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Aquilina. You are a fool I am sure.
You won't sit down? Then look you now; suppose me a bull, a Basan-bull, the Fuli of bulls, or any bull. us up I get, and with my brows thus bent-I broo; I say I broo, 1 broo, I broo. You won't sit down, will youI broo. Now, I'll be a senator again, and thy lover, little Nicky, Nacky. Ah, toad, toad, in my face, pry'thee, spit in my face, never su toad, toad, spit in my face a little, Nacky, spi little: spit but a little bit,-spit, spit, spit, spit when you are bid, I say; do pry'thee, sp't.Now, now spit. What, you won't spit, will you? Then I'll be a dog.
Aquilina. A dog, my lord!
Antonio. Ay, a dog, and I'll give thee this t'other purse to let me be a dog-and to use me like a dog a little. Hurry durry, I will-here 'tis. waugh waugh, bough, waugh. (Gives the purse.) Now bough
will stretched to breaking-point, the simplicity of real sacrifice, the humility of exasperated and craving passion, which begs to the end, and against all hope, for its fuel and its gratification.t Like Shakspeare, he has conceived genuine women, -Monimia, above all Belvidera, who, like Imogen, has given herself wholly, and is lost as in an abyss of adoration for him whom she has chosen, who can but love, obey, weep, 3uffer, and who dies like a flower plucked from the stalk, when her arms are torn from the neck around which she has locked them. Like Shakspeare again, he has found, at least once, the grand bitter buffoonery, the harsh sentiment of human baseness; and he has introduced into his most painful tragedy, an impure caricature, an old senator, who unbends from his official Antonio. Ay, with all my heart. Do, kick, gravity in order to play at his mistress' kick on, now am under the table, kick again, house the clown or the valet. How-kick harder-harder yet-bough, waugh, bitter! how true was his conception, in making the busy man eager to leave his robes and his ceremonies! how ready the man is to abase himself, when, escaped from his part, he comes to his real self! how the ape and the dog crop up in him! The senator Antonio comes to his Aquilina, who insults him; he is amused; hard words are a relief to compliments; he speaks in a shrill voice, runs into a falsetto like a zany at a country fair:
"Antonio. Nacky, Nacky, Macky,-how dost do, Nacky? Hurry, durry. I am come, little Nacky. Past eleven o'clock, a late hour; time in all conscience to go to bed, Nacky.Nacky did I say? Ay, Nacky, Aquilina, lina, lina, quilina; Aquilina, Naquilina, Acky, Nacky, You ben Nacky.-Come, let's to bed.
you pug you.-You little puss.Purree tuzzy-I am a senator.
* See the death of Pierre and Jaffier in Ven ice Preserved (5, last scene). Pierre, stabbed once, bursts into a laugh.
"Faffier. Oh, that my arms were riveted Thus round thee ever! But my friends, my
This, and no more.
(Kisses her.) Belvidera. Another, sure another For that poor little one you've ta'en such care of;
I'll giv't him truly."-Venice Preserved, 5.1
There is jealousy in this last word.
"Oh, thou art tender all,
Gentle and kind, as sympathizing nature,
I'll ever live your most obedient wife,
Aquilina. Hold, hold, sir. If curs bite, they must be kicked, sir. Do you see, kicked
waugh, bough.-Odd, I'll have a snap at thy shins.-Bough, waugh, waugh, waugh, bough --odd, she kicks bravely."
At last she takes a whip, thrashes him soundly, and turns him out of the house. He will return, we may be sure of that; he has spent a pleasant evening; he rubs his back, but he was amused. In short, he was but a clown who had missed his vocation, whom chance has given an embroidered silk gown, and who turns out at so much an more natural, more at his ease, playing hour political harlequinades. He feels Punch than aping a statesman.
