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of music, "by which men and beasts fishes, fowls, and serpents, were so fre quently enchanted, and their very na
of men were raised to the greatest height and violence, and then as sud denly appeased, so as they might be just ly said to be turned into lions or lambs into wolves or into harts, by the pow ers and charms of this admirable art." He wished to enumerate the greatest modern writers, and forgot to mention in his catalogue," amongst the Italians, Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso; in his list of French, Pascal, Bossuet, Molière, Corneille, Racine, and Boileau; in his list of Spaniards, Lope and Calderon; and in his list of English, Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, and Milton;"t though, by way of compensation, he inserted the names of Paolo Sarpi, Guevara, Sir Philip Sidney, Selden, Voiture, and Bussy-Rabutin, "author of the Histoire amoureuse des Gaules." To cap all, he declared the fables of Æsop, which are a dull Byzantine compilation, and the letters of Phalaris, a wretched sophistical forgery, to be admirable and authentic :
plays the philosopher, the critic, even the man of learning; and indeed be comes so actually, at least with the ladies. Such a man writes, like Tem-tures changed; by which the passions ple, Essays on the Nature of Government, on Heroic Virtue,* on Poetry; that is, little treatises on society, on the beautiful, on the philosophy of history. He is the Locke, the Herder, the Bentley of the drawing-room, and nothing else. Now and then, doubtless, his mother wit leads him to fair original judgments. Temple was the first to discover a Pindaric glow in the old chant of Ragnar Lodbrog, and to place Don Quixote in the first rank of modern fictions; moreover, when he handles a subject within his range, like the causes of the power and decline of the Turks, his reasoning is admirable. But otherwise he is simply a tyro; nay, in him the pedant crops out, and the worst of pedants, who, being ignorant, wishes to seem wise. who quotes the history of every land, hauling in Jupiter, Saturn, Osiris, Fo-hi, Confucius, Manco-Capac, Mahomet, and discourses on all these obscure and unknown civilizations, as if he had laboriously studied them, at the fountain head and not at second hand,It may perhaps be further affirmed, through the extracts of his secretary, or the books of others. One day he came to grief; having plunged into a literary dispute, and claimed superiority for the ancients over the moderns, he imagined himself a Hellenist, an antiquarian, related the voyages of Pythagoras, the education of Orpheus, and remarked that the Greek sages were commonly excellent poets, and great physicians: they were so learned in natural philosophy, that they foretold not only eclipses in the heavens, out earthquakes at land and storms at sea, great droughts and great plagues, much plenty or much scarcity of certain sorts of fruits or grain; not to mention the magical powers attributed to several of them, to allay storms, to raise gales, to appease commotions of people, to make plagues cease."† Admirable faculties, which we no longer possess. Again he regretted the decay
in favor of the ancients, that the oldest books we have are still in their kind the best. The two most ancient that I know of in prose, among those we call profane authors, are Esop's Fables and Phalaris' Epistles, both living near the same time, which was that of Cyrus and Pythagoras. As the first has been agreed by all ages since for the greatest master in his kind, and all others of that surt have been but imitations of his original: so I think the Epistles of Phalaris to have more grace, more spirit, more force of wit and ge nius, than any others I have ever seen, either ancient or modern." And then, in order to commit himself beyond remedy, he gravely remarked: "1 know several learned men (or that usually pass for such, under the name of critics), have not esteemed them genuine, and Politian with some others have attributed them to Lucian; but I Compare this essay with that of Carlyle, on think he must have little skill in paintHeroes and Hero-Worship; the title and sub-ing that cannot find out this to be ar ject are similar; it is curious to note the difference of the two centuries.
+Temple's Works, ii.: An Essay upon the Ancient and Modern Learning, 155.
↑ Macaulay's Works, vi. 319: Essay on Si William Temple.
original: such diversity of passions, upon such variety of actions and passages of life and government, such freedom of thought, such boldness of expression, such bounty to his friends, such scorn of his enemies, such honor of learned men, such esteem of good, such knowledge of life, such contempt of death, with such fierceness of nature und cruelty of revenge, could never be epresented but by him that possessed hem; and I esteem Lucian to have been no more capable of writing than of acting what Phalaris did. In all one writ, you find the scholar or the sophist; and in, all the other, the tyrant and the commander."*
Fine rhetoric truly; it is sad that a passage so aptly turned should cover so many stupidities. All this appeared very triumphant; and the universal applause with which this fine oratorical bombast was greeted demonstrates the taste and the culture, the hollowness and the politeness, of the elegant world of which Temple was the marvel, and which, like Temple, loved only the varnish of truth.
99 "Yes, says another, "a mistress should be like a little country retreat near the town; not to dwell in constantly, but only for a night and away, to taste the town better when a man returns. * These folk have style, even out of place, often not in accordance with the situation or condition of the persons. A shoemaker in one of Etherege's plays says: "There is never a man in the town lives more like a gentleman with his wife than I do. I never mind her motions; she never inquires inte mine. We speak to one another civil. ly, hate one another heartily." There is perfect art in this little speech; every thing is complete, even to the symmetrical antithesis of words, ideas, sounds: what a fine talker is this same satirical shoemaker! After a satire, a madrigal. In one place a certain character exclaims, in the very middle of a dialogue, and in sober prose, "Pretty pouting lips, with a little moisture hanging on them, that look like the Provence rose fresh on the bush, ere the morning sun has quite drawn up the dew." Is not this the graceful Rochester gallantry of the court? himself sometimes might furnish a parallel. Two or three of his songs are still to be found in the expurgated books of extracts in use amongst modest young girls. It matters nothing that such men are really scamps; they must be every moment using compli ments and salutations: before women whom they wish to seduce they are compelled to warble tender words and insipidities: they acknowledge but one check, the necessity to appear wellbred; yet this check suffices to restrain them. Rochester is correct even in the midst of his filth; if he talks lewdly, He makes Dapper- it is the ad exact manner of Boi. leau. All
Such were the ornate and polished manners which gradually pierce through debauchery and assume the ascendant. Gradually the current grows clearer, and marks out its course, like a stream, which, forcibly entering a new bed, moves with difficulty at first through a heap of mud, then pushes forward its still murky waters, which are purified little by little. These debauchees try to be men of the world, and sometimes succeed in it. Wycherley writes well, very clearly, without the least trace of euphuism, almost in the French manner.
wit say of Lucy, in measured phrase,
roisterers aim at be ing wits and men of the world. Si Charles Sedley ruins and pollutes him self, but Charles II. calls him "the viceroy of Apollo." Buckingham extols "the magic of his style." He is the most charming, the most soughtafter of talkers; he makes puns and verses, always agreeable, sometimes refined; he handles dexterously the pretty jargon of mythology; he insir u ates into his airy, flowing verses all the *The Country Wife, i. 1.
dainty and somewhat affected pretti-
"My passion with your beauty grew,
And then sims up:
"Each glossed in their wanton part;
lover sheds them, good-naturedly. She
"Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
Perhaps permit some happier man To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan." * Dorset hardly troubles himself abou it, plays with poetry without excess or assiduity, just as it flows, writing to-day a verse against Dorinda, to-morrow a satire against Mr. Howard, always There is no love whatever in these easily and without study, like a true pretty things; they are received as gentleman. He is an earl, lord-chamthey are presented, with a smile; they berlain, and rich; he pensions and form part of the conventional language, patronizes poets as he would flirts-to the polite attentions due from gentle- amuse himself, without binding him men to ladies. I suppose they would self. The Duke of Buckingham does send them in the morning with a nose- the same, and also the contrary; ca gay, or a box of preserved fruits. Ros-resses one poet, parodies another; is common indites some verses on a dead flattered, mocked, and ends by having lapdog, on a young lady's cold; this his portrait taken by Dryden-a chefnaughty cold prevents her singing-d'œuvre, but not flattering. We have cursed be the winter! And hereupon seen such pastimes and such bickerings he takes the winter to task, abuses it in France; we find here the same at length. Here you have the literary manners and the same literature, beamusements of the worldling. They cause we find here also the same sociefirst treat love, then danger, most air-ty and the same spirit. ily and gayly. On the eve of a naval Among these poets, and in the front contest, Dorset, at sea, amidst the pitch- rank, is Edmund Waller, who lived ing of his vessel, addresses a celebrated and wrote in this manner to his eighty song to the ladies. There is nothing second year: a man of wit and fash weighty in it, either sentiment or wit;ion, well-bred, familiar from his youth people hum the couplets as they pass; they emit a gleam of gayety; the next moment they are forgotten. Dorset at sea writes to the ladies, on the night before an engagement :
"Let's hear of no inconstancy,
"Should foggy Opdam chance to know
with great people, endued with tact
Then comes jests too much in the Eng-for the occasion; it is the small change
Then if we write not by each post,
Think not we are unkind;
Our tears we'll send a speedier way;
Such tears can hardly flow from sor-
Sir Charles Sedley's Works, ed. Briscoe, 1778, 2 vols.: The Mulberry Garden, ii.
of conversation or flattery; it resembles the little events or the little senti ments from which it sprang. One piece is written "Of Tea," another on the queen's portrait; it is necessary to pay court; moreover "His Majesty has requested some verses.' One lady * Works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscom mon and Dorset, 2 vols., 1731, ii. 54
makes him a present of a silver pen, straight he throws his gratitude into rhyme; another has the power of sleeping at will, straight a sportive stanza; a false report is spread of her being painted, straight a copy of verses on this grave affair. A little further on there are verses to the Countess of Carlisle on her chamber, condolences to my Lord of Northumberland on the death of his wife, a pretty thing on a lady "passing through a crowd of people," an answer, verse for verse, to some rhymes of Sir John Suckling. He seizes any thing frivolous, new, or becoming on the wing; and his poetry is only a written conversation,-I mean the conversation which goes on at a ball, when people speak for the sake of speaking, lifting a lock of one's wig, or twisting about a glove. Gallantry holds the chief place here, as it ought to do, and we may be pretty certain that the love is not over-sincere. In reality, Waller sighs on purpose (Sacharissa had a fine dowry), or at least for the sake of good manners: that which is most evident in his tender poems is, that he aims at a flowing style and good rhymes. He is affected, he exaggerates, he strains after wit, he is always an author. Not venturing to address Sacharissa herself, he addresses Mrs. Braughton, her attendant, "his fellow-servant: ""
"So, in those nations which the Sun adore,
of love bring in the classical machin ery, Apollo and the Muses. Apollo is annoyed that one of his servants is illtreated, and bids him depart, and he departs, telling Sacharissa that she is harder than an oak, and that she was certainly produced from a rock.*
There is one genuine reality in all this-sensuality; not ardent, but light and gay. There is a certain piece, "The Fall," which an abbé of the court of Louis XV. might have written: "Then blush not, Fair! or on him frown,.. How could the youth, alas! but bend When his whole Heav'n upon him lean'd; If aught by him amiss were done, 'Twas that he let you rise so soon." ↑
Other pieces smack of their surround-
"Amoret! as sweet as good,
I should not be pleased, were I a woman,
"Sacharissa's beauty's wine,
Which to madness doth incline; Such a liquor as no brain That is mortal can sustain."§ This is too much honor for port wine and meat. The English background crops up here and elsewhere; for ex
Some modest Persian, or some weak-eyed ample, the beautiful Sacharissa, having
No higher dares advance his dazzled sight
Of their ascending god adorns the east,
A fine comparison! That is a wellmade courtesy; I hope Sacharissa responds with one equally correct. His despairs bear the same flavor; he pierces the groves of Penshurst with his cries, "reports his flame to the beeches," and the well-bred beeches "bow their heads, as if they felt the same." It is probable that, in these mournful walks, his greatest care was est he should wet the soles of his high-heeled shoes These transports
*The English Poets, ed. A. Chalmers, 21 rols, 1810; Waller, vol. viii. 44.
ceased to be beautiful, asked Waller if
"While in this park I sing, the list ning
Attend my passion, and forget to fear;
ne would again write verses for her : | shape. In fact, it is form which they he answered, Yes, madame, when take for their subject in nearly all their you are once more as young and as serious poetry; they are critics, they handsome as you were." Here is lay down precepts, they compose Arts something to shock a Frenchman. of Poetry. Denham in his "Preface te Nevertheless Waller is usually amia the Destruction of Troy" lays down ble; a sort of brilliant light floats like rules for translating, whilst Roscomhalo round his verses; he is always mon teaches in a complete poem, an elegant, often graceful. His graceful-Essay on translated Verse, the art of ness is k: the perfume exhaled from the world; fresh toilettes, ornamented drawing-rooms, the abundance and the pursuit of all those refined and delicate comforts give to the mind a sort of sweetness which is breathed forth in obliging compliments and smiles. Waller has many of these compliments and smiles, and those most flattering, apropos of a bud, a girdle, a rose. Such bouquets become his hands and his art. He pays an excellent compliment "To young Lady Lucy Sidney" on her age. And what could be more attractive for a frequenter of drawingrooms, than this bud of still unopened youth, but which blushes already, and is on the point of expanding?
"Yet, fairest blossomt do not slight
translating poetry well. The Duke of Buckinghamshire versified an Essay on Poetry and an Essay on Satire. Dryder is in the first rank of these peda gogues. Like Dryden again, they turt translators, amplifiers. Roscommon translated the Ars Poetica of Horace ; Waller the first act of Pompée, a trag. edy by Corneille; Denham some frag. ments of Homer and Virgil, and two poems, one of Prudence and another of Justice. Rochester composed a satire against Mankind, in the style of Boileau, and also an epistle upon Nothing; the amorous Waller wrote a didactic poem on The Fear of God, and another in six cantos on Divine Love. These are exercises of style. They take a theological thesis, a commonplace subject of philosophy, a poetic maxim, and develop it in jointed prose, furnished with rhymes; invent nothing, feel little, and only aim at expressing good arguments in classical metaphors, in noble terms, after a conventional model. Most of their verses consist of two nouns, furnished with epithets, and connected by a verb, like college Latin verses. The epithet is good: they had to hunt through the Gradus for it, or, as Boileau wills it, they had to carry the line unfinished in their heads, and had to think about it an hour in the open air, until at last, at the corner of a wood, they found the right word which they could not hit upon before.
That age which you may know so soon. The rosy morn resigns her light And milder glory to the noon.' All his verses flow with a continuous harmony, clearness, facility, though his voice is never raised, or out of tune, or rough, nor loses its true ac cent, except by the worldling's affectation, which regularly changes all tones in order to soften them. His poetry resembles one of those pretty, affected, bedizened women, busy in inclining their head on one side, and murmuring with a soft voice commonplace things which they can hardly be said to think, yet agreeable in their be-ribboned dress, and who would please altogether if they did not dream of always pleas-I yawn, but applaud. After so much ng.
Its not that these men cannot hanale grave subjects; but they handle them in their own fashion, without gravity or depth. What the courtier most lacks is the genuine sentiment of a true and original idea. That which interests him most is the correctness of the adornment, and the perfection of external form. They care little for the matter itself, much for the outward
• English Poets, Waller, viii. 45.
trouble a generation ends by forming the sustained style which is necessary to support, make public, and demonstrate grand things. Meanwhile, with their ornate, official diction, and their borrowed thought they are like formal chamberlains, in embroidered coats present at a royal marriage or an imperial baptism, empty of head, grave in manner, admirable for dignity and bearing, with the punctilio and the ideas of a dummy.