitted, as it were, into the studio of the mightj painter, 
the laboratory of the mighty chemist — to mark the touches, somctimet 
bold, sometimes almost imperceptible in their delicacy, which trans- 
form the rugged sketch into the highly-finished picture, the apparently 
insignificant operations by which the rude ore is transformed into the 
consummate jewel. It is like being admitted into the penetralia of 
nature herself. The first impression which strikes the reader when 
he makes acquaintance with the Historical and Legendary category 
of Shakspeare's dramas, is the astonishing force and completeness with 
which the poet seized the general and salient peculiarities of the age 
and country which he undertook to reproduce. With the limited and 
imperfect scholarship that he probably possessed, this power is the 
more extraordinary, and shows that his vast mind must have proceeded 
in a manner eminently synthetic; he first made his characters true to 
general aiid universal humanity, and then gave them the peculiar dis- 
tinguishing traits appropriate to their particular period and country. 
His persons are true portraito of Romans, for example, because they 
aie first true portra te of men His great contemporary Jonson haa 
sliown a far more accurate and estenone knowledge of the details of 
Roman manners, ceremonies, and institutions , but his personages, 
admirable as they are, are entirely deficient in that intense human real- 
ity which Shakspeare never fails to communicate to bis dramatia ^er- 
tana. The nature of the Hi--toriuil Pliy, as it was understood by Shak- 
speare, admitti^, andeien ie mued the adoption of an extern ive epoca 



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W4 SMAKSPSASi!. [Chap. Vlt 

iiB tlic subject, and a numerous crowd of agents as the material, of 
such pieces ; and it is not too much to saj, that in all the personages 
so inti-oduced, from the most prominent down to the most obscure, the 
reader may detect, if he takes the necessary pains, that every one had. 
In the mind of the author, a separate and distinct individuality, equall3 
true to universal and to particular nature. Nay, in comparing such 
eubjects as are drawn from different periods in the history of h» 
9wn or other nations, in ancient or modem times, we may remark the 
lingular felicity with which this great creator has differentiated, so 
to sny, various phases in the character, social or political, of a people : 
ehuB the Romans in Coriolanus are very different from the Romans in 
ynlius- CiBsar or Antony and Cleopatra, though equally true to general 
human nature and to the particular nature of the Roman people at the 
different epochs selected. The same extraordinary power of different!- 
aUng is equally perceptible in the English historical plays, as will plain- 
ly be seen on comparing King John, for example, with Henry IV. or 
Henry V. This power of throwing himself into a given epoch is, *n 
Shakspeare, carried to a degree which cannot be justly qualified >8 
anything short of superhuman. It is true that in these plays we fi id 
instances of gross anachronism in detail; but these anachronisms 
never touch the essential truth of the delineation ; they are mere exter- 
nal excrescences, which can be instantly got rid of by the Imaginative 
reader, and which, though they may excit; a passing smile, do not 
affect for a moment the sense of verisimilitude. Shakspeare may make 
a hero of the Trojan War quote Aiistotle, or he msy arm the Romans 
of Pharsalia with the Spanish rapier of the sixteenth century; but he 
never infects the language and sentiments of classical times with the 
conceits of gallant and courtly compliment that were current in the 
age of Louis XIV. In the scenes of private and domestic life which 
ne has freely intermingled with the stirring and heroic episodes of war 
or policy, his knowledge of human nature enables him to paint with 
an equally firm and masterly touch the hero and the man. The deli- 
cate task of giving glimpses into the private life of great historical 
personages, which we find generally evaded in all other authors who 
have treated sudi subjects, is a proof of the supremacy of Shakspeare's 
genius. The same thing may be said of the boldness with which he 
has introduced comic incidents and characters amid the most lofty and 
lolemn events of history, and as frequently and successfully in his Ro- 
man as in his English plays. In the two parts of ffeKry/K. the lieroi 
Uid familiar are side by side, and the Prince's adventures with th^ 
inimitable Falstaff and his other pleasanthut disreputable companions, 
A/e (losely intermingled with the majestic mai-ch of the great historical 
tvents. This shows that Shaksp ar f f f g nf 

artist would have done, the juxtap t f th f 1 d th b 

lime, the wildest and most fant t dy w th th i fti t n I 

gravest tragedy, not only made h pp tly d d t 1 m n 
mutually heighten and complete th ^ 1 ff t wh h 1 contem 

plated, but in BO doing teaches us tl t h man 1 fe th ubl me mm) 



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A. D. 1564-1616.] SITASiSFEARE. 145 

the ridiculous ar* side bj- side, and that the source of laughter is 
placed close Vj tlie fouiitiin of tears 

Even a r .sory exam n t f th wonderful plays will supply ua 
with another and not 1 m k bl idence of Shakspeare's creative 

power. 5n them, tho h tl h t 1 iractcrs may be historical, the 
acti&n requires the int du t fa multitude of other personages; 

ind these are not alwa nly bordinate ones, which the poet 

must unavoidably hn at d t f his own observation. Now, 

in such cases the most d fR ult t 1 fa dramatic talent would be the 
mUida junctura which should make the imaginary harmonize with 
the hisbirical personages; and this ordeai would be equally arduous 
whether the subject upon which it was exercised were persons or events. 
Walter Scott, with all his power of delineation, has not always been 
successful in hiding Qit Joining on of the real with the imaginary. In 
Shakspeare, on the contrary, we never see a deficiency ; indeed, whether 
by his consummate skill in realizing the ideal, or in idealizing the real, 
both the one and the other stand before us in the same solidity; and il 
is not too much to say tliat to us his imaginary persons are as much 
real entities — nay, often far more so — than the authentic figures of 
history itself. Thus, to our intimate consciousness, Othello and Shylock 
are persons as real as Coriolanus and Wolsey. 

In the department of Shakspeare's works which we are now treating, 
as well as in the other category which we shall examine presently, 
there are unquestionably some pieces manifestly inferior to others. 
Thus among tlie English Histories the three plays upon the subject of 
Henry VI. bear evident marks of an inferior hand, and were in all 
probability older dramas which Shakspeare retouched and revivified 
here and therewith some of his inimitable strokes of nature and poetic 
fancy. The last of the English historical plays, at least the latest id 
the date of its action, is Henry VIII. This piece bears many traces of 
having been in part composed by a different hand : in the diction, the 
turn of thought, and in particular in the peculiar mechanism of thf 
versification, there is much to lead to the conclusion that Shakspeare, 
in its composition, was associated with one other, if not more, poets. 
This kind of collaboration was an almost universal practice in that 
age i and the circumstance that the play was written with a particular 
intention and contained very pointed and graceful compliments both to 
Elizabeth and her successor seem to indicate that it was composed with 
preat rapidity, and that therefore Shakspeare was likely to have worked 
ifcn it in partnership with others. 

J B. But a general conception of the dramatic genius of Shakspeare 
must be founded upon an examination of all his pieces; and while the 
hlitoricil dramas show how he coutd fice his mind from Jhe trammels 
iTn[>osed by the necessity of adhering to real facts and persons, the 
romantic portion of his pieces, or those founded upon Fiction, will 
equally prove that the freedom of an ideal subject did not deprive him 
of the strictest fidelity to general nature. The characters that move 
through the action of these latter dramas exhibit the same consummsU 

n 



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146 SHAKSPSAES. {Ciakp. Vlt 

appreciation of the general and the individual in humanity ; and though 
he has occasionally stepped over the boundary of ordinary human 
nature, and has created a n-.jltitude of supernatural beings, fairies, 
spirits, witches, and other creatures of the imagination, even in theso 
the severest consistency and the strictest verisimilitude never for a 
moment abandon him. They are always coxstatiies sibi ; we know thai 
such beings do not and cannot exist; but we irresistibly feel, in reading 
tiie scenes in which they appear, that if they did exist, they could nol 
Biisl other than as he has painted them. The data being established, 
the consequences, to the most remote and trivial detaila, flow from them 
ill a manner that no analysis can gainsay. In the mode of delineating 
passion and feeling Shaltspeare proceeds differently from all other dra- 
matic authors. They, even the greatest among them, create a person- 
age by accumulating in it all such traits as their reading and observa- 
tion show to usually accompany the fundamental elements which go to 
form its constitution ; and thus they all, more or less, fall into the 
error of making their personages embodiments of such and such a 
moral peculiarity. They give us admirable and complete monograpkies 
of ambition, of avarice, of hypocrisy, and the like. Moreover, in the 
expression of their feelings, whether tragic or comic, such characters 
almost universally describe the sensations they experience. This men 
and women in real life never do : nay, when under the influence of 
strong emotion or other powerful moral impression, vre indicate to 
others what we feel, rather, and far more powerfully, by what we sup- 
p 1 by what we utter. In this respect the men and women of 

Shalt p ctly resemble the men and women of real life, and nol 

th men d women of the stage. Nor has he ever fallen into the 

o nm n of forgetting the infinite complexity of human charac- 

t If w a lyze any one of the prominent personages of Shak- 

pa 1 i we may often at Srst sight perceive in it the predomi- 
o ce f m one quality or passion, on a nearer view we shall find 
that the complexity of its moral being goes on widening and deepening 
with every new attempt on our part to grasp or sound the whole extent 
of its individuality. Macaulay has uxcellentty observed that it is easy 
to say, for example, that the primary characteristic of Shylock is re- 
vengefulness ; but that a closer insight sliows a thousand other qual- 
tics in him, the mutual play and varying intensity of which go to com- 
pose the complex being that Shakspeare has drawn in the terrible Jew. 
Thus Otiiello is no mere impersonation of jealousy, nor Macbeth of 
ambition, nor Falstaff of selfish gayety, nor Timon of misanthropy, 
nor Imogene of wifely love : in each of these personages the more 
elorely we analyze them the deeper and more multiform w'll appear 
the infinite springs of action, which make up their personality. Shak- 
speare has shown, in a manner that no one has either equalled or 
approached, how a given character vrill act under the stimulus of some 
overmastering passion ; but he has painted ambitious and reverigetul 
men, not ambition and revenge in human form. Nothicg is more 
childish than the superjicial judgment which identifies the great crea 



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A. ». 1564-1616.] SHAkSPSARM. 147 

tions of Shakspeare with some pi-ominent moial oi- intellectual charac- 
teristic. His conceptions are as multiform as these of nature herself; 
and aa the physiologist knows that even in the plant or mo.lusk of 
apparently the simplest construction there are depths of organization 
which bid defiance, to all attempts to fathom them, so in the characters 
of the great painlcr of humanity, there is a variety which grows mora 
and more bewildering the more earnestly wo shive to penetrate it» 
mysteries. This wonderful power of conceiving complex character Is 
it ihe bottom of another distinguishing peculiarity of our great poel ; 
namely, the total a.i)senceiQ his works of any tendency to self-reproduc- 
lion. Possessing only the dramas of Shakspeare, it would be totally 
impossible for us to deduce any notion of what were the sympathies 
and tendencies of the author. He is absolutely impersonal; or rather 
he is all persons in turn : for no poet ever possessed to a like degree 
the portentous power of successively identifying himself with a multi- 
tude of the most diverse individualities, and of identifying himself so 
completely that we cannot detect a trace of preference. Let us suppose 
a man capable of conceiving and delineating such a picture of jealousy 
as we have in the tragedy of Othello. Would not euch a man be irre- 
sistibly impelled to do a second time what he had so admirably done 
the first? But Shakspeare, when he has once thrown off such a char- 
acter as Othello, never recurs to it again. Othello disappears from the 
stage as completely as a real Qtheilo would have done from the world, 
and leaves behind him no similar personage. True, Shakspeare has 
given us a number of other pictures of jealous men ; but their jealousy 
IB as different from that of Othello as in real life the jealousy of ont 
man is different from that of another. Leontes, Ford, Posthumus, art 
all equally jealous; but how differtintly is the passion manifested in 
each of these 1 In the female characters, too, what a wonderful range, 
what an inexhaustible variety 1 Perhaps in no class of his impersona- 
tions are the depth, the delicacy, and the extent of Shakspeare's creative 
power more visible than in his women : for we must not forget that in 
writing these exquisitely varied types of female character, he knew that 
they would be intrusted, in representation, to boys or young men — no 
female having acted on the stage till long after the age which witnessed 
such creations as Hermione, Lady Macbeth, Rosalind, or Juliet, We 
may conceive what a chill it must have been to the imagination of » 
poet to be conscious that a marvel of female delicacy, grandeu.-, 01 
passion would be personated on the stage by a performer of the othei 
iexi and that the author would feel what Shakspeare has so powerfull> 
ispressed in the language of his own Cleopatra : — 

" The quick comedUns 
Estemporaty shall stEige us : Antony 
Shall be brought drunken fortJi, and I shall aes 
Some squeaking Cleopatra boy my gteatnesa." 

Surely the power of ideal creation has never undergone a severer 01 
deal. Shakspeare's triumph over this great practical difficult/is the mou 



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t*S SffAtSPEABE. [Chap. Vlt 

surprising as there ie, perhaps, no class of his personages more varied 
more profound, and more exquisitely delicate than his female charai> 
ters, which possess a far higher tone of sentiment than can be found in 
the most beautiful conceptions of womanly qualities which even the 
greatest of his contemporaries — as Beaumont, Massinger, and Ford 
— have given to the drama. Some critics, indeed, have traced his 
superior refinement in this respect to the imitation of the pure and 
oflj feminine ideal which he found in the Arcadia of the illustrious 
Sidney and the graceful purity of the Faerie ^ueeiie. 

In the expression of strong emotion, as well as in the delineation of 
character, Shakspeare is superior to all other dramatists, superior to all 
other poets. He never finds it necessary, in order to produce the effect 
he desires, to have rtcoui-se in the one case to violent or declamatory 
rhetoric, or In the other to unusual or abnormal combinations of quali- 
ties. In him we meet with no sentimental assassins, no moral mon- 



■" Blessed with one vfilue and a thousand crimes." 

Without overstepping the ordinary limits of human experience, he is 
always able to interest or to instruct ua with the exhibition of general 
passions and feelings, manifesting themselves in the way we generally 
see them in the world. He is like the great painter of antiquity, who 
produced his ever-varying effects by the aid of four simple colors. In 
the expression, too, he uniformly draws, at least in his finest passages, 
his illustrations from the most simple and familiar objects, from the 
most ordinary scenes of life. When a great occasion presents itself, 
he ever shows himself equal to that occasion. There are, indeed, in 
his works many passages where he has allowed his taste for intellectual 
subtleties to get the better of his judgment, and where his passion foi 
playing upon words — a passion which was the literary vice of his day, 
and the effects of vrhich are traceable in the writings of Bacon as well 
as in his — is permitted to cool the e thus a m e ted by the situation 
or the feelings of the speake But tl ndulg n e in conceits gen- 
erally disappears in the great cul n n t n omen of intense passion : 
and while we are speaking of tl s d f t th due critical severity, 
we must not forget that the e a e oc a on hen the intensest mora! 
agitation is not incompatible th a mo b d and fe e ish activity of the 
intellect, and that the mo t v olent en ot on somet es finds a vent in 
the intellectual contortions of a conceit. Nevertheless, it cannot be 
ienied that Shakspeare very often runs riot in the indulgence of this 
tendency, to the injury of the effect designed and in deiiance of tlie 
most evident principles of good taste. His style is unquestionably a 
very difficult one in some respects ; and this obscu'rity is not to be at- 
tributed, except of course in some particular instances, to the corrupt 
state in which his writings have descended to us, and still less to the 
archaism or obsoleteness of his diction. Many of the great dramatists 
his contemporaries, for example Massinger and Ford, are in this 
respect as different from Shakspeare as if the;* had been separated 



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A. D. 1564-1616 1 



SEAKSPEARB. »49 



from him by two centuries of lime - the^r writings bejiig as remarka- 
ble for the limpidity and clearness of expression as his are occasionally 
for its complexity. It is not therefore to the remoteness of the period 
that we must ascribe this peculiarity. Indeed in this respect Shak- 
speare's language will present nearly as much difficulty to an English 
as to a foreign student. We roust look for the cause of this in nsf 
enormously developed intellectual and imaginative faculty in the potit ) 
leading him to mate metaphor of tlie boldest kind the ordinary tissuf 
of his style. The thoughts rise so fast under hie pen, and successiielj 
generate others with such a portentous rapidity, that the reader requires 
almost as great an intellectual vivacity as the poet, in order to trace the 
lending idea through the labyrinth of subordinate illustration. In all 
figurative writing the metaphor, the image, is an ornament, something 
extraneous to the thought it is intended to illustrate, and may be 
detached from it, leaving the fundamental idea intact: in Shakspeare 
the metaphor is the very fahric of the thought itself and entirely insep- 
arable from it. His diction may be compared to some elaborate monu 
ment of the finest Gothic architecture, in which the superficial glance 
loses itself in an inextiicable maze of sculptural detail and fantastically 
fretted ornamentation, but where a close examination shows that every 
pinnacle, every buttress, every moulding is an essential member of the 
construction. This intimate union of tlie reason and the imagination 
is a peculiarity common to Shakspeare and Bacon, in whose writings 
the severest logic is expressed in the boldest metaphor, and the very 
titles of whose books and the very definitions of whose philosophical 
terms are frequently images of the most figurative character. There is 
assuredly no poet, ancient or modern, from whose writings maybe 
extracted such a number of profound and yet practical observations 
applicable to the common affairs and interests of life; obsti rations 
expressed with the simplicity of a casual remark, yet pregnant with the 
condensed wisdom of' philosophy ; exhibiting more than the acuteness 
of De Rochefoucauld, without his cynical contempt for humnnity, and 
more than the practical good sense of Molifire, with a far Mfider and 
more universal applicability. In the picturing of abnormal^nd super 
natural states of existence, as in the delineation of evcvy phase of 
mental derangement, or the sentiments and actions of fantastic and 
supernatural beings, Shakspeare exhibits the same coherencj and con 
sistency in the midst of what at first sight appears altogethi.r to tran- 
scend ordinary experience, Every grade of folly, from the verge lA 
;diotcy to the most fantastic eccentricity, every shade of moiil pertur- 
bation, from the jealous fury of Othello to the fre-.^y of Lt^ar or the 
not less touching madness of Ophelia, is represented in his flays with 
a fidelity 60 complete that the most experienced physiologists have 
affirmed that such intellectual disturbances may be studied in his pages 
with as much profit as in the actual patients of a madhouse. 

5 10. The non-dramatic works of Shakspeare consist of the two iiar- 
I jfive poems, written in the then fashionable Italian stanza, entitled Venui 
!ini/ Adonis, .ind tiie Rape of Lucrece, the volume of besntlf. i Soni'di 

>3* 



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150 SRAESFEARE. [Chap, VII, 

whOEC internal eigniScation liasexc'ted bo much controversy, and a few 
lyrics, some of wiiicli appear to have good and otliers but indifferent 
claims to be attributed to the great poet. Venus and Adonis, which the 
author himself, in his dedication to the Earl of Southampton, calls " the 
first heir of his invention," was undoubtedly one of his earliest produc- 
tions, and though the date of its composition is not precisely known, was 
possibly written by Shakspeare before he left Stratford, at ali events lU 
the verf outset of his poetical career. It is stamped witli the strongesl 
marks of youthful genius, exhibiting all the flusi) and voluptuouB glon 
■A t. fervent imagination. The story is the common mythological epi- 
jude of the love* of Venus and the hunter; and both in its form and 
substance, it must be regarded as an original attempt at a new kind of 
poetry, ia which the extraordinary success of Shakspeare afterward* 
induced a multitude of other poets to follow his example. It ran 
through an unusual number of editions in a very short time, and was 
indeed one of the most succeGsful. literary ventures of the age. In the 
rich and somewhat sensual love-scenes in this poem, in the frequent 
inimitable touches of description which give earnest of Shakspe are's 
miraculous power of painting external nature, and in the delicious but 
somewhat effeminate melody of the verse, we see all the marks of 
youth, but it is the youth of a Shakspeare. The Rape of Lucrece, 
though less popular than its predecessor, a circumstance which may be 
attributed to the repulsive nature of the subject, is yet a poem of very 
great merit. The Sonnets of Shakspeare possess a peculiar interest, 
not only from their intrinsic beauty, but from the circumstance of their 
evidently containing carefully veiled allusions to the personal feelingf 
of their author, allusions which point to some deep disappointment in 
iove and friendship suffered by the poet. They were first printed In 
[609, though, from allusions found in contemporary writings, many of 
them were composed previously. They are one hundred and fifty-four 
in number, and some are evidently addressed to a person of the male 
sex, while others are as plainly intended for a woman. The poet bit- 
terly complains of the treachery of the "male, and the infidelity of the 
female obje'ct of his affection, while he speaks both of the one and of 
the other in the most ardent language of passionate yet melancholy 
devotion. Throughout the whole of tliese exquisite but painful compo- 
sitions there runs a deep undercurrent of sorrow, self-discontent, and 
wounded affection, whicli bears every mark of being the expression of 
a real sentiment. No clew, however, has as yet been discovered by 
ivhich we may hope to trace the persons to whom these poems are 
addressed, or the painful events to which they allude. The volume 
was dedicated, on its first appearance, by the publisher, Thomas Thorpe, 
lo " Mr. W. H.," who is qualified as the on'y begetter of these sonnets , 
and some hypotheses suppose thai this mysterious " Mr. W. 11," was 
no other than William Herbert, Earl of Pembroke, one of Shakspeare'a 
most powerful patrons, and a man of great splendor and accomplish- 
iiients. It is, liowever, dillitult to suppose that a personage so high- 
Bl!»ce4 could easily have -nt^rferetl to destroj' the happiness of the ^m 



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A. I). 1S64-1616O SHAKSPEARE. 151 

paratively humble player and poet of the Globe, or, if he had, that a 
bookseller would have ventured to allude to him under so familiar ( 
designation as " W. H." In fact the whole production is shrouded in 
mystery; and we must content ourselves with admiring the deep ten- 
derness, the melancholy grace, and the inimitable touches of poetical 
fancy and moral reflection which abound in these poems, without 
endeavoring to solve the enigma — unquestionably a painful and pei^ 
•onal one — involved in the circumstances under which they were COttc 



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TBS 8MAKSPEARIAN DRAMATISTS. {Cm 



CHAPTER VIII. 
THE SHAKSPEARIAN DRAMATISTS. 

( L BknJonson. His life. } 2. Hia tiagediesandcomediea. { 3. His mssqaet 
and other works. { 4. Besumont nnd Fletcher. { 5. MiaaiKOBR. J ft 
Ford. J 7. Weestbb. {8. CHAPMiN, Dekkbe, Middleion, Marbihk, 
and other minor Dramatists, f 9. Shiklet. { 10. Remarks on the Eliza- 
bethan drama. 

% 1. Thb age of Elizabeth and James I, produced a galaxy of great 
dramatic poets, the like of whom, whether we regard the nature or the 
degree of excellence exhibited in their works, the world has never seen. 
In the general etj-le of their writings, they bear a strong family resem- 
blance to Shakspeare ; and indeed many of the peculiar merits of their 
great prototype may be found scattered among his various contem- 
poraries, and in some instances carried to a height little inferior to that 
found in his writings. Thus intensity of pathos hardly less touching 
than that of Shakspeare may be found in the dramas of Ford, gallant 
animation and dignity in the dialogues of Beaumont and Fletcher, deep 
tragic emotion in the sombre scenes of Webster, noble moral elevation 
in the graceful plays of Massinger; but in Shakspeare, and in Shek- 
speare alone, do we see the consummate union of all the most opposite 
qualities of the poet, the observer, and the philosopher. 

The name which stands next to that of Shakspeare in the list of these 
illustrious dramatists is that ofBEN Jonkon (1573-1637), a vigorous 
and solid genius, built high with learning and knowledge of life, and 
whose numerous works, dramatic as well as other, possess an imposing 
and somewhat monumental weight. He was bom in 1573, and was 
consequently nine years younger than Shakspeare. His career was full 
of strange vicissitudes. Though compelled by a step-father to follow 
the humble trade of a bricklayer, he succeeded in gratifying an intense 
thirst for learning. He passed some short time, probably with tiie 
assistance of a patron, at the University of Cambridge, and there, as 
well as after leaving college, continued to study with a diligence thai 
certainly rendered him one of the most learned men of his age — an 
age fertile in learned men. He is known to have served some time asi 
soldier in the Low Countries, and to have distinguished himself "ay Mt, 
courage in the field; but his theatrical career seems to haie begnn 
wlien he was about twenty years of age, when we find him attached us 
an actor to one of the minor theatres, called the Curtain. His success 
.IS a performer is said to have been very small, arising most probably 
fiom want of grace and beauty of person; and thei'e is no reason to 
suppose Uiat his theatrical career differed f-om the almost universal 
type of the actor-dj amati=ts of that a^e. While still a verv y.nm^ 



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A. D. IS73-1637.J BEN JONWV 1-^3 

man he fought a duel with one of h! f I! w nl n i had the 

misfortune to kill, receiving at the n t e a m d ; and 

for this infringement of the law, wh h at that p t 1 p od was 
punished with extreme sevc-ity, th p t a ond n d to dtath, 
though afterwards pardoned. Amo h t d of 1 fe, Jon- 

son is related to have twice changed h 1 g n 1 n b en con- 
verted bj a Jesuit to the Roman Catholic faith, and to have afternardi 
again returned to the bosom of his mother- Chui-ch, on which lasl 
occasion he is said, when receii ing the Sacrament on his reconversion 
la have drunk out the whole chalice, in sign of the sincerity of his 

His first dramatic work, the Comedy of Svety Man in his Humor, 
is assigned to the year 1596. This piece, the action and characters of 
which were originally Italian, failed in its first representation; and 
there is a tradition, far from improbable in itself, that Shakspeare, who 
was then in the full blaze of hia popularity, advised the young aspirant 
to make some changes in the piece and to transfer its action to Eng- 
land. Two years afterwards the comedy, with considerable alterations, 
was brought out a second time, at Shakspeare's theatre of the Glabe, 
and then with triumphant success. One of the few parts which Shak- 
speare is known to have personated on the stage is that of Old Knowel, 
the jealous merchant, in this comedy. Thus was probably laid the 
f randation of that warm and solid friendship between Jonson and Shak- 
speare, which appears to have continued during their whole lives, and 
the existence of which is proved not only by many pleasant anecdotes 
recording the gay and witty social intercourse of the two great poets, 
but by the enthusiastic, and yet discriminating, eulogy in which Jonsoi. 
— who was not a man to give light or unconsidered praise — has hon- 
ored the y d d b d tl g f h" f ' d F m th 
moment fth dp tt h mdyBT 
literary p w tblhd dd gh m I fh 
very act hghtl cc fptlp yh 
fluctuated J d bt dly p d pi t th j h d f 
Uie dram t h f 1 d j H 1 d g th gh 
coarse admwlt b gh tth t d jpw 
and rich fh t tbtdtmkhm fth 
most pro t fig fh 1 t j t j f tl t d H w t 
combats t tl f t f th M d tl D 1 d I 
Falcon, hb td ydt dh 
appears th bee gddtit tftlltulp 
tate, muh <n mkS IJh wft rwaid d 
to have fdphfntehttlfl is Ig 
them," ah y fl pgrai, fthtbefB 

His first comedy was followed in the succeeding year by Every Man 
Oul 0/ his Humor, and his literary activity continued to be very 
gi*cat, for in 1603 he gave to the world his tragedy of Sejanus, and ia 
]6o5 he appears to have had some share, with Chapman, Marston, 
Dekker, and other dramatists, in the piece of Easlviard Hoe .' a comedj 



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154 THE S3AKSPEAEIAN DRAMATISTS. [Chap. VIII. 

vrhich called down upon all connected with it a severe persecution from 
Hie Court, which was bitterly offended bj certain satirical allusions b, 
the favor then accorded by King James to his Scottish countrjTnen 
jonson was involved in this persecution ; and there is a story that thf 
guilty wits having been condemned to have their noses slit, Joneon 
generously refused to abandon his associates, and that his mother had 
prepared for herself and him " a strong and lusty poison," to enable 
hiin to escape the ignominy of such a disfigurement. With the frank 
and liolent character of Jonson it was imposaihle that he could escape 
continual quarrels and disputes, so difficult to avoid in a literary caree- 
and particularly in the dramatic profession. Thus we have notices oi 
violent feuds between him and Dekker, Chapman, Marston, and others, 
as well as Inigo Jones, the Court architect and arranger of festivities 
and masques, whose favor seems to have given great umbrage to the 
prpad and self-confident nature of old Ben. Many of these literary 
quarrels may be traced in the dramatic works of Jonson and his con- 
temporaries, who used the stage as a vehicle for mutual attack and 
recrimination. In rapid succession between 16:13 and i6ig followed 
some of Jonson's finest works, Valpone, Epicene, the AlcRemht, and the 
tragedy of Catiline. In the latter year he was appointed Laureate or 
Court poet, and was frequently employed in getting up those splendid 
and fantastic entertainments called masques, in which magnificence 
Df scenery, decoration, and costume, ingenious, allegorical, and myth- 
ological personages, exquisite music, dancing, and declamation were 
made the instruments for paying extravagant compliments to the king 
and the great personages of the Court, on occasion of any festivity at 
(he palace or in the mansions of the great. These charming compoai- 
lions, in which Jonson exhibited all the stores of his invention and all 
the resources of his vast and elegant scholarship, were represented 
sometimes by actorsi but often by the ladies and gentlemen of the 
Court, and were performed, not in the public theatres, but in palaces 
and great houses, both in London and the country. Many of Jonson's 
later pieces were entirely unsuccessful, and in one of the last, the 
Neiv Inn, acted in 1630, the poet complains bitterly of the hostility and 
bad taste of the audience. Tovrards the end of his life Ben Jonson ap- 
pears to have fallen into poverty, aggravated by disappointment and ill 
health, the latter probably caused by his too great fondness for copious 
Eibations of sack. He died in 1637, in the tweliWi year of the reign 
of Charles I., and was buried, it is said, in a vertical position, in. 
Ih; churchyard of Westminster, the stone over his grave haviu" 
Iten inscribed with the excellent and laconic words, " O rare Ben 

I 2 The dramatic as well as the other works of this great poet are 
so numerous that I must content myself with a very cursory survej 
of them. They are of various degrees of merit, ranging from an 
excellence not surpassed by any contemporary excepting Shakspeare, 
to the lowest point of laborious mediocrity. Two of them are 'rage- 
4iM, the Fall of Sejanus and the Conspiracy of CmtUim. The BUDjeeti 



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h. D. 1573-1653.] BEN JOmON. 133 

jf both thi'se plays are borrowed from the Roman historians, and the 
dialogue anil action in both may be regarded as a mosaic of slrilting 
and brilliant estracts from the Latin literature, reproduced bj- Jonson 
with such a consummate force and vigor that we may call him a Roman 
author who composed in English. Nothing can exceed the minute ac- 
curacy with which all the details of the Roma r manners, ceremonies, 
11 ligion, and sentiments are reproduced ; and yet the effect of the wholf 
is sfngularly stiff and unpleasing, partly perhaps :/oin (fie absence tit 
pathos and tenderness which characterizes Jonson's mind, and paillj 
from the unmanageable nature of the subjects, the hero in both cawa 
biing so odious that no art can secure for his fate the sympathy of the 
reader. Many of the scenes, however, particularly those of a declama- 
tory character, as the tria! of Silius and Cremutius Cordus before the 
abject Senate, the appearance of Tiberius, and the magnificent oration 
in which Petreius describes the defeat and death of Catiline, are of ex- 
traordinary power and grandeur. Of comedies, properly so called, Jon- 
son composed fifteen, the best of which are incontestably E-very Man in 
bis Humor, Volfone, Epicene or the Silent Woman, and the Alchemist 
The plots or intrigues of Jonson are far superior to those of the gener- 
ality of his contemporaries : he always constructed them himself, and 
with great care and skill. Those of Volpone and the Silent Woman for 
example, though some of the incidents are extravagant, are admirable 
for the constructive skill they display, and for the art with which each 
detail is made to contribute to the catastrophe. The general effect, 
however, of Jonson's plays, though abundantly satisfacbsry to the 
reason, is hard and defective to the taste. The character of his mind 
was eminently analytic; he dissected the vices, the follies, and the 
affectations of society, and presented them to the reader rather like 
anatomical preparations than like men and women. His observation 
was extensive and acute ; but his mind loved to dwell rather upon thn 
eccentricities and monstrosities of human nature than upon those uni- 
versal features with which all can sympathize, as all possess them. His 
mind was singularly deficient in what is called a»nia3(/l'; hispc'-itof 
vievir is invariably that of the satirist, and thus, as he fised his attention 
chiefly upon what was abnormal, many of his most eIaborately-draw:t 
portraits ar« a sort of dry, harsh, abstruse caricatures of absurdities 
which were peculiar to the manners and society of that day, and appear 
to us as strange and quaint as the pictures of our alicestcrs in their 
stiff and fantastic di-esses. The satiric tendency of Jonson's mind, too, 
nduced him to take his materials, both for intrigue and character, from 
odious or repulsive sources ; thus the subject of two of his finest pieces, 
Volpone and the Alchemist, turns entirely upon a series of ingenious 
clieats and rascalities; all the persons, without exception, bemg eithei 
ijcoundreia or their dupes. Nevertheless, in spite of these peculiarities, 
•he knowledge of character displayed by Jonson is so vast, the force 
and vigor of expression are so unbounded, he has poured forth into 
his dia'ltigue such a wonderful wealth of illustration drawn from men 
(IB well UK books, that his comedies form a study eminently substantial 



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156 



THE SHAESPEAEIAN DRAMATISTS. [Chap. VHI 



In some of them, as in Poelasler, Bartholomtiv Fair, and tlie Tale of 
a Tub, Jonson has attacked particular perEona and parties, as Dektsr in 
the first, the Puritans in the second, and Inigo Jones in the third ; bul 
these pieces can have but little interest for the modern reader. The 
tone of morality which prevails throughout Jonson's works is high 
and manly, and he is particularly remarkable for the lofty staiJard he 
invariably claims for the social value of the poet, the dramatist, and 
the satirist. Though he has too often devoted his great powers to the 
delineation of those oddities and absurdities whicli were then called 
kamors, and which may be defined as natural follies and weaknesses 
exaggerated by affectation, he has traced more than one truly comic 
personage, the interest of which must be permanent; thus his admirable 
tjpe of coward braggadocio in Bobadiil will always deserve to occupy 
a place in the great gallery of human folly. The want of tenderness 
and delicacy which I have ascribed to Jonson will be especially perceived 
in the harsh and unamiable characters which he has given to his female 
persons. Without stamping him as a woman-hater, it may be saii; 
tii&t there is hardly one female character in ail his dramas which is 
represented in a graceful or attractive light, while a great many of them 
are absolutely repulsive from their coarseness and their vices, 

§ 3. It is singular that while Jonson in his plays should be Jistin 
guished for that hardness and dryness which I have endeavored to 
point out, this same poet, in another large and beautiful category of 
his works, should be remarkable for the elegance and refinement of his 
invention and his style. In the Masgaes and Coari Entertainmenti 
which he composed for theamusement of thekingand the great nobles, 
as well as in the charming fragment of a pastoral drama entitled The 
Sad Shepherd, Jonson appears quite another man. Everything that 
the richest and most delicate invention could supply, aided by extensive, 
elegant, and recondite reading, is lavished upon these courtly compli- 
ments, the gracefulness of which almost makes us forget their adulation 
and servility. This servility, it should be remarked, was the fashion 
of the times; and was carried quite as far towards the pedantic and 
imbecile James as it had been towards his great predecessor, Elizabeth. 
Of such masques and entertainments, Jonson composed about thirty-five, 
many of wfhich eshibit a richness and playfulness of invention which 
have never been surpassed. These productions were, of course, generally 
short, and depended in a great measure for their elFectupon the scenes, 
machinery, costumes, dances, and songs, with which they were thickly 
interspersed. The magnificence sometimes displayed in these spectaolea 
mis extraordinary, and forms a striking contrast vtith the beggarly 
miseea seine of the regular theatres of those days. Among the most 
iwautiful of these masques we may mention I'art's Anniversary, the 
Masqtit of O&eron, and the Masque of ^aeens. In the dialogue of these 
slight pieces, as well as in the lyrics which are frequently introduced, 
we see how graceful and melodious could become the genius of thia 
great poet, though generally attuned to the severer notes of the satiric 
muse. Besides his dramatic works Jonson left a very lai^ quantity of 



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A.D. i57&-i6as.] BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER. 157 

literary remains in prose and verse. The former portion containi 
many curious and valuable notes madebyjonson on books and men, 
among wliich are particularly interesting the references to Shakspeare 
and Biicon ; and the litter consi-.ts chiefly of epigrams written in the 
tnanmr of Martial and sometimes containing interesting notices of 
contemporary person*, and things All these are pregnant with wit 
fancy, and solid learning, and confirm the idea vrhlch we derive fron 
fonson'B dramas of the power, richness, and variety of his genius, 

§ 4. Superior to Ben Jonson in variety and animation, though 
i^lmdly equil to him in solidity of knowledge, were the two illustrious 
di 5ma!ists who worked together with so intimate a union that it is 
impossible, in tlie works composed before their friendship was dissolved 
by death, to separate their contributions. These were Beaumont (1586- 
1615) and Fletcher (1576-1625), both men of a higher social status, 
by birth and by education, than the generality of the dramatists of this 
splendidepoch ; for Beaumont was of noble family, and the soncf a judge, 
while Fletcher was son to Bishop Fletcher, an ecclesiastic, however, of 
no very enviable reputation, in the reign of Elizabeth. John Fletcher 
was horn in 1576 ; Thomas Beaumont ten years later, but he died early, 
in 1615, at the age of thirty, and his friend survived him ten years, and 
was one of the victims to the plague in 1625. Concerning the details 
of their lives and characte'rs wc possess but vague and scanty informa- 
tion; it is, however, evident from their works that they had both re- 
ceived a learned education. They were accomplished men, possessing 
a degree of scholarship far inferior, perhaps, in depth and accuracy to 
that of Jonson, but amply sufficient to furnish their writings with rich 
allusions and abundant ornaments. The dramatic works of these brilliant 
fellow-laborers, in spite of the very short existence of the one, and the 
not very long life of the other, are extraordinary not only for theii 
excellence and variety, but also for their number, their collected dramas 
— which were not printed in a complete form til! 1647 — amounting to 
fifty-two. Some of these, it is certain, were acted before Beaumont's 
death ; and of the remainder many are attributed to Fletcher alone, and 
tliis probably with justice, though it is impossible to know how fat 
Fletcher, in those works which are to be ascribed to the period succeed- 
ing that event, may have profited by the unfinished sketches thrown 
off by them both in partnership. The common tradition relates that 
Beaumont possessed more of the elevated, sublime, and tragic genius, 
wl-.ile Fletcher was rather distinguished by gayety and coraic hiimori 
but so intiraataiy interwoven is the glory of these two excellent poets, 
that neither in tlieir names nor in their writings does biography or 
criticism ever separate them. Such imperfect notices, however, as have 
come down to our time upon this subject I will introduce here, as they 
will assist the memory in judging of such a multiplicity of pieces, hy 
dividing them into comparatively manageable groups. Dryden, who has 
■poken with just enthusiasm of the works of these great dramatists, to 
whom he himself owed so much, has asserted that the first fiuccessful 
piece they placed upon the stage was the charming romantic dram* of 



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168 THE SHAESFEABIAN DRAMATISTS. [Chap. VII] 

Pliilaster, though thej' had composed several before tliis productioj 
raised their names to a high pitch of popularity. Among the piece 
performed anterior to 1615 maj be mentioned, besides Philaster, tin 
Maid'i Tragedy, A King and No King, the Laias of Candy, all of i 
loftj or tragic character; wliile among the dramas belonging to thi 
same early period may be specified the following, as exhibiting the 
comic genius of the two illustrious fellow-laborers : the Woman-hater 
the Knight of the Burning Pestle (one of their richest and most populai 
extravaganzas), the Honest Man's Fortune, the Captain, and the Cox- 
comb. Of those attributed, with more or less show of probability, tc 
Fletcher alone, it will be seen that a large proportion possess a charac- 
ter in which the comic tone is predominant. I will specify the follow- 
ing: the excellent comedies of the Chances, the Spanish Curate, Beg 
gars' Bush, and Jiale a Wife and Have a Wife. But a mere enumera- 
tion of the principal dramas of these animated and prolific playwrightt 
will be found tiresorfie and unsatisfactory. I will therefore, afier mak- 
ing a few general remarks on the genius and manner of Beaumont and 
Fletcher, note such peculiarities in their principal plays as my limited 
space will permit. The first quality which strikes the reader in making 
acquaintance with these poets is the singularly airy free, and animated 
manner in which they exhibit incident, sentiment and action. They 
d tly t w th t d p d tj d h p diictions, 

tl gh lly ff d g a 1 f g d t t and pro- 

P '3 d r t th t fg d tj Th dialogue, 

f 1 d d w th tl ht th tl t f Sh ksp d less bur- 

d d w th 1 1 1 k 11 th tl t f J ingularly 

d fl w g Th tyl th gh t It g th free from 
ff tat d if I!y 1 mp d d w 11 g lly b f nd much 

t d t d t th first gi th th t rShkpeare — a 

1 wh ch f m 1 pi ty tl d They (,ften 



th Si k p t t b mb d th t m t I t, as the 

bj t f I mp t th d p d te t ns of the 

gre t nast — 

Form that ciTole none duiat walk but he, — 

not, in short, such works as Hamlet, Lear, Othello, but rather what 
may bii called his secondary pieces, such as Much Ado about Nothing, 
Measute for Measure, or the Tempest — works in which the graceful 
fanta t and ro t 1 t p d m t I th d p tm I 

B a mont adFlth wtly Itthgttf 

i amat sts Ttej p h gh m p th d 1 t f 

1 olenlly fan, ildtrgtht Thptrt f 

bragg g <. w rd B f th li t d pi t I 



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A.. D. i576-i6a5-] BEAUMONT AND FLETCHEB. 15V 

delineations which the stage has given ; while in such quaint and out. 
raeeou^ly ludicrous impersonations iis tliose of Lazarillo, the hungr> 
courtier who is in vain p 't of the " umbrana's head " which is tbfl 
object of his idolato-, tl y h t h d tl y bn k t wh a 

humorous extravagance ca b d Th pi t I k th 1 

Shakspeare, are often carl \y t t d d P ^ bl 

dent: but the curiosity f th d 1 j k pt 1 by t ki g 

situations and amusing t f f t Th m t 1 ml 

to those which l,he roma t d m t. t f tl t g g Uy mpl j I 

- Italian and French I d m t m i g d y tl 

hictoiy. It should be k d h w tl t tl j h 

«ltcmpted, like Shaksp th h t Id f d d p th 

annals of their own co t y th 1 th j 1 f ly dm t n 1 
derived from Roman chronicles — as in their tragedy of the False One, 
in which they seem to have intended to try their strength against 
Julius CcEsar; and from the legendary history of the middle ages, 
as in Rolla, Thierry and Theodoret, and other pieces. They are sin- 
gularly happy in the delineation of noble and chivalrous feeling, the 
love and friendship of young and gallant souls; and their numerous 
portraits of valiant veterans may be pronounced unequalled. As exam- 
pies of the former I may cite' the personages of Philaster. of Arbaces, 
jf Palamon and Ardte, of Areas in the Loyal Subject, and, above all, 
of Caratach in the tragedy of Bonduca. They possess the art of ren- 
dering a character vicious, and even criminal, without making it fo.- 
feit all claims to our sympathy; and thus exhibit a true sense of 
numanity. A striking example of this is the erring but generous hero 
of A King and Ko King. Their pathos, though frequently exhibited, 
is rather tender than deep = among the most striking instances of this 
I may refer to the Maid's Tragedy, one of their most admired and elab- 
orate works. The grief of Aspasia and the despair of Evadne are 
worked up to a high pitch of tragic emotion. In the T-a>o NoMe Kins- 
men, the subject of which is borrowed from the Knigkts Tale of Chau- 
cer 'the dignity of chivalric friendship is portrayed with the highest 
and most heroic spirit In this play the scenes eshibiting the love and 
madness of the Gaolei-'s Daughter show an evident imitation of the 
character of Ophelia ; and there can be no higher praise to Beaumont 
and Fletcher than to confess that they come out of the contest beaten 
indeed, but not disgraced. Excellent too are they in pictures of simple 
tfinderness and sorrow : there are few things in dramatic literature mor 
pathetic than the character and death of the little heroic Prince Hengi 
tn the tragedy of Bonduca. But it is perhaps in their piece* of mised 
sentiment containing comic matter intermingled with romantic and 
eleiBted incidents, that Beaumont and Fletcher's genius shines out in 
Its f-ill effulgence. It is on such occasions that we see them rise witli- 
oul effort and sink witliout meanness. Perhaps no better examples of 
(hi-i - the most charming - phase of their peculiar talent can be seiect- 
td than the comedies of the Elder Brother, Rule a Wife and Have a 
Wife, Beggars- Busk, and the Spanish CuraU. In the third- mcntioncii 



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TBE SHAKSPEAMIAN DRAMATISTS. [Chap. VIU 



160 

piece the romantic and the farcical intrigues art combined in a moel 
masterlj' manner, wliile in tlie first and second the force of innate w^'h 
and courage is made to shine out brilliantly amid the most apparentlj 
adverse cn-cumstances. In the more violently farcical intrigues and 
rf.aracters, such as are to be found ialht LiiiU French Lai>.yer,Vtir 
Waman-kaier, the Humorous Lieutenant, the Scornful Lady, Wit ai 
Several Wea^aai, and the like, we willingly forget the eccentricity, o. 
eren absurdity, of the idea, in consideration of the inexhaustible seiies 
of laughable extravagancies in which it is made to develop itself Such 
extravagancies are very different from the dry, persevering, Analytical 
method in which Jonson works out to its very last dregs the exhibition 
of one of those " humors " which he so delighted tj portray — a pr^. 
cess which may almost be called scientific, like the destructive distilla- 
tion of the chemist, leaving nothing behind but a ca/ui mortuam. The 
fools and gi-otesques of Beaumont and Fletcher are " lively, audible 
and full of vent;" and the author* seem to enjoy the amusement of 
heaping up absurdity upon absurdity, out of the very abundance o/ 
the.r humorous conception. The language in which the poet clothes 
the.r droll extravagancies is often highly figurative, full of imagery, 
and of a rich and generous music; sometimes the simple change of a 
few words will transfoi-m one of these passages of ludicrous and yet 
picturesque exaggeration into a noble outburst of serious poetry 
Some of the pieces of Beaumont and Fletcher furnish us with a store 
of curious antiquarian and literary materials : thus the excellent roman- 
tic play of Beggars' Bush contains, in the humorous scenes where the 
"mumping" fraternity is introduced, , valuable materials illustrating 
that smgular subject the slang- dialect, or the pi-ofessional jargon of 
thieves, beggars, and such like offscourings of society ; and it is curious 
to see how long much of this ar^ot has been in existence, and how 
slight are the changes it has undergone. In the same way the fantastic 
extravaganza of the Kmght of the Burning Pestle is an absolute store- 
house preserving a multitude of popular chJvalric legends and frag- 
ments, sometimes beautiful and always interesting, of ancient English 
ballad poetry. In a good many passages of Fletcher we meet witli 
evident parodies or caricatures of scenes and speeches of other diama- 
tists, and particularly of Shakspeare 'n wl " h I tter case the interest 
of such passages is of course v yh h but t must be remembered 
that such caricatures or parodie a ma k d by a playful spirit, and 
bear no trace of malignity or en y Example ot this will be f^und in 
the piay I have just menUoned n the d II p tlietic speech on the 
installation of Clause as King of tl e Gyp an evident and good- 

i-atured jeat at Cranmer's spee h n th I t ene of Heary VIII. 
Many others might be adduced. The pastoral diama of the Faithful 
S&efherdess is unquestionably one of the most exquisite combinations 
of delicate and tender sentiment with description of nature and lyrical 
music that the English or any other literature can boast. Originailj 
imitated fi-om the Italian, this mixture of the eclogue and the drama forms 
a peculiar subdivision of poetry. Though the characters, sentiments, 



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A.D, 1584-1640.J MASSmOEB. I6I 

Janguage, and incidents have little relation to real life, the chann of 
»uch idyllic compositions, from the days of Theocritus to those of 
Guarini and Tasso, has always been felt; and the refined ideal and 
half-jiythclogic beauty of the " fabled life " of Tempe seems to giatify 
that craving of the imagination which maltes us all hunger after some- 
tliiog pvrer, sweeter, and more innocent than the atmosphere of oui 
ordinary "working-day world." The pictures of nature which crowd 
thie esquisite Arcadian drama have never been surpassed for their truth, 
their delicacy, and the melody of their expressicm; and it is not the 
least giory of Beaumont and Fletcher that in this exquisite poem they 
■re the victorious rivals of Ben Jonsoo, whose delicious fragment of the 
Sad Siefierd -was undoubtedly suggested by the drama I am epealiing 
of; while Fletcher also furnished to Milton the first prototype of one 
of the most inimitable of his worts — the pastoral drama of Comas 

§ 6. Of the personal history of Philip Massmgkr (1584-1640) httle 
is known. This excellent poet was born m iiiS4, and died, apparently 
very poor, in 1640. HvB birth wt" tlsat of a gentleman, his education 
good, and even learned; for though his stay m theUniveisity of Ox- 
ford, which he entered in 1602, was not longer than two years, hit 
vrorks prove, by the uniform elegance and refined dignity of their dio- 
tioB, and by the peculiar fondness with which he dwells on classica. 
allusions, that he was ihtimatelj peneti ated with the finest essence of 
the great classical writers of antiquity His theatrical life, extending 
from 1604 to his death, appears to haie been an umntenupted succes- 
sion ol struggle, disappointment, and distress, and we possess one 
touching document proving how deep and general vras that distress in 
the dramatic profession of the time It is a letter written to Henslowe, 
the manager of the Globe Theatre, in the joint names of Massmgei, 
.Field, and Daborne, all poets of considerable popularity, imploring the 
loan of an insignificant sura to liberate them from a debtor's prison. Like 
most of his fellow-dramatists, Massinger frequently wrote in partner- 
ship with other playwrights, the names of Dekker, Field, Rowley, 
Middleton, and others being often found in conjunction vrilh his. We 
possess the titles of about thirty-seven plays either entirely or partially 
written by Massinger, of which number, however, only eighteen are 
-now extant, the remainder having been lost or destroyed. These works 
are tragedies, comedies, and romantic dramas partaking of both char- 
acters. The finest of them are the following; ih^ Fatal Dozary, the 
Unnatural Combat, the Jioman Actor, and the Z)«^e of Milan, in the 
first category; the Bondman, the Maid of Honor, and the Picture, in 
Jie third i ai.d the Old Latv and A Nmii Way to Pay Old Debts in the 
second. The qualities which distinguish this noble writer are an 
extraordiWary dignity and elevation of moral sentiment, a singular 
power of delineating the soirows of pure and lofty minds exposed to 
unmerited suffering, cast down but not humiliated by misfortune. In 
these lofty delineations it is impossible not to trace the reflection of 
Massinger's ow n high but melancholy spirit. Female purity and devo- 
tion he has painted with great skill; and his plays exhibit itway Bt^eiie* 



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162 TUE SHAKSPEARIAN DRAMA TISTS. [Chap. VIIl. 

in which he has ventured to sound the mysteries of the deepest pas' 
iions, as in the Fatal Doivry and the Duke of Milan, the subject of 
the latter haiing some resemblance with the terrible story of Mariamne. 
It was unfortunately indispensable, la order to please the mixed audi' 
euces of those d.ij-?, that comic and fardcal scenes should be introduced 
in every piece ; ar.^ ibr comedy and pleasantry Massinger had no Jot' 
tude. This portion of his works is in every case contemptible fur 
stupid buffoonery, as well as odious "or loathsome indecency; a::d tlit 
coarseness and obscenity of such posjages foims bo painfu; a contrast 
with the general elegance and purity of Massinger's tone and language 
Ibat we are driven to the supposition of his having had recourse to 
other hands to supply this obnoxious matter in obedience to the popular 
taste. Massinger's style and versification are singularly sweet and 
noble. No writer of that day is so free from archaisms and obscurities! 
and perhaps there is none in whom moreconstantlyappear all the force, 
harmony, and dignity of which the English language is susceptible. 
From many passages we may draw the conclusion that Massinger was a 
fervent Catholic. The f7r^'« J/az-i^'f IslndeedaCathoIicmysterji and 
in many plays— as, for example, the Reuegado — ht has attributed to 
Romanist confessors, and even to the then unpopular Jesuits, the most 
amiable and Christian virtues. If we desire to characterize Massingei 
in one sentence, we may say that dignity, tenderness, and grace are 
the qualities in which he excels. 

§ 6, If Massinger, among the Elizabethan dramatists, be peculiarly 
the poet of moral dignity and tenderness, John Ford (1586-1639) must 
bo called the great painter of unhappy love. This passion, viewed 
under all its aspects, has furnished the almost exclusive subject matter 
of his plays. He was born in 1586, and died in 1639; and does not 
appear to have been a professional writer, but to have followed the 
employment of the law. He began his dramatic career by joining with 
Dekker in the production of the touching tragedy of tlie Witei of Ed- 
monton, in which popular superstitions are skilfully combined with a 
deeply-touching story of love and treachery; and the works attributed 
to him are not numerous. Besides the above piece he wrote the trage- 
dies of the Brother and Sister, the Broken Heart (beyond all com- 
parison his most powerful work, a. graceful historical drama on the- 
Eubject of Perlcin Warbeck), and the following romantic or tragi-comlc 
pi-rces : the Lover's Melancholy, Love's Sacrifice, the Fancies, Chaste 
gnd Noble, and the Lady's Trial. His "ersonal character, if we may 
judge from slight allusions found in contemporary writings, sei'ms 
lo iLave been sombre and retiring; and in his worki sweetness and 
pathos are carried to a higher pitch than in any other dramatist. In 
the tem'ble play of the Brother and Sister the subject is love of the 
most unnatural and criminal kind ; and yet Ford fails not to render his 
chief personages, however we may deplore and even abhor their crime, 
objects of our sympathy and pity. In the Broken Heart we have in the 
noble Penthea, in Orgilus, Ithocles, and Calantha, four phases of un- 
hiippj paBsjon ; and in tjic scenes between Pentlie« iind her cruel b«l 



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A. D. 1586-1639.] FORr. WEBSTER. 1™ 

repentant brother, between Penthea and the Princesii (in which thi- 
Jying victim makes lier will in such fantastic but deeplj-touching 
terms), and last of all in the tremendous accumulation of moral suf 
feringwith which the piece concludes, we cannot but recognize ii. Foro 
a master of dramatic effect. His lyre has but few tones, but his music 
makes up in intensity for what it wants in variety; and at present we 
can hardly understand how any audience could ever have borne tlw 
hsrrowing up of their sensibilities by such repeated strokes of pathos. 
Ford, like theothergreat dramatists ofthat era of giants, never shrank 
from dealing with the darkest, the most mysterious enigmas of our 
moral nature. His verse and dialogue are even somewhat monotonous 
in their sweet and plaintive melody, and are marked by a great richness 
of classical allusion. His comic scenes are even more worthless and 
offensive than those of Massinger, One proof of the consummate 
mastery which Ford possessed over the whole gamut of love-sentimeill 
is his skill in making attractive the characters of unsuccessful suitors, 
in proof of which may be dted Orgilus and the noble Malfato. 

§ 7. But perhaps the most powerful and original genius among the 
Shakspearian dramatists of the second order is John Webster. His 
terrible and funereal Muse was Death; his wild imagination revelled in 
images and sentiments which breathe, as it were, the odor of the char- 
nel: his plays are full of pictures recalling with fantastic variety all 
associations of the weakness and fiitility of human hopes and interests, 
and dark questionings of our future destinies. His literary physiog- 
nomy has something of that dark, bitter, and woful espressioa which 
makes us thrill in the portraits of Dante. The number of his known 
works is very small 1 the most celebrated among them is the tragedy of 
the Dachess ofMalfy (1623) ; but others are not inferior to that strange 
piece in intensity of feeling and savage grimness of plot and treat- 
ment. Besides the above we possess Guise, or the Massacre of France, 
in which the St. Barthelemy is, of course, the main action, the Devil'i 
Lata Case, the Wiite Devil, founded on the crimes and sufferings of 
Vittoria Coromhona, Afpias and Virginia ; and we thus see that in the 
majority of his subjects he worked by preference on themes which 
offered a congenial field for his portraiture of the darker passions and 
of the moral tortures of their victims. Irf selecting such reTolting 
Ihemes as abounded in the black annals of mediaeval Italy, Webster 
followed thepeculiar bent ofhis great and morbid genius ; in the treat- 
ment of these subjects we find a strange mixture of the horrible with 
the pathetic. In his language there is an extraordinary union of com- 
plexity and simplicity : he loves to draw his illustrations not only from 
" skulls, and graves, and epitaphs," but also from the most attractive 
and picturesque objects in nature, and his occasional intermingling o: 
the deepest and most innocent emotion and of the most ^xquisi.f 
touches of natural beauty produces the effect of the daisy springing 
lip amid the festering mould of a graveyard. Lllte many of his con- 
temporaries, he knew the secret of expressing the highest passion 
Jiroiigh the most familiar images; and the dirges and funeral sonp 



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161 TBE SHAKSPBARIAff DRAMATISTS. [Chap. VIII 

which he has frequentlj introduced into his pieces possese, as Charlei 
Lamb eloquently expresses it, that intensity of feeling which seems tc 
resolve itself into the very elements they contemplate. His dramai 
are generally composed ill mingled prose and verse; and it is possible 
that he may have had a share in the production of many other piecei 
besides those I have enumerated above. 

g 8. As the dramatic forra vras the predominant type of popu!»r 
literature at this splendid period, the a;.adent iflnst expect to be bewil- 
dered by the great though subordinate glory of a multitude of minai 
lights of the theatrical heaven, whose genius our space will enable u 
to analyze but in a very rapid and cursory manner. The works of 
these playwrights, each of whom has, when closely examined, his 
peculiar traits, have, however, such a strong family resemblance both 
in their merits and defects, that this cursory appreciation will not lead 
tBe reader into any considerable error ; one star of the bright constel- 
lation may somewhat differ from another in glory, but the genera' 
character and composition of their rays are the same. Chapman, Dek- 
ker, Middleton, and Marston are all remarkable for their fertility and 
luxuriance. George Chapman, who has been previously^mentioned 
as the translator of Homer (p. 85), is, however, more admirable for 
hie lofty, classical spirit, and for the power with which he communi- 
cated the rich coloring of romantic poetry to the forms borrowed by 
his learning from Greek legend and history. Thomas Dekker, one 
of the most inexhaustible of the literary workers of his age, though he 
generally appears as a fellow-laborer with other dramatists, yet in the 
few pieces attributed to his unassisted pen shows great elegance of 
language and deep tenderness of sentiment. Thomas Middleton is 
admired for a certain wild and fantastic fancy which delights in por- 
traying scenes of witchcraft and supernatural agency. John Marston, 
on the contrary, deserves applause less by a purely dramatic quality of 
genius than by a lofty and satiric tone of invective in which he lashes 
the vices and follies of mankind, and in particular the neglect of learn- 
ing. Nor can he who would make acquaintance with the dramatic 
wealth of this marvellous age pass without attention the works of 
Taylor, Tourneur, Rowley, Broome, and Thomas Heywood. Tourneut 
has some resemblance, in the sombre and gloomy tone of his works, 
to the terrible genius of Webster, while Broome is remarkab'.e for the 
immense number of pieces in whose composition he had a greater or 
less share; an observation which may also be applied to Heywood. 
This latter poet must not be confounded with h;3 namesake John, who 
was one of the earliest dramatic authors, and flourished in the reigni 
of Henry VIII. and Mary (see p. 112). Thomas Heywood exhibits a 
graceful fancy, and one of his plays, A Woman Killed ■vjiih Kiiidneu, 
is among the most touching of the period. Broome was originally 
Ben Jonson's domestic servant, but afterwards attained considerabis 
success upon the stage. 

§ 9, The dramatic era of Elizabeth and J^mes closes with James 
SHifU.EY (1594-1666), whose comedies, though in many respects bear- 



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A. B. 1S43.) snmisr. inj 

mslte .me gener.l ch.t.cter „ the work, „f hi. great pretlece.sora, 

21 Zr h° °";,°" °'. " "" '"'"»'■ «■ '""' » 'ta Mnction of 
y.j .iid OtBh.mble .od.ly, ,„d hh d,.„„ .„ more l,„d.ble fo, e.,e, 
nature, and animation than for profound tracings of human nature, o. 
r- u w """t™"™ "f aiararter. He p.„ed through the whole of th. 
t- VII War, the Commonwealth, and the Revolution, and is the link 
■viuch connects the great dramatic school of Shakspeare with the verv 
a l,c ent form of lie dram, which revived at the Re.tor.llon In ,6fc. 
In ptoportton a. the Puritan party grew in inHuenee and acrimonj, in 
prec...lj eju.l degree grew the ho.tiiitj to the theatre; and at tast, 
when fanaf asm wa. rampant, the theatre was formali; and iegall, 
.uppressed, the plaj-hon.es were pulled down hj bigoted mob, of citi- 
„"- "••''•}''•"•_■ and the performance of plaj«, my, the simple wit- 
neenng of theatrical repre.entations, made « penal offence. This tool 
place September ., tlip,, .nd the dramatic profession may be regarded a, 
romam.ng under the frown of government during about fourtlen vear, 
* "' h tl (I t w ved. but revived, as we shall 

pi t ly d if rent fonn, and with totally 
cause f fl d . w 11 1 terary. Of the nature and 

ooliti 1 d 1" ' , ' ' * '"^^^ profound than the gnial 

i.h.n P k a nice """ "■"••w-"«"i"«."i', 

it wonderful and majestic 
s characterized by 






§10 Th Pi 
itbu t f 



surl. " ^ J , ' 1 and fertility of imagination, 

we„ . dd T .r B wh tl stores of classical anti<,uity 

w.„,ddlythw p tthppi mind i.nd this richness and 
.plendo, of fancy .re combined with the greatest force and vigor of 
famd.ar ejprossion. We have an intimate tmion of the comoSn and 
he rehncd, the boldest Sights of fancy and the most scrupnlon. lideiit, 
to actual „ai,t,. The groat object of these dramatists being to pro- 
duce intense .aprc.sions upon a miscellaneous audience, thJy sacri- 
«ced everythmg to .trenglh and nature. The ciroum.tance that most 
01 tnese writers were actors tended to give their productions the pecu- 
liar tone the, eahlbil , to this wa must attribute some of their gr™, 
defer s as weU as many of their most Inimitable beauties - their occa- 
sional coarseness, eiaggeration, and buifoonery, as well as that in.tinc- 
bve knowledge of ,Jia which never abandon, them. But besides 
temg actors, they were, almost without exception, men of educated 
and cultivated minds; and thus their writings never fail to show a 
peciiliar oramn of style and language, which is perceptible even in the 
least fragment of their dialogue. They wero also »,.., men of strou. 

■"h ';°r 't ; " °' ''"""'■' '"=■!■»■« -l-" a^y at .trongly, and 
what they had seen i„ their wild live,, the, boldly transferred to their 
writings; which thus roHect not onl, the faithful image, of human 
character and passion under every conceivable condition, not only the 
strongest a, well a. th, „„,t delicate coloring of fancy and imagina- 
lion, but the profoundest and simpie.t precepts derived from the prao- 



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1^6 



}fdtM8 And tttiTs¥HAtiONs. 



[Chap. Vltt 



licai experience of life. It should never be forgotten tliat tbcj' nil 
resemble Shakspeare -n the general texture of their language and tin: 
prevailing- principles of their mode of dramatic treatmetil, and onlj 
differ from him in the degree to which they possess separately those 
high and varied qualities which he alone of all human beings carrleil 
lo an almost superhuman degree of intensity. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



whollybyhJrc The flr 



of lilnjs, Thirlj-c^lil e 



frElic f^cet vt VJttLHI, H 



101? i AnviidMfi>f Lading, IfllS. 

at Coiui College, CniQbrii^e, was AuncioUit wi 
Rovley. DolcbDr, CheQU, Mid Mar1aq-«, au<] is bp 

fllgUI of Dug. Hl9 chlof woclK irara Briiiol Tr 
ffedlf, ]W^ Lam JWrlv, l<^ aiul the BHnd Brffff 



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CuAl-.IX.] rSE SO-OAllMD METAPlirStCAL POBi'S. 



CHAPTER IX. 
THE SO-CALLED METAPHTSICAL POETS. A. i>. i6oo-i7(» 

§ 1. ChicacteriEtioB of the so-oal!etl metaphysical poets. { 2. Withes, and 

QCARLES. {3. HeUBEST and CBA8IIAW. { 4- HeHbICK, Sucklims, uu! 

LovEucE. } 6. EaoiVNE and Habinqtok } G. Wa-Ii^er. § 7. Daienini 
andDENuiu. § 8. Cowley. 



§ I. The seventeenth century is one of the most momentous in Eng- 
lish history. A large portion of it is occupied by an immense fermen- 
tation, political and religious, through which were worked out many of 
those institutions to which the country owes its grandeur and its hap- 
piness. The Civil War, the Commonwealth, the Protectorate, and the 
Restoration, fill up the space extending from 1630 to 1660, while its 
termination was signalized by another revolution, which, though peace- 
ful and bloodless, was destined to exert a perhaps even more beneficial 
influence on the future fortunes of the country. In its literary aspect 
this agitated epoch, though not marked by that marvellous outburst of 
creative power which dazzles us in the reigns of Elizabeth and her 
successor, yet has left deep traces on the turn of thought and expression 
of the English people; and confining ourselves to the department of 
poetry, and excluding the solitary example in Milton of a poet of the 
first class, who will form the subject of a separate study, we may saj 
that this period introduced a class of excellent writers in whom the 
intellect and the fancy play a greater part than sentiment or passion. 
Ingenuity predominates over feeling ; and while Milton owed much to 
many of these poets, whom I have ventured, in accordance with John- 
son, to style the metaphysical class, nevertheless we must allow that 
they had much to do with generating the so-called correct and artificial 
manner which distinguishes the classical writers of the age of William, 
Anne, and the first George. 1 propose to pass in rapid review, and 
generally according to chronological order, the most striking names of 
this department, extending from about 1600 to 1700. 

% 2, Georoe Wither (1588-1667) and Francis Quaries (1592- 
1644) are a pair of poets whose writings have a considerable degi-ee of 
.esemblance in manner and subject, and whose lives were similar in 
misfortune. Wither took an active part in the Civil War, attained 
command under the administration of Cromwell, and had to undergo 
severe persecution and long imprisonment. His most important vrork 
is a collection of poems, of a partially pastoral character, entitled the 
Shepherd's Hunting, in which the reader will find frequent rural de- 
scriptions of exquisite fandfulness and beauty, together with a sweet 
and pure tone of moral reflection. The vice of Wither, as it vras gen- 
Ciallyof the literature of hif nire. was ft passion for ingenious Xmm 



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1^8 TKB BO-CALLED METAPHYSICAL POETS. [Chap. IX. 
and unexpected conceits, which bear the same relation to reaiiy beauti- 
ful thoughls tliat plaj-B upon words do to true wit. He is also often 
eingularly deficient in taste, and frequentlj' defonns graceful images bj 
the juxtaposition of what is merely quaint, and is sometimes even 
ignoble. Many of his detached lyrics are extremely beautiful, and the 
lerse is feenerally flowing and melodious ; but in reading his best pas- 
sages we are always nervously apprehensive of coming at any moment 
upon something which will jar upon our sympathy. He wrote, among 
many other works, a curious series of Emblems, in which his puritani- 
cal enthusiasm revels in a system of moral and theological analogies at 
la»st as far-fetched as poetical. Qiiarles, though a Royalist as ardent as 
Wither was a devoted Republican, exhibits many points of intellectual 
resemblance to Wither; to whom, however, he was far inferior in 
poetical sentiment One of his most popular works is a collection of 
Divine Emblems, in which moral and religious precepts are inculcated 
in short poems of a most quaint character, and illustrated by engravings 
filled with what m^j be called allegory run mad. For example, the 
text, "Who will deliver me from the body of this death?" is accom- 
panied by a cut representing a diminutive human figure, typifying the 
60ul, peeping through the ribs of a skeleton as from behind 'Jie bars of 
a dungeon. This taste for extravagant yet prosaic allegory was bor- 
rowed from the laborious ingenuity of the Dutch and Flemish moralist* 
and divines ; and Otto Van Veen, the teacher of Rubens, is answerable 
for some of the most extravagant pictorial absurdities of this nature. 
Qiiarles, however, in spite of his quaintness, is not destitute of the 
feeling of a true poet; and many of his pieces bi-eathe an intense 
spirit of religious fervor. In spite of their antagonism in politics, 
Quatles and Wither bear a strong resemblance : the one may be desig- 
nated as the most roundhead of the Cavaliers, the other as the most 
cavalier of the Roundheads. 

§ 3. If Quarks and Wither represent ingenuity carried to extrava- 
gance, George Herbert (1593-1631) and Richard Crashaw (circa 
1620-1650) exhibit the highest exaltation of religious sentiment, and 
ire both worthy of admiration, not only as Christian poets, but as good 
men and pious priests. George Herbert was born in 1593, and at first 
renderedhimself remarkable by the graces and accimplishraents of the 
courtly scholar; but afterwards entering the Church, exhibited, as 
parish priest of Bemertoa in Wiltshi'^, all the virtues which can adorn 
liie country parson — a character he has beautifully described in a prose 
tieatise under that title. He died in 1632, and was known among his 
contemporaries as "holy George Herbert." He was certainly one of 
the most perfect characters which the Anglican Church has nourislied in 
her bosom. His poems, principally religious, ai-e generally short lyrics, 
combining pious aspiration with frequent and beautiful pictures of 
nature. He decorates the altar with the sweetest and most fragi-ani 
flowers of fancy and of wit. Herbert's poems are not devoid of that 
strange and perverted ingenuity with which 1 have reproached' Quarles 
and Wither; but the tender unction which reigns throughout his lyricu 



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A. D. 1530-1674 ] f^mSffiW HERRirK LOVELACE 169 

serves as a kind of intidote to the poiaon oi pt,rprtinl conceiS In hii 
most EULcesEUil cfloits he has almost attained the perfection cf de- 
votional poetry, a calm and yd: aident glow a well governed fervor, 
which seem peculiarly to belong to the Church of which he was e 
minister equally remoied from the pompous and childi'^h enthusiacm 
of Catholic devotion and the gloomy mjs,ticisra of Cah miotic pietj 
His best collection ot sicred lyrics is entitled the Temple, or Sacred 
Po^ma and Frtvaie Ejaculations 

Ci-ashawfi short lile wbb glowing throughout with religious enth\i- 
aianm. The date of his birth is not exactly Isnown, but probably was 
kbou> 1620; and he died, a canon of the Cathedral of Loretto, in 1650. 
He was brought up in the Anglican Church, and received a learned 
education at Oxford ; but during the Puritan troubles he embraced the 
Romish faith, and carried to the ancient Church a singuiarly sensitive 
mind, very extensive erudition, and a gentle but intense devotional 
mysticism. He had been employed in negotiation by Charles I., and 
seems to have possessed among his contemporaries a high reputation 
for ability. The mystical tendency of his mind was increased by his 
misfortunto and by his change of religion, and in his later works we 
find the fervor of his pietism reaching a pitch little short of extrava- 
gance. He is said to have been an ardent admirer of the ecstatic writings 
of St. Theresa ; and that union of the sensuous fervor of human affec- 
tion with the wildest flights of theological rapture which we see in the 
writings of the great Catholic mystics, la faithfully reproduced in 
Crashaw. That he possessed an exquisite fancy, great melody of verse, 
and that power over the reader which nothing can replace, and which 
springs from deep earnestness, no one can deny. The reader will never 
regret the time he may have employed in malting some acquaintance 
wi'.h Crashaw's poetry, among the most favorable specimens of which 
I may cite the Steps to the Temple, and the beautiful description enUtled 
Music's Duel, borrowed from the celebrated Contention between a 
Nightingale and a Musician, composed by Famianus Strada, of which 
there is a most exquisite imitation in Ford's play of the Lover's Melan- 

g 4. Love, romantic loyalty, and airy elegance find their best repre- 
sentatives in three charming poets wliose works may be examined 
under one genera! head. These are Robert Herhick (1591-1674), 
Sir John Suqkxing (1609-1641), and Sir Richard Lovelace (i6i8~ 
1658). The first of these writers, after beginning his career among the 
brilliant but somewhat debauched literary society of the town and the 
Iheatre, took orders, and, like Herbert, passed the latter portion of his 
life in the obscurity of a country pariah. Unlike Herbert, however, he 
ccalinued to exhibit In his writings, after this change of life, the same 
gracpfulbut voluptuous spirit which distinguished his early writings; 
ami unlike the holy pastor of Bemerton, he seems never to have ceased 
repining at the fate which obliged him to exchange the gay conversa- 
tion of poets and wits for the unsympathizing companionship of the 
rural " salvages " among whom he was condemned to live. His poems 
15 



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170 TUS SO-CALLED METAFlirSWAL POETS. [Chap. TX 

are all lyric, generally songs ; and love and wine liarm their invariable 
topics. In Herrick we find the most unaccountable mixture of sensual 
coarseness with exquisite refinement. Like the Faun oi the anciecit 
sculpture, his Muse unites the bestial and the divine. In fancy, in 
geniua, in power over the melody of verse, he is never deficient; and "t 
is easy to see that in his union of tenderness with richness of imsgina- 
tion he had been inspired by the iovely pastoral and lyric movemenU 
of Fletcher and of Heywood. Suckling and Lovelace are the types of 
the Ca/alier poet: both underwent persecution, and were reduced to 
|i[i'ert3-. Lovelace was long and often imprisoned for his adherence to 
iJie loyal docti-ines of his party, and is said to have died in abject dis- 
tress. Both were men of elegant if not profound scholarship, and both 
exemplify the spirit of loyalty to their king, and gallantry to the ladies. 
Many of Suckling's love songs are equal, if not superior, to the most 
beautiful examples of that mixture of gay badinage and tender if not 
very deep-felt devotion which characterizes French courtly and erotic 
poetry in the seventeenth century; and his thoughts are expressed with 
thst cameo-like neatness and refinement of expression which ie the 
great merit of the minor French literature from Marot to Beranger. 
But his most exquisite production is his Ballad ujiim a Wedding, in 
which, assuming the character of a rustic, he describes the marriage of 
a fashionable couple, Lord Broghill and Lady Margaret Howard. In 
thig inimitable gem, if we exclude one or two allusions of a somewhat 
too warm complexion, the reader will find the perfection of grace and 
elegance, rendered only the more piquant by the well-assumed naivete 
of the style. Lovelace is more serious and earnest tlian Suckling: his 
lyrics breathe rather devoted loyalty than the half-passionate, half- 
jesting love-fancy of his rival. Some of his mostcharming lyrics were 
written in prison; and the beautiful lines to AI the a, composed when 
the author was closely confined in the Gate-house at Westminster, 
remind us of tlie caged bird which learns its sweetest and most plain- 
tive notes when deprived of its woodland liberty. 

The gay and airy spirit which we see running through the minoi 
poetry of (his epoch maybe tiaced back to a period considerably earlier 
— to the contemporaries of Ben Jonson and tlis great dramatists. The 
pleasant and facetious Bishop Corbet (p. 86), Carew, one of the 
ornaments of tlie court of Charles I. (p. 86), and even Drijhmono 
(p. 87), though the genius of the latter is of a more serious turn, all 
e\hibit a tendency to intellectual ingenuity which was afterwards grad- 
ually divested of that somewhat pedantic character wh'ch Drumniiciul, 
for example, had imbibed from his models, the masters of the Italian 
sonnet. It is curious to observe tiiat the Scots should in this time have 
distinguished themselves in their writings by a learned and artificially 
classical spirit strangely at variance with the unadorned gra<:es cf the 
" native woodnotes wild " tliat thrill so sweetly through their nacional 
and popular songs. Tiiis learned character was perhaps derived from, 
as it is chiefiy exemplified in, Buchanan, one of the purest and most 
truly classical writers in Latin verse among those who have appeared 



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A. e. iSqo-i687..1 BROWNE. HABrNOTON: WALLER. 171 

since the deBiniction of Roman literature (p. 107). Tlie Scots have 
generally been a learned peojile, and much of their national annala 
was written in Latin, sometimea in Latin of great elegance. This inaj 
perhaps be in some degree attributed to tlie fact that their vernaculai 
dialect, when they employed it, was, though certainly far too cultivated 
ta be stigmatized as e.patocs of English, yet at nli events no better than 
B provincial mode of speech ; and the naivete which is charming in (i 
song or poem runs great risk of exciting contempt when coloring hit 
liir;cal or philosophical matter. 

§ B. WiLi-iAM Browne (1590-1645) was the author, besides a Jarge 
number of graceful lyrics and shorter poems, of a work entitled Sri- 
fauvia's Pastorals, undoubtedly suggested, as far as their style and 
treatment are concerned, bythe example of Spenser and Giles Fletcher. 
They contain much agreeable description of rural life, but they are 
chargeable with that ineradicable defect which accompanies all idyllic 
poetry, however beautiful may be its details, namely, the want of prob- 
ability in tlie scenes and characters, when tlie reader tests them by a 
reference to his own experience of what rustic life really is. I!is verse 
is almost unifoimly well knit, easy, and harmonious ; and the attentive 
reader could select many passages from this poet, now little read, ex- 
hibiting great felicity of thought and expression. 

William Habington (1605-1654) is a poet of about the same calibre 
as Browne, though hia writings are principally devoted to love. He 
celebrates, with much ingenuity and occasional grace, the charms and 
virtues of a lady whom he calls Castara, and who — a fate rare in the 
annals of the love of poets — was not only his idea! mistress, but hip 
wife. Habingtoft, iike Crash aw, was a Catholic; and his poems ara 
free from that immorality which BO often stains the graceful fancies of 
the poets of this age. Though generally devoted to love, Habington's 
collected works exhibit some of a moral and religious tendency. 

g 8. The most prominent and popular figures of the period we are 
now considering, and the writers who exerted the strongest influence 
on their own time, I have reserved till the end of this .hapter: they are 
Waller and Cowley, to which may be added the secondary but still 
important names of Denham and Davenant. 

Edmund Waller (1605-16S7) was unquestionably one of the leading 
characters in the literary and political history of England during the 
momentous period embraced by his long life. He was of ancient and 
/iignified family, of great wealth, and a man of varied accomplishment! 
jnd fascinating manners; but his characterwas timid and selfish, and 
lie politica. principles fluctuated with every change that menaced 
iither his safety or his interest. He sat for many years in Parliament, 
and was the "darling of the House of Commons" for the readiness of 
!iis repartees and tiie originality and pleasantness of his speeches. II 
was unfortunate for a man endowed with the light talents formed to 
adorn a court to be obliged to take part in public affairs at so serious a 
crisis as that of the Long Parliament, the Civil War, and the Restora- 
tion! but Waller seems for a while to have floated scathless through 



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i72 TSE SO-CALLED METAPHYSICAL FOBITS. [Chap. 1% 

the storms of that terrible time, tiusting, like the nautilus, to the vei^ 
fragility which bears it safely among rocks and quicksands where an 
argosy would be wrecked. He exhibited repeated indications of tergi- 
versation in those difBcult times, professing adherence to Puritan and 
Republican doctrines while really sympathizing with the Court party; 
and on more than one occasion was accused of eomethitig very like 
distinct military treachery. Even his consummate adroitness did not 
aiiraj^ tucceed in securing impunity; and in 1643 he was convicted by 
tl* House of a plot to betray London to the King, and narrowly 
escaped a capital punishment, being imprisoned, fined 10,000/., and 
obtiged to exile himself for some time, which he passed in France. 
His condHct at tliis juncture is said to have been mean and abject- 
Though distantly related by birth to the great and good Hampden, and 
to Oliver Cromwell himself, whom he has celebmted in one of hit 
finest poems. Waller was ready to hail with enthusiasm every new 
change in the political world; and he panegyrized Cromwell and 
Charles 11. with equal fervor, though not with equal effect. He lived to 
see the accession of James II., whose policy he prophesied would lead 
to the fatal results that afterwards occurred. During the wtole of bis 
life Waller was the idol of society, but neither much trusted nor much 
respected — a pliant, versatile, adroit partisan, joining and deserting all 
causes in succession, and steering his bark with address through the 
dangers of the time. In his own day, and in the succeeding generation, 
his poetry enjoyed the highest reputation. He was said to have carried 
to perfection the art of expressing graceful and sensible Ideas in the 
clearest and most harmonious language; but his example, which acted 
so powerfully on Dryden and Pope, has ceased to exert the same in- 
fluence, which it owed rather to the good sense and good taste by which 
Walier avoids faults than to the ardor and enthusiasm which can alone 
attain beauties. Regular, reasonable, well-balanced, well-proportioned, 
the lines of Waller always gratify the judgment, but never touch the 
heart or fire the imagination. Here and there in his works may be 
found strokes of happy ingenuity which we know not whether to attrib- 
ute more to accident or to genius; as in the passage where he laments 
the cruelty of his mistress Sacharissa (Lady Dorothy Sidney), and 
boasts that his disappointment as a lover had given him immortality 
as a poet, he makes the following delicious allusion to the fable of 
Apollo and Daphne : — 

' ' I caught at love, but filled mjr arms with bays." 

Most of his poems are love verses, but his panegyric on Cromwell con- 
tains many passages of great dignity and force. He was less felicitous 
in his Icnger work, the Baltle of the Summer Islands, in which, in a 
half-Berioua, half-comic sirain, he described an attack upon a stranded 
whale in the Bahamas. 

§ 7. Sir William Davenant (1605-1668), born in the same yea/ 
with Waller, was one of the most ajtive llterarj and political person- 
ages of his day. He is principally interesting to us at the present Axj 



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&. D. i6oa-i 568.] DA VENANT. DENHAM. 



173 



aB being connected with the revival of tlie theatre after the eclipse il 
had suffered during the severe Puritan rule; and nothing can more 
clearly indicate the immense change which litei'a'ry taste had under- 
gone, than the fact that Davenant, who waa a most ardent worshipjiei 
of the genius of Shakspeare and Shakspeare's mighty contemporaiies, 
Bdoiild, in attempting to revive tlieir works, have found it necessai/ to 
alter their spirit so completely, that a reader who admires the originals 
must regard the adaptations with a feeling little less than disgusr. Yt> 
there can be no doubt that Davenant'a veneration was sincere. He wi. 
long connected with the Court Theatre, and both in the dramas which lie 
composed himself, and in those whicb he adapted and placed upon the 
stage, we see how far the taste for splendor of scenery, dances, nuisic, 
and decoration had usurped the passion of the earlier public for truth 
and intensity in the picturing of life and nature. Declamation and 
pompous tirades had now taken the place of the ancient style of dia- 
logue, so varied, so natural, touching every key of human feeling, from 
the wildest gayety to the deepest pathos. The mechanical accessories 
of the stage had been immensely improved; actresses, young beauti 
ful, and skilful, usurped the place of the boys of the Elizabethan scene 
and in every respect the stage had undergone a complete reiolut on 
We see the influence of that French or classical taste wl ich was 
brought into England by the exiled court of Charles II and which 
afterwards completely metamorphosed the character of our dramatic 
literature, which, in the time of Dryden and Congreve was dest ned 
to produce much that was imposing and vigorous in tragedy and much 
that was inimitable in comedy, but which was, in all t essent -ils 
something totally different from the great productions of tlie preced ng 
era. Davenant was a most prolific author, not only in the diamati 
department, in which his most popular productions were Albomne the 
Siege of Rhodes, the Lain against Lovers, the Crael Broikir and 
many others, but also as a narrative poet. He was alao one of the 
most active, virulent, and unscrupulous party-writers of that period 
There is a ridiculous story of Davenant being in the habit of gmnj, 
out that he was a natural son of Wiiliam Shakspeare by a handsome 
Oxford landlady, but neither the supposition itself nor the fact of Dav 
enanfs exhibiting such a strange, perverted kind of vanity, is at all 
deserving of credit. One of Davenant's prindpat non-dramatic worki 
is the poem of Goadiberl, narrating a long series of lofiy and chivaliif 
adventures in a dignified but somewhat monotonous manner. It i» 
written in a peculiar four-lined stanza with alternate rhymes, afterward* 
employed by Dryden in his Annus Mirabilis. It is, however, a form 
of versification singularly unfitted for continuous narraUon, and its 
employment may be one cause of the neglect into which the ona- 
admired work of Davenant has fallen — a neglect so complete that per- 
haps there are not ten men in England now living who have read il 
llirough. 

Sir John Denham Ci6is--i658) was the son of the Chief Baron of 
the Exchequer in Ireland, and a supporter of Charles I. Though S 



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174 TUB SO-CALLED METAFUrsWAL POETS. [Chap. IX. 
poet of the secondary' orde.', when regaided in coniiectLin with Cow- 
ley, one work of his, Cooper'sHill, will alwajs occupjan important place 
tn any account of the English Literature of the seventeenth century 
This place it owes not onij- to its specific merits, but also in no mean 
degree to the circumstance that this poem was the first work in a pecu- 
liar department which English writers afterwards cultivated with gre'al 
success, and which is, I believe, almost exclusively confined to our lit- 
Mature. Tl-.is department is what may be called local or topographir 
l'*try, and in it the writer chooses some individual scene as the object 



md which he is to accumulate his d 



r contemplative pat 



Denham selected for this purpose a beautiful spot near Rich- 
...■J.... cri the Thames, and in the description of the scene itself, as well 
as in the leflectious it suggests, he has risen to a noble elevation. Four' 
lines, indeed, in which he expresses the hope that his own verse may 
possess the qualities which he attributes to the Thames, will be quoted 
ai.'ain and again as one of the finest and most felicitous passages of 
verse in any language. 

§ 8. One of tlie most accomplished and inlluontial writers of the 
period was Abraham Cowley (1618-1667). Ho exhibits one of the 
most perfect types of the idea! man of letters. He was a remarkable 
instance of intellectual precocity, for he is said to have published his 
first poems, filled with enthusiasm by the Fairy ^ueen of Spenser 
when only thirteen years of age. He received a very complete and 
teamed education, partly at Oxford, and afterwards, when obliged by 
religious and political troubles to leave that academy, in the sister Uni- 
versity of Cambridge ; and he early acquired and long retained among 
his contemporaries the reputation of being one of the best scholars and 
most distinguished poets of his age. During the earlier part of his 
life he had been confidentially employed, both in England and in 
France, in the seivice of Charles I. and !iis queen, and on attaining 
middle age he detennined to put in execution the philosophical project 
lie had long fondly cherished, of living in rural and lettered retirement- 
Me was disappointed in obtaining such a provision as he thought his 
services had deserved ; but receiving a grant of some crown leases pio- 
ducing a moderate income, he quitted London and went to reside ntar 
Chcrtsey. But bis dreams of ease and tranquillity were not fulfilled- 
lie was involved in continual squabbles with the tenants, from whom 
he could extort no rents ; and he speaks with constant querulousness 
>r the hostility and vexations to which he was subjected. He died »f 
I fever caused by imprudence and excess, but not before he had learned 
he melancholy trutli that annoyances and vexations pursue us ever 
into the recesses of niral obscurity. 

Cjwley is highly regarded among tlie writers of his time both as a 
poet and an essayist. Immense nnd multifarious learning, well digested 
by reflection and polished Into brilliancy by taste and sensibility, ren- 
iters his prose works, in which he frequently intermingles passages of 
verse, reading little less delightful than the fascinating pages of Mon- 
taigne. Cowley, like Montaigne, possesses the chaim arising from Ih? 



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A. D 1618-1667.] 



COWLET. 175 



intimate u.iion between reading and reflection, between curious era^•- 
Uon and original speculation, tlie quaintness of tlie scliolar and tiw 
practical knowledge of tte man of the world. There are few writers 
HO substantial as Cowlej; few whose productions possess that peculiar 
attraction which grows upon the reader as he becomes older and more 
contemplative. As a poet, the reputation of Cowley, immense in bis 
•rum day, has much diminished, which is to be attributed to that abuse 
of intellectual ingenuity, that passion for learned, far-fetched, and 
fecondite illustrations which was to a certain extent the vice of his age. 
He I as very little passion or depth of sentiment ; and in his love-versee 
— a kind of composition then thought obligatory on all who were 
■mbitious of the name of poet — he substitutes the play of the intel- 
lect for the unaffected outpouring of the feelings. He was deeply versed 
both in Greek and Latin literature, and his imitations, paraphrases, 
and translations show perfect knowledge of his originals and great 
mastery over the resources of the English language. Me translated the 
Odes of Anacreon, and attempted to revive the boldness, the pictu- 
resqueness, and the fire of the Pindaric poetry; but his odes have only 
an external resemblance with those of the " Theban Eagle." They 
have the irregularity of form — only an apparent irregularity in the 
case of the Greek originals, which, it must be remembered, were writ- 
ten to be accompanied by that Greek music of whose structure nothing 
is now known; but they have not that intense and concentrated fire 
which burns with an inextinguishable ardor, like the product of some 
chemical combustion, in the great Bceotian lyrist. Cowley seems al- 
ways on the watch to seize some ingenious and unexpected parallelism 
of ideas or images; and when the illustration is so found, the shock 
of surprise which the reader feels is rather akin to a flash of wit than 
lo an electric stroke of genius. Cowley lived at the moment when the 
revolution inaugurated by Bacon was beginning to produce its first 
fruits. The Royal Society, then recently founded, was astonishing the 
world, and astonishing its own members, by the immense horizon 
opening before the bold pioneers of the Inductive Philosophy. In this 
mighty movement Cowley deeply sympathised; and perhaps the finest 
of his lyric competitions are those in which, with a grave and. well- 
adorned eloquence, he proclaims the genius and predicts the triumpha 
of Bacon and his disciples in physical science. 

One long epic poem of great pretension Cowley meditated but left 
unfinished. This is the Davideis, the subject of which is the suffer- 
ings and glories of the King of Israel. But this work is now complete- 
ly neglected. Biblical personages and events have rarely, with the 
solitary and subiime exception of Milton, been transported with success 
out of the majestic language of the Scripture; and it may be main- 
tained, without much fear of contradiction, that the rhymed heroic 
couplet — the measure employed by Cowley — is not a form of versifi- 
cation capable of supporting the attention of'he reader through a lofty 
«pic narrative. The genius of Cowley wii« far more ljT;ic thijn epJcj 



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N'OTBS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



[Ch. 



uid in his sliorter ounpositions he exerted that influence upon the stjic 
of English poetry which tended very much, during nearly two centu- 
ries, to modify it very perceptibly, and which is espedally traceable in 
the writings of Drjden, Pope, and generally in the next succeeding 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



jE<ieie-io3Q),Bpiijsi. 



CUABUEfl COTTOM (liBHeB?), bei 



to IrOvia, Campbell icmarkB) Beoma ta onUf^iiM 
Iha maniter of Anrt^ in the Bath Qaide. 

Hbhbi TiUQBAB (IBlt-ieM), a natiiB of Wales, 
bom in BredmocksbSre, fliaHiied lo the low, which 
ha afbrmiTai telinqnlslieil Sir IhB profeKrion of 

lincoua poemi. Campbell itjt of Mm thai 



1. Hekky Kibq (1561-1669), etsplaiu lo Janicj 
Ij talielouspoell)'. HIa HlOiiehB are eleyaled, 






lOBK CliTBI-iBU (KlS-iasS), ■( 



LE(iI. 1S73), dangliliiror 



vntufloftlievTltlnBeisDotgrut. 
KiTUBjHKE PHILira 11631-16M), a Carfli 
gansJilM ladi, knowa bj Ihe nanw of (Mada, en 



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A.. D. i5S4-i6':6.i TBEO1.OQICAL WRITH&S. 



CHAPTEk X. 



{1. Theological Writers. John Haleb and William CniLLiNQWORTH. §2. 
Sir TiioiiAS Bbownh. ^ 3. Thomas Fulleh. { 4. Jebehy Tayxoe. Hi» 
Life, i 5. Hia Liberty of Prophesying and other works. § 6. His style com- 
pared ivith. Spenser. J 7. RrOHABD Baxtbb. The Qualiers ; Fox, Paufr, and 
Babclay. 

§ 1. The Civil War, which led to the temporary overthrow of the 
ancient monarchy of England, was in many respects a religious as weK 
as a political contest. It was a stiiiggle for liberty of faiOi at least as 
much as for liberty of civil government. The prose literature of tliU 
time, therefore, as well as of a period extending considerably beyond 
it, exhibits a strong religious or theological character. The blood oL 
martyrs, it has been said, is the seed of the Church; and the alternate 
triumphs and persecutions, through which passed both the Anglican 
Church and the multiplicity of rival sects which now arose, naturally 
developed to tiie highest degree both the intellectual powers and the 
Christian energies of their adherents. The most glorious outburst of 
theological eloquence which the Church of England has exhibited, in 
the writings of Jeremy Taylor, Barrow, and the other great Anglican 
Fathers, was responded to, by the appearance, in the ranks of the sec- 
taries, of many remarkable men, some hardly inferior in learning and 
genius to the leaders whose doctrines they opposed, while others, with 
a ruder yet more burning enthusiasm, were the founders of dissenting 
communions, as in the case of the Qiiakers. 

John Hales (1584-1656), surnamed " the ever-memorable John 
Hales," was a man who enjoyed among his contemporaries an im- 
mense reputation for the vastness of his learning and the acutcness of 
his wit. He was born in 1584, and in the earlier part of his Ofe had 
acquired, by travel and diplomatic service in foreign countries, a vast 
amount not only of literary knowledge, but practical acquaintance wilJ. 
men and affairs ; he afterwards retired to the learned obscurity of t 
fclowship of Eton College, where he passed the sad and dangerous 
years filled with civil contention. During part of this time his writingi 
End opinions rendered him so obnoxious to the dominant party thai 
a price was set upon his head, and he was obliged to hide, being at thf 
same time reduced to the estremest privations. He for some time sub- 
sisted by the sale of his books. He died in 1656, and left behind hiin 
the reputation of one of the most solid and yet acutest intellects thai 
his country had produced. The greater part of his writings are con- 
Iroversial, treating on tl\e politico -religious questions that then agilati^'l 



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I'B THEOLOGICAL WBITMR8. [Chap. X 

men's minds. He had been present at the Synod of Dort, and hai 
given an intei esting account of the questions debated in that assembly. 
While attending its sittings as an agent for the English Church he was 
converted from the Calvinistic opinions he had hitherto held to those 
of the Episcopalian divines. Both in his controversial writings and 
in his sermons he exhibits a fine example of that rich yet chastened 
eloquence which chai-acterizes the great English divines of the seven- 
teenth century, and which was carried to the highest pitch of gorgeous 
magnificence by Taylor and of majestic grandeur by Barrow. 

William Chillinoworth (1602-1644), also an eminent defendei 
of Protestantism against the Church of Rome, was converted to tlit 
Roman Catholic faith while studying at Oxford, and went to the Jesuits 
College at Douay. But he subsequently returned to Oxford, renounced 
his new faith, and published in 1637 his celebrated work against Cathol- 
ii^iam, entitled The Religioa of the Protmtants a Safe Way to Salva- 
tion, in reply to a treatise by a Jesuit, named Knott, who had mam- 
tained that unrepenting Protestants could not be saved. " In the long 
parenthetical periods," observes Mr. Hallam, " as in those of other old 
English writers, in his copiousness, which is never empty or tautologi- 
cal, there is an inartificial eloquence springing from strength of intel- 
lect and sincerity of feeling that cannot fail to impress the reader. But 
his chief excellence is the close reasoning which avoids every danger- 
ous admission, and yields to no ambiguousness of language. He per- 
teiyed and maintained with great courage, considering the times in 
nhich he wrote and the temper of those whom he was not unwilling to 
seep as friends, his favorite tenet, that all things necessary to be 
believed are clearly laid down in Scripture. ... In later times his book 
obtained a high reputation; he was called the immortal Chillingworth; 
he was the favorite of all the moderate and the latitudinarian writers, 
of Tillotson, Locke, and Warburton." 

§ a. The writings of Sir Thomas Brownb (1605-1682), though not 
exclusively theological, belong, chronologically as well as by their style 
and manner, to this department. Both as a man and a writer this is 
one of the most peculiar and eccentric of our great prose-authors ; and 
the task of giving a clear appreciation of him is unusually olfficult. 
He was an exceedingly learned man, and passed the greater paj-t of his 
life in practising physic in the ancient city of Norwich. It should be 
remembered that the great provincial towns at that time had not been 
degraded to that insignificance to which the modern facility of inter-, 
course has reduced them in relation to the Metropolis : they were Ihen 
ii < (nany little capitals, possessing their society, their commercial activ- 
ity, and their local physiognomy, and had not j^et been swallowed up 
b she monster London. Browne was bora in 16c.;, and his life was 
unusually prolonged, as he died in 1683. His writings are of a most 
miscellaneous character, ranging from observations on natural science 
to the most arduous subtleties of moral and metaphysical speculation. 
Among the most popular of his works are the treatise entitled Hydrio- 
iafkia, or UrM-Burial, and the Essays on Vulgar Brtori, which bev 



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h. D. i6o8-i66i.] BROWNE. FULLER. 179 

the nami! o( Pseudoxia Bpideinica. The first of tV.sse treatises was sug- 
goblod lijf llie digging up in Norfolk of some Roman funeral urns, and 
the other is an attempt to overthrow many of tne commori supersti- 
tion of the siihject will altogether fail to gne an idea of Browne's 
«tr-inge but f sc nating writ ng= Thej are the fnnk and undiaguiseJ 
t itpourings of one of the most original minds that ever existed. Wilb 
tiie openness and discuraiie simplicity of Mont-ugne they combins 
immense and recondite reading at every step the author starts soins 
extraordinary theorj wh iM he ilh htrates by inaiogies so singular ant 
unexpected that thuy product, upon the reader a mingled feeling of 
amusement and Eurpri'.e and all this in a stjle absolutely bristling 
with quiint Latinisms which in anothei wi iter would be pedantic, but 
in Browne were the natural gatb of his thought His diction is stiff 
with scholastic terms tike the chasuble of some medieval prelate, 
thick set with pearl and ruby The trantrast between the simplicity of 
Browne s character and the out oi the wij learning -ind odd caprices 
of theory in which he is perpetually indulging, makes him one of the 
most amusing of writers ; and he very frequently rises to a sombre and 
touching eloquence. Though deeply religious in sentiment he is some- 
times apparently sceptical, and hi= sudden turns of thought and strange 
comparisons keep the attention of the reader continually awake. He 
stands almost alone m his passion lor pursuing an idea through everj 
ctMiceivable manifestation , and his ingenuity on such occasions is 
absolutely portentous For inetante, in a treatise on the Quincunx he 
finds quincunxes on the eiith, in the waters, and in the heavens, nay, 
in the very intellectual txmstitutioi of the soul. He has a particular 
tendency to dwell on the dark myste-ies of time and of the universe, 
md makes us thrill with the soleninitj with which he suggests the 
nothingness of mortal life, and the insignificance of human interesti 
when compared to the immeasui ible ages that lie before and behind us. 
In all Sir Thomas Browne s works an intimate companionship is estab- 
lished between the writer and the reader; but the book in which he 
ostensibly proposes to communicate his own personal opinions and 
reelings most unreservedly, is the Religio Medici, a species of Confes- 
sion of Faith. In this he by no means confines himself to theologiral 
matters, hut takes the reader into his ixinftdence in the same artlesa 
and undisguised manner as the immortal Montaigne, The images ani 
illustrations with whi»;h his writings are crowded, produce upon th." 
leader the same effect as the familiar yet mysterious forms that make 
■,ip an Egyptian hieroglyphic : they have the same fantastic oddity, ','ie 
same quaint stiffness in their attitude and combination, and impress 
jie mind with the same air of solemn significance and outlandish 
'.-emocenees from the ordinary objects of our contemplation. 

§ 8. Thomas Fuli^r (i6t)8-i65i) is another great and attractive 
prose-writer of this period, and has in some respects a kind of intellec- 
hial resemblance to Browne. Unlike him, however, he passed t very 
Hclive life, h«ving taken a not unpromincnt part in the Great Civil 



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180 THEOIOGJOAL WRITERS. [Chap. X 

War, in which he embraced the cause of the royalisls. He was born in 
1608, and survived till 1661, and it is said was to have been rewarded 
for his services with a bishopric, had the intention of the restored court 
not been defeated bj his death,- He studied first at Queen's and after- 
wards at Sidney College, Cambridge, and, entering the Church, ren- 
Jered himself conspicuous in the pulpit. In the course of time he was 
nominated preacher at the Savoy in London, and in 1642, just at the 
outbreak cf l/ie Civil War, offended the Parliament by a sermon deliv- 
ered at V/estininster, in which he advised reconciliation with the King, 
who had left his capital and was on the eve of declaring war against 
his i ubjects. Fuller after this joined Charles at Oxford, and is said to 
have displeased the court party by a degree of moderation which they 
called lulsewarmness. Having thus excited the dissatisfaction of both 
factions, we may, I think, fairly atti-tbute to reasonable and moderate 
views the double unpopularity of Fuller. During the war he was at- 
tached, as chaplain, to the army commanded by Sir Ralph Hopton, in 
the West of England; and he tool; a distinguished par* in the famous 
defence of Basing House, when the Parliamentary army under Sir 
William Waller was forced to abandon that siege. During his cam- 
paigning Fuller industriously collected the materials for his moa 
popular work, the Worlhies of England and Wales, which, howeven 
was not published until after the author's death. This, more than his 
Church History, is the production with which posterity has generally 
associated the name of Fuller; but his Sermons frequently exhibit 
those singular peculiarities of style which render him one of the most 
remarkable writers of his age. His writings are eminently amusing, 
not only from the multiplicity of curious and anecdotic details which 
they contain, but from the odd and yet frequently profound reflections 
suggested by those details. The Worthies contain biographical notices 
of eminent Englishmen, as connected with the different counties, and 
itirnish an inexhaustible treasure of curious stories and observations , 
jut whatever the subject Fuller treats, he places it in such a number of 
■lew and unexpected lights, and introduces in illustration of it such, a 
-iumber of ingenious remarks, that the attention of the reader is inces- 
-*ntlykept ahve. He was a man of a pleasant and jovial as well as an 
mgenious turn of mind : there is no sourness or asceticism in his waj 
uf thinking; flashes of fancy are made to light up the gravest and most 
unattractive subjects, and, as frequently happens in men of a lively 
I jrn, the sparkle of his wit is warmed by a glow of sympathy and ten- 
derness. His learning was very extensive and very minute, and he 
drewfioin out-of-the-way and neglected corners of reading illustrationB 
wlilch give the mind a pleasant shock of novelty. One great source 
of his pictures que ness is his frequent use of antithesis; and, in his 
works, antithesis is oot what it frequently becomes in other authors, as 
in Samuel Johnson for example, a bare opposiiion of -aiords, but it in 
the juxtaposition of apparently discordant ideas, from whose sudden 
contact there flashes forth the spark of wit or the embodiment of some 
original conception. The shocit of his aniithetieal oppositions ie lik( 



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fc.D. 1613-1667.] JEREMY TAYLOR. 181 

the action of the galvanic battery — creative. He has been accuasd of 
levity in intermingling ludicrous images with serious matter, but these 
images are the refies of his own cheerful, ingenious, and amiaole 
nature ; and though their oddity may sometimes excite a smile, it is a 
smile which ia never incompatible with serious feeling. He is aaiii to 
have possessed an almost supernatural quickness of memory, yet he 
bas given many excellent precepts guarding against the abuse of this 
fcculty, and in the same way lie has shown that wit and ingenuity may 
be i-endered compatible with lofty morality and deep feelitg. In a 
word, he was essentially a wise and learned humorist, with not less 
singularity of genius than Sir Thomas Browne, and with less tJ!«D 
that strange writer's abstract indifference to ordinary human interests. 
§ 4, But by far the greatest theological wri'er of the Anglican Church 
at this period was Jkrbuy Taylor (1613-1667). He was of good but 
decayed family, his father having exercised the humble calling of a 
barber at Cambridge, where his illustrious son was born in 1613. The 
boy received a sound education at the Grammar- School founded by 
Perse, then recently opened in that town, and afterwards studied a. 
Caius College, where his taients and learning soon made him conspicu- 
ous. He took holy orders at an unusually early age, and is said to 
have attracted by his youthful eloquence, and by his "graceful and 
pleasant air," the notice of Archbishop Laud, the celebrated Primate 
and Minister, to whose narrow-minded bigotry and tyrannical indiffer- 
ence to the state of religious opinion among his countrymen so much 
of the confusion of those days is to be ascribed. Laud, who was struck 
with Taylor's merits at a sermon preached by the latter, made the 
young priest one of his cbaplaioB, and procured for him a fellowshiji 
in All Souls' College, Oxford. His career during the Civil War bent;- 
some semblance to that of Fuller, but he stood higher in the favor of 
the Cavaliers and the Court. He served, as chaplain, in the Royalist 
army, and was taken prisoner in 1644 at the action fought under the 
walls of Cardigan Castle; but he confesses tliat on this occasion, a? 
well as on several others when he fell into the power of the triamphani 
warty of the Parliament, he was treated with generosity and indulgence. 
Such traits of mutual forbearance, during the heat of civi' striie, are 
honorable to both parties, and as refreshing as they are lare. Our 
great national struggle, however, offered many instances of such noble 
magnanimity. The King's cause growing desperate, Tayi-jr at last 
retired Irom it, and Charles, on taking leave of him, made him a pres- 
ent of his watch. Taylor then placed himself under the protection of 
his r.-iend Lord Carbery, and resided for some time at the seat of Golden 
Grove, belonging to that nobleman, in Carmarthenshire. Taylor was 
twice mairied; first to Phcebe I,angdale, who died early, and after- 
wards to Joanna Bridges, a natural daughter of Charles I., with whom 
he received some fortune. He was unhappy in his children, bis twc 
sons having been notorious for their profligacy, and he had the soiTOW 
of surviving them both. During part of the time which he passed in 
retirement, Taylor kept a sdiool in Wales, and continued to take an 



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if'^ THEOLOGICAL WRITSBS. [Chap. X 

active part m the religious controversies of the day. The opinions ho 
expressed were naturally distasteful to the dominant party, and on al 
least three occasion subjected him to ImpriEonment and sequeatrationi 
at the han ds of the Government. In 1658, for example, he was for a 
short time incarcerated in the Tower, and on his liberation migrated to 
Ireland, where he performed the pastoral functions at Lisburn. On the 
Restoration liis services and sacrifices were rewarded with the Bishopric 
Df Down and Connor, and during the short time he held that prefer- 
ment he exhibited the brightest qualities that can adom the episcopal 
dignHy. He died at Lisburn of a fever, in 1667, and left behind him a 
high reputation for courtesj', charity, and zeal — all the virtues of a 
Christian Bisiiop. 

S fi. Taylor's worlts are very numerous and varied in subject : I will 
content myself with mentioning the principal, and then endeavor to 
give a genera! appreciation of his genius. In tl tro 1 d p 

ment his best known work is the treatise On fl L b i f P ph y 
ing, which must be understood to refer to tl ^ i P f i 

religious principles and the right of all Christ t t I t n th 

exercise of their worship. This book is the fi t mp! t d y t m 
atic defence of the great principle of religi tit d t 

Taylor shows how conUary it is, not only to th t t 1 Ch t ty 
but even to the true interests of Government, t f w th tl p 

fession and practice of religious sects. Of tl g m t 

though of universal application, was intended by T j 1 t ec 
dulgence for what had once been the dominant CI ch of England, nut 
which was now proscribed and persecuted by the rampant violence of 
the sectarians. An Apology far Fixed and Set Forms of Worsiip was 
an elaborate defence of the noble ritual of the Anglican Church. 
Among his works of a disciplinary and practical tendency I may men- 
tion his Life of Christ, the Great Exemplar, in which the details scat- 
tered through the Evangelists and the Fathers are co-ordinated in a 
continuous narrative. But the most popular of Taylor's writings are 
the two admirable treatises On the Rule and Exercise of Holy Living, 
and On the Rale and Exercise of Holy Dying, which mutually cor- 
respond to and complete each other, and which form an Institute of 
Christian life and conduct, adapted to every conceivable circumstancB 
and relation of human existence. This devotional work has enjoyed 
in E'lgland a popularity somewhat similar to that of the Imitation of 
^esai Christ among Catholics; a popularity it deserves for a similar 
eloa.'jcnce and unction. The least admirable of his numerous writings 
aaH tiie only one in which he derogated from his usual tone of courtt^sy 
«'.d fairness, was \i\& Duclor Dubitaaliam, a treatise of questions of 
castiistry. His Sermons are very numera is, and are among the most 
eloquent, learned, and powerful that the whole range of Protestant-- 
i:ay, the whole range of Christian — literature has produced. As in 
liis character, so in his writings, Taylor is the ideal of an Anglican 
pastor. Our Church itself being a middle term 01 compromise between 
the gorgeous formalism of Catholicism and the narrow fanaticism o' 



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A. D. 1613-1667.] JEREMY TAYLOR. 1»3 

Ciiivicistic theologj-, bo our great ecclesiastic writers ashibit tbe uiiioi 
of consummate learning with practical simplicity and fervor. 

5 6, Taylor's style, though occasionally ovei-chargi;d with erudition 
and marked by that abuse of quotation which disfigures a great dei 
of the prose of that age, is unifonnly magnificent. The materials arB 
drawn from the whole range of profane as well as sacred literature, and 
are fused icgelher into a rich and gorgeous unity by the fire of on 
inequalled imagination. No prose is more melodious than that of tlii« 
Rieat writer; his periods, though often immeasurably long, and evolv- 
ing, in a series of subordinate clauses and illustrations, train <>i 
in:ages and comparisons, one springing out of anotlier, roll on with a 
BO t yet mighty swell, whicli has often something of the enchantment 
of veise. He hrts been called by the critic Jeffrey, "the most Shak- 
spearian of our great divines ; " but it would be mora appropriate to 
compare him with Spenser. He has the same pictorial fancy, the same 
voluptuous and languishing harmony; but if he can in any respect be 
likeneo to Shakspeare, it is firstly in the vividness of intellect which 
leads him to follow, digressively, the numberless secondary ideas that 
spring up as he writes, and often lead him apparently far away from 
his point of departure, and, secondly, the preference he shows for draw- 
ing his illustrations from the simplest and most fiiniiliar objects, from 
the opening rose, the infant streamlet, " the little rings and wanton 
tendrils of the viae," tlie morning song of the soaring lark, or the 
"fair checks and full eyes of childhood." Like Shakspeare, too, he 
Knows how to paint the terrible and the sublime no less than tbe 
lender and the aifecting; and his description of the horrors of the 
Judgment-Day is no less powerful than his exquisite portraiture of 
married love. Nevertheless, with Spenser's sweetness he has occasion* 
ally something of the luscious and enervate languor of Spenser's style. 
He had studied tlie Fathers so intensely that be had become infected 
with something of that lavish and Oriental imagery which many of 
those great writers exhibited — many of whom, it should be remem- 
b d O t i t ly tl tyl b t th T k 

ghp lb ter dl wtgtgth JmyTyl 

J b 11 d tl E gl h F* 1 b t t t ra k tl 

p 11 1 w m t t f t th t h f tl 11 t t d 

d blmp dthh ttft fh pt 

t 3 f FS 61 p d b 11 1 f T yl ir d t 

gi 1 d by th w t t! t w t 11 d tl f rm t Uia 

reat, clear, precise expression which the French hterature derives no* 
only from the classical origin of the language, but from the antique 
writei-s who have always been set up as models for Fi'ench imitation \ 
wink Jeremy Taylor, with a sweetness not inferior, owes that quality to 
the same rich and poetic susceptibility to natural beauty that gives sucli 
a matchless coloring to the English poetry of the sixteenth and seven- 
teenth centuriet. 

§ 7. Having thus given a rapid sketch of some of the great figure* 
whose genius adorned tlie Church, it may tomplete our view of tho 



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IS4 THEOLOaiCAh WRITERS. [Chap. X. 



religious aspect of that time to mention some of tlie more remai'liablc 
men who appeared in tlie opposing party. The greatest names among 
tlie latter class — Milton and Bimjan — will be discussed in subsequeni 
chapters ; but a few words raay now be added respecting the excelleni 
Baxter and the fanatical founder of the sect of the Quakers, George 
Fox, together with his more cultivated, yet not less earnest, follower 
William Penn, and Barclaj, who defended w'th tl arm f 1 'ng 
nnd argument a system originally f ndedbyhalff nt tl ti 

Ri(,-HARD Baxter (1615-1691) %< dunag ne Ij th I le f t 
long life the victim of unrelentin p se ut n F w autl ha e 
been so prolific as he; the multitud fh t t and el •n u wo 1m 
almost defies computation. He wa tl n t t nd un nq bl 
defender of tlie right of religious 1 b tj and n th 1 d y wh n 

James II. endeavored forcibly to re estabh.h the Roman Catholic 
religion in England, Baxter was exposed to all the virulence and bru- 
tality of the infamous Jeffries and his worse than inquisitorial tribunal. 
He waf a man of vast learning, the purest piety, and the most indefafiga- 
ble industry. In prison, in extreme poverty, chased like a hunted beast, 
suffering from a weak constitution and a painful and incurable disease, 
this meelt yet unconquerable spirit stiil fought his fight, pouring forth 
book after book in favor of free worship, and opposing the quiet suf- 
ferance of a primitive martyr to the rage and tyranny of the persecu- 
tor. His works, which have little to recommend them to a modem 
reader but the truly evangelical spirit of toleration which they breathe, 
are little known in the present day, with the exception of the Saints' 
Eveylaslitig Rest, and A Call to the Unconverted. 

George Fox (1624-1690), the founder of the Quaker sect, was a man 
born in the humblest rank of life in 1624, and so completely without 
education that hia numerous wi-ilings are fliled with unintelligible gib- 
berish, and in many instances, even after having been revi:!ed and put 
in order by disciples possessed of education, it is hai-dl/possible, througt. 
the mist of ungrammatical and incoherent declamation, to make out 
the drift of the author's argument. The life of Fox was like that of 
many other ignorant enthusiasts; believing himself the object of ( 
special supernatural call from God, he retired from human companion- 
ship, and lived for some time in a hollow tree, clothed In a leathern 
dress which he had made with his own hands. Wandering about (he 
country to preach his doctrines, the principal of which were a denial of 
Ml titles of respect, and a kind of quietism combined with hostility not 
liiily to all formal clerical functions and establishments, but even to all 
(nstituftons of government, he met with constant and furious persecu- 
tion at the hands of the clergy, the country magistrates, and the rab- 
ble, whose manners were, of course, much more brutal than in the 
present day. He has left curious i-ecords of his own adventures, and 
ID particular of two interviews with Cromwel!, upon whose mind the 
esmestnesB and sincerity of the poor Quaker seemed to have produced 
an impression hon.irable to tlie goodness of the Protector's heart. 
Pox's claims to the gift of propliecy and to tlig power of detcctiLi," 



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JLD. 1644-1718.] PEtTN. BABCLAT. 



183 



witches bear witness iit once to 1 is ignorance and simplicity, and to tlie 
universal prevalence of gross superstition ; but we cannot deny to him 
the praiee of ardent faith, deep, if unenlightened, benevolence, and a 
truly Christian spirit of patience under insults and injuries. 

William Pesn (164^-1718), the founder of the colony of Pennsyl- 
vania, played a very active and not always very honorable part at the 
court of James IE. when that prince, under a transparent pretext of 
«eal for religious liberty, was endeavoring, by giving privileges to the 
disi^nting and nonconformist sects, to shake the power and influence of 
fte Protestant Church, and thus to pave the way for the execution of 
his darling scheme, the re-establishment of Romanism in England. 
Penn was a man of good birth and academical education, but early 
adopted the doctrines of the Qiiakers. His name will ever be respec- 
table for the benevolence and wisdom he exhibited in founding that 
colony which was afterwards destined to become a wealthy and enlight- 
ened state, and in the excellent and humane precepts he gave for the 
conduct of relations between the first settlers and the Indian aborigines. 
The sect of Quakers has always been conspicuous for peaceable beha- 
vior, practical good sense, and much acuteness in worldlj matters 
Their principles forbidding them to take any part in wirfire, and 
excluding them from almost all occupations but those of trade and 
commerce, they iiave generally been thriving and rich, and their iium 
bers being small they have been able to carry out those excellent ami 
well-considered plans for inutiial help and support which have uiade 
their charitable institutions the admiration of all philanthropists 

Robert Barclay (1643-1690) was a Scottish country gentleman of 
considerable attainments, who published a systematic defence of the 
doctrines of the sect founded by the rude zeal of ^ok. His celebratci] 
Apology for the Quakers was published, origiiialfy 'a 1«tin. in 11^7^ 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chap. X 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



l (W4-1W3), Bishop of 



Jlanl, and eoUHcal. niu Siat 
and enjoyed gteaX popuUrlly 
■.MNr. Hallim't ju^ment h thil 



EaKLE <10Jl-l«ai>, Bishop of Woiceslt 
wanTs of SiLliEbiU7i Ahe reputed aoHlor ol 
crtKOamographv. V ■ a Fisct oj the War 



gfUiliu-i "miiitu.WT\iis. Iml 



orpTDflt. Earlelittlwoysp 






asndlliimuariimivoiksi bul lh« one I>7 uM 
Is test lumira in Engliih literature is bis TMi 

lAUES UeSHEB (lIiBl-lI»!i). AnAbulmp Of i 
igli. likewise dislinpiiatei f"' Ws peat leavnlr 

Bian. Ilw deles in Ihe mugin of the euthoiiz 

on Baiitlki, ft work prof^Bing to bfl wrlttfo ] 
It w« mltton hr Oaildfn, who, qfl 



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A.. D, 1608-1674 I JOUN MILTON. 



CHAPTER XI. 

JOHN- MILTON, A. D. 1608-1674. 

j 1. JuHK MlIAON. His early life and eaucation. { 2. TruveU in Ita-ly. } \ 
Eeturns to England. Espouaea the popular party. His Anopiuiitica. \ 4 
Made Latin Secretary lo the Council of State. His Defensio FopuU AiiffUeani, 
and other Prose Worlis. Hia Tractate of Edwatian. { S. History of his lif« 
after the Rtstoration. His death. §6. Three periods of Milton's literary 
eareer. First Pekiod: I623-I840, Bymn on the NaUvUy. Comua. {7, 
Lyeidas. § 8. L'AUegro and II Penseroso. j 8. Milton's Latin and Italian 
writings. Hia Enghsh Sonnets. § 10. Bbcokd Pbbiod : 1640-1660. Style 
of his prose writings. ^ II. Thied Pekiod ; 1660-1674. Paradise Loat. 
Analysis of the poem. Its veceification. { 12. Incidents and perennagea of 
the poem. Conduct and development of the plot. } 13. Paradise Megaijied. 
§ 14. Samson Agomstes. 

§ 1. Abovb the seventeenth century towere, in solitary grandeur, the 
Bublime figure of John Milton (1608-1674). It will be no easy task tc 
give even a cursory sketch of a !ife so crowded with literary a well as 
political activity; still less easy to appreciate the varied, yet all neon 
parable, works in which tiiis mighty genius has embodied ta co cep 
tions. He was bom, on the 9th December, 1608, in Lo do and 
was sprung from an ancient and gentle stock. His father an ardent 
republican, and who sympathized with the Puritan doctr ne had 
quarrelled with his relations, and had taken his own independent part 
in life, embracing the profession of a money sciivt-ner la which, by 
industry and unquestioned integrity, he had amassed a considerable 
fortune, so as to be able to retire to a pleasant country-house at Horton, 
near Colne, in Oxfordshire. It was undoubtedly fiom his father that 
the poet first imbibed his political and religious iympithiea, and per- 
haps also something of that lofl:y, stern, but calm and noble spirit 
which makes his character resemble that of the heroes of ani-ient story. 
The boy evidently gave indications, from his early childhood, of the 
extraordinary intellectual powers which distinguished him from all 
other men; and his father, a person of cultured mind, seems to have 
furthered the design of Nature, by setting aside the youthful prophe! 
and consecrating him — like Samuel — to the service of the Temple — 
Hie h( ly temple of patriotism and literature. Milton enjoyed the rare 
advantage of an education specially training him for the career of 
letters ; and the proud care with which he collected every production of 
nis youtliful intelligence, his first verses and his college exercises, shows 
that he was well aware that everything proceeding from his pen, 
"whether prosing or versing," as he says himself, "had certain signs 
nf life in it," and merited preservation. What in other men would 
Vave been a pardonable vanitv, in him was a duty he owed to his own 



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188 JOHN MILTON. [Chap. XI. 

genius and to posterity. He was most carefullj'edjcatjd, first at home, 
then at St. Paul's School, London, whence he entered Christ's College, 
Cambridge, yet a child in years, hut already a consummate Scholar. 
We may conceive with what admiration, even with what awe, mu&l 
have been regarded by his preceptors both in tlie School and in the 
University the first efforts of his Muse, which, though taking the com- 
monplace form of academical proiusiong, exhibit a force of conception, 
a pure majesty of thought, and a solemn and orga.i-like music of ver- 
sification that widely separate them from even the matured productioni 
of contemporary poets. He left Cambridge in 1632, after Liking tiia 
Master's degree, and there are many allusions in his works which prove 
tUat tlie docti-ines and discipline of the University at that time con- 
tained much that was distasteful to his haughty and uncontrolled spirit 
His first attempts in poetry were made as early as his thirteenth year, 
60 that he is as striking an instance of precocity as of power of genius; 
and his sublime Hymn en the Nativity, in which may plainly be seen 
all tlie characteristic features of his intellectual nature, was written, 
as a college exercise, in his twenty-first year. On leaving the Univer- 
sity he resided for about five years at his father's seat at Horton, con- 
tinuing his multifarious studies with unabated and almost excessive 
ardor, and filling his mind with those sweet and simple emanations of 
rural beauty which are so exquisitely reflected in his poetry. His 
studies seem to have embraced the whole circle of human knowledge 
the literature of every age and of every cultivated language, living and 
dead, gave up all its stores of truth and beauty to his ali-embracing 
mind ; the most arduous subtleties of pliilosophj-, the loftiest mysteries 
of theological learning, were familiar to him : there is no art, no 
science, no profession with which he was not more or less acquainted,' 
and however we may wonder at the majesty of his genius, the eKtent 
of hi^ aiquirements is no less astounding. It was during this, probably 
happiest, period of his life that he wrote the more graceful, fanciful, 
and eloquent of his poems, the pastoral drama, or Masque, of Comus, 
the lovely elegy on his friend King entitled Lycidas, and in all proba- 
bility the descriptive gems L-' Allegro and II Penaeroso. At this epoch 
his mind seems to have exhibited that exquisite susceptibility to al 
refined, courtly, and noble emotions which is so faithfully reflected in 
these works, emotions not incompatible in him with the severest purity 
of sentiment and the loftiest dignity of principle. He was at this tima 
eminently beautiful in person, though of a stature scarcely attaining 
tlie middle size ; but he relates with pride that he was remarkable for 
his bodily activity and his address in the use of the sword . During lh« 
whole of his life, indeed, the appearance of the poet was noble, almost 
ideal : his face gradually exchanged a childish, seraphic beauty for the 
lofty expression of sorrow and sublimity which it bore in his blindness 
and old age. When young he was the type of his own angels, when 
old of a prophet, a patriot, and a saint. 

S 2. In 1638 the poet, now about thirty, set out upon his travels on 
ttie continent — the completion of a perfect education. He visited th* 



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1. &, t6o8-i674'] -roS-A^ MTf.TOX 189 

most celebrated cities of Italy, France, and Switzerland i was fuTiiished 
with powerfal introductions, and received everywhere with markeit 
respect and admiration. "Johannes Miltonus, Angina," seems to have 
Btsuck the leamiid and fastidious Italians with unusual astonishmentj 
ar4 wher-Vi-er he went the youthful poet gave proofs, "asthemannet 
was," of his profound skill in Italian and Latin verse. He appears 
everywhere to have made acquaintance with all who vrere most illu«- 
tiious for learning and genius; he had an intei-view with Galileo, 
" then grown old, a prisoner in the Inquisition," and he laid the foun- 
dation of solid friendships witli the learned Deodate, originally of an 
illustrious house of Lucca, hut now retired, for the free profession of 
I'lotestant opinions, to Geneva, where he was a celebrated professor 
cf theology, and the noble Manso, the distinguished poet and friend 
of poets, who had been the friend of Torquato Tasso, and now — 



h open ai 






During his residence abroad the young poet gave proofs not only of 
his learning and genius, but also of the ardor of his religious and 
political enthusiasm, so hostile to Catholicism and monarchy; and 
though he had at starting received from the wise diplomatist Wotton 
the prudent recommendation of maintaining " i! volto sciolto ed i pen- 
sieri stretti," his anti-papal zeal exposed him at Rome and other 
places to considerable danger, even, it is supposed, of assassination. 
The friendships Milton formed with virtuous and accomplished for- 
eigners were in some degree the suggesting motive for many of his 
Italian and Latin poems; for in the former language he wrote at least 
as well as the majority of the contemporary poets of any but the first 
class, and in the latter his compositions have never been surpassed by 
any modern writer of Latin verse. 

§ 3. After spending about fifteen months on the continent he was 
abruptly recalled to England by the first rautterings of that social and 
political tempest which was for a time to overthrow the Monarchy and 
the Church. So fervid a patriot and so inveterate an enemy of episco- 
pacy was not likely to remain an inactive spectator of the momentous 
ajnAict: he threw himself into the struggle with all the ardor of his 
temperament and convictions; and from this period begins the second 
phase of his many-sided life. His father was dead, and Milton new 
began the career of a vehement and even furious controversialist, He 
was one of the most prolific writers of that agitated time, prodncir.g 
irorks on all the most pressing questions of the day. Chiefly the adv» 
Wite of republican principles in the state, he was the most uncom- 
promising enemy of tlie Episcopal Cl.urch. His fortune being small, 
l-e opened a school in 1640, and among those who had the honor of his 
Instructions, only two persons are at all celebrated, his nej-heivH John 
and Charles Phillips, who have contributed some details to ine nistory 
of English Poetry. IT-e commencement of Milton's career as a prose 
writer may be referred to about the year 1641, and it conlinued almost 
without interruption till the Restoration defeated all his hopes, and 



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190 JOHN MILTOm [Chw. Xl 

left him, in blindoeBS, poverty, and danger, nothing but the proud coii- 
GciousneBB of having done his duty as a good dtizen, and thr leisiiit tc 
devote the closing yeirs of hia life to the composition of iiis Bubli'iifTit 
poems, the Paradise Lost and the Paradhe Regained. 

Miiton's first prose writings were directed against the Anglican 
Church Establishment, but he soon took a very active pait in agitating 
Ka important question involving the Law of Divorce. This was sug 
gested by his own conjugal infelicity. His first marrjaga was an unfoi 
tunnfe one. In 1643 he was united to Mary Powell, (he daughter of s 
ip^ndtfirift and ruined country gentleman of strong Royalist sym- 
aathics, to whom Milton's father had lent sums of money which he wa? 
unalilfi to repay, and who appears to have sacrificed his daughter to an 
unsuitable and unpromising match in order to escape from bis embar- 
rassments. Mary Powell, soon disgusted with the austerity of Milton's 
life, fled to her father's house, and was only recallerJ to the conjugal 
roof by a report that hei" husband, basing his determination upon tlie 
Levitical law, was meditating a new marriage with anotlier person. 
The lady was forgiven by her husband, but the remaining years of her 
marriage were probably not bappy, tliough three daughters were the 
fruit of the union. We shall by and by see that Milton was twice 
man led aPer the death of his first wife. The finest of the prose com- 
positions produced at this epoch was the Areofagilica., an oration 
after the atitique model, addressed to I he Parliament of England ir 
defence of the Liberty of the Press. It is the sublimest pleading tlial 
any age or country has produced, in ti.vor of the great fundamental 
principle of Freedom of Thought and Opinion. In this, as ia many 
other of his prose works, Milton rises bJ an almost superhuman eleva- 
tion of eloquence. It was published in 1644. About this time he began 
his History of England, a work which he abandoned quile at its com- 
mencement! he used the subject merely as a vehicle for attacking the 
abuses of Catholicism and the monastic orders. 

§ 4. In 1649 Milton received the appointment of Latin Secretary to 
the Council of State, a post in which his skill in Latin composition 
was employed in carriiiia; on the diplomatic intercourse between Eng- 
land and other countries, such correspondence being at that time always 
couched in the universally-understood language of ancient Rome; but 
in these duties, probably in consideration of his rapldly-ir.creasing in- 
firmity of sight, were joined with him in his oiEce first Me.idowcs, and 
sftciwards the exceltent and accomphshed Marvell. The loss of the 
gieat poit's sight became total in 1662, though the giiita sireua which 
caused it had been gradually coming on during ten years. His eyes, 
fiveil friJni early youth, had been delicate ; and in his intense devotion 
lu study he had greatly overtasked Ihem. In one of the noblest of his 
Sonnets he alludes, in a strain of lofty self-consciousness and religioup 
resignation, to the fact of his loss of sight, which he proudly attributei 
to his having overtasked It in the defence of truth p.nd liberty; and ir 
Lhe character of the blinded S;mison, he aidoubledlj shadows forth his 
own infirmity and his own feelinei. 



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A. D. 1608-167^.3 -TOSN MJirON^. 19i 

Connected with Milton's engagement in the service Df tt.e Republican 
Government are passages, both in prose and verse, in which he ex- 
presses his sympathj'witli the glorious administration and great person a 
qualities of Cromwell : but his eulogy, though warm and enthusiastic, 
is free from every trace of adulation. He probably, though disapprov- 
ing of the despotic and military character of the Protector's rule, gave 
liis adherence to it as tlie least in a choice of many evils, and pardoned 
Bomi;of the unavoidable severities of a revolutionary government, in 
Kinsideration of the great benefits which accompanied, and the patriotic 
jpiiit which animated it. It made England, for the time, the terror 
of the Continental nations and the representative of the Protestant 

Milton's moat celebrated controversy was that with Salmasius (de 
Saumaise) on the subject of the right of the English people to make 
war upon, to dethrone, and to decapitate their King, on the ground of 
his attempts to infringe the Constitution in virtue of which he reigned. 
The misfortunes and the tragic death of Charles I. naturally excited in 
the minds of sovereigns at that time something of tlie same horror ar i 
alarm as the execution of Louis XVI. afterwards spread throughoul 
Europe: and the eccentric Christian of Sweden, employed de Saumaise, 
one of the most learned men of that day, to write what may be called 
a ponderous Latin pamphlet — for Latin was the language universally 
employed at that time in diplomacy, in controversy, and in science — 
invoking the vengeance of Heaven upon the regicide Parliament of Eng- 
land Mdton replied in his DefensioPofuli Anglkani, maintaining the 
nght and justifymg the conduct of his countrymen. His invectives are 
not less violent than tho»ie of his antagonist, his Latinity is not less 
elegant, but the (.ontroversj is as little honorable to the one as to the 
other combatant The tone of literary warfare was then coarse and 
ferocious , and in their vehemence of mutual vituperation these two 
great scholars de-^cend to personal abuse, in which exquisite Latinity 
forms but a poor excuse for brutal violence. 

It would be tiresome to the reader, and inappropriate to a work like 
the present, to give a detailed list of all Milton's Prose writings. Their 
subjects, for the most part, had only a tcmporai-y interest; and their 
style, whether Latin or English, generally resembles, in its wond.'iful 
p"wer, grandeur, and picturesqueness, and in a sort of colossal and 
elaborate involution, that of the writings which I have already men- 
tioned. I may, howei'cr, note the Ajiology for Smecfymnuus, in which 
Milton defends the conclusions of that famous pamphlet, the strtngs 
narne of which is a kind of anagram composed of the initials of its five 
authors, the chief of whom was Thomas Young, Milton's deeply- 
vtnerated Puritan preceptor, the book called IconoclasUs — or the 
Image-hreaker — intended to neufa-alize the efiect of the celebrated 
Icon Basilihe, written by Bishop Gauden in the character of Charles I., 
In which the piety, resignation, and sufferings of the Royal martyr were 
represented in so lively a manner that this work probably contiibuted 
more than anything else to escite the public camnriise ration. Oihei 



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iy2 j-osif MTLTOX. [Chap. Xt 

treatises, among which may be mentioned The Reason of ChurcA Gov- 
emmetit Urffed agaiiisl Prelrty, A Ready and Easy Way to Establish a 
True Commoirwealth, sufficiently exhibit in their titles the nature of 
their subjects. What is now most interesting to us in these controver 
sial writing of Milton is firstly the astonishing grandeur of eloquence 
to which he occasionallj rises in those outbursts of enthusiasm that are 
intermingled with drier matter, and secondly the frequent notices of hia 
own personal feelings, studies, and mode of life, which, in his eager 
tiess to defend himself against calumnious attacks on his moral charge 
ler, he has frequently interspersed. For example, both the Areopagilica 
and his pamphlet against Prelacy, contain a most glorious epitome of 
his studies, his piojects, and his literary aspirations. The only work 
Ihat I need particularly mention, besides those already enumerated, is 
his curious Tractate of Education. In tlits Milton has drawn up a 
beautiful, but entirely Utopian, scheme for remodelling the whole sys- 
tem of training and reducing it to something like the antique pattern. 
Milton proposes the entire abolition of the present system both of 
School and University; he would bring up young men with as much 
attention to physical as to intellectual development, by a mechanism 
borrowed from ihs. jtrytaneia of the ancient Greeks, public institutions 
in which instruction should have an encyclopiedic character, and where 
all the arts, trades, and sciences should be taught, so as to produce 
sages, patriots, and soldiers. This treatise was published in 1644. 

§ 5, With the Restoration, in 1660, begins the iast, the most gloomy, 
and yet the most glorious period of the great poet's career. That event 
was naturally the signal of distress pnd persecution to one who bj his 
writings had shown himself the most consistent, persevering, and 
formidable enemy of monarchy and episcopacy, and who had attacked, 
with particular vehemence, the cliaracter of Charles I. Milton was 
ejtcepted, together with all those who had taken any share in the trial 
and execution of the king, from the general amnesty. He was im- 
prisoned, but liberated after a confinement of some months ; and the 
indulgence with which he was treated may be attributed either to con- 
sideration for his learning, poverty, and blindness, or, perhaps, to the 
iclereession of some who knew how to appreciate his virtues and his 
genius, 'It is said that Sir W. Davenant successfully used his influence 
to spare the aged poet any further persecution. Fi-om this period till 
his death he lived in close retirement, busily occupied in the compo- 
slWon of Paradise Lost and Paradise Regained. The former of these 
works was finished in 1665, and had been his principal employnient 
duiing about seven years. The companion epic, a work of much 
stiorter extent, as well as the noble and pathetic tragedy of Samson Ag- 
fsiites, are attributed to (he year 1671. On the Stii of November, 1674, 
Milton died, at the age of sixty-six, and was buried in Cripplegate 
churchyard. He had been thrice married, first to Mary Powell, by 
whom he had three daughters, all of whom survived him, and who are 
said to have treated him in his old age with harshness and disrespect 
There is a tradition of his having employed his daughters to read to 



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k D. ,6o9-,6n.l 'Om XILTON. '»' 

. " . „ comfort and care which his helpless stare 

» it;; w Th! u ™ E....«h Mta.tai., ..d w» «.ch 

^.„S» lh.n the poet, whom .ho "•"■"'>• ;^,^ ,^„ ^., 

ago. '''V" "'^„ ' ,|j/ ,1, d.ie of the Ee.tov.tion l «nd the 
the second from tl^o to 1660, the date During the first 

third from the Restor.tion to the poef d""-" '''*■"" .V.cefnl, 

ofthese h. produced the ^"'-Xj^tLlS^l^l^^'^--'' ^' 

tender character, and on miscellaneous subjects, our i, 

»,s chleHy occupied with his prose controversies ; and ■"<'="■■'"" 

Te hS, stawlj elaborating the Par.dis. L.,:, the ^"f 'f'* J'™ J 

r„d ,h° S.J, A,...;.... I will now e»™;J°Xrn"p».nt, 

Uil, the work, belonging to each phase of h,s mtellectu.l «=" P J 

premlsmg onl.th t tl « t p h m 1, =h_^ t , _^ ^^ 

the second bj fo d n 

sublimity. r M It — th 

Inth. earlj, Im tb, 1 p dot f M U^ , h 1 d 

V.n-<-l-Sil> 1 tl p teal wit. ^^^ 

college, th. 45- '* JV' < *- d ^_ ^ 

this author aired) !■ J ' 1 ' J j" ' trjTh hff 

distinguish hrm from 11 p t f J g „b 4 w,tl co 

Iheee qualities. P V " ' , ^ i „ ^ dg H p tr, 

summate thongl wh t \^ ; ^ \ t th 

is like his own E - mm 3P ^^^^ ^j^ ^^ j 

severe yet sen. b cy r , , ^ ,1 n Ii w ee 

...tracted elov t f Ohri > t ^ h tl k w^ ^ ^ 

.chotohip .0 t d "P" *',''• 'j,,n thtfMlt 
cmshed a power of ofgrnal eo«eepl.O" J" 'gtl " duly .ubordmate 
„d a power of 0"^"' °"?K; '"f trudSoL Above all there 
*"r m".°ef ttatTiS^o r'ofStoS poem., a peculiar 
^rSelgh^mea^f™— »-™-J^--^ 
like the billowy sound of a mighty organ. »™ ' , „„, 

"""'-" rlSSttTngriTb* ik.rr"*e piSure.^ 
muocence the f =/" """fjt^^ „, ie P.g.n oracle, at the period 
legend, connected with the •?"" " ° ", ,^e\o„ible rile, of Molooh 

S^:£*:rrU;-":rpiSS-^nd.r.o,^.en, 



17 



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194 JOHN mn^TON. [Chap. XJ, 

the "helmed cherubim and swordcd seraphim harping In loud and 
Botemn quire' before the thrane of the Almightj! This magnificeni 
ode is a itting prelude to tlie Paradise Lost. 

In my remarks upon the dramatic literature of the age of Elizabeth 
sod James I., I took occasion to speak of that peculiar and ex^uisitelj 
fanciful species of entertainment called the Masque, of which Ben 
Jonson and other poets had produced such delicious examples It waa 
rcsened to Milton to equal the g t po t wl p ced d h m t 
elegance and refinement which ch t thkd hlfdmt 

half-lyric composition, while hef rp dthm 1ft aid 

parity ttf sentiment. They had e h d th tly d hi 

like fancy in ini^nting elaborate pi m t t m f th t 

worthless and' contemptible of pr M It m t d t wh t 

was originally a mere vehicle for 1 t d 1 t p d I fty 

ethical tone that soars into the v y mpy f 1 p 1 t 

The Masque of Comas was written tbprtmd Idl Ctl 
in the presence of the Earl of Br d ei t th G G If 

the Welsh Marches, an accomplis! d hi d f th m 

powerful personages of the time. H d It L dy Al ce Eg t 
and his two sons had lost their w y th w d ! w Ik d 

out of this simple incident Milton t d tl t b t f 1 p t I 

drama that has hitherto been produced. It was represented by the 
young people who were the heroes of tlie incident on which it was 
founded, and the other characters were filled by Milton's friend, Heory 
Lawes, a composer who had studied in Italy, and who furnished the 
graceful music that accompanied its l3Tic portions. The characters are 
few, consisting of the Lady, the two Brothers, Comus (a wicked en- 
chanter, the allegorical representative of vicious and sensual pleasure, 
a personage enacted by Lawes), and the Guardian Spirit, disguised as 
u shepherd, which part one pleases one's self in fancying may have 
been tilled by the poet. The plot is exceedingly simple, rather lyric 
than dramatic. The delineation of passion forms no part of the poef b 
aim; and perhaps the very alistract and ideal nature of tlie charac- 
ters — their iraparsonality, bo to saj — addn to the intended effect by 
raising the mind of the reader into the pure and ethereal atmosphere 
of philosophical beauty. The dialogues are inexpressibly noble, no) 
however as dialogues, for they must rather be regarded as a series of 
exquisite soliloquies setting forth, in pure and musical eloquence, like 
that of Plato, the loftiest abstractions of love and virtue. They have 
the severe and sculptural grace of the Grecian drama, but ccinbined 
!r:(h the warmest coloring of natural beauty; for the frequent descrij)- 
Hons of rural objects possess the richness, the accuracy, and the fanci- 
lulness of Fletcher, of Jonson, or of Shakspeare himself. Though Iha 
dialogue itself be lyrical in its character, the songs interspersed are of 
consummate melody. For instance, the drinking chorus of Comus'a 
rout, the Echo-song, and the admirable passages with which the At- 
tendant Spirit opens and concludes the piece. The general charactei 
of this production Milton undoubtedly borrowed from FletcJier's F»ith 



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A D, 1608-1674.] JOim MILTON. 19^ 

fill Shefi&erdess, from Jonsoii's Masques and hiB delicious fragment of 
B pastoral drama, and probably also from tbe same Italian EOurccs aa 
had BuggesteJ to those great poets the general tone and construction 
of the pastoral allegory; but in elevation, purity, and dignity, If not 
also in exquisite delineation of natural beauty, Milton has surpasiisd 
Fletcher and Jouson as much as they surpassed Tasso or is Tiiso liad 
surpassed Guariai. In a somewh t ni 1 t t C Mil 

composed a fragment entitled A d p-fmdtH fildbl 
the Countess of Derby by differ t b rs t t! t 11 t f m y 

lu '.l;is masque Milton wrote only thpotlpt tl tfth 

Entert:iinment, as was frequently tl ch ^ g 

inade up of dances, music, and t t Th h th 

portion contributed by the poet is comparatively c d bl , t 
exhibits all his usual characteristics. 

§ 7. The pastoral eiegy entitled Lycidas was a tribute of affection to 
the memory of Milton's friend and fellow- student Edward King, lost at 
sea in a voj'age to Ireland, where he was about to undertake the duties 
of a clergyman. lie was a young man of virtue and accomplishments, 
and the pastoral form of elegy was notinap^propriate either to symboiize 
early conformity of studies between him and his elegist, or to the pro- 
fession to which he was about to devote himself. In the general tone ■ 
of the poem, and in the irregular and ever-varying music of the verse, 
Milton imitated those Italian models with whose scholarlike and elab- 
orate spirit he was so deeply saturated. The poem is a Camoae, and 
one of which even the greatest poets of Italy might well have been 
proud. Throughout we meet with a mixture of rural description, 
classical and mythological allegory, and theological allusions borrowed 
from the Christian system; and nothing is more singular than the skill 
with which the poet has combined such apparently discordant elements 
into one harmonious whole. The shock given to the reader's taste by 
this apparent incongruity is in a great measure softened away by the 
abstract and poetical air of the whole, by the art with which tbe transi- 
tions are managed, and in some degree by the exquisite descriptions o) 
naturU scenery, flowers, and the famous rivers. immortalized by th* 
great pastoral poets of antiquity. Nevertheless the ordinary reader is 
somewhat surprised to find St. Peter malting his appearance among tbe 
sea-njinphs, and allusions to the corruptions of the Episcopal Church 
and the happiness of just mer, made perfect brought into connection 
witli the fables of Pagan laytnology. But the force of imaginatiott 
Had the esbaiistless beauty of Imagery whicli is displayed from tlie 
beginning to the eid make the truly sensitive reader entirely forge I 
Khit are inconsistencies only to the logical reasoning. In this poem 
we see how great was Milton's mastery over the whole scale of melody 
of which the English language is capable. From a solemn and psalm- 
like grandeur to the airiest and most delicate playfulness, every variety 
of music may be found In Lycidas; and the poet has shown that oui 
northern speech, though naturally harsh and rugged, may be made t9 
echo the softest melody of the Italian lyre. 



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Ide JOffN MTLTON. [Ch^p-XI. 

§ 8. The two descriptive poems L'Allsgro and II Penseroso, aa tHej 
form a sort of pair of cabinet pictures, the one the complement Er.d 
counlerpart of the other, will be moat advantageously examined under 
one head. They are of nearly the same length, written in the Bamf 
metre, and consisting, with the exception of a few longer and irregalai 
lines of invention at the beginning of each, of the shoit-rhymed octo- 
syllabic measure. In the Allegro the poet describes scenery and varis-it 
occupations and amusements as contemplated by a man of joyous and 
cheerful tempe ament; in the Penseroso not dissimilar objects vie. veil 
by a person of .-erioue, melancholy, and studious character. The indi- 
viduality of the poet is seen in the calm and somewhat grave cheerful- 
ness of the one, as well as in the tranquil though not sombre raedita- 
tiveness of the other. His joy is without frivolity, as his melancholy 
is without gloom. It would be interesting to compare these two poems 
with minute detail, paragraph by paragraph; for every picture, almost 
every phrase, in the one corresponds, with close parallelism, to some- 
thing similar in the other. Thus tlie beautiful opening lines in which 
Ifte poet drives away Melancholy to her congenial dwelling in hell, cor- 
respond to the opening o£ \he Penseroso ; and the invoco.tion to Joy 
and her retinue of Quips and Cranks and wanton Wiles, Sport, Lib- 
erty, and Laughter, forma the pendant to the sublime impersonation of 
Melancholy, which is indeed in poetry what the Night of Michael An- 
gelo is in sculpture. The Cheerful Man is awakened by the lark, thn 
cock, and the hunter's horn; and walks out, "by hedge-row elms 
and hillocks green," to see the gorgeous sunrise. The sounds and . 
sights of early morning are represented with wonderful beauty and 
reality; and the gradual unfolding of the landscape, under the growing 
radiance of the dawn, is perfectly magical. We then have a charming 
picture of rustic life; and this is succeeded by a village festival, where 
every line seems to hound responsive to the joyous bells and the sound 
of the rebeck. The day terminates with ghost stories and fairy legends 
related over the " nut-brown ale," round the farm-house fire. Having 
completed the picture of rural pleasures (in which, however, it should 
be remarked, the amusements of tlie chase forms no part), the poet 
goes on to describe the more courtly and elaborate pastimes of the 
great city — the tourney, the dance, the marriage feast; and the poem 
terminates with one of the most admirable of those many passages 
in which Milton ha.^ at once celebrated and exempliSed the charms ol 
miisk. Music was liis favorite art: he inherited froin his father an 
Intense love for and no mean skill in it; it was afterwards hia best- 
perhaps liia highest — consolation in his poverty and blindness; and 
MBuredly no poet in any language has shown such a deep sensibility to 
its enchantments. The passage in the Allegro in which he speaks of 
it is the most perfect representation that words have ever given of the 
consummate execution of the highest Italian v ^cal music. Among the 
pleasures of the city Milton has not forgotten the glories of the stage; 
*nd here he pays a compliment to Jonaon's " learned sock," and to the 
" wood-notes wild " of Shakspeare. In the Penseroso we have, instead 



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«. D. ,6o8-.(.J4.] 'lO"" fLTOm ■"' 

or the W.11 bj Iht bright d.»n, the contenj.l.tlve wandering in Ih. 
™„nlil fo,e.t- the .»5 " *• mshting.le, .nd 11= s. .mn .ound of 
the curfew "over some wide-watered shore, swinging slow with sullen 
roati" andthe medilaUon over the gloiving ember. In some solitur, 
chamber. The contemplative m.u passe, the long w.tche. of the 
ninht in penetrating the sublime mj.terie. of philosoph, with Plalo, 
in studving the solemn ranes of the great dramatists of Greeoi, m (ob 
lowing the wild and wondrous legend, of chiv.lric tradition and P«i"J ; 
and tbedailv walk is amid the deep recesses of some f..r,-h.n..toi 
forest, where the imagination is fllled with the h.lf-se.n glone. besid| 
some stream round which float. . mjsterlous music. The poem endl 
with an aspiration alter an old age of bemiWike repo.c and contem- 

'''no analvsis wiU give any idea of the immense riches of description 
with which th..e poem, are crowded. There i. bardl, an aspect of 
extemai nature, beautiful or sublime, terrible or smihng, which is no 
™.s.d hei.; sometimes, .. is ever the c.e in poetry of the highes 
order, in an inciedibl, condensed form. There .re many emmples of 
> whole picture exhibited In a single word, .tamped wiUi one immitKbl. 
exprmion, bv . .ingle stroke : as, for example, the dappled dawn i 
tJie enck which " stoutly .tiut. hi. dames before ; " the .uu, at his ri.mg, 
*J,Ml"ll"m.. and ™S.. Ughti" the hill » hoar wltii the doatins 
mi.ts of dawn ; " the " fallows gray ; " the towers of the ancient manoi 
..te^rfhigh In trfkid trees,- the " <.».i haycock, " the peasant, 
..incing In the eie^.rei .bade." In like m.nner dees the P.^ 
r„. .bound with iuimitabl. example, of picturesqii. word-p.inting 
What . fignre 1. th.t of Melancholy 1 " ah m a rob. of darkest grain 
taring wWi majestic train," iixed in holy rapture, till .be "forget, 
toselto marble, " .nd the song of Philomel " smoothing the rugged 
brow of uiebt, " " the waiideriaff moon riding near her highest noon. 



brow of night, ■ " the m„d,ri„g moon ndmg near her nigne.i noon, 

Td " ,i..tiv "■""f!'' • ""J- ='»'' ' " *" '■•"•"■;, »'•; ■J?","" 

have embodied it in verse 1 The glowing ember, tli.t te.ch light to 
counterfiiit . gloom," or Tragedy '• ni^i.g ly m .ceplred p* 
Se " i^n teal" drawn down the cheek of Pluto by the .oug of Or- 
nheus- and "minute drops" fulHng a. the .bower pas.es awaj , the 
- higb'-embowed roof" and " storied windows " of a Gothic c.tbodr. 
with their "dim religion, light." What poet ha, ,o vividly P»»te'^ •" 
Hat 1. mo.t striking in nature and in art> Be it remembered »o,tl .1 
the stroke, .o rapidly enumerated are merely example, of b'PPy >• 
„..io„. concentrated Into.. ingle word. The two poem, abound . 
picture, not inferior i„ beauty to Uie«, but developed at . !"(!»> >;''«; 
preclude, my quoting Ibem he«,. Indeed to quote the be.utie. of tl,e» 
iwo works would be to transcribe them from beginning to end. Th. 
UK,gr„ and i"«u<™o have been ju.tiy called not a> much P"™' " 
toTO of imagery from which might be drawn material, for volume. 
of plrtu«.,ue deecription. Like all Milton's works, ■*»■' *J ," 
.1,.; ,1, in ibemrfve., the, are a thou.and lime, mm valuable fo. 
their peculiarly ..ffl""- oliaracter - filling the mind, by anusW 
■>• 

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'58 JOHN MILTON. 



[Chj 



to other images, nntural and iirtificial, with impressions of teiidemest 
Dr grandeur. 

§ 0. TiLe Latin and Italian productions of Milton may not unsuitablj 
be coneidcred in thJs place, as their composition belongs principally to 
the yoa'-h of the poet. In the felicity with which he has reproduced 
the diction of classicn! antiquity, Milton has never had an equal among 
the modern writers of Latin verse. Not even Buchanan, far less Buth 
lutliors as Johannes Secundus, has reached a more consummate purilj 
jf expression, or attained — which is far more difficult — tlie style of 
jnlique/ioa^AC, and avoided the intrusion of modern ideas. He not 
mly writes like Tibuilus and Propertlns, but he ».\%o f«e!i iiice them; 
we never meet with the incongruity of modern ideas clumsily masquer- 
ading in classical costume. The Elegies of Milton, however, graceftil 
as they are, are less interesting than the Ephtoles addressed to his 
literary friends : as, for example, the exquisfe Mansus, and the Latin 
verses to Charles Deodate. These, from their persona! and intimate 
character, possess the charm of bringing us nearer to the thoughts, the 
tastes, and tlie individual occupations of the poet. They are totallj 
free from that airof being a ec»/o or a/iM/;Vc/o,wh!ch is the prevailing 
defect of modern Latin poetry ; their author seems always to think and 
feel as well as to write in tlie language he employs. In many passages, 
too, of these poems we see striking examples of that powerful coElcep- 
tion which distinguishes Milton ; as in his verses on the Gunpowder 
Plot there are impersonations which give us a foretaste of the Paradise 
Lost. The Italian poems of Milton are chiefly sonnets, and exhibit 
the same acquaintance with the forms and spirit of that species of com- 
position, though perhaps hardly so much ease as the Latin works. 

As a writer of sonnets it would be unjust to try Milton by any other 
standard than by his English productions in this department. Though 
a few are playful and almost ludicrous in their subject, the majority 
of the sonnets are of that lolly, grave, and solemn character which 
seems most congenial to the spirit of Milton. In the universal taste 
for imitating the types of Italian poetry, English writers, almost from 
the beginning of our literature, had cultivated this delicate exotic. 
Sidney, Spenser, Shakspeare, and a host of inferior poets, had written 
sonnets, some of a very high degree of beauty ; but it was reserved to 
Milton to transport into his native country the Italian sonnet in its 
highest form. Macaulay justly obsei-ves that Milton's sonnets have 
iione of tliat enamel-like brilliancy of expression which marks the 
(i.anets of Petrarch: they are also free from the cold and pedantic 
■ouceits, and from that tone of scholastic ingenuity, whicii "requenlly 
Jeform the conceptions of the lover of Laura. Milton's uonnets are 
liardly ever on the subject of love ; religion, patriotism, domestic aflec- 
tion, are his themes; and the great critic I have just quoted has mewl 
iiappily compared them to tlie Collects of the English Liturgy, 
Among the finest of them I may specify the following : I. To l&e Nigh'- 
ingale, VII. and Vlll. containing a nobU; auticipatloii of his poetii-.il 
glory i Xlil- addressed to hi/i friend Lawes, in whicli Milton at pnc? 



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A D. 1608-1674.] JOBN MILTON. 199 

describes and esempllfiea the sweetness of Italian sorg; XVT. a :,oljl8 
recapitulation of Cromwell's victories ; XVIII. on the Massacre of lit 
Piedmontese Protestants; XIX. oit his cnan blitidness, one of the sub- 
liraeat as well as the most interesting from its personal subject; XX. a 
charming invitation to his friend Lawrence, desaibing the pleasures 
of an Attic and philosophic festivity. Both Horace and Juvenal have 
simikr passages; and I know not whether Milton, though infinitely 
more concise, has not described more beautifully than they the unbend 
ing of a wise and cultivated mind. The XXKd. sonnet is on the «ami 
subject as the XIXUi., and the poet has treated his blindness in a no 
less awful spirit of religious resignation mingled with patriotic piide. 
In the XXIIId. sonnet, which in spirit is not unlike many passages in 
tlie Vila Nmva of Dante, and wjll iTully hear a comparison with the 
famous Lev&mmi il mio Pensier of Petrarch, the poet describes a 
dream in which he saw in a vision his second wife, whose death he so 
deeply deplored. 

§ 10. The second period of Milton's literary life is filled with politi- 
cal and religious controversy. In the very voluminous prose works 
belonging to this epoch we see at once the ardor of his convictions, the 
loftiness of his personal character, and the force and grandeur of his 
genius. Those who are unacquainted with his prose works are utterly 
incapable f f -m d f the entire personality of Milton. 

Whether w tt n L t n E lish, these productions hear the 

stamp of h m nd Th y wded with vast and abstruse erudi- 

tion ; and tl 1 t w pmd into a burning mass hy the 

fervor of e th m Tl p o t le of Milton is remarkable for a 
weighty and t m fi nee which in any other hands would be 

cumbrous d p d t b t d the bui-den of which he moves with 
as much e d d tl h mp n of the Round Table under their 

ponderous p ply Wh lid to anger by the calumnies directed 
against th p y fh p Uf he gives us, in majestic eloquence, 

a picture of his own etudies, I bo , and literary aspirations, interest- 
ing in themselves, and stuking from the beautj of the language Glo 
rious bursts of piety and patriotism 'a sevenfold chorus of halleluias 
and harping symphonies show him e^er and tnon nsing to a super 
hunsan height. No stvie presents so hopeless a subject tor imitation 
as thaij of Milton's prose The immense length and involution of the 
sentences, its solemn and atitelj march, defy all mimicry, conse 
qiiently there is no style so characteristic of its author — none whi 1 
BO completely stands alone m literature Eien when writmg English 
Milton seems to think in Latin His frequent inversions md Ins gen 
;ral preference forvsords of Latin ong n contnbute to maki- him u 
iome respects the most Romnn of all English authors This qiialitj 
honrever, while it testifies to hi" leaining and his originality Ins 
undoubtedly tended to exclude Milton a pio'^e writings from tliat place 
smong the populaily read English classics to which their eloq lence 
undoubtedly entitles them. There ih uo doubt that Uiej are becoming 
every day bettiir known to the general reader, and that their jiopnlantj 



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200 JOBm MILTON. [Chap. Xi 

is certain to extend still farther. The finest of them, at Isast the mosl 
calculated to attract the notice of toe literarj student, are the Artopa- 
gitica, ihcDefensio Secuada, ^t Defensio Po^li Anglicam', thzReasom 
of Church Government urged against Prelaty, the Apology for Siaeo- 
tyfanaus, and the Tractate on Educalion. 

% 11. There is no spectacle in the historj of literature more touching 
and sublime than Milton blind, poor, persecuted, and alone, "fallen 
upon evil days and evil tongues, with dangers and with darkness com- 
passed round," reKrIng into obscurity to compose those immortal Epic( 
which have placed him among the greatest poets of all time. The 
calm confidence with which he approached his task was the fruit of 
long meditation, profound study, and fervent prayer. The four great 
Epic Evangelists, if we may bo call them without irreverence, respec- 
tively symbolize the four great phases of the history of mankind. 
Homer is the poetical representative of the boyhood of the human race, 
Virgil of its manhood. These two typify the glory and the greatness 
of the antique world, as exhibited under its two most splendid forms — 
the heroic age in Greece, and the majesty of Roman empire. Chris- 
tianity is the culminating fact in the history of mankind : it is like the 
mountain ridge from which diverge two rivers running in opposite 
directions. As the antique world produced two great epic types, so 
did Christianity — Dante and Milton, Dante represents the poetical 
side of Catholic, Milton of Protestant Christianity ; Dante its infancj-, its 
age of faith and heroism; Milton its virile age, its full development and 
exaltation. Dante is the Christian Homer, Milton the Christian Virgil, 
if the predominant character of Homer be vivid life and force, and of 
Virgil majesty and grace, that of Dante is intensity, that of Milton is 
sublimity. Even in the mode of representing their creations a strong 
contrast may be perceived : Dante produces his effect by realizing the 
ideal, Milton by idealizing the real. 

The Paradise Lost was originally composed in ten Books or Cantos, 
whicii were afterwards so divided as to make twelve. Its composition, 
though the work was probably meditated long before, occupied about 
seven years ; that is, from 1658 to 1665, I will give a rapid analysis of 
the poem, condensed from Milton's own plan pi-efixed to the various 
cantos. In Book I., after the proposition of the subject, the Fall of 
Man, and a sublime invocation, are described the council of Satan and 
the infernal angels, their determination to oppose the designs of Goti 
in the creation of the Earth and the innocence of our first parents, and 
the description of the erection of Pandemonium, the palace of Satan. 
Book II. describes the debates of the evil spirits, the cnnsent of Satan 
to undertake the enterprise of temptation, his journey to the Gates of 
Hsll, which he finds guarded by Sin and Death. Book III. transports 
i;t to Heaven, where, after a dialogue between God the Father and 
God the Son, the latter offers himself as a jiropitiation for the foreseen 
disobedience of Adam. In the latter portion of this canto Satan meets 
Uliel, the angel of the Sun, and inquires the road to tlie new-created 
Earth, where, disguised as an jinj^el of lifiiit, he descends. AV(i* /(■'. 



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A. D. 1608-1674.] JOHN MILTON. 201 

briuRs Satan to the sight of Paradise, and contains the picture of tho 
innocence and happiness of Adam and Eve, The angela set a guard 
over Eden, and Satan is ai-rested while endeavoring to tempt Eve in a 
dream. He is, however, allowed to escape. In Book V. Eve rclitei 
her dream to Adam, who comforts her; and they, after their morr.ing 
prayer, proceed to their daily employment. They are visited by the 
angel Raphael, sent to warn them; and he relates to Adam the story 
of the revolt of Satan and the disobedient angels. In Book VI. the 
tiKfrJi'r/e of Raphael is continued, and the triumph of the Son over the 
leliellious spirits. Booh VII. is devoted to the account given by Ita- 
pluicl, at Adam's request, of the creation of the world. In Bool: VIII. 
is pursued the conference between the angel and Adam, who describes 
his own state and recollections, his meeting with Eve, and their union. 
The action of Book IJC. is the temptation first of Eve, and then, 
through her, of Adam. Book X. contains the judgment and sentence, 
by the Son, of Adam and Eve, who are instructed to clothe themselves, 
Satan, triumphant, returns to Pandemonium, but not before Sin and 
Death construct a causeway through Chaos to Eai-th. Satan recounts 
his success, but is vrith all his angels transformed into serpents. Adam 
and Eve bewail their fault, and determine to implore pardon. Booh 
XI. relates the acceptance of Adam's repentance by the Almighty, 
who, however, commands him to be expelled from Paradise. The 
angel Michael is sent to reveal to Adam the consequences of his trans- 
gression. Eve laments her exile from Eden, and IWichae! shows Adam 
in a vision the destiny of man before the Flood. Book XII. continues 
the prophetic picture shown to Adam by Michael of the fate of the 
human race from the flood. Adam is comforted by the account of the 
Redemption and rehabilitation of man, and by the destinies of the 
Church. The poem terminates with the wandering forth of our first 
parents from Paradise. 

The peculiar form of blank verse in which this poem, as well as the 
Paradise Regained, is written, was, if not absolutely invented by Mil- 
ton, at least first employed by him in the narrative or epic foi-m of 
poetry. Though consisting mechanically of precisely the same ele- 
ments as the dramatic metre employed by Shakspeare and his contem- 
poraries, this kind of verse acquires, in the hand of Milton, a m-isic of 
t totally different tone and rhyflim. It is exceedingly solemn, digni- 
ned, and varied with such inexhaustible flexibility that the reader will 
hard.y ever be able to find two verses of similar structure ftnd accenlu- 
iiUon'— at least except at a considerable distance from each othi:r. 
Every modification of metrical foot, every conceivable combination ol 
emphasis, is employed to varj- the harmony; and in this respect Milton 
has given to his metrical structure an ever-changing cadence, as beauti- 
ful in iteelf, and as d.;licately responsive to the impressions required to 
be conveyed, as can be f jund in the multitudinc is billow-like harmonies 
nf the Homeric hexameter, whose regular 3'et varied cadence has been 
io well compared to the roll of the ocean. 
§ 13. In the incidents and personages of the poem we find cstr.iirw 



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aO!* JOEN MILTON. [Chap. XI, 

simplicity united with the richest complexity and invemiveness. Where 
il suited his purpose, Milton closely followed the severe condensation 
of the Ecriptural nan-ative, where the whole history of primitive man 
kind is related in a few sentences ; and where his subject required him 
to give a loose to his invention, he showed that no poet ever surpassed 
klm in fertility of conception. The deaci-iption of the fallen angels, 
the splendors of Heaven, the horrors of Hell, the ideal yet natural love', 
liness of Paradise, exhibits not only a perception of all tliat is awful, 
sublime, or attractive in landscape and natural phenomena, but the 
power of overstepping the bounds of our earthly experience, and so 
realizing scenes of superliuman beauty ot horror, that 1 hey are pre- 
sented to the reader's eye with a vividness rivalling that of the memory 
itself. The characters introduced, the Deity and His celestial host, 
Satan and his infernal followers, and, perhaps, above all the ideal and 
heroic, yet intensely human personages jf our first Parents in their 
state of innocence, bear witness alike to the fertility of Milton's inven- 
tion, the severity of his taste, and the loftiness of what we may style 
his artistic morality. In Dante and Tasso tlie evil spirits, powerfully 
and picturesquely as they may be described, are composed of the com- 
mon elements of popular superstition ; tliey are monsters and bugbears, 
with horns, and tails, and eyes of glowing braise -. and in their action 
we see nothing but savage malignity exaggerated to colossal" propor- 
tions. Milton's Satan is no caricatui-e of the popular demon of vulgar 
superstition : he is not less than Archangel, though archangel ruined ; 
tnd in him, as well as in his attendant spirits, the poet has given sub- 
limity as well as variety to his infernal agencies, by investing them 
with the most lofty or terrible attributes of the divinities of classical 
mythology. In employing this artifice lie was able to pour out upon 
this department of his subject all the wealth of his incomparable learn- 
ing, and to make hia descriptions as suggestive as they are beautiful. 
Indeed, the mode by which he impresses the imagination is partly 
derived from the power, grandeur, and completeness of iiis own con- 
ceptions, and partly by the indirect allusions wherein his subsidiary 
illustrations revive in our minds all the impressions left in them by 
natural beauty, hy the finest passages of other poets, and by all that is 
most striking in art, in history, and in legend. Milton is pfe-ecni 
nently the poet of the learned; for however imposing may be his pic- 
tures even to the most uncultivated intellect, it is only to a reader 
familiar with a large extent of classical and Biblical reading that he 
displays hia full powers. Of him may be eminently said that " he who 
reads, and to his reading brings not " a spirit, if not equal yet trained 
at least in somewhat similar discipline as his own, the half of his beau- 
ties will be imperceptible. In the personages and characters of Adam 
»nd Eve he has solved perhaps the most difficult problem presented by 
his undertalcing — that of repi-esenting two human beings in a position 
which no other human beings evti did or ever can occupy; and en- 
dowed with such feelings and sentiments as they alone could hava 
eipeiienced. They are beings worthy of the Paradise they inti»bit| 



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A. D. »6o8-i674.] JOa^ MILTON. 203 

and though raisec a heroic and ideal proportions, their moral and 
Uitellectua] qualities are such as we can understand and cousequentlj 
FjTTipathize with, faere is nothing more admirable than the intense 
numanity with which Milton has clothed them ; while at the same time 
tliey are truly idea! imperso nations of love, innocence, and worship. 
Like the finest relics of ancient sculpture, or the consummate works of 
early Italian painting, they reach the full majesty of the divine withon' 
forfeiting th^_human and the real. 

Lt the conduct and development of the plot of his poem Milton nnilM 
the merits of simplicity and complexity. He follows closely, when i 
Biiitf his purpose, the severe concision of the Biblical narrative, and o) 
the same time gives a loose to his mighty invention in the scenes >>f 
Hell, of Heaven, and particularly in the episodical description of the 
revolt and punishment of the Fallen Angela. It has been objected that 
Adam is only the nominal hero oi Paradise Los/, And that the real pro- 
tagonist is Satan ; and it is certainly true that the necessarily inferior 
nature of man, as compared with the tremendous agencies of which he 
is tlie sport, reduces him, apparently at least, to a secondary part in the 
dwma ; but this difficuity m sunnounted by the dignity and moral ele- 
vation which Milton has given to hie human personages, and by his 
making them the central pivot round which revolves the whole action. 
To speak of particular passages, either of sentiment or description, in 
which Milton exhibits beauty or sublimity, would be quite inappropriate 
in an essay whose limits are confined; I may remark, that in every 
instance where his imagination and plastic power are seen at work, we 
find him at once soaring from the sensible into the abstract. 

If the genius of Dante be eminently analytic, that of Milton is as 
obviously synthetic; where the former takes captive your credulity by 
the intense realization — often attained by the most matter-oP-fact 
detailE. of measurement or comparison — of the awful objects which he 
sets, as it were, before jour bodily eye, the latter hurries your imagina- 
tion into the realms of the ideal by suggesting what you dimly conceive 
rather than have ever seen. Thus in a somewhat parallel passage of 
the two poets, Dante, wishing to convey the conception of the size of a 
monstrous giant, gives you an exact measurement of some of its parts, 
and compares them to some well-known and familiar object; Miltor, 
on the other hand, makes the giant bulk of the thunder-smitten demon 
lie extended "many a rood" upon the burning billows, and instanllv 
goes off into picturesque details of the "small night-foundered skiff 
moored to the scaly rind of the whale to which Satan is compared : i^' 
ii;ain, in that passage of unequalled grandeur where the evil spi ill 
■Itlies the archangel who has detected him ; — 

" On the other side, Satan, alarmea, 

Collectiag all his might, dilated stood, 

Like TenerifTe or Atlas, unremoved. 

His stature reaehcd the sky, and on his crest 

Sat horror plumed." 

riiew'iol? poem is crowded with similar examples of the idealizing 



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204 JOHN MILTON. [Chap. Xt 

tendency, which no poet ever possessed in an equal degree, and which 
b always united with Milton'a peculiar taete for illustrating Ids picturea 
by means of subsidiary allusions suggesting the finest and tt^ost impos- 
ing objects in art, in legend, in nature, and in poetry, 

§13. The' companion-poem to the great Epic, the Odyssey to the 
Christian Iliad, is the Paradise Regained. It is much shorter than the 
first work, and consists of only Four Books or Cantos. The subject ii 
the Temptation of Christ by Satan in the Wilderness ; anil the poet hae 
closely followed the nan-ative of that incident, as recorded in the fourth 
1 hapterof St. Matthew's Gospel. It is, however, evident that the only 
event compai-able in importance to the Fall of Man was the Redemption 
of Man through the voluntary sacrifice of the Saviour; and that the 
Cross is the natural counterpart to the Tree of the Knowledge of Good 
and E*il; Calvary the Xxwi. pendant to Eden. It is uncertain whether 
to attribute to advanced age or the consciousness of failing powers 
Milton's selection for the subject of his second epic, of an event in the 
history of Our Lord which, however important in itse'J, is unquestion 
ably far less momentous than the consummation o( the great act of 
human redemption. Some have ascribed this choice to certain modifi- 
cations of belief experienced by the poet in the decline of life, and 
which prevented him from Belecting the Crucifixion as a subject. Into 
this mysterious question it would be misplaced to enter here; I will 
content myself with noting that the universal consent of readers places 
the Paradise Regained, in point of interest and variety, very far below 
^^ Paradise Lost. The inferiority of interest is, of course, attributable 
to its want of action; the whole poem being occupied with the argu- 
ments carried on between Cnrist and the Tempter, and the description 
of the kingdoms of the earth as contemplated from the summit of the 
mountain. Even in Paradise Lost the long and sublime dialogues, 
frequently turning on the most arduous subtleties of theology, though 
they probably enjoyed a great popularity in Milton's own day, when 
such subjects formed topics of universal discussion, are now often found 
to be tedious ; but in that poem they are relieved by the perpetual inter- 
ference of action. In Paradise Regained the genius of Milton appears 
:a its ripest and compietest development : the self-resti-aint of consum- 
mate art is everywhere apparent; and in the descriptions of Rome, 
Athens, Babylon, and the state of society and knowledge, the great poet 
has reached a height of solemn grandeur which shows him to have 
iost nothing either of imagination or of learning. Nevertheless the 
effect of the poem upon the general reader is less powerful than that of 
Paradise Lost. A rapid analysis of the poem would be as follows ; — 
Book I, Alter being baptized, Jesus ofiers to undertake the defeat of the 
plans meditated by Satan. He retires into the wilderness. Satan ap- 
pears under the disguise of an old peasant, and endeavors to ^jstify 
himself. Boot II. contains a consultation of the evil spirits, after 
which Satan tempts Our Lord with a banquet and afterwards with 
riches. In Book III, Satan pursues his attempts, endeavoringto excite 
ambition in the mind of the Saviour, and shows him the kingdams of 



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Chat. XI.] NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 201! 

Asia. Book IV. exhibits the greatness of Rome and the intellectual 
glories jf Athens; and Our Lord, after being conveyed back to the 
desert, is exposed to a pitiless storm; Satan again appears, and, after 
carrying liim to the pinnacle of the Temple, is again defeated and 
reduced to silence. The poem terminates with a triumphant hymn of 
the aiigele ministering to our Lord after His fast In grandeur, ele- 
vation, and a kind of subdued sentiment, the Paradise Regained in no 
«enso yields to its immortal companion ; but in briOiancy of coloring 
and intensity of interest it is inferior. It may be said that the beauties 
of Paradise Regained will generally be more perceptible as the reader 
advances in life, and to those minds in which the contemplative faculty 
is more developed than the imagination. 

§ 14. To this, the closing period of Milton's literary career, belongs 
the Tragedy of Samson Agonisles, constructed according to the strictest 
rules of the Greek classical drama. In the character of the hero, his 
blindness, his sufferings, and his resignation to the will of God, Milton 
has given a most touching embodiment of himself. As in the Greek 
tragedies, the action is simple, the persons few the statuesque severity 
of the dialogue is relieved by ma-eati tb t f ly pi d 

the mouth of the Chorus, and the t t ph wh 1 id t be 

represented worthily on the stage, is ft thGkfh ltd 

by a messenger. The whole piece b th th mhth hbt 
lofty patriotism and religion of th Old T t t d th ly 

choruses are sometimes inespressiblj bl S 1 ly I MJt 

copied all the details, literary as well 1 cal, f tl t 

dramas, that tliere is no exaggeration in saying that a modern reader 
will obtain a more exact impression of what a Greek tragedy was, from 
the study of Samson Agonistes, than from the most faithful translation 
of Sophocles or Euripides. The ancient tragedies had always a reli- 
gious or mythological element ; and the Biblical character, for us, has 
a saoctity like that of the heroic legends for a Greek ; and therefore 
Samaon is to us a personage not dissimilar to what Prometheus or 
Hercules would have been to a Greek. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

8«CTiLTaTy. This KpjKrintniui 



J.{ieia-im«i. HBWMlifflniunfl20,educi 
abndge) aud eiiiplojcd tbc eurlier pflJC ■ 

e alUohed to tliQ EnjrUBli embsd^ At Com 

■,]£. H«afti!rfftrilegaveiusEnicIioi11nlhe&mily I 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chai-. XH 



PirnphlelspowsrfiillydHimil 



exo^geratlDn and InftomDus Imfi^DDeij 



Hakmnoton (iaii-]Ci7|, Uio suihot of ih 
tfAmouB republican Uuoiy embodied 3d Uia <J 
vhlchmaTbengiidcd u fbmiii]; tlieciiiiii 

Bo was iGomaiUybrDuglUop at Oafbnr, whei 

ftpT ■ long time reBided rtroad In ttie aiplomitir 

Uons In HoUmd, JJeonmrk, UlB Hagmr, «nd VenI 
He IVM appoinled ace oT tbe rUlendnnIs upon Ki 
CTtsrleB 1-, whan Ihat nnt^ttLiDLiIe prince WRB ft pr 

Hjcctedcd 111 inBpirlng (he coptiva lavcrelga wl 



Jn plilloiOfticaL principles, m 



]|lieAhhdBie/e9,lai 



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A. D. i6i2-i63o.l TME AOE OF ThE RESTORATION. 



CHAPTER XH. 

THE AGE OF THE RESTORATION. 

) 1. 8AKtiEl.BuH:3n.: hisllfe. J2. Subject and nature of H«iii6raj. j 3. Bnt 
Itr's misoellaneous writings, j 1. John Drydbn : hia life. { 6. Ilia ilramas 
{ 6. His poems. AbsaUim and Achitophel. The Medal. Ilac-Flicliice 
\ 7. Religio Laid and the Hiiul and Fanther. J 8. Odee. Traualatious ol 
Jtamtid and ViTf/il. J 9. fables. J 10. Dcyden'a prose works. § 11. JonH 
tJuBTAN : his life. { 12. His works. Grace abmmdmg in the Chief of Sin- 
ners. § 13. T/ifl Piljirim'a Projreas. § 14. TliB Hah/ IVar. } 15. Edwabd 
Utub, Eael of Ci,aii3ND0K. { His History qf the Great BeieJffion. i 17. 
IzAiK Walton. Hia Lives and Complete Angler, { 18. MAaauEBS of Hal- 
ifax. JoKsEtELTN. { 19. SAMDBL PEPyS. 5^0. SlREOOBuL'EaTBAKGIE. 

§ 1. If the greatest name among the Puritan and Republican party 
be that of Milton, the most illustriovis literary representative of the 
Cavaliers is certainly Samuel Butler (1612-1680). However opposed 
in political opinions, and however different in the nature of their works, 
these two men have some points of resemblance, in the vastness of aa 
almost universal erudition, and in the immense quantity of t&oughl 
ivhich is embodied in their writings. The life of Butler was melan- 
I holy; the great wit was incessantly persecuted by disappointment and 
distress; and he is said to have died in such indigence as to have been 
indebted for a grave to the pity of an admirer. lie was born of respec- 
table but not wealthy parentage In i6i3, and began his education al 
Worcester Free School. Great obscurity rests upon the details of his 
career ; thus there are contradictory traditions as to whether he studied 
at Oxford or at Cambridge, or even whether he enjoyed the advantages 
of a University training at all. In all probability the latter supposition 
is the truth, and lack of means deprived him of any lengthened oppor- 
tunity of acquiring, at either University, any portion of that immense 
learning. which his works prove him to have possessed. As a young 
man he performed tlie office of clerk to Jeffries, a country Justice of the 
Peace; and there is no doubt that he made himself acquainted with 
die derails of English law procedure. He was afterwards — most likely 
)iy the protection of Selden, who knew and admired his talents, and 
who is said to have employed him as an amanuensis — ffefeired to tlio 
service of the Countess of Kent, in whose house Selden long resided, 
and to whom indeed he is said to have been secretly married. Here 
Butler enjoyed one of the few gleams of sunshine that cheered hia 
unhappy lot; he possessed good opportunities for study in tranquil 
retirement, and he had the advantage of conversing with accomplished 
men. It is nearly certain that he was for some time in the service — 
in the capacity of tutor or clerk — of Sir Samuel Luke, a wealthy and 
powerful county magnate, and who Igured ijromineutly In those troU' 



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808 THE A0JS OF TEE SESTORATIOIf. [Chap. ML 

bled times as a violent republican member of Parliament, and as one 
of Cromwell's provincial satraps, half mllitarj' and half political, la 
the house of Lulte, who was an ardent fanatic, Eutler had the apjior- 
tunitj" of accumulating those innumerable traits of bigotry and absur^ 
dity which he afterwards interwove into his great satire on the PuritaiiK 
and Independents; and Luke himself, it seeais almost indubitable, waa 
the oiiginal of Butler's inimitable caricature of Hudibras, in which he 
embodies all that was odious, ridiculous, and vile iti the politics ind 
rsligion of the dominant party. Hia great work, the burlesque »iii« 
\)S Httdibfas, was published in detached portions and at irregular inter- 
va:3 : the first part, containing the first three cantos, in 1663, the second 
pait ill the following year, and the third not until 1678. Though com- 
posed, in all probability, long before, the first instalment of this inimi- 
table satire was obliged to await the Restoration to make its firsl 
appearance ; for it was only that event, by inaugurating the triumph! 
of Butler's loyal opinions, that could have secured the author from seri- 
ous danger. The poem instantly became the most popular book of the 
age ; for it gratified at once the taste for the highest wit and ingenuity, 
and the vindictive triumph of the Royalists over their enemies and 
tyrants. Chai'les II., with all his vices, was a man who could appre- 
ciate wit and learning. He cai-ried about Hudibras in his pocket, was 
incessantly quoting and admiring it, and Butler's poem became as fash- 
ionable at court as the not superior satire of Rabelais had been in a 
former age. Very little solid recompense, however, accrued to Butler 
for his work. He was named Secretary to Lord Carbury, and in that 
capacity held for some time the office of Steward of Ludlow Castle, 
where the Comas of Milton had been presented before the Earl of 
Bridgewater by his accomplished children; but soon after Butler lost 
this place. It is said tiiat Clarendon, then Chancellor, and Bucking- 
ham, as well as the King, had intended to do something for the illus- 
trious supporter of their cause; but that a sort of fatality combmed 
with the usual ingratitude of that profligate court to leave Butler in his 
former poverty ; and the great wit is reported to have died, in extreme 
Joverty, in a miserable lodging in Rose Street, Covent Garden (1680). 
He was buried, at the expense of his friend and admirer, Longuevills, 
in the churchyard of St, Paul's m that poor neighborhood. 

5 2. Butler's principal title to immortality is his burlesque poem of 
Hudibras, a satire upon the vices and absurdities of the fanatic 01 
republican party, and particularly of the two dominant sects of tlie 
I'rcsbytcrians and Independents. It is indeed to the English Common- 
wealtli Revolution what the satire Menippee is to the troubles and 
intiigues of the League. Its plan is perfectly original, though tl.e lead- 
mf; idea may be in some measure referred to the Don ^aixoie of Cer- 
rantes; but as the object of Butler was totally different from that ol 
the immortal Spanish humorist, so the execution is so modified as ia 
leave the English work all tlie glory of complete novelty. The aim of 
Cervantes was to make ns laugh at tlie extravagances of his hero, but 
without losing our love and rei pect for his noble and heroic cliariicter; 



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A. D. i6i3-i68o.] SAMUEL BUTLER. 203 

that of Butler was to render his personages as odwus and contempti- 
ble as was compatible with the sentiment of the ludicrous, Don Quix- 
ote, though never ceasing to be laughable, is in the highest degree 
amiable and respectable : indeed it is only the discordance between 
his lofty chivalric eentiraentt; and the tow and prosaic incidents which 
Burround him, that makes him ridiculous at all. Transport him to the 
age of the Round Table, and he is worHiy to rido by the side of Lance' 
lot or Galahad. Butler's hero — the combination of all that is ugly, 
cowardly; pedantic, selfish, and hypocritical — is on the very verge of 
6eiiig an object, not of ridicule, but of hatred and detestation; and 
hatred and detestati')ti are tragic and not comic feelings. Butler has 
shown consummate skill in stopping short just where his aim required 
it. All comic writing, the object of which is to excite laughter, attains 
its effect by the piiociple of discordance or dishai-mony between its 
subject and treatment; for as harmony is a fundamental principle of 
the beautiful, so is discord a fundamental principle of the ludicrous ; 
consequently comic representations, whether written, painted, or sculp- 
tured, naturally divide themselves into two categories, both attaining 
their end by the same principle, though exhibiting that principle in two 
different waj'B. In one we have a lofty and elevated subject intention- 
ally treated in a low and prosaic manner ; in the other a low and prosaic 
subject treated in a lofty and pompous manner ; and in either case the 
contrast, or discord, between the subject and the treatment, being sud- 
denly presented to the imagination, provoke? that mysterious emotion 
which we call the sense of the ludicrous. In the former case is pro- 
duced what we name Burlesque, in the second what we designate Mock- 
heroic. 

The poem of Hudibras describes the adventures of a fanatic Justice 
of the Peace and his derk, who sally forth to put a stop to the amuse- 
ments of the common people, against wliich the Rump Parliament had 
in reality passed many violent and oppressive acts. Not only were the 
theatres sjppressed, and all cheerful amusements proscribed, during 
that glooniy time, but the rougher pastimes of the lower classes, among 
which bear-baiting was one of the most favorite, were violently sup- 
pressed by authority. The celebrated story of Colonel .Pride causing 
the bears to be shot by a file of soldiers furnished the enemies of the 
Puritan government with inexhaustible materials for epigram and 
caricature. Be it observed that these severe measures were In no 
degree prompted by any motive drawn from the brutal cruelty of the 
aport, but simply from a systematic hostility to everything that bore a 
(emblance of gayety and amusement. Sir HudJbras, the heroof Butlei', 
tad. who, as already remarked, is in all probability a caricature of Sii 
Samuel I.uke, is described, both in his person and equipment, and in hit 
moral and intellectual features, as a combination of pedantry, cow- 
ardice, ugliness, and hypocrisy, such as, for completeness, oddity of 
imagery, and lichness of grotesque illustraUon, no comic writei-,iieilhe< 
Lucian, nor Rabelais, nor Voltaire, nor Swift, has surpassed. He is 
pie type or representative of the Presbyterian party. * His clerk Ralp> 
e8' 



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210 THE AGE OF THE RESTOliATION^. f Chap. XII 

— the Sancho Pan^a of this odious Quixote — is the eatiric portrait of 
Ihc sour, -wrang- headed, l)ut more enthusiastic Independent sect. Th« 
versification adopted by Butler, as well as the name of his hero, is 
drawn from the old Anglo-Norman Trouvfire poets, and the Legends of 
ihe Round Table; and the baseness of tiic incidenti, the minutenets cif 
the details, and the long dialogues between tlie personages, fona a 
pai ody the comic impression of which is heightened when -vf^ think of 
the stately incidents of which the poem ia a burlesque. Sallying loclh 
to stop the popular amusements. Sir Hudibras and his Squire encoun- 
ter a procession of ragamuffins conducting a bear to the place of 
combat. They refuse to disperse it the summons of the knight, when 
a furious mock-heroic battle ensues, in which, after varying fol tunes, 
Hudibras is victorious, and succeeds in incarcerating in the paris!, 
stocks the principal delinquents. Their comrades return to the charge, 
liberate them, and place in durance in their stead the Knight and 
Scjuire, who are in their turn liberated by a rich widow, to whom Sir 
Hudibras, purely from interested motives, is pajing his court. Hudi- 
bras afterwards visits tlie lady, and receives a sound beating from hot 
servants disguised as devils; and he afterwards consults a lawyer and 
an astrologer to obtain revenge and satisfaction. The merit, however, 
and the interest of this extraordinary poem by no means consist in its 
olot. Such incidents as are introduced are indeed described with 
extraordinary animation and a grotesque richness of invention ; but 
there is a complete want of unity and connection of interest, and there 
cannot be traced any general combination of events into an intrigue, 
or leading- to a catastrophe. 

A long interval elapsed between the publication of the first and last 
canto, and in that interval the politics of the day had undergone a 
complete change. Butler, whose main object was to satirize the follies 
and wickedness of the reigning party, was obliged to direct his shafts 
against quite other vices and totally different persons : thus in the !aat 
canto he describes the general breaking up of the Rump Parliament, 
and the events immediately preceding the Restoration. His poem in 
general, like the adventure of the Bear and Fiddle which it contains, 
" begins, and breaks off in the middle." But no reader probably ever 
regretted the irregular and undecided march of the story; for the 
pleasure given by Hudibras is quite independent of the gratification 
af that kind of curiosity which finds its aliment in a well-developeij 
intrigue. The astonishing fertility of invention displayed in llic de^ 
leriptions both of things and persons, the analysis of charactei eililb' 
iled i.. the long and frequent dialogues (principally between Hudibras 
and Ralph), the vivid and animated painting of the incidents, ard 
tbo(s all the immeasurable flood of witty and unexpected illustia- 
lion which is poured forth throughout the whole poem — these are 
the qualities which have made Butler one of t!ie great ciassics of 
the English language. Wit is the power of bacing unexpected analo- 
gieF;, whether of difference or resemblance; the faculty of bringing 
togetlier iijeas, aliparrntly incongruous, bill between which, when 89 



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A. D. i6i3-i68o.] SAMUEL BUTLER. 211 

iirought together, the ordinary mind, tliough itself to tall j- incapable of 
bringing tliem into contact, at once perceives tlieir relation; tad this 
perception, suddenly escited, is accompanied by a flash of pleasure and 
surprise. Prom the juxtaposition of tlie two poles of the galvanic wire, 
each previously cold and inert, darts forth a lightning-like spark of 
heal and radiance. The reader, being made the conducting body cif 
this magic flash of wit, feels for the moment all the pleasure of Ihc 
discoverer of the hidden relation. Tliis power of associating ideas ar.d 
linages apparently incongruous, no autlior ever possessed in so higli a 
degree as Butler; his learning was portentous in its extent and variety: 
and he appeai-s to have accumulated his vast ttores, not only in llie 
beaten tracks, but in the most obscure corners and out-of-the-way 
regions of books and sciences. The amount of ihougM as well as 
reading he displays is almost terrifying to the mind; and he surprises 
not only by the unexpected images supplied by his immense reading, 
but quite as often by what is suggested by his fertile and ever-working 
imagination. The effect of the whole is augmented by the easy, rat- 
tlingj conversational tone of his language, in which tlie mostcoUoqiijal, 
familiar, and even vulgar expressions are found side by side with the 
pedantic terms of art and learning. The metre, too, is singularly 
happy; the short octosyllable verse carries us on with unabating 
rapidity; and the perpetual recurrence of odd and fantastic rhymes, 
whose ingenuity is artfully concealed under an appearance of the most 
unstudied ease, produces a series of pleasant shocks that awaken and 
satisfy the attention, 

Butler is at once intensely concise and abundantly rich. His expres- 
sipns, taken singly, have the pregnant brevity of proverbs ; while tlie 
fertility of his illustrations is perpetually opening new vistas of comic 
(lid witty association. He is aa suggestive io his manner of writing as 
Milton himself; but while our great epic poet fills the mind, by indirect 
allusion, with all images that are graceful, awful, or sublime, Butler 
brings to bear upon his satiric pictures an unbounded store of idea^ 
drawn from the most recondite sources. Milton leads the reader'^ 
mind to wander through all the realms of nature, philosophy, and art ; 
Butler brings the stores of his knowledge and reading to our door. Il 
is tins marvellous condensation in his style, combined wltii the quaint- 
ness of his rhymes, that have caused so many of Bui er's couplets to 
become proverbial sayings in common conversation, ana to be frequent- 
ly einployiid by people who perhaps do not know whence these sparkling 
&:igments of wit and wisdom are derived. The contrast of characters 
In Hudibras and Ralph is of course far less dramatic than that between 
I>on Quixote and his inimitable Squire; yet the delicacy and vivacity 
with which Butler has distinguished between two cognate varieties of 
pedantry and fanaticism are worthy of great admiration. The sophis- 
tries and rascally equivocations which abound in tlie long arguments 
between tlie Knight and his attendant are admirable. It is not to be 
expected that Butler, whose object was exdusively satirical, should 
hftve taken into pansidertttionanj of the ijoblei qualities of the fauatiCJ 



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212 THE AGE OF THE RESTOSATION. [CllAP XII. 

whom he attached ; and therefore we must not be surprised to find theii 
Intense religious zeal painted otherwise than as hypocritical greed, and 
their undoubted courage transformed into cowardice. The posm ii 
crowded with allusions to particular persons and events of the Civil 
War and Commonwealth ; and consequently its merits can be fuUj 
appreciated only by those who are acquainted with the minute 11181017 
of tJie epoch, for which i-easoii Butler is eminently one at th'jbc authort 
Tvhd require to be studied with a commentary; yet the mens ordinary 
reader, though many delicate strokes will escape him, may galher from 
Hiidibras a rich harvest of wisdom and of wit. However specific be 
the direction of much of the satire, a very large proportion will always 
be applicable as long as there exist in tlie world hypocritical pretendeis 
to sanctity, and quacks in politics or learning. Many of the scenes and 
conversations are universal portraitures ; as, for enample, the consulta- 
tion with the lawyer, tlie dialogues on love and maiTiago with the lady, 
the scenes with Sidrophel, and a multitude of others. From Butler's 
writings alone there would be no difficulty in drawing abundant illus- 
trations of all the vai-ieties of wit enumerated in Barrow's famous 
enumeration : the " pat allusion to a known story, the seasonable ap- 
plication of a trivial saying; the playing in words and phrases, taking 
advantage fram the ambiguity of their sense, or the affinity of their 
sound. Sometimes it is wrapped in a dress of humoraus expression 
sometimes it lurks under an odd similitude ; sometimes it is lodged in a 
sly question, in a smart answer, in a quirkish reason, in a shrewd inti- 
mation, in cunningly diveiUng or cleverly retorting an objection ; some- 
times it is couched in a bold scheme of speech, in a tart irony, in a 
lusty hyperbole, in a startling metaphor, in a plausible reconciling of 
contradictions, or in acute nonsense ; sometimes an affected simplicity, 
sometimes a presTimptuous bluntness, giveth it being; sometimes it 
riseth only from a lucky hitting upon what is sti-ange, sometimes from 
a crafty wresting obvious matter to the purpose." 

g 3. A lai^e mass of Butler's miscellaneous writings has been pub- 
lished; and a curio d y w m d 1 g after his death, of the 
commonplace book wh 1 I to dth suits of his reading, and 
such thoughts and p h t ded to work up into his 
writings. The po th 11 sist of prose and verse. 
Among the former k t 1 f n f characters somewhat in 
the manner of Th pi t F II M and Feltham. They are 
marked by that ejttr m 1 regn y f w t nd allusion which is so 
t-haracteristic of hi g Th p m in many instances bittei 
ridicule of thp pu il p mt wh 1 1 ttributes to the physical 
Investigations of th t d y d h p t tl rly severe upon th< then 
recently-founded Ryl tj,bti see to be unjust to the ardor 
and success with which such researclies were then carried on, and to 
have confounded with the sublime outburst of experimental philosophy 
the quackery and pedantry with which such movements are neceii ariij 
tccompanied. 

% 4. The great name of John Dryu£» (i63i-i?ooJ formn Uie wo.- 



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A.B. I63I-17M-] 



JOim DRYiyEN. §13 



necting link btitween the English literature of the seventeenth ceinurj 
and the completely different turn of thought and style of writing which 
were introduced at tbe Restoration. His life in its general features 
occuj.'ies the quarter of a century succeeding that of Butler. He waa 
born, of an ancient and wealthy county family, ia 1631, and his father 
bei ng an ardent Puritan, it is not surprising that he should have entered 
upm his literary career a partisan of the same religious and political 
doctrines, and gained his first laurels by composing, in heroic stanzas, 
a wErra eulogium on Cromwell. He was solidly educated, first und^i 
the famous Busby at Westminster School, and afterwards at Trinitj 
College, Cambridge. At the approach of the Restoration he aban- 
doned, as waf to be expected, his predilections in favor of Puritanism, 
anc" attached himself thenceforward to the Royalist party, which was 
not only more likely to reward literary and poetical merit, but the spiril 
of which was an atmosphere far more congenial to his character. The 
whole life of Dryden is filled with vigorous and unremitting literary 
tabor, and presents but few events unconnected with the successive 
composition of his works. Theatrical pieces were then the best- 
rewarded and productive form of inteliectual labor, and, therefore, 
though conscious of his owD deficiency in some important elements of 
dramatic genius, Dryden principally devoted himself to the stage, 
making a legal engagement with the King's Company of Plaj-ers to 
supply them regularly with three dramas every year. It proves h\& 
wonderful readiness and fertility, as well as his extraordinary industry, 
that he was long able to fulfil so arduous a contract; and the mind la 
struck with astonishment on contemplating the rapid succession of 
dramatic works in which, by majestic versification, brilliant dialogue, 
striking situations, romantic and picturesque incidents, he contrived to 
compensate for his want of pathos and delicate analysis of human 
nature. His dramatic works constitute a very large portion of his en- 
tire compositions, and both in their merits and their faults they are at 
once strikingly characteristic of the peculiar genius of their luthoi and 
of the state of taste at the period when they were written His di imat c 
career began about the year 1663, with the Duke of Guise tEie Wild 
Gallant, the Hival Ladies, the Indian EmperoJ and many other 
pieces, tragic, comic, and romantic. 

In 1663 the poet married Lady Elizabeth Howaid d-jughtei ol the 
Earl of Berkshire, a union which is not supposed to hii e much contrib- 
uted to his happiness, the lady having been of a sour and querulous 
Jisp^sition ; and whether from his own unfavorable experience, or from 
jaltiral disposition, Dryden genei-ally exhibits himself in the light if 
not of a professed misogynist, yet of one who delighted to gird at nii,r- 
fiage. In 1667 he produced his first great poem of a kind other than 
dramatic, the Amtus MirabiUs, intended to commemorate the greal 
events, or rather the great calamities, of the preceding year, the tenible 
Plague and Fire of London, and the War with the Dutch, then tho 
rivals of England for supremacy by sea. This poem, written in the 
peculiar four-lined stanza which Davenant had employed in his poem 



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214 



THE AGE OF TMS RmTORATlOJ^T. [Chat- xtl 



of Gotidibert, Dryden made the vehicle for much ill-deiiei-ved ciilojriun 
upon the King-, and much equally ill-founded glorifica1:ion of the coii' 
duct of a naval war which was one of (Jie most humiliating episod ;= of 
our history. The poem, however, gave abundnnt proof of tlie vigor, 
majesty, and force of Drjden's atyle, and proved him to be the rightful 
lieir to the vacant throne of English poetrj. At this time he wrafs his 
Busy an Dramalic Poetry, in which he formally mair.tains the Kuperi- 
ority of risyme ir theatrical dialogue, thus ranging himself openly o\ 
Ih- side of Ihetlien dominant literary party, who endeavored to subjecl 
llie English stage to the rules and principles of French tragedy. Ths 
theory he maintained in argument he at this time esemplified in prnc> 
lice, by composing many pieces, as Tyrannic Love, in rhyme. His 
good taste, however, afterwards enabled him to shake off the shackles 
of prejudice in this respect, and he returned to the far finer and more 
national system of blank verse which had been consecrated by the 
anthoritj- of the great dramatists of the Elizabethan era. At this period 
Dryden was appointed Poet Laureate, and Historiographer to the King, 
and for some time enjoyed the moderate salary of soo/. attached to the 
office. 

During the whole of his life Dryden was engaged in literary and 
political squabbles, sometimes with envious rivals, as with Settle, a bad 
poet, whom the public and patrons sometimes preferred to him, some- 
times with more powerful and dangei"ous adversaries, as with tiie eccen- 
tric and infamous Duke of Buckingham, who not onlj' caricatured him 
with the assistance of zealous poetasters, on the stage in tlie famous 
burlesque of the Rehearsal, but on one occasion revenged himself on 
the poet by causing him to be waylaid by night and severely beaten by 
a number of bravoea or bullies, such as were often in the pay of the 
great men in those odious times. The incident, like the slitting of Sir 
John Coventry's nose, is disgracefully charactenstic of a state of society, 
the tone of which, particularly in the higher and moie tashionable 
classes, was, to use a popular but expressive tenn, eminently black- 
guardly. 

In r63i appeared the first part of one of Drydeu's noblest and most 
original works, the political BatAivof Absalom atid AcAiio^iel, in which, 
undir a transparent disguise of Hebrew names and allusions, he attacks 
the factious policy of the Chancellor Sbaftesburj-, and his intrigues witli 
the Duke of Monmouth on the subject of the succession of tiie Duke of 
Vork. The second part of this poem was published three vei « after b il 
was principally written by Tate, Dryden having only contr bu ted two 
''undred lir.es, and probably also i-evised the rest. To the same pei od 
\yeiongB also tlie Medal, directed against the same hold and nscn p i 
Inns politician. The purely literary Satire, Mac-Flfcknoe n wl cl 
Dryden takes a terrible revenge upon Settle and Shadwell and wh ch 
iQ as original in design as it is forcible in execution, belongs to the ea 
1682. Dryden's fertility was almost inexhaustible. Iiii684hepiodiiced 
the Sei'iffio Laid, an eloquent and vigorous defence of the Angliian 
Church against the Dissenters, and one of tlie finest controversiaj 



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A. », I63I-I700.] .Tona Dkmidff. 'iis 

poems in any language. In r686 Drjden abandoned the faith 'jc hiii! 
K> powerliillj' defended, and embraced the Catholic doctrines, in whic!' 
act he is unfortunately suspected of having been iwayed in some degret 
by interested motives, as the change most suspiciously coincides wit! 
the efforts made by the King, James II., to convert every one, by threa'i 
or corruption, to the faith of which he was so bigoted a professor 
D/yden, nevertheless, may have been sincere in tlius changing his reli 
gion; at all events he produced in defence of it a polemical poem, which. 
in spite of the fundamental absurdity of its plan, exhibits in a high de- 
gree his uiipqualled power of combining vigorous reasoning with sono- 
rous verse and rich illustration. The poem was entitled the Hind pua 
Pantier, and will form the subject of some critical remarks in our gen- 
eral review of his works. It was published in 1687. In the following 
year the Revolution deprived the poet of that court favor which no 
Catholic or partisan of absolute monarchy could hope to retain ; but 
this event was inrapable of arresting the activity or chilling the fire of 
the great poet. He continued to write dramatic pieces, and gave to the 
world his excejlent translation of Juvenal and Persiua, with the formei 
of which satirists his genius had many points of similarity. His tfans- 
lation of Virgil appeared in 1697, and seems to have been one of his 
most profitable literary ventures; it has been said that he gained 1200^. 
by this publication. At the same time he composed his Ode on St. 
Cecilia's Day, one of the noblest lyrics in the English language. Old 
age and broken health seem not to have been able to interrupt his 
career; for in 1700 he produced his Fables, a collection of tales eithei 
borrowed and modernized from Chaucer or versified from Boccaccio, in 
which his invention, fire, and harmony appear in their very highest 
power. In this year he died of a mortification in the leg, combined 
with dropsy; and was buried in Westminster Abbey, followed to the 
grave by the admiration of his countrymen, who saw that in him they 
had lost incomparably the greatest poet of the age. 

§ 5. In considering the voluminous writings of Dryden, it will be 
advisable to review, first his dramas, then hia various works in other 
departments of poetry, and lastly his prose. 

In the drama Drydon is the chief representative of that great revo- 
lution in taste which followed the Restoration, wlien the sweet and 
powerful style of the romantic drama of the Elizabethan type was sup 
planted by an imitation of French models. The comic pieces of Dry- 
den are marked by all and more than all the profound immorality 
irlifch corrupted fashionable society at that odious period: and at the 
(ftme time liis deficiency jn humor renders his pieces dull and stupid in 
■pile of their extravagance, giving the reader no pleasantry to compen- 
tste for their grossness. The most flagrant instance of his iil-siiccess 
/n this branch was his comedy of Limberkaia, while it is but fair to 
remark that in the Sfanisk Friar thej-e are scenes and characters of 
considerable merit. As the most popular and fashionable species o' 
EDtertamment, the theatre was, of ciurse, exposed to the full influence 
af the prevailing immorality, which was the reaction after the exagger- 



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216 THE AGS OP riTE RESTORATION. TChap. XH 

nted sovririly of the Puritan times; and being a vice to which the 
Btage is always of itself especially prone, tfiis immoralilj was fiirthei 
intensified b/ the shameless profligacy of the court Drydeu, in yield- 
ing to this detestahle tendency, merely followed the prevailing fashion ; 
and though not perhaps personally a man of high spirit, showed, by 
the submission with which he received Jeremy Collier's well-merited 
rebuke on the indecency and irreligion of his plays, that he had the 
grace to be ashamed of faults which he had not the virtue to avoid, 

Th3 tragedy of this period forms a most amusing contrast to thfl 
comedy; while in the latter the vilest indecency was parndei with 
ucblusliing impudence, tragedy affected a tone of romantic entlmsiaeio 
and superhuman elevation far removed from nature and common sense. 
The heroes were incessantly represented as supernaturaliy brave, as 
involving themselves in the most abstruse casuistry of amorous meta- 
physics, originally traceable to the wire-drawn subtleties of the ro- 
mances of the sixteenth century, and which in their turn had tbei- 
origin in the Arrets d'Amour ol' the Provencal troubadours. Self-sac- 
rifice is pushed to the verge of caricature, and all tlie ojrdinary feelings 
of nature are violated to attain a sort of impossible ideal of heroic and 
amorous perfection. In the Rival Ladies, the Indian Emperor, Tyr.ta- 
nic Love, Aureiig-iebs, All for Love, Clcomenes, Don Sebastias, and 
similar pieces, we see Dryden's dramatic genius, as we see tlie dramatic 
spirit of the age, in its power and in its weakness. Dryden had very 
little mastery over the tender emotions, and very little skill in the de- 
lineation of character: nor was he ignorant of his deficiencies in this 
respect: he tried, and with no mean success, to compensate for them 
by striking, unexpected, and picturesque incidents, by powerful dedam- 
»tory dialogue, and by a majesty, ease, and splendor of versification. 
The kind of scenes in which Dryden exhibits his nearest approach to 
dramatic eKcellence are dialogues in which the speakers begin byvio- 
lent recriminations and finish with reconciliation; scenes, in short, 
similar to the quarrel between Brutus and Cassius in the yalius Crssar 
of Shakspeare. Conscious of his power, Dryden has frequentiv re- 
peated situations of this kind; examples of which are the dispute 
between Antony and Ve.ntidius in All for Love, a piece founded upon 
Antony and Cleopatra, and the still finer specimen of the same kind 
of writing between Dorax and the King in Don Sebastian. In such 
scenes Dryden reaches if not the level of Shakspeare, at least that of 
Ma^singer or Fletcher. In his eagerness to supply constant food to tlie 
fraying for novelty, Dryden sometimes forgot that veneration for the 
genius of his predecessors which on other occasions he has eloquently 
expressed: thus, in conjunction with Davenant, he condescended io 
make alterations and additions to Shakspeare's Tempest, transforming 
tnat pure and ideal creation into a brilliant and meretricious opera, full 
of scenic effects, and containing, besides Miranda, the addition of a 
young man who has never seen a woman, giving full opportunity for 
those prurient allusions which were then so vehemently applauded, 
Bimilar'y he did not scruple to transform the Pcradise Lost into an 



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A. D. i63i-iJoo,J JOHN hRYDSHr. 217 

operatic entertainment, in which the Kublimity and purity of Milton 
ure strangely disfi^red. This piece was styled the State of Insocenee. 
In those d&yaJF' ologaes and Ep logies iormed an essent al and fivor te 
accompan ment to tl eitr cal p eces and they we e v tten w tb great 
sk 11 conta n ng e ther allu o s to the top cs of the moment or judg 
n cntg on ti e great authors of the ea 1 er stage a d wl en del ereil 
by a fasc nat ng actress or a graceful traced an we e ece ved w tl 
cnthjs ist c applause D jden was equally adro t and fert le n th 
da<i« of CO pos t on and many of h a p ologuea an 1 ej logies are 
nast rp e e bo h n the con c and ele ated stjle In nany of the 
■om c prod ct ons of th s natu e he unfo t nately pande to the pre 
a I ng la te for loo b alius on and equ voque pi t ula ly those 
wl I were d I ve ed hj Nell Gwynne and oti er fra 1 b t fasc nat ng 

§ 6 E en tl e earl e t product on of th poet as n I s Hero 
Stanzas a pra se ot C omwell t s ea y to per e v that force gor 
and majestic melody of style which distinguish him ahove all the 
writers of his age, above all the writers of any age, perhaps, in the 
SogHsh literature. In some of his first attempts he adopted the form 
Df the stanza, generally, as in his Annus Mirabilis, the four-lined 
tlternately-rhymed stanza of the Gondiberl of Davenant. Cut he 
ultimately preferred the rhymed heroic couplet of ten-syllabled lines, a 
measure which he carried to the highest perfection of which it is capa- 
ble ; and even in his stanzas we may clearly see that they possess the 
essential elements of this last form of versification, as each can be 
resolved into two sonorous couplets. This kind of metre Dryden 
wielded with singular force and mastery: whether he reasons, or de- 
scribes, or declaims, or narrates, he moves with perfect freedom; and 
the regularity of the structure of his vetae, and the recurrence of the 
rhyme, eo far from appearing to shaclile his movements, seem only to 
give majesty and impetus to his march. He frequently intersperses a 
third line, rhyming with the two preceding, and forming a triplet, and 
this third line, which is often an Alexandrine of twelve instead of ter 
syllables, winds up the period with a roll of noble harmony, — 
"Along-resounding niiirch and mtjody divine." 

Perhaps the greatest among his longer poems are those in wliich the 
lubjsct is half-polemic and talf-satirical. The Absalom and Achitofhei 
oon'air.s a multitude of admirably drawn porti-aits, among which those 
of Shaftesbury, the Duke of Buckingham, Settle, Shadwell, and tlie 
'rftmousTitus Oates, remain in the memory ol everyreader. Nothing 
taji better prove the extreme differej-ce hetween the descriptive and 
di*matic manner of drawing characters than a comparison between ihe 
latonishing vivacity of these delineations and Dryden's weakness when 
endeavoring to represent human beings on the stage. In order to fully 
appreciate all the merits of this poem it \% necessary to read it in con- 
nection with the history of the time, and to follow Dryden into iiia 
innumerable allusions to the questions and persona of the day ; but even 



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218 THE AGE OF THE REBTOUATION. {.Chap. Xlt 

the general sl.iident, who will esnmiiie it ftom a purely literary point of 
view, will find in it the noblest exampies of moral painting, .always 
pjgiirous though not always just, and will perceive all the highest quali' 
tiei of.the English language as a vehicle for reasoning and description. 
Tht Medal, a satire directed, like the former, chieSy against the lactious 
turlii-lence of Shafiesbury, contains passages not inferior. 

Diyden has given us, in Mac-Plecknoe, the 6ret example of purel_f 
literary and personal satire. Its object was his rival Shadwell ; and thf 
jioet Fiupposes his victim to be the successor in the supremacy of stupid- 
!()• lo a wi-etched Irish scribbler named Flecknoe, givinghim to indicate 
ihii succession the title of Mac, the Celtic or Irish form of the patro- 
nvmic. The satire is undoubtedly coarse and violent, but it contains 
numerous interesting details concerning the liferattire, and particularly 
the drama, of the day; and many passages are powerfully and bitterly 

§ 7. The two great controversial poems Religio Laid and the tiisd 
aud Panther exhibit in its highest perfection Dryden'e consummate 
mastery in perhaps the most difficult species of writing, namely, poetry 
in which close reasoning on an abstract subject like theology should be 
combined with rich illustration and picturesque imagery. With the 
nature of his arguments it is not necessary to meddle; they are, both 
on the Protestant and Catholic side, the same that naturally present 
themselves to the disputant ; and are based upon Scripture or tradition, 
upon induction or experience, as may beet serve the writer's purpose. 
But the powerful and unfettered march of the reasoning, the abundance 
of picturesque illustration, and the noble outbursts of enthusiasm make 
us alternately converts to the one faith and to the other, and prove 
Dryden to be one of the greatest of ratiocinative poets. In the Hind 
and Panther we very soon get over the preliminary absurdity of the 
fable, in which the two animals that give the title to the poem are 
represented as engaging in an elaborate argument in favor of the two 
churches whose emblems they are — the " milk-white Hind '.' the Catho- 
lic, and the Panther the Chnrch of England — as well as tlie repre- 
sentation of the other sects under the guise of wolves, bears, and a whole 
menagerie of animals. The opening of the Religio Laid is incompa- 
rably fine, as well as the allusions more than once made in botli poems 
to the writer's own religious convictions. What is very curious is that 
Dryden, though unquestionably a man of strong pious aspirations, bis 
always given a very unfavorable character of the clergy; and does nol 
confine his satirical invectives to the priests of any one religion, bul 
diisees pagr.n augurs, Turkish imams, Egyptian hierophants in one 
common reprobation with Christian ministers of all sects, orthodox aa 
well lis sectarian. 

§ 8. The lyric productions of this poet are not numerous in propor- 
tion to their excellence. Interspersed among the scenes of his roman- 
tic dram an are many beautiful and harmonious songs; but his most 
celebrated production of this kind is his Ode on St. Cecilia's Oay, 
written for music, and celebrating tho powers and the triumph of tha 



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ft. O. i63i-i7oa] JOim DRYDE'jV. 219 

ftrt. The narrative poition of ihis noble iyric is a description of th« 
various passions excited bj the Greek harper Timotheus in the tniiiJ 
of Alexander the Great, as he is feasting with his victorious chiefiaina 
in the royal halla of Persepolis. Joy, pleasure, pride, pity, terror, arn? 
revenge successively arise under the " mighty mfister's " touch, and th« 
lariouG strophes at once describe and exemplify the sentiment thev 
paint, The poem concludes with an allusion to the fabled invention ii'f 
sacred music by St. Cecilia. Dryden is said to have written this ftd 
mtrabl ; ^oem at a single jet, and in the space of a few hours. It wilt 
s:wajs be regarded as one of the most energetic lyrics in the EngJislj 
language. In spite of some inequalities of expression, it rushes on 
with a flow and a swing lilte that of Pindar himself, and in many places 
tlie sound is an eclio to the sense. It is Uie Sm/onia Eroica of Beet- 
hoven ia words. 

The translation into English, verse of the Satires of Juvenal and 
Persias exhibits Dryden's power of transferring to his own language, 
not perhaps Uie exact sense of those difficult authors, but their general 
spirit. There was a considerable similarity between the tone of Dry- 
den's mind and tiiat of Juvenal; the same force, the same somewhal 
declamatory character, and the same unscrupulous boldness in painting 
what was odious an." detestable : but the plain-spoken frankneta of the 
Roman, in delineating the incredible corruption of the times of Domi- 
tian, degenerates into licentiousness in Dryden, who seems sometimes 
to gloat over descriptions which Juvenal introduced purelv with in in- 
tention of exhibiting II L 1 th wh h I 1 h O 
poet's most extens wkfp it It w hEglh 
version of r/>^7; d th gh I h p d d wl t w 11 Iw y be 
regarded as one of th gr t ta d d m m t f 1 te t t 
may be regretted th t th th 1 I t d f t It w ot 
one more accordant whhpl Vlpdm I 
quality is majesty d d b t J ty I t p d th 
Bummate grace; and 1)^6 1 h t d by m j tj w 
certainly deficient -i ^t ce d 1 H I m If t h 
become conscious ofh dh Imtdtltlhdt 
rather chosen Home Tw f m t llu.tnous poets, Dryden and 
Pope, have respectively translated Vu-gil and Homer : their glory would 
have been greater had they exchanged subjects. The robust and some- 
what masculine genius of Dryden could not perfectly assume Uic vii ■ 
iSinal and ideal refinement of the Diana-like Muse of Mantua. 

§ 9. The highest qualities of Dryden's literary genius never blazed 
: (it with greater splendor than when about io set forever in the grave. 
Ills Fables, as he called them, though they are in no sense .ahles, but 
tatlier tales in verse, exhibit all his noblest qualities, and are in genei al 
free from his defect of occasional coarseness. The subjects of these 
narratives are either modernized and paraphrased from Chaucer, or 
taken from the same sources whence Chaucer drew his materials, the 
Decameron of Boccaccio, and othi^r French and Italian uevclle. Among 
ttie revivals of Chaucer may be snecified Palamo» and Arfife (th* 



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!^0 TBS AGE OP TITS RESTORATION. (Chap. Xlt 

Knighfs Talc), January and May (the Doctor's Tale), Hie Cmi axA 
lie Fox (the Nun's Priest's Tale), and a paraphrase of Chaucer's cliar- 
acter of the Good Parson ; among the latter category the stories of 
Cymon and Ifhigenia and Theodore and Moaorta. These urorks aie 
for the most part of considerable length ; and it is curious to see how 
Diyden, with ail his deep and sincere veneration for Chaucer, hae 
felled to reproduce the more delicate and subUer qualities of his model. 
Tt- e spier.dor, the force, the picturesqueness of the original are indeed 
aiere; but the tender Koiae/^, the almost infantine pathos of the origi- 
imi, have quite evaporated, like some subtle perfume, in the process of 
transfusion. How far this is to be attributed to Drjden's own charac- 
ter—always deficient in tenderness — how far to the general toneof 
the age in which he lived, an age the very antipodes of sentiment, it is 
diiHcult to decide : in some degree, perhaps, that evanescent and subtle 
fragrance may be intimately connected with Chaucer's archaic lan- 
guage : but all who have attempted to modernize the father of our 
poetry have in a greater or less degree encountered the same insuper- 
able difficulty. The diminution of tenderness is peculiarly perceptible 
in such passages as the dying speech of Areite, and in many traits of 
the portrait of the Parson, to whom Dryden has communicated quite 
a modern air. These narratives, therefore, in order to produce their 
full effect, should be read as independent works of Dryden, without 
any reference either to Chaucer or Boccaccio ; !n which case they cannot 
fail to excite the liveliest admiration. The flowing ease with which the 
story is told, the frequent occurrence of beautiful lines and happy 
espressions, will ever make them the most favorable specimens perhaps 
of Drjden's peculiar merits. 

g 10. Besides poetry, Dryden produced a very large quantity of 
prose, much of it of great value, not only for the style, but in many 
instances also for the matter. The form of his prose works was gen- 
erftlly that of Essays or Prefaces prefixed to his various poems, and 
discussing some subject in connection with the particular matter in 
hand. Thus in his Essay on Dramatic Poetry he investigates the then 
hotly-argued question as to the employment of Rhyme in Tragedy; 
his Juvenal was accompanied with a most amusing treatise on Satire ; 
indeed few of his poetical works appeared without some prose disqui- 
sition, fn this way he has travelled over a vast field of critical inquiry, 
knd given us invaluable appreciations of poets of his own and othei 
conntries. Dryden must be regarded as the first enlightened critic who 
ippcared in the English language. His judgments concerning Chaucer, 
Bliakspeare, and his mighty contemporaries, Milton and a multitude 
>f other authors, do equal honor to the catholicity of his taste and the 
courage with which he expressed his opinions. His decisions maj, 
indeed, sometimes be erroneous, but they are always based upon reflec- 
tion and a ground, specious at least, if not solid. These works, besides, 
are admirable spedmens of lively, vigorous, idiomatic English, of 
which no man, when he chose to avoid the occasional pedantic employ- 
ment of fashionable French words, was a great master. The Dediem 



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A. D. 1628-1688,] JOHN BVJSF7AN. ail 

fions at many of his works to great and influential patrons, howevei 
little honor tiiey may d() to Dryden's independence of character, am 
singularly ingenious and well-turned ; and in judging the tone of ser- 
vility whicli such things display, we must not forget that it was the 
fashion of the time, and that a professional author, who lived by hie 
peii, could hardly afford to sacrifice his interest to an assertion of dig- 
nity which no one at that time could understand. 

§ 11. Literature presents no more oiiginal personality than that ;l 
John Bunyan (1628-1688), the greatest maeter of allegory that tver hw 
BKisted. He was born at the village of Elstow, near Bedford, in 1628. 
His father was a tinker, and the son in his youth followed the aama 
humble calling. Though bom in the very lowest rank of social life, 
and consequently enjoying very limited advantages of education, which 
appear in Cunyan's case to have extended no farther than simple read- 
ing and writing, he had before him the example of piety and morality, 
and at about the age of eighteen entered the military service in the 
Parliamentary army. In the strange and interesting religious autobi- 
ography which he wrote under the title of Grace Abounding in the Chief 
of Sinner St'Baay^La has given a curious picture of his internal strug- 
gles, his despair, his conversion, and his acceptance by God; and the 
whole range of mystical literature does not offer a more touching con- 
fession. Like all enthusiasts, he much exaggerates the sinfulness of 
his original state; and the peace and confidence in Divine mercy, 
which he attained at the price of agonies such as almost overthrew his 
reason, and which are ofthemselves an evidence of the natural strengta 
of his feelings, form a conti-ast with the gloom and despair from whict. 
he imagined himself to have been rescued by a miraculous interpos- 
tion of heavenly grace. But it is certain that the irregularities he su 
deeply deplores were venial, if not altogether trifling, and that his con- 
duct had always in the main been virtuous and moral. He married 
very young, and his worst vices appear to have been a habit of swear 
ing, and a taste for ale-drinking and the pastime — always so populat 
among the English peasantry —of bell-ringing and playing at hockej 
and tip-cat. After experiencing the fearful internal struggles usua' 
when strongly imaginative and impressionable minds are first broughi 
under religious conviction, he joined, in 1655, the sect of the Baptists 
one of the most enthusiastic among the innumerable Caivinlstic sccti 
with which England was then seething; and he gradually attracleil 
notoriety by the fervor of his piety and the rude eloquence of his tlis' 
courses. Deeply sincere himself, and of a benevolent and loving dit 
position, he was eager to communicate to others those " glad tiding! 
of great joy "which had been, as he imagined, divinely brought home 
to his own soul ; and his powerful genius, combined with his teligioue 
ardor, must have given him vast power over the humble cntbusiaste 
who composed his congregations. 

At the lime of the Restoraticm the government began to persecute 
with exti-eme severity the dissenting sects, which weie in most case; 
t^tified with the political doctlines of the recently overthn wn Com 



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122 THE AGE OF TUB RESTORATION. [Chap, XII. 

monwiaalth ; and Bunjan, as a leading man among tlic Baptists, wa« 
necessarily exposed to these trials. After undergoing some minor per- 
secutions, lie was convicted of frequenting and upholding conventicles, 
and imprisoned for upwards of twelve years in the jail of Bedford. 
During this long confinement, tlie rigor of whicli, however, was gi-ad- 
ually much relaxed toward t los he suppo t d himself \>y making 
Lagged laces, and acquired t! e en at o of h ompanions by the 
(xmevolence with which he con oled tl em nd by the fervor of hit 
religious exhortations. I p on too he e jojed the society of hie 
tamJIy, and particularly of h 1 le blmd d ugl t , of whom he was 
pEj^ionateiyfond. Itwa. d n 1 o finem t that he composed 
hii immortal allegory the P /^ P ss 1 the eleventh yea.- of 

his imprisonment, when he was frequently allowed to leave the jail, he 
was chosen preacher of the Baptist congregation. The persecution 
against the sects having been gradually relaxed, in consequence of the 
Jesuitical policy of James IL, who under the mask of general tolera- 
tion wished insensibly to relieve the proscription that weighed upon 
the Catholics, Bimyan was at last liberated altogether; and in 1672 he 
•lad become a venerated and influential leader in his sect, preaching 
frequently both in Bedford and London. His sufferings, his virtues, 
his genius as a writer, and his eloquence as a pastor contributed to his 
fame. He died in 16SS, in London, it is said in consequence of a cold 
caught in a journey undertaken by him in inc:ement weather with the 
object of reconciling a father and a son. His character appears to have 
been essentially mild, aifectionate, and animated by a truly evangelical 
love to all men. He was kind and indulgent, and free from that nar- 
row-minded sectarian jealousy which loves to confine tlie privileges of 
salvation to its own little coterie ; and, though a leading member of a 
most fanatical and enthusiastic persuasion, he exhibited a rare example 
3f Christian charity and a truly catholic love for all mankind. In 
spite, however, of the real mildness and gentleness of his character, 
his external manners and appearance, as he has himself recorded, had 
something austere and forbidding; but this was only apparent, and, 
apart from a few of those childish and almost technical scruples in 
matters really indiiferent, which may be called the badges of sectarian 
societies, Bunyan showed none of the sour and peevish narrowiicsf 
which is the vice of such bodies. This is as honorable to him as it is 
sitraordinary in itself, when we reflect upon his limited education and 
ipon till! almosi irresistible tendency of the circumstances which sur- 
rounded him. 

S 12. The works of Eunyan ai-e nu.Tserous; but there ai-e only tliiee 
sniong them upon whicli it will be necessary for us to dwcLl, These 
urs the religious autobiography entitled Grnce Abounding in the Chief 
of Sinners, to which I have slightly alluded above, and the two religious 
allegories, the Pilgrim's Progress and tlie Holy War. In the first of 
these works Bunyan has given the mi.Lutest and most candid account 
of his own spiritual stniggles and conversion. It is a book of the sam« 
(.r^er with the mystic writings of St, Ttieres^, with the Conf?sfii'j|i8 ol 



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A. D. i628-i688.1 JOHN BUNTAlsr. 223 

St. Augustine, and not inferior in inte e t and o nality ti) the Con- 
fessions of Rousseau. The author lay ba b f all I'le recesses 

of his heart, and admits us to the tr m nd p ta t of a human 
soul working out by unspeakable agon t 1 b t n from the bonds 
of sin and worldiiness. It is evident that B y has enormously 
fnaggerated the crimir.ality of his un g n t t and that the 
enthusiasm of his character has, though m perfect simplicity and good 
faith, intenaiEe-i both the lights and shades of the picture. Thedelinea- 
ti.m, hon iver, can never fail to possess interest either for the religion 
student or for the philosopher who loves to investigate the myaterioui 
ptiiblems of our moral and spiritual nature. The gloom and the sun- 
shine, Ihe despair and the triumph, are alike reflected in the simple and 
fervent language of Bunyan; and the book abounds with those little 
inimitable touches of natural feeling and description which have placed 
its author among the most picturesque of writers. 

§ 13. But it is in his allegories that Bunyan stands unrivalled, and 
particularly in the Pilgrim's Progress. This book, which is in two 
parts the first beyond comparison the finest, narrates the struggles, the 
exper ences ind the trials of a Christnn in h s passage from a life of 
sm to everla'iting felicity Mr Christiin dwelling in a c tj la 

incited by the consciousness of his lost state tjpified by a heavy 
burden to take a journey to the New Jerusalem — the city of eternal 
life All the adventures of his travel the SLCnes which he ^is ts the 
dangers which he encounters the enemie? he combat* the friends inA 
fellow pilgrims he meets upon his road tjp fy w th a strangle mixture 
of I teral smiphcity and powerful imaginat on the vicisaitudes of rel 
gious experience Shikspeare id not more essent ally the prince of 
dramatists that Bunyan is the prince of illegori=ts So intense m as h a 
.■ntellectual vision that abstract qualitieo.aie instantly clothi-d by him 
with personality, and we sympathize with bis shadowy personages as 
with real human beings. In the fair or terrible scenes which he sets 
before us we feel our belief captivated as with real incidents and places. 
Thousands of readers, from the child to the accomplished man, have 
trembled and rejoiced, have smiled and wept, In sympathy with the 
joys and sufferings of Buayan's personages. Dante possesses a some- 
what similar power of realizing the conceptions of the imagination ; 
hut Dante took for his subjects real human beings, whom he placed in 
extraordinary positions, where tliey stIU retain their personality ; while 
Buuyan clothes with flesh and blood Ihe abstract and the imaginary, 
Spenser was a great master of allegory ; but it is not with his persons, 
»0 much as with the brilliant and picturesque accessories that suiTOund 
them, that we interest ourselves. The Red-Cross Knight, Una, Mai- 
bocco, and Britomart do not escite any very lively ansiety about their 
fate as persons ; we follow their adventures with pleasure and curiosity, 
as we follow the unfolding incidents of a dramatic spectacle; but we 
no more identify ourselves with their fate than we do with that of bo 
many actors after the fall of the curtain. But Bunyan's dramatis fer- 
t0>ia we follow with a breathless sympathy, something lik« that with 



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Sai THE AGE OF THE RESTORATION. [Cuap. XIJ 

which we read Robinson Crusoe for the first time. This result is indeed 
in some degree to be ascribed to the simple, direct, unadorned style in 
which Bunyan wrote, and to the reality with which he himself con- 
ceived his persons and adventures. 

The popularity of the Pilgrim's Progress was immediate and im- 
mense : it has continued to the preaeot day ; and the tale is one of ths 
most fascinating to children and peasants. Indeed, there is hardiv a 
cottage in England or Scotland where Bunyan's fiction does not find « 
place DO tile scanty book-shelf, between the Bible and the Almanac 
Encx)uraged by the success of the first part, Bunynn was induced to 
compose a continuation, in which the wife and children of Christian go 
over nearly the same ground and meet with nearly similar adventures. 
The charm, however, of the second part is far inferior to that of the 
first; the invention displayed, though remarkable, is devoid of the 
freshness which marks the persons and incidents of Christian's journey. 
A g»eat many scenes and characters in Bunyan's books, though intended 
to embody allegorical meanings are evidently d f m 1 IT 

The d pt n f Va ty F m j f th 1 d p b t f llji 

and V dlj p t d d a 1 g n rab f th p d d - 

logues b 11 th kfbegt ptfmBj t. 

experi n Th g tat d t m wh h th b k w tte w e 

abund t t lymkdh t btlgd dbd due 
mayaceptf e mpl th life-1 k cen ftl t bf the 

court of J t f thflp t e of the incredible brutaliti and cor- 

ruption of the tribunals of those evil days Bun>an, like all great 
creators, was gifted with a lively sense of the humorous, and in thi 
characters and adventures we frequently see a comit, element of no 
inconsiderable merit The sublime and the grotesque, the tender, the 
terrible, and the humorous were alike tasted bi this ttu\j fopulat 
genius In the largeness of his nature, as well as in the forcible and 
idiomatic picturesqueness of his language, he perfectly sympathizes 
with the people, and he has expressed their sentiments in their 
natmnl tongue His knowledge of books was very small; but the 
English 1 ersion of the Bible, in which our language exhibits its highest 
force and peif-ction had been studied by him so intensely that he was 
completely saturated with its spirit. He wrote unconsciously in its 
style, and the innumerable scriptural quotations with which his works 
are incrusted like a mosaic, harmonize, without any incongruity, with 
the general tissue of his langucge. Except the Bible, from whidi he 
sorrowed, consciously oi unconsciously, the main groundwork of hit 
liction, he probably was little acquainted with books. Fox's Martyn 
and a few popular legends of knights errant, such as have ever been a 
favorite reading among the English peasantry, probably furnished all 
MKh materials as he did not find in the Scriptures. The Bible, indeed, 
he is reported to have known almost by heart. 

With such intellectual training, applied to a mind naturally sensitive 
and enthusiastic, the style of a writer might be rude, harsh, nay, even 
" s ungrammaticiil, but it was siirp to be perfectly free frijui 



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A. D. 1628-1688.] JOUN BUHTAN. 223 

vulgaritj' and meretricious ornament ; and Bunyan is the most perfect 
representative of the plain, vigorous, idiomatic, and Bomelimes pictu- 
resque and poetical language of the common people. It resembles in 
its masculine breadth and solidity that ancient style of architecture 
which is improperly called Saxon ; its robust pillars and stout arches, 
its combination of rugged stone and imperishable heart of oalt, givijig 
trmest of illimitable duration. It is surprising how universallj 
Bunyan's diction is drawn from the ptimitive Teutonic element in our 
liiiiguage: for pages together we sometimes meet with nothing bul 
monosyllable and dissyllable words ; with the exception of a few theo- 
logical terms, his structure is built up of the solid granite that lies ai 
the bottom of our speech. Of course it was impossible (hat the alle- 
gory could always be maintained ; in a work of such length the spii-itual 
type could not alwaj^ be kept distinct from the bodily antitype ; but the 
reader seldom experiences any ditEculty from this cause, being carried 
forward by the vivacity of the narrative. The long spiritual discus- 
sions, expositions of theological questions, and exhortations addressea 
by one interlocutor to the others, not only afford curious specimens of 
the religious composition of those days, but increase tlie verisimilitude 
of the persons, . These passages, too, show Bunyan's profound ac- 
quaintance with the language and the spirit of the Scriptures, and 
place in the strongest light his benevolent and evangelical Christianity. 
In hia descriptions he is equally powerful whether the object he paints 
be terrible or attractive ; the Valley of the Shadow of Death is placed 
before us with the same astonishing reality as the Delectable Moun- 
tains — a reality strongly recalling the Hell and Paradise of Dante 
No religious writer has analyzed more minutely and represented more 
faithfully every phase of feeling through which the soul passes in its 
struggles with sin ; the clearness of these pictures is rather increased 
than diininished by the allegorical dress in which they are clothed. Id 
them Bunyati did but draw upon his own memory, and narrate his own 
ixperiences. He exhibits, too, that inseparable characteristic of tlie 
ligher order of creative power, a constant sympathy with the siniplei 
jbjects of external nature, and a preference of the great fundamental 
elements of human character. 

§ 14, The Holy War is an allegory typifying, in the siege and cap- 
hire of the City of Mansoul, the struggle between sin and religion in 
Uia human spirit. Diabolus on the one hand and Immanuel on the 
otlier are the leaders of the opposing armies. In this narrative we see 
rioquent traces of Bunyan's personal experience in military operations, 
siiiji as he had witnessed while serving in the ranks of Cromwell's 
stout and God-fearing army. The narrative, viewed as a tale, is far 
less interesting than the Pilgrim's Progress, our sympathies not being 
excited by the dangers and escapes of a single hero; and in many 
points the allegory is too refined and complicated to he always readily 
followed. The style, though similar in its masculine vigor to that of 
the former allegory, is less freah and aairaated. 

{ 15. One of the most prominent figures in the Long Parliament and 



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226 THE AGE OF THE RESTORATION. [Chap. XII, 

the Restoration was Edward Hyde, afterwards Chancellor, bettef 
known by his title of Earl of Clarendon (1608-1674), Not oii3y waa 
he an actor in the political drama of that momentous epoch, but he 
holds an honorable place among English historians by means of his 
historj- of the events in whicli he had talten part. Descended from a 
gentle stock, and educated at Oxford, he soon abandoned the profeusion 
of a barrister for the more exciting struggles of political life. He sat 
in the Short Parliament of 1640, when he was a member of the moder- 
ate party in opposition to the court, and afterwards, in the same year, 
was a conspicuous orator in the Long Parliament, at first supporting 
opposition principles, but after a violent quarrel with Hampden and 
the moH! advanced adhei-ents of tlie national cause, he gradually piissed 
over to the Royalist side. Finding himself at last in open rupture with 
the constitutional party, and even in imminent danger of arrest, he fied 
from London and joined the king at York. From this time Clarendon 
must be regarded among the most faitliful, though certainly among the 
most moderate adherents of the Royalist cause. In 7644 he was ap- 
pointed member of the Council named to advise and take charge of the 
prince, whom he accompanied to Jersey, and whose exile and vicissi- 
tudes he shared from the execution of Charles I. to the Restoration in 
1660. During the Republic and Protectorate Hyde remained abroad, 
generally in close attendance upon the exiled prince and his little dis- 
reputable court, and generally giving such advice, as, if followed by his 
master and his companions, would have spared tliem much disgrace 
and many embarrassments. He was also rewarded with tlie title — 
(hen but an empty name — of Chancellor, and he was employed in 
several diplomatic services, one to the Court of Madrid, with the object 
o( inducing the European cabinets to interfere actively on behalf of the 
exiled house. In this mission he was unsuccessful, so great was the 
Krrorinspiredbythe vigor of the great soldier and statesman who then 
swayed the destinies of England, and who first placed his country 
among the first-class powers of Europe. During this time Hyde had 
frequently, like many of his companions, and like the king himself 
while wandering in Fi-ance and Holland, to support extreme poverty 
and privation. With the death of Cromwell ci-umbled to pieces the 
Btmcture maintained as well as raised by his genius and patriotism. 
The Restoration took place; and in the frenzy of triumph which 
greeted the re-established monarchy, it was natural that Hyde should 
leap the reward of his services. He was Installed in the high office of 
Chancellor, made first a Baron, and afterwards, in i65i, Earl of Clar- 
endon, and for some time was among the most powerful advisers of the 
court. His popularity, however, as well aa his favor with the king, 
soon began to decline ; for both his virtues and his faults were such as 
to render him disliked. The gravity and austerity of his morals formed 
ft strong contrast to the extreme profligacy of the court; his advice, 
generally in favor of prudence and economy, could not but be distaste- 
ful to the king; and his lectures had the additional disadvantage of 
being tedious } while, like many other statesmen who have returned to 



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A. O. 1608-1674.] iJLARENDON. 221 

power after a long exile, lie was -not able to atcommoUate himself ta 
the altered state of opinion. At the same time tlie people looked with 
envy and distrust upon the great wealth which he was acciimiilating, 
not always by the most sci-upulous means, and upon the spirit of nepo- 
tism which was making the House of Hyde one of the richest and mosl 
splendid in tlie country. The magnificence, too, of his palaces and 
gardens gave additional umbrage to public dislike, which was carriol 
to the highest pitch when a secret marriage was divulged between hi» 
daughter Anne and tlie Duke of York, brother and heir-apparent of 
the king. This alliance between a family that every one lemembt-ied 
to have risen from the rank of country gentleman and the Royal 
House was looked upon with strong displeasure. Clarendon, hy it, 
became the progenitor of tvro queens of England, Mary and Anne. 
The minister's unpopularity was completed by the share he had in 
advising Charles to sell Dunkirk to Louis XIV., a measure which ex- 
cited the intenaest feeling of national humiliation; and Clarendon was 
accused by popular rumor of receiving a share of the proceeds of this 
disgraceful compact: his splendid palace in London received the bitter 
nickname of "Dunkirk House." Charles was not a man to sacrifice 
an atom of popularity for the purpose of screening a minister, even 
had he been person^Iiy attached to Clarendon. The Chancellor was 
impeached for High Treason, went into exile, and passed the remainder 
of his life in France, where he died, at Rouen, in 1674. 

g 16. Clarendon was the author of many state papers and other ofH- 
dal documents, which exhibit a grave and dignified eloquence ; but his 
great work is the History of the Great Rebellion, as he naturally, in 
his quality of a Royalist, designated the Civil War. This review of 
events embraces a detailed account, rather in the form of Memoirs than 
regular history, of the pi-occedingu from 1625 to 1633, together with a 
narrative of the incidents which led to the Restoration. As the mate- 
rials were derived from the author's personal experience, the work !« 
of high value, and places Clarendon among the leading historical 
writers of his age; while the dignity and liveliness of the style, in 
tpite of occasional obscurity, will ever rank him among the great 
:lasBical English prose-writers. Impartial he cannot be expected to 
be i but his partiality is less frequent and less flagrant than could fairly 
have been anticipated. The moderation of his character has occasion- 
ally led him to hesitate between two conclusions, and even when con- 
victed of partiality he may be said to be rather negatively than posi- 
tively unfair. If we take into consideration the number and complexity 
of the events he had to treat, we shall find fewer serious inaccuraties 
llian could have been looked for in his account of facts. Above all he 
is excellent in the delineation of character. These are the parts of his 
wjrk most carefully elaborated, and in them we often find penetration 
rn judging and skill in portraying varieties of human nature. 

5 17. There is perhaps no cliaracter, whether personal or literary, 
nore perfectly enviable than that of Izaak Walton (1593-168.1"). Hb 
was boru a! Stafford in 1593, and passed his early manhood in London. 



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228 TBE AGE OF THE BESTOSATIOlf. [Chap. XH. 

where he carried on the humble business of ft " sempster " or linen- 
draper. At about fifty he was able to retire from trade, probablj with 
such E competency as was suiKcient for his modest desires, and lived 
till the great age of ninety in ease and traoquillitj, enjoying the friend- 
ship of many of the most learned and accomplished raen of his time, 
and amusing himself with literature and his beloved pastime of th« 
angle. His marriage with a eister of the truly apostolic Bishop Ken 
probably brought him into contact with such men as Donne, Hales. 
Woiton, Chi I ling worth, Sanderson, and Ussher; and the eicquisitt. 
modesty and simplicity of his character soon ripened such acquaint- 
ance into solid friendships. He produced at different times the Live\ 
of five persons, all distinguished for their virtues and accomplishments, 
namely, Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert, and Bishop Sanderson, with 
the iirst, second, and last of whom he had been intimate. These 
biographies are unlike anything else in literature; they are written 
with such a tender and simple grace, vrith such an unaffected fervor of 
personal attachment and simple piety, that they will ever be regarded 
as masterpieces. But Walton's great work is the Cg-^flete Angler, a 
treatise on his favorite art of fishing, in which the precepts for the 
sport are combined with such inimitable descriptions of English river 
scenery, such charming dialogues, and so prevailing a tone of gratitude 
for God's goodness, that the book is absolutely unique in literatuie. 
The passion of the English for all kinds of field-sports and out-of-dooi 
amusements is closely connected with sensibility to the loveliness of 
rural nature; and the calm home-scenes of our national scenery are 
reflected with a loving truth in Walton's descriptions of those quiet 
rivers and daisied meadows which the good old man haunted rod in 
hand. The treatise, with a quaint gravity that adds to its charm, is 
thrown into a series of dialogues, first between Piscafor, Venator, and 
Auceps, each of whom in turn proclaims the superiority of his favorite 
sport, and aftenvards between Piacator and Venator, the latterof whom 
is converted by the angler, and becomes his disciple Mixed up with 
technical precepts, now b Itlblt fitnbe 

of descriptions of angli g d j t th witl dig bre th ^ 
the sweetest sympathy w th t lb ty d p ph 1 pi y 
that make Walton one fth tlq tl ft an 

religion. The expression p d t d g cef 1 tl 

sentiment; and the occ i ce f a 1 ttl t h f lu 

fashioned innocent pedant ly dd t th d fi 11 f t o 

the ivork, breaking up its monotony like a ripple upc.i the sunny eur- 
fiice of a stream No other literature possesses a book similar to the 
Cfmjlete Angler, the popularity of which seems likely to last as long 
as the language. A second part was added by Chakibs Cotton (see 
p. 176;, a clever poet, the friend and adopted son of Izaak, and his rival 
in tlie passion for angling. The continuation, thougli inferior, bre ithes 
the same spirit, and, like it, contains many beautiful and simple lyrics 
iti praise of the art, 
% 18, Gkorgb Savile, Marquess of Halifax (1 630- 169,1; j, ons o( 



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A.. D. 1620-1706.] HALIFAX. EVELYN. PBFYS. 229 

the most illustrious statesmen of the Restoration, deserres notice on 
account of his political tracts, which, says Macaulay, " well dcEcrve to 
be etudled for their literarj" merit, and fully entitle him to a place 
among English classics." 

One of the most charming, as well as eolid and useful, writers of thii 
period was John Evelyn (1620-1706), a gentleman of good family and 
considerable fortune, whose life and character afford a model of what 
is most to be envied and desired. Virtuous, accomplished, and modest, 
lie distributed his time between literary and philosophical occupation* 
and the never-cloying amusements of rural life. He was one of the 
foundais of the delightful art, so successfully practised in England, of 
gsrdening and planting. His principal works are Sylva, a treatise on 
the nature and management of forest-trees, to the precepts of which, 
as well aa to the example of Evelyn himself, the country is indebted for 
its abundance of magnificent timber; and Terra, awork on agriculture 
and gardening. In both of tiiese books we see not only the practical 
good sense of the author, but the benevolence of his heart, and an ex- 
quisite sensibility to the beauties of nature, as well as a profound and 
manly piety. In his feeling for the art of gardening he is the worthy 
successor of Bacon and predecessor of Shenstone. Evelyn has left also 
a Diary, giving a minute account of the state of society in his time 
and his pictures of the incredible infamy and corruption of the court 
of Charles II., through the abominations of which the pure and gentle 
spirit of Evelyn passed, like the Lady in Comus, amid the bestial rout 
of the enchanter. His description of the tremendous fire of I-ondon 
in 1665, of which he was an eye-witness, is the most detailed as well as 
trustworthy and picturesque account of that awful calamity. It was at 
the country house of Evelyn, at Says Court, near Deptford, that Peter 
the Great was lodged during his r)-aidence in Englind , and Evelyn 
gives a laiaentablc account of the dirt and devi tition ciused in the 
dwelling and the beautiful garden by the barbarian monaich and his 
Buite. Indeed he obtained from Government compen-Jitioii for the 
injury done to his property. The Diary, as well a^ all the other i^orks 
of this good man, abounds in traits of personal character He his 
family, and his friends, seem to have formed a little oasis of piety, 
virtue, and refinement, amid the desert of rottenness offered by the 
higher sodety of those days; and his v^ritings will ilwajs retiin th« 
double interest derived from his personal \irtues, and the fidelity with 
which they delineate a peculiar phase m the national history. 

§ 18, All original and even comic personality of this era is Samvei. 
Pkpys (1632-1703)1 whose individual character was as singular as his 
writings. He was the friendless cadet of an ancient family, but born in 
•uch humble circumstances that, after receiving some education at the 
University, he is supposed to have for some time exercised tlie trade of 
a tailor; and during hts whole life he retained a most ludicrous passion 
for fine clothes, which he is never weary of describing widi more thau 
the gusto of a man-millinei . I3y theprotection of a distiinl connec- 
tion, Sir Edward Montagu, he was placed in a suljordinate olhce i> 



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^30 THE AGE OF TBB RESTORATION: [Chap. XII, 

Ihe Admiralty'; and by his punctuality, honesty, and knowledge of busv 
ness, he gradually rose to the important post of Secretary in Uia. 
department. He remained many years in this office, and must be con- 
sidered ag almost the only honest and able public official connected with 
the Naval administration during the reigns of Charles II. and James II, 
In the former of these the English marine was reduced, by the corrup- 
rion and rapacity of the Court, to the very lowest deptli of degradation 
mil inefficiency. The successor of Charles was by profession a seaman, 
tnd on his accession employed all his efforts to restore the service to iti 
lorraer vigor. Perhaps the only portion of that miserable King's admin ■ 
istration which can be regarded with anything but contempt and hor- 
ror, is the effort he made to improve the condition of the Fleet To 
this object the honesty and activity of Pepys contiibuted ; and nfter 
acquiring a sufficient fortune without any serious imputation on his in- 
tegrity, the old Secretary retired from the service to pass the evening of 
his life in well-earned ease. During the whole of his long and active 
career, Pepys had amused himself, for the eternal gratitude of posteritj; 
in writing down, day by day, to a sort of cipher or short hand, a Di'ary 
of everything he saw, did, or thought. After having been preserved 
for about a century and a half, this curious record has been deciphered 
and given to the world ; and the whole range of literature does not pre- 
t a d more curious in itself, or exhibiting a more singular and 

I 1 bl jp of human character. Pepys was not only by nature a 
th gh g ip, curious as an old woman, with a strong taste foi 
1 J lliGcations, and a touch of the antiquity and curiosity 
h t b t h was necessarily brought into contact with all classes of 
DC f tlie King and his ministers down to the poor half-starved 

1 wl pay he had to distribute. Writing entirely for himself, 
P pj w th I dicrous naiveti, sets down the minutest details of hit 
grad 1 wealth and importance, noting every suit of clothes 

d d by ther himself or his wife, which he describes witli rapturous 
th asm, ai d chronicling every quarrel and reconciliation arising 
not of Mrs, Pepys's frequent and not unfounded fits of jealousy; for he 
is BuBpiciously fond of frequenting the pleasant but profligate society of 
pretty actresses and singers. The Diary is a complete scandalous 
cbnmicle of a society so gay and debauched that the simple description 
ofwhat took place is equal to the most dramatic picture of the novelist 
The statesmen, courtiers, players, and demireps actually live before 
our eyes; and there is no book that gives so lively a portraiture of one 
of the extraordinary states of society that then existed. All the minutiie 
of dress, manners, amusements, and social life are vividly presented to 
as; and it is really alarming to think of the uproar that would have 
taker place if it had come to light that a careful hand had been 
chronicling every scandal of the day. Pepys's own character — an in- 
imitable mixture of shrewdness, vanity, good sense, and simplicity — 
nilinitely exalts the piquancy of hie revelations ; and his book possesses 
the double inbsrest of the value and curiosity of its matter, and of th» 
coloring given to that matter by the oddity of the narrator. 



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*. D. 1616-1704.I yOTMS AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



251 



§ 20. As a 'tyjie of the fugitive literature of tliis age may be men- 
tioned tlie writings of SiR ROGER L'Estrangb (1616-1704), ao activa 
pamphleteer and hack writer in favor of the Royalist partj Hie oav- 
sge diatribes against the opponents of the Court are now almost for- 
gotten, but they are curious as exhibiting a peculiar force of ilaiig and 
riilgar vivacity wiiich wei-e then regarder; as smart writing Hu works 
are full of tbe familiftr expresBions which were current in society , and 
though low in taste, are not without a certain fire. Like another 
writer of the same stamp, Tom Brown, he has given an Ciample o! 
h 3 w ephemeral must always be the success of that sai-rfisant hnmomui 
stylt which depends for its eifect upon the employment of the cufrent 
jargon of the town. In every age there are authors who truot to this 
for their popularity ; and the temporary vogue of sucli writers is gener- 
ally as great as is the oblivion to which they are certain to be con- 
demned. L'Estrange has curiously exemplified his mode of writing in 
a sort of prose paraphrase of the ancient Fables attributed to the mys- 
terious name of iEsop ; and his Life of that imaginary person is a rare 
n of the pert familiarity which 9t tliat time passed for wit. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



BI.BT0H(16W-HWl,phjlll^M 




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JVBW DRAMA AND CORRECT POETS. [Chap. XIH 



CHAPTER Xm. 
THE NEW DRAMA AND THE CORRECT POETS. 

!. Contrast betnepn the drama of BUzabelh and that of the Restoratian. J 3. 3lB 
Oboroe ETBiiREBE. § 8. WiLLiAM TTtcheblei : SIS Eife and works. Ths 
Cmmtry Wife a,Di.lhe Plain Dealer. } 4. Sir Joitn Vanbruoh. Thefle&jiM, 
the Provoked Wife, the Confederacy, and the Pronoked Rusbaitd. f 6. GeoeoI 
FakqdHar. Thfl Constant Couple, the Ineonslma, the Becndling Officer, 
anil the Beauif Stratagem, j 8. William Conorevb ; his life. 7. His works. 
The Old Baohelor, The Double Dealer. Love for Love. The Moui-mng 
Bride. § 8. Jbremy Collier's attack of the stage ; Congreve's reply. Con- 
gre»e's Fay of tl-e World. ^9. Thomas Otway, The Oi-phan and Vmim 
Preisrved. J 10. Nathaniel Lee. Thomas Socthbbkb. leabsUa, or the 
Fatal Marrioffe, and Oroonoko. John Crowne. { II. Nicholah RowE. 
Jane Shore and the Fair Penitent. 12. Mrs. AphrA Bern, Thomab Shad- 
WELL, and Geoebe Lillo. Lillo's George Barnwell, the Fatal Curiosity, 
and Arden of Favershani. f 13. Character of Enelisli poetry of this era. 
NoWe poets: Earl of Roscommon. Earl of Rochester, Sir Chables 
Sedley. DrjKB of Buckinghamshire. Eael of Dorset. § U. John 
Philips and John Fommiet. 

§1. In a previous chapter I have endeavored to sketch the immense 
revolution in dramatic literature, which is exempliiied in the contrast 
between the age of Elizabeth and that of the Restoration. The theatre 
of the latter period, representing-, as the theatre always must, the pre- 
vailing tone of sentiment and of Eocietj-, is marked by the profound 
./)rruption which distinguishes the reign of Charles II., and which was 
Jie natuial leaction after the strained morality of the Puritan dominion. 
ITie new drama differed from the old not only in its moral tone, but quite 
as widely in its litei-ary form. The aim of the great writers who are iden- 
tified with the da>yn of our national stage was to delineate nature and 
passion ; and therefore, as nature is multiform, they admitted into their 
serious plays comic scenes and characters, as they admitted elevated 
feelings and language into their comedies. But at the Restoration the 
nrtificial distinction between tragedy and comedy was strongly marked, 
and generally maintained with the same severity as upon the stage of 
France, which had become the chief model of imitation. In the place 
of the Romantic Drama arose the exaggerated, heroic, and stilted 
Tragedy on the one hand, and on the other the Comedy of artificial 
ife, which, drawing its materials not from nat.:re but from society, took 
tor its aim the delineation not of character but of maimers, which is 
indeed the proper object of what is correctly termed comedy in the 
ritrictest sense. Wit, therefore, now supplanted Humor; and England 
produced, during the seventeenth "Sind part of the eighteenth centuries, a 
constellation of splendid dramatists. Their works arc, it is true, now 



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A- D. 1636-I71S'] ETBEREGB. WYCIIERLET. 26. 

become almost unknown to the general reader; which is to be attribute" 
lo their abominable profligacy ; hut no one can have any conception of 
the powei-s of the Cnf,I sh language and tl e brilliancy of English wit, 
who has not made a qun ntan e w tl the e p eces. 

g 2, This class of v ters n iy be i d to begin with Sir Georc b 
Ethsrbob (1636-1694) vho wis a a of fashion, and employed m 
a diplomatist. He d ed of a fall at Rat bo 1, where he was residing 
as iileni potent! ary H s p nc pal work was entitled the Man oj 
Mole or Sir Fopl g Flutter tl at charicter being the impersonatioi 
of liia fashionable coxcomb of the day Great vVacity of dialogue, 
combined with striking and unexpected turns of ntr gue, form the gen- 
eral peculiarity of all the comedies of tl s t me D j den and his once 
popular rival Shadwell must be rega ded ie the 1 k connecting tlie 
elder drama with the new style ; and Etherege s the first who embod- 
ied the merits and defects of the latter tho gh Etl erege was destined 
to be far outstripped both in the wit and gayety and n the immorality 
of his scenes. 

§ 8. A greater writer ttian Etherege, but eshibiting similar charac- 
teristics, was WiLMAM WvcHERLEY (<640-i7is), bom in 1640, of a 
good Shropshire family. His father, probably disgusted with the 
gloomy Puritanism of the reigning manners, sent the future dramatist 
to be educated in France, where he was brought up in the brilliant 
household of the Duke of Montausier, Here the young man aban- 
doned his national faith and embraced Catholicism, probably regard- 
ing the latter as more especially the religion of a gentleman and man 
of fashion. Returning to England, adorned with all the graces of 
French courtliness, and remarkable for the beauty of his person, Wych- 
Srley, while nominally studying the Law, became a brilliant figure in 
he gay and profligate society of the day. In his literary career we do 
not find indications of any great precocity of genius ; hia first comedy 
Love in a Wood, was not acted until he had reached the age of ahou 
thirty-two; and the small number of his dramatic works, as well as 
the style of their composition, seems to prove that he was neither very 
original in conception, nor capable of producing anything otherwise 
than by patient labor and careful revision. Love in a Woo:/ was fol- 
lowed, in 1673, the next year, by the Gentleman Dancing-Master, the 
plot of which wss borrowed from Calderon. His two greatest ai i 
most successful comedies are the Country Wife, acted in 1675, and the 
Plain Dealer, in 1677. Moving in O.ie most brilliant society of his 
fime, Wycherley was engaged in many intrigues, the most celebrated 
Viing that with the infamous Duchess of Cleveland, one of the innu- 
merable mistresses of diaries II. His grace and gayety attracted the 
notice of the king; and he was selected to superintend the education 
of the young Duke of Richmond, Charles's natural child ; but a secret 
marriage which he contracted with the Countess of Drogheda caused 
him to lose the favor of the court. His union with the lady, which 
commenced in an accidental and even romantic manner, was not such 
#E to secure either his liappiness or his interest; and after her deftt> 



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834 IfE if DRAMA AND CORRECT POETS. [Chap XIII. 

Wycherley fell into such distress as to have remained several jears in 
confinement for debt. He was at list liberated partlj by the asEistance 
of James II.; and on this occasion probably to gratify the king, he 
again rejoined the Catholic chuich fiom which he had been tempo- 
rarily reconverted The remiinder of Wjcherley's life is -neUnchoIy 
and ignoble. Having long survned the literary types which were in 
fa«hicn ill liis youth with a broken constitution and an embarraBttii! 
fortune, he continued to thirot with vain impotence after sensual pleas- 
UT« and litcrarj glorj With th" asoistance of Pope, then a mere 
hvy, but who had blized out upon the world with sudden splendori 
Wycherley concocted a huge colIeLt on of stupid and obiceiie poems, 
wl ich fell dead u^on the publ c The momentaiy friendship and bit- 
ter quarrel of the old man and the young critic form a curious and 
instructive picture Wycherley died in 1715, at an advanced age, hav- 
ing, on his very death bed mirried i young girl of sixteen, with the 
sole purpose of injuring his fam Ij and preventing them from receiv- 
ing his inheritance 

It is by the Country Jir/e and he riaia Dealer that posterity will 
judge the dramatic genius of Wycherley Both these plays indicate 
great deficiency of original nvention foi the leading idea of the first 
is evidently borrowed from the ^cole des Tc-mmes of Moli^re, and that 
of the second from the same author s Mtsanthra^e. As Macaulay has 
excellently observed nothing c\n more clearly indicate the unspeak- 
able moral corruption of thit epoch m our drama, and the degree in 
which that corruption was exemplified h3 Wycherley, than to observe 
the way in which he hin modified while he borrowed, the data of the 
great Frenuh dramatist The character of Agnes is so managed as 
never to forfeit our respect, vshile the coiresponding personage, Mrs. 
PinUiwife, IS in the English comedj a t nion of the most incredible 
immorality with complete ignorance of the world; while the leading 
mcident of the piece the stratagem by which Horner blinds the jeal- 
ousy of the husband, is ot a mture which it is absolutely impossible 
to quality in decent language Nevertheless the intrigue of the piece 
IS animated and amusing , the sudden and unexpected turns seem abso- 
lutely to take awiy one s breath , and the dialogue, as is invariably the 
case in Wycherley's productions, is elaborated to a high degree of live- 
liness aod lepartee. In the Plain Dealer is still more painfully sppni^ 
e.nt that biuntness of feeling, or rather ttiat total want of sensibility te 
moral impressions, whicli distinguishes the comic drama of the Resto 
■Biion, ard none of the writers in that drama more signally than Wicb- 
;rley. The tone of sentiment in Molifere, as in all creators of llie high 
jst order, is invariably pure in its general tendency Alceste, iii spit« 
of his faults, is a truly respectable, nay, a noble character. Those ^erj 
faults indeed are but a proof of the nobility of his disposition : " di 
vino dolce e 1' iceto foite," says the Italian adage; and a gcneroui 
heart, irritated past endurance by the smooth hypocrisy of soc nl life, 
and bleeding from a thousand stabs inflicted by a cruel coquette, claimi 
(lur tympatly even in the oiitbursts pf ifs outraged feeling. But Wvch- 



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A.. D. 1666- 1726.] VANBRUGS. 28B 

erlcy borrowed Alcesle; and in his hands the virtuous and injured fiera 
ol Molifere has become " a ferocious sensualist, who believes himseli 
to be as great a rascal as he thinks everybodj else." " And to maka 
the whole complete," proceeds our admirable critic, " Wyclierlej Joei 
not seem to have been aware that he was not drawing the portrait oi 
an eminently honest man. So depraved was his moral taste, that, 
while he firmly believed that he was producing a picture of virtue toa 
enalted for tlie commerce of this world, he was really delineating Ihi 
peatest rascal that is to be found, even in his own writings," 

§ 4. The second prominent name in this constellation of biilliaiit 
coniic writers, the stars of which bear a strong general resemblance to 
each other, is that of Sir John Vanbrugh (1666-1726). He was tlie son 
of a rich sugar-baiter in London, probably, as his name indicates, of 
Dutch descent ; and was born, it is not quite certain whether in France or 
England, in 1666. He unquestionably passed some part of his youth in 
the former country ; and he united in his own person the rarely combined 
talents of architect and dramatist. As an architect he is one of the 
glories of the English school of the seventeenth centuiy; and to his 
picturesque imagination we owe many woiKs which, though open to 
criticism on the score of irregularity and a somewhat meretricious lux- 
uriance of style, will always be admiied for then magnificent and 
princely richness of invention. Among the raoBt remarkable of these 
are Castle Howard and Blenheim, the litter being the splendid palace 
constructed at the national expense for the Duke of Marlborough. 
While engaged in this work Vanbrugh was involved in violent altei-ca- 
tions with that malignant old harpy, the Duchess Sarah; and his 
account of the quarrel is almost as amusing as a scene in one of bis 
own comedies. Vanbrugh was appointed King-at-Arms, and was em- 
ployed, both in this function and as an architect, in many honorable 
posts. Thus he was deputed to carry the insignia of the Garter to the 
Elector of Hanover, and was afterwards knighted by that prince when 
he became King of England as George I., who also appointed him 
Comptroller of the Royal Works. He died in 1726, just before the 
close of that reign. 

Vanbrugh's comedies, the production of which comraenced in 1697, are 
the Relapse, the Provoked Wife, jSsoJi, the Confederacy, and the first 
sketch of the Provoked Husband, left unfinished, and afterwards complet- 
ed by Colley Cibber. It still keeps possession of the stage, and is one of 
the best and most popular comedies in the language. Vanbrugh's pKn- 
lipal merit is inexhaustible liveliness of character and incident. Hie d-'a^ 
logue is certainly less elaborate, less intellectual, and less highly in ilied 
Jian that of Wycherley: but he excels in giving his perscnages a ready 
ingenuity in extricating themselves from sudden difficulties; and one 
great secret of the omic art he possesses to a degree hardly surpassed 
by Moliore hirasell , viz., the secret depending ui>on skilful repetition — 
an infallible talisman for exciting comic emotions. His fops, his booby 
squires, his pert chambermaids and valets, liis intriguing ladies, hia 
romps and his blacklegs are all drawn from the life, and deiineat§lJ 



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236 JTEW DRAMA AND CORRECT POETS. [Chap. XIII. 

With great vivacity; but there is a good deal of exaggeration in hi' 
characters, an exaggeration wl.ich we easily pardon in consideration ol 
the amusement thej afford ua and the consistency with which their peiv 
Bonality is maintained — the more easily perhaps, as these types no 
longer exist in modern society, and we look upon them with the same 
sort of interest as we do upon the quaint costumes and fantastic alti- 
tudes of a collection of old portraits. In the Relapse Lord Foppington 
is an admirable impersonation of the pompous and suffocating cox- 
comb of those days. Sir Tunbelly Clumsy, the dense, brutal, ignoranl 
country squire, a sort of prototype of Fielding's Western, forms ati 
exceiknt contrast with him, and in Hoyden Vanbrugh has given the 
first specimen of a class of characters which he drew with peculiai 
skill, that of a bouncing rebellious girl, full of animal spirits and 
awaiting only the opportunity to break out of all rule. A variety of 
the same character is Corinna in the Confederacy, with the diiference 
that Hoyden has been brought up in the country, while Corinna, in 
spite of her inexperience, is ali-eady thoroughly corrupted, and, as she 
says herself, "a devilish girl at bottom." The most striking character 
in the Provoked Wife is Sir John Brute, whose drunken, uproarious 
blackguardism was one of Garrick's best impersonations. The Confed- 
eracy is perhaps Vanbrugh's finest comedy in point of plot The two 
old usurers and their wives, whose weakness is played upon by Dick 
Amlet and his confederate sharper Biass, Mrs, Amiet, the marchande 
de la ioiUtie, tlie equivocal mother of her graceless scamp, Corinna, 
and the maid Flippanta — all the dramatis persona; are amusing in the 
highest degree. We feel indeed that we have got into exceedingly bad 
company; for all the men are rascals, and the women no better than 
they should be ; but their life and conversation, " pleasant but wrong,' 
are invariably animated and gay: and perhaps the very profligacy of 
their characters, by forbidding any serious sympathy with their fate, 
only leaves us freer to follow the surprising incidents of their career. 
The unfinished scenes of the comedy left by Vanbrugh, and afterwards 
completed under the title of the Provoked Husband, promised to be 
elaborated by the author into an excellent work. The journey to Lon- 
don of the country squire. Sir Francis Wronghead, and his inimitable 
family, \t worthy of Smollett himself The description of the caval- 
cade, and the interview between tlie new " Parliament-Man " in search 
of a place and the minister, are narrated with the richest humor. All 
the sentimental portions of the piece, the punishment and repentance 
of Lady Towniey, and the contrast between her and her " sober " sister- 
in-law Lady Grace, were the additions of Collev Gibber, who lived iX a 
time when the moral or sermonizing element was thought esseritial in 
comedy. This part of the inti-igue, however, had the honor of being 
the prototype of Sheridan's delightful scenes between Sir Pete." and 
Lady Teazle in the School for Scandal. In brilliancy of dialogue Van- 
brugh is inferior to Wycherley; but his high animal spirits, and his 
exti-aordinary power of contriving sudden incidents, more than compen- 
late for the deficiency. In Vanbiugh perhaps ttiere is more of mintt> 
but lets of intellect 



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A. D. 1678-1708,] FASQB-ffAB. 



237 

S6. George FARquiiAR (1678-170S) was born at Loiidonderrj ii; 
Ireland in 167S, and in his personal as well as his literary character he 
Bxemplifiea the merits and the defects of his nation. H3 received some 
education at college, but at the early age of eighteen emb-aced the pro- 
fesdon of an actor. Having accidentally wounded one of his comrades 
in a fencing-match, he quitted the stage and served for some time ni 
tlie amy, in the Earl of Orrery's regiment. His military experience 
enabled him to give very lively and faithful representations of gay, 
rattling officers, and furnished him with materials for one of his pleas- 
anlest comedies. His dramatic productions, which were mostly written 
afi!r Ma return to his original profession, are more numerous than 
those of his predecessors, and consist of seven plays : Love and a 
Bottle, the Constant Coufle, the Inconstant, the Stage Coach, the T-wm 
Rivals, the Recruiting Officer, and the Beainf Stratagem. These were 
produced in rapid succession, for the literary career of poor Farquhar 
was compressed into a ^hort space of time-between 1698, when the 
fiv^t of the above pieces was acted, and the author's Ciirly deiith about 
1708 The end of this brief course, which terminated at the age ot 
thirty, was clouded by ill health and poverty; for Farquhar was 
induced to marry a lady who gave out, contrary to truth, that she 
was possessed of some fortune. 

The works of Farquhar are a faithful rdflection of his gay, loving, 
vivacious character! and it appears that down to his early death, not 
only did they go on increasing in joyous animation, but exhibit a con- 
stantly augmenting sliill and ingenuity in conetniction, his last works 
being incomparably his best. Among them it will be unnecessary to 
dwell minutely on any but the Constant Couple (t^ie intrigue of which 
Is extremely animated), the Inconstant, and chiefly the Recrmitng 
Officer and the Beaaii Stratagem. In Farquhar's pieces we arede- 
ighted with the overflow of high animal spirits, generally accompanied, 
as in nature, by a certain frankness and generosity. We readily pardon 
the peccad-llo of h's pe sonages, as we attribute their escapades less 
to innate dep y th n to the heat of blood and the effervescence of 
youth. H I e oe oft n engage in deceptions and tricks, but there 
.s no trace of tl e deep and deliberate rascality which we see in 
Wycherley nt g 63 o of the thorough scoundrelism of Vanbrugh's 
sharpers The Beam St atagem is decidedly the best constructed of 
our antho s plays and the expedient of the two embarrassed gentle 
tucii, who come down into the country disguised as a master and hif. 
tervant. though not perhaps very probable, is extremely well conducted, 
ind furnishes a series of lively and amusing adventures. The contrast 
i«tv/een Archer and Aimwell and Dick Amlet and Brass in Vanbrugli s 
Confederacy, shows a higher moral tone in Farquhar, as compared 
with his predecessor; and the numerous characters with whom they 
are brought in contact — Boniface the landlorc'. Cherry, Squire Sullen, 
and the inimitable Scrub, not to mention Gibbet the highwayman, and 
Father Foigart the Irish-French Jesuit — are drawn with never-failii." 



Passages, expressior.s 



;s whole scenes, may b« 



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238 MSW DRAMA A>VD CORRECT POE'f^ [Cirvp Xlil 

ftnin(3 ftinong the dramas of Fnrquhar, stamped with thnt ii. h hiimoi 
and oddity which engrave them on the memory Thus Boniface"! 
laudation of his ale, " as the saying is," Squire Sulien's inimitable eon 
versation with Sent'- : '' What day of the week is itf Scrub Sunday, 
sir, ShI. Siindaj } Then bring me a dram I " And Scrub'*, suspicions 
"lafn sure they were talking of me, for they laughed coneumediyl" — 
Buch trfl'ts prove that Farquhar possessed a tme comic genius. Th( 
ecenes in the RtcruUing Officer, where Sergeant Kite inveigles the twr 
clowns to enlist, and those in which Captain Piume figures, are also of 
high merit. In those plays upon which I have not thought it necessaij 
lo insist, as the Constant Couple and the Inconstant, the reader will not 
fait to find scenes worked up to a great brilliancy of comic effect; as, 
for example, the admirable interview between Sir Harry Wildair and 
Lady Lurewell, when the envious coquette endeavors to make bim 
jealous of his wife, and he drives her almost to madness by dilating on 
his conjugal happiness. Throughout Farquhar's plays the predominant 
quality is a gay geniality, which more than compensates for his less 
elaborate brilliancy in sparkling repartee. He seems always to write 
from his heart; and therefore, though we shall in vain seek in his 
dramas for a very high standard of morality, his writings are free from 
that inhuman tone of blackguard heartlessness which disgraces the 
comic literature of the tim'e. 

§ 6, The dramatic literature of this epoch naturally divides itself 
into the two heads of Comedy and Tragedy; and having now to speak 
of an author whose reputation in his own day was unrivalled in both 
departments, I shall place him here as a sort of link connecting them 
together. This was Wiliiam Conoreve (1670-1729), who will always 
stand at the very head of the comic dramatists, while he certainly occu- 
pies no undistinguished place among the tragedians. He was born in 
Yorkshire of an ancient and honorable family, in 1670; and his fathe 
being employed in a considerable post in Ireland, the youth i-eceivea 
"lis education in that country, first at a school in Kilkenny, and after- 
wards at the University of Dublin. Here be acquired a degree of schol- 
arship, particularly in the department of Latin literature, which placed 
him far above the generality of contemporary writers of belles lettres, 
and he came to London, nominally to study the law in the Temple, but 
really to piny a distinguished part in the fashionable and intellectual 
circles of the lime. During his whole life he seems to have been the 
darling of society; and possessing great personal and conversation a: 
■itli'sciiins, together with a cold and somewhat selfish character, wa( 
llie perfect type of what Thackeray, adopting the expressive slang of 
-lui day, has qualified as the "fashionable literary ja/eff." He ttiirsted 
after fame as a man of elegance and as a man of letters ; but as the 
literary profession was af that time in a very degraded social position, 
he was tormented by the diflicultyof harmonizing the two incompatible 
aspirations : and it is related that when Voltaire paid him a visit he 
affected the character of a mere gentleman, upon which the French wit, 
Ki lb equal acuteiiess and sense, jiisiiy reproved his var.ity by sayin^' 



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A.. 0. 1670.1729.] CONOREVB. 



2J(S 



"If j'ou had been a mere gentleman I should not have come to ses 
you." Congreve's career was singularly aaapiciouBi the brilliancy <ii 
his early works received instant recompense in solid patronage. Sue 
cesEive and hostile ministers rivalled each other in rewarding him : li* 
obtained numerous and lucrative sinecures; and by his prudence was 
able not onlv to frequent, ae an honoi-ed guest, the society of th« 
greatest and most splendid of his time, but to accumulate a large for^ 
lune A disorder of the eyes, under which he long suffered, ultimatelj 
terminated in blindness; but neither this infirmity uor the gout cf)uld 
(Krainish the grace and gayety of his conversation, or render him les* 
acceptable in company. He, was regarded by the poets, from Dryden 
to Pope, with enthusiastic admiration : the foi ner hailed his entrance 
upon the literary arena with fervent praise, and in some very beautiful 
and touching lines named Congreve his successor in that poetical 
throne he had so long and gloriously filled, imposing upon his friend- 
ship the task of defending his memory from slander; and Pope, when 
publishing his great work of the translation of Homer, passed over the 
powerful and the illustrious to dedicate his book to the patriarch of 
letters. Congreve, like most men of fashion at that time, was cele- 
brated for many bonnes fortunes ; his most durable connection was witfc 
the fascinating and generous Mrs. Bracegirdle, so famous for the ex- 
cellency of her acting and the beauty of her person. In his old age, 
however, Congreve appears to have neglected her for the Duchess of 
Marlborough, daughter and inheritress of the great Duke; and at his 
death he bequeathed the bulk of h fortune amounting to the large 
sum of 10,000/., notto thecoiparit iclv needv -tctre s nor to h s own 
relatives, then comparatively poor b t to the Duche a n whose m 
mense revenue such a legacy wa but a a d op the ocean Th 9 
circumstance furnishes an add t ona! proof tl at Congreve was more 
remarkable for ostentation than for generos ty or wa mth of heart 
He died in 1729, and was honored w th a nign ficent and almost na 
tional funeral. His bod/ lay in itate n the Jer sikn Clamber t d 
was followed to the tomb in Westm nster Abbey by all thit was no t 
illustrious in England. 

§ 7. The literary career of Congreve beg ns w h a no el of ns g 
lificant merit, which he published under the pseudonyme ol Cleophib; 
out the real inauguration of his glory was the representation, in 1693, 
of his first comedy, the Old Bachelor. This work, the production of a 
young man of twenty-three, was received by the public and by the 
critics with a tempest of applause. In spite of the bad construction 
knd improbability of the intrigue, and of the conventional and so to 
Mjr meciianical conception of the characters, it was easy to foresee in 
It »n the peculiar merits which belong to the greatest comic dramatists 
of the eighteenth century. The chief of these is the unrivalled ease 
and brilliancy of the dialogue. Congreve's scenes are one mcessant 
flash and sparkle of the finest repartee; the dazzling rapier-thrusts of 
wit and satiric pleasantry succeed each other without cesiation; and 
the wit, as is always the case whti of the highest order, s allied to 



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U6 NEW DRAMA AND CORRECT POETS. TChap. XHl 

ihrewd iicn=e a.id acute observation of mankind. Indeed tlie main 
defect of Congreve'B dialogue is a plethora of ingenious allusion ; ft>i 
he falls into the error of making hie fools and coxcombs as brilliant a> 
hia professed wits — a fault common to most of the authors of hii 
flchoiil. But the qualitj' in which he stands alone is his skill in divest 
ing this brilliant intellectital sword-play of every snade of formalitj 
■nd constraint. His conversations are an exact copy of refined and 
intellectual conversation, though of course containing far ti 



tinticy than any 


real convei-sati 


on ever 


eshibited. lliis air of consume 


mate ease and 
whicli no othe 


idiomatic viva 


■'ty g! 


to his style a peculiar flavor 






d perhaps no English write 


furnishes so m 


y pi 


f th 


parity of our language as a 


vehi-le for intell 


t I d pi y 


Ih 


d that the characters in the 


Old Bachelor 


t 


al th 


y are nevertheless exceedingly 


amusing: as, f 


mpl C pt Bl 


ff a reproduction of the bully- 


ing broggadoc 


freq tl 


pi d 


1 pon the stage. This hero's 


mention of H 


b 1 d 1 


1 


mic : " Hannibal was a very 


pretty fellow in 


th d y t 


t b 


nt d But al 1 sir, were 


he alive now h 


Id b th 


s— 


th n n he ea thl ■ This is 



of the strain of P 11 f B d of Bobad 1 We can hardly 

wonder at, though we may not coni m the entl n of Congreve's 

contemporaries, when, with Drjd n at Ue head t! ey hailed this 
brilliant debutant as the successoi nd tl e mo e tl n 1 of Fletcher 

and Shakspeare. 

Congreve's second theatrical venture was the Double Dealer, acted in 
1694. The success of this comedy was much less than that of its pred- 
ecessor; and the comparative failure is to be attributed to the admix- 
ture, in the plot, of characters and incidents too gloomy and tragic to 
tiarmonize with the follies and vanities that form the woof of comedy. 
The wicltednesB of Lady Touchwood is of a tint too funereal to har- 
monize with the brilliant and shifting colors of comedy; and the vil- 
lanous plots of Masltwell are so intricate and complex that the puzzled 
reader is unable to follow Ihem. As in Shakspeare's Come/fy 0/ Errors, 
the confusion between the two pairs of twins is so complete that the 
reader, as much embarrassed as the personages in the piece, loses the 
thftad of the story, and therefore the interest which is the source of 
pleasure, so in Congreve's play the abstruseness of the intrigue defeat? 
its own purpose. Many of the minor scenes and characters, however. 
*re full of comic verve. 

Congreve's masterpiece is Love for Love, which was acted in i6sB. 
This is one of the most perfect comedies in the whole range of litera- 
tare. The intrigue is effective, and the characters exhibit infinite 
variety, and relieve each other with uurelaxing spirit. The pretended 
madness of Valentine, the unexpected turns in his passion for Angelica, 
Sir Sampson Legend, the doting old astrologer Foresight, Mrs. Frail, 
Mius Prue (a character something like Vanbrugh's Corinna, or Wycher 
ley's Hoyden), and above all the inimitable Ben — the first attempt to 
portray on the stage the rough, unsophisticated sailor — the whole 



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A. D. i65i>-i'/260 COLLIER. 241 

dramatis pirsonee, down to the most insigniiicant, are a crowd o( pic- 
turesque and we 11- contrasted oddities. The scene in wliich Sir Samiiaon 
endeavors to persuade his son to renounce his inheritance, tliat between 
Valentine and Trapland the old usurer (almost as good us Don Juan's 
reception of M. Dimanche), the arrival of Ben from sea, and his con- 
verr.ation with Miss Prue, — these, and many more, are the highest 
eKftltation of comedy. Sir Sampson is one of those big, blustering 
cb«i-acters that make their way by noise and confidence; he has some- 
thing in commo;! with Ben Jonson's Mammon, and was the model 
ulleni* Sheridan aflerwards copied his Sir Anthony Absolute. 

Two years afl^er this triumph Congreve burst forth upon the world 
It: a completely new department of the drama — that of tragedy. He 
produced the Mourning Bride, which was received with no less ardent 
encomiums than the comedies. This piece is written in that pompous, 
solemn, and imposing strain which the adoption of French or classical 
models had rendered universal, and which Dryden had adopted as far 
as his bold and muscular genius, so rebellious to authority, permitted. 
The distress in this tragedy is extremely deep, but Congreve does not 
succeed in touch-:.g the heart. The chief merits of the piece consist in 
dignified pu.isages of declamation, or what the French call tirades; 
and there are several descriptive passages of considerable power and 
melody, though their merit is rather that of narrative than dramatic 
poetry. Of this kind is the perpetually quoted description of a temple, 
which the extravagant eulogy of Johnson, by absurdly comparmg it to 
pictorial p<»ssages m Shakspeare, has dep ' ed of 'ts d need of 
applause. If taint piaise" "damns exagger'ited laudaton damns 
still more fatally 

§ 8. About th s time took place an event of eq al mpo tance to 
Congreve and to the literary character of that age Th s was the 
attack directed b} Jerem\ Collier (i6i;o-I7 6) an ardent nonjur ng 
clergyman a^amat the profaneness and n n o al tj of the Engl sh 
stage. HiB pamphlet was written v. h extraord na y tire w t and 
energy ; and the evil which he combated was so general so nveterate 
and so glaring, that he immediately ranged upon h s ^ de all moral and 
thinking men in the nation. He anatom zed w th a v go ous and un 
sparing scalpel the foul ulcer of theatrical immorality, and cauterized 
it with such merciless satire that Dryden, powerful as he was in contro- 
versy, remained silent out of shame. The gauntlet thi-own down by 
Collier, and which conscious guilt prevented Dryden from lifting, was 
taken up by Congreve ; but the defence he made was poor, and the vie- 
torj remained, both as regards morality and wit, on the side of Collier. 
The controversy had the effect of inaugurating a better tone in the 
Jrama and in lighter literature in general; and from that period dates 
the gradual but rapid improvement which has ended in rendering the 
literature of England the purest and healthiest in Europe. 

Congreve's last dramatic woik was the Way of the World, perfo'-ni'v' 
in 1700. Its success was not great, although its dialogue exhibits the 
rare charm which never deserted him, and though it contain^, in Mills- 
ai 



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842 NEW DRAMA AND GORREOT PO^TS- [Cfiap. ttll 

mam one of the most delicious portraits of a g&y, triumphaiil beauty, 
coquette, and fine lady ever placed upon the stage. It is like the porce- 
lain figures in old Dresden china; crisp, sparkling, highly jet delicately 
colored, filling the mind with images of grace and fancy. In his old 
age the poet produced a volume of fugitive and miscellaneous tiifles, 
wliich do not much rise above the level of a class of compositieit. 
ETircmely fashionable at that period. 

S 9. Among the exclusively tragic dramatiste of the age of .Drjden 
Ibe first place belongs to Thomas Otway (1651- 16S5), T:fo died, aftei 
I IFe of wi-etchedness and irregularity, at the early age of thirty-fovj 
He ieceive<l a regular education at Winchester School and Oxforil, 
and very early (embraced the profession of the actor, for v«hich he had 
no natural aptitude, but which familiarized him with the technical 
requirements of theatrical writing. He produced in the earlier part of 
his career three tragedies, Alcibiades, Don Carlos, and Titus and Bere- 
nice, which may be regarded as his Srst trial-pieces ; and about 1677 he 
served some time in a dragoon regiment in Flanders, to which he had 
been appointed by the protection of a patron. Dismissed from his 
post in consequence of irregularities of conduct, he returned to the 
stage, and in the years extending from 16S0 to his death, he wrote four 
more tragedies, Caias Marcius, the Orphan, the Soldier's Fortune, and 
Venice Preserved. All these works, with the exception of the Orfhan 
and Venice Preserved, are now nearly forgotten ; but the glory of 
Otway is so firmly established upon these latter, that it will probably 
endure as long as the language itself. The life of this unfortunate poel 
was. an uninterrupted series of poverty and distress; and his death has 
frequently been cited as a striking- instance of the miseries of a literary 
career. It is related that, when almost starving, the poet received a 
guinea from a charitable friend, on which he rushed off to a baker's 
shop, bought a roll, and was choked while ravenously swallovring the 
first mouthful. It is not quite certain whether this painful anecdote is 
strictly true, but it is incontestable that Otway's end, like his Hie, was 
miserable. How far his misfortunes were unavoidable, and how far 
attributable to the poefs own improvidence, it is now impossible to 
determine. Otway, like Chatterton, like Gilbert, like Tasso, and like 
Cervantes, is generally adduced as an example of the miserable enj 
of genius, and of the world's ingratitude to its greatest benefactors. 

As a tragic dramatist Otway's most striking merit is his pathos ; and 
he possesses in a high degree the power of uniting pathetic emotUin 
with the expression of the darker and more ferocious passions. The 
dislrc!S in his pieces is carried to that intense and almost hystericRl 
pitch which we see so frequently in Ford and Beaumont and Fletcher, 
and so rarely in Shakspeare. The sufferings of Monimia in the Orphan, 
and the moral agonies inflicted upon Belvidera in Venice Preserved, ar« 
carried to the highest pitch, but we see tokens of the essentially second- 
rate quality of Otway's genius the moment he attempts to delineat* 
madness. Belvidera's ravings are the eitpression of a disordered fancy. 
and not, like those of Lear or of Ophelia, the lurid flashes of reason 



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A. D. 1651-169^.] OTWA r. LEE. 248 

and consciousness lighting up for ati instant tlie tossings of a luind 
agitated to its profoundest depths. In Venice T'reserved Otway has not 
attempted to preserve historical accuracj, but lie has Bui:eeeded in pro- 
ducing a very exciting and animated plot, in which the weak and 
uxorious Jaffier is well contrasted with the darker traits of his friend 
and "ell ow- conspirator Pierre, and the inhuman harshness and cruellj' 
of the Senator Priulj with the ruffianly thirst for blood and pluiidci in 
Renault. The frequent declamatory scenes, remindin^the reader uf 
15ryden, as, for instance, the quarrels and reconciliation of Pierre and 
jalSer, the execution of the two friends, and the despair of Belvidera, 
ire wciked up to a high degree of excellence ; and Otway, with the 
true instinct of dramatic fitness, has introduced, as elements of the deep 
distiess into which he has plunged his principal characters, many of 
those familiar and domestic details from which the high classical dram- 
atiGt would have shrunk as too ignoble. Otway in many scenes of 
this play has introduced what may be almost called comic matter, as 
in the amorous dotage of the impotent old senator and the courtesan 
Aquiliiia; but these, though powerfully and naturally delineated, are 
of too disgusting and odious a nature to be fit subjects for representa- 
tion. Otway's style is vigorous and racy; the reader will incessantly 
be reminded of Dryden though the author of Venice Fresert'ed is far 
superior Ihgrt f thqltjfpth d dg 

his best p p rp t lly t 1 by t f fl f 

Ford, Heyw d B t d th g t t f tl El 

bethan er 

§ 10. N t f tl d f tl p n d w Id b pi t 

without som m f N ian L (dSg) t£;ipt wh 

not only h d tl i f t ^ D _ i tl mp t f 

eral of his pieces, but who, in spite of adverse circumstances, and in 
particular of several attacks of insanity, one of which necessitated his 
confinement during four years in Bedlam, possessed and deserved a 
high reputation for genius. He was educated at Westminster School 
and Cambridge, and was by profession an actor ; he died in extreme 
poverty in 1693. His original dramatic works consist of eleven trage- 
dies, the most celebrated of which is Tie Rival ^eeens, or Alexander 
the Great, in which the heroic extravagance Df the Macedonian con- 
queror is relieved by amorous complications arising from the attach- 
ment of the tvro strongly-opposed characters of Roxana and Statira. 
Among his other works may be enumerated Tieodosi-us, MilAridaCts, 
unil the pathetic drama of Lucius yum'iis Brutus, the interest of which 
l.mis on the condemnation of the son by the father. In all these plays 
we find a sort of wild and exaggerated tone of imagery, sometimes 
reminding us of Marlowe : but Lee is far superior in tenderness So the 
author of Faustus; nay, in tliis respect he surpasses Dryden. In the 
beautiful but feverish bursts of declamatory eloquence which are fre- 
quent in Lee's plays, it is possible to trace something of that violence 
and exaggeration which are perhaps derived from the tremetidom 
malady of which he was so lonj; a victim. 



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S44 NEW DSAtiA AKD COdREOT POSTS. fCHAP. Xlli 

Thomas Soltherke (1659-1746) wns born at Dublin, bnt passed th< 
greater part of hta life in England. He etudied tlie Law in tire Temple 
bnt qmtled tf.al profession for B,e arm, ; it is known that be served aJ 
a captain in one of tbe corps employed in the suppression of tlie unfcr 
Innate Dnko of Monmoutb's rebellion, and in all probabilil, was nr-sei.' 
at tbe battle of Sedgemoor. The close of his life was tranqnil and sur 
rounded with competence. Southeme was the author of ten plays the 
most conspicuous of which are the tragedies of IsaMla, or /fe ratal 
Uavnas,, and the pathetic drama of Or.cmla. The l.lter is founded 
>pon til. trne adventures of an African prince: the subject is said to 
oave been given to Southeme by Aphra Behn, of whom we shall have 
to say a few words presently, and who, being tbe daughter of a govern- 
rf rrv*"' /" ""■ ""*■ "'^ !■'•"• ™ Pmonairy ac<,iainted 
boa, with the incideuto and tbe individual, which form tbe grouadwork 
oflbe story. Tlie sufferings of the generous and unhappy African, torn 
b] the slave-trade from his country and bis home, and hi. love for 
Imomda, furnish good materials to the pathetic genius of Soulhorne, 
who „,, tte Urst English author to hold up to execration tbe crueltie; 



of that infernal traffic that so long remained a stato'npon our country 
n ^ distress in FsaMla i. also carried to a high degree of intensity ano 
tenJernes. ar d pathos may be asserted to he the primary characteristic, 
of houthernes dramatic genius. 

Another minor, but not unimportant, name among the dramatists of 
this period is that of JoHs CRowm (1661-1698). Among the seven- 
teen piece, which he produced, I may mention the tragedy of Tiy,,!., 
and the comedy entitled » C.„«y «•„. Both of these worka'po" 
.ess considerable menl, (hough the revolting nature of the legend which 
t™. the .uhject of the Br.l is of a nature that ought to e.clfde it S 
the dramatisP. attempt We may remember that the.e dreadful Greek 
tradition, had previonaly been preferred by Chapman Crowne is re 
markable for the be.nl, of detached passages of senlimenl and descrip- 
tion, .„d in particular bears some resemblance to bis predecessor inthe 
dignity and elegance with which he inculcates those moral precepts 
which Euripides was so fond of Introducing, and w*ich in the Greek 
Drama are called r,™u„,. cr,, cs 

§ 11. In success in life and social position Nicholas Rowe (ifov 
171S) was a happy contrast to the vyretcb.d career of many dramatist. 
by no means bis inferior, ,n talent. He was born in 1673, and studied 
in tbe Tetnpie employing hi, leisure hours in writing for the stage. 
He was cordially received m the brllUant and literary society of bis dJ, 
and w,, a niember of that intellectual society which surrounded Popo 
Swifl, Arbnlhnot, and Prior, and who were bound together by such 
strong tie. of intimacy and friendship. It is said, however, that Rowe, 
though much admired for his social accomplishments, was regarded ai 
of a somewhat cold and seiasb nature i in short, there seem to be many 
elements of character in common between him and Congreve. He waa 
not only in po.session of an independent fortune, but was splendidly 
awarded for his hterary exertions by the gifl of man, 1„„H„ pl«i^ 



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A. D. I&/3-I789-] ROWE. BEILV. 243 

fn the patronage of Government. Thus hewat Poet Laureate and Sm- 
veyor of the Customs, Clerk of the Council in the service of the Prince 
of Wales, and Clerk of the R'esentations. He was an example of thai 
mode which for some time was general in England, of rewarding with 
piofit«ble or sinecure appointments merit of a liteiarj kind. The pro- 
fession of letters enjoyed a transient gleam of prosperity and consid' 
e;ition; the period preceding and that following this epoch being i'B" 
n;arkablefor the want of social consideration — nay, the degiadatior, 
attaching to the author's profession. It was not till the vast extension 
of the reading public, by offering the writer the most honorable foim of 
recompense and the purest motives for exertion, that he could be relieved 
fioin the humiliation of a servile dependence on individual patrons 
on the one hand, and the Huctuatione of temporary success and prevail 
iiig poverty, on the other. Rowe was the first who undeitook an 
edition of Shakspeare upon true critical and philological piinciples, 
and, though his work is marked by the inevitable deficiency of an age 
when tlie art of the commentator, as applied to an author of the six- 
teenth century, was still in its infancy, yet his edition gives some ear- 
nest of better things, and has, at all events, the merit of exhibiting a 
profound and loyal admiration of the great poet's genius. Rowe died 
in 1718. His dramatic productions amount to seven, the principal being 
yaae Skere, the Fair Pem'ienl, and Lady yane Grey, all, of course, 
tragedies. Tenderness is Howe's chief dramatic merit; in the diction 
of his works we incessantly trace the influence of his study of the man- 
ner of the great Elizabethan playwrights. This imitation is often only 
superficial ; and in some cases, as, for example, in Jane Shore, extends 
little farther than an aping of the quaintness of the elder authors ; but 
in many points Rowe did all that a nature, I suspect not very imprei,- 
aionable, could do to catch some echo of those deep tones of pathos 
and passion that thrill through the writings of the great elder dram- 
atists. In the Fair Penitent we have an almost intolerable load of sor- 
row accumulated on the head of the heroine. It is curious that the 
character of the seducer in this play, "the gallant, gay Lothario," 
should have become the proverbial type of the faithless lover -—just as 
Don Juan has been in our own time — and should have furnished 
Richardson with the outline which that great painter of charactei 
afterwards filled up so successfully in hi; masterly portrait of Lovr- 

S 12. Mrs, Aphra Behs (d. 1689), celebrated in her day under th( 
|>oetical appellation of Astraia, enjoyed some reputation for the jayety^ 
and, I may add, for the immorality, of her comedies. She wai one oi 
those equivocal characters, half literary, half political adventurers, who 
naturally appear in tiroes of public agitation. The daughter of a gov- 
ernor of Surinam, she had passed her youth in that colony, and, coming 
to Eorope,was much mixed up in the obscurei intriguesoftlie Restora- 
tion. She resided some time in Holland, and seems to have rendered 
services to Charles 11. as a kind of political spy. She died in 1689, an.. 
her novels, as well as comedies, though now forgotten, may be coI»^^lt«d 



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un 



NEW DRAMA AND OOERECT POETS. [Chap. XIII 



IS cm-ifi- 1 evidences of tlic state of litorary and social feeling that pre 
Failed aX tiiat agitated epocli. 

Ttie only other names that need be cited among the dramatists of thii 
period Hre those of Shadwell and Lillo. Thomas SHADwiiLL (1640- 
1693) wrote eeventeen plajs, but is now chiefly Itnown by Dryden'f 
iatiie as the hero o( Mnc-FJecknoe, and the Og oi Abialom ai d Ackito 
ihsl. On the Revolution, he succeeded Dryden %% Poet Liiireate 
[■Jeorgb Lillo (1693-1739) ia in many leapecta a remaikabJe and sm 
pillar literary figure. He was a jeweller in London, and appears to 
Imvc been a irudent and industrious tiadesman, and to hue accimu 
lawtl a fair rompetence. His dramatic works, which weie proba'^lj 
coiiiposed So an amuseraeat, consist of a peculiar species of what laiy 
be called tragedies of domestic life, in some respects lesemblmg those 
drames which are at present so popular in France. The principal of 
them arc George Barmven, ths Fatal Cariosity, B.-aA Arden of Feven 
ham. Lil!o composed sometimes in verse and sometimes in prose, 
be based his pieces upon remarkable examples of crime, generally in 
the middle ranks of society, and worked up the interest to a high pitch 
of intensity. In George Sarawell is traced the career of a London 
shopman— a real person — who is lured by the artifices of an aban- 
doned woman and the force of his own passion first into embezzlement, 
and then into the murder of an uncle. The hero of the play, like his 
prototype in actual life, expiates his oifences on tlie scaifold. The sub- 
ject of the Fatal Curiosity, Lillo's most powerful work, is far more 
dramatic in its interest. A couple, reduced by circumstances, and by 
the absence of their son, to the lowest depths of distress, receive into 
their house a stranger, who is evidently in possession of a large sum ; 
while he is asleep, they determine to assassinate him for the purpose 
of plunder, and afterwards discover in their victim their long-lost son. 
It will be remembered that the tragic story o( ArdeH 0/ Feversham, s. 
tissue of conjugal infidelity and murder, was an event that really took 
place in the reign of Elizabeth, and had furnished materials for a very 
popular drama, attributed, but on insufEcient evidence, to Shakapeare 
among other playwrights of the time. It was again revived by Lillo, 
and treated in his characteristic manner — a manner singularly 'jitensc 
in spirit, though prosaic in form. Indeed, the very absence of imagina- 
tion in this writer may have contributed to the effect he produced, by 
augmenting the air of reality in his conceptions. He has something 
of the gloom and sombre directness which we see in Webster or Tour- 
nenr, but he is entirely devoid of the wild, fantastic fancy which distin- 
gviishes t^at great writer. He is real, but with the reality, not of Wil'e' 
Scott, but of Defoe. 

S 13. From the time of Dryden to about the end of the first quartsi 
ol the eighteenth century English poetry exhibits a character equally 
removed from the splendid brilliancy of the epoch of Elizabeth and the 
picturesque intensity of the new Romantic school.. Correctness and 
good sense were the fliialities chiefly aimed at; and if the writers avoid 
tfts i»buEe of ingenipiis sUusion whiph disfigures (he productions li 



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R (647 
tty ce t 


630) 
n t 


wl 


1 b t 
hm d 


tl profl g te 

t ! t I t h 


t 
t g 
1 d 


f Ch 

t b 

w t 


thb d 






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A. D. 1634-1708.] KOSCOMMON. SEDLET. PHILIPS. 241 

Cowley, Donne, and Quarlea, they are equally devoid of the passionat* 
and intense spirit which afterwards animated our poetry. It is remark- 
able how many of the writers of this time were men of rank and fash- 
ton : their literary efforts were regarded as the elegant accomplishment 
of amateurs ; and, though their more ambitious pro duct ions are generally 
didactic and critical, and their lighterworks graceful and harmoi.iouj 
songs, they must be regarded lees as the deliberate results of litevarj 
labor than as the pastime of fashionable dilettanti. Earl of RoscoM' 
mon(i634-i685), the nephewof the famous Strafford, produced a poeti 
cal Essay on Translated Verse and a version of the Art of Poetry from 
Horace, which were received by the public and the men of letters with 
an extravagance of praise attributable to the respect then entertained 
for any intellectual accomplishment in a nobleman. Earl op Roches- 
■ - h' ■ d b h ■ d the 

m ft! t p t figures 

II p d d mb f poems, 

wl h p d 1 w "T t w e the 
th m t tr e: his 

p d d by tl arg m nts of 
t t g d d f) g t of his 

penitents last moments, thowthat, amid all his vites, Rochester's 
mind retained the capacity for better things. Many of his productions 
are unfortunately stained with such profanity and indecency, that they 
deserve the oblivion into which they are now fallen. 

Sir Charles Sedley (1639-1701) was another glittering star in the 
court iirmament; he was a most accomplished gentleman, and his life 
was far more regular, as well as more tranquil, than that of Rochester r 
his comedy, the Mulberry Garden, is not devoid of gayety and wit, 
and contains several songs of merit. Many other slight lyrics prove 
■-hat Sedley possessed the grace, airiness, and ingenuity, which are the 
principal requisites of this species of writing. 

To the same category may be ascribed the Duke of Buckingham 
(Sheffield) (1649-1720) and Earl of Dorset (1637-1705), perfect speci- 
mens of the aristocratic literary dilettante of those days. The former 
is best known by his Essay on Poetry, written in the heroic couplet; 
ttie Ktter by his charming, playfid song — To all yon ladies both on 
latid, said to have been written at sea on the eve of an engagement 
with the Dutch fleet under Opdam. It is addressed by fhe coJrtly 
volunteer to the ladies of Whitehall, and breathes the gay and gallant 
■pirh that animates the chanson militatre, in which the French so triuch 

J 14. The only poets of any comparative importance, not belong! ]:g 
to the higher classes of society, were Philips and Pomfret, both belong- 
■ng to the end of the seventeenth century. John Philips (1676-1708) 
13 the author of a half-descriptive, half-didactic poem on the manu- 
facture of Cider, written upon the plan of the Georgics of Virgil ; but 
he is now known to the general reader by his Sfhndid Shitting, a 
BJeBsant/Vw d'es^ril, in which the learned and pompous style of Miltosr 



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248 ifEW DJiAHA AND CORRECT POMTS. [Chap XIII 

is agreeablj parodied, by being applied to the most trivial Eubject. Suoti 
parodies are common, and by no means difficult of execution; but 
among them there will alwajs be some which, either from their origi- 
nality as iirst attempts in a particular style, or from the peculiar felicitj 
of the imitation, will exdte and retain a higher popularity tlian gen- 
erally rewards trifles of this nature. Such has been the peculiar good 
fortune of Philips. John Pomfrkt (1667-1703) was a clergyman, am' 
the only work by which he is now remembered is his poem of Tii 
Choice, giving a sketch of such a life of rural and literary retiremen' 
as has been the hoc erat in votis of so many. The images and ident 
are of that nature that will always come home to the heart and fs.ncy 
of the reader; and it is to this naturalness and accordance; with uni- 
versal sympathy, rather than to anything very original either in its 
conception or its execution, that the poem owes the hold it lias go long 
retained upon the attenti»i). 



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JOHN I4OCKE. 



CHAPTER XIV. 

THE SECOND REVOLUTION. 

1 1. John Lockb : his life, f 2. Hia works. Letters on ToleraUon, Treaiiu on 
CtKil Qovemment. J 3. Essay on the Huoian Understanding, f 4. Essay on 
Education, On the Reasonableness of ChrioHanity, On tlie Conduct of Iht 
Uaderslanding. j 5. Isaac UAmtow : hIa life and Httainments. His Sermoiia. 
i 6. Chataoter! alios ot the AngUoan divines, JOHU PEAiiSON. { 7. AacH- 
aiSHOP TiLLursoN. j 8. Robbb-t South. Edwaed Stillingflket. TiioaAa 
Spbat. Williah Shkhlock. § 9.- Progress of the physical soienoea towards 
the end of the seventeenth century. Origin of the Royal Societj'. Dr. John 
WiLKiNS, { 10. Scientific writers. § 11. Sin Isaac Newton. { 12. John 
Bat. Robbut Boyle. Thomas Btjrnet. j 13. Bibhop Bukmbt. His 
History 0/ the Befoi'maiion, and other worlis. 

g 1. The period of the great and beneficent revolution of 1688 was 
charactei'ized by the establishment of constitutional freedom in the 
state, and no leas bynpowerful outburst of practical progress in science 
and philosophj. It was this period that produced Newton in phjsica. 
and Locke in intellectual science. The latter, in hie character and 
career, offers the most perfect type of the good man, the patriotic 
citizen, and the philosophical investigator. John Locke (1632-1704) 
was born iu 1633, educated at Westminster School and Christ- Church, 
Oxford, where he particularly devoted himself to the study of the phys- 
ical sciences, and especially of medicine. He undoubtedly intended to 
jfractise the latter profession, but was''^revented from doing so by the 
weakness of his constitution, and a tendency to asthma, which in after 
life obliged him to retire from those public employments for which hia 
Integrity and talents so well fitted him. The direction of his studies at 
Oxford must have fended to inspire him with distaste and contempt for 
that adherence to the scholastic method which still prevailed in the 
University, and to excite in him a strong hostility to that stationary or 
rather retrograde spirit which sheltered itself under the venerable and 
mwch-abused name of Aristotle. There is no question that Locke's 
investigalioiiH during the thirteen years of his residence at Oxford had 
been much JMrced to metaphysical subjects, and that he had seen the 
necessity of applying to this branch of knowledge that experi.-Dentai or 
inductive method of which his great master Bacon was the apostle. Id 
5664. he accompanied Sir Walter Vane, as his secretary, on a diplomatic 
(iiission to Brandenbufg, and returning to Oxford in the following year, 
refused a flattering oifer made liim by the Duke of Ormo.id of consid- 
firable preferment in the Irish Church. His reasons for declining to 
lake orders were equally honorable to Locke's good sense and to his 
Liigh conscientious feeling. He declined the favor on the groimd of hit 
not experiencing that internal vocation M-ithout which no man shuulj 



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250 



THE SECO¥L REVOLUTION. [Chv 



enter, the priestly profession. In 1666 Locke became acquainted with 
Lord Ashley, afterwards Earl of Shaftesbury, and subsequently eo cele- 
brated for his political talents and for his unprincipled and factious 
condiLct when Chancellor and the head of the parliamentary opposi- 
tion. He IS said to have rendered himadf useful to this statesman by 
his medical skill, and unquestionably secured hia intimacy and respect 
b)' the charras of his conversation and the virtues of his character He 
attached himself intimatelj both to the domestic circle and to the 
pclitical fortunes of this statesman, in whose house he resided several 
years, having undertaken the education first of the Chancellor-a son 
and afterwards of his grandson, the latter of whom has left no un- 
worthy name as an elegant, philosophical, and moral essayist. Locke's 
acquaintance with Shaftesbury brought him into daily and icliinate 
contact with many of the most distinguished politicians and men of 
u*^.^* °V^ ^^^' ^""""S whom I may mention the all-accomplished 
Halifax, Sheffield, Duke of Buckinghamshire, and many others. Locke 
fully shared in the frequent and violent vicissitudes of Shaftesbury's 
agitated career. He was nominated, on his patron becoming Chan- 
cellor in 1672, Secretary of the Presentations, with which he combined 
atiother appointment} but these he lost in the following year on 'he 
first fall of his patron, In 1675 he visited France for his health, and his 
journals and letters are not only valuable for the accurate but very 
unfavorable account they give of the then state of French society, but 
are exceedingly amusing, animated, and gay. In 1679 Locke returned 
10 England and rejoined Shaftesbury on his second accession to povrer 
during that stoi-my period when he was at the head of the furious 
agitation in favor of the Exclusion-Bill depriving the Duke of York 
afterwards James II., and then Heir-Apparent, of the right of succeed- 
ing to the throne, on the grounl of his notorious sympathies with the 
Roman Catholic religion. The Chancellor again fell from power, was 
arraigned for High Treason, and though the bill of indictment was 
Ignored by a patriotic jury, fled to HoUand, where he died in 1683 

During the evil days of tyranny and persecution which followed this 
event, Locke found a safe and tranquil retreat in Holland, a country 
which had so long been the asylum of all who were brought, by the 
profession of free opinions on politics or religion, under the frown of 
power; and he enjoyed the friendship and society of Le Clere and 
riany otlier illustrious exiles for conscience' sake. During this time 
Iflcke, whose bold expression of constitutional opinons and «hose 
ardent attachment to free investigation must havf made him peculi ulj 
obnoxious to tlie bigotry of Oxford, was depriv«i of his Studentship 
nl Chnst-Church, and denounced as a factious and rebellious igitatox 
and as a dangerous heresiarch in philosophy. The Revolution of t633 
was Ihe triumph of those free principles of which Locke hid been thi. 
preicher and the martyr; and he returned to England in the sime fleet 
which conveyed Queen Mary from Holland to the countiy whose ci'owii 
the had been called to share. From this period his career w»= <•■";. 
wnttj uwful, active, and even brilliant. He wai appointed a 



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A. D if.32-1704.] JOHN LOCKE. 251 

of the Council of Trade, and in that capacity took a prominent piirt in 
carrying out Montague's difficult and most critical operation of calling 
in and reissuing the silver coinage — an operation of the most vital 
importance at the moment, and of which Macaulay has given in his 
history a narrative of the most dramatic interest. After a short service 
Locke retired from public employment, and resided during theremaindei 
of his life with his friend Sir F. Masham at Gates in Essex. Lady 
Masham, an accomplished and intellectual woman, was the iSaughtet 
of the philosopher Cudworth, tenderly loved and respected b} her iliuB- 
triouB guest, who enjoyed under her roof the ease and tranquillity he 
had so nobly earned. Locke died in 1704; and his personal character 
seems to have been one of those which approach perfection as nearly 
as can be expected from our fallible and imperfect nature. On his 
return to England in 168S Locke became acquainted with the illustrious 
Newton, who, like himself, was employed in the public service; bu', 
somewhere about 1692 certain untoward events, among which one of 
the principal was the unfortunate accidental burning of his papers, 
seem to have shaken, if not overthrown for a season the balance of the 
great philosopher's mind ; and his querulous and suspicious irritation 
appears to have vented itself in a most unfounded misunderstanding 
with Locke, whom he accuses of " embroiling him with women and 
other things." It is pleasirig to think that Locke's conduct in the affair 
was delicate and forbearing, and that his manly wtpostulations and wise 
advice re-established a good understanding that was never again inter- 



§ 2. The writings of this excellent thinker are numerous, varied in 
subject, all eminently useful, and breathing a constant love of human- 
ity. In 1689 were published the Letters on Toleratiaa, originally com- 
posed in Latin, but immediately translated into French and English. 
The author goes over somewhat the same ground as had been occupied 
by Jeremy Taylor in his Liberty of Prophesying, and by Milton in the 
immortal AreopagHica ; but Locke deduces his arguments less from 
scriptural and patristic authority than was done by the former, and 
depends more upon close reasoning and considerations of practical 
utility than Milton. Of course in Locke's work there is no ti-ace of 
that gorgeous and imposing eloquence which glows and blazes through 
the Speech on Unlicensed Printing; but perhaps Locke's calm and 
logical proofs have not less powerfully contributed to fix the universal 
conviction as to the justice of his cause. The Treatise on Civlt 
Govrtmient was undertaken to overthrow those slavish theories of 
Dii-hie Right which were then so predominant among the extreme 
-.nanarchical parties, and nowhere carried to such extravagance as in the 
University of Oxford. Locke's more special object was the refutation 
of Sir John Filmer's once famous book entitled Patriarcha, in which 
these principles were maintained in all their crudeness, and supported 
with some learning and much ill-employed ingenuity. Fllmer mam- 
tains that the monarchical form of government claims from the subject 
.n unlimited obedience, as being Sie representative of the patriarchal 



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252 THS SECOND REVOLUTION. [Chap. XIV, 

luthotity in the primitive agee of mankind, while the patriarchal 
authority is in its turn the imajre of the power naturallj possessed over 
his offspring hy the parent, that again being the same in nature as the 
power of the Crsator over his creature. The last- named of these being 
esBentially infinite, it follows, according to Filmer, that a!] the others 
are so likewise. Locke combats and overthrows this monstrous theory, 
and seeks for the origin of government, and consequently the ground 
of authority on the one hand and obedience on the other, in the com- 
mon interest of society ; showing that any form of polity which secures 
tiiat interest may lawfully be acquiesced in, while none that does nol 
secure it can claim any privilege of exemption from resistance. He in- 
restigatei. the origin of society, and finds it based— as it can only be 
solidly based — upon the great and fertile principle of property and 
individual interest. 

§ 3. The greatest, most important, and most universally known of 
Locke's works is the Essay on the Human Understanding. In thia 
book, which contains the reflections and researches of his whole life, 
and which was in the course of composition during eighteen years, 
Locke shows all his powers of close deduction and accurate observation. 
His object was to give a rational and dear account of the nature of the 
human mind, of Uie real character of our ideas, and of the mode in 
which they are presented to the consciousness. He attributes them all, 
whatever be their nature, to two, and only two, sources ; the first of 
these he calls Sensation, the second Reflection. He thus opposes the 
noUon that there are any innate ideas, that is, ideas which have existed 
in the mind independently of impressions made upon the senses, or of 
the comparison, recollection, or combination of those impressions made 
by the judgment, the memory, or the imagination. Locke is eminently 
an inductive reasoner, and was the first to apply the method of experi- 
ment and obseh-ation to the obscure phenomena of the mental opera- 
tions; and he is thus to be regarded as the most illustrious disciple of 
Bacon, whose liiode of reasoning he adopted in a field of research till 
tlien considered as totally unamenable to the ». posteriori logic. The 
most striking feature in this, as in all Loclce'e philosophical works, is the 
extreme clearness, plainness, and simplicity of his language, which is 
always such as to be intelligible to a plain underetanding. He is t!ie 
(worn foe sf ^11 technical and scientific terms, and his reasonings and 
Hhiatrations are of the most familiar kind; indeed he never scruples 
'c sacrifice elegance to the great object of making himself understood. 
l"he following brief analysis of the work maybe found not unacceptable 
to the reader: — 

In Book L, consisting of four chapters, Locke inquires into the 
nfttuie of the understanding, and demonstrates that there exist neither 
innate speculative nor innate practical principles. Book II., containing 
thirty-three chapters, i; devoted to an eT.amination into the nature of 
ideas, respectively treated as simple, as of solidity, of space, of dura- 
lion, of number, of infinity, and the like. He then considers the ideas 
Of pleasure and of pain, of substance, of relations, as of tause and effect, 



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fc.D. 1633-1704.J JOHN LOCKE. 253 

and finally treats the iiiiporta.nt question of tlie association of ideas. 
Book in., divided into ehven chapters, is a most original and masterlji 
investigation of the nature and properties of LanguBge, of its relation 
to the ideas of which It is the vehicle, and of its abuses and imperfeo- 
tions. This is, in the present day, when some parts of Locke's general 
IKeovy are regarded as no longer tenable, the most valuable portion of 
the work. Book IV., including twenty-one chapters, discusses knowl- 
edge in general, its degrees, its extent, and its reality. The philosophei 
ll.en proceeds to consider the nature of truth, of our knowledge of exist- 
ler.ce, of our knowledge of the existence of a God, and of other beings. 
Then are investigated various important questions relating to judgment, 
probability, reason, faith, and the degrees of intellectual assent, and 
after some reflections on enthusiasm and on wrong assent, or error, 
IiOcke terminates with some valuable considerations on the Division 
of the Sciences. 

It was unavoidable tliat the portion of the work devoted to the inves- 
tigtition of sensation should be more interesting and satisfactory than 
the portion treating of the obscure phenomena of reflection ; but how- 
ever we may dissent from particular details of Locke's theory, we can- 
not fail to render full justice to the inimitable clearness of his exposition, 
and to the multitude of well-obaerved and well-arranged facta which 
form the groundwork of his arguments. 

§ 4. The Essay att Edacatieit has, like the book just examined, a 
practical tendency, and may be said to have Tnatnly contributed tobring 
about that beneficial revolution which has taken place in the training of 
the young. Locke powerfully discountenances that exclusive attention 
to mere philology which prevailed in the education of the seventeentL 
century, and in no country more than in England. He advocates 
a more generous, liberal, and practical system, both in the choice 
of the subject-matter to be taught and in the mode of conveying 
instruction. He is therefore in favor of making the pupil's own conscien- 
ttouaneas a substitute for that tyranny of force and authority which 
formerly disgraced our schools. Much of what is humane and philo- 
sophical in Rousseau's celebrated Emile is plainly borrowed from Locke, 
who is not responsible for the absurdities and extravagances ingrafted 
upon his plans by the Genevese theorist. Indeed both the educational 
and metaphysical works of Locke were unceremoniously ransacked by 
many French writers of the end of the seventeentli century, who weie 
frequently not solicitous to point out the sources whence they drew 
tlieir ideas. 

Besides the above works may be mentioned a treatise On Ihe Reasoft- 
allevf's of Christianity, in which the calm piety and benevolence ot 
the sentiments form a triumphant refutation of those bigots who, like 
De Maistre, have accused Locke of irreligious and materialistic tenden- 
des, and a email but admirable little book On the Conductofthe Under- 
ttanditig, which was not published until alter the autlior's death. It 
contains a kind of manual of reflections upon all tho^e natural delects 
•r acquired evil habits of the mir.d, which unfit it for the taskci acquir* 



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254 fBE SECOND REVOLUTION. [Chap, XIV 

ing and retaining knowledge. It shows an acuteness and scope of 
observation not inferior to that exhibited in his great anterior work, 
together with the same calm but ardent spirit of humanity and benevo' 
lence which animates all the writings, aa it did the whole life, of this 
great and excellent man. 

§6. 1 have now to consider a series of excellent writers, who will 
Mwajs retain the place of classics in English prose, and who are equallj 
worlhj of admiration as Protestant theologians and as models of logical 
md persuasive eloquence. Al the head of them stands Isaac Barrow 
i'1630 -1677), a man of almost universal acquirements, and whose ser- 
mons are still studied as the most powerful and majestic prose com- 
positions that the seventeenth centurj has produced. He was born i; 
1630, educated at the Charter- house, whence he passed to Trinitj Col 
lege, Cambridge, of which he was one of the most illustrious alumni 
He is said to have been, as a boy, remarkable for a violent and quarrel- 
some disposition, and to have been perpetually fighting with his school- 
fellows ; of this temper nothing remained in after life save great energy 
and vigor of character, and a degree of personal courage of which he 
gave a striking proof in a sea-fight against an Algerine pirate, when 
returning from his travels in the East. At the University his studies 
seem to have embraced every branch of knowledge, not only Philology, 
of which he became so great a proficient as to have been iirst an unsuc- 
cessful and afterwards a successful candidate for the Greek professor- 
ship, but all the range of the mathematical sciences, together with 
Anatomy, Chemistry, and Botany. After some time he left Cambridge, 
and travelled through the greater part of Europe to the East, revisiting 
France and Italy on his way to Smyrna and Constantinople, and re- 
turning home by way of Germany and HoUimd in 1645- It was whik 
sailing in the Mediterranean that he gave that proof of intrepidity tc 
which I have alluded above. During his i-esidence in the East he pur- 
sued his studies in Natural History, and obtained some acqua.ntsnce 
with the Oriental Languages, so useful in biblical research. On 
returning to Cambridge he was appointed Professor of Greek, to which 
he added the chair of Geometry in Gresham College, and aflcrwurds 
the Lucasian professorship of Mathematics in the University. He was 
one of the ablest and profoundest matliematicians of his day, and culti- 
vated with distinguished success those same departments of science in 
which his illustrious pupil and successor, Newton, gained his undying 
glory — as Optics, Mechanics, and Astronomy. Indeed it has been the 
misfortune of Barrow that his mathematical fame, though brilliant a.-.d 
t jlid, has been eclipsed by the superior splendor of his great contem- 
poiaiy'j renown. Had he not lived at the same time with Newton, and 
piusued nearly the same branches of investigation, the name of Bar- 
low Hould have stood among those of the foremost malhemaiicians of 
England. Newton was, indeed, a pupil of Barrow, who warmly appre- 
tiuted and befriended him; and it was to him that he resigned his 
Lucar.ian professorship. This transfi r took place in 1669 ; before whicb 
period Barrow had taken orders, and devoted himself to that career o! 



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\. D. i630-i6j7-] ISAAC BARROW. 255 

Iheology and Christian eloquence in which he assuredly had no rival 
to fear. His sermons, many of which were preached in Loniion, now 
became famaus. He was named one of the king's chaplains, and in 
:6J2 was elected Master of Trinity College; and having in his turn 
filled the high office of Vice-Chancellor of the University, he died of ■ 
fever at the eariy age of forty-sis, in 1677. 

It is related that though Barrow's appearance in the pulpit was fa! 
from imposing at the first glance, his influence as an orator was in-e 
slstible, and that notwithstanding the dignity and Demosthi^nic gran 
Jeur of his eloquence, he at commencing suffered painfully from diffi- 
dence and timidity. His pulpit orations are not only filled and almost 
overladen with thought, so that even the most powerful intellect must 
use all its f ce d mpl y 11 t tt t t f II w h g 

but they w mp t 1 b t d w th th g at t d 

revised and rew ttwtlcrpl tybf hw tfid 

with his w k H rmo re n d m y f th m t 

valuable of tl m f rm d t d t th 1 t xpl mtt 

of some prtldptmtfl k Id blfth 

there is an 11 t f d comm t g p th L d 

Prayer, whh amdl by I hrtilfmg 

the test ofptd Ami set f dtd 

to the Ore d th t tl D alotnj a th t th S m nts 
and BO on TI p d m t q 1 tj f B w tyl w ghty 

majesty ofthght ddtn yl hthpd dbrs 

peculiar stpf p— tl f dtwhh 

no Bubtletj WIS to d d d t t b Wl t 

subject he pp hi m t 1 dl w th t p a d t 

manage th m t p d d ffi It f th 1 gy with a h ro 

ease, like tl t f H m I mp n h 1 t th t d n 

eratemen fm d mtim ■« Idf It 1ft Th ghl 11 ftr lyCh 
tian and evangelical meekness, his writings have not that flush of 
beauty, that almost effeminate prodigality of images, that lingering 
and somewhat enervate melody that make the writings of Jeremy Tay- 
lor ao poetical and so enchanting. Nor does he fall into Taylor's error 
of overloading his sermons with quotation. If Taylor be of the Corin- 
thian, Barrow is of the Doric order, not devoid of appropriate orna- 
ment, but chiefly distinguished for solidity and justness of proportion. 
:T Taylor be the English Isoci-ates, Barrow is the Demosthenes of tlic 
Church. In some general features of style the reader will trace a 
resemblance between Barrow and Bossuet. It is true that the granj 
tone of denunciation is seldom heard from the lips of the Protestaiu 
divine; but both exhibit a similar loftiness of conception, a slinilai 
might and grasp of intellect, and a similar severity and purity of taite. 
There is perhaps no English prose writer, the study of whose *orkf 
would be more invigorating to the mind, and more adapted to t!.e for- 
[nation of a pure taste, than Barrow; nor can there be a better prool' 
ihat the most capable critics have agreed in this opinion, than the fact 
.' lat Chatham recommended Barrow, as the finest model of eloquence. 



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256 THE SECO!fD REVOLUTION [Chap. XtV. 

Co hie son, and the accomplished Landor has not hesitated to place hiii 
above all the greatest of the ancient thinkers and philosophers. " Plato 
and Xenophon," he makes one of his personages assert, " as men of 
thought and genius, might walk without brushing their skirts between 
these two covers," striking his hand on a volume of Barrow. 

§ 6. It will be necessary to pass rapidly ovtr the i^ames of a conGid 
irable number of able divines who adorn the Church and literature of 
their country during the period of which I am now treating. Theii 
works are distinguished by merits varying both in.kind and in degree; 
diit they are all characterized in common by a spirit which I may call 
Protestant, or rather Anglican ; a mixture of Christian fen"or and 
estensive learning with a practical acquaintance with the requiremeats 
and dangers of real life — a spirit equally remote from the fanatical 
gloom and mysticism of the Calvinistic extreme, and the dogmatic 
pedantry of the Romish writers. The first I shall mention is Johk 
Pearson (1613-1686), originally Professor of Theology and Master of 
Trinity College, Cambridge, and afterwards Bishop of Chester, His 
most celebrated work is his Exposition of the Creed, which is stilJ 
regaiiled as one of the most complete and searching treatises investi- 
gating the great fundamental principles of our faith. In our examina 
tion of the English divines we shall see that they are pretty equally 
shared between ovx two great Universities. The theological and polit- 
ical tendencies which predominated at one or another period in tliese 
two learaed bodies are faithfully reflected in the writings of their chil- 
dren ; for in that agitated epoch political and theological tendencies 
were intimately connected together, most of the great and exciting 
questions being tinged with a strong leaven of cither spirit; but our 
Universities have no reason to be ashamed either of the learning or 
the conduct of their alumni. 

5 7. Next after Barrow, John Tili,otson (1630-1694) perhaps en- 
joys the highest and moat durable popularity among the pulpit orators 
of this time: indeed the popularity of his sermons has extended to the 
present day, and they are frequently read by pious Churchmen even 
now. But Tillotson, though a sound and classical English prose- 
writer, was a man of a calibre far inferior to Barrow. He studied at 
Cambridge, where he at first rendered himself conspicuous for his 
decided Puritan sympathies. He, however, afterwards made no diffi- 
culty in conforming to the rules and discipline of the Anglican Ciurch, 
and ultimately rose to the dignity of Archbishop of Canterbury, lie 
was a person of easy, good-natured, and amiable character; ami his 
rJiange of party seems to have left no other effect upon him than thai 
at inaeasing his candor and indulgence for al! shades of sincere opin- 
ion. In his conduct as a pastor and ae a prelate he exhibiled much 
seal in correcting the abuses which had crept into the Church, and 
gave a notable example of liberal charity and episcopal virtue. He 
was renowned as a preacher ; and his sermons, tlioiigh falling far short 
of Barrow's in grasp of mind and vigor of expression, are prcciselj- of 
such a iialute as is moht likely to command popularity. 'Iliey show an 



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A.D. 1633-1V16.] SOUTH. STILhINQFLEET. SPRAT. 251 

easy flow of style, Bometimes, it is true, carrying too far tlie affectation 
of familiarity, in consequence of which the images and illustratioiii 
are occasionally trivial ; but there is z. good d""! of artifice, and even 
eophiatry, iii the reasoning, cunningly concealed under an air of candor 
which never deserts Tillotson. His sentences, too, are often singularly 
immusical, and are evidently made as colloquial in tone as possible 
Til otson often preached to the higher classes ; and in addressing such 
cor.greg itions he strove to conquer their fashionable indifference bj 
(dppting, as far as possible, the tone and air of a man of the world. 

5 8. Robert Sooth (1633-1716) enjoyed in his day the reputation 
of being tlie " wittiest Churchman " of the time. His character was 
far less deserving of admiration than that of Tillotson, as he exhibited 
extreme violence in attacking opinions from which he had apostatized. 
Like tl.e Archbisliop, he began his career as a partisan of Puritan doc- 
trines, and produced an extravagant poetical eulogy of Cromwell ; but 
at the University he imbibed the extreme Tory or monarchical opin- 
ions which had become prevalent at Oxford, where he filled the post 
of Public Orator, and indeed became one of the most characteristic 
specimens of that bigoted and unreasonable class of Churchmen who 
were called kighflien in the party jargon of the day, and who went all 
lengths in maintaining the outrageous doctrines of passive obedience 
and non-resistance. He often preached befiire Charles II., and was 
much admired by the courtly audiences of those days for the animation, 
and even gayety, of his manner, and the pleasant stories and repartees 
which he sometimes introduced into his sermons. Many witty and 
jocose anecdotes are related of him; but in these cases it is necessary 
to accept such stories with some reserve, as there exists in the world 
B vast floating capital of sueh pleasantries, which are successively fa- 
thered upon any man who possesses a reputation for humor. The gross 
adulation with which he was not ashamed to address Charles U., and 
in which he lauded (he virtues of Cliarles I., proves that South, with 
nil his talents, has no claim to the character of a high-spirited man, 
particularly when we contrast the furious personal abuse he lavished 
on Cromwell with the extravagant praise that he had previously given 
him. His denunciations of the principles and convictions of his former 
party, too, are so unmeasured and illiberal as to destroy our belief in 
their sincerity, and we feel involuntarily constrained to attribute them 
tt the got-np fervor of an interested convert. 

Edwa^ui Stillikgfleet (1635-1699), Bishop of Worcester, is an- 
other name which must not be passed over without notice He !s prin- 
cipally remembered for his controversy with Locke some of whose 
pr-'oositions he attacked, on the ground of their being as he main- 
tabied, hostile to the doctrine of the immitenil ty, and consequently 
of the immortality, of the soul. Locke ti umphTutlj rep led to these 
objections ; and the philosopher was so generally considered as haying 
been victorious in this contest of aigument over the divine that the 
mortification of defeat is said to have -ihortened Stdl ngfleel s life. 

Thomas Sprat (1636-1713), Bishop of Rochester, was a mnn n» 



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256 THE SECOND REVOLUTION. [Chap. XIV. 

nowned in his time for the brilliancj and variety of his talents. Hf 
was an ardent ciilliTator of physical science, which had just then mad* 
its iirat sudden bound forwards in that splendid career of observation 
&nd discovery which has ever since gone on pragressing with such poi- 
lentouB rapidilj. He was one of the members of the Rojai Society, 
tlien recenti/ founded, and to which the glory of English science owef 
EO much. He was distinguished as a poet, though his writings in Chit 
department are now little read ; and as a biographer of poets, ss the 
luthor of an escellent and interesting i^ o/"CoOT/ej'. Beside* thete 
lie was a theologian and preacher of no mean abilitj", and a ve-y actii'« 
»ntributor to the polemical and political literature of his day. Spral 
was a member of the University of Oxford ; and that his high reputa- 
tion for brilliancy of eloquence and ardor of imagination was not to be 
entirely attributed to the partiality of contemporary admiration, may 
be proved by the honorable terms in which his talents are spoken of by 
two such critics as Johnson and Macaulay. 

I shall conclude the present category of authors with the name of 
William Sherlock (1678-1761), Dean of St. Paul's, whose exposi- 
tions of scriptural doctrine have always been regarded with approval, 
ind who in his own time was conspicuous as a polemic writer against 
the Dissenters. His best-known work is a Practical Discourse concern- 
ing Death. 

% 9. Though the aim of these pages is to give an account of Litera- 
ture in its strict and proper sense, the subject of Science comes in 
contact with that object at so many points, that I should but ill perform 
my task without offering some notice of the writers who, though they 
devoted their chief attention to physical researches, yet occupy a place 
among English authors. It is true that at the period of which we are 
treating, important scientific works were generally given to the world 
in Latin, that language being then the universal medium, the intellec- 
tual money, so to say, current among the learned in all parts of Europe j 
but many of the great men who carried to so unequalled a height the 
glory of the human intellect and the honor of their native country, 
composed a portion of their works in their vernacular tongue, or at 
least published English versions of their learned labors, and thus de- 
serve some mention in their capacity of English writers. There are 
few episodes in the history of human knowledge more surprising than 
the sudden and dazzling progress made in the physical sciences toward! 
the end of tlie seventeenth century. This progress is visible in Ger- 
many, in Holland, in France, and in England ; in none of these nations, 
indeed, more so than in our own. It was just and natural tliat the 
/Ivifying effect produced by the writings and by the method of Bacon 
should be peculiarly powerful in that country which gave birth to the 
great reformer of philosophy; and there is no doubt that the develop- 
ment of free inslitutions and open discussion exercised a powerful 
influence in facilitating research, in promoting a spirit of Inquiry, and 
11 rendering possible the open expression of opinion. 
Averyprominent part in the cultivation and disseminationof exjierj- 



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A, D. 1614-1672.] 



^ZLKINS. GILBERT. BAR VEY. 



-259 



mental research, [n all branches of phjsics and natural historj-, wa* 
played by the Royal Society, that illustrious body which, originating 
in the meetings of a few learned and ingenious men at each other't 
houses, was incorporated by Charles U., in 1662, into the Society to 
the labors of whicli human knowledge owes so much. 

Among the founders of this corporation one of the most active waf 
Dr. John Wilkins (1614-1672), Bishop of 
ftiid ingei 

ut>on extravagance, but who rendered great 
and his conversation, to the cause of scii 
a period when the first 



sometimes bordeie 
■vices, both in his writing* 
:e. He was essentially • 
iderful results of the e 



plojment of the experimental method had made even the calmest 
minds in some degree lose their balance, and become unable to distin- 
guish between what was practicable and what was visionary, we can 
hardly feel surprised that the ardor of his genius should have carried 
him beyond the bounds of good sense, so far as to seriously propose, 
among other Utopian schemes, a plan by which it would be possible to 
By to the moon. Wilkins was a theological writer and a preacher 
of high reputation ; but his name is now chiefly associated with his 
■ ■ 1 particular w' ' " 
b ntl 



projects and inventions, and 
took, together with Boyle an 
Society.* He manied the s f O 

daughter was married to Tillo on 

I 10. The progress of phyt n 

this time. The labors of W l Gh-bi 

searches in magnetism laid th und ti 
in that science, and the immor d 
1658), the first demonstrator of the circulsiti 



jtli the prominent part he 
anization of the Royal 
Cromwell, and his step- 



ad been very rapid before 
;r (1540-1603), whose re- 
ill future investigations 
William Harvey (1578- 
on of the blood, belong to 
earlier period ; but the concentration of the labors of many separate 
investigators upon one special branch of research was a result mainly 
to be attributed to the institution of our gi-eat scientific corporation. 
As a proof of this I may mention the contemporary, or nearly contem- 
porary labors of Newton in optics, astronoiuy, and celestial mechanics, 
and those of Fiamsteed, Halley, and others, in the combined depart- 
ments of careful observation and the application of new and convenien' 
mathematical formulas to the practical solution of problems in astron- 
omy and navigation; while Boyle, embracing a wide extent and vast 
variety of research, particularly devoted himself to the investigation of 
chemical and pneumatic science; and Ray, Derham, Willoughby, anij 
Sydenham brought valuable contributions to physiology, natural his- 
tury. and medicine. Most of these great men, independently of then 
purely scientific writings, which, as in the case of the immortal Frif 
tlfia of tVie most illustrious among them, were in Latin, contributed in 
• Tlie chief works of Wilkina are: — 1. Diicovay of a New Wm-ld: wa 
iisifnate tending to prove thai ii is probaile that there may be another habitahtt 
World in the Moon; uHlk a dwcvwse mvcerning the possibility qf a panagt 
tAi(A«-. Published in 11)38. 2. An Essay towards a Real Character mtd « 
FMlQiephicel J^aagiiage printed Ijy w4et of the lUijal Spwstj in 166Bv 



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26» TEE HECOND SSVOLVIION. [Chap. XIV 

.greater or to, proportion to the vernacular litoralnre of their conntry 
Thn, Nowlon mote, in Engll.h, „po„ ft, Prophecio., and otherVulS 
oonnecledrtl, bIWloal knowledge, and Bo/le enjojed a hi* » 
»„ for h,. „or.l and religion, .rtting.. I, i. rj.a'rkable aS SC 
,ng to .ee mlh what un,„,m„„, eon.ent the.. Illn.trion. phiio.opher,, 

Ore natnre of then pnrmt., to take nothing for granted, to weigh and 
balance evidence with the severest pv,.,..,.»„ -.j ,_ ., . . . . 



. , . , j--.-,4.,,, to LaKe notning tor granted, to welah and 

balance evidence with the severest exactness ag«ed in the " te > 2 
ttiel, religion, convictions. Those habit, of phjsicnl InveShluon 

o?Wi,T,r -'^••''T;'" •"""' ""■■"S "iforable to th'e h.b" 
01 belief, ,,em to have led the mo.t powerfnl and Inqniring mind, onl, 

rtiS" ' '° " """ °°°*"°° <" ">• "•»" »f sealed 

, i"; ?" '."" """"■' ("S4M727) ,.. born in ,64,, of a re.pec- 
table but not opnlont a„il,, „ Wool.thorpe i„ Lincolnshi,,. K 

mchan.cal invention, and enlering the nniversitj- of C.mbrldge, in 
1660, ho made snch rapid progres. in mathematical .Indies that in nine 
year, Barrow resigned in Ms favor the Lnca.Ian profossorship. The 
greater par of Newton's life wa. pa..ed within the qnie. wall, 'f Trin! 
ity, of whicli College he is the mo.t glorion. ornament d t 
hero that ho elaborated tho.e admirable discoveries and demon.tr'atlZ 
in Mechanic, A.tronomj, and Optic, which have placed hi. nam.'l. 
the very foremost rank of the benefactors of mankind He sat in more 
than one parliament a. member for his nniversit, , but he appear, to 
have been of too reserved and retiring a character to take an "di™ 
p«t ,n political d,.cn..ion , he wa. appointed M..l«r of the Mint in 
J695, and p,e.ided over that e.t.blishment at the critical period of 
Montage's bold recall and rei.sne of the specie. It I. delightS to se 

l^T«^r""Z'"' "'■"'"• "■'■ '""•"■°" PMoipher aba" 
doncd all those snblime researches In which ho .land, almost alone 
among mankind and devoted all hi. energy and attention to the pnhlic 
duties that had been committed to his charge He even writes w'th 
kind of pettish querulousness to upbraid friend, who had consulted him 
.bout "mathematical thing,,- a, he calls them, when he was enlireh 
occupied with the pnblic service. In ,,03 he was made president ol' 
the Roja Society, and knighted two year, allorward. by Queen Anne 
He died m ,,,,. His chmcler, the onl, defects of wiich appe.rj 
i.ve been a somewhat cold and .nsplclou, temper, wa. the Le i( 
tlio,e virtues which ouaht to di.tlnm.uh ,1.= ...i.„,— .,.._,., ^'^. 



^^.. „ =™=„„„t c4,n, ano suspiaou, temper, wa. the type 3 
llioM virtues .hid, ought to dl.tingui.h the .cholar, the philosopher 
and the patriot Hi. modesty was a, g«at as his geniu,, .„d he h 
risbly ascribed tlie attainment of his discoveries rather m patie 
tion than to any unusual capacity of intellect. His English ■ 



— r""— -"= ...ouesiy was a, great as his genius, and he im* 
ri.Uy ascribed Uie attainment of hi. discoveries rathe, n, patienlatten. 
tion than to any unusual capacity of intellect. His English writines 
which are chiell, dlscour.es upon the ptophedes and chronology of th,' 
Scriptures, am composed in a manly, plain, and unalccted sMe, and 
breathe an mtense .piril of piety, though his opinions .am to h.ie in 
.ome measure indincd toward, the Unitarian type of theology. HI, 
glory, however, will .aiway. mainly rest upon hi, pui^M, .cientilk work,, 



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&.B. i6j8-17is0 ^AT. BURNSf. 281 

the .-.hicf of which are ^o well known that it is almost Buperfliioua tP 
enumerate them— the FMlosophia Nataralis Princifia-Mathe^altca 
and the invaluable treatise on Optics, of which latter science he niaj 
be said to nave first laid the foundation. 

% 12. John Rav (1628-1705), together with Derham and Willoughby, 
combined the descriptive department of Natural History with moral 
ind religious eloquence of a high arder: they seem never to be weary 
af i>roclaiming the wisdom and goodness of that Providence whoee 
milks th:y had bo attentively studied. Ray was the first who elevated 
Natural History to the rank of a science. Robert Boylb (1627-1691) 
was an able wiiter as well as a distinguished philosopher. " No Eng- 
lishman of the seventeenth century, after Lord Bacon," observes Mi 
Hallam, "raised to himself bo high a reputation in ^sperimental phi- 
losophy as Robert Boyle : it has even been remarked that he was born 
in the year of Bacon's death, as the person destined by nature to suc- 
ceed him --a eulogy which would be extravagant if it implied any 
parallel between Uie genius of the two, but hardly so if we look on 
Boyle as the most faiUiful, the most patient, Uie most successful d.sciple 
who carried forward tiie experimental philosophy of Bacon. His works 
occupy six large volumes in quarto. They may be divided into theo- 
logical or metaphysical and physical or experimental. The metaphys- 
ical treatises — to use that word in a large sense — of Boyle, or rather 
those concerning Natural Theology, are very perspicuous, very free 
from system, and such as bespeak an independent lover of truth. His 
Disquisition on Final Causes was a well-timed vindication of that 



palmary argument against ti 



aradox of the Cartesians, who had 



denied the validity of an inference from the manifest adaptatioi 
means to ends in the universe to an intelligent Providence. Boyle 
takes a more philosophic view of tlie principle of final causes than 
had been found in many theologians, who weakened the argumenl 
itself by the presumptuous hypothesis that man was the sole object of 
Providence in Uie creation. His greater knowledge of physiology led 
him to perceive that there are both animal and what he calls cosmical 
ends in which man has no concern. 

One of the most extraordinary writers of this period — at least in a 
purely literary sense — was Thomas Burkkt (1635-1715), Master of 
.he Charter-house, author of the eloquent and poetic declamation Tal- 
luris Tkeoria Sacra, giving a hypothetical account of the causes which 
produced the various irregularities and undulations which we see in 
the eailh's surface. These he attributes to the action of fire and water, 
»lld ir language of indescribable picturesqueness he first describes llie 
CtJnvulsions and cataclysms which have given to our earth its present 
f ji m, and then goes on to picture the final destruction that is awaiting 
our globe in the mysterious abysses of the future. The geological and 
phyeical theories of Buri.et are fantastic in Uie extreme 1 but the pic- 
tures wiiich he has drawn of the devastation caused by the grea? 
unbridled powers of Nature are grand and magnificent, and give Bur 
tiet a claim to be placed among the most eloquent and poetical of prose- 



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262 fa& SMCom kSlVoWMOk. [Chap, JCtV 

writers, [n liciiness of fancy and meloiij of language 1 e is no nnwop 
thy rival of Joremy Taylor, with whose nobie description of the fina 
destruction of the earth Burnet's sublime painting will bear a com- 
parison. 

§ 13. This writer must not be confounded with Gilbert Birr-et 
(1643- 171S), born in Edinburgh, in 1643, and who was one of the inDsl 
active politicians and divines during the period embracing the reigni 
of Charles IL, James IL, and the accession of William of Orange. 
By birtli and persona! predilections he occupies a middle space betweeii 
the extreme Episcopalian and Presbyterian parties, and though a man 
cf ardent and busy character, he was possessed of rare tolerance and 
candor. He was much celebrated for his talents as an extempore 
pieacher, and was the author of a very large number of theological 
and political wiitings. Among these his History of the Refonnatiot. 
is stiil considered as one of the most valuable accounts of that impor- 
tant revolution. The first volume of this was published in 1679, ^"tl 
the work was afterwards completed by the author. He also gave to 
the world an account of the Life and Death of the witty and infamous 
Rochester, whose last moments he attended as a religious adviser, and 
whom his pious arguments recalled to a sense of repentance. He at 
one time enjoyed the favor of Charles II., but soon forfeited it by the 
boldness of his remonstrances against the profligacy of the king and 
by his defence of Lord William Russell, whose execution was one of 
the great political crimes of that reign. Burnet also publislied an 
Exposition of the XXXIX Ariicles. On falling into disgrace at court 
he travelled on the Continent, and afterwards attached himself closely 
to the service of William of Orange at the Hague, where he became 
the religious adviser of the Princess Mary, afterwards Queen. At the 
Revolution Burnet accompanied the deliverer on his expedition to Eng- 
Isnd, took a very active part in controversy and political negotiatiqn, 
and was raised to the Bishopric of Salisbury, in which function he gave 
a noble example of the zeal, tolerance, and humanity whK-h ought to 
be the chief virtues of a Christian pastor. He died in 1715, leaving 
the MS. of his most imnortant work, the History of My Own Times, 
which lie directed to be published after the lapse of six years. This 
work, consisting of Memoirs of the important transactions of which 
Gurnet had been contemporary, is of a similar nature and not inferior 
value to Clarendon's, which represents the events of English history 
ftom a nearly opposite point of view. Burnet is minute, familiar, and 
gossiping, but lively and trustworthy in the main as to facts; and no 
one who desires to make acquaintance with a very critical and agitated 
period of our annals can dispense with the mateiials he has accumu- 
Irited. It is from him that we learn the true greatness and energy of 
William's character, and the milder virtues of his queen ; and the verj 
ardor of Burnet's predilections gives a vivacity and a value to his pic 
tares of men and things. 



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A.D. i6i4-i}U-"l XOtSS AMP ILLUSfitAttOm 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



^jJieFlitoidst. ffpent hlBn-tjjIe life &L C&rabrCdgD 
EnfagEd in mpHplijaiual and pMJoiopbicAl alurlles. 



perhapf of UuL pbUoeapher tinng a mqi4 vi^oroufl 









lKniHLgmi>pleBi lbtiiisLeiTslEBm,tb 



idlDgJcolreABUniiiAt and UfMm the whole wo n 
nk him, ia phlloBaphlul acLUDeo, far bi 



Haloft.Donirdira 
KHD (1032-1718), 






lis i>i1lara of Ihe Anglleiii 



iber of theological WMiB, of ffhSoh 
Jn KcpHJI^On M (ta iipJHb M Me Zfcirflri b till 



HVGI. <iaaT-1091), r 



-e ehleElj dovotional, 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTSATIOA'S. [Chap. XIV, 
.pLeuoui II 



ch of EupLuid. birt aB«tvj 



pDllhcal ftdlngs ovendfLBtei^DB the 

TBoiUB Eu.nMOI> <1«S9-171S), npupUofHIIlou 
^. Bl IIiniedQiiiiker,aiid liiliai«a<]lligSEllitD 



lU DnG!>AI,B (MOd-lCSa), J. leamal 
LD pubUshed th9 Banninffe of Eng- 
iq^tin, ofW - 



ten of (JtcKighl nod a i 



Sm MiTTUSW Halb <1609-I8re). the celebrated 

Chlef-Juatice of the KlDg'i Bench Id the nigu at 

' CbATlHlL.wioleBeTeialvarlu, many of them flTii 

lU ima t^llgLoKB ohjmtrter, of vhkh hli £bii- 

templa/iom, Horal and Divijie. are the befit knoVD, 

MAOKEsaoi (lesc-issl), Lmd- 



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ALHA'AX-BEH POPE. 



CHAPTER XV. 
POPE, SWIFT, AND THE AUGUSTAN POETS. 

[ 1. AtBiiKDER Pope: his early life. Publication of his Pastorals, Esta^ tM 
ftrilidim, Bape of the Lock, Windmr Forest. Versions from Chaufer, 
; a. Tranelation of the IHad and Odt/saey. } 8, Piiblioaljon of the Efe^y an 
an Ui^orlwiale Lady, the Epistle fiam Sapphit to Phaon, the Epiatlo of Ehiia 
to Abelard. His life at Twickenham. His edition of Shakspeare. CDllecliou 
i4 MUeeliames. §4- Publieation of the Dutieiad, of his Epistles, Essa^ on 
Mm, and Imitatioas of Horace. § 5. Hia death, character, and othFt worka. 
J 6. Ciiticism ot the Rape of the Lack. § 7. Johathan Swift ; his early 
life. His connection with Sir William Temple. } 8. Settles in Ireland. His 
Tuleofa Tub. §9, Returns to England and joins the Tories. Made Dean 
of at: Patrick's, Dublin. 5 !"■ Takes up his residence in Ireland. Drapier't 
Letttrs. Travela of GalMver. Hia Death. § 11. His relation to Stella and 
Vanessa. { 12. Criticiam of the iVawfa o/ Gh/Hhw. ^ \S. Ot the Talc of a 
Tvb, and other wotlis. Compariaon between Swift, Rabelais, and Voltaire. 
J 14. De. John Aebuthnot. His niatory of John BulL ^ 16. Matthew 
Peiob. } 10. JOHS Gat. The Beggar's Opera. { 17. GiKTH, Pakkki,Ii, 
ajid TiCKELL. ^ 18 Ebwabd Yodn's. The Night Thoughta. j 19. Allan 

BAMSAy. 



g 1. Sense, vigor, harmony, and a kind of careless yet majestic regu- 
larity were the characteristics of that powerful school of po try which 
was introduced into England at the Restoration, and of whid-i Drydenis 
the most eminent type. These qualities were, in the so-called Augustan 
reign of Queen Anne, succeeded by a still higher polish, and an elegance 
sometimee degenerating into effeminacy. The slender and somewhat 
enervate grace of the Corlnthiaa order succeeds the more masculine 
i>*auties of 'he Ionic. Far above all the poets of this epoch shines the 
b'illiant name of Alexander Pope (1688-1744). ^^ w^* hoTn in 
L'jndon of a respectable Catholic family of good descent, in 1688. His 
father had been engaged in trade as a linen-draper, and retired to a 
pleasant country house at Beufield, near Windsor, so that the chilifish 
imagination of the future poet imbibed impressions of rural beauty 
from the lovely scenery of the Forest. The boy was of almost dwarfish 
stature, nnd so deformed that his after life was " one long disease," 
wliich not only precluded the possibility of his embracing any active 
jmifeasion, but could be preserved only by constant care and nursing. 
Like mai y other deformed and diminutive persons, he possessed a sin- 
gularly intellectual and expressive counten-ince, and his eyes were 
remarkable tor their tenderness and fire. He b thibited an eirtraordinary 
precocity of intellect, and the literary ambition by which he was devoured 
even from his early boyhood at once pointed out the poetical caieer to 
which he was destined. He has said of himself, " I lisped in numbers, 
13 



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2«6 POPE, SWIF>1\ AiVD AUGUST AN POiS'J^S. i;ClHAP,3CV, 

for the numbers tame," and the earliest attempts at poetry were mada 
by him when he had hardly emerged from the norserj'. His father had 
Acquired a competent fortune, which enabled the boy poet to indalgo 
that taste for study and poetical reading which continued to be the 
paBsiDnofhislife. ^t the age of twelve he was so struck with reverence 
for thi; glory of Dryden, that he is said to have persuaded a friend tu 
accompany him to Will's Coffee-house, whith the glorious veb;ran wa* 
in the habit of frequenting, and to obtain a glance of the illustiioui 
I'lalriarch, whose death took place in that year. At sixteen he com' 
(ne need his literary career by composing a collection of Pasiom Is aniS 
by lianslating porthans of Siaiias, which were published in 1709. From 
this period his activity was unremitting, and an uninterrupted suctes' 
sion of works, equally varied in their subjects and exquisite in theii 
finish, placed him at the head of the poets of his age. His Essay on 
Criticism, published in 1711, and highly praised by Addison, was 
perhaps the first poem that fixed his reputation, and gave him a fore- 
taste of that immense popularity which he enjoyed during his whole 
life. The precepts of this work are the same as those inculcated by 
Horace, and repeated by BoiJeau, and all the poets and critics of the 
classical school, but they are expressed by Pope with such a union of 
force and delicacy, such ripeness of judgment and such grace of expres- 
sion and melody of verse, that the poem appears less lllte the effort of 
a young writer than the result of consummate experience and practice 
in composition. It is to this period of Pope's career that we must 
ascribe the conception and first sketch of the most original and charm- 
ing production not only of Pope, but of the century in which he lived ; 
a perfect gem, or masterpiece, equaily felicitious in its plan and execu- 
tion,- one of those happy thoughts that are to be attributed half to 
genius and half to rare and favorable accident. This was tlie mock- 
heroic poem The Itafie of the Lock, justly described by Addison as 
" merum sal, a delicious little thing," to which I shall presently recur 
and analyze in detail. This poem is the victorious rival of the Luirin 
and of Veri-vert., and is indeed incomparably superior to every heroic 
comic composition that the world has hitherto seen. In 1713 appeared 
his pastoral eclogues entitled Windsor Forest, in which beauty of versifi- 
cation and neatness of diction do all they can to compensate for the 
absence of that deep feeling for nature which the poetry of the eigh- 
teenth century did not possess. The plan of this woik is principally 
borrowed from Denham's Cooper's Hill, but Pope has hardly any pas- 
aage lo be compared with those few but unequalled lines which have 
preserved the vitality of the latter work. The freque S descriptioni 
introduced by Pope, though beautiful In their way, have the same arti- 
ficial air which forms so fatal a defect in almost all pastoral poetry, 
from Virgil to Sannazzaro. In 1715 Pope published several modernized 
versions from Chaucer, as if he were desirous in all things to parallel 
his great master Dryden. He produced the Temple 0/ J-'ame, aad the 
not over moral story of yanuary and May, which is in substance th« 
iitrcJianfs Tate of the great patriarch of our literature. 



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A. B. i6s8-ij«.] Ai.kxAtrbER popK. m 

% 2. Al this tiiiie, too, Pope undertook the laborious enterprise of 
tninslating into English verse the Iliad and the Odyssey. The worit 
was to be published by subscription, and Pope was at first reduced 
almost to despair when brought face to face with the v^ifctness of his 
unclertaking ; but with practice came facility, and the whole of the Iliad 
woB successfully given to the world bj the year 1720, and excited afren- 
ly of admiration wbich found a vent in some laudatory epigrams which 
by the very extravagance of their eulogy of Pope only prove how Utl^ 
llic wjiters understood of Homer. In a pecuniary sense this war b 
iftdst successful venture : Pope received for his labor upwards of 3acii)7., 
iind laid the foundation of that competence which he enjoyed with gooJ 
teniae and moderation. The Odyssey did not appear till five years later : 
and of this 'he himself translated only twelve of the twenty-four books, 
employing for the remaining half the assistance of the respectable con- 
temporary poets William Broome (1689-1745) and Elijah FbiIjtok' 
(1683-1730), to whom he of course paid a proportionable share of the 
proceeds. Pope selected for the form of his version that rhymed deca- 
&j-llable verse of which he was so consummate a master, but which, how- 
ever beautiful as a medium for appropriate subjects, is quite unfitted, 
from the regularity of its pauses, the neatness of its structure, and the 
irresistible tendency to terminate the sense with the couplet, to repro- 
duce in English the solemn, ever-varied, resounding swell of the bil- 
low-like hexameter of Homer, Tiie old Ionian bard is stripped of his 
flowing chlamys and his fillets, and imprisoned in the high-heeled shoes, 
the laced velvet coat and flowing periwig, of the eighteenth century. 
Mechanically, indeed, Pope's translation is far from unfaithful; but in 
the spirit, the atmosphere, so to say, of the original, the ballad-like ver- 
sion of Chapman is far superior. Bentley's criticism is, after all, tha 
best and most comprehensive that has yet been made on this work : " It 
is a pretty poem, Mr. Pope, but you must not call it Homer." It will 
nevertheless be always regarded as a noble monument of our national 
literature ; and it is difficult to imagine how many readers, to whom the 
original Greek was inaccessible, havefilled their minds with the bril- 
liant though refracted effulgence of the great Sun of Poetry, by studying 
the graceful couplets of Pope. It is unfortunate that in their selec- 
tion of the two great epic writers as subjects of translation, Dryden and 
Pope had not exchanged parts : Dryden, though perhaps incapab'e of 
reproducing the wonderful freshness and grandeur of Homer, still pos- 
sessed most of the Homeric quality of fire and animation ; while Pope, 
III whom consummate grace and finish is the prevailing merit, would 
linve far more successfully reproduced the tineurpaesed dignitj-j the 
tliasteried majesty, of Virgil. 

% 3. About 1717 Pope probaoly composed the Elegy on an Vafortu- 
nalc Lady, the Epistle from Sappho to Pbaon, borrowed from the 
Hereidea of Ovid, and tile Epistle ef Eloisa to Aielard, a poem on a 
similar plan, but taking its subject from the romantic and touching 
Btory of medieval times. These works are all artificial in their ar- 
rangement, and in some degree also in their diction; but the passiaii 



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268 POPE, SWIFT, AND AUOJSTAN POETS. [Cbai'. XV, 

ihcj express is 6o intense, and illustrated with such varied, iiathetic, 
and beautiful imagery, that they will ever be considered masterpieces, 
The subject of the first is very obscure, but it seems to have been de- 
rived from a real tale of disappointed love a.nd suidde; though many 
passages in the Rlegy are of consummate beauty, theEloisa, as a whole, 
is a finer and more sustained composition. Tiie intense glow of unhap- 
py passion lights up the gloom and horror of the cloister with a lurid 
ip'.endor, like thiit of the fabled lamps in sepulchres. During this pari 
pf his life Pope was living, with his father and mother, to whom he 
always showed the tenderest and most dutiful affection, at Chiswick; 
but on the death of the former parent he removed with his mother to a 
villa he had purchased at Twicltenham, on a most beautiful spot on the 
banks of tlie Thames. Here he passed the remainder of hi'; life in 
easy, if not opulent circumstun 1 ttfgd g dhs 

grotto and quincunxes, in which hdlhtdm dhl d 

he lived in familiar intercourse til t 1! th t 1! t s 

statesmen, orators, and men of i tt f 1 d y— Swft Att b y, 

Addison, Bolingbroke, Prior, Gay dAbth t Hw phps 
a little too fond of talking of his wndpdce dUd g with 
affected indifference, to the great d t tl d "^ t wh m h d, 

and like mosl men who live in an wlq w ypttretll 

those who were outside the charm d b d wi ! d g Ij 

of contempt, and as if all virtue, w t i h w 1 ly con- 

fined to his own set. In 1725 he published an Bditioa of Shakspeare 
in six volumes, in the compilation of which he exhibited a deficiency in 
that peculiar kind of knowledge which is absolutely indispensable to 
the commentator on an old author. His work was judged by the public 
to be far inferior to the contemporary edition of Theobald's, who, 
though destitute of poetic genius, possessed more critical discernment, 
and produced a much more valuable result. For this Pope's jealous envy 
could never forgive Theobald, and we shall see by and by how savagely 
he revenged himself. During the three following years he was engaged, 
together with Switt and Arbuth'not, in composing that famous collec- 
tion of Miscellanies, to which each of the friends contributed. The 
pnncipil pioject of the fellow-laborers was the extensive sati, s on the 
abuses of leirning and the extravagances of philosophy, entitled Me- 
moirs of Martinas Scriblenis. This was intended to be for literature 
tomethmg like what Don Quixote was for chivalry ; but the idea, though 
happily enough can*ied out in some of its parts by the festive and hu- 
morous wit of Arbuthnot, was not a very happy one. The contributors, 
«nd chiefly Pope, whose admirable satiric genius instantly deserted him 
when he abandoned verse for prose, often descend to personality and 
buffoonery, and perhaps, with the exception of Arbuthnot's inimitable 
burlesque History of yo&n Bull, the prose portions of the Miscellaniee 
are hardly worthy of the fame of their authors. Pope, however, sup- 
plind to thip publication some of the finest and most brilliant of his 
poetical pieiies, particularly in the department of satire. 
% 4. The brilliant success of Pope, his steadf popularity, the ting* 



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A D. 168&-1744-] ALEXANDER POPE. 263 

of vanity and malignity in his disposition, and above all the superciii- 
uus tone in which he speaks of the struggles of literary existence, then 
at a very low ebb of social respectability, all conspired to raise around 
him a swarm of enemies, animated alike by envy and revenge. He 
had been frequently engaged in squabbles, in some of which his con- 
duct was far from estimable, and he determined to inflict uion hii 
iimumerable enemies, the gnats and mosquitos of the press, a severe 
and memorable castigation. Under the mask of zeal for reason ind 
good taste he could indulge to the extreme the pleasure of thattiiing 
men whom he feared or hated : and in many cases there is no reason 
to doubt that he was in good faith when he identified the expression of 
personal spite with the indignant voice of taste and morality. He com- 
posed the satire of the Danciad, the primary idea of which may have 
been suggested by Dryden's Mac-Flecknoe, but which is incomparably 
the fiercest, most sweeping, and most powerful literary satire that exists 
in the whole range of literature. In it he flays and boils and roasts 
and dismembers the miserable scribblers he attacks, with the ferocity 
of a Mohock execution, and with more than the Ingenuity of Orcagna'f 
pictures of the Last Judgment Most of the persons attacked are so 
obscure that their names are now rescued from oblivion by being em 
balmed in Pope's satire, lilce worthless rubbish preserved in the lava of 
1 volcano : but in the latter part of the poem, and particularly in the 
portion added in the editions of 1743 and 1743, the poet has given a 
sketch of the gradual decline and corruption of taste and learning 
in Europe, which is one of the noblest outbursts of his genius. The 
plot of the poem — the Iliad of the Dunces — is not \ery mgenioue, 
and was bon-owed from Drydcn. Pope supposes thtt the throne of 
Dulness is left vacant by the death of Shadwell, and that the various 
aspirants to " that bad eminence " engage in a senes oi trials, like the 
Olympic Games of old, to determine who shall inheiit it In the 
original form of the poem, as it appeared in 1728 and 1739 the pulm 
of pedantry and stupidity was given to Theobild, Pope s succes'.ful 
rival in commenting Shakspeare. In the new edition of 1743, publis' led 
just before the poefs death, Theobald is degraded from the thrt.ne, 
and the crown is given to Colley Cibber, an actor, manager, und 
dramatic author of the time, and who, whatever were his vices und 
frivolity, certainly was in no sense an appropriate King of the Dumes 
But in this, as in numberless other instances, Pope's bitterness o( 
enmity entirely ran away with his judgment. The poem is an ™d- 
,ni,Bble — almostafearful — example of the highest genius applied to 
the most selfish of ends — the lightning of genius, under the gcise of 
chastising bad literature, burning, searing, and devouring the victi n« 
uf self-love. 

In the four years extending from 1731 to 1735 Pope was engaged if. 
the compositton of his EpHh$, addressed to Burlington, Cobham, Ar- 
buthnot, Bathurst, and other distinguished men. These poems, half 
satirical and half familiar, were in their manner a reproduction of ihe 
tharraiiig productions of Horii.ce. Indeed Pops may not unj itlj b« 



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270 POPE, SWIFT, AND AUGUSTAN POETS. [Chap. XV 
called the English Horace, as Drj^den !s the English Juvenal. With 
less good-humored epicurean philosophy than the great Augustan sat- 
irist, Pope possesses a finer and more elaborate poetical spirit ; in good 
sense, clearness, ard neatness of diction it is difficult to give the palm 
of superiority. At the same period was produced the E/say <.« Maa, io 
four epistles, addressed to Bolingbroke — a work of more pre-'^nsion 
and aiming at the illustration of important ethical and n.etaphj'sicaf 
!>i inciples.^ In the First Epistle Man is regarded m his relation to i.,r 
rui'erae, io the Second in his relation to himself, in the Third ir hit 
Miction to society, and in the Fourth with respect to his ideas of and 
pursuit after happiness. In the whole poem the exquisite neatness and 
(Sicisioii of the language, the unvarying melody of the verse, and tEie 
benut7 and felicity of the 11 lustrations, are far more perceptible than 
the origiiality or even soundness of the theory : but the Essay is an 
incomparable example of the highest skiil in the art of so treating an 
abstract philosophical subject as to render it neither dry nor unpoelicaL 
I have now arrived nearly at the end of Pope's well-filied and brillianl 
literary life. The death of his mother, of whose "declining age" he 
had " rocked the cradle " with the tenderest assiduity, the loss of many 
friends, among whom was Swift, now sinking into hopeless idiocy, the 
increased complication of his own maladies, to whose number asthma 
and dropsy were now added — all these causes threw a gloom over his 
declining years and warned him of his approaching end. He gave to 
the world his highly-finished and brilliant ImiiaUoBS of Horace, in 
which, iilse so many previous writers of his own and other countries, 
fmm Bishop Hall down to Boileau, he adapted the topics of the Roman 
satirist to the persons and vices of modern times. 

S 5. On the 30th of May, 1744, this great poet died, unquestionably 
!he most illustrious writer of his age, hardly if at all inferior to Swift 
n the vigor, the perfection, and the originality of his genius. As a 
man he was a strange mixture of selfishness and generosity, malignity 
and tolerance : he had a peculiar tendency to indirect and cunning 
courses ; and the intense literary ambition by which, like Voltai ' 



it fever, sometimes showed itself in personal and 
sometimes in literary meannesses and jealousies. Of this his quarrel 
with Addison is a characteristic specimen ; while his dishonorable con- 
.luct towards Bolingbroke vriil ever be a blot upon his memory as a 
man. Among his works few of any importance have, I think, been 
V \ unnoticed. I should perhaps mention his Eclogue of the Meiiiah, 
I bappy adaptation of the Pollio of Virgil to a sacred subject, the Odt 
'". ^f-^^'l'"'^ ^m in which he was bold enough to try his strength 
iiith Bryden, and though defeated, yet without disgrace. I'ope has 
selected as his illustration of the powers of Music the story of Orpheus 
and particularly his descent into Hades for Eurydice. He composed a 
i;on8iderable number of Bfitaphs, some of which are remarkable as 
Excmphfying his consummate skill in the art of paying a compliment. 
In a muliittide of passages throughout h's works we find instances of 
ifws and we mav applj' jo him wbf t Miicaiila^ has so gracefullj' m^ 



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,. D. 1688-1744.J ALEXANDER POPE. 



371 



of Voltaire ; " No man ever paid compliments better than he. His sweet- 
est confectionery had always a delicate, yet Etimuiating flavor, which 
n-as delightful to palates wearied by the coarse preparations of inferiof 
artists." The Ra;Pe of lAe Lock, the Epistles, and even the Satires, 
abound in examples of the most artful and ingcniouG flatteries, often 
veiled, for greater piquancy, under an air of blame ; one of the mosl 
perfect instances is in the dosing lines in the Epitaph of young Har 

g 6. The subject of th& Rape of the Lec&, p^th.B.'^s the mosf inimll* 
»1e of Pope's productions, is the rather cavalier frolic of Lord Petre, s 
man of fashion at the com-t of Queen Anne, in cutting off a lock of 
hair from the head of Arabella Fermor, a beautiful young maid of 
honor. This incident Pope treated with bo much grace and delicate 
mock-heroic pleasantry, that on consulting Addison on the first sketch 
of (he poem, the latter strongly advised him to refrain from altering a 
"delicious little thing," that any change would be likely to spoil. Pope, 
however, fortunately for his glory, though the critic's counsel was as 
prudent as It certainly was sincere, incorporated into his poem the 
delicious supernatural agency of the Sylphs and Gnomes, beings which 
he borrowed from the fantastic theories of Paracelsus and the Rosicru- 
cian philosophers. The action of these miniature divinities, being 
exquisitely propMlioned to the frivolous persons and events of the 
poem, delightfully replaces the classical deities, some of whom favor, 
while others oppose, the heroes of epic story from Homer downwards; 
»nd is far more graceful, as well as original, than the hackneyed person- 
Scation of Sloth and other abstract qualities in the famous mock-heroic 
of Boileau. The poem is a little dwarf epic in five books, and bears 
the same relation to the lofl^y and serious works of which it is a parody, 
as a Dresden china figure does to the Venus or the Apollo. It is all 
Bparkling with the flash of diamonds and roguish glances, all a flutter 
with hoop- petticoats, brocades, and powdered wigs. Book I., after a 
due Invocation, describes the counsel given by Ariel in a dream to 
Belinda, whose toilet is then inimitably described. Canto 11. relates 
the sacrifice offered by "the adventurous Baron" in the hope of suc- 
teeding in his designs on the Lock ; after which Belinda goes upon the 
water, and there is a solemn council of the Sylphs, in which their 
chief, Ai-iel, warns them of the impending danger. In Canto III. the 
courtly paity arrives at Hampton Court, where they take coffee, and a 
^ame of Ombre is described with Hie minutest detail, and in the man- 
ner of a solemn tournament. After this the tremendous catastrophe il 
described, and the fatal scissors, furnished by a rival beauty, divide Hk 
fatal lock " from the fair head, forever, and forever 1 " Canto IV. trans- 
(lorts us to the gloomy abode of Spleen, and introduces us to the 
Gnom<-e. Sir Plume, " with earnest eyes and round, unthinking face," 
is sent by Belinda to demand the restitution of the lock, which is re- 
fused. "Canto V. describes a terrific combat — in metaphor — between 
the beiiux and belles. Many of the former perish by the crue: 
glances of their fair opponents, when in the midst of the c^rnagei thi 



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272 POPE, SmPT, AND AUGUSTAN POETS. [Chai-. XV 
Lock, the causa ieierrlmz belli, is suddenly snatched up into the skies, 
wheri! it has ever since glittered ae the constellation called the Tress of 
Berenice. 

§ 7. The most original genius, as well as the most striking charactei 
of this period, was Jonathan Swift (1667-1745), who, whether as a 
man or as a writer, occupies a foremost place in the literary ind polit- 
ical history of the time. He was bora in D bl 667 f English 

family and descent, his father having the pp tin t f teward of 
the King's Inns. His entrance into Hfe was f t t d tended tc 
aggravate a natural tendency towards haughty m th py and bittei 
self-reliance. His father died in very embarr d t nces, and 

Swift, a posthumous child, found himself f m h It years a 

dependant upon the charity of distant relati H p d three years 

of his infancy in England, and was afterwards sent to a school at Kil- 
kenny, whence he proceeded, i^n 1683, to Trinity College, Dublin. Here 
he occupied him«elf with irregular and desultory study, and at las! 
received his degree with the unfavorable notice that it was confeired 
" special! gratia," indicating that his conduct had not satisfied the aca- 
demical authorities. In 1688 he entered the household of Sir William 
Temple, a distant connection of his family, who was then residing in 
luxurious retirement at his beautiful villa of Moor Park in Surrey 
where the cautious and sybaritical old diplomatist amused himself with 
gardening and dilettante literature. Swift remained in Temple's ser- 
vice as a sort of humble hanger-on, secretary, and literary subordinate. 
and there is no doubt he deeply felt the miseries of dependence which 
must have intensely rankled in the memory of so proud . and ambitious 
a character. Temple was frequently visited and consulted by King 
William, from whom Swift, who had occasionally been employed as a 
messenger between his patron and that prince, espccted, but in vain, 
some advancement. It is said that William offered Swift a commission 
in a troop of horse, and taught him the Dutch way of cutting and eat- 
ing asparagus. Swift's residence at Moor Park continued down to 
Temple's death in 1699, with, however, one or two intervals, in which 
he took the degree of M. A. at Oxford, and entered into holy orders on 
the Irish Church establishment, having obtained a smali preferment 
on which he found it impossible to live. These temporary absences 
were caused by quarrels with his patron, whose easy yet supercilious 
condescension his bitter and haughty spirit could not brook; but he 
swallowed his humiliation, and begged pardon in terms which show 
how he chafed against the yoke of dependence, and explain the min- 
gled shame and anger with which in after life he recalled his connec- 
tion witli Temple. During this period of his life he was industnouslj 
employed in study; and steady and extensive reading corrected the 
defects of his earlier education. His acquaintance with history, poe- 
try, and science was considerable, and he possessed in the highest 
djgree the power of rendering instantly available for a specific purpose 
the stores he had acquired. On Temple's death he became the literary 
esecutor of his patron, and prepared for the pr^ss the numerous worki 



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A. D. 1667-1745-] JONATHAN SWIFT. 273 

he left, which he presented, with a preface and dedication written bj 
himself, to William III. 

g 8. Failing in obtaining any preferment from that sovereign, never 
remarkable for much sympathy with letters, Swift went to Ireland as 
chaplain to Earl Berkeley, the Viceroy, and received the small living! 
of I-aracor and Rathbeggan, altogether amounting to ahout 400/. a yenr. 
At Lar;>.cor he lived till 1710, amusing himself with gardening anj 
repairing his church and parsonage, and making yearly visits to Eng- 
lii:id, where the brilliancy of his conversation, his vigorous aptitude foi 
ftlT..irs, and his connection with Temple, rendered him acceptable to the 
leading Whig statesmen who were the ministers of the day. He be- 
came the familiar companion of the most illustrious men of the time, 
Halifax, GodolpWn, Somers, as well as Addison, equally famous in 
letters and in politics. Congreve he had met when visiting Temple at 
Moor Park, and Dryden was a distant relation of Swift's family. Swift's 
persevering dislike to Dryden, whom he constantly underrated in after 
life, is said to have originated in the great poet's unfavorable estimate 
of some of Swift's verses which were submitted to him, on which occa- 
sion he said, " Cousin Swift, you will never be a poet I " His connection 
with William HI. and Temple, as well as the predominance at that mo- 
ment of Whig policy, naturally caused Swift to enter public life under 
the Whig banner; but he very soon gave proof that his adherence to 
any party was merely a matter of interest and ambition, and that his 
sole motive was his own persona! aggrandizement, the gratification of 
his malignant pride, and the delight of inflicting pain upon his oppo 
nents. In 1704 was published his Urst important work, unquestionabij 
his production, though never formally owned by him, the savage and 
yet eKqutsitely humorous pasquinade entitled The Tale of a Tub. 
Temple had actively engaged in the furious controversy that had 
originally been raised in England between Boyle and Atterbury on the 
one hand and the illustrious Bentley on the other, respecting the 
genuineness of certain letters ascribed to the tyrant Phalaris. These 
letters had been edited with great parade by 1 q f O f d w t 
and pretended philologers; and the unequal! d k wl d d 

of the greatest of English, perhaps the g te t f II H 11 t h d 

distantly pronounced them spurious and coinpl t ly k d tl 

quackery and scioh m of the Oxford schola Th d p t g t 
ill a mere personal squabble with Bentl y wl h d b th 1 

unjustly, accused of d acourtesy m his c ^ ti f 1 b t th 

University of Cambndge, soon embraced th th J tly t 

-jucslionof the relati\e siiperiont3 of the A t d h Md 

riiis "vas a dispute which involved almost II th f tl C 

aent, and Temple had engaged in the disci tl d f th A 

dents, cxhibiling a lamentable deficiency of knowledge and common 
sense.* Swift became the champion of the same side, and gave a 
striking foretaste of those tremendous powers of sarcasm and vitupers- 



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«74 POPE, SWIFT, AND AVQUSTAN POETS. [Chap. XV. 

«on which made him the most fonnidable pamphleteer that ever esiBt 
ed. The merits of the case he does not attempt to touch ; but with the 
wildest and most grotesque oddity of invention, and the unscrupuloua 
use of everything coarse, familiar, and ludicrous in language, he strives 
to cover his opponents wiUi ignominy and contempt. The plan of the 
pamphlet is in no respect original j it describes a general engagement 



between the Ancients and the Modems, in 



t of parody ol' the 



Homeric battlesi but the boldness and fertility of the abuse show how 
great a master had appeared of the whole vocabulary of insult. Like g 
Chinese piratical junk, he gains his victory by the loathsome offensiv.;- 
ness of the stink-pots which he hurls. 

In 1708 Archbishop King, Primate of Ireland, employed Swift to 
negotiate, in the name of the Irisli clergy, with the English goverr.ment, 
for the abandonment of their claim to the first-fruits and tenths a 
species of fines paid on the institution to benefices in the Church ■ 
and with this intention he visited England, and exhibited great activity 
and intelligence, but without obtaining the result he desired. He had 
now rendered himself a prominent person both in his profession and 
m the genera! world of politics, was known and feared as a powerful 
and unscrupulous pamphleteer, and was the familiar associate of those 
who were at the head of affairs ■ but his hopes of preferment were not 
fulfilled. At th s t me h regarded I eland w th a mixture of contempt 
and detestat on and wis eiger for any ad ancement that would enable 
him to res de n Engia d near the focus of literary and political 
activity; and h s fa lure urged h m to in act characteristic of his 
temper. He unceremo oasly abandoned h s former party, and began 
to write, to nt gue and to sat r ze w th even greater force, vehe- 
mence, and success on the s de of the To s 

§8. Harley afterward created Carl of Osfo -d, and St. John, better 
*nown as the bnii ant but unp ncpled Bol ngbroke, were now at the 
head of affa rs So fo m dable a pol t cil condottiere as Swift they 
naturally rece ed w th open arms as a de erter from the enemy's 
camp he brought ^ tl h n not onlj th zeal of the apostate, but « 
damaging Lno led^e of tl e i.ecret of the ad er nry's tactics, and Swift 
was not a m n to s pie to use any advantige he possessed. He 
became more useful to his present than he had ever been to his former 
party, and was caressed and flattered by the great, the fair, the witty 
and th: wise. He affected to treat men of the highest rank with the 
fi'eedom and familiarity of an equal, and this somewhat parvenu air 
was forgiven in consideration of his undoubted talents and the services 
which he rendered vrith his terrible pen. His negotiation about the 
(Irst-fruits and tenths was successfully terminated, and he poured forth 
with unexampled rapidity squib after squib and pamphlet after pamphlet, 
employing all the stores of his unequalled fancy and powerful sophistry 
to defend bis party and to blacken and ridicule his antagonists. The 
great object of his ambition was an English bishopric, and the min- 
isters would have been willing enough to gratify him; but he encoun- 
tered secret hostility, such as a man of such a stamp could not iall to 



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h. D. if*7.i74S.] JONATSAJSr SWIFT. 



273 



have aroused. Sharp, then Archbishop of Yoik, represented to the 
QuKen that high preferment could not with propriety be confeired upon 
ft man whose writings, as in the case of the Tale of a Tub, veiled ipon 
the very brink of profanity and indecency ; but a still more fatal hos- 
tility was that of the Queen's favorite, the Ducfiess of Someiset, wliom 
Swift had lampooned in a manner that the meekest of her sex mnld nol 
forgiie. Swiffs bitter and cruel verses had indeed been suppresaed to 
soon as printed, but the Duchess threw herself at the Queei's feet with 
i copy of the pasquinade, and he learned /area' quid fe^iina foscii 
In spite of the str g t de-iire to do more for their supporter the min- 
isters were oblig d t fit comp t tl d y f St 
Patrick's, Dublin, twhhhw m tdth tmdap 
pointment, in 1713 H II d f I 1 d wh th h 
had been called by th b f I t II t by t! w f 
Irremediable brea h b tw II 1 y d E I gl k Swift nly 
interfered to recon 1 th t,t m p wh d p d d th 
whole stability ofthg If dHljtmdpmp 
and reserved, and Stjh Itl d Itadfl t bt 
fruitless efforts to h ! th d Swift g ti d Th t k 
place in 1714. Bol b k mb gwthM M h m tl Q. 
favorite, who, rising from a humble and almost menial position, had 
gradually succeeded in ousting the imperious Duchess of Marlborough 
from the favor of that weak princess, succeeded in turming out Harley, 
whom the Queen abandoned under pretext of his having appeared 
before her flustered with wine. But St. John's triumph was short. The 
death of Anne and the accession of the Elector of Hanover recalled the 
Whigs to power ; the ministry were accused, and with strong grounds 
of probability, of a plot for brlngingback the Pretender, and thus nulli- 
fying the Protestant succession ; Oxford and Atterbury were committed 
to the Tower, Bolingbroke fled beyond the sea, and soon made his 
appearance in the exiled court of St. Germains, and Swift retired to 
Ireland, where he was received with a universal yell of contempt aad 
execration. 

§ 10. During his long and repeated visits to England Swift's com- 
pany and conversation had alway; been sought after by men of letters 
Bs well as statesmen. He founded, together with Harley and other 
friends, a sort of Club called the Society of Brothers, in which many 
of his most amusing political squibs were concocted ; and with Pope, 
Gay, nnd Arbuthnot, he formed what was called the Scriblerus Club, the 
irembeis of which were united by the closest intimacy, and threw into 
J common stock their ideas embodied in the famous jyiiceWa«(es. Fiom 
•.714 to 1720 Srfift resided principally in Ireland, and from being an 
jbject of detestation raised himself to a height of popularity which has 
never been surpassed even in the stormy political atmosphere of that 
country. The condition of Ireland, always a cancer and a disgrace to 
Britain, was just then unusually deplorable; the population torn by 
hitter rivalry and mutual persecution between the dominating Protestant 
»nd f'e enslaved and impoverished Catholics, while the national evil 



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276 POPE, SWIFT, AND AUGUSTAN POETS. [Chap. XV. 

of absenteeism had reduced the agricultural classes to the lowest abyss 
of misery and degradation. In some degree, perhaps, from motives of 
philanthropj', but far more, probably, out of a desire to annoy ar.d em- 
barrass the English government, Swift boldly proclaimed the misery 
of the country, and the force and bitterness of his pamphlets soon 
drew down the persecution of the Ministers. A State prosecution was 
Instituted against the printer, which the Government made desperate 
liut unavailing efforts, by means of subservient judges and packed 
juries, to carry to a conviction. But the highest point of Swift's Irish 
popularity was attained by tlie seven famous letters which he wrote, 
signed M. B. Drapier (draper), and inserted in a Dublin newspaper. 
The occasion was the attempt, on the part of the English ministry, to 
force in Ireland the circulation of a large sum of copper money, the 
contract for coining which had been undertaken by William Wood, a 
Birmingham speculator. This money Swift endeavored to persuade 
the people was enormously below its nominal value, and he counselled 
all true patriots not only to refuse to take it, but to refrain from using 
any English manufactures whatever. The force and animation of his 
arguments, and the exquisite skill with which he woie hia mask of a 
plain, honest, patriotic tradesman, excited the impressionable Irish 
almost to frenzy. As Swift afterwards boasted to Archbishop Boulter, 
he would have had but to lift his finger to cause the ministry to be torn 
in pieces. Ths government was obliged to renounce the project of 
Wood's coinage, and the attorney-general's indictment of Harding, the 
printer of the letters, though maintained by all the violence of Whit- 
shed, was ignored "by the jury. Swift was known to be the real author 
of the letters, and his defence of the riglits of the Irish people made 
him from this moment the idol of that warm-hearted and impres- 
sionable race. 

From 1724 to 1737 Swift was occupied with the production not only 
of his greatest and most immortal work, the Travels of Gulliver, bul 
with an infinity of pamphlets and occasional compositions. lie visited 
England in 1726, when Gulliver v/z.^ brought out, exciting a universal 
burst of delight and admiration. The death of Stella, one of the few 
beings that Swift ever leally loved, happened in 1728, and the loss of 
many friends further contributed to darken and intensify the gloom of 
this proud and sombre spirit. He had from an early period suffered 
more or less constantly from giddiness and pain in the head ; and the 
fearful anticipations oi insanity which had constantly haunted him 
were destined to be cruelly verified. In 1741 he was afflicted with a 
painful inflammation which necessitated restraint, and which gradually 
merged into a state of idiocy that lasted without interruption till his 
death in 1745. During the last three years of this period he is said 
never to have spoken, and to have shown an almost complete uncon- 
sciousness; and there is nothing recorded more melancholy or more 
iuslrictive than Ihe spectacle of this great wit and satirist, without any 
attendancesave that of mercenary hands, — for his own unaccountable 
And selfish conduct had deprived him of the comforts <if a family. — 



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A. D. 1667-1745.] JOifATSAN BWIFT, 277 

Expiring, " a driveller and a show." He is buried in his own catliedra, 
of St. Patrick's, and over liis grave is inscribed that epitsph which be 
composed for himself, and which is one of the most tragic and terrible 
of human compositions ; in it he speaks of resting " ubi sieva indig- 
natio ulterius cor lacerare nequit; " a fearfully vivid portraiture of his 
own character. 

§ 11. Mj account of Swift would be imperfect without some nientioa 
ol' those extraordinary events which are connected with bis lelalicns 
j:«aniB the tivo unhappy women whose love for him was the glory and 
;l.e misery of their lives. While residing in Temple's family he became 
acquainted with Esther Johnson, a beautiful young girl brought up as 
a dependant in the house, and who, though passing for the daughter 
of Sir William's steward, appears really to have been a natural child 
of the old diplomatist. To her, while hardly in her teen^, Swift gave 
instruction; and the bond between master and pupil ripened into the 
deepest and tenderest passion on the part of the maiden, and as much 
attachment on that of the former as the proud and bitter nature of 
Swift was capable of feeling. Having inherited a small fortune, SwiB 
induced Stella — such was the poetical name he gave her — to settle 
with her friend Mrs. Dingley in Ireland, where he maintained with 
both of them — though Mrs. Dingley was merely a mask to save ap- 
pearances — that long, curious, and intimate correspondence which 
has since been published as his youmal to Slella. In it we see the 
unbending of this haughty spirit: he addresses his correspondent in 
the fondest puerilitiea of his "little language," and while giving the 
minutest account of his thoughts and doings from day to day, he inter- 
ests us with a thousand details concerning the political and literary life 
of the time. The journal is full of the most affectionate aspirations 
after a iranquil retreat in the society of " little M. D.," and there can be 
hardly any doubt that Swift anticipated marrying Stella, while Stella's 
whole life was filled with the same hope. During one of his visits to 
London Swift became intimate with the family of a rich merchant 
named Vanhomrigb, over whose daughter Hester, to whom he gave 
Ihe name c." Vanessa, he exerted the same kind of enchantment as he 
had exhibited in gaining the affections of Stella, a power indeed which 
Swiftseemstobaveemlnentlypossessedover the imagination of women, 
liowever inexplicable it may be, when we think of the bitterness and 
coldness of his nature. From at first directing her studies he succeeded, 
pt rh?ps involuntarilj on his part at first, in inspiring an ardent, beau' 
tiful and accomplished girl with a passion so deep and inlenie, thiJ 
the .lifferencu of age only makes more difficult to explain. He seemi 
to have played wiih this attachment, alternately exciting and discour- 
aging hopes in poor Vanessa ; while his letters to Stella in Ireland grow 
grddiiiUy colder and more formal. On the death of her father Miss 
Vannomrigh, who possessed an independent fortune, retired to a villa 
at Celbridge in Ireland, where Swift continued his visits, bul nitlioiit 
clearing up to one of these unhappy ladies the nature of bis relations 
with tlie other. At last Vanessa, driven almost to madness by suspcnss 



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278 POPE, SWIFT, AND AU0U8TAN POETS. [Chap. XV 
and irritation, wrote to Stella to fnquire into Ihe nature of Swia't 
position with regard to her. The letter was intercepted bj Swift, and 
brought bacfe by him, and thrown down without a word, but with a 
terrible countenance, before the unhappy writer. Swift left her, and 
never snw her more; and poor Vanessa died a few weeks afterward* 
(1723). being one of the rare examples of death of a broken heart. 
Stella, whose health was entirely broken, implored Swift to render hei 
She poor justice of calling her his wife [-and it is said that the ceremony 
»f marriage was privately performed in the garden, though Swift nevei 
titlier recognized hei in public, or changed his strange rule of never 
lii-ing in the same house with her, or even seeing her otherwise than in 
the presence of a third person. This rule had been observed ever since 
Stella's first settlement in Ireland. This unhappy victim of Swift's 
eccentric selfishiiess — the second — died in 1738; and in the notices he 
wrote of her, while smarting under the agony of her recent loss, it is 
impossible not to see a iove as intense as its manifestation had been 
singular and inexplicable. 

§ 12, The greatest and most characteristic of Swiff's p k " 

t\ Vy m fG II d II mb g t p I 

t3 t If tl gh y f th t k w t h t m t d d t 
" d t p t 1 p d t mno V t Th g I 



pi fth b k 


th f 11 w It wr tte th 


pi ff t d h 


t hp g h d be th 


d d t th 


gl wh I h p witl th t 


t ghtfrw d p 


g d f th tl t g m h 


rr t f b 


Id g t d wh 1 D f 


f Il> m k d 


R 6 C Tl t t 


t e fth 


t d tl gl tj h w 


1 t d f rm p 


IjJip tftlp 1 hm 


q ily p pt bl 


th w k wl 1 t w h 



th 

wh h tl y ar 
f Swift d 

ft ftht gl t klfp! jwlhmdh 

rs t ghtaft H d t h b k t 

laugh ; but to have poured forth the quaintest and most fantastic invcn- 
Sions with an air of gravity and sternness that kept his audience in 
convulsions of merriment. This admirable fiction consists of fdUr 
saris or voyagea : in the first Gulliver visits the country of Lllliput, 
whose inhabitants are about six inches in stature, and wher^ ail the 
objV.ts, houses, trees, ships, and animals, are in exact proportion to 
ttie miniature human beings. Indeed, one of the principal secrets of 
iwift's liumor, as well as of the power he possesses over the imagina- 
tion — I had almost said the belief— of the reader, is the exquisite and 
ratchful manner in which these proportions are preserved. The author 
never forgets himself in this respect ; nay, he has managed to give to 
the passions, the ambition, the ceremonies, and the religion of liis 
diminutive people an air of the same littleness as invests Uie physical 
objects. The invention displayed in the droll and surprising incidents 
is as unbounded as the natural and bonA-fide air with which they are 
recounted; and we tan hardly wonder at the excUimation of the learned 



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A, D. ili67-i745-] JONATHAN SWIFT. 279 

bishop, who is said to have cried out, " That there were some things in 
Gulliver that he could not quite believe ! " The second voyage is to 
Brobdingnag, a countrj of enormous giants, of about sixty feet in 
height; and here Gulliver plays the same part as the insect-lilte Lilli- 
pi.tians had played to him. As in the first voyage, the contemptible 
and ludicrous side of human things is shown by exhibiting how trifling 
they Id app inltm PPP' " Brobding- 

nag w mdtop hud ddl would appear 

tar pit w rs d mb t t th g t perception! 

of a m m htj ce Th 1 th m b t w learn it \.j 

look g tl gh th tl d f th t 1 p Th Third Pari, 

wh! h g lly f d f f m th w t f ty n the objects 

ofrp tat ttlp dgygc Gllrtoa setiet 

ofstg dftt t TIfltLpt flying island 

inhftb I d by ph 1 ph d t m H Sw ft intended to 

saUriz thfll db fl gd but indepen- 

dently fthJttht hftb pt thAd myoFLagado, 

isb wdfmL Rbl dth tshs strokes of 

ridi 1 tlwj ywUd td dfllp tless, being 

levell dg mgi yfll FmLgdtht Iter goes to 

Glubbdubdrib and then to Luggnagg, which latter episode introduces 
the terrific description of the Struldbrugs, wretches who are cursed 
with bodily immortality without preserving at the same time their 
Intellects or their affections. 

Gulliver's last voyage is to the country or the Houyhnhnms, a region 
in which horses are the reasoning, civilized, and dominant beings; and 
where men, under the name of Yahoos, are degraded to the rank of 
noxious, fdtliy, and unreasoning brutes. The manner in wiiich Swift 
has described the latter, retaining a resemblance to man in their pro- 
pensities which only renders them more horrible and loathsome, shows 
how intense were his hatred and scorn of humanity. The satire goes 
on, deepening as it advances ; playful and amusing in the scenes of Lil- 
liput, it grows blacter and bitterer at every step, till in the Yahoos it 
reaches a pitch of almost insane ferocity, which there is but too much 
reason to believe faithfully embodied Swift's real opinion of his fellow- 



§ 13. In the Tale of a Tub he gives a burlesque allegorical accour.t 
of the Ihree great sects of Christianity, the Roman Catholic, the I.u- 
tiieran, at.d the Calvinistic churches. These are represented with tlit 
wildest and most farcical extravagance of incident, under the form of 
thref brothers, Peter, Jack, and Martin ; and their squabbles and uH". 
mate separation ngui'e the Reformation and its consi'quences. Betue.:n 
th» chapters of narrative are interposed what Swift calls digreaioBs, in 
which the most ludicrous fancies are embodied in a degree of out-of-the- 
way learning not to be met with in any otlierof his works. Everything 
that Is droll and familiar in ideas and language is concentrated in th(» 
extraordinary production, and many of the pleasantries are sufficiently 
irreverent to justify the accusation of his religious belief not being very 



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280 POPE, SWIFT, AND AUGUSTAN POETS. [C«\v. XV. 

firmly fiiLed. The innumerable pamphlets and political and historical 
tracts poured forth by Swift, as his Condacl of Ihe Allies, the Publk 
Spirit of the Whigs, the Last Tears of ^ueen Anne, his coatributions 
to journals, his Sentiments of a Ciiurch of England Man, hia remarks 
o 1 the Sacraminlal Test, and a multitude of others, being written on 
local and te:npDrary subjecfs, are now little consulted ; they all eshibi 
tlie vigor of his reasoning, the admirable force and directness of hi* 
siylc, and his unscrupulous ferocity of invective. Thej are all, what- 
eier be their nature, party pamphlets of the most virulent kind, in which 
the author was never restrained by any feeling of his own dignity, or of 
candor and indulgence for others, from overwhelming- his opponents 
with ridieule and abuse. He is like the Indian savage, who, in torturing 
liis captive at the stake, cares little how he wounds and bums himself, 
BO long as he can make his victim writhe; or, like the street rufEan, 
who, in hurling ordure on his antagonist, is indifferent to the filth that 
may stick to his own fingers. The bitterness, as well as the power, of 
these writings is often something almost diabolical. Many of his 
smaller prose writings are purely satirical, as his Polite Conversation 
and Directions to Servants. In the former he has combined in a sort 
of comic manual all the vulgar repartees, nauseous jokes, and selling oj 
bargains, that were at that time common in smart conversation ; and in 
the latter, under the guise of ironical precepts, he shows how minute 
and penetrating had been his observations of the lying, pilfering, and 
dirty practices of servants. Perhaps the pleasantest, as they are the 
most innocent, of his prose pleasantries, are the papers written in thi; 
character of Isaac Bickerstaff', where he shows up, with exquisite drol- 
lery, the quackery of the astrologer Partridge. His letters are very 
numerous; and those addressed to his intimate friends, as Pope and 
Gay, and those written to Sheridan, half-friend and half-butt, contain 
inimitable specimens of his peculiar humor, which has been excellently 
described by Coleridge as " anima Eabeljesii habitans in sicco." The 
three greatest satirical wits of modem times possess each a peculiar 
manner. Rabelais, with his almost frantic animal spirits, pours forth 
a side-shaking mixture of erudition and ingenious buffoonery; Voltaire, 
with his sly grin of contempt, makes everything he attacli appear at 
onct; odious and despicable ; but Swift inspires us with loathing as well 
as with contempt. We laugh with Rabelais, we sneer with Vollaire; 
with Swift we despise and we abhor. He will not only be ever regi^rded 
as one of the greatest masters of English prose, but his poetical wori-i 
will give him a prominent place among the writers of his age. Ti ;j 
arc, however, most strongly contrasted in their style and manner to the 
tjpf most prevalent at the time, and of which Pope is the most compiete 
represertative. They have no pretension to loftiness of language, are 
written in the sermo pedestris, in atone studiouslypreserving the famil- 
iar expression of common life. In nearly all of them Swift adopted the 
short octosyllabic verse that Prior and Gay had rendered popular. The 
poems show the same wonderful acquaintance with ordinary incidents 
■s the prose compositions, the same intense observittion of human 



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A. D, 1667-1735.] ABBUTENOT. 281 

nature, and the Kanie profoundlj misanthropic ^ lew of mankind. The 
longest of the narrative writings, Cadenas (Decanus, an anagram indi- 
cating llic Dean hitnEelQ and Vanessa, is at the same time the least 
interesting. It giiea an account, though not a verj clear one, of the 
love-episode which terminated so fatally for poor Hester Vanhomiigh. 
The most likely to remain popular are the Verses on my ovjn Death, 
describing ihe mode in which that event, and Swift's own diaractei, 
•■ould be discussed among his, friends, his enemies, and his acquaint' 
mce^ ; and perhaps there is no composition in the world which gises so 
e^Ej, animated a picture, at once satirical and true, of the language and 
sentiments of ordinary society. He produced an infinity of small bur- 
lesques and pleasantries, in prose and verse, as for example, The Grand 
Question Debated, in which he has, with consummate skill and humor, 
adopted the maundering style of a vulgar servant-maid. Shakspeare 
himself, in Mrs. Quickly and in Julief s Nurse, has not more accurately 
seized the peculiarities of the lower class. A thousand parodies, jests, 
punning Latin and English letters, epigrams and descriptions mightbe 
cited. Many of them are slight toys of the fancy, but they are toys 
executed with the greatest perfection, and in some, as the Legion Club, 
the verses on Bettesworth and Lord Cutts, the ferocious satire of Swift 
is seen in its full intensity: they are little sparkling bubbl b t tl j 
are blown from viti'iolic acid. 

% 14. No member of the brilliant society of which P p ad Sw ft 
were the chief luminaries, deserves more respect, both f h tel 
lectua! and personal qualities, than Dk. John Arbuthnot ( 667 735 
He was of Scottish origin, and enjoyed high reputation phyw 

in which capacity he remained attached to the court fro n 7 9 1 11 tl 
death of Qiieen Anne. He was one of the most lovable, as well as the 
raoBt learned and accomplished wits of the day, and was a chief con- 
tributor to those Miscellanies of which I have so often spoken in 
connection with Pope. He is supposed to have conceived the plan of 
that extensive eattre on the abuses of learning, embodied iti the Me- 
moirs vf Mariinus Scriblems, and to have indeed executed the best 
porUonii of tliat comprehensive though fragmentary work, and in par- 
ticular the description of tlie pedantic education given to his son by the 
learned Cornelius. But the fame of Arbufhnot is more intimately 
connected with the inimitable History of yohit Bull, in which the 
intrigues and "Wars of tha Succession are so drolly caricatured. The 
object of the work was to render the prosecution of the war by Marl- 
batoiigh unpopular with the nation; but the adventures of Squire South 
(Austria), Lewis Baboon (France), Nic. Frog (Holland), and Lord 
S'.rutt (the King of Spiin), are related with fun, odd humor, and 
fsmiliar vulgarity of language. There is mucii of the same kind of 
humor as we find in the Tale of a Tub, and in Gulliver ; but Arbuth- 
not is always good-natured, and there is no trace of that fierce bitterness 
and misanthropy vhich tinge every page of Swift. In the k.tter par! 
iif the UisUry Arbuthnot details with great humor some of the politica^ 
intrigues of the English ministry, and in particular the way in whic% 



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282 POPS, SWIFT, AND AUGUSTAS POETS. [Chap. XV, 

the Scottish Preibj'terian party were tricked bylht Earl of Nottingliani 
into assenting to the bill for Occasional Conformity. The characters of 
the various nations and parties are conceived and maintained with 
consummate spirit) and perhaps the popular ideal of John Bull, with 
which Englishmen are so fond of identifying their personal and nntiocia. 
peculiarities, wa; first stamped and fixed by Arbuthnof s amusing bur- 
lesque. Besides these welt-known pleasantries Arbuthnot's fertile and 
festive genius produced others in the same manner, as the Ar/ of Poiiti- 
tal Lying, and the Memoirs of P. P. Clerk of this Parisk, i-.tended to 
caricature the trifling and egotistic details of Brunet's History^ He was 
also the author of many learned tracts both in general literature and in 
sub^^acts more immediately professional ; and he seems to have fully 
deserved the admiration lavished upon him by all his friends, as an 
accomplished scholar, an able and benevolent physician, and a wit of 
singular brilliancy and fertility. 

§ 16. Matthew Prior (1664-1721) was a poet and diplomatist of 
this time, who played a prominent part on the stage of politics as well 
as on that of literature. He was of humble origin, and after receiving 
a commencement of education in Westminster School, is said to have 
been obliged to pass some time with an uncle who kept a tavern in 
London, and in whose house the lad was employed in serving the cus- 
tomers. His scholarship is related to have attracted the notice of the 
splendid and generous Dorset, who enabled him to finish his studies at 
St. Joiin's College, Cambridge, where he distinguished himself and 
obtained a small fellowship. He took part with Montagu, another of 
nis patrons, in the composition of the Country Mouse and City Mouse, 
a poem intended to ridicule Dryden's Hind and Panther ; and the door 
of public employment was soon opened to him. His career in the 
diplomatic service was brilliant ; after accompanying Berkeley, Ambas- 
sador to the Hague, as Secretary, he became Secretary of Legation at 
the Peace of Ryswick, and received a considerable pecuniary gratifica- 
tion from the Government. He twice resided at Versailles in the 
capacity of envoy, and by his talents in negotiation as well as by his 
wit and accomplishments in society appears to have been very popular 
among the French. Many stories are related of his address in polished 
repartee, in which he showed himself not inferior to the Parisian wits 
and men of letters. On returning to England he was made a Commis- 
sioner of Trade, and in 1701 became a member of the House of Com- 
mons. Tliough he had entered public life as a partisan of the Whig? 
hi! now deserted cJiem for the Tories, on the occasion of the impeach- 
ment of Loid Somers ; and he again went to Paris, where he lived in 
great splendor during the negotiations in which Bolingbroke acceded to 
the diagracofut Treaty of Utrecht. In 1715 he was ordered into custodj 
by the Whigs, on a charge of high treason, and remained two years in 
coniinement. The worst result to Prior of this political persecution 
was the loss of all his fortune, his means of subsistence being now 
nearly reduced to the small revenue of his college fellowship, which in 
vhe days of his splendor he had refi!s?d to give up, prudently c^IcuNt 



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A. D. 1688-I732-] PRIOR. GAT. 283 

lag that the time might come when he would be glad to postess even 
BO small an income. However, with the issist'ince of tis friends he 
published by subscription a collection f h k th p d 

which amounted to a considerable sum P w y^\ 

philosopher of the Horatian stamp, a d mm d t d h -n If th 

facility to every change of fortune. H 1 g d b t 

poems are Alma, a metaphysical diseu ca d i 

birrassed Hudibrastic verse, extiihitin g d d 1 f th ght i 
learning disguised under an easy conv ! g b d th Ep 

entitled Salomon, a poem somewhat in th m d vr th th m 

defects as the Davidecs of Cowley. A w k f d bl 1 gtl 

and ambitious in its character, is the d 1 gu titl d H d 

Emma, modernized, and spoiled in the m*d g f m th q 

site old ballad of the Nutbroiune Maid Th t f re t d 
times, and (he expression in the smooth f th t h 1 f 

poets, of the simple passion and plctui q tim t f th t 

poem, is Hlte the appearance of Homer tl f P p P 

two claims to admiration are his easy mtdhlft d hlf 
libertine love-songs, many of which exh b t tl f t 1 

though not profound sentiment with a t f ph 1 ph g y ty d 
carelessness that form the peculiar charm of the French chansonniers. 
.Prior composed a number of Tales in verse, in the same style as the 
Contes of La Fontaine, showing much similarity with that- class of 
productions of the inimitable fabulist, but open to the same objection 
— an objection which will now excluijp them from the reading of oui 
more fastidious age — of occasional immorality in their subjects and 
treatment. 

g 16. The name of John Gay (1688-1732) is one of the most attrac- 
jive among the brilliant literary stars that make up the constellation 
of which Pope and Swifl were the leading luminaries. He was one of 
those easy, amiable, good-natured men who are the darlings of their 
friends, and whose talents excite admiration without jealousy, while their 
characters are the object rather of fondness than respect. He was born 
l683, and carried off prematurely by an inflammatory fever, in 173a; 
and his death filled She jealous Pope with sorrow, and forced tears even 
from the hard and cynical eyes of Swift. He entered life in a humble 
ttation, as a linen-draper's shopman, but soon exchanged this occupa- 
tion for a dependence upon the great, which was not more favorable 
either to happiness or self-respect, and for a vain pining after public 
employment and court favor for wbicli his indolent and self-indulgent 
habits rendered him singularly unfit. His most important poetical 
productions at the beginning of his career were the collection of Ec- 
logues entitled The Shepherd's Week, and the original and charminglji 
executed mock-didactic poem. Trivia, or Ike Art of Walking Ikt 
Streets of London. In the former, consisting of seven pastorals, he 
iriginally intended a parody on Ambrose Philips, whose writings were 
the general butt or ridicule to Pope and his friends; but the work of 
Qnf is so fresh and plesssnt, »nd his descriptions pf real English riwal 



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284 POPE, SWIFT, AND AVQUSTAN POETS. LCtlAP. XV. 

natare and peasant life "are so agreeable that his composition will 
always be read with pleasure for its intrinsic merit. Like Spensei 
before him, Gay gave a national color to his personages and to hii 
landscape, but his incidents and the general tone of his dialogues are 
comic. He has shown great address in applying the topics of The- 
ocritus and Virgil to the customs, employments, and superstitions of 
English peasants, and he has endeavored to heighten the effect by the 
occasional employment of antiquated and provincial expressions. The 
TtHvia is interesting, not only for its ease and quiet humor, but for the 
cm ifflus details it gives us of the street scenery, costume, and mannerB 
of that time. Gay produced several dramatic works, principally of a 
(uniicnalure, and interspersed with songs, for the composition of which 
he showed an almost unrivalled talent: I may mention What d'ye Call 
iif a sort of half-pastoral extravaganza, and the farce of Three H</ars 
after Marriage. Gay's pieces generally contained, or were supposed 
to contain, occasional political allusions, the piquancy of which greatly 
contributed to their popularity. They are also seldom free from a 
somewhat loose and immoral tendency. His most successful ventui-e was 
(he Beggars' Opera, the idea of which is said to have been first sug- 
gested by Swift, when residing, in 1726, at Pope's villa at Twickenham, 
The idea of this piece is eminently happy ; it was to transfer the songs 
and incidents of the Italian Opera — then almost a novelty in England, 
and in theblazeof popularity — to the lowestdassof English life. The 
hero of the Beggars' Opera is a highwayman, and gaolers, pickpockets, 
and prostitutes form the dramatis personie, while the scene is princi- 
pally in Newgate. In a word, to use Swift's expression, it was a kind 
of Newgate pastoral, and was a sort of parody of the opera then in 
vogue, while it became tlie origin of the English Opera. The beauty 
and charming voice of Elizabeth Fenton, who first acted Polly, the 
satirical allusions plentifully scattered through the dialogue, and eager- 
ly caught up by the parties of the day, the novelty and oddity of the 
whole spectacle, and above all, the exquisite beauty of the songs plen- 
tifully interspei*sed throughout, gave the Beggars' Opera an unpar- 
alleled success. Polly became the idol of the town, and was removed 
from the stage to share the coronet of a duke; and Gay acquired from 
the performance of his piece the very large sum of nearij- 700/. He 
was encouraged by success to endeavor to continue in the same stiain, 
and produced a kind of continuation called PoH^, which, though far 
inferior, was even more profitable, for being prohibited on Uie gro.md 
of political allusions, by the authority of the Lord Chamberlain, (he 
opposition party, in order to spite the court, contributed 5o liheiallj to 
its publication that Gay is said to have cleared about riooA The poet, 
with that sanguine improvidence whicli characterized him, had previ- 
ously met with severe losses in the famous South Sea mania; but 
grown wiser by experience, and profiting by the advice of friends who 
possessed more practical common sense than himself, he determined to 
husband the little fortime he had accumulated. H".; was received into 
Ihe fami 1^- of the Duke and Duchess of q^jeensber: y, where he sef n 



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ili.i). T(>i8-i765-J dARTn. PARNELL. TICKELL. YOUNG 2S5 
to have been petted like some favorite lapdog, till his death in 1732. 
He was the autlior of a collection of Fables in easy octosyllable vGrse, 
which he wrote to contribute to the education of William Duke of 
Cumberland ; and though these are the best-known and most frequentij 
cited works of the kind in our language, they will be found immeasu- 
rably inferior in wit, profound sense, picturesque ness, and above all \» 
•hi rare, precious quality of intense national spmt, to Uie immoitia 
Mle^ of La Fontaine and of Krinloff. They retain their popularilj 
frcin tlieir figuring in every collection of poetry for the young, tlieii 
etyie rendering them peculiarly adapted for readnig and learning hy 
heart. Gay's songs and ballads, whether those introduced into the 
Beggars' Opera and other dramatic works, or those wutten separately, 
are among the most musical, touching, playful, *nd charming that C'iisl 
in the language. The diction and subject are often of the most familial 
kind, but the grace of the expression, and the flowing harmony of the 
v^rse, make them, whether pathetic or lively, masterpieces of skill. 
They have, too, invariably that rare and high attribute of the best 
song-writing, that the very march of Uie number irresistibly suggests 
the air to which they are to be sung. 

g 17. My space will only permit a cursory mention of SiK Sami.kl 
Garth (died in 1718), a Whig physician of eminence, whose poera of 
Tke Dispensary, written on occasion of a squabble between the College 
of Physicians and the Apothecaries' Company, was half satirical and 
half a plea in favor of giving medical assistance to the poor; TiiOtuAS 
Parnell (1679-1718), a friend of Pope and Swift, who held a livii.g in 
Ireland, and is known chiefly by his graceful but somewhat feeble tiiic 
of The Hermit, a versified parable founded on a striking story i,fisi- 
nally derived from the Gesta RomaHorum ; and Thomas Tickell Ci6&i- 
1740), celebrated for his friendship with the accomplished Addison, 
whoae death suggested a noble elegy, the only work of Tickell which 
rises above the elegant mediocrity that marks the general tone of the 
minor poetry of that age. Tickell contributed papers to the Spectator, 
and also published a translation of the first book of the Iliad, which 
led to a misunderstanding between Addison and Pope (see p. 293)- 
Tickell published a collected edition of Addison's works. 

§ 18. I now come to Edward Young (1681-1765), the most puwer- 
ful of the secondary poets of the epoch. He began his career in the 
unsmxessful pursuit of fortune in the public and diplomatic service of 
the country. Disappointed in his hopes and somewhat soured in his 
lemper, he entered the church, and serious domestic losses siill further 
lirtsnelfied a natural tendency to morbid and melancholy reflection. 
He obtained his first literary fame by his satire entitled tht Lo-tt of 
Fame, ilie Universal Passion, written before he had abandoned a secu- 
lar career. It is in rhyme, and bears considerable resemblance to the 
manner of Pope, though it is deficient in that exquisite grace and neat- 
ness which distinguish the latter. In referring the vices and follies 
of mankind chiefly to vanity and the foolish desire ot applause. 
Young exhibits a folse and narrow view of human motives ; but thert 



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Tl N-ghtTh git 

bi k 



28fi POPE, SWIFT, Aift) AUGtTSTAlV POSTS. [Chap XV 

ire many passages in the three epistles which compose this satire, thai 
exhibit strong powers of observation and description, and a Iteen and 
rigorous expression which, though sometimes degenerating into tliiit 
tendencj to paradox and epigram which are the prevailing defect of 
Young's genius, are not unworthy of hia great modtl. The Second 
Epistle, describing the character of women, maj be compared, without 
altogether losing in the parallel, to Pope's admirable work on the sainf 
subject. But Young's place in the history of English poetry — a plao: 
lonjf a very high one, and which is likely to remain a far from unpnvin, 
hi" one — iaduetohisBtf-k' d ri " Ip 

rh w k t f h m d 

<< t f fi t Lf D th I 

■" ' ' bj t th t g g t! tf t f tl eh t 

d th ph 1 ph Tl g 1 1 th w k b nd 

i tnj p h p m d ff t dly f th h tl th 

p rp t [ly p d tl 1 h ly p 1 m t nd 

wl h h wiote, overwhelmed by the rapidly-succeeding losses of many 
who were dearest to him, the reader can never get rid of the idea that 
the grief and desolation were purposely exaggerated for effect. In 
spite of this, however, the grandeur of Nature and the sublimity of 
ihe Divine attributes are so forcibly and eloquently depicted, the argu- 
ments against sla and infidelity are so concisely and powerfully urged, 
and the contrast between the nothingness of man's earthly aims and 
the immensity of his immortal aspirations is so pointedly set before us, 
that the poem wili always make deep impression on the religious reader. 
TTie prevailing defects of Young-, mmd were an irresistible tendency 
to antithesis and epigiammitic contrast, and a want of discrimination 
that often leaves him utterly unable to distinguish between an idea 
really just and stnking, and one which is onlj superficially so: aad 
this want of taste frequently leads him into illustrations and compar- 
isons rather pueiile thin ingenious as when he compares the stars to 
diamonds in a se-il ring upon the finger of the Almighty. He is also 
remarkable for a deficiency in continuous elevation, advancing, so to 
say, by jerks and sh t= of pithos and sublimity The march of hia 
verse is generally solemn and majestic, though it possesses little of the 
rolling, thunderous melody of Milton ; and Young is fond of introdu- 
cing familiar images and expressions, often with great effect, amid his 
most lofty bursts of declamation. The epigrammatic nature of some of hia 
mos* striking images is best testified by the large number of exprea- 
sions wh h h p d f m h w tz g t tl coll q 11 oua 
of society h p a t t th th f f tim 11 ra n 

Ihink allm -tlbtthml da ltd fhrsA 

tort of q t 1 m ty 1 k th m t t p G th t mb 

is the imp wh b th A J Tlotigk 1 1 f d t m k 

upon th ad th p t t m d t tr p f f tl 

essential g t f h (h t th qua ntn n t bl t 

extingu h th 1 m ty 
§ 19. Th p t y f th S I L ml d r nd an dim able 



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A. t>. i686.i7s8.]- ALLAN RAMSAY. 2«? 

representative at this time in Allaw Ramsay (1686-1758J, born iu a 
humble claBs of life, and who was first a wigmaker, and afterwards 
a bookseller in Edinbui-gh. He was of a happy, jovial, and contents 
humor, and rendered great services to the literature of his country hj 
reviving the taste for the excellent old Scottish poets.jind by editing 
and imitat.ng the incomparable songs and ballads current among the 
aeople. lie was also the author of an original pastoral poem, the Gen* 
U (or Noble) Shepherd, which grew out of two eclogues he hnd written, 
descriptive of the rural life and scenery of Scotland. The complete 
work appeared in 1725, and consists of a series of dialogues in verse, 
•Fritten in the melodious and picturesque dialect of the country, and 
interwoven into a simple but interesting love-story. The pictures of 
rature given in this charming work, equally faithful and ideal, the 
exact representation of real peasant life and sentiment, which Ramsay, 
with the true instinct of a poet, knew how to make strictly true to 
reality without a particle of vulgarity, and the light but firm delinea- 
tions of character, render this poem far superior in interest, however 
inferior in romantic ideality, to the Pastor Fi'dd, the Galatea, or Ihe 
Faithful Shepherdess. The songs he has occasionally interspersed, 
though they may sometimes be out of place by retarding the march of 
the events, are often eminently beautiful, as are many of those scattered 
through Ramsay's voluminous collections, in which lie combined the 
revival of older compositions with imitations and originals of hia own. 
It is impossible to overrate the influence which Ramsay exerted in pr-j- 
ducing, in the following century, the unequalled lyric genius of h"-. 
great successor. Burns. The treasures of tenderness, beautiful descrip 
tion, and sly humor which Ramsay transmitted from Dunbar, James (., 
David Lyndsa3', and a thousand nameless national bards, were concn- 
Irated into one splsndid focus in the writings of the author of a Ian, 
aShantey. 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. LC«ap. X.V. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

lE(1009-i;M),soweUkiHPlniftir Tlie wriUnga ot Ihis lidy, with ell OiBi 



t St^ke NfivlngLon, whei 



IoUh'b Cullege, Cnmbridga* VJMi a l^iend id AddiA 
And StecLe> birt waa- vwleulij attiLckea by Pope. I 
WCOL* Ihree tm^lua ond some f'rufwab, nlii 



loaded nhh thought, yc 



(iea>-173t), some of nluue poems 
whith tbej rirn budly onUlJed, 1 



enxMftd, uud hii pMlc dl 






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k. 1>. i&j2-ipg:i fOSMPII ADDISON. 



CHAPTER XVI. 

THE ESSAYISTS. 

ft ioiiEPil Addibon: Me life. The Ca/atpidgn. Travels in Italy. Roaatnoad, 
jTAs Drummer. J 2. His connection nith SlEELS : life ot tlie latter. The 
IVt.tr, Spe^itator, and Guardian. J 3. Addiaon'a Cato. Made Secretary of 
State. His death. His quarrel with Pope. His character, j 4. His contri- 
bulioES Lo the Tatlei; Spectator, and Gtmrdiaa. { 6. His pottty. S 8. SiH 
Wri JJAM Temple, j 7. Bishop Aitereubt. } 8. Loeb Shaftbbbdey 
Hia Characteriatie' { 9. LOBD BoLIueBROKH. His woilia. His connection 
with David Malltt. J 10, Bekkabd MamBEVHIE. His Fable of the Bees. 
J II. Bishop Berkeley. Hia Minute Philosopher and Theory of Vision. 
\ 12. LiBV Maky MostaOd. Her letters. Compared with those of Madame 

§ 1, The class of writers who form the subject of this chapter are 
idtntified with the creation ofa new and peculiar form of English liter- 
ature, which was destined to exert a powerful and most beneficial influ- 
ence on the manners and intellectual development of society. The 
mode of publication was periodical, and a kind of journals made their 
appearance, many of them enjoying an immense popularity, combining 
a smalt modicum of public newc with a species of short essay or lively 
dissertation on some subject connected with morality or criticism, and 
inculcating principles of virtue in great, and good taste and politeness 
in small things. The Essay was first made popular by Montaigne, and 
the taste for this easy and desultory form of composition became gen- 
eral throughout Europe. It was in England that it was first combined 
with the principleof journalism. The first establishment of this species 
of publication is due to Sir Richard Steele, of whom we shall give 
some account presently. His most illustrious fellow-laborer in the task 
of disseminating among the higher and middle classes a better tone of 
manners and a taste for intellectual enjoyments was Joseph Addison 
(1671-1719). This great writer and excellent man was the son of 
Lancelot Addison, a divine of some reputation for learning, and was 
horn in 1672. He was educated at the Charter-house, from whence be 
passed to Queen's and ultimately to Magdalen College, Oxford; and 
hi;re he distinguished himself by the regularity of his conduct, the 
Htsiduity of his application, and his exquisite taste in Latin verse. 
Indeed his knowledge of the Roman literature, and espacially of the 
poets, was accurate and profound. His graceful exercises in this elegant 
biancii of letters, and in particular his poems on Puncli and Judy (the 
Machine Gesticulantes) and on the Barometer, made him the hope and 
pride of his College. His first essays in English verse were a eulogistic 
poem on tlie King, which wns honored with the high approval of 
Drjden ; and it was under Oryden's wing that Addisnn continued his 



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S!90 THE ESSA TlSfS. •X.il^v. XVi 

trial-flight, transiating tlie IVtii Georgic of Virgil, Lord Somers pro- 
cu'ed for the rieing neophyte a pension of 300/., which enabled him to 
travel in France and Italy, and he gave speedy proof how well he had 
profited by these opportunities of einploylng and extending his classi- 
cal and philosophical acquirements. During his sojourn in France be 
had an interview with the aged Boileau, then the patriarch of poetrj 
and criticism, and the literary lawgiver not only to his own couotrj 
but to England. The accession of King William deprived Addison oi 
hU pension ; and iie passed some time in London very poor in purse, 
Imt exhibiting that dignified patience and quiet reserve which made hi» 
chai-acter so estimable. In his retirement he was found out by tin 
Ministers, who being desirous that the recent triumphs of Marlborough 
should be celebrated in verse in a v^irthy manner, Godolphin was 
deputed to propose to him that he should write a poem on the immor- 
tal campaign whidi had just terminated in the victory of Blenheim. 
Addisju readily undertook the task; and the unfinished portion, con- 
taining the once celebrated comparison of the great leader to the 
Destroying Angel, being shown to the Ministers, they were in raptures ; 
and the work, when it appeared, undei- the title of The Campaign, was 
universally pronounced superior not only to Boileau, but to anything 
that had hitherto been written in the same style. The verses appear to 
modern readers stiff and artificial enough ; but Addison deserves credit 
for having been the first to abandon the absurd custom of former poeta, 
who praise a military hero for mere personal courage, and paint him 
slaughtering whole squadrons with his single arm, and to place the 
glory of a great general on its true basis — power of conceiving and 
executing profound intellectual combinations, and calmness and imper- 
turbable foresight in the hour of danger. Literary services were at 
that time often rewarded with political advancement, and from this 
moment the career of Addison was a brilliant and successful one. He 
was appointed Under-Secretary of State, and Chief Secretary for Ire- 
land, besides which high posts he at different times received various 
other places, both lucrative and honorable. The publication of the 
Campaign had been followed by that of his Travels in Italy, exhibiting 
proofs notonly of Addison's graceful and accomplished scholarship, but 
also of that quiet yet delicate humor, that humane and benevolent 
morality, and that deep though not bigoted religious spirit, which so 
Btrongiy mark his character and his writings. In 1707 he gave to the 
world his pleasing and graceful opera or musical entertainment entitled 
Rosamond; and about this time he in all probability sketched out tin 
comedy of the Drummer, which, however, was not published till after 
his death when it was brought out by his friend Steele, who is said to 
have had some share in its composition. It is deficient in plot and 
vivacity of interest; but many of the scenes exhibit much comic power, 
an, the character of Veilum, tlie old steward, is in particular exttemelj 
amusmg. 

§ 2. It was about this period of his career that Addison embarked in 
that literary venture first launched by his friend Steele, and with his 



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A. ». 1673-1719.] JOSEPH ADDlSiiJf. 20] 

share in which is connected the most durable element of his fame ; and 
I shall introduce here, incidentally, a short account of Steele hiroselE 
Sir Richard Steele (1675-1729) was of Irish origin, but had been 
the schoolfellow of Addison, upon whom, both at the Charter-house 
and afterwards during his short stay at Oxford, he seems to have looked 
witli a curious and most affecting mixture of veneration and love. His 
life was full of the wildest vicissitudes, and his cJiaracter was iiie of 
those which it is equally impossible to hate and to respect. H!b heiil 
was inordinately tender, his benevolence deep, and hia aspirations 
[ofty; but his passions were strong, and he had so much of the Irish 
Inipressionableness that his life was passed in sinning and repenting, in 
getting into scrapes and making pi-ojecta of reformation which a totat 
want of prudence and self-control prevented him from executing. Pas- 
sionately fond of pleasure, and always ready to sacrifice his owq 
interest for the whim of the moment, he caused himself to be disin 
herited for enlisting in the Horse-Guards as a private ; and when after- 
wards promoted to a commission, astonished the town by his wild 
extravagance, in the midst of which he wrote a moral and religiouf. 
treatise entitled the Christian Hero, breathing the loftiest sentiments 
of piety and virtue. He was a man of ready though not solid talents 
and being an ardent partisan pamphleteer, was rewarded by Govern- 
ment with the place of Gazetteer, which gave him a sort of monopol;. 
of oiEcial news at a time when newspapers were still in their infancy 
He determined to profit by the facilities this post afforded him, and to 
found a new species of periodical which should combine ordinary intel- 
ligence with a series of light and agreeable essays upon topics of 
universal interest, likely to improve the taste, the manners, and morals 
of society. It should be remarked that this was a period when literary 
taste was at its lowest ebb among the middle and fashionable classes 
of England. The amusements, when not merely frivolous, were either 
immoral or brutal. Gambling, even among women, was frightfully 
prevalent; and the sports of the men were marked with a general 
stamp of cruelty, and of an indulgence in drunkenness which I will 
venture to call — for I know no more appropriate word — blackguard- 
4y. In such a state of things intellectual pleasures and acquirements 
were regarded either with wonder or contempt. The fops and fine 
ladies actually prided themselves on their ignorance of spelling, and 
any allusion to books was scouted as pedantry. Such was the disease 
#hich Steele desired to cure, and he determined to treat it, not with 
ormal doses of moral declamation, butwithhomccopathicquantiliesof 
giod sense, good taste, and pleasing morality, disguised under an easy 
an J fashionable strte. In 1709 he founded the Tafler,a.srr.\\\ sheel 
wl ich appeared thrice a week at the cost of id., each number rontain- 
ing a short essay, generally extending to about a couple cf octavo 
pages, and the rest filled up with news and advertisements. The popu- 
larity of this new kind of journal was instant and immense; no tea- 
table, no coffee-house — in that age of coffee-houses — was without it; 
and the authors writing with the ease, pleasantry, and knowledge (if 



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2»2 



TffE ESSAYISTS- L'Ch; 



life, rather of men of the world and men about town, than inere literarj 
recluses, soon gained the attention of the class they addresscil. Th« 
Taller contiiiiwd about a year, when it was i-emodelled into the far 
max celebrated and successful Spectator. This was crried on upon 
the same plan, with the difference thut it appeared everj day; and aftei 
leaching five hundred and fifty-five numbers was disccntinued for a 
Ehort time, after which it was resumed in 1714, and extended to aboul 
tightj numbers mor^. A third joumal, the Guardian, was commenced 
in 1712, and reached one hundred and seventy-five numbers, but w.ia 
itrikingly inferior to the Spectator both in talent and success. Though 
master of a singularly ready and pleasant pen, Steele was of course 
obliged to obtain as much assistance as-he could from his fr.ends ; ant 
many writers of the time furnished hints or contributions - Swift 
Berkeley, Budgell, and others. But the most constant and powerful 
aid was supplied by Addison, who entered warmly into the project; 
and even while absent in Ireland contributed a very considerable 
and certainly the most valuable proportion of papers, amounting in the 
Tatler to about one sixth, in the Spectator to more than one half, and 
in the Guardian to one third of the whole quantity of matter. Addi- 
son's contributions to the Spectator are generally signed with one of 
the letters composing the word Clio. After dissipating more than one 
fortune, and committing all kinds of extravagant follies, poor Steele, 
who had thrown himself with his usual headlong zeal into politics, died 
in great poverty at Carmartben in Wales, in 1729. 

g 3. In 1713 Addison brought out hie tragedy of Cato, which, partly 
from the eminence of its author, partly from tlie avidity with which the 
political allusions were caught up and applied by furious parties, and 
in some degree, also, it is but fair to add, from the stately dignity of the 
declamation, enjoyed an enormous popularity. It is a solamu, cold, 
and pompous series of tirades in the French taste, and is written in 
scrupulous adherence to the severest rules of the imaginary classical 
unities ; but the intrigue is totally devoid either of interest or proba- 
bility, and the characters, including Cato himself, are mere frigid em- 
bodiments of patriotic and virtuous rhetoric. The dedamaHon, how- 
ever, is in parts dignified and noble; and the famous soliloquy on suicide, 
pronounced by the hero, is a passage of much merit, though by no 
means merit of a dramaUc nature. In 1716 Addison married the 
Uowager Countess of Warwick, to whose son he had in former days 
!«en tutor; but this union does not seem to have added much to his 
tippiness. The lady was of a haughty and irritable character; and 
Addison probably enjoyed far more of that friendly and lettered ease 
which he so prized, when a poor adventurer haunting the coffee-houses, 
tlian when residing under the fantastic roofs of Holland House, to 
whicli historic abode he has bequeathed the glory of his presence. 
Neither in the House of Commons, of which he was i^i some time a 
member, nor in Government offices where he performed impoitanl 
duties was Addison distinguished for eloquence or ready Imsineaa 



talents, though there ii 



5 believe the common anecdotei 



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A. D. 1673-1719.J JOSEPH ADDISON. 29! 

which make him incapable of writing an ordinary official papei ; bul 
his iov'.nclble timiditj' prevented him from speaking, if ever, at least 
frequenlly or with effect; and his powers of conversation, which were ex- 
traordiuary, are said to have quite deserted him in the presence of mort 
than one or two hearers ; and it was necessary, too, that they should b6 
intimate friends, with whom he felt himself pefiectlj at ease. To con- 
quer his natural diffidence, and to give flow and vivacity to his ideas, Ad- 
dison is said, both for conversation and composition, to have hadrecourst 
to wine; and this is almost the only defect with which his otherwise 
almost perfect character can be reproached. In making the accusation 
we must not forget that excessive dt inking was rather the fashion than 
regarded as the vice of the age in England. 

In 1717 Addison reached the highest point of his political career : he 
was made Secretary of State, and in this eminent position he exhibited 
the same liberality, modesty, and genuine public spirit that had char- 
acterized his whole life. Nothing is more honorable to him than that, 
in an age when political struggles were carried on with the most 
unscrupulous perfidy and intolerant violence, he should never have 
been induced, either by interest or cowardice, to desert his friends who 
might be ranged under opposing banners; and in his controversies, 
which he actively carried on principally in the journals entitled the 
Freeholder and the Examiner, he never departed from a tone of can- 
dor, moderation, and good breeding, whicli he was almost the first to 
introduce into political discussion. Of this noble feature in his char- 
acter, his fidelity to his old personal friendship with Swift, in spite of the 
(niter's apostasy and defeat, is a striking example. He did not retain 
his post of Secretary of State for a long period : he soon retired, with 
a handsome pension of 1500/, a year, and determined to devote the 
evening of his days to the composition of an elaborate work on the 
evidences of the Christian religion. In this task he was interrupted by 
death, which cut short his career in 1719. One of the most interesting 
literary events in his life is his quarrel, or rather misunderstanding, 
with Pope, The latter, who was of a singularly malignant and insin- 
cere nature, suspected Addison of being jealous of his fame, and of 
employing, under the mask of friendship, disingenuous arts to depre- 
ciate his works. He particularly made use of a natural source of mis- 
understanding, really arising out of Addison's extreme delicacy, to 
accuse him of imfair conduct respecting his translation of the Iliad, of 
which Addison's friend Tickell had also translated a portion, and taken 
hif advice respecting it : moreover he alleged tl at Add' son in d' sua i 
;ng any alteration in the first sketcli of the Rape of ike Lock had been 
actuated by unworthy motives of envy and jealousy But whoevc 
4now5 the characters of the two persons must feel con ced that tl e 
whole tenor of Addison's life and conduct was such as to rebut tl e e 
accusations,whiIe the details ofPope's career are rres at ble argu ent 
in favor of his meanness, his irritable vanity, and h s rrepresK ble p t 
of intrigue. His enmity to Addison, however, pioduced one of tht 
lineel and most finished passages of his works, the onequallfd line* 
3S' 



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294 THE ESSAYISTS. [Chap. XVI. 

drawing tlie character of Atticus, and iiimncstioaaliJy meant for Addi- 
son. Of all the accusations so brilliantly launched agalnot him, 
Addison might plead guilty to none saie the very venial one of loving 
to surround himself vrith an obsequious circle of literary admirers : 
but all the blacker portions of the portrait are traceable to the pure 
malignity of the venomous but sparkling satirist. The character of 
Addison seems to have approached, as near as the frailties and imper- 
rections of our nature will allow, to the ideal of a perfectly good man. 
In him indulgence in detail did not exclude severilj- of princii'lc, and 
;oIeiar.ce and fervor were united in his religious sentiments. Evetp 
body knows the story of his sending for the young Earl of Warwick, 
his foi-mer pupil, when on his death-bed, and telling bim that he had 
nsked his presence that he might see how a Christian can die. The scene 
must have made a deep impression, even upon that wild and worthless 
reprobate, who was the scandal of bis time for his profligate adventures, 
§ 4. Of the works of tliis admirable man and excellent writer, it is 
the prose portion which gives him the right to the vety high place he 
holds in the English Literature of the eighteenth century and among 
the prose works, almost exclusively those Essays which he contributed 
to the Taller, Spectator, and Guardian. The immense feitil ty of 
iuvention displayed in these charming papers the variety of their sub- 
jects, and the singular felicity of their treatment, will ever place them 
among the masterpieces of fiction and of ciitiusm The viiiety of 
tliem is indeed extraordinary; and though we know that the primary 
iiints for some of them may have been given by Swift yet enough and 
more than enough, remains to testify to the r cl ness and invent veneao 
o{ Addison's own genius. These papers are of all k nds sometime 
we have an apologue like the Vision of Mtrza sometimes the Trans 
migrations of the Monkey, or the judgment of women in Hades at 
other times we have calm and yet fervent religious musings on the 
starry heavens or in Westminster Abbey; then a playful mock criti 
clsm, or a description of Mr. Penkpthmin the Puppet '.how or the 
Opera; then a noble appreciation f th 1 If gl ted granuei (f 
Milton, or the rude, energetic sple d f th Id bilHd of Che\ v 
Chase. Nothing is too high, noth t 1 w t f rn h mitter for 
amusing and yet profitable refiectio f m th p t hed and cherri 
:oIored ribbons of the ladies, to the 1 f t p pi of morality and 
religion, everytliing is treated with pp p t 3 t nforced appos te 
n»!S. Addison was long held up a th fi t m del of elegint yet 
idiomatic English prose; and even now, when a more luely vigorous 
and colored style has supplanted the neat and somewhat pi m correct 
nesi of the eighteenth century, the student will And m Addison some 
qualities that never can become obsolete — a never-failing cleanieEs and 
limpidity of expression, and a singular appropriateness between the 
language and the thought Like the Pyrrha of Horace, the style of 
th:E author is simplex mundiliis. The age of the TatUr, SpecMtsr, 
iHiil Gmriliaii was the age of clubs in England ; and Steele, in ftrrfei 



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K. D. 1671-1719.] JOSEPH ADDISON. 295 

«> give vivacitj and individuality to his journals, Eiipposed that Uiej 
were edited by some imaginary person, tlie philosophic spectator of 
die gayeties and follies of Bocietj, some Isaac Bicteretaff, or some short- 
("aced gentleman. None of these are of much felicity, except the inven- 
tion of the Club in tlie Sfeclator, consisting of representatives of the 
cliief classes of town and rural society. Thus we have Sir Andrew 
Freeport as the type of the merchants, Captain Sentry of the soldiers. 
Sir Roger de Coverley of the old-fashioned country-gentlemen, and 
Will Honeycomb of the men of fashion and pleasure : while linicing 
them ail together is Mr. Spectator himself, the short-faced gentleman 
who looks with a somewhat satirical yet good-humored interest on oil 
that he sees going on around him. In the conception and impersona- 
tion of these characters, which were in all probability lirst thought of 
by Steele, there is nothing very happy or very extraordinary, with the 
exception of the inimitable personage of Sir Roger de Coverley, and 
the adventures and surroundings of the wortliy old knight It is a 
perfect, finished picture, worthy of Cervantes or of Walter Scott) and 
the manner in which the foibles and the virtues of the old squire 
are combined is a proof that Addison posEessed humor in its highest 
and most delicate perfection. The account of Sir Roger's visit to Lon- 
don, of his conduct at the Club, of his expedition by water to West- 
minster Abbey, of his remarks on the statues and curiosities he sees 
there, is the perfection of tender, delicate, ioving humor; and Mr. 
Spectator's description of his visit to the old provincial magnate in his 
Gothic Hall, his exhibition of his picture-gallery, his behavior at churcli 
and upon the bench of the quorum, his long-standing amour with the 
widow, and the inimitable sketches of his dependants, the chaplain, 
the butler, and Will Wimble, the poor relation, --al! these traits of 
character and delicate observation of nature must ever place Addison 
very high among the great painters of human nature. 

§ 6. Addison's poetry, though rated very high in his own time, hai 
since fallen in public estimation to a point very far below that occupied 
by his prose. His Latin productions are remaritable for their elegance 
and a classic purity of turn and diction, and they show very great 
address in thatdifEcult department in the art of the modern imitator of 
ancient verae, the rendering in graceful and idiomatic Latinity ideas 
and objects pm-ely modern. Nevertheless, Addison's Latin poetry, like 
hat of all moderns, labors under the fata! defect of being, after all, but 
a skilful ceaio, and an artificial reproduction of thought in a language 
which was not the real language of the writer. The songs in RosamonA 
are very pleasing and musical ; and, had Addison continued to write in 
that manner, he would undoubtedly have left sometliing which rival 
auUiors would have found it very difScult to surpass. Perhaps Uie por 
tioo of his poetical works which is destined to survive longest thu 
I'angers of complete oblivion is his Hymns, which lot only breathe f. 
lervenl and tender spirit of piety, but are in their diction and versifica 
tjoii stumped with great beauly and refinement : the verses beginning 



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296 TSE ESSA YTST8. [Chap. XVi 

" When ftlt Thy mercies, O my God," and the well-known adaptatioi 
if the noble psalm, " The Heaveiu declare the Glory of God," derive, 
at least, as much of their effect from the sincere worship of a devoiil 
mind, of which they are the eloquent outpourings, as they do from anj 
merely literary merits, though the latter are far superior to what is 
found in the general run of religious verse. The earlier and more 
ambitious poems of Addison, even including the once-lauded Cam- 
paiga, have little to distinguish them from the vast mass of regular, 
frigid, irreproachable composition which -was poured forth under the 
influence of Pope and the Classical school, when a certain refined 
mediocrity could be attained by a practice little better than mechanical, 
and when, of course, such mechanical address was fatal to the existence 
of any vigorous or original creation. 

§ 6, The name of Sm William Templs (1628-1698) has already 
occurred in connection with the early life of Swift, who was for some 
time his dependant. He played an important part in the political and 
diplomatic history of the reigns of Charles II. and William III., and in 
particular negotiated with the great and good De Witt the treaty of 
alliance by which England, Holland, and Sweden opposed a barrier b 
tlie encroaching ambition of France. In middle life he retired fiom 
that active political life for which his timidity and selfishness, as weL 
as his self-indulgent habits and weak health, unfitted him during a 
stormy and factious period, and amused himself, in his villa at Sheen, 
and afterwaids at his lovely retreat of Moor Park, in Surrey, with 
gardening and elegant and somewhat dilettante literary pursuits. He 
produced a number of easy and graceful though superficial £ssays, 
which were extravagantly lauded at a time when the rank of a writer 
■nuch increased the pubLc admiration of his works ; but which are now 
ead w ith inteiest principally on account of their easy good sense, their 
pleasing reflections on nature, and the agreeable and genaemanly style 
in which they are written. He took part in the famous conti-oversy 
suggested by the publication of the spurious Letters of Phalarh, but 
which had its origin in a discussion respecting the relative superiority 
of the Ancients or the Moderns ; and he was treated by Bentley, not, 
indeed, with contempt, but with less respect than his contemporaries 
were in the habit of paying to the statesman and ambassador who con- 
descended to enter the arena of literature. His writings upon this 
subject cKhibit a degree of childish ignorance and presumption that 
would liave warranted much more severe treatment at the hands of 
the great scholar, whose profound and accurate knowledge settled the 
ijiicstion which his wit and pleasantry had so much enlivened.* 

§ 7. No name, among the brilliant circle which surrounded Pope 
and Swift, is more remarkable than that of Bishop Attkrbuev (!66j- 
1732). A Tory and Jacobite of the extreme Oxford type, he played e 
prominent part, both on the political and literary scene. He was 



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ft.U. 1671-1713O ^OflJ) SnAFTESBUnr. 297 

B man of great intellectual activity, of considerable though by no mtani 
profound learning, and of a violent, imperious, and restless temper. 
He took an active part in the controversy between Boyle and Bentlej, 
and was for a time considered, by the people of fashion who knew 
nothing of the subject, to have completely demolished the dull, ill-bred 
Cambridge pedant. He was the principal author of the reply written 
ill the name of Boyle, whose tutor he had been at Christ- Church. Of 
Ihis great and illustrious college Atterbury was foi «ome time dean ; 
b . t his violent and overbearing spirit, as well as his sxtravagant Tory 
-ii,icions, soon excited general confusion and dispute. He was i i 1713 
raised to the see of Rochester, and became conspicuous not only as a 
controversialist, but for the force and eloquence of liis speeches in Par- 
liament, Though he had solemnly sworn to conform to the Protestant 
and Hanoverian dynasty upon which the throne was now settled, he 
began, in disgust at the coldness and suspicion with which the Courl 
regarded him, to engage in that secret and treasonable correspondence 
vrith the party of the exiled Stuarts, that ultimately caused his well- 
merited fall. He had been known as an ardent favorer of the project 
for reinstating the Pretender at the death of Queen Anne, and in 1711 
he was openly impeached by Parliament, convicted of treasonable 
(iractices, committed to the Tower, deprived of his bishopric, and con- 
demned to exile. He resided first at Brussels, afterwards at PariSj and 
ultimately at Montpellier, and continued to show his attachment to the 
hopeless cause of the exiled family, though he refused an invitation to 
Rome, where the Pretender was residing. His conduct throughout 
appears to have been disingenuous, if not treacherous, in the highest 
degree. The private and personal side of Attcrbury's character is far 
more attractive and respectable than his public conduct. His friendship 
for Pope was tender and sincere, and he was not only the great poef s 
most affectionate companion, but guided him with wise and valuable 
literary counsel. His fondness, too, for his daughter is a redeeming 
trait in his feverish and unhappy life; and there are few stories mora 
lathctic than her hasty journey, to receive her father's blessing, tc 
ake the sacrament from his hand, and to die in his embrace. His taste 
in literature appears to have been sound, and the intense admiration he 
always showed for the genius of Milton is the more honorable to his 
judgment, as his extreme Tory opinions must have made it difficult for 
him to sympathize with the Puritan and Republican poet. 

§ 8. Lord Shaftesbury (1671-1713), grandson of the famous chati- 
ctllor, who was the friend and patron of Locke, himself enjoyed the 
luilion of that great and excellent man. His political and private ton. 
duct affords a striking contrast to the factiousness and profligacy of the 
chancellor; and his literary reputation, though now become compara- 
tively obscure, stood very high both as a moralist and metaphysician, 
and also as an elegant and classical model of English prose. His col- 
lected works bear the title of Characteristics, and may still fae read 
with interest Shaftesbury's style is refined and regular, though %OTDe.- 



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23* THE ESSAYISTS. [Chap. XVI. 

•fhat ambitious and Gnical ; but he EomeUmes, as !n his dialogue entitled 
the Moralists, rises to a loftj height of Umpid eloquence, reminding 
the reader of the Platonic manner. His delineations of chai airters 
show much acuteness and observation, and have obtained for him thp 
iionor of comparison wltli La Bruy6re, to whose neat antithetical mod, 
of portrait-painting the thoughts and language of Shaftesbury beai 
no inconeiderable resemblance A a writer on ethics he is remarkable 
tor having strongly insisted on the existence in human nature of a 
distinct moral sense, enablmg a^ to dist nguish almost instinclivclj 
between good and evi! actions He is indeed by some considemd the 
discoverer of this principle, antagoniatic to those reasoners who main- 
tain that the difference between mtue and vice is only relative and 
experimental, 

§ 0. Hbnry St. John, Viscount Bolingsroke (1678-1751), presents 
a strong contrast to the last-mentioned writer. His career as a states- 
man and orator was meteoric, and he astonished his age with the 
splendor and versatility of his talents. In early life he was notorious 
for his dissipation ; but, addicting himself to politics, he became cele- 
brated for his eloquence as a speaker and his vivacity as a party-writer. 
He was a member of the brilliant coterie of Pope and Swift, and was 
joir.£d in the administration with Ilarley. The collision between his 
ardent and flighty character and the slow and plodding nature of his 
colleague produced a rupture which all the efforts of Swift could not 
heal ; and on the death of Queen Anne, Bolingbroke, who had engaged 
in treasonable correspondence with the Court of St. Germains, was 
obliged to go Into exile to escape the dangers of a formal impeachment. 
He had rendered himself odious "to the nation by his share in the un- 
popular Treaty of Utrecht. In France he actually entered the service 
of the Pretender, but was soon dismissed through intrigue, and on 
receiving a pardon in 1723 returned to England, when he again made 
himself conspicuous for the virulence with which he opposed Walpole 
He again retired to France for some time, and amused the declining 
years of life In the composition of many pollticai, moral, and philo- 
sophical essays. One of these, the Idea of a Patriot King, he gave In 
MS. to Pope, and aifected great anger when he discovered, after the 
poet's death, that the latter had caused a large impression to be printed, 
contrary to a solemn promise. Of his other works, his Letter to Sir 
William Windham in defence of his political conduct, and his Letten 
en the Study and Use of History, are the most Important. The lan- 
guage of Bolingbroke is lofty and oratorical, but the tone of phlio- 
aophicsJ ind'.iFertnce to the usual objects of ambition generally strikes 
the reader as artificial and affected. It was to Bolingbrokd that Pope 
addressed and dedicated the Essay on Man, and some of the not very or- 
thodox positions maintained in that poem were borrowed from his bril- 
liant writings, the poet being too unfamiliar with such speculations to be 
always able to distinguish the results to which they logically led ; and 
Pope was indebted to the vigorous sophistry of Warfaurton, by which 



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A. D. 1670-1753.] MANDEVILLE. BERKELEY. 299 

they were, in appearance at least, reconciled with orthodoxv, Boling- 
•jroke's writings against revealed religion were bequeathed by him to 
his friend David Mallet, the publisher and an unbeliever, who brought 
them Du' together with Bolinghroke's other works, in 1754- Mallet, 
who dieil i J 1765, was himself an author, but is now chiefly known bj 
his Ballads, of which William and Margaret is the most striking and 
'jfcautiful. It was to Mallefs house that Gibbon was taken by his 
fatiier, when he had embraced Catholicism at Oxford, with the view of 
weaning him from his new faith. 

1 10. A similarly iiTeligtous tendency is objected to the esiajs of 
Bernard Makdeville (1670-1733), a physician and voluminous 
writer, remarkable for the boldness of his theories and the vivacitj 
with which he supported them. The most celebrated of his productions 
is the Fable of Ike Bees, in which he endeavors to prove that private 
vices may be public benefits, or, in other words, that the play of human 
passions and propensities, however immoral or flagitious some of them 
may be in the relations between man and man, works unconsciously 
and harmoniously towards the welfare of that complex body which we 
call society. In this theory there is undoubtedly much that is true, for 
the limits between virtue and vice are so fluctuating, when viewed in a 
general or social point of view, that the suppression of what is beyond 
the middle line on the one side would be as fatal to the existence of 
sodety, nay, of humanity itself, as the annihilation of what Is beyond it 
on the other. Society would be as inconceivable without the existence 
of vice, as it would be impossible without the existence of virtue. 

§ U. The chief opponent of Mandeville was the accomplished and 
almost ideally virtuous Bishop Bebkeley (1684-1753), equally famous 
for the evangelic benevolence of his cliaracter and the acuteness of his 
genius. His mind was ever full of projects for increasing the virtue 
and happiness of his fellow-creatures; and the Utopian character of 
some of these plans only proves the intensity of his philanthropic 
humanity. One of them was the establishment of a sort of missionary 
tollege in the Bermudas, for the purpose of converting and civilizing 
the Carib savages. He was made Bishop of Cloyne in Ireland, and 
presents one of the rare instances of a prelate, out of pure love for his 
flock and an unaffected contentment with his lot, obstinately refusing 
any further promotion. His writings are exceedingly numerous, and 
embrace a wide field of moral and metaphysical discussion. He is one 
of the most brilliant, as well as one of the earliest maintalners of the 
txlreme spiritualistic theory, and thus in some degree an opponent of 
l.ocke. Hia celebrated ai^ument that we have no more grounds ibi 
doubting the existence of spirit than we have for denying the existence 
of matter has been perverted or exaggerated by people who talk 
loosely into a supposition that he argued against the existence of mat 
ter altogether. The truth is, that in investigating the very obscure and 
arduous question of the nature of that evidence upon which we base 
DU' convictions of material objects external to and independent of our- 



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SOO THE ESSAYISTS. CChap. XVI 

selves, he has shown to how much abuse that conviction is liable when 
once we apply the tvidince to the establishment of a metaphysical 
proof. Berkeley fiequently wrote in the form of dialogue, which in- 
deed, as the great examples of Plato and Cicero prove, is well adapted 
to the purpose of philosophical discussion ; and one of the most char- 
acteristic and popular of his works is entitled The Minute Pkilosoj>ker 
In Uie connection between the physical and metaphysical branches of 
inveutigation, Berkeley's writings occupy an important place : thus hii 
Tieory of Vision established several valuable facta, and drew conclu- 
sions from several strikin pi g th t btl Tject 
In all his arguments his am t f thmt Itth n 
but in his eagerness to d th h h m t m I t !y trucli 
at the >erf root of those t wh h dp bl t II 
soning, as when he deacrib d mtlgf|,t dp 
dent of the mind; where th ly ce bl ra d f t g 
for the existence of Ideas t pp th t th y t t d 
fications of the mind, or tl mpre 1 p rm t, 
made upon the thinking f Ity t If 

% 12. The last author wh m I h 11 m ti th pn, t 1 pt 

is Lady Mary Montagu ( 690- 76 ) tl m t bnll t I tt wnt 
of this period, when Pope dmythdt Id flttrs 

assiduously cultivated th p t 1 y f n f p t Sh 

the daughter of the Duk fKgt d Ibtd Imh 

childhood, as Lady Marj Pe epo t, for the inacity of her intellea, 
her precocious intellectual acquirements, and the beauty and graces of 
her person. Her education had been far more extensive and solid than 
was then usually given to women r her acquaintance with history, and 
even with Latin, was considerable, and her studies, had been in some 
degree directed by Bishop Burnet. She was, even as a clever and beau- 
tiful child, the pet and darling of the accomplished Whig society of the 
day, and she has recorded the intense delight she felt at the admiration 
of the members of the Kit-cat Club, by whom she was elected a toast. 
In IJ12 she married Mr. Edward Wortley Montagu, a grave and satur- 
nine diplomatist, with whose character the sprightly and airy woman of 
fashion and literature could have had nothing in common. She ac- 
companied her husband on his embassy to the court of Constantinople, 
and described her travels over Europe and tlie East in those delightful 
Letters which have given her in English literature a place resembling 
that of Madame de Sevigne in the literature of France. Lady Mary 
was the first traveller who gave a familiar, picturesque, and animated 
account of Oriental society, particularly of the internal life and man- 
ners of the Seraglio, to which ber sck and her high position gave her 
unusual facilities of access. She returned from her travels in 1718, and 
eei)arating, with mutual consent, from her husband, again went abroad, 
and resided in Italy till his death : thie portion of her life embraced a 
period from 1739 to 1761. She then returned to her native country, 
where she died in the following year. Her family life, not onlj with 



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A. D. 1690-1763.] LADY MART MOJfTAOU. 301 

relation to her husband, but still more so with regard to her only eon, 
was uncomfortable and unhappy. The latter was a man whose talents 
were considerable, but whose vices and eccentricities were Eiich as to 
Justify the supposition of madness, and his career was one of the most 
extraordinary adventure and singularity. Lady Mary, however, was 
of a cold and unimpressionable nature, and seems to have borne het 
private misfortunes with philosophical equanimity. She was perhapt 
in some degree indemnified for the pain her son's conduct gave her, hy 
the affection of her daughter, for whom she probably felt as much ten- 
derness as she had to bestow, and to whom some of her liveliest and 
most amusing letters are addressed. Admirable common sense, obser- 
vation, vivacity, extensive reading without a trace of pedantry, and a 
pleasant tinge of half-playful sarcasm, are the qualities which distin- 
guish her correspondence. The style is perfection : the simplicity aiid 
natural elegance of the high-born and high-bred lady combined with 
the ease of the thorough woman of the world. The moral tone, indeed, 
is far from being high, for neither the character nor the career of Lady 
Mary had been such as to cherish a very scrupulous delicacy. But she 
had seen so much, and had been brought into contact with so many 
remarkable persons, and in a way that gave her unusual means of 
judging of them, that she is always sensible and amusing. I have 
compared her to Madame de Sevigne, but the differences between the 
two charming writers are no less striking than the resemblances. In 
Lady Mary there is ao trace of that intense and even morbid maternal 
affection which breathes through every line of the letters addressed to 
Madame de Grignan; nor is there any of that fetish-like worship of the 
court which seems to pervade everything written in the chilling and 
tinsel atmosphere that surrounded Louis XTV. In wit, animation, and 
the power of hitting off, by a few felidtous touches, a character or a 
scene, it is difficult to assign the palm of superiority. Lady Mary was 
unquestionably a woman of far higher intellectual calibre, and cf a 
much wider literary development. She can reason and draw inferences 
where Madame de S6vign6 can only gossip, though it must be allowed 
that her gossip is the most delicious in the world. The successful 
introduction of inoculation for the smallpox is mainly to be attributed 
to the intelligence and courage of Lady Mary Montagu, who not only 
had the courage to try the experiment upon her own child, but with 
admirable constancy resisted the furious opposition of bigotry and 
ignorance against the bold innovation. She was at one time the inti- 
mate friciid of Pope, and the object of his most ardent adulation ; but 
a vio'ent quarrel occurred between tliem, supposed to have originated 
in a ratlier warm outburst of admiration on the part of the poet, 
fcceifed by the great lady, as might indeed have been expected when 
we cor.sider Pope's personal peculiarities, with a contemptuous ridlcula 
which transformed his admiration into the bitterest and most perse- 
vering malignity. She was the author of a small miscellaneous col' 
Mtion of poems, exhibiting the ease, regularity, tod flueicy vtxb 



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''"^ ^OTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chap, XVI, 

generally' marked the lighter verses of that day, and also a ratlier las 
and epicurean tone of phlloaophy, which is sometimes expressed wiff- 
inimitable felicity. Nothing can more strongly mark the wide dJiFer. 
ence between the social condition of England in the seventeenth and 
eighteenth centuries than a comparison between the tone and the topics 
of the admirable Memoirs of Lucy HiitchinBon, and the gay, worldly 
wtirical letters of Lady Mary Montagu. Both the one and the othei 
M* typee of the. female character as modified by the respective influ- 
tr.cet of the two so strongly-contrasted epochs. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

I fliolr upnoenlB wis ptibliihed by 8ir WilUaiil 
rFempla in 1392. In !,:b Si^Eii cm Jncfeof and JVnl- 

[IrLliutta 1(1 Hio ?[K«a- cwduUtr- Not cUDlEnI Ttilh'polnt^goul tho^I^ 



UtemplB to tiWaia a scat la Puliuiiuil, be bflcaiDt 
imintainsn, neHasowuBeaofhiiingfiireeaEt 
vT, a. n^-a-i,. vn.||^ ^ charge to ^vbich Popi 




lo EpbiBeB or Phslaria ij Ih 



D BEMT1.EI (l«e-17*2), 



Klng'a Lltfianmi, ei 



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ROTES ANI> ILLUSTRATIONS. 




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304 NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. [Chap, XVJ 






LAIEOIKaESailAIlD (ISTl-lTeoJ. . 
England, Romt^ the Chwvh, Ac, n 



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THE- GREAT NOVELISTS. 



CHAPTER XVTI. 
THE GREAT NOVELISTS. 

\ I. History of Prose Fiction. Tlie Romance ai>d the Nonl. { 2. Daniel 
Befoe. liig life and political career. { 3. Robinaon Crusoe, f i. Defoe'a 
iithpr works. } B. Samuel EicsAansoN. Pamela, ClarUaa Harloure, and 
Sir Charles Grandison. § 6. Hekbt Fieldimg. His life and publications, 
j r. Clini acteristica of liis writings. Joseph Andrews, Jonathan Wild, Tom 
Jama, and Amelia. ^ S. Tobias Suoi.lett. His life and publicctions. 
^9. Cfcni acteristics of Ms novelB. Compared with Fielding. §10. Laweencb 
Stbrne. Triitram ShanAy and the Sentimental Jovmey. § II. Ohteb 
OoLDBMiTH. His life and publications. J 12. Criticism of his worlis. The 
Tmeeller and The Deserted Village. The Vicar of Wakefield. Tht Good 
Naf«red Man and She Stoops to Conquer. 

§ 1. Most departments of literature were cultivated earlier in Eng- 
land than that of Prose Fiction. We have, it is true, the romantic form 
of this kind of -rtritlng in the Arcadia of Sidney, and the philosophic^ 
form iQ the Utopia and the Atlantis; but the exclusive employment of 
prose narrative in the delineation of the passions, characters, and inci- 
dents of real life was first carried to perfection by a constellation of 
great writers in the eighteenth century, among whom the names of 
Defoe, Richardson, Fielding, Smollett, Sterne, and Goldsmith, are tlie 
most brilliant luminaries. Originally appearing, as do all types of lit- 
erature, in a poetical form, the rhymed narratives of chivalry, poured 
forth with such inexhaustible fertility by the Trouveres of the Middle 
Ages, were in course of time remodelled and clothed in prose, and in 
their turn gave birth to the long, pompous, and unnatural romances of 
the time of Louis XIII. and Louis XIV., which formed the principal light 
reading of the higher classes. In the Grand Cyrus, the Astree, and the 
Princesss de Clives, a class of writers of whom D'Urie, Scuderi^Calpre- 
n6de, and Madame de la Fayette, may be considered tlie typee, imitated 
ill descriptions of the adventures of classically-named heroes, the lofty, 
Jieroic, stilted language and sentiments which they borrowed from the 
Castilian writers. The absurdities and exaggerations of this kind of 
etory naturally produced a reaction ; and Spain and France gave birtb 
U; the Comic Romance originally intended as a kind of parody of tlw 
superhuman elevation and hair-splitting amorous casuistry of the popu 
lar fictions. Don Quixote was in this way as much a caricatun; of 
Moutemayor as the Reman Ciimique of Scarron of the CUlie, or Gratid 
Cyras. In England, where the genius of the nation is eminently prac- 
tical, and whijre the immense development of free institutions has tend- 
ed to encourage individuality of chaiacter, and to give importance to 
priT.ite and domestic life, the lil^.ature of Fiction sjieedily divided into 
Iwo gruat but correlative braiichee, to which our language alone has 



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S0« THE G&EAT A'OVELISTS. [Chap. XVIT. 

given flpecific an J distinct appellations — the Romance and the Novel. 
Both these teims are indeed ultimately' derived, like the things they rep- 
resent, from the nations of the South ; the former originally signifying 
thfi dialect of the Trouvfires and Troubadours, and thence, by a natural 
transition, that species of narrative fiction which was moat abundantly 
produced in the dialect: the second, the Novella, Noavelle, or t^o^l 
amusing tale, of which such a multitude of eiiamptes are to be found h. 
the Italian, Spanish, and French literature of the fifteenth ant. o.Ateeii I'l 
centuries. It will be sufQcient merely to mention the Decamerone oi 
Boccaccio end the Cent Nouvelles Nouvelles of Marguerite of Navanv 
This latter, the lighter or more comic form of narrative, Is a type traue. 
able ultimately to the J-aiUaan. o( the old Provencal poets. Bat in 
modern English the Romance and the Novel both express varieties of 
orose and fiction of considerable length and elaborateness of construc- 
Hon : the former word indicating a narrative, the characters and inci- 
dents of which are of a lofty, historical, or supernatural tone, while tlie 
latter expresses a recital of the events of ordinary or domestic life, gen- 
erally of a contemporary epoch. It is the latter department in which 
English writers, from the time of its first appearance in our literature 
down to the present time, have encountered few rivals and no superiors. 
§ 2. The founder of the English Novel IsDaniei, Defoe (1661-1731), 
1 man of extraordinary versatility and energy as a writer, and one of 
the most fertile authors of narrative and controversial pi-oduetions ; 
for his complete works are said to comprise upwards of two hundred 
separate writings. His life was agitated and unfortunate. He was the 
ton of a butcher in London, and by family as well as personal sym- 
pathies an ardent Whig and Dissenter. Indeed, he was educated for 
the ministry in a dissenting sect, but embraced a mercantile career, 
having at various periods carried on the business of a hosier, a tile- 
maker, and a woollen -draper. But his real vocation was that of a 
writer, and the ardor with which he maintained, in innumerable pam- 
phlet?, the principles of constitutional liberty, not only distracted his 
attention from his commercial pursuits, but exposed him, in those evil 
times, ti^repeated persecutions from the Government. He carried his 
devotion to Protestant principles so far, as to join the abortive iusir- 
rection under the Duke of Monmouth, though from this danger he 
escaped with impunity. He was at different times punishf.d on charges 
]f sedition, with all the inhuman brutality of those days, having been 
exposed in the pillory, sentenced to have his ears cut off, severely fined, 
ind on two occasions imprisoned in Newgate, his confinement ou one 
acoasion extending to nearly two years. Nothing, however, cculj 
daunt or silence this indefatigable champion of liberty, and he contin- 
ued to pour forth pamphlet after pamphlet, full of irony, logic, and 
patriotism. Among the most celebrated of his works in this class are 
his Truebom Bngiishman, a poem in singularly tuneless rhymes, but 
full of Rfrong sense and vigorous argument, in which he defends Wil- 
liam of Orange ind the Dutch against the prejudices of his country- 
ISjen, the Hjmn to the Pillory, and the famous pamphlet The 3h^rtea 



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A. D, 1661-1731.] DANIEL DEFOE. 807 

Way with the Dissenters, in whiclt, to show the folly and truellj of 
the recent Acts persecuting the Sectarians, he with admirable sarcasm 
adopts the tone of a violeijt persecutor, and advises Parliament tc 
employ the stake, the pillory, and the halter, -with unrelenting severity 
The mask of irony is so well worn in this pamphle'.. Ibat it was at first 
co^eidered a serious defence of the parliamentary measure, and when 
tlie trick was discovered the fury of the doiiiinant party knew no bounds 
The purely political career of Defoe was, generally, from 1687 to 171; 
»iid it was during one of his imprisonments that he carried on Ih 
Revievi, a literary journal which may be regarded as the prototj-pe oi 
our modern semi-political, semi-literary periodicals. It appeared thrice 
a week, and was written with great force and ready vigor of language. 
During the negotiations which preceded the union of Scotland to the 
British crown, Defoe was employed as a confidential agent in Edin- 
burgh, and acquitted himself with ability. He afterwards published a 
nai-rative of that important event. Defoe's mercantile speculations 
were so unfortunate that he says in one of his poems, — 
" Thirteen times have I been rich and poor;" 

and he probabJy employed the unenuaJled facility of his pen in fiction, 
principally as a means of supplying daily bread to his family, to which 
he was tenderly attached. 

g 3. In 1719 Defoe published the first part of Robinson Crusoe, the 
success of which, among that comparatively humble das? ol readers 
which Defoe generally addressed, was instantaneous and immense 
-ndced, if perfect originality in the plan, and the highest perfection in 
(he execution of a fiction, be sufficient to establish a elaim of creative 
genius, Defoe must be regarded as a creative genius of no common 
order. The primary idea of Robinson Crusoe may have been denved 
from the authentic narrative of Alexander Selknk, a sailor who had 
been marooned, as the term then was, by his captain on the uninhabited 
island of Juan Fernandez, where he passed several jears m complete 
solitude. Selkirk, who, by a most singular coincidenLe, was taken oft 
theislandby the very same captain — Woods Rogers — who had aban- 
doned him there, published on his return to England an account ol his 
sufferings and adventures. By this narrative he appears to have grad- 
ually descended to the condition, if not of a wild beast, at least of a 
savage very little superior in intelligence ; for when discovered he had 
almost entirely lost the use of language, which he only obtained again 
after a considerable time. The intense interest of Robinson Criuct 
partly arises from the simplicity and probability of the events, the au/ot t- 
leeascjs of many of which completely annihilate the reader's euspicloo 
of the truth of what he is perusing, the skill with which Defoe identi- 
fies himself with thecharacter of his Recluse, who is always represented 
as a commonplace man, without any pretensions to extraordinary 
knowledge or intelligence. He is, therefore, just such a person ai 
every reader, ignorant or cultivated, old or young, can thoroughly sym- 
pftttiize with, und cua fancy, while reading of his difficulties nnd embnr- 



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S08 THE GREAT NOVELISTS. [Chaf. XVII 

rassmenlB, settiagabout remedying them, as he himtelf would do, under 
similar circumstancei. Thus Robinson Crusoe is never endowed with 
more ingenuity or forethought than the generality of mankind: and 
thus, for example, when he cuts down a huge tree and after incredible 
lai>E:shapesitintoaboat,hefindH that it is too heavy for him to launch. 
It is evi^Jent that the majority of readers acutely sympathize with this, 
because ninety-nine outof ahundred feel that they would be likely to com- 
mit a similar oversight. It is perhaps somewhat injnriouB that this bixA 
is generally read when we are very young; for the impf ess ions it leaves 
[ipon the memory and the imagination, among the strongest that we cna 
recall, are so deep and permanent that we do not return to the work 
when increased intellectual development would make us bettet able to 
appreciate Defoe's wonderful^ art. The raft, the goats, the dog, cats, and 
parrots, the palisaded fortification, the cave, the wrecked ships, the 
circumnavigation of the island, the fishing, turtle -catching, and plant- 
ing of corn; every scene, every episode, is indelibly fixed upon the 
mind. It would be difficult to guess how many boys Robinson Crusot 
has turned into sailors, or how many projects of living with a faithfu, 
Friday in a desert island, have been generated in childish fancies by 
this incomparable tale. The second part, which the success of the firs- 
encouraged Defoe to produce, is manifestly inferior to the first : indeed 
the moment the solitude of the island is invaded by more strangers 
than Friday, the charm is evidently diminished. Scott has weK 
remarked that a striking evidence of Defoe's skill in this kind ol 
fiction is the studiously low key, both as regards style and incidents, 
in which the whole is pitched. Defoe's object was not to instruct, but 
to amjsei to captivate that mysterious faculty by which we identify 
ourselves with imaginary events ; and this he most successfully did bj 
imitating not only the plain, straightforward, unaffected narratives of 
the old navigators, hut their simple, idiomatic, unadorned diction. 

g 4, Among Defoe's numerous other works of fiction may be men- 
tioned the Memoirs of a Cavalier, supposed to have been written by 
one who had taken part in the great Civil War ; in which many histor- 
ical facts are dressed up with that intense personal realitj- which Defoe 
knew so well how to communicate, and which made Lord Chatham 
cue the book as an authentic narrative. A not less remarkable narra- 
tive is the youmal of the Great Plague in London, where the imagi- 
nary annalist, a respectable London shopkeeper, — a character whidi 
Defoe assumed with consummate skill, — describes the terrible sights ol 
that fearful time. The air of verisimilitude in this book is so lompiett , 
that grave medical and statistical writers have quoted it as authentic j 
and it is only the application of the tests of modern science that have 
proved it to be a tissue of inventions in which the devastation caused 
by the scourge is most enormously exaggerated. Nothing can exceed 
the quiet yet not unpicturesque vividness with which episodes of the 
tity life during the great calamity are set before us, and in some pas- 
sages, as in the description of tiie maniac fanatic Solomon Eagle, Iho 
^reat pit in Aldgatei and the long line of anchored ships stretchina 



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K. b. 1689-1761. J SAMUEL BICilARDSOif. 309 

Far down the Thames, Defoe rises into a very lofty and powerful strain 
of description. A number of stories, the Adventures of Colonel yaci, 
Moll Flanders, Roxana. Captain Siagletoa, show the same quiet powei 
of imitating reality. Tliey are generally the lives of thieves, robbers, 
and other offscourings of society, and were written, I imagine, purely 
for profit : but- Defoe has never pandered to the false taste of his read- 
i»ri :y holding up to admiration the characters and exploits of such 
perionagea, and has faithfully represented their lives as being for tlie 
most part as miserable as they are flagitious. In one remarkable tract 
he has described the Affarition of one Mrs. Neal to her friend Mrs. 
Bargravs at Canterhury; and this is one of the boldest experimcr^ts 
ever made upon human credulity. It was composed to help off the sale 
of a dull book of Sermons, and had the effect of instantly causing the. 
whole edition to quit the bookseller's shelves ; for Dreliacouri on Death 
was powerfully recommended by the visitor from another world. 

§ 6. If Robinson Crusoe !s less a novel than a tale, being escliided, 
at least in its finer parts, by the solitude of the chief character froii' 
that play of human interest which properly constitutes the Novel, Sam 
UET. llicHARDSON (1689-1761) must be regarded as the real founder of 
the romance of private life in English Literature. His life presents 
few materials for comment: it was the career of a careful, prudent, 
industrious tradesman, who raised himself to opulence by the exercise 
of the most laudable though somewhat prosaic assiduity. He was far 
advanced in life — nearly fifty years of age, indeed —before he entered 
upon tliat literary path which led him to immense and well-deserved 
popularity. He was born of very humble rustic parentage, and came 
to London when a lad to be apprenticed to a printer. In this calling 
he distinguished himself by so much diligence tliat in the course of 
time he was taken into partnership by his employer, and gradually rose 
to the highest place in his business, being appointed first printer of the 
Journals of the House of Commons, and then, in 1754, Master of the 
Stationers' Company, and in i;6o becoming the purchaser of a half 
share in the lucrative patent office of Printer to the King, Having 
accumulated an easy fortune, he retired to a pleasant suburban house 
Bt Parson's Green, near London, where he passed an honorable old 
age in literary employment, surrounded by a little knot of female wor- 
shippers, whose adulatory incense his intense vanity made him greedily 
receive. The correspondence and literary remains of Richardson, 
-vhich have been published, give a curious picture of his timid, sen- 
sitive, effeminate character, and of th en rv t tm "ohere of twad- 
dling flattery with which he loved to s und h m if The works of 
Richardson'sre thi-ee in number, Paul p hi 1 d 1 iJJi, CloHfs- 
Marlowe, in 1749, and Sir Charles G d n 753. TOest thrcL 
noi-els are all witten upon sne plan th t U j is entirely told 
in letters whith are supposed to be w tt n by tl ious persons in 
the action — a mode of fictitious comp t on wh h h frequently been 
employed since Richardson's lime, and which is attended with advan- 
Wgea uid dieodvantages of a very evident k--id. In the first place it 



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310 'PtiE GREAi' l^oVEltSfS. [Ch<ip. XVIl 

gives the author the opportunity of euccessivelj idcntifyhig himself 
with his different characters and exhibiting the minutest shades of theii 
feelings and sensations, and this he can do subjectively. On the othei 
hand this method of writing is open to the objection of necessitating a 
»ery slow, minute, and painful evolution of the story; and the improb- 
abilily of any real letters being sufficiently niinute and voluminous (o 
delj.il all that is essential for the reader's understanding of the plot U 
BO great, that it is in general found Insunno untable. But the peculiar 
genins of Richardson U seen rather in tlie evolution of character by 
slow and delicate touches of self-betrayal, than by any vigor of de!,ctlp 
tion — that is, objective description — of persons or events; and, IherC' 
fore, in spite of the innate improbability attached to a whole story told 
in letters, he selected the mode best suited to his peculiar genius. 

Pamela describes the sufferings, trials, and vicissitudes undergone bj 
a poor, but beautiful and innocent, country girl who enters the service 
of a rich gentleman. She triumphantly resists all the seductions and 
all tlie violence by which he essays to overcome her virtue, and what is 
still more difficult, the promptings of her own heart in his favorj for 
Richai-dson represents her as passionately attached to her unworthy 
master, to whom, by way of a moral inculcating the reward of virtue, 
she is ultimately married. The letters in which this story is told are 
principally written by Pamela herself; and Richardson exhibits 
throughout the work that profound and wonderful knowledge of the 
female character, which he is said to have acquired in his boyhood, by 
being the amanuensis for carrying on the love-correspondence of three 
young women in humble life. The pathetic power exhibited in Pamela 
is very great, and is an earnest of that intense mastery over the tendei 
emotions which he afterwards exhibited in his Clarissa Harlowe. 
Pamela originally sprang from a collection of familiar letters which 
Richardson, at the request of his publishing firm, had undertaken to 
write as a manual to improve the style and the morality of the middle 
classes of readers; and while engaged on it he was struck with the 
happy idea of making his letters tell a continuous story. The success 
of the tale was prodigious ; and we cannot wonder at it when we think 
of the immense contrast between the nature, reality, and living interest 
z^ Pamela and the far-fetched, wire-drawn, impossible caricatures which 
t! en formed the only light reading of the world — feeble exaggerations 
jf the already exaggerated conceptions of the old French romances of 
tlie seventeenth centi./y. The popularity of Pamela was so great thai 
nvc editions were exhausted in one year, although this, like all Rich- 
ii>Json's works, is extremely yolumirous, according to our modern 
ideas : for example, his third romance, Sir CharUs Grandison, at 
Qiiginally written, would have filled about a dozen octavo volumes. 

Clarissa HarloTve is incontestably Richardson's greatest wjrk. 
Whether we consider the interest of the story, the variety and trutli 
of the characters, or the intense and almost unendurable pathos of the 
catastrophe, to which every incident artfully and imperceptibly leads, 
we must not only accord it a dccisii-e superiority over his other produc 



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A. D. 1689-1761.] SAMUkL krojtAsbso}f. Sh 

tions, but must give it one of the foremobt pircts in the historj of 
prose fiction. It is the Storj of a young !ady who falls a victim to tlt( 
treachery and profligacy of a man of splendid talent and EttractioiiK, 
but of complete and almost diabolical corruption. Though Richard' 
son, both by natural disposition and circumstances, is far more suc- 
cessful in the delineation of female than of male characters, Lovelacci 
the seducer, is one of tlie most perfect and finished portraits that litei- 
ature has to show. There is no better proof of this than the fact that 
the name has become in all languages the synonyme of the brilliant and 
unpi-inripled seducer. This circumstance also gives us a record of tlie 
imniente popularity which Richardson still enjoys throughont Europe, 
though its splendor in England has been in some measure eclipsed by 
later novelists, some of whom address thera'^elves like Fielding and 
Scott, more exclusively to mtional sjmpathies whereas Richardson s 
delineations possess the lastmg interest attached to general pictures 
of human nature. The prevailing tone of feeling m Clarissa 10 soin 
bre and inournful, and the suftermgs of the pure but injured heroine 
are worked up at the end to i pitch of intensity reminding us of Forif 
or Webster. The interest in this as in the other works of Rich-trd 
son, is generated by the accumulation of a thousand little impercepti 
ble touches, and the chiracteis ore elaborated with the slow and 
painful minuteness of the Dutch painters The readei finds himself 
in an atmosphere of tnfimg tediou*; and aitificial details, but the 
gentle, equable current of pission and incident carries him onwird in 
spite of himself, till he feels its force to be irresistible 

The lastworkinthisfimous trilogy IS Sir Charles Grasdison m which 
the author, who never relinquished the ideaof mcorpoiating a moral 
in his fictions, intended to give an ideal portrait of a character which 
should combine consummate ethical and religious perfection with the 
graces and accomplishments of a man of fashion. In his three suc- 
cessive novels Richardson essayed to portray three different orders in 
the social scale : in Pamela the lower, in Clarissa the middle, and in 
GrandisoK the aristocratic class of society. But he was, from educa- 
tion and position, totally unacquainted with the real manners and 
modes of thought and feeling prevalent in the fashionable world, and 
in describing what he so imperfectly guessed at he fell into the error 
natural to men of imperfect education and inexperienced in tlie man- 
ners of the great world. He is perpetually straining after fine language, 
anil his stitF and labored expression forms a ludicrous contrast with the 
really eany, unaffected tone of circles, wLiere, as they have no supeiiors 
10 ape, they are at least free from the vice of vulgar pretension of man- 
ner. Thi! characters ha wishes to hold up to admiration — the ultra- 
perfect Sir Charles, with his eternal bowing and solemn hand-kissing, 
and the heroine. Miss Harriet Byron, who is in all respects his wortiiy 
coimterpart — are of that most insupportable category of people who 
are espressively though coarsely designated as prigs, a class equally 
insupportable in fiction and in reality. Indeed the only personages 
with whom we eympathi7e in Sli Charle« Grandison are those inwhich 



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Si2 vae great novelists. [Chap. xvii 

fome alloj of human weakness tempers their tireJiome perfections 
Ihus Clementina, whose madness and despaii- are deliTseated with a 
patlietic force tliat Fletcher might have been proud to own, is far more. 
interesting than either. Richardeon, with that feminine turn of dispo- 
sition wl ich I have noted in him, shows an extreme tendency to dwell 
upon long and minute description; and Hazlitt tells a pleasant storji 
that he had been disposed to murmur at about a dozen pages being 
devoted to the wedding clothes of Sir Charles and his bride, till he 
ibtind that a young lady had actually copied out the whole passage aa 
tine of the moat striking episodes of the story. It is said that Richard- 
son consulted a great lady as to the tone and language of high life ; and 
that she found so many errors and inconsistencies that he abandoned in 
despair the hope of correcting them. In patient analysis of the human 
mind and passions, particularly in the female sex, in a tendency tc 
accumulate minute incident and mici-oscopic description, and in a 
BicKly and morbid tone of sentiment, there is considerable resemblance, 
allowing, tf course, for differences of nation and of age, between Rich- 
ardson and Balzac ; nor is Clarissa an unworthy rival of the enchanting 
oortrait of Eugenie Grandet 

§ 6. The second great name among the novelists of this period is that 
of Henky Fielding (1707-1754), qualified by Byron, with extreme but 
hardlv undeserved praise, " the prose Homer of human nature." In 
his personal character, as well as in his literary career, in everything, 
indeed, but the power of his genius, he was the exact opposite of Rich- 
ardson. He was descended from the illustrious house of Denbigh, 
itself an offshoot from the counts of Habsburg, and his father wai 
General Fielding, a man of fashion, ruined by his extravagance. The 
novelist was born in 1707, and received his education first at Eton, and 
afterwards at the University of Leyden, whither he went, like many 
young men of fashion, to study the law. His father dying, with his 
affairs in inextricable confusion, he returned to England In absolute 
want of money, and though he nominally inherited an income of 200I. 
a year, he found himself dependent upon his own resources for a liveli- 
hood. Of gay and festive inclinations, a favored guest among men of 
pleasure and enjoyment, he naturally betook himself to the stage, and 
at the age of twenty became a dramatic author and a lively writer in 
the CoTieni Garden journal. He produced a considerable number of 
pieces, now entirely forgotten, which show that his talent was in no 
way adapted to the theatre. Indeed it seems an established fact that 
rio giea"-. writer of narrative fiction ever succeeded on the stage. Tha 
Wily exceptions I can remember to this rule are the cases of Cervantes 
*ncl Le Sage, while the examples of Walter Scott and a multitude of 
others prove the universality of the principle The dramatic works of 
Fieliiiiig constitute a large portion of his writmgs; but none of them 
have either retained possession of the stage or attrsicted the curiosity 
of the reader. Always passionately fond of gayety and ioyous company, 
Fielding struggled on, and married a lady of great beauty and excel- 
lence, Mrs. Craddock, with whom he received a portion of about 1500/, 



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k.. D. 1707-1754-1 ffENTlY P'fELDmg. 319 

This he dissipated in a very short time, for he was if a e t m iy 
sanguine and volatile temper, and was assisted in running tl gl b 
little fortune by the desperate project of speculating in th H ym k t 
Theatre, which completed the ruin of his affairs. He the d th 

study of the Law, and was called to the hai- in the Temple Meet nj, 
with no professional success, he continued his career as a dramatic 
writer, producing a number of pieces exhibiting vivacity and careless- 
nesn rather than any depth of ability, and also took an active part in 
political controversy. In numerous pamphlets and articles for journaH 
be maintained liberal and anti-jacobite principles; and it was about 
this period of his life (1743) that he struck out that vein of humorous 
writing in which he never bad, nor is ever likely to have, a rival. His 
first novel was yosepk Andrews, which was in some sense intended at 
a parody or caricature, ridiculing the timid and fastidious morality, the 
shop-keeper tone and the somewhat preaching ^ooi/- Joy style oi Pameli., 
just then in the full blaze of success. Richardson's jealous vanity could 
never foi^ive the wicked wit of Fielding in ridiculing his heroiny and 
he shows in all his correspondence not only an intense soreness, out an 
absolute inability to appreciate Fielding's genius. Like the Roman 
Comiqiie of Scarron, which, though written to laugh at a particula 
class of works, became the prototype of a new and original departmeni 
of Fiction, Fielding's novel at once received the honor due to a great 
■iriginal creation ; and in pretty rapid succession he produced his ynw 
Hey from this World to the Next, full of political allusions that have 
uow lost their piquancy, and his truly remarkable satirical tale, The 
Life of Jonathan Wild the Great. In 1749 he was appointed to the 
laborious and then far from respectable post of a London police magis- 
trate, a function in which he showed distinguished zeal and intelligence, 
and which was useful to his literary glory by giving him opportunities 
of observing the manners of the lowest of the people. While engaged 
in this ignoble occupation he composed the finest, completest, and pro- 
foundestof his works, the incomparable Tom youfrs, which was followed, 
after a brief intei-val, by Amelia, in which he unquestionably intended 
to portray some of his own follies and irregularities, but with the prin- 
cipal object of paying a tribute to the virtues and affection of his wife. 
Her he had the misfortune to lose, and he soon supplied her place bj' 
marrying her maid, with whom he had " frequently bewailed the angel 
they had lost." In spite of the seeming oddity of this second choice, 
slie made him a pnident and loving partner, and an excellent mother 
lo hiii children. Fielding's health was now completely ruined by labor 
tnd CKcesses : he was attacked with dropsy, and ordered to try a warmer 
climate. He sailed for Lisbon in 1754, and after passing a short time 
died in that city, and was buried in the Protestant cemetery there 
towards the end of the same year. 

§ 7. The qualities whicl; distinguish Fielding's genius are close and 
accurate observation of character, and an extraordinary power of de- 
ducing the actions and expressions of his personages from the elements 
of their nature, a constant sympathv with the vigorous, unrestrained 



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Bli THE GREAT NOVELISTS. LCh«p. XVtt 

characters, in all ranks of society, bi-t especicUy in the lowest, which ha 
loved to de ineate. With the vast nr.d moiley field of English society, 
so strongly marked at that time, he was minutely acquainted, and hit 
spirit of analysis, at once learned and picturesque, delighted in the 
reproduction of the oddities and eccentricities of man. He is intensely 
English in his subject as in his mode of treatment. Hogarth himEelf 
is not more powerfully national : painter and novelist exhibit t!ie same 
diiectand practical vigor, which, however, is always compatible with an 
appreciation of the subtlest shades of character. In the construcHon 
of his plolo he is masterly. That of Tom J ' p h p the finest 
example to be met with, in fiction, of a se f t p obable yet 

surprising ead. of which inevitably leads t th It m t tastrophe. 
I^le combined ai. almost childish delight in f d t antly ludi- 

crous incident, with a philosophic closene f iy f character 
and an impressive tone of moral reflectio th 1 tt ft n masked 
under a pleasant air of satire and irony, H 1 b the a sort of 

Iresh •i^e«-fl/>- atmosphere, a strong contr t t th I , artificial 
medium which pervades the romances of R h d When we are 

reading the latter we seem to be surrounded 1 th 1 breathless 
atmosphere of a city parlor: taking up Field I k ging into 

the bracing, sun-shiny air of a high-road. A large proportion of the 
scenes and adventures in Fielding takes place in inns and in the course 
of travelling : this is to be explained by the much greater proportion 
of time then passed on the i-oad, when men proceeded from place to 
place on foot, on horseback, in the humble wagon, or in the aristo- 
cratic coach and six, and were consequently brought more closely ani 
frequently into contact with the miscellaneous crowd of travellers. 

yosepk Andrews was originally written as a kind of parody upon 
Pamela, and for this purpose the chief character was represented as the 
brother of Richardson's heroine; and Pamela's virtuous resistance to 
seduction was transferred, with great humor, to the person of a young 
footman Joseph, on being enpelled from the household of Squire 
Boobj, in consequence of the jealous rage of his mistress, — the" spretie 
injuria form-e,'-^ winders about England in company with his friend 
and humble companion Parson Adams, one of the richest, most humor- 
ous, and truly genial conceptions of tliis great painter of character. 
Adams's learning, simplicity, and courage, together with his innumer^ 
able and always consistent oddities, make him as truly humorous ■ 
character as Sancho Panza himself. There is no doubt that in the low 
Focial estimation, as well as in the ignorance and coarseness of many 
of his clerical personages. Fielding has faithfully represented thi 
degraded i.ate of the rural clergy at the time when he wrote. 

The adventures of yonaihan Wild the Great were intended to be » 
satire upon the false estimate generally formed of glory, and the whol* 
bocik is written in a tone of irony. The hero was a real person, origi- 
nally a thief, housebreaker, and highwayman, and afterwards a spy and 
secret agent of the police ; he became celebrated as a receiver of stolen 
goods, and after committing a thousand crimes was most justly hanged 



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K- a. lixi-im-] TOBIAS GKOHfJ-E tilHOl hit il3 

The exploits of this conaiimmnte scoundrel ar 1 d t 

ironical admiration ; but though the story cont m pow f I d 

many humorous scenes, the reader becomes we y ft! t ruj d 

meanness and depravity of the persons nnd eve 

In Tom Jones it is difficult to know what mo t t dm th 11 
.onduct of the plot, the immense variety, ti th d h ft! 

personages, the gajety of the incidents, or tl t k d 

reflections which the author has plentifully inte p d m t 
_ in (he introduction to hie chapters. The chara t f Sq W 
'lie type of the violent, brutal rural magnat f th d y 
f- liich remiiins forever fixed on the memory, a d th d f 

personages might be cited, each marked iiieft ce bly th gh ft 
liglitly, with the stamp of truth and nature. T J 1 if d 

the fair Sophy, though elaborated by the auth w th p 1 
as types of all that he thought attractive, are g lly f d t 1 

tinged with much coarseness and vulgarity F Id g t d 1 
whether for grace or morality, was not a very high one, and the time 
when he wrote was remarkable for the low tone of manners and senti- 
ment— perhaps the lowest that ever prevailed in England; for it was 
precisely a juncture when the romantic spirit of the old chivalric man- 
ners was extinguished, and before the modern standard of refinement 
was introduced. 

The interest of Amelia is entirely domestic and familiar ; the error:, 
and repentance of Captain Booth, and the inexhaustible love and indul 
gence of the heroine, are strongly coiiti-asted ; but we never can get rid 
of the conviction that Booth is but a sorry scamp, and are hardly com- 
pensated for our indifference to the principal character by the extraor- 
dinary vividness, nature, and reality of the subordinate ones. Field- 
ing had little or no power over the pathetic emotions; there are, how- 
ever. In this novel several episodes and strokes of character which are 
touching, and exhibit that peculiar and essential characteristic of truly 
humorous conceptions, namely, the power of touching the heart while 
exciting the sense of the ludicrous. It is a curious contradiction that 
while Richardson, a man of the humblest birth and career, should have 
chiefly described aristocratic life, Fielding, the man of fashion and of 
lofty origin, should have preferred to paint the manners -of the lowest 
of the people. Fielding, in spite of much coarseness and indecency, 
is fundamentally sound in his moral principles, though he excuses, 
■f he does not justify, a considerable degree of laxity. He seems 
nclined to pardon any escapade, if rendered venial by high spirits, 
>'oulh, and passion, and accompanied w'th courage, frankness, and 
ginercsity. 

§ 8. Tobias George Smollett (1721-1771), descended from an 
ancier t and respectable family in Scotland, was educated, first at Dum- 
barton, and afterwards at the University of Glasgow. Being totally 
without fortune, he determined to embrace the medical profession, and 
was apprenticed to a practitioner in Glasgow of the name of Gordon. 
After remaining a short time in this man's service, the future poet and 



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Sle TB:S great IfOVMLISTS. [Chap. XVII. 



B<^i»list, then onlj nineteen years of age, and burning with literary 
Hinbition, proceeded to London with the MS. of a tragedy, entilled th« 
Regicide, in his pocket. Failing in his attempt to bring out this work, 
he entered the naval service in the humble capacity of surgeon's male 
□n board a man-of-war, and was present at the inglorious and un- 
ti.'ituiiate expedition to Carthagena, under the command of Admiral 
Knowles, Here he had the opportunity of studying the oddities oi 
lea -characters, which he afterwards so admirably reproduced in hi( 
Ictiors, and of learning by experience the atrocious cruelty, corruption, 
ind incompetency which then reigned in the naval administration. 
He left the service and resided for some time in the West Indies, 
whence he returnad in 1744, and began to unite literary pursuits witli 
the practice of his profession in London. He was the author of several 
satires and other poetical pieces now forgotten, but in 1748 he began 
his career of a novelist with Roderick Random, in some respects the 
most vigorous of his fictions. In the manner and construction of his 
novels he follows the models of Le Sage and of those Spanish authors, 
in the style called ^/enrvsco, whom Le Sage himself imitated; and he 
relied for success rather on a lively series of grotesque adventures than 
on any elaboration of intrigue or deep analysis of character. Peregrine 
Picile was published in 1751, and Smollett, meeting with but small 
6UCCCSS as a physician, now devoted himself to the career of a writei 
and politician. For the task of controversy he was well qualified by 
Ihe vigor and readiness of his style, by the ardor of his opinions, and 
the patriotic elevation of his principles ; but he was rash, violent, and 
impulsive, and more than once changed his side, not from anyintet- 
ested or unworthy motive, but under the influence of his personal feel- 
ings. In 1753 he produced his third great romance. Tie Adventures of 
Ferdinand, Count Fathom, describing, with a higher moral intention 
than is usually found in his works, the career of an unprincipled scoun- 
drel, cheat, and swindler. This book forms a sort of counterpart or 
parallel to Fielding's Jonathan W'ld and 's open to the same objec 
tlons. Two years later this indefat gable wo ke b ought out h trans 
lation of Don Quixote, in which I leirly ho vi h msell utterly 
unable to appreciate the higher, more poet cal i d deal s de of the 
great conception of Cervantes, and I as of ned h self sol ly to tl 
grotesque and farcical side of that vast crcat on Abo t th s t me tl c 
violence of Smollett's political opin ons b ought h ra n coll so v tl 
the law; the terrible picture he iiad given of mail Im n str t on n tl e 
Navy and his severe strictures on the conduct of Ad n al knowl s 
caused him to be defeated in an action for 1 bel He wa fined 00^ a d 
imprisoned for three months, during wh ch t ne I e co t nued t! e n an 
ttgeinent of the Critical Review, in the pages of which the obnoxious 
Btrictures had appeared, and in his capacity of literary censor he man- 
aged to raise up against himself a whole swarm of angry politicians, 
nriters, and doctors. He now produced his novel of Sir Z-auceloi 
Greaves, a most unfortunate and feeble effort to adapt the plot and 
leading idea of Z^an ^»t*0/e to English contemporary life; and wrotei 



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A. D. 1721-1771.] TOSIA» OEORc-E SMOLLETT. 311 

with extraordinary rapiditj', his History of England, in wiilch hit 
nrdent and partial judgments are no less remarkable than the consum- 
mate elegance and calm prophetic spirit which charm in the pages of 
Hurne. In a Tavr in Prance and Italy, which he undertook to divert 
his grief under the loss of a beloved child, Smollett exhibits a painiui, 
and almost ludicrous incapacity to appreciate the beautiful, sublime, 01 
interesting objects he met with ; he " travelled from Dan to Beersheba. 
and found all barren." In a now-forgotten tale, The Adventures of at 
Atom, he attacked Bute, who had formerly been his patron. Thie woik 
maybe.said to correspond with the journey front l&is World to tie 
JVexi, in the not very dissimilar literary career of Fielding. Smol'«tfr 
health was now completely broken up through incessant labor and con- 
tinual agitation, and he was, tike his illustrious contemporary, obliged 
to try the effect of a more genial climate. He resided a short time at 
Leghorn, and there, in spite of weakness, exhaustion, and suffering, th( 
dying genius gave forth its most pleasing flash of comic humor. Thii 
was the novel of Httm^brey Clinier, the only fiction in which Smolletl 
adopted the epistolary form, and the most cordial, comic, and laughable 
of them all. Like Fielding he died and was buried in a foreign land 
and two of the most intensely natvotiai of our painters of character 
were doomed, nearly at the same time, to lay their bones under the soil 
of the stranger. 

§ 9. In the structure of his fictions Smollett is tnanifestjy inferior 
both to Richardson and Fielding; he does not possess the slow bir, 
exquisitely logical evolution of the former, or the skilful combinatioi: 
and planning of connected incidents which distinguish the latter. His 
novels are a series of striking, grotesque, farcical, and occasionally pa- 
thetic scenes, which have little other bond of union than the fact of their 
being threaded, so to say, on the life of a single person. Yet his books 
are eminently amiisiag; the reader's attention is kept awake by a lively 
succession of persons and events, some of which, though they may be 
coarse and low-lived, are in variably vivid and life-like, while the tendency 
to florid description and sentimental exaggeration does not deprive 
others of the charm of freshness and earnestness. The characters in 
Smollett are extraordinarily numerous and animated, but they are nol 
analyzed with the profound psychological anatomy of Fielding : some 
prominent feature is seized, some oddity is placed in a strong light ard 
exhibited in full development, and the reader asks for nothing mort. 
This external or superficial mode of delineation makes Smollett verj 
i.areless about maintainingtheconsistencyof his personages. He nevei 
scruples to sacrifice that consistency, whether it refer to their bodily 01 
mental qualities, when it stands in his way in placing them under ridio 
Tilous points of view: thus Roderick Random is sometimes represent?* 
as gawky, ugly, and even mean and cowardly, and at other times as 
eminently handsome and brave. There in be no doubt that Smollett 
was frequently in the habit of transferring Ki his novels real adventurer 
of his own life ; thus Random's miseries at school, his apprer liceehif 
with the apothecary, his journev to London, his experiences in (lie fleet 



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318 THE GREAT NOVELISTS. [Chap. XVU 

have the strongeBt air o' being transcripts of reality: mnnj of the per- 
ionK introduced, and no small proportion ofthe scenes, as for example the 
medical examination, and the ahominahle tyranny and abuses on board 
ship, were unquestionably drawn from the life. The same may be said 
of hia inimitable and exquisitely varied Bailor-charactera, from Lieuten- 
ant Bowling- and Ap Morgan in the first novel, through the rich gallery 
of oddities in his later works, particularly Commodore Trunnion and 
I'ipes in Peregrins Pickle. Smolletfs heroes are generi'iy a little too 
much of the picaresque, or LazarilJo de Tormfis type : thev hai-e but 
,'iltle to attract the reader's sympathy, being generally hard, impuiienl, 
■elfish, and ungrateful adventurers ; but in the subordinate persons, and 
especially in those of grotesque but faithful followers, like Strap or 
Pipes, Smollett shows a greater warmth of sentiment. His style is lively 
and picturesque ; much more careless than that of Fielding, who occa- 
sionally produces passages of considerable length that are noble speci- 
mens of English prose, and he allows the fire of his imagination to 
seduce him into the faults of tawdriness and sentimentality. Many of 
his most laughable scenes — and such abound in his writings — depend 
for their eflect upon what may be called mechanical humor, blows and 
kicks and extravagant terrors : but these low episodes are not made the 
occasion, as they often are in Fielding, of educing profound traits of 
human character. With the laugh he has excited, Smollett's use of 
them is at an end. In Humphrey Clinker, though running over with 
fun and grotesque incident, there is a riper and mellower tone of char- 
icter-painting than is to be found in his preceding works : the person- 
ages of Lvsmahago and Tabitha Bramble are inimitably carried out : 
the latter is indeed perhaps the most finished portrait in Smollett's 
whole gallery. This latter novel contains a great deal of what is merely 
descriptive, being the travelling-journal of the droll and original party 
whose various letters make up the work; and the modern reader may 
gather from Smolletfs descriptions of the country and the various water- 
ing-places in England and Scotland visited during the imaginary tour, 
■nost curious and interesting details concerning the state of the country 
and the manners of our forefathers. Smollett, like Fielding, and indeed 
,ike most authors of those iays^ was in the habit, probablv in imitation 
of the practice of Cervantes and the old masters, of occi„^nally intro- 
ducing long episodical narratives into the midst of his novels; a most 
{njudicious custom, and equally injurious to the effect of the intercalary 
lale and of the work in which it was set. Examples of what I mean 
will be found in the history of the Pair Marcelia in Don Qiiixote, the 
absurd and unnatural story of the Man of the //(V/ introduced into Tom 
Jones, and the Story of the Lady of polity, which Smollett is said to 
have been bribed to insert in one of his novels. 

SriioUett possessed considerable poetical talents : he wrote Ihe pow- 
eiful versgb entitled the Tears of Scotland, which breathed the patri- 
otic indignation of a generous mind, horror-sti'uck by the crueltiea 
inflicted by the orders of the Duke of Cumberland after the battle of 
^uUodei). This little poem is eijusll^ tionorab|f to t|ie civil t^uiage 



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A.. D. 1713-1768.] LAURENCE STERNE. 319 

of Smollett aa to liis geniue, for so free an expression of outraged patri- 
otism was then dangerous, and it is recorded that the poet, when 
warned of that danger after composing six stanzas of vigorous denun- 
datton, instantly sat down and added a seventh, move hitter and sting, 
ing than those which had gone before. 

§ 10. Laurence Sternb (1713-1768) was a hrilllant literary comet 
His charart w cc t ' h' w rks both the one and the othei 



being 


; mark A by t 
n aod mp 
but d t d 
er's, t C b 


tfaJ 
wth 
dg 


wth 
th 
E t 


t y 

rep 

t 
gth 


q iij 


tt 

H 

h h 


ti 

J 


t tt 

bo 


magi, 
nlre- 
f hif 
tl rough 


land, 

moth 


p' 
f 

Ch 



th h gig held 
fterw d dd d p h d tall in 
was ultimately advanced to the ricl^ 
living of Coxwold. His private life was little in harmony with his pro- 
fession 1 he appears to have been a fanciful, vain, self-indulgent humor- 
ist, perpetually at war with the neighboring clergy, and masking 
caprice and harshness under a pretence of extreme sensibility. His 
conduct to his wife was base and selfish. The first two volumes of his 
novel of Tristram Shandy were published in 1761, and the novelty and 
oddity of his style instantly raised him to the summit of popularity; 
two more volumes appeared in the following year, and Sterne became 
the pet and lion of fashionable London society, where he gratified his 
morbid appetite for fiattery and indulged in a series of half-immoral, 
half-sentimental intrigues, some of them with married women. He 
made two tours on the. Continent, the first in France, and the second 
in France and Italy, where he accumulated the materials incorporated 
in his delightful Ssniimental Journey, intended to form a part of his 
Tomance, but which is generally read as an independent work. In this 
book he personates his favorite character Yorick, a mixture of the 
humorist and the sentimental observer. The Sentimental yoarney, 
with all its faults of taste and morality, has the merit of breathing a 
tone of complacency, candor, and appreciation of the good qualities of 
foreign nations, equally rare and laudable at a time when Englishmen 
jugarded all other countries, and especially France, with the most nar- 
row-minded piejudice and hostility. Sterne's health had always been 
precarious; he had all bis life been consumptive, and the feverish life 
of London society broke up a constitution naturally sickly. He died 
alone and friendless in a Bond Street lod^ng-house, attended in liia 
last illness by mercenaries, who are said to have plundered him of such 
trifles as he possessed — a comfortless and gloomy ending, which he 
had himself desired. 

His works consist of the novel of Tristram Shandy, of the Senti- 
mental yourney, and of a collection of Sermons, written in the odd and 
fantastic style which he brought into temporary vogue. It is not an 
lasy task to give an intelligible account of the plan, the merits, and 
the defects of his writings. Tristram Shandy, though nominally » 
rOPmnre in Ihe biographini form, is intentionally irregular and capri- 



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320 



THE GREAT NOVELISTS. [Chap. XVIl 



ciouB, the imaginary hero never making his appearance at all, and the 
Btorji consisting of a series of slietdies and episodes introducing ub to 
the interior of an English country family, one of the richest collections 
of oddities that genius has ever delineated. The narrative is wiitteo 
partly in the cfjaracter of Yorick (Sterne himselO, supposed to be a 
clergyman and a humorist, and partly in that of the phantom -like 
Tiistram; and the most prominent persons are Walter Shandy, ■ 
retired merchant, the father of the supposed hero, his mother, \U 
Liricle Toby Shandy (a veteran officer), and hia servant Corporal Irim. 
Tnese are all conceived and executed in the finest and most Shak- 
fipevian spirit of humor, tenderness, and observation; and tliey ar* 
supported by a crowd of minor yet hardly less individual portraitures 
— Obadiah, Dr. Slop, tlie Widow Wadman, Susanna, nay, down to the 
I' foolish fat scullion." Mr. Shandy, the restless, crotchety philosopher, 
is delineated with consummate skill, and admirably contrasted with the 
simple benevolence and professional enthusiasm of the unequalled 
Uncle Toby, a personage belonging to the same category of creative 
genius as Sancho or as Parson Adams. The characters in Sterne are 
not delineated descripti:vely, but rather o//as(oe/v; and thus the reader 
incessantly enjoys the pleasure of making out their pleasant and eccen- 
tric features, not through the medium of the author, but by himself, as 
if they were real personages. The conversations, the incidental epi- 
sodes, all introduce us to the eccentricities and amiable oddities of the 
persons; and perhaps the very absence of all regular construction, the 
a,brupt transitions, the complete confusion of all order, the exclama- 
tions, parenthetical chapters, and the abrupt and interjection al char- 
acter of the style, contribute to the effect of the whole. In all Sterne's 
writings there is a great parade of obscure and quaint erudition, which 
passed off at tlie time these books appeared, when the elder authors 
were but rarely studied, as indicative of immense learning; but he is 
known at present to have been a most unscrupulous plagiarist, pillaging 
Burton, Rabelais, and tbe seldom-consulted pages of the old lawyers 
and canonists All this howevei , tends powerfully to give an original 
flavor to hi& itjle His humor and his pathos are often truly admira- 
ble; and he possesses in a h gh degree thit rare power, found only in 
the greatest humorists of combming the ludicrous and the pathetic, 
but both his humor and his pitlios are vtiy often false and artificial, 
the one degenerating into bi ftoonery indecency and even profanity in 
more than a single instance and the other into a morbid and sickly 
tentimentahty He i» always trembling on the \erge of an obsceiw 
■illusion and many passages both in Shasdy ind the Sentimental 
'Journey are quite unjustifiable is com ng from the pen of a clei^- 
man. In thi= mixture of pruriency and theatr tal sentiment Sterne 
resembles certain of the most brilliant French authors ; and even the 
rapiditj and abruptness of his style cau le h m to be perhaps the only 
one of our great humorists who can be adeqi itely translated into 
French. His episodes, as the often-quoted Story of Le Fevre, are 
related with consummate art and tcnderne? ^ ; bi it in Slerne - - probabl,y 



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A. D. I7I8-I774-] OLIVES OOLD^\fITJT. 321 

from his vanity and deficienry of diBcnmimtion — tliere is no ineiliutn 
between excellence and failure He is an acute and just observiir of 
the little turns of gesture and ej.presBion and makes Ms cliarncterg 
betray iheir idiosyncrasies by imoiuntarj touches, just as men do in 

5 11. The most charming and versatile, and certaJnlj' one iif Ihc 
gieatest writers of the eighteenth century, is Oliver Golpsmith 
(17S8-1771.), whose works, whether in prose or verse, bear a peculiar 
Ftamp of gentle grace and elegance. He was born at the viliage of 
P.iUnt in the county of Longford, Ireland, in 1728- His fether was a 
poor curate of English extraction, struggling, with the aid of farming 
and a miserable stipend, to bring up a large family. By the assistance 
of a benevolent uncle, Mr. Contarine, Oliver was enabled to enter tht 
University of Dublin in tlie humble quality of sizar. He, however, neg- 
lected the opportunities for study which the place offered him, anc 
became notorious for his irregularities, his disobedience to authority, 
and above all for a degree of improvidence carried to the extreme, 
though excused by a tenderness and charity almost morbid. The 
earlier part of his life is an obscure and monotonous narrative of in- 
effectual struggles to subsist, and of wanderings which enabled him to 
traverse almost the whole of Europe. Having been for a short time 
tutor in a family in Ireland, he determined to study medicine ; and after 
nom in ally attending lectures in Edinburgh, he began those travels — 
for the most part on foot, and subsisting by the aid of his Sute and the 
charity given to a poor scholar — which successively led him to Leyden, 
through Holland, France, Germany, and Switzerland, and even to 
Pavia, where he boasted, though the assertion is hardiy capable of 
proof, that he received a medical degree. His professional as well as 
his general knowledge was of the most superficial and inaccurate char- 
acter. It was while wandering in the guise of a be^ar in Switzerland 
that he sketched out the plan of his poem of the TroTreller, which after- 
wards formed the commencement of his fame. In 1756 he found his 
way backto his native countrj dh d gbtglty 

was a succession of desultory ggl wthfm mtm aaa 

chemist's shopman in Lond t h b d g 

schools, the drudge of his ei pi i d tl b tt d I gh g t ck 

of the pupils ; sometimes a p 1 1 Id g th 

poorest and most squalid pop It — th b gg A L 

he expressed it himself; a d re ily bl d 

pcantily-paid bookseller's hack. More than once, under the pressure of 
iotolerabte distress, he exchanged the bondage of the school for the 
iievcrer slarery of the corrector's table in a printing-office, and wai 
Jiiven back again to the bondage of the Kcbool. The grace and readi- 
ness of his pen would probably have afforded him a decent subsistencL", 
even from the hardly-earned wages of a di-udge- writer, but for hi? 
extreme improvidence, his almost childish generosity, hie passion for 
pleasure and fine clothes, and above all his propensity for gambling. 
\t one time, during this wretched period ol bi.'^ career, he fi Wei to 



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11*2 THE GREAT JTOVELIBTS. [Chap. X\'II, 

pass the examinalior. qualifying him for the humble medical poat of s 
hospital mate ; and, under the pressure of want and improvidence. 
committed the diahonorable action of pawning a suit of clothes lent 
him by his employer, Griffiths, for the purpose of appearing with 
decency before the Board. His literary apprenticeship was passed in 
this severe school — writing to order, and at a moment's notice, school- 
bjoks, tales for children, prefaces, indexes, and reviews of books j and 
contributing to the Monthly, Critical, and Lady's Review, the Brltisli 
Magazine, and other periodicals. His chief employer in this way 
appears to have been Griffiths, and he is said to have been at one time 
engaged as a corrector of the press in Richardson's service. In this 
period of obscure drudgery lie composed some of his most charming 
works, or at least formed that inimitable style which makes him the 
rival, and perhaps more than the rival, of Addison. He produced 
the Chinese Letters, the plan of which is imitated from Montesquieu's 
Lettres Persanes, giving a description of English life and manners in 
the Msumed character of a Chinese traveller, and containing some of 
those little sketches and humorous characters in which he was un- 
equalled; a Life of Bean Nash; and a short and gracefully-narrated 
History of England, in the form of Letters from a Nobleman to his 
Son, the authorship of which was ascribed to Lyttleton. It was in 1764 
that the publication of his beautiful poem of the Traveller caused him 
to emerge from the slough of obscure literary drudgery in which he had 
hitherto been crawling. The universal judgment of the public pro- 
nounced Inat nothing so harmonious and so original had appeared 
since the time of Pope ; and from this period Goldsmith's career was 
one of uninterrupted literary success, though his folly and improvidence 
kept him plunged in debt, which even his large earnings could not 
enable him to avoid, and from which indeed no amount of fortune 
would have saveJ him. In 1766 appeared the Vicar of Wakefield, that 
masterpiece of gentle humor and delicate tenderness; in the following 
year his first comedy, the Good-natured Man, which failed upon the 
stage in some measure from its very merits, some of its comic scenes 
shocking the perverted taste of an audience which admired the whining, 
preaching, sentimental pieces that were then in fashion. In 1 J63 Gold- 
smith composed, as taskwork for the booksellers — though taskwork 
for which his now rapidly rising popularity secured good payment-- 
the History of Home, distinguished by its extreme superliciality of 
information and want of research no less than by enchanting grace 
of style and vivacity of narration. In 1770 he published the Deserted 
VHiage^ the companion poem to the Traveller, wi-itten in some measure 
in the same manner, and not less toKching and perfect; and in 1773 
was a:.ted his comedy She Stoop t C q e of the ay t 

pleasantest, and most amusing piece ! thE Iht cnbat 
Goldsmith had long risen from th ob u y t wh h he had b 
condemned : he was one of the mos adm dad pop la a thors ol 
hia time! his society was courted bj tl wits a t t tat men a d 
writer* who formed a brilliant circle ound John on and Reynolds — 



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A.IJ. I7J8-^774•] OI.IYSR GOLDSMITH. 323 

Burke, Garrick, Beauclcrk, Percy, Gibbon, Boswcll, — and he became 
R member of that famous Club which is so intimately associated with 
the intellectual history of that time. Goldsmith was one of thoae men 
whom it is impossible not to love, and equally impossible not to despise 
and laugh at : hia vanity, his ciiildish though not maltgnaQt envy, his 
more than Irish aptitude for blunders, his eagerness to shine in ccnviir- 
=ation, for which he was peculiarly- unfitted, his weaknesses and geniua 
tonibincd, made hitn the pet and the laughing-?tock of the compiinj, 
He wi»s now in the receipt of an income which for that time and for th« 
profeesion of letters might have been accounted splendid; but his im 
providence kept him plunged in debt, and he was always anticipating 
hie receipts, so that he continued to be the slave of booksellers, who 
obliged him to waste his exquisite talent on works hardly thrown off, 
and for which he neither possessed the requisite knowledge norcoulJ 
make the necessary researches : thus he successively put forth as task- 
work the /^I's^o):)' 0/ -EB^/«»rf, the History of Greece, and ihs History 
of Animated Nature, the two former works being mere compilations of 
second-hand facts, and the last an epitomized translation of Buffon. 
. 1 these books we see how Goldsmith's never-failing charm of style 
and easy grace of narration compensate foi total ignorance and a com- 
plete absence of independent knowledge of the subj-ict. In 1774 this 
brilliant and feverish career was terminated. Goldsmith was suffering 
from a painful and dangerous disease, aggravated by disquietude of 
mind arising from the disorder in bis alTairs; and relying upon his 
knowledge of medicine he imprudently persisted in employing a violent 
remedy- against the advice of his physicians. He died at the age of 
forty-six, deeply mourned by the brilliant circle of friends to which his 
very weaknesses had endeai-ed him no less than his admirable genius, 
and surrounded by the tears and blessings of many wretches whom hia 
:nexhauBtible benevolence had relieved. He was buried in the Temple 
Churchyard, and a monument was erected to his memory in Westmin- 
ster Abbey, for which Johnson wrote a Latin insci-iption, one passage of 
which gracefully aliudea to the versatility of his genius : " qui nullum 
fere scribendi genua non tetigit, nullum quod tetigit non omavit." 

§ 12. In everythingGoldsmith wrote, prose or verse, serious or comic, 
there are a peculiar delicacy and purityof sentiment, tinging, of course, 
the language and diction as well as the thought. It seems as if. hia 
genius, though in its earlier career surrounded with squalid distress, 
was incapable of being sullied by any stain of coarseness or vulgarity 
rho igh of English descent, he had in an eminent degree the defects sis 
wal. as the virtues of the Irish character; and no quality in his writinga 
is more sHiking than the union of grotesque humor with a sort of pen- 
jive tenderness, which gives to hie verse a peculiar character of glidmg 
melody and grace. He had seen much, and reproduced with singulai 
livacity quaint strokes of nature, as in his sketch of Beau Tibbs and 
innumerable passages in the Vicar of Wakefield. The two poems of 
the Traveller and the Deserted Village wi!J ever be regarded as master- 
(.ieces of sentimenl and description. The light yet lapid touch with 



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"24 THE GREAT NOVELISTS. [Chap. XVII. 

which, in the former, he has traced the scenery and the natural pecu- 
liarities of various countries will be admired long after the reader ha) 
learned to neglect the false social theories embodied in his deductionEi 
and in spite of the inconsiEtencj', pointed out hy Macaulay, between tlie 
pictures of the village in its pristine heautj and happiness, and the 
same village when ruined and depopulated by the forced emigration of 
its inhabitants, the reader lingers over the delicious details of human 
as well as inanimate nature which the poet has combined into the 
rovclj pastoral picture of " sweet Auburn." The touches of tender 
personal feeling which he has interwoven with his description, as the 
fond hope vriVr which he dweit on the project of returning to pass hit 
age among the scenes of innocence which had cradled his boyhood, 
the comparison of hiniEelf to a hare returning to die where it was 
kindled, the deserted garden, the village alehouse, the school, and the 
evening landscape, are all touched with the pensive grace of a Claude; 
while, when the occasion demands, Goldsmith rises with easy wing to 
the height of lofty and even sublime elevation, as in the image of the 
slorm-girded yet sunshine-crowned peak to which 'le compares the 
good pastor. 

The Vicar of WaiyfeM, in spite of the extreme absurditj' and incon- 
sistency of its plot, an inconsistency which grows more perceptible in 
the latter part of the story, will ever remain one of those rare gems 
which no lapse of time can tarnish. The gentle and quiet humor em- 
bodied in the simple Dr. Primrose, the delicate yet vigorous contrast* 
of character in the other personages, the atmosphere of purity, cheer- 
fulness, and gayety which envelops all the scenes and incidents, will 
contribute, no less than the transparency and grace of the style, to 
make this story a classic for all time. Goldsmith's two comedies are 
written in two different manners, the Good-natured Man being a comedy 
of character, and Ske Stoops to Conquer a comedy of intrigue. In the 
first the excessive eaeinesB and generosity of the hero are not a quality 
sufficiently reprehensible to make him a favorable subject for that satire 
which is the essential element of this kind of ttieatrical painting; and 
the merit of the piece chiefly consists in the truly laughable personage 
of Croaker, and in the excellent scene where the disguised bailiffs are 
passed off on Miss Richland as the friends of Honeywood, whose house 
and person they have seized. But in She Stoops to Conquer we have a 
firat-rate specimen of the comedy of intrigue, where the interest mainly 
depends upon a tissue of lively and farcical incidents, and where thj 
characters, though lightly sketched, form a gallery of eccentric pictures. 
The best proof of Goldsmith's success in this piece is the constancy 
with which it has always kept possession of the stage; and the peals of 
laiigiiter which never fail to greet the lively bustle of its scenes and the 
pleasant absurdities of Young Marlow, Mr. and Mrs, Hardcastle, and 
above all the admirable Tony Lumpkin, a conception worthy of Van- 
brugh himself. 

Some of Goldsmitft's lighter fugitive poems are incomparable tbt 
their peculiar humor. The Haunch oj Venison is fi mode! of eiwj 



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h. D. 1738-1774.] KOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



325 

: sketching of commonplace society; and in 
Retaliation we have a series of slight yet delicate portraits of (ome of 
the most distinguished literary friends of the poet, thrown o£f with a 
hand at once refined and vigorous. In how masterly a manner, and 
yet in how few strokes, has Gtcldamith placed before us Garrick, Burke, 
and Reynolds 1 and how deeply do we regret that he should not have 
^ven us similar portraits of Johnson, Gibbon, and Boswelll Several 
«f Ihe songs and ballads scattered through his works are remarkablt- 
fcr their tenderness and harmony, though the Bd-win and Angeliif 
which has been so often lauded, has always appeared to me mawkish, 
affected, and devoid of the true spirit of the medisval ballad. 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



lKyit<laini"wl(!i ■ ftfUnK of itlltr." h oUUk 



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mSTORWAl WRITERS. 



CHAPTER XVIir. 



HISTORICAL, MORAL, POLITICAL, AND THECU-OGICAI 
WRITERS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY. 

I I. DiTiD Hume His life ind publications. Treatise on Human Nature ^,, 
Hirfwy of Engtmul. ^ 2. Willuji Robertson. Histories of Scothmd, 
Ch,srks v., and America. ^ 3. Edwabd GiBBdN. His life nod works, ii 
Criticism of the OeBline and FaU of the Roaum EntpiTe. j 6. Samifhi. Joun^ 
ms. Hia early life and struggles. Lmdon. Ufe of Savage, f 6. EnolkM 
nictioaar}/. Vanity of Human Wishes. Tragedy of Iretx. f 7. The Idler 
and Rambler. Rasselas. Johnson receitcs a pension from the government. 
{8. His acquaintance with Boswell. Edition of Shakspeare. Journey loth, 
Hebrxde$. Uvea of the Poets. Johnson's death, f 9. Edmund Bubke. Hie 
Hfo and writings. Essay on the SubUme and Beautiful. Hia impeachment of 
Warren Hastinga. LeUer to a Noble Lord. Reflections on the French Revo- 
tvHon. Letter on a Regicide Feaife. § 10. Letters of Jumm. { U, Adam 
Smith. In^Hrff into the Nature and Catisei of the Wealth of Nations. 
5 12, SiK WltLiiM Blackstonb. Commentaries on the Laos of England. 
} 13. Bishop Butler and Willimi Palet. } 14. QiLnEBi White. Nat- 
ural nistnry of Selbome. 

S 1. In accordance with that peculiar law which seems to gorern the 

tppearnnce, at particular epochs, of several great names in one depart- 
ment of art or literature, like the sculptors of the Periclean age, the 
romantic dramatists in that of Elizabetli, and the novelists who ap- 
oeared in England in the days of Richardson and Fielding, the eigh- 
teenth centurj was signalized by a remarkable wealth of historica' 
genius, and gave birth to Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon. 
David Hume (1711-1^76) was born, of an ancient Scottish family, ii 
711, and received his education in the University of Edinburgh. Hit 
desires and ambition were irresistibly set upon literary fame, and after 
reluctantly trying the profession of law and the pui-suit of commerce, 
he lived abroad some years, devoting himself, by means of prudence 
and economy, to the cultivation of moral and metaphysical science, and 
to the preparation of his mind for future historical labors. His inte'- 
«ct was calm, philosophical, and sceptical, and he imbibed that stron,! 
disbelief in the possibility of miracles which, when expressed in his 
»ibtle logic and refined purity of style, has rendei'ed him one of the 
lUvSt dangerous enemies of revealed religion. In 1737 he returned to 
England, and was so much discouraged with the coldness of the public 
towards his first moral and metaphysical productions that he at one 
time meditated changing his name and expatriating liimself forever. 
In 1746 and the following year a gleam of success shone upon him, foi 
he had hitherto lived in such narrow circumstances that his extreme 
prudence and economy scarcely enabled him to subsist respectably, and 



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A,. D. 1711-177^0 DAVID HTTME- 327 

he was even at one time reduce 3 tj the painful and uncongenial otEce 
of taking charge of the young Marquis of Annandale, who was insane. 
lie now entered the public service, and was employed as Secretary to 
General St. Clair in various diplomatic missions. When again resid- 
ing at Edinburgh, in 1752, he accepted the post of Librarian to the 
Faculty of Advocates, for whicii he leceived no salary, but which 
placed at his disposal a large and excellent collection of books. With 
the Hid thus furnished he began his great work, the History of England 
from the accession of the Stuart Dynasty to Ihe Revolution of 168S, to 
which he afterwards added in successive volumes the earlier history 
from the invasion of Julius C^sar to the reign of James I. Though 
the iirst volume: -^ere received with the same neglect as had encoun- 
tered hie pr^vlcus publications, the extraordinary merits of the plan 
and the incomparable clearness and beauty of the narration soon over- 
tame the indifference of the public, and the history gradually and rap- 
idly rose to the highest popularity, and took that place among the 
prose classics of the language which it has ever since retained. The 
admiration excited by the History, by a natural consequence, reacted 
also upon his previous works, which now began to enjoy a high degree 
of popularity, in spite of the heterodox tenets which they were accused 
of maintaining. Hume's reputation was now solidly established! he 
was again employed in the public service, and accompanied as secre- 
tary the embassy of General Conway to Paris, where he becameone of 
ihe lions of the fashionable society of the French capital, a popularity 
whi h he owed more to his literary giory and to the sceptical theories 
— then BO prevalent in France — of which he was one of the apostles, 
than to any personal aptitude for the society of wits and fine ladies ; 
for Hume was heavy and inelegant in appearance, and possessed few 
charms of conversation or readiness of repartee. He afterwards ful- 
filled for a short time the still higher functions of Under-Secretary of 
State, and retiring with a pension passed the evening of his life in 
philosophic and intellectual tranquillity, enjoying the respect and affec- 
tion which his virtuous and amiable quailSies attracted, and which not 
even his scepticisn:; could repel. Hume died in 1776. He was distin- 
guished by great benevolence of heart, and by a spirit of candor and 
indulgence to Uie opinions of others, which might have been advan- 
tageously imitated by many of those who controverted his opinions. 

As a moral and metaphysical writer Hume certainly deserves a high 
place in the history of philosophy. The prominent feature of hia 
Treniite on Hsman Nature, published in 1738, was the atti^mpt to 
deduce the operations of the mind entirely from the two sources of 
impressions and ideas, which he looks upon as distinct, and hi* deny- 
ing the exifence of any fundamental difference between such actions 
as we call virtuous and vicious, other than as they are practically found 
to be conducive to or destructive of the advantage of the individual or 
the species. In other words Hume is the .issertor of the theory of 
Utility, as the only one capable of satisfactorily explaining the mjs- 
t»rioue ijueation — What is the essential difference betweeif good and 



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328 HISTORICAL WRITERS. [Chap. XVTII. 

evil? Such a theorj was received with intense dissatisfaction by the 
orthodox : but seldom has the controversialist to encounter a toughe- 
antagonist than Hume, the clearness of whose exposition, and the sub' 
tletyofwhose arguments, a subtlety the more formidable as it is always 
veiled under an air of philosophic candor, were but too often met with 
declsmation and unfair attacks on a personal character which was above 
reproach. But the chief danger of Hume's philosophical doctrines lies 
in his famous argument on the impossibility of miracles, based upon 
Ihe two propositions : first, that it is contrary to ail human experience 
ll'at miracles should be true, both reason and facts tending to show the 
invariable nature of the laws which govern all physical phenomena; 
and secondly, that the improbability of a miracle ever having talien 
place is far greater than the improbability of the testimony to such an 
event being false, the witnesses being likely either to have been duped 
themselves or to dupe others. 

The Hislayy of England is a book of very high value. In a certain 
exquisite ease and vivacity of narration it certainly has never been sur- 
passed ; and in the analysis of characters and the appreciation of great 
events, Hume's singular clearness and philosophic elevation of view 
give him a right to one of the foremost places among modern histori- 
ans. But its defects are no less considerable. Hume's indolence 
induced him to remain contented with taking his facts at second-hand 
from preceding writers, without troubling himself about accuracy 
Thus legendary and half-mythological stories are related with the same 
air of belief as the more well-authenticated events of recent times; a 
fault pardonable enough in Herodotus and I-ivy, but less venial in i. 
writer who ought to have applied his powerful critical faculty to the 
sifting of truth from tradition. Hume, essentially a classicist of the 
Voltaire and Diderot type, too much despised the barbarous monkish 
chroniclers to think of consulting them as authorities, or of separating 
the germ of fact which they envelop in a mass of superstitious and 
ima^native detail. Moreover, the history of England is essentially 
the history of the conflict of opinion on religious and political ques- 
tions ; and Hume was indifierent to religion, and a partisan of extreme 
monarchical opinions In politics. Thus he shows a strong leaning to 
the Stuart dynasty, and even to the Catholic church as opposed to 
Protestantism; for he belonged to the aristoci-atical section of ihe 
Scottish people, who were almost uniformly Jacobites, while the middle 
and lower classes were as ardent supporters of liberal principles. The 
sceptical and phllanfh p' w s, by a singular paradox, 

inclined from p 1 ymp tl f p nions precisely contrary to 

those which he i ht h b p t d to maintain, and struggle* 

l)j- sophistry to tl d f 11 es of the arb'trary Stuarts, 

while he exhibit d fi t g n a man so benevolent by 

nature, to the siff d her f those who, In Pariiament oi 

on the field of b tU f ht th gr t fight for political and religious 
freedom. 
% 2. Cohtemporary with Hume was his countryman William Ro» 

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A-D. I7ai-i7i>t.] ROBERTSON. OIBBOIT. 52? 

■RTSONC1731-1J935 d shng ibhed like him by the eloquence of his 
narrative, by tlie luminouc dissertatione on great hiBtorical questions 
introduced into h 9 works by the picturesque power of delineating 
characters and events and also by a smg lar dignitj tnd purity of 
style, which is almost free fiom SLOtticiams His pi-rsona! career was 
t!:ttt of a Presbyterian pastor and he was highly celebrated for his 
eloquence in the p Jlp t In 176* he was elected Principal of 'be Uni 
vers ity of Edinburgh where he had receded nis education and ho 
cjthibiled remarkable powers as 1 fcpeiker and debater in the Scottish 
trcnera! Asaembly of Divines. He pioduced three great hiatorical 
works, the History of Scotland, embracing the reigns of the unfortu- 
nate Mary and of her son James VI. down to the accession of the latter 
to the throne of England, the History of tie Reign 0/ Charles F., and 
the History of the Discovery, and first Colonization by the Spaniards, 
of America. These three productions appeared respectively in 1759, 
1769, and 1777-* In all of them we perceive a rich and melodious 
though somewhat artificial style, great though not always accurate 
research, and a strong power of vivid and pathetic description. The 
History of Scotland is perhaps the work most honorable to Robertson's 
genius, for in the other two Uie grandeur and dramatic interest of the 
subject were such that, in the hands even of an inferior author, the 
reader's curiosity could not but be excited and gratified. Moreover 
though many of the general disquisitions prefixed to or introdqced it. 
Roljertson's history are marked by largeness of view and lucidity of 
arrangement, his account of many episodes of the life of Charles V,, 
and in particular of his retirement to San Yuste, contains much of the 
romantic and theatrical inaccuracy which recent investigations have 
dispelled : and in this work, as well as in the wondrous story of Colum- 
bus and the Conquestadors, he either knew not or negleclod vast stores 
ofinformation which would have thrown averydifferent light upon the 
characters and events he had to portray. This assertion will be amply 
proved by comparing Robertson's account of these great events with 
the more recent labors of Prescott, Motley, and others. In spite of 
these defects, Robertson's name will always retain an honorable place 
among the prose- writers and historians of England. 

§ 3. But by far the greatest name in English historical literature — 
indeed one of the very foremost names in all historical literature ~ is 
that of Edward Gibbon (1737-1794). Descended from an ancient 
family, he was born at Putney near London in 1737, and '^as the 
grandson of a merchant of large fortune. His health, during his boy- 
"lood and early youth, was exceedingly precarious, and he owed the 
ifradua! fbrtlfying of his constitution, and the first development of his 
intellectual faculties, to the more than maternal care of an aunt, CathC' 
rine Porten. His education was at first neglected, but he gradually 
acquired an insatiable appetite for reading of all kinds, whict at length 

• Robertson alao published, in 1791, an Historical LHsjuaition ei'wmiitig tb» 
^lowledge \Bhieh the Antients had of India ; a ivt.-kof great merit, though iww 
super»edad br more lecent investigations, 

■ «»• 



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SSO mSTORWAL WRITERS. [Chap. XVill 

concentrated itself upon historical Hterature. He paesed a ehort time 
afWestminster school, and was intrus»ed to several successive private 
tutors, but at the early age of fifteen was placed at Magdalen College. 
Oxford, where he remained onlj fourteen months, still pursuing hit 
studies in a vague and desultory manner. An ardent fit of controver- 
sial reading, and the arguments he found in Pascal and BoBsuet, over- 
threw his attach t t th d t f P t t t m d on his 
formally embra th C th 1 f th h f th h It d at such 
(postasy, sent h t L 1 re b w pi ced d the care 
sf M. Pavillard, m tS th 1 g Th g ra ts of his 
tulor so far pr I d t d h t t th Protestant 
C"iurcb, though h Igi blffmh fw d was little 
mjre than a sort f pi I pb ID I Sw t I d 1 wever, he 
commenced that f gl dytmb tdy which grad- 
ually filled his d th mm bl t f d d profane 
learning ; and I th dqdtltt j pithy with 
French modes of th gbt th t m k h th 1 t t I of all out 
great authors. While in Switzerland he conceived a passion for 
Susanne Curchod, aftfirwards the wife of Necker, and the mother of 
Madame de StaCl ; but Gibbon's sensibility was never very ardent, and 
he acquiesced, with decent readiness, in the refusal of his father to 
permit the union. Returning to England, he passed some time in the 
frivolous pleasures of a young gentleman of furtune; but without 
relaxing in his intense diligence of study, which he found means to 
maintain even during the five years he passed ia military service as 
captain of the Hampshire militia. It was at this period that he gaie 
» the world the first-fruits of his pen in the excellent little essay, 
written in French, on the Sludy of Literatztre. Between 1763 and 1765 
ie travelled over France, Switzerland, and Italy, and while at Rome, 
in 1764, the first idea of writing the history of the Decline and Fall of 
the mighty empire first flashed upon his mind. He has given a most 
striking and picturesque description of the moments of the generation 
and the completion of his great work. The sudden shock of concep- 
tion given amid the sunset ruins of the Capitol, " while the barefooted 
""■iarf were singing vespers in the Temple of Jupiter," found its pic- 
Uiresque consummation in the " valley of acacias" by the moonlit lake 
of Geneva in 1787. Gibbon returned to England in 1765, and set stren- 
uously to work on the composition of his history, the first vohmie of 
irhich appeared in the following year, and was received not only with 
•lie applause of the learned, but with universal popularity among the 
ihfihionable world and the ladies. The praises of Hume found an edto 
ii? the gayest and most frivolous circles. At various intervals appeared 
Ihe successive volumes, each of which excited the admiration and 
enthusiasm which the grandeur of the work was so calculated to inspire. 
Gibbon has related the hesitation, and almost terror, with which Ui? 
immense extent and difficulty of his enterprise at first filled him, and 
the fastidious care with which he revised and re-revised the opening 
ciiai'ters, the first of which he wrote thrii'<i, and the s^ond twice over, 



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A. D. i737-'794-] EDWARD GIBBON. 881 

before he was SRtisfied with the style; but as he advanced, the variout 
parts of his gigantic subject took form and symmetry, and t!ie increas- 
ing facility of composition enabled him to advance with steady speed. 

With the year 1774 begins Gibbon's political career : he sat in several 
successive Parliaments as member for Lislteard, anj supported, with a 
silent vote — for both .modesty and vanity prevented him from trying 
his fortune as a speaker — the ministry, during the whole course of Wv. 
American War, down to the formation of the Coalition Cabinet. Lor 
Noith rewarded his constant adhesion with the poel of one of the Lord 
Commissioners of Trade, which Gibbon enjoyed for about three years, 
Mil the abolition of the office in 1782, In 1783 Gibbon determined to 
settle altogether at Lausanne. He established himself in the com- 
fortable house which he had purchased on the lovely shore of Lake 
Leman, a spot forever memorable from the residence of this great 
genius. This was perhaps the happiest part of his life ; he was able to 
devote himself in tranquillity to his mighty task, and his leisure hours 
were enlivened with intellectual society and the companionship of his 
friend Deyverdun. At length his residence at Lausanne becoming i*is- 
agreeable in consequence of the agitation which heralded the outbreak 
of the French Revolution, he returned to London in 1793, and died 
there in the following year. The personal character of Gibbon was 
rather respectable than attractive. Of a cold and somewhat selfish 
disposition, he played a prominent part in the brilliant intellectual 
circle which surrounded Burke and Johnson ; his immense acquirements 
and refined manners rendered his conversation interesting and valuable, 
and his vanity, though concealed by good breeding and knowledge of 
flie world, was not incompatible with generosity and benevolence. 
§ 4. His History of the Decline and Fall of the Roman Bmfire is 

andoubtedly one of the greatest monuments of industry and genius. 
The task he undertook, to give a connected narrative of one of fh» 
most eventful periods in the annals of the world, — 
" Res Romanaa, perituraque tegna," — 

was colossal. It embraced, e^iclusiveof the introductory sketch of Re 
man history from the time of Augustus, of itcelf a noble monument of 
philosophical research, a period of upwards of thirteen centuries, that 
is, from about 180 to 1453 A. D. This immense space included not only 
the manhood and the decrepitude of the Roman Empire, but the irrup- 
tion of the Barbarian nations, the establishment of the Byzantine 
power, the reorganization of the European nations, the foundation of 
the religious and political system of Mahometanism, and the Crusudci. 
The enormous scope of the undertaking rendered indispensable net 
only the most vast and accurate knowledge of the vri'ole range of clas- 
sical, Byzantine, mediieval, and Oriental literature, but such a large- 
ness of view as should give a clear and philosophical acouit of some 
of the greatest religious and social changes that have ei-er trodified the 
destinies of our race; the rise of Christianity, the Mussiilrnqn domin- 
ion. itn4 th? iijstititwns of Feiidsi'sm and Citivsirj'- Nor wjis thu 



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BISTORICAL WRITERS. 
complexity of thu subject less formidable than its extent! while th( 



aiaterials for much of 



e painfully sifted from the 



rubbish of the Byzantine annalists, and the wild exaggerations of tht 
Eastern chroniclers. From this immense chaos were to be deduced 
tight, order, and regularity, and the historian was to be familiar with 
the whole range of philosophy, science, politics, ajid war. Gifibon has 
confessed that his experience of parliamentary tactics and the knowl- 
edge of military affairs which he had acquired in the House of Com 
mons and in the Hampshire militia, had been of signal service to him 
in describing the deliberations of senates and the movements of 
immense armies; for man is everywhere the same, and the historiar 
iwssessed the rare art of bringing home to our sympathies and under 
standing the sentiments and actions of remote ages and distant peo 
pies. Gibbon is one of the most dangerous enemies by whom thi 
Christian faith was ever assailed — he was the more dangerous because 
he was insidious. The following is the plan of his tactics. He does 
not formally deny the evidence upon which is based the structnre of 
Christianity, but he Indirectly includes that system in the same cate- 
gory with the mythologies of paganism. The rapid spread of Chris- 
tianity he explains by merely secondary causes; and in relating the 
disgraceful corruptions, persecutions, and superstitions which so soon 
supplanted the pure morality of the primitive church, he leads the 
reader to consider these less as the results of human crime, folly, and 
ambition, than as the necessary consequences of the system itself. He 
either did not or would not distinguish between the farceque and 
quoique; and represents what is In reality an ahuee as an inevitable 
consequence. Byron well described him as 



But the accusations of having intentionally distorted facts Dr garbled 
authorities he has refuted in the Vindication in which he replied to his 
opponents. In the full and complete references and quotations with 
which he scrupulously fortifies his assertions find his deductions, we see 
a panoply which offers few weak places to the aflicrsary. The delib- 
erate opinion of Guizot, whom no one can accuse of indifference to 
religion, will be conclusive as to Gibbon's merit on this point. Hla 
style is remarkably pompous, elaborate, and sonoious : originally arti- 
ficial, it had gradually become the natural garb of 1 lis thoughts. In 
the antithetical and epigrammatic structure of his phiases, and In :he 
immense preponderance of the Latin over the Teutonic element in hit 
diction. Gibbon is the least English of all our writers of the Grsl class i 
and the ease with which whole pages of his writings may be translated 
almost without a change of words or grammar, into French, render 
credible the statement of his having for some time hesitated whether 
to compose his work in that language or his mother-tongu:?. He was 
so fastidious In his search after elegance, that to avoid the repetition, 
*X close intervals, of a name or evput. he is apt, eacrt thne it occur* 



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k. £». ij<)9-t7S4.] SAMUEL JUfTmON. 839 

Hll;r the first, to express it by a periphrasis or an incidetiiiil allusion. 
to understand which oftea demands from the reader a degree of knowl' 
ed^e which few readers possess, and this is sometimes the cause of 
obscurity. His descriptions of events, as of battles, of nations, of 
individual characters, are wonderfully life-like and animated i and h.s 
chief sill against good taste is a somewhat too gorgeous and highly- 
colJred tone. His imagination was sensuous, and he dwells with 
({reater enthusiasm upon material grandeur than upon moral eleva- 
tion ; for his moral susceptibilities do not appear of a very lofty order. 
He had in common with Voltaire a peculiar and most offensive delight 
in dwelling upon scandalous and immoral stories, and this tendency, 
which in Yoltaire's light and fleering style is less repulsive, becomes 
doubly odious when exhibited in combination with Gibbon's solemn 
and majestic language. 

g 5. Perhaps the most etrilting figure in the social and literary history 
of this period is tliat of Samuel Johnson (1709-1784). His career was 
eminentiy that of a man of letters; and the slow and laborious efforts 
by which, in spite of every obstacle, personal as well as material, he 
raised himself to the highest intellectual supremacy present a spectacle 
equally instructive to us and honorable to him. He was born in 1709, 
the son of a learned, but poor and struggling provincial bookseller m 
Lichfield ; and be eshibited, from his very childhood, the same singular 
union of mental power and constitutional indolence, ambition and hyp- 
ochondriacal gloom, which distinguished him through life. He was 
disfigured and half blinded by a scrofulous disorder, which seamed and 
deformed a face and figure naturally imposing, and at the same time 
afflictedhimwithstrange and involuntary contorlions, reacting also upon 
his mind and temper, and making him sombre, despondent, and iiTita- 
ble. In the various humble seminaries, where he received his early 
education, he unfailingly took the first place ; and being assisted by a 
benevolent patron with the means of studying at the University, he car- 
ried to Pembroke College, Oxford, an amount of scholarship very rare 
at his age. Here he remained about three years, remarkable for the 
-oughnesB and uncouthness of his manners, and no less for his wit and 
insubordination, as well as for that sturdy spirit of independence which 
made him reject with indignation any offer of assistance. The story of 
his throwir,g away a pair of new shoes, which some one, pitying the 
poverty of the ragged student, had placed at his door, is striking, and 
even pathetic. His father's affairs being in hopeless confusion, and the 
pron.ises af assistance not being fulfilled, he was obliged to leave the 
UnWersily without a degree ; and receiving, at his father's death, only 
Ml. as hii share of the inheritanci , he abandoned it to his mother's use, 
for he was ever a most dutiful and generous son, and entered upon tlie 
hard cancer of teacher and usher in various provincial schools. For 
success in this profession he was equally unfitted by his person, hia 
nature, and the peculiar character of hia mind and acquirements ; and 
after unsuccessfully attempting to keep a school himself at Edial, neat 
IJchfield, he began that tremendous struggle with la'oor and want, which 



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4S* sfoliA/, wniTMt lChap. xvni, 

continued during thirty jeare. His first literarj undertaking was n 
translation of Father Lobo's Travels in AbyssitiLl, but his hopes l>( 
success meeting- with little but disappointment, he determined to launch 
upon the great ocean of J-ondon literary life. In 1736 he had married 
Mrs. Porter, a widow old enough to be his mothei, but whom, notwith- 
standing her defects of person and cultivation, he always loved with the 
energy of his masculine and affectionate character. In 1737 he trav 
elled to London in company with David Garrick, one of Ihe few pupil, 
he had had under his charge at Edial, who was destined, in anothe; 
palh, to follow a brilliant career. Garrick's ambition was to appear an 
the stage, where he speedily took the first place, and Johnson carried 
with him the unfinished MS. of his tragedy /re«e. Without fori me, 
without friends, of singularly uncouth and forbidding exterior, Johnsjii 
•intered upon the career — then perhaps at its lowest ebb of profit and 
respectability— of ft bookseller's hack, r,r literary drudge. He became 
a contributor to divei-s journals, and particularly to the Gentleman'i 
Magazine, then carried on by its founder, Cave; and as an obscure 
laborer for the press he furnished criticisms, prefaces, translations, in 
short all kinds of humble literary work, and ultimately supplied reports 
of the proceedings in Parliament, though the names of the speakers, in 
obedience to the law which then rendered it penal to reproduce the 
debates, were disguised under imaginary titles. He first emerged into 
popularity in 1738, by the publication of his satire entitled London, ait 
admirable paraphrase or reproduction of the thirteenth satire of Juve- 
nal, in which he adapts the sentiments and topics of the gre.it Roman 
poet to the neglect of letters in London, and the humiliations which an 
honest man must encounter in a societywhere foreign quacks and native 
scoundrels could alone hope for success. During this miserable and 
obscure portion of his career, when he dined in 3 cellar upon sixpenny- 
worth of meat and a pennjTvorth of bread, when he signed himself, in 
a note to his employer, "yours, impransus, S. Johnson," when his rag- 
ged coat and torn shoes made him ashamed to appear at the table of 
his publisher, and caused him to devour his dinner behind a screen, he 
retained ali his native dignity of mind and severe honesty of principle. 
There is something afi'ecting in the picture of this great and noble mine 
laboring on through toil and distress which would have crushed mos' 
men, and which, though it roughened his manners, only intensified hJ! 
humanity, and augmented his self-respect. In 1744 he published tlit' 
Life of Savage, that unhappy poet whose career was so extraordinary 
and whose vices were not less striking than his talents. Johnson had 
known him well, and they had often wandered supperless and homeless 
Fibout the streets at midnight. The vigorous and manly thought e.'t- 
oressed in Johnson's sonorous language rendered this biography popu- 
Ur ; but the improvement in the author's circumstances was very tardv 
in making its appearance : no literary life was ever a more correct exem- 
plification than that of Johnson, of the truth of his own majestic line ; 
" Slow rises worth by poverty depressed." 
\ 6. During the eight yeais extending from 1747 to 1755 Johnson wh! 



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A, t>, 1709-1784.] SAMt/Mt J-Oltmoif. 338 

engaged ii. the execution of his laborious undertaking, the compilation 
of his great Dictionary of the English Language, which long occu- 
pied the place among us of the Dictionary of the Academj' in France 
and Spain, The etymological part of this great work, in consequence 
of Johnson sharing the then almost universal ignorance of the Teu- 
tonic languages, is totally without value; but the accuracy and com- 
preliensiveness of the definitions, and above all the interesting quota 
tions adduced to exemplify the different senses of the words, render it a 
l)00k that may always be read with pleasure. The compilers of thi" 
French and Spanish Dictionaries do, indeed, quote passages, in sup- 
port of the meanings they assign to words, from the great classical 
writers of tlieir respective literature ; but these quotations have no fur- 
tlicr interest, or even sense, than is necessary to exhibit the particulai 
meaning of the word illustrated, while Johnson's are either some strik- 
ing passage of poetry and eloquence, or some historical fact or scieo- 
tificasiom or definition. Thus a page of Johnson's Dictionary always 
gratifies a curiosity quite independent of mere philological research, 
When we think of this solitary scholar with painful industry compiling 
a great national work, at least not inferior to productions which in 
other countries have occupied the attention of learned and richly en- 
dowed societies during a great number of years, we cannot but fed 
deep admiration for our counbyman. While engaged in this laboriout 
task he diverted his mind by the publication of the Vanity of Human 
Wishes, a companion to his London, being a similar imitation of the 
tenth satire of his Roman prototype. This is written in a loftier, more 
solemn and declamatory style than the preceding poem, and is a fine 
specimen of Johnson's dignified but somewhat gloomy rhetoric. The 
illustrations, drawn fram history, of the futility of those objects which 
men sigh for, literary, military, or political renown, beauty, wealth, 
long life, or splendid alliances, Johnson has reproduced witti kindred 
vigor; but he has added several of his own, where he shows a power 
and grandeur in no sense inferior to that of Juvenal. Thus to the 
striking picture of the fall of Sejanus, related with such grim humor 
by the Roman satirist, Johnson has added the not less impressive pic- 
ture of the disgrace of Wolsey, and his episode of Charles XII. is no 
unworthy counterpart to the portrait of Hannibal. At about the sam« 
time Johnson brought out upon the stage, principally through the 
friendly interest of Garriclt, who was now the principal theatrical man- 
eger, the tragedy of Irene, which had long been in vain awaiting f'e 
ivportun-ty of representation. Its success was insignificatit, and indei'd 
could not have been otherwise, for the plot of the piece is totally devrid 
jf interest and probability ; there is no discrimination of character, nc 
piinling of passion, and the work consist'! of a series of lofty moral 
Reclamations in Johnson's labored and rhetorical slyle. 

% 1. Johnson founded, and carried on alone, two periodical papers 
m Ihe style that Addison and Steele had rendered so popular. These 
weie the Idler, which lasted but a short Ume, and the Rambler, appear- 
ng twir« a week and sold at a low price. The ease, grace, pleasantly, 



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'oo MORAL WSITERS. [Chap. XVlil, 

Slid variety which gave such charm to the Tatter and Spectator aw 
totally incompatible with the heavy, antithetical, ponderous manner of 
Johnson ; and his good sense, piety, and sombre tone of morality are 
but a poor substitute for the mile ingeniiint and knowledge of the world 
displayed in his models. Yet though bearing every mark of labor, 
Johnson's essays were written with great rapidity, and often despatched 
to the prcsj without revisa!. This species of periodical ess ay -writing, 
which exerted so powerful an influence on taste and manners in thfl 
eighteenth century, may be said to terminate with the Rambler, though 
continued with gradually increasing want of originality by other writers, 
till it finally died out with Hawkesworth, Moore, and Bonneli Thorn 
ton,* the former of whom was but a feeble mimic of the Johnsonian 
manner. Johnson's mother died in 1759, and he wrote with extraor- 
dinary rapidity, and for the purpose of raising funds for her funeral, 
his once-celebrated moral tale, Sasselas, Prince of Abyssinia. The 
manners and scenery of this story are neither those of Oriental nor 
of any other known country, and the book is little else but a series of 
dialogues and reflections, embodying the author's ideas oc an immense 
variety of subjects connected with art, literature, society, and philoso ■ 
phy, and his lofty, but gloomy and discouraging principles of etliicB 
and reli^on. It has sometimes been fanu fully contested with the 
Candide of Voltaire and indeed it would be d fticult to find two nearly 
contemporary works pre'ient ng a more complete infagonism in ten- 
dency and manner 

At various periods of his career fohnson hid gnen to the world 
several political pamphlets generally di tinguished for the nolence 
with which arbitrary doctrines are maintained and for i strange mix- 
ture of sense and vigor and narrow prejudice. Thus he was an ardent 
opponent of the rights of the American colonies to revolt againsl 
oppression, and through his whole life exhibited an ardent advocacy 
of extreme Tory doctrines, singularly at variance with his liberality in 
other respects. It was not till 1762, when the philosopher had reached 
the age of fifty- three, that he emei^d from the constant poverty which 
had hitherto almost overwhelmed him, and against which he had so 
valiantly struggled. At the accession of George III. the government 
hoped to gain popularity by showing some favor to art and letters ; and 
Jobnson, who now occupied an honorable and leading position as it 

• John Hawxesworth (1715-1773) edited The Adventurer, wliieh appeared 
twite ft week from 1762 to 175*. Hawkesworth also translated Telemachns, aiil 
mote an aooount of Captain Cook's voyages. 

BiiWABD MOOEB (1712-1757) edited The World, which appSKid weekly from 
1793 to 1756, and in which hs was assisted by Lord Ljttelton, the Earl of Chea 
terBeld, Horace Walpole, and othf r distinguished literary men. Moore likewise 
wrote B tragedy eniled The Gamester. 

BONNELL Thornton (172t-176B) wrote, in conjunction with his friend George 
Colmatt the elder. The Ca imoiisew, which appeared from 1754 to 1756 Thornton 
iras thg author of several other works ; but he is best fcnoira by his translation 
rf FUutuB, which he omde ia CDnjuii«tion with Warner and Colman. 



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A. D. 1740-1795-] JAMES BOSWEIL. 3fl7 

moralist and poet, was gratified by Lord Bute with a puiision of 300/, 
a jeiir. Johnson now found himself, for the first time in his lift;, placed 
above want, and was able to indulge not onlj his constitutional indo- 
lence, but tnat noble charity and benevolence which transformed his 
dwelling into a sort of asylum for helpless indigence. In spite of 
his own poverty he had maintained under his roof a strange assembly 
nf pensioners on his bounty, whose only claims upon him were their 
Infirmities and their distress. There was Anna Williams, a blind 
poetess, Mrs. Uesmoulins, and Levett, a sort of humble practitioner of 
medicine among- the most miserable classes of London ; and a thousand 
mecdotes are related of the generosity of Johnson to these inmates, 
with whose quarrels and repinings he bore, and over whom he watched 
with unreiax.ng kindness. 

S 8. At this period of hie life Johnson became acquainted with 
James Boswbu. (1740-1795), whose biography of the old sage is per- 
Laps the most perfect and interefi6ng account of a literary life and a 
literary epocn wiiicfi the world has yet seen. Boswell was a young 
Scottish advocate of good family and fortune; he belonged to a nation 
which Johnson regarded with unreasonable and almost ludicrous aver 
sion ; he was vain, tattling, frivolous, and contemptible in the highest 
degree, totally deficient both in self-respect, tact, and solidity of princi- 
ple; yet his sincere admiration for Johnson established a lasting 
friendship between these incompatible characters, and Boswell has 
produced not only the most lively and vivid portrait of the person, 
manners, and conversation of Johnson, but the most admirable picture 
of the society amid which he played so brilliant a part. Among the 
most celebrated social meetings of that age of clubs was the society 
founded by Johnson, and in which his friends Reynolds, Burke, Garrick, 
Bishop Percy, Goldsmith, Bennet Langton, Beauclerc, and others, 
were prominent figures. Indeed from its very foundation the most 
distinguished artists, conversers, and men of letters have been mem- 
bers of this club; and Boswell's delight was to record the "wit combats " 
which were incessantly taking place among them, as well as to preserve 
every fragment that he could collect by hearsay and observation, of the 
manners and converse of his idol. Thus he has given us, with a con- 
summate skill only the more astonishing from what we know of his 
character, the most accurate yet lively transcript of the intellectual 
society of Johnson's day. Johnson's powers of conversation were 
extraordinary: he delighted in discussion, and had acquired byconstani 
practice the art of expressing himself with pointed force and elegance, 
while the ponderous antitheses and sesquipedalian diction of hia written 
utjle were replaced by a muscular an9 idiomatic expression which 
foimed an appropriate vehicle for his weighty thoughts, hie apt illus- 
trations, and his immense stores of reading and observation. He often 
argued for victory; and the ingenious paradox and sledge-hammer 
repartees with which he sometimes overwhelmed opposition, are by no 
means the least interesting traits of his wonderful skill in social contest. 
Hardly any subject was broached on which Johnson had not something 



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888 MORAL Wn-ITWRS. [Chap aV^-; 

^genious, if not admirable, to say. This was pei'lie.ps the most brillianl 
snd the happiest portion or his life. He made the a.cquaintani:e of the 
fsmilj' of Thrale, a i-fch brewer and member of the House of Cominons, 
. who, like moat of his contemporarieE, was filled with admiration bj tha 
varied and imposing talents of (he great wit and writer, and whose 
wife was equally famous for her own talents and for the bright intei- 
leclual society she loved to assemble roimd her. At Thcale's houec 
in London, as well as at his luxuiious villa at Streatham, Johnran 
was for many years a frequent and an honored guest. His comfbrtw&ii 
studied, his sickness was nursed, hie coarseness of manner forgiven, 
and down to the time of Thrale's death Johnson enjoyed under his roof 
all that friendship and respect, aided by boundless wealth, could give. 
This connection, which lasted about fourtee g J 1 nson the 

opportunity of frequenting refined society; d th mpany of 
the Thrales he made several excursions to d ft t p t f England, 
and once indeed as far as Paris. He undert If t ly for his 

fame, the task of preparing a new edition of Sh k p nterpriae 

for which he was unfitted not only by his 1 ttl ymp tl y with that 
romantic class of poetry of which Shakspea tl h f presenta- 
tive, but by an almost total want of acquaintance with the writings of 
Shakspe are's age, an accurate knowledge of which is of course a primary 
requisite for any one who wishes to explain the obscm-ities of the poet. 
The edition, with the exception of an occasional happy remark, and a 
sensible selection from the commentaries of preceding annotators, is 
quite unworthy of Johnson's reputation. In 1773 Johnson undertook, 
in company with his friend Boswell, an expedition to the Hebrides, a 
journey which would in those days have appeared almost as enterpris- 
ing as would now an exploration of the interior of Africa; and this 
voyage not only enabled him to make acquaintance with Scotland and 
the Scots, and thus to dissipate many of his old prejudices against the 
country and the people, but gave him the opportunity of exercising his 
observation and curiosity on a region entirely new to him and rarely 
visited by travellers. The volume in which he gives an account of his 
impressions contains many interesting and characteristic passages. 
HH last work of any consequence, and which is also unquestionably his 
best, was the Lives of the Poets, originating in the proposal made to 
him by several publishers that he should write a few lines of biographi' 
cal and critical preface to the collected works of the English poets, of 
which they were preparing an edition. Johnson accepted tl.e task, but 
the work far outgrew the limits originally proposed, and he furnished 
an invaluable series of literary portraits. Unfortunately the plan alto- 
gether excluded the greatest pSet^s that our literature has produced, and 
admitted no names, excepting tiiose of Milton, Butler, Dryden, and 
Pope, which can be ranked in the first, or even very high in the second 
class. It seemed as if the pian had been purposely designed to emiiraee 
what was undoubtedly the least poetical epoch of our literature. But 
Johnrjjn performed his task with such skill, and poured forth so abun- 
ditntly the stores of his sound sense and acute reflection, that thete Hvci 



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A t> i?3i-i79?] EDMun) BUttkE. 383 

are not only one of the mo=t amusing books in the L.giiasje, but 
contain, in spite of the nanowness of the author's literary creed, in- 
numerable pihboges of the happiest and most original criticism, 
particularly in the apprec ation of those writers who, belonging to 
what is tailed the clas-^ical or aitificial school, exhibit character! st?iB 
which Johnoon wis capible of appreciating. His leraarks upon tba 
poetrj of Cowiej Wallei and Pope are admirable; and his imraeiise 
knowledge of life and sh-irp and weighty sense, have filled hia page* 
with fttnlting and valuable observations. He incorporated witli this 
•ork his previously written Life of Savage; and on comparing the ftylfl 
jf this book with his preceding productions, we are struck by its com- 
parative freedom from that pompous and rhetorical tone which 
•iisfigures his earlier prose-writings, in wliicli the abuse of antithesis; 
f f Ily b I d d f tl mpl ym t f I g Latin- 

d dhdb d f I ttjtfyhwt gbeing 

d d th t tl dm E gl h I 784 th g d m n and 

growrtddf ffg Ifmdpyda com- 

p! t f d d d t I g t fl t th t th morbid 

dl-ntlyphd hrr fdhwhhhdtmted him 

dghhl w dthfl fh strong 

1 g t t d t th pp 1 f 1 t h had so 

dddtcald t hyf db volent 

h t F Iteym h jyd midfnceas 

)h bthh tu dhdfthtit dhw knesscs, 

contributed to make him the king of hie circle ; and it is less a matter 
of Burpri»» that the hardships of his early life should have left a stamp 
of coarseness and ferocity upon his manners and demeanor, than thai 
the causes which made him rough and bearish in argument, and care- 
less of the minor decencies of social intercourse, should never have 
sullied the undeviating purity of his moral principles, nor diminished 
the tenderness of his heart. He was a singular mixture of prejudice 
and liberality, of scepticism and credulity, of bigotry and candor; and 
with that paradoxical strangeness which pervades all his personality, 
we know him better, and admire him more, in the unadorned records 
which Boswell has given of his conversational triumphs, than in tlioij 
ihetorical and elaborate writings which his contemporaries thought so 
magnificent, but which more recent generations seem likely to condemn 
to comparative oblivion. 

§ 9. Tlie name of Edmund Burke (1731-1797) has already occurred 
iiio;-e tlian once as connected with Johnson and the accoiaplished liter- 
nry society of that day. Burke was a man of powerful and versatile 
ijeniiis, carrying the fervor and imagery of a great orator into philo- 
sophical di!cussion, and uniting in himself the highest qualities of the 
statesman, the writer, and the philosopher. His predominant quality 
was a burning and dazzling enthusiasm for whatever object attracted 
his sympathies, and in the service of this enthusiasm he impressed all 
llie disciplined forces of his learning, his logic, and his historical and 
political knowledge. His mind resembled the Puritan regiments of 



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S40 POLiridAl WRiTmS. [Chap. XVIII 

Liomwell whiLii moved to bittJe with the pietisioii of iiiiiUi nt' «hilii 
burning with the fiercest aidor of fanaticism His s>mpath es were 
indeed generally excited b; generoi s p tj for m bfortune and horroi 
at cruelty and miustice but ^s in the case of his riipt ire with Foi 
his splei did orttoriLal displ ly m the impeachment of Wnrren Hastings 
and bio fdrious denunciation of the French Re\ oliition the i ery eucesa 
of h B tcnde iie=s made him auel and the vehemence of his dete= 
tnticii of in J6t ce made him unjust He was the son of a Dublii) 
(Korrey tame eirly to England to study law but commenced hi 
career a= a miscellaneous writer in inagizmes He wis the founder 
Bnd fiist a thoi of the Annual Register a useful epitome of pthticil 
ind geneia! lacti and gained his first reputation by hia E-:say on tit 
Suhhme and Beaut fill a ihort trea jse m which ingenuity is more per 
ceptible than solidity of reasoning, and he became one of the most 
constant and brilliant ornaments of the club where Johnson, Reynolds, 
and Goldsmith used to assemble. Burke's powers of conversation 
were most extraordinary; his immense and varied stores of knowledge 
were poured forth in language unequalled for its splendor of illustration ; 
and Johnson, jealous as he was of his own social supremacy, confessed 
that in Bucke he encountered a fully equal antagonist. Burke's political 
career commenced as Secretary to Hamilton in Ireland, and he was 
afterwards attached in the same capacity to Lord Rockingham. He 
sat in the House of Commons successively for Wendover, Bristol, and 
Malton, and was one of the most prominent debaters during the agi- 
tated period of the American War and the French Revolution. He 
formed part of more than one ministry, and was successively either in 
power or in oppositioa in the successive administrations of Rocking- 
ham, North, Grenville, and others, For a short time he held the 
lucrative post of Paymaster of the Forces in (he Rockingham cabinet. 
The culminating points of hia political life were his share in the famous 
India Bill, which was to entirely change the administration of our 
Eastern dependencies, and in the trial of Warren Hastings, which 
ksted from 1786 to 1795, and terminated with the acquittal of the ac- 
( used. In this majestic and solemn scene, where a great nation sat in 
public j'udgment upon a great criminal, Burke played perhaps tht 
most prominent part 1 he was one of the managers of the impeachment 
in the name of the Commons, and his speech is one of the subliraesl 
philippics that ancient or modern oratory can show. He had heatprl 
his imagination in contemplating the vast, gorgeous, and picturesque 
nations and history of the East, and his almost morbid philanthnipy 
was intensified by the consciousness of hie proud position as a defender 
of ancient and oppressed populations before the venerable bar of his- 
tory and the English people. It is curious to observe how gradually 
his speeches and writings increase in vividness of coloring and in 
intensity of passion as he advanced in life : h,e powerful mind almost 
lost its balance under the shock of that bitter disappointment caused 
by the h^irrors of the French Revolution, in which his unrivalled polit- 
ical sagacity could foresee nothing but "inmingled evil. The Reign of 



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A. D. 1731-1797.] .mjflUS. 341 

'Terror transformed Burke from a constitutional Whig into -i Torj', bui 
at tlie same time animated his genius to some of its moe ; unrivalled 
bursts of eloquence. The close of this great and good m8^'s life was 
melancholy; the loss of his son, a youth of great promise, crushed ail 
his hopes, and elicited one of the noblest monuments of pathetic ora- 
tory. His finest written compositions are his ZeWej-io b iVoi/eiori/, 
in which he defends himself against the aspersions of the Duke of 
Dedford, who had attacked him for accepting a pension, his Refleciit^m 
en the French Revolution, and his Letter on a Regicide Peace. In 
I'nrl lament, though his speeches were perhaps unequalled for splei doi 
of illustration, for an almost supernatural acuteness of political fore- 
sight, and for the profoundest analysis of constitutional principles, he 
was often less popular than mjiny inferior debaters : he spoke over (he 
heads of his audience, but he will ever be regarded as one of the great- 
est orators and statesmen of any age or coiintr)'. 

§ 10. The last half of the eighteenth century was a very gloomj 
and agitated crisis. The dispute between Great Britain and her Amer- 
ican colonies, the lowering and ominous looming of the great revolu- 
tionary tempest of France, and many internal subjects of dissensioc 
involving important constitutional questions, rendered the politicil. 
atmosphere g-Ioomy and thunder-charged. From about the beginning 
of 1769, and with occasional interruptions down to 1773, there appeared 
in the " Public Advertiser," one of the leading London journals, then 
published by Woodfall, a series of Letters for the most part signed 
yunius. They exhibited so much weight and dignity of style, and so 
minute an acquaintance with the details of party tactics, and breathed 
such a lofty tone of constitutional principle, combined with such a bit- 
terness, and even ferocity, of personal invective, that their influence was 
unbounded. Government made the most violent, but fruitless efforts 
to discover the writer, and Woodfall submitted to severe punishment, 
though there is every reason to believe that he too was kept in perfec) 
ignorance of the real name of his correspondent. The chief objects of 
the attack of Junius were the Dukes of Grafton and Bedford, and he 
strongly pronounced himself against the infringement of constitutional 
'ihertv in the ejtpuleion of Wilkes from the House of Commons and tht 
4ri/ure of his papers but the concealed writer does not confine him- 
self to great public quest on« but exhibits minute knowledge of dis 
pi tta and intrigues m the subordinate depii tment of the War-oiBce 
ind show all the rancor of a man who felt him'jelf personally ag- 
gneied The whole annals of politic tl contioieisj ehow nothing si 
h tter and teniblea" thepeiBonahtes and invCLtiies of ynnfBj, whicl' 
are rendered moie foimidabie by the lofty dignity of the language, aim 
by tlie moderate and constitutional principles which he professes lo 
maintain. These letters will always be regarded as masterpieces iii 
their particular style. Many efforts, some very learned, ingenious, 
and elaborate, have been employed to clear up the riddle of the real 
authorship of these letters ; but the enigma still remains one of the 
TnOKt mysterious in the history of lette-s, Burke, Hamilton, Frpi!?!?. 



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S42 POLITICAL WRITERS. [Chap. XVIII 

Lyttelton, and Lord George Sackville, have been siid'esslvely fixed 
upon as the writer ; and the mingled glory and ehame — glory for the 
lii^ merits of the composition, and shame for the atrocious spirit of 
i;alumny — have been transported by successive demonstrations to one 
or to the other. Among the numerous claimants to the doubtful honor 
Sir Philip Franci? appears to have the strongest suffrages : the opinion 
of Macaulay, whose knowledge of the history of the lime was unrivalled, 
is unconditionallj in favor of Francisi but a recent investigator hw 
(nought for^vard som.'? Jiigenious arguments In favor of Lyttelton. Il 
ij hardly probable that this curious and much-vexed question will no* 
sver be settled by anything more conclusive than more or less strong 
presumptive evidence; and the authorship of the Letters of yuniui 
will remain a singular example of an unsolved political mystery, like 
thoMan in the Iron Mask or the Em 
may be, the letters themselves will e 
but fiert'esi political invective. 

§ 11. Adam Smith (1723-1790) ws 
science of Political Economy. He w 
a high degree that aptitude for moral, metaphysical, and economic 
investigation which seems to be so general in his country. He was 
successively Professor of Logic and of Moral Philosophy in the Uni- 
versity of Glasgow. At one period of his life he lectured with success 
at Edinburgh on rhetoric and belles lettres, and was persuaded to travel 
with the young Duke of Buccleuch, whose education he superintended. 
His most important work is the Inquiry into the Nature and Causes 
of the Wealth 0/ Nations, the fruit of ten years of study and investi- 
gation, and which laid the foundation for modern economic science, 
ft was the first systematic treatise produced in England upon a most 
important subject, and though not free from erroneous deductions, was 
ihe most valuable contribution ever made to a science then almost in 
Its infancy, and which was destined, thanks in a great measure to his 
clear and logical reasoning and abundant and popular illustration, to 
exert an immense and beneficial influence on legislation and commerce. 
The fundamental principles taught by Adam Smith are chiefly, that 
gold and silver are by no means wealth either to individuals or com- 
munities, being only symbols and conventional representatives of 
\alue; that labor is the true source of riches, and that any state inlec- 
ference with the distribution or production of commodities can only 
nggravate the evils it is intended to cure. He was the first to show, by 
ipt and picturesque illustration, the wonderful results of the division 
if labor, both as regards the quantity and quality of the product. His 
moral and metaphysical theories are now nearly forgotten, but his 
Iagn:iy will ever remain the alphabet or text-book of the important 
scienc* of which he was the pioneer. 

g 12. Something similar to what Adam Smith performed for political 
economy. Sir Wili.iam Bla<kstonk (1723-1780) did fa ■ the vast and 
lomplicated study of the Constitution and the Laws of England. We 
WSS by professioii a, Iflivyer, though lie mingled a strong taste for elf 



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A. D. 1743-1805J BLACKSTOSE. BUTLER. PALEY. 3i8 

(jant iterature with the graver studies of his profession : an.i he ulti- 
mately became a Justice of the Common Pleas. His Commentaries oa 
the La-ws of England gave the first example of a systematic work 
combining and popularizing all the elementary and historical knowl- 
edge requisite for the studyi and this book, which is written in a eingu- 
larlj easy and pleasant style, is the groundwork of every legal education, 
nay, the accidence, so to 5ay,.of the grammar of English law. Nunier- 
oils editions have been published, bringing up the work to the exislir g 
slate of legal knowledge, and showing such modifications as from tiije 
to time have been made in our legislation ; and Blackstone's Cammea- 
lanes sUll continue the best and completest outline of the history and 
piinciples of English law. The great questions of right and property 
which lie at the bottom of all social organization are lucidly treated, 
and the mingled web of Teutonic, Feudal, Parliamentary, and Ecclesi- 
astical legislation Is carefully unravelled and disposed with luminoue 
distinctness. 

§ 13. The most prominent names in the English theological philoso- 
nhy of the eighteenth century are those of Bishop Butler. (1692-1J51) 
and William Palev (1743-1805)- The former is more remarkable foi 
the severe and coherent logic with which he demonstrates his conclu- 
sions, the latter for the consummate skill with which he populariwd 
the abstruser arguments of his predecessors. Butler's principal work 
is his Analogy between Natural and Revealed Religion, in which, neg- 
lecting the question of the historical credibility of the miracles, he 
examines into the resemblance between the existence and attributes of 
God, as proved by arguments drawn from the works of Nature, and 
shows that that existence and those attributes are in no way incompat- 
ible with the notions conveyed to us by Revelation. The writings of 
Butler have filled the greatest thinkers with admiration, and their studj 
has contributed tJ form some of the most accomplished dialecticians ; 
but the closeness of his reasoning, which necessitates an unusual degree 
Of attention and a rare faculty of following his analysis, places his 
writings out of the reach of ordinary readers. His moral theory is 
mainly based upon the existence, in every mind, of a guiding and test- 
ing principle of conscience, furnishing an infallible and supreme 
criterion of the goodness or vriekedness of our actions. 

Many of Butler's arguments are rendered more accessible in the easy 
and animated pages of Paley, who was, like Butler, an ornament of the 
Church. His books are numerous, and all excellent : the principal of 
them are Elements of Moral and Political Philosophy, the Horit 
Paulina, the Evidences of Christianity, and the wonderful production 
uf his old age, the Treatise on Natural Theology. It will be seen from 
the titles of these books over what an immense extent of moral B:id 
theological philosophy Paley's mind had travelled; for in the first of 
the above books he investigates the prindples of human action whethei 
exhibited in the individual or the community; in the second he exam 
ines questions of spedSc theology by the light of Scripture ; and in the 
third he demonstrates the inherent credibility of the Chrislian snii'acleBi 



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'*^ POLITICAL WRITERS. [Chap. XVIII. 

and of tlie iiisplied narrativt of those miracles, defending them agalnsl 
the arguments of BcepJdsm, and in particular against the scepticism 
of Hume. The Natural Tkeology deduces the existence and the henev- 
olence of God from the evidence afforded by the phenon.ena of nature 
in favor of design, power, and beneficence: and to supply himself with 
materials, Paley studied physiology, and has described the structure 
■nd functions of animated beings with a vivacity and a knowledge tint 
g.ve him a very honorable place among writers on anatomy. For 
clearness, animation, and easy grace, the style of PaJey has raiely beeu 
equalled. •' 

§ 14. If the palm of merit is to be awarded less to the pretension of 
u literary work than to a universal popularity arising from a consum- 
mate chami of execution, then the fame ofGiLBEux White (1730-1793) 
IS to be coveted little less eagerly than that of Izaak Walton Th- 
greater portion of his life was passed in the sequestered village of SeU 
borne, in Hampshire, which he has immortalized in one of the mo6l 
enchanting books in the world. White was educated at Oxford, where 
he became a student of Christ Church, but succeeding to the living of 
Selbome, which had been held by.his father, he devoted his happy and 
tranquil life to the observation of nature. In a series of letters to Pen- 
nant and Daines Harrington, he has registered every phenomenon both 
of animal and vegetable life as well as of scenery and meteorology which 
tame under the eye of a most curious, patient, and loving observer, and 
I thousand details so slight or so familiar as to escape the attention o 
previous naturalists, have been chronicled with exquisite grace, and form 
valuable contributions to science. Every change of weather, every cir- 
cumstance in the habits of birds, beasts, and insects, were noted by him 
with an interest and enthusiasm that captivates the dullest reader ; and 
the Natural History of Selbofnt has made it leist as many naturalist., 
as Robinson Crusoe has made sailors The benevolent playfulness 
which overflows in White's remarks, the pleasant touches of creduhtj, 
as in his obstinate desire to find proofs thit swallows hibeinate under 
water, the intense personality with which he is as'-ocated with the 
leauliftil scenes he loved so well, the ardent fondness for natural objects 
— every feature of his character heightens the charm of this most 'vt 
ci naming book. 



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CaAE.XVIII.1 NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS 



NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 

THEOLOaiCAl. WEITBRS. 
nuMMIBEI Piunmnl (1M»-Ka4), one of 
Ihoi of Uie CInmclitij, of Hit Old raid San 



of Ihe BsptLel body, i 



Dd tLtQ jllilldnariBD docl 
- Theory of the Eatih, 



M ZMvfiK Legtttvyn ^ iSowx^ Uiey or 
Lm tbt Ihe Church, ypt, bj uslduoiu 



Ih dny^ l>1it bb |QV« of 



!. BOBEBI LOWTH (1710-17S7), mcceaalvely 
III of St, Dlvill'i, Oiloca, uud LoDdoD 



Dt Ohrieduilty HUd til 



Db. Jons JOETIH ll6SS-lM0),Probiflidaiyof 81, 

SA\ wbinh 9fe wiltEen Id k strfUngr Lively slyla, 
Dn. lUUHSBD Hdbd (U'aO-lSW), lucccsslvdj 

e PropJrfoIeB, and a iit/fl iff Wi ' 



ail(lJStt-178S),BlaIiopof 



i IXe CVn^lUnm <V Mc OHfcl ,aLiliini, 



o, whlUker lie hud deEierI«d far rhe be] 



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irOTSS AND ILLUSTRATJOSS. [Chap. XVIU 



MCLOaOPHICAI. 
Db, PElNOia HnrouEaoH (leM-lJlT), a at&ie 

BchDol fX UolAphyBicB. In 1?£A hfl publkhed An 



tmaa. (1881-1714), was Uio (onlioirer of Ibe mt- 
twjf nf tingland tun locuniplGte by RapltL 

HENEinOHK, LOBDKiHEB (1698-1782), a law- 
yw, judge, tod ui«nLal r'hUOBoplier, rcfllOcd Iji Ed- 
inbnr^t and Uiaea dtow FOIuid him many of Lbe 
leading LLiijkera and wtlteia, Hbchiof vot^a were 
— »MW en (*e ftinctJM iM* MaralUu and BaU- 



He. aAMBia; cukei (wiHrso), one of a 

abloat TDoTophjalclaJIS Lhal England hafl prodncei 
CoUtge, Clinbridge, and bR»me ohiplainlo Blilic 



plied. He VTOti ao (lie JUamafer^Ht^ aitd i 






dip. Uimy oJ' hiu eiieculAUoor^ uru h>i 



:a EOBBEl', LOED UOBBODDO (iri4-178a|, 
of an Eaiai/oa tit OliffiHaBd l^fogrta^ 



LEU ane-VS!), nai 



■a iif at PrvKipal Qutniaa and Bftl. 
Uarali, 17o8, lo revive tho Ondwonli 



iBmniH TDOKEB (iira-iTHI, I 



raeiisSlitf'JftUiirs Pureu 






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Chap. XVIII.J NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. 



CliilDKiplDMirallimng'. ( 
Bmllb, Uis htiairy into th 



IMJQAU) STEW AST (17S3-1828), 
whose phnosophlul esOnm ho id 
wilh graittlcfiauc* of iljK «'aft I 
Phlloa^phj In Uie TJiJvcrflilj of EdlnburgU ftom 



Lhougllla *on¥eje4 in Ihe liMt manner." 

m. THOMAS BaOWH (mS-lSai), Ulio pupttlj 
liekinga to till neil cenhirj. ii nienUoned horn on 



PhUOaophy at Edinburgh in 



K|17ftI-lJ»),i 



md, WM a Blrone Jaca 
DLBTOB (IdSS-USO), 111 



.i.iAn TdLliG (ini-iioa), 111 
cr Fraser TyUer, tlio anlhoi 



iB BIBUH (17IB-1766), e 



Uogi&ire, and clergymo 



r. elee«"l and perspitiions Btjle, but he oJio 










Ralionallila. 


LOBD nreviT II6M-1748} , the aUhoI of X, 


V ft. B^n >.' Sf=T« K, pnbliBliea flr.t i 


a„doHiK editorship of Mr. Cioher. llcrvey 




afOeorgell., was a ftiend of Lady Mnrj W 


Manlago, sod Ihe aWeM of Pope's severesl sa 


BKnamaofSporas. 


I»« OniMTMr ffisBfU. 1" 23 lols,, «.! (WD 


.'■™--i5-r'— ■•=£. 






a physician, called by Walpole ^'thc hen- 
Kepubllcsn HtifoTU qf Etigtand dvring tit 

lit the style la riguroDB aod popnlar. Kn- 

k on the French GeioluUoo. 

JAU ROBCOE (1T^iS31) Has born in Inveis 

uL aoDD tstlrcd from pnhlio lit^ and etea<liij 
all appllcsHons ^hjcli were made him to 
In 1703 he publlEhed The Li/e ijf Loraat 
W,nhlehi™B one of lh« most pnpulir Botlti 
ay. ThBSIJlBWQsenBy,gtaci«il,andpleaB- 

he SHne ptppulnril)'. There otrt questloni 



lh hid to gUAi4 



1, nooee (d.ii«4!, « 



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NOTES AND ILLUSTRATIONS. LChap. XVIIT, 



puUsBi] at (he ptebelsni [n tlieir IDueglo! n 
POtttcLODB. 
Jacob BBVAiJT<ITU-l§IH).BEcreUuT to Uu 



MISCELLANEOUS WBTTEBS 
K1.D |lim-1773). wag one of tbemoatl 



:ei]U lu ho wai tBBlnn the TilDllj-, si 
ed the fluKl u AB BtiDngly &b fplac^JMlcj. 
JB. GlLBEBT STOiKT (174^-1786). bOi 






imees. He »toloafli«iBvnj'We K^- 
■^Ifffwn jn ^M«Aiju'^ and ■ Hittorn 
In which he «heniently iltocks Rob- 

(EB [A. IK!) awl Dr. Lkiabd lUSE- 



AMon' 4^ i^ii;fc4»^ nil 



nsoN (iZll9-171«}. meDtlau^ 



B Hailm, Sie Djitd Palbympi.1 (liai- 
h'fl* A veil-known lawyer and Judge, n man 
flr of AtuviU effSmtiaaJ^ 



MliBhed in 17r«, ti 



■ ffiKor* 1?^ P4«Si IT., 
BuflBEU. (IH1-1IB3), 1 



Df CheUerMd, were pub. 



a phy^eL^, abd mSded In 



e ZiCe of JOtH BmaHe, Btf.. ^7^S^M. This I 



Pijirerally Coliege. Oifcnl, 
< 1774, and waa apjjolnlej In 
Uprenw Court at CakuOs. 

LsBmlEimJiKadiirtK alud- 

LoHcarcheB," WlHlehilndia 

sa. and Ihe Ht(oj»iil«B, a 

cobb^ning a ftw OLigina] iikoes. an4 

pn of A poultetct naaied noino^ Ha i^ 
iducatton at WsBUninBler. Elon, aod St 

iclf Into llifl greal T'OlilfeaT nemgglei of 

rBfiigned his pret^miBnt in (he church, In 



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CHAP.XVm.j yOTES and rLLUSTKATIONS. ', 

Tng the latter iwit of Uie ^ghtiWDth cfi 



he EngHsb leneusg?, botlnnii 



DD. InoiUBD FlBURS (173}-im), \ 
'EmiD