« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »
plays the philosopher, the critic, even of music, “by which men and beasts the man of learning; and indeed be- fshes, fowls, and serpents, were so fre comes so actually, at least with the quently enchanted, and their very na ladies. Such a man writes, like Tem- tures changed; by which the passions ple, Essays on the Nature of Government, of men were raised to the greatest on Heroic Virtue, * on Poetry; that is, height and violence, and then as sud little treatises on society, on the beauti- denly appeased, so as they might be just ful, on the philosophy of history. He ly said to be turned into lions or lambs is the Locke, the Herder, the Bentley into wolves or into harts, by the pow of the drawing-room, and nothing else. ers and charms of this admirable art.” Now and then, doubtless, his mother He wished to enumerate the greatest wit leads him to fair original judgments. modern writers, and forgot to mention Temple was the first to discover a in his catalogue, “amongst the Italians, Pindaric glow in the old chant of Rag. Dante, Petrarch, Ariosto, and Tasso; in nar. Ludbrog, and to place Don Quix. his st of French, Pascal, Bossuet, ote in the first rank of modern fictions; Molière, Corneille, Racine, and Boi. moreover, when he handles a subject leau ; in his list of Spaniards, Lope and within his range, like the causes of the Calderon; and in his list of English, power and decline of the Turks, his Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, and reasoning is admirable. But otherwise Milton;" + though, by way of compen. he is simply a tyro ; nay, in him the sation, he inserted the names of Pa. pedant crops out, and the worst of olo Sarpi, Guevara, Sir Philip Sidney, pedants, who, being ignorant, wishes to Selden, Voiture, and Bussy-Rabutin, seem wise. who quotes the history of “author of the Histoire amoureuse des every land, hauling in Jupiter, Saturn, Gaules." To cap all, he declared the Osiris, Fo-hi, Confucius, Manco-Capac, fables of Æsop, which are a dull Byzan. Mahomet, and discourses on all these tine compilation, and the letters of obscure and unknown civilizations, as if Phalaris, a wretched sophistical for. he had laboriously studied them, at the gery, to be admirable and authentic :fountain head and not at second hand, It may perhaps be further affirmed, through the extracts of his secretary, or in favor of the ancients, that the oldthe books of others. One day he came est' books we have are still in their to grief; having plunged into a liter. kind the best. The two most ancient ary dispute, and claimed superiority that I know of in prose, among those for the ancients over the moderns, we call profane authors, are Æsop's he imagined himself a Hellenist, an Fables and Phalaris' Epistles, both liv. antiquarian, related the voyages of ing near the same time, which was that Pythagoras, the education of Orpheus, of Cyrus and Pythagoras. As the first and remarked that the Greek sages has been agreed by all ages since for
were commonly excellent poets, and the greatest master in his kind, and all great physicians : they were so learned others of that surt have been but imitain natural philosophy, that they fore- tions of his original: so I think the told not only eclipses in the heavens, Epistles of Phalaris to have more grace, put earthquakes at land and storms at more spirit, more force of wit and gesea, great droughts and great plagues, nius, than any others I have ever seen, much plenty or much scarcity of cer- either ancient or modern.” And then, tain sorts of fruits or grain; not to in order to commit himself beyond mention the magical powers attributed remedy, he gravely remarked: “] to several of then, to allay storms, to know several learned men (or that raise gales, to appease commotions of usually pass for such, under the name people, to make plagues cease.” Ad of critics), have not esteemed them mirable faculties, which we no longer genuine, and Politian with some others possess. Again he regretted the decay 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 az ject are similar ; it is curious to note the differ. once of the two centuries.
• Ibid. 165. + Temple's Works, ii. : An Essay upon the t Macaulay's Works, vi. 319: Essay on Sü Ancient and Modern Learning, 155.
original: such diversity of passions, Yes,
says another, “a mistress upon such variety of actions and pas- should be like a little country retreat near sages of life and government, such the town; not to dwell in constantly, freedom of thought, such boldness of but only for a night and away, :0 taste expression, such bounty to his friends, the town better when a man returns. such scorn of his enemies, such honor These folk have style, even out of of learned men, such esteem of good, place, often not in accordance with the Such knowledge of life, such contempt situation or condition of the persons. of death, with such fierceness of nature A shoemaker_in one of Etherege's und cruelty of revengę, could never be plays says: “There is never a man in 'epresented but by him that possessed the town lives more like a gentleman hem; and I esteem Lucian to have with his wife than I do. I never mind becn no more capable of writing than her motions; she never inquires into of acting what Phalaris did. "In all mine.' We speak to one another civil. one writ, you find the scholar or the ly, hate one another heartily.” There sophist; and in all the other, the ty- is perfect art in this little speech ; rant and the commander." *
every thing is complete, even to the Fine rhetoric truly; it is sad that symmetrical antithesis of words, ideas, a passage so aptly turned should cover sounds : what a fine talker is this same so many stupidities. All this appeared satirical shoemaker! After a satire, a very triumphant; and the universal ap: madrigal. In one place a certain charplause with which this fine oratorical acter exclaims, in the very middle of a bombast was greeted demonstrates the dialogue, and in sober prose, “Pretty taste and the culture, the hollowness pouting lips, with a little moisture and the politeness, of the elegant world hanging on them, that look like the of which Temple was the niarvel, and Provence rose fresh on the bush, ere which, like Temple, loved only the var, the morning sun has quite drawn up nish of truth.
the dew.” Is not this the gracefui IV.
gallantry of the court ? Rochester
himself sometimes might furnish a Such were the ornate and polished parallel. Two or three of his songs manners which gradually pierce through are still to be found in the expurgated debauchery, and assume the ascend- books of extracts in use amongst mod
Gradually, the current grows est young girls. It matters nothing clearer, and marks out its course, like that such men are really scamps; they a stream, which, forcibly entering a must be every moment using complinew bed, moves with difficulty at first ments and salutations: before women through a heap of mud, then pushes whom they wish to seduce they are forward its still murky waters, which compelled to warble tender words and are purified little by little. These de- insipidities; they acknowledge but one bauchees try to be men of the world, check, the necessity to appear welland sometimes succeed in it. Wycher bred; yet this check suffices tu restrain ley writes well, very clearly, without the them. Rochester is correct even in the least trace of euphuism, almost in the midst of his filth ;' if he talks lewdly, French manner. He makes Dapper it is the able and exact manner of Boi. wit say of Lucy, in measured phrase, leau. All these roisterers aim at be "She is beautiful without affectation, ing wits and men of the world. Sin amorous without impertinence, Charles Sedley ruins and pollutes himfrolic without rudeness.” When he self, but Charles II. calls him “the wishes it he is ingenious, and his gentle, viceroy of Apollo." Buckingham exmen exchange happy comparisons, tols “the magic of his style." He is “ Mistresses,
says one, are like the most charming, the most sought books : if you pore upon them too much, after of talkers; he makes puns and they doze you, and make you unfit for verses, always agreeable, sometimes company; but if used discreetly, you refined; he handles dexterously the are the fitter for conversation by 'em." pretty jargon of mythology; he insir u.
* An Essay upon the Ancient and Modern ates into his airy, flowing verses all the Learning, 173. t Love in a Woodh, iii 2.
• The Country Wife, i. 1.
dainty and somewhat affected pretti- I lover sheds them, good-naturedly, She nesses of the drawing-room. He sings is “ at a play” (he thinks so and tells this to Chloris :
her so): “ My passio: with your beauty grew,
" Whilst you, regardless of our woe,
Sit careless at a play,
Perhaps permit some happier man
To kiss your hand, or flirt your fan." • And then sims up :
Dorset hardly troubles himself about " Each glosied in their wanton part:
it, plays with poetry without excess or To make a lover, he
assiduity, just as it flows, writing to-day Employ'd the utmost of his art; a verse against Dorinda, to-morrow a To make a beauty, she." *
satire against Mr. Howard, always There is no love whatever in these easily and without study, like a true Fretty 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 chef naughty cold prevents her singing-d'æuvre, 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 socie. first 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 : with great people, endued with tact
ion, well-bred, familiar from his youth people hum the couplets as they pass ; they emit a gleam of gayety; the next and foresight, quick at repartee, not moment they are forgotten. Dorset at easy to put out of countenance, but sea writes to the ladies, on the night selfish, with hardly any feelings, hav, before an engagement :
ing changed sides more than once, and
bearing very well the memory of his “ Let's hear of no inconstancy, We have too much of that at sea."
tergiversations; in short, a good model
of the worldling and the courtier. It And again:
was he who, having once praised Crom“Should foggy Opdam chance to know
well, and afterwards Charles II., but Our sad and dismal story,
the latter more feebly than the former, The Dutch would scorn so weak a foe, said by way of excuse : “ Puets, your
And quit their fort at Goree. For what resistance can they find
Majesty, succeed better in fiction than From men who've left their hearts behind p" in truth.” In this kind of existence, Then comes jests too much in the Eng- for the occasion; it is the small change
three-quarters of the poetry is written i sb style :
of conversation or flattery; it resemThen if we write not by each post,
bles the little events or the little senti Think not we are unkind;
ments from which it spiang.
Onc Our tears we'll send a speedier way; The tide shall bring them twice a day."
piece is written “Of Tea," another on
the queen's portrait ; it is necessary to Such tears can hardly flow from sor- pay court; moreover “ His Majesty row; the lady regards them as the has requested some verses.” One lady
* Sir Charles Sedley's Works, ed. Briscoe, * Works of the Earls of Rochester, Roscone 1978, 3 vols.: The Mulberry Garden, i. mon and Dorset, 2 vols., 1735, ii. 34.
makes him a present of a silver pen, of love bring in the classical machin straight he throws his gratitude into ery, Apollo and the Muses. Apollo is rhyme; another has the power of annoyed that one of his servants is ill. sleeping at wi'l, straight a sportive treated, and bids him depart, and he stanza; a false report is spread of her departs, telling Sacharissa that she is being painted, straight a copy of verses harder than an oak, and that she was on this grave affair. A little further certainly produced from a rock.* on there are verses to the Countess of There is one genuine reality in all Carlisle on her chamber, condolences this-sensuality ; not ardent, but lighı to my Lord of Northumberland on the and gay. There is a certain piece, death of his wife, a pretty thing on a “The Fall,” which an abbé of the lady. “ passing through a crowd of peo court of Louis XV. might have written: ple," an answer, verse for verse, to sone rhymes of Sir John Suckling.
“ Then blush not, Fair! or on him frown, ..
How could the youth, alas! but bend He seizes any thing frivolous, new, or When his whole Heav'n upon him lean'd; becoming on the wing; and his poetry If aught by him amiss were done, is only a written conversation, -I mean
'Twas that he let you rise so soon." + the conversation which goes on at a Other pieces smack of their surroundball, when people speak for the sake of speaking, lifting a lock of one's wig, ings, and are not so polished : or twisting about a glove. Gallantry " Amoret! as sweet as good, holds the chief place here, as it ought
As the most delicious food, to do, and we may be pretty certain
Which but tasted does impart that the love is not over-sincere. In
Life and gladness to the heart." I reality, Waller sighs on purpose (Sac- I should not be pleased,were I a womar., harissa had a fine dowry), or at least to be compared to a beef-steak, though for the sake of good manners : that that be appetizing ; nor should I like which is most evident in his tender any more to find myself, like Sacha: poems is, that he aims at a flowing rissa, placed on a level with good wine. style and good rhymes. He is affected, which dies to the head : he exaggerates, he strains after wit, he “ Sacharissa's beauty's wine, is always an author. Not venturing Which to madness doth incline ; to address Sacharissa herself, he ad
Such a liquor as no brain dresses Mrs. Braughton, her attendant,
That is mortal can sustain." “ his fellow-servant:
This is too much honor for port wine
and meat. The English background “ So, in those nations which the Sun adore, Some modest Persian, or some weak-eyed crops up here and elsewhere ; for exMoor,
ample, the beautiful Sacharissa, having No higher dares advance his dazzled sight
ceased to be beautiful, asked Waller it Than to soma gilded cloud, which near the light
* “ While in this park I sing, the list' ning
deer Of their ascending god adorns the east, And, graced with his beam, outshines the
Attend my passion, and forget to fear ;
When to the beeches I report my flame, rest.
They bow their heads, as if they felt the A fine comparison! That is a well
To gods appealing, when I reach their made courtesy; I hope Sacharissa re- bow'rs sponds with one equally correct. His With loud complaints, they answer me ir despairs bear the same flavor; he
To thee a wild and cruel soul is giv, pierces the groves of Penshurst with
More deaf than trees, and proudet om Lis cries,“ reports his flame to the the heav'n! bxeches," and the well-bred becches
... The rock, “bow their heads, as if they felt the
That cloven rock, produc'd thee. . . same.” | It is probable that, in these
This last complaint th' indulgent cars did
pierce mournful walks, his greatest care was of just Apollo, president of verse ; 'est he should wet the soles of his Highly concerned that the Muse should
bring high-heeled shoes These transports
Damage to one whom he had taught to The English Poets, ed. A. Chalmers, ?:
sing."-Ibid. p. 44-5. rolom 1810; Waller, vol. viii. 44. t ibid.
* Ibid. viü. 33.
he would again write verses for her : shape. In fact, it is form which tłey he answered, Yes, madame, when take for their subject in nearly all thcii
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 Nerertheless Waller is usually amia. the Destruction of Troy” lays down ble; a sort of brilliant light floats like rules for translating, whilst Roscom& halo 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 aess is lik, the perfume exhaled from translating poetry well. The Duke of the worid; fresh toilettes, ornamented Buckinghamshire versified an E. drawing-rooms, the abundance and the Poetry and an Essay on Satire. Dryder pursuit of all those refined and delicate is in the first rank of these peda comforts give to the mind a sort of gogues. Like Dryden again, they turi sweetness which is breathed forth in translators, amplifiers. Roscommon obliging compliments and smiles. translated the Års Poetica of Horace ; Waller has many of these compliments Waller the first act of Pompée, a trag: and smiles, and those most flattering, edy by Corneille; Denham some frag. apropos of a bud, a girdle, a rose. Such ments of Homer and Virgil, and two bouquets become his hands and his poems, one of Prudence and another of
He pays an excellent compli- Justice. Rochester composed a satire ment “To young, Lady Lucy Sidney” against Mankind, in the style of Boion her age. And what could be more leau, and also an epistle upon Nothing ; attractive for a frequenter of drawing- the amorous Waller wrote a didactic rooms, than this bud of still unopened poem on The Fear of God, and another youth, but which blushes already, and in six cantos on Divine Love. These is on the point of expanding?
are exercises of style. They take a “ Yet, fairest blossom I do not slight
theological thesis, a commonplace subThat age which you may know so soon. ject of philosophy, a poetic maxim, and The rosy morn resigns her light
develop it in jointed prose, furnished And milder glory to the noon.'
with rhymes; invent nothing, feel lit. All his verses Aow with a continuous tle, and only aim at expressing good harmony, clearness, facility, though arguments in classical metaphors, in his voice is never raised, or out of noble terms, after a conventional modtune, or rough, nor loses its true ac- el. Most of their verses consist of cent, except by the worldling's affecta- two nouns, furnished with epithets, and tion, which regularly changes all tones connected by a verb, like college Latin ir order to soften them. His poetry verses. The epithet is good: they had resembles one of those pretty, affected, to hunt through the Gradus for it, or, bedizened women, busy in inclining as Boileau wills it, they had to carry their head on one side, and murmuring the line unfinished in their heads, and with a soft voice commonplace things had to think about it an hour in the which they can hardly be said to think, open air, until at last, at the corner of yet agreeable in their be-ribboned a wood, they found the right word dress, and who would please altogether which they could not hit apon before. if they did not dream of always pleas- I yawn, but applaud. After so much
trouble a generation ends by forming It not that these men cannot han- the sustained style which is necessary dle grave subjects; but they, handle to support, make public, and demonthem in their own fashion, without strate grand things. Meanwhile, with gravity or depth. What the courtier their ornate, official diction, and their most lacks is the genuine sentiment of borrowed thought they are like formal a true and original idea. That which chamberlains, in embroidered coats interests him most is the correctness present at a royal marriage or an imof the adornment; and the perfection perial baptism, empty of head, grave of external form. They care little for in manner, admirable for dignity and the watter itself, much for the outward bearing, with the punctilio and the
• English Poets, Waller, viii. 45. ideas of a dummy.