These are but gleams: for the most part Otway is a poet of his time, dull and forced in color; buried, like the rest, in the heavy, gray, clouded at mosphere, half English and ha' French, from France, are snuffed out by the in which the bright lights brought over insular fogs. He is a man of his time, like the rest, he writes obscene com edies, The Soldier's Fortune, The Athe ist, Friendship in Fashion. He depicts coarse and vicious cavaliers, rogues on principle, as harsh and corrupt as those and practises the maxims of Hobbes; of Wycherley, Beaugard, who vaunts
* Venice Preserved, 3. 1. Antonio is mean as a copy of the "celebrated Earl of Shaftes bury, the lewdness of whose latter years," sayt Mr. Thornton in his edition of Otway's Works 3 vols. 1815, 'was a subject of general noto riety."-Tx.
is a master-p ece of art, it is also a picture of manners; that the most re fined and accomplished in society alone could speak and understand it; that it paints a civilization, as Shakspeare's does; that each of these lines, which appear so stiff, has its inflection and artifice; that all passions, and every shade of passion, are expressed in them,
the father, an old, corrupt_rascal, who brags of his morality, and whom his son coldly sends to the dogs with a bag of crowns: Sir Jolly Jumble, a kind of base Falstaff, a pander by profession, whom the courtesans call "papa,daddy," who, "if he sits but at the table with one, he'll be making nasty figures in the aapkins:"* Sir Davy Dunce, a disgusting animal, "who has such a breath, not, it is true, wild and entire, as in one kiss of him were enough to cure | Shakspeare, but pared down and rethe fits of the mother; 'tis worse than fined by courtly life; that this is a assafoetida. Clean linen, he says, is spectacle as unique as the other; that unwholesome... ; he is continually nature perfectly polished is as complex eating of garlic, and chewing tobac- and as difficult to understand as nature co;" Polydore, who, enamored of perfectly intact; that as for the dramHis father's ward, tries to force her in atists we speak of, they were as far the first scene, envies the brutes, and below the one as below the other; and makes up his mind to imitate them on that, in short, their characters are as the next occasion. Otway defiles much like Racine's as the porter of even his heroines. § Truly this society Mons. de Beauvilliers or the cook of sickens us. They thought to cover all Madame de Sévigné were like Madame their filth with fine correct metaphors, | de Sévigné or Mons. de Beauvilliers. * neatly ended poetical periods, a garment of harmonious phrases and noble expressions. They thought to equal Racine by counterfeiting his style. They did not know that in this style the outward elegance conceals an admirable propriety of thought; that if it *The Soldier's Fortune, 1. 1. ↑ Ibid. Who'd be that sordid foolish thing called
Surfeit on joys, till ev'n desire grew sick; Then by long absence liberty regain, And quite forget the pleasure and the pain."-The Orphan, 1. 1. It is impossible to see together more moral goguery and literary correctness.
Page (to Monimia). In the morning when you call me to you,
And by your bed I stand and tell you
I am ashamed to see your swelling breasts;
Let us then leave this drama in the
obscurity which it deserves, and seek elsewhere, in studied writings, for a happier employment of a fuller talent.
Pamphlets and dissertations in verse, letters, satires, translations and imitations; here was the true domain of Dryden and of classical reason; this is the field on which logical faculties and the art of writing find their best occupation. † Before descending into it, and observing their work, it will be as well to study more closely the man who so wielded them.
His was a singularly solid and judicious mind, an excellent reasoner, accustomed to mature his ideas, armed with good long-meditated proofs, strong in discussion, asserting principles, es tablishing his subdivisions, citing au thorities, drawing inferences; so that, if we read his prefaces without reading his dramas, we might take him for one of the masters of the dramatic art. He naturally attains a prose style, definite * Burns said, after his arrival in Edinburgh, "Between the man of rustic life and the polite world, I observed little difference... .. But a refined and accomplished woman was a being altogether new to me, and of which I had formed but a very inadequate idea.”—(Burns Works, ed. Cunningham, 1832, 8 vols., i. 207.)
† Dryden says, in his Essay on Satire, xiii. 30, "the stage to which my genius I ever much inclined me.'
and precise; his ideas are unfolded it, any more than his contemporaries. with breadth and clearness; his style is Across the Channel, at the same epoch, well moulded, exact and simple, free they praised just as much, but without from the affectations and ornaments cringing too low, because praise was with which Pope's was burdened after- decked out; now disguised or relieved wards; his expression is, like that of by charm of style; now looking as if Corneille, ample and full; the cause of men took to it as to a fashion. Thus it is simply to be found in the inner delicately tempered, people are able to arguments which unfold and sustain it. digest it. But here, far from the ne We can see that he thinks, and that on aristocratic kitchen, it weighs like a his own behalf; that he combines and undigested mass upon the stomach. I verifies his thoughts; that besides all have related how Lord Clarendon, this, he naturally has a just perception, hearing that his daughter had just mar and that with his method he has good ried the Duke of York in secret, begged sense. He has the tastes and the weak- the king to have her instantly behead nesses which suit his cast of intellect. ed; how the Commons, composed He holds in the highest estimation for the most part of Presbyterians, de "the admirable Boileau, whose num-clared themselves and the English peobers are excellent, whose expressions ple rebels, worthy of the pnnishment are noble, whose thoughts are just, of death, and moreover cast themselves whose language is pure, whose satire is at the king's feet, with contrite air to pointed, and whose sense is close. beg him to pardon the House and the What he borrows from the ancients, he nation. † Dryden is no more delicate repays with usury of his own, in coin than statesmen and legislators. His as good, and almost as universally dedications are as a rule nauseous. He valuable." He has the stiffness of the says to the Duchess of Monmouth : logician poets, too strict and argumenTo receive the blessings and prayers tative, blaming Ariosto "who neither of mankind, you need only be seen todesigned justly, nor observed any unity gether. We are ready to conclude, of action, or compass of time, or moder- that you are a pair of angels sent below ation in the vastness of his draught; to make virtue amiable in your perhis style is luxurious, without majesty sons, or to sit to poets when they would or decency, and his adventures without pleasantly instruct the age, by drawing the compass of nature and possibility."+ goodness in the most perfect and allur He understands delicacy no better than ing shape of nature. No part of fancy. Speaking of Horace, he finds Europe can afford a parallel to your that "his wit is faint and. his salt al- noble Lord in masculine beauty, and in most insipid. Juvenal is of a more goodliness of shape." Elsewhere he vigorous and masculine wit; he gives says to the Duke of Monmouth: "You me as much pleasure as I can bear." have all the advantages of mind and For the same reason he depreciates the body, and an illustrious birth conspir French style: "Their language is not ing to render you an extraordinary perstrung with sinews, like our English; son. The Achilles and the Rinaldo it has the nimbleness of a grayhound, are present in you, even above their but not the bulk and body of a mastiff. originals; you only want a Homer cr They have set up purity for the a Tasso to make you equal to them standard of their language; and a mas-Youth, beauty, and courage (all which culine vigor is that of ours."§ Two or three such words depict a man ; Dryden has just shown, unwittingly, the measure and quality of his mind.
This mind, as we may imagine, is heavy, and especially so in flattery. Flattery is the chief art in a monarchical age. Dryden is hardly skilful in Essay on Satire, dedicated to the Earl of ↑ Ibid. Dorset, xiii. 16. Ibid. 84. Dedication of the Eneis, xiv. 204.
you possess in the height of their per
Behn, burned a still more ill-savored | a basis; his mood is too serious, eveL incense under the nose of Nell Gwynne: reserved, taciturn. As Sir Walter people's nerves were strong in those days, and they breathed freely where others would be suffocated The Earl of Dorset having written some little songs and satires, Dryden swears that in his way he equalled Shakspeare, and surpassed all the ancients. And these barefaced panegyrics go on imperturbably for a score of pages, the author alternately passing in review the various virtues of his great man, always finding that the last is the finest ; * after which he receives by way of recompense a purse of gold. Dryden in taking the money, is not more a flunkey than others. The corporation of Hull, harangued one day by the Duke of Monmouth, made him a present of six broad pieces, which were presented to Monmouth by Marvell, the member for Hull.t Modern scruples were not yet born. I can believe that Dryden, with all his prostrations, lacked spirit more than honor.
Scott justly said, "his indelicacy was
A second talent, perhaps the first in carnival time, is the art of saying broad things, and the Restoration was a carnival, about as delicate as a bar-ments, mathematical salutes; his badigee's ball. There are strange songs and rather shameless prologues in Dryden's plays. His Marriage à la Mode opens with these verses sung by a married woman:
he writes in a letter (xviii. 90): "I find it is 1ot for me to contend any way with your Lordship, who can write better on the meanest subject than I can on the best. You are above any incense I can give you." In his dedication of the Fables (xi. 195) he compares the Duke of Ormond to Joseph, Ulysses, Lucullus, etc. In his fourth poetical epistle (xi. 10) he compares Lady Castlemaine to Cato.
Dedication of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy