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mind; for this new form of writing is Such is the new-born art. Those the result of superior reflection, which, who have ideas, now possess an instru. governing the primitive impulse, calcu- ment capable of expressing them. Like lates and selects with an end in view. che Italian painters, who in fifty years At last the intellect has grown capable had introduced or discovered all the of self-criticism, and actually criticises technical tricks of the brush, English itself. It corrects its unconsidered writers, in half a century, introduce or works, infantine and incoherent, at discover all the artifices of language, once incomplete and superabundant; it period, elevated style, heroic verse, strengthens and binds them together ; soon the grand stanza, so effectually, t prunes and perfects them ; it takes that a little later the most perfect versi. from them the master idea, to set it fiers, Dryden, and Pope himself, says free and to show it clearly. This is Dr. Nott, will add scarce any thing to what Surrey does, and his education the rules, invented or applied, which had prepared him for it ; for he had were employed in the earliest efforts, studied Virgil as well as Petrarch, and Even Surrey is too near to these translated two books of the Æneid, authors, too constained in his models, almost verse for verse. In such com- not sufficiently free; he has not yet felt pany a man cannot but select his ideas the fiery blast of the age; we do not and connect his phrases. After their find in him a bold genius, an impasexample, Surrey gauges the means of sioned writer capable of wide expan striking the attention, assisting the sion, but a courtier, a lover of elegance intelligence, avoiding fatigue and weari- who, penetrated by the beauties of two
He looks forward to the last finished literatures, imitates Horace line whilst writing the first. He keeps and the chosen masters of Italy, corthe strongest word for the last, and rects and polishes little morsels, aims shows the symmetry of ideas by the sym- at speaking perfectly fine language. metry of phrases. Sometimes he guides Amongst semi-barbarians he wears a the intelligence by a continuous series of full dress becomingly. Yet he does contrasts to the final image ; a kind of not wear it completely at his ease: he sparkling casket, in which he means to keeps his eyes too exclusively on his deposit the idea which he carries, and models, and does not venture on frank to which he directs our attention from and free gestures. He is sometimes the first. * Sometimes he leads his as a school-boy, makes too great use of reader to the close of a long flowery 'hot' and 'cold,' wounds and martyrdescription, and then suddenly checks dom. Although a lover, and a genuine him with a sorrowful phrase.t He one, he thinks too much that he must arranges his process, and knows how be so in Petrarch's manner, that his Lo produce effects; he uses even clas- phrase must be balanced and his image sical expressions, in which two subtan- kept up. I had almost said that, in tives, each supported by its adjective, his sonnets of disappointed love, he are balanced on either side of the verb. I thinks less often of the strength of He collects his phrases in harmonious love than of the beauty of his writing periods, and does not neglect the He has conceits, ill-chosen words ; se lelight of the ears any more than of uses trite expressions; he relates how che mind. By his inversions he adds Nature, having formed his lady, broke force to kis ideas, and weight to his the mould; he assigns parts to Cupid argument. He selects elegant or noble and Venus; he employs the old ma. terms, rejects idle words and redun- chinery of the troubadours and the andant phrases. Every epithet contains cients, like a clever man who wishes to An idea, every metaphor a sentiment pass for a gallant. At first scarce any There is eloquence in the regular mind dares be quite itself: when a new development of his thought ; music in art arises, the first artist listens not to be sustained accent of his verse. his heart, but to his masters, and asks
himself at every step whether he be * The Prailty and Hurtfulness of Beauty, setting foot on solid ground, or whe
Description of Spring. A Vow to love ther he is not stumbling. faithfully. * Complaint of the Lover dia laimed.
* Surrey, ed. Nott.
with the hilt af teir swords or with
their satin cloaks. They were full of Insensibly the growth became com- life, their heads filled to overflowing ; plete, and at the end of the century and they amused themselves, as our all was changed. A new, strange, sensitive and eager artists do, at their overloaded style had been formed, ease in the studio. They did no destined to remain in force until the speak to convince or be understood Restoration, not only in poetry, but but to satisfy their excited imagination, a'sc in prose, even in ceremonial speech to expend their overflowiag wit.* and theological discourse, * so suitable They played with words, twisted, pu! to the spirit of the age, that we meet them out of shape, enjoyed sudden with it at the same time throughout views, strong contrasts, which they he whale of Europe, in Ronsard and produced one after another, ever and d'Avigné, in Calderon, Gongora, and anon, and in great quantities. They Marini. In 1580 appeared Euphues, cast flower on hower, tinsel on tinsel : the Anatomy of Wit, by Lyly, which every thing sparkling delighted them; was i's text-book, its masterpiece, its they gilded and embroidered and caricature, and was received with plumed their language like their garuniversal admiration.t “Our nation,” ments. They cared nothing for clearsays Edward Blount, "are in his debt ness, order, common sense; it was a for a new English which hee taught festival and a madness; absurdity them. All our ladies were then his pleased them. They knew nothing scollers; and that beautie in court who more tempting than a carnival of could not parley Euphuesme was as splendors and oddities; all was hudlittle regarded as shee which now there dled together: a coarse gayety, a tenspeakes not French.” The ladies knew der and sad word, a pastoral, a soundthe phrases of Euphues by heart: ing flourish of unmeasured boasting, a strange, studied, and refined phrases, gambol of a Jack-pudding. Eyes, ears, enigmatical; whose author seems of all the senses, eager and excited, are set purpose to seek the least natural satisfied by this jingle of syllables, the expressions and the most far-fetched, display of fine high-colored words, full of exaggeration and antithesis, in the unexpected clash of droll or familwhich mythological allusions, reminis- iar images, the majestic roll of wellcences from alchemy, botanical and poised periods. Every one had his astronomical metaphors, all the rubbish own oaths, his elegances, his style. and medley of learning, travels, man
“ One would say,
remarks Heylyn, nerism, roll in a flood of conceits and “:hat they are ashamed of their mothercomparisons. Do not judge it by the tongue, and do not find it sufficiently grotesque picture that' Walter Scott varied to express the whims of their drew of it. Sir Piercie Shafton is but mind.” We no longer imagine this a pedant, a cold and dull copyist; inventiveness, this boldness of fancy, it is its warmth and originality which this ceaseless fertility of nervous sen. give this style a true force and an ac- sibility: there was no genuine prose at cent of its own. You must conceive that time; the poetic flood swallowed it, not as dead and inert, such as we it up. A word was not an exact symhave it to-day in old books, but spring. bol, as with us; a document which ng from the lips of ladies and young from cabinet to cabinet carried a pro lords in pearl-bedecked doublet, quick- cise thought. It was part of a com ened by their vibrating, voices, their plete action, a little drama ; when they laughter, the flash of their eyes, the read it, they did not take it by itselt, motion of their hands as they played but imagined it with the intonation of a
hissing and shrill voice, with the puck* The Speaker's address to Charles II. on his restoration. Compare it with the speech of ering of the lips, the knitting of the M. de Fontanes under the Empire. In each brows, and the succession of pictures case it was the close of a literary epoch.. Read which crowd behind it, and which is for illustration the speech before the University calls forth in a flash of lightning. of Oxford, Athena Oxonienses, i. 193;
His second work, Enphries and his Engen * See Shakspeare's young men, Mercatio lana, appeared in 81.
Each yne mimics and pronounces it in | up an exchange of letters with the his own style, and impresses his own learned Hubert Languet; and withal 2 soul upon it. It was a song, which man of the world, a favorite of Eliza'ike the poet's verse, contains a thou- beth, having had enacted in her honor a sand things besides the literal sense, flattering and comic pastoral; a genand manifests the depth, warmth, and uine“ jewel of the court ; "a judge, sparkling of the source whence it like d'Úrfé, of lofty gallantry and fine Aowed. For in that time, even when language; above all, chivalrous in the man
was feeble, his work lived; heart and deed, who wished to follow there is some pulse in the least pro- maritime adventure with Drake, and, ductions of this age; force and creative to crown all, fated to die an early and are signalize it; they penetrate through heroic death. He was a cavalry offi don bast and affectation. Lyly himself, cer, and had saved the English army 30 fantastic that he seems to write pur- at Gravelines. Shortly after, mortally frosely, in defiance of common sense, wounded, and dying of thirst, as some is at times a genuine poet; a singer, a water was brought to him, he saw by man capable of rapture, akin to Spenser his side a soldier still more desperateand Shakspeare; one of those intro- ly hurt, who was looking at the water spective dreamers, who see dancing with anguish in his face: “Give it to fairies, the purpled cheeks of goddesses, this man,” said he : "his necessity is drunken, amorous woods, as he says : still greater than mine." Do not forget
the vehemence and impetuosity of the Adorned with the presence of my love, middle The woods I fear such secret power shall and kept incessantly on the hilt of the
age; -one hand ready for action As they'll shut up each patt, hide every way, sword or poniard. “ Mr. Molineux,"
Because they still would have her go astray."** wrote he to his father's secretary, "if The reader must assist me, and assist ever I know you to do so much as read himself. I cannot otherwise give him any letter I write to my father, without to understand what the men of this thrust my dagger into you. And trust
his commandment or my consent, I will age had the felicity to experience. two features of this spirit and this adversaries that they “lied in their Luxuriance and irregularity were the to it, for I speak it in earnest.” It was
the same man who said to his uncle's literature,-features common to all the literatures of the Renaissance, but
throat;” and to support his words, more marked here than elsewhere, promised them a meeting in three because the German race is not con
months in any place in Europe. The fined, like the Latin, by the taste for savage energy of the preceding age harmonious forms, and prefers strong that poetry took so firm a hold on these
remains intact, and it is for this reason impression to fine expression. We must select amidst this crowd of poets ;
virgin souls. The human harvest is and here is one amongst the first, who never so fine as when cultivation opens exhibits, by his writings as well as by up a new soil. Impassioned, moreover, his life, the greatness and the folly of melancholy and solitary, he naturally the prevail.ng manners and the public and he was so much the poet, that he
turned to noble and ardent fantasy; taste: Sir Philip Sidney, nephew of
had no need of verse. the Earl of Leicester, a great lord and 1 man of action, accomplished in every the Arcadia ? It is but a recreation, a
Shall I describe his pastoral epic, kind of culture; who after a good sort of poetical romance, written in the training in classical literature, travelled in France, Germany, and Italy; ter ; a work of fashion, which, like
country for the amusement of his sis. read Plato and Aristotle, studied astronomy and geometry at Venice ; but a document. This tind of books
Cyrus and Clélie,* is not a monument, pendered over the Greek tragedies, the Italian sonnets, the pastorals of ton- shows only the externals, the current temayor, the poems of Ronsard; dis- elegance and politeness, the jargon of playing an interest in science, keeping * Two French novels of the age of Louis
XIV., each in ten volumes, and written by * The Maid hor Metamorphosis. Mademoiselle de Scudéry.-Tr.
the fashionable world, --in short, that intermezzo to improbable tragedy which should be spoken before ladies : You are always coming upon dancing and yet we perceive from it the bent of shepherds. They are very courteous the public opinion. In Clélie, oratori- good poets, and subtle metaj, ysicians cal development, delicate and collected Several of them are disguised prince: analysis, the flowing converse of men who pay their court to the princesses. seated quietly in elegant arm-chairs; They sing continually, and get up alle in the Arcadia, fantastic imagination, gorical dances; two bands approach. excessive sentiment, a medley of events servants of Reason and Passion; the which suited men scarcely recovered hats, ribbons, and dress are described trom barbarism. Indeed, in London ir full. They quarrel in verse, an: hey still used to fire pistols at each their retorts, which follow close on one other in the streets; and under Henry another, over-refined, keep up a tour VIII. and his children, Queens, a Pro- nament of wit. Who cared for what tector, the highest nobles, knelt under was natural or possible in this age ? the axe of the executioner. Armed There were such festivals at Elizabeth's and perilous existence long resisted in progresses ;' and you have only to Europe the establishment of peaceful look at the engravings of Sadeler and quiet life. It was necessary to Martin de Vos, and Goltzius, to find change society and the soil, in order to this mixture of sensitive beauties and transform men of the sword into citi- philosophical eniginas. The Countess
The high roads of Louis XIV. of Pembroke and her ladies were de and his regular administration, and lighted to picture this profusion of cos more recently the railroads and the tumes and verses, this play beneath sergents de ville, freed the French from the trees. They had eyes in the six habits of violence and a taste for dan- teenth century, senses which sough gerous adventure. Remember that at satisfaction in poetry—the same satis. this period men's heads were full of faction as in masquerading and paint. tragical images. Sidney's Arcadia ing. Man was not yet a pure reasoner; contains enough of them to supply abstract truth was not enough for him. half-a-dozen epics. “ It is a trifle,' Rich stuffs, twisted about and folded ; says the author; “my young head the sun to shine upon them, a large must be delivered.” In the first meadow studded with white daisies; twenty-five pages you meet with a ship- ladies in brocaded dresses, with bare wreck, an account of pirates, a half- arms, crowns on their heads, instrudrowned prince rescued by shepherds, ments of music behind the trees,--this a journey in Arcadia, various disguises, is what the reader expects; he cares :he retreat of a king withdrawn into nothing for contrasts; he will readily solitude with his wife and children, the accept a drawing-room in the midst of deliverance of a young imprisoned the fields. ord, a war against the Helots, the What are they going to say there? conclusion of peace, and many other Here comes out that nervous exaltathings. Read on, and you will find tion, in all its folly, which is character. princesses shut up by a wicked fairy, istic of the spirit of the age; love rises who beats them, and threatens them to the thirty-sixth heaven. Musidor 19 with death if they refuse to marry her is the brother of Céladon ; Pamela ir scn; a beautiful queen condemned to closely related to the severe heroines perish by fire if certain knights do not of Astrée ; * all the Spanish exaggera. come to her succor ; a treacherous tions abound and all the Spanish false prince tortured for his wicked deeds, hoods. For in these works of fashion then cast from the top of a pyramid ; or of the Court, primitive sentiment fights, surprises, abductions, travels : never retains its sincerity: wit, the in short, the whole programme of the necessity to please, the desire for efmost romantic tales. That is the seri- fect, of spanking better than others, ous element: the agreeable is of a like aller it, influence it, heap up embellisbnature; the fantastic predominates. Improbable pastoral serves, as
* Celadon, a rustic lover in Astrée, a French in
novel in five volumes, named after the hornine Shakspeare or Lope de Vega, for an ano pritten by d'Urfé (d. 1625).--TR.
menis anu rennements, so that nothing carries in his heart and puts into his is left but twaddle. Musidorus wished verse. He is a muser, a Platonist, to give Pamela a kiss. She repels him. who is penetrated by the doctrines of He would have died on the spot; but the ancients, who takes things from a luckily remembers that his mistress lofty point of view, who places the excommanded him to leave her, and finds cellence of poetry not in pleasing efhimself still abls to obey her command. fect, imitation, or rhyme, but in that He complains to the trees, weeps in creative and superior conception by verse : there are dialogues where which the artist creates anew and em Echo, repeatir.g the last word, replies; bellishes nature. At the san e time, duets in rhyme, balanced stanzas, in he is an ardent man, trusting in the which the theory of love is minutely nobleness of his aspirations and in the detailed; in short, all the grand airs of width of his ideas, who puts down the ornamental poetry. If they send a brawling of the shoppy, narrow, vulgar letter to "heir mistress, they speak to Puritanism, and glows with the lofty it, tell the ink: “ Therefore mourne irony, the proud freedom, of a poet boidly, my inke; for while shee lookes and a lord. upon you, your blacknesse will shine :
In his eyes, if there is any art. cry out boldly my lamentation ; for science capable of augmenting and cul while shee reades you, your cries will tivating our generosity, it is poetry is musicke.” * X
He draws comparison after comparison Again, two young princesses are go- between it and philosophy or history, ing to bed : “They impoverished their whose pretensions he laughs and clothes to enrich their bed, which for dismisses.* He fights for poetry as a that night might well scorne the shrine knight for his lady, and in what heroic of Venus; and there cherishing one and splendid style! He says: “I another with deare, though chaste never heard the old Song of Percie embracements; with sweete, though and Douglas, that I found not my cold kisses; it might seeme that love heart moved more than with a trumwas come to play him there without pet: and yet it is sung by some blinde dart, or that wearie of his owne fires, Crowder, with no rougher voyce, than he was there to refresh himselfe be- rude stile ; which beeing so evill aptween their sweete breathing lippes.”+ parelled in the dust and Cobweb of
In excuse of these follies, remem- that uncivill age, what would it work, be that they have their parallels in trimmed in the gorgeous eloquence of Shakspeare. Try rather to compre- Pindare ?" + hend them, to iniagine then in their The philosopher repels, the poet place, with their surroundings, such attracts : “Nay hee doth as if your as they are : that is, as the excess of journey should lye through a faire singularity and inventive fire. Even vineyard, at the very first, give you a though they mar now 1rd then the cluster of grapes, that full of that finest ideas, yet a naturas freshness taste, you may long to passe fur pierces through the disguise. Take ther.” I another example: “In the time that What description of poetry can disthe morning did strew roses and violets please you? Not pastoral so easy in the heavenly foore against the com- and genial? “Is it the bitter but ing of the sun, the nightingales (striv. wholesome Iambicke, who rubbes the ing one with the other which could in galled minde, making shame the Trum inost dainty varietie recount their pet of villanie, with bold and open cry wronge-caused sorrow) made them puting out against naughtinesse ?": off their sleep."
* The Defence of Poesie, ed. fo. 029, p. In Sidney's second work, The De- 558: "I dare undertake, that Orlando Furioso, fence of Poesie, we meet with genuine or honest King Arthur, will never displease a magination, á sincere and serious soldier: but the quidditie of Ens and prima
materia, will hardly agree with a Corselet.” tone, a grand, commanding style, all See also, in the same book, the very lively and he passion and elevation which he spirited personification of History and Philo
ophy, full of genuine talent. Arcadia, ed. fol. 1629. p. 117.
t Ibid. p. 553. Ibid, book ii, d. 114
Ibich p. 552.
1 Ibid. p. 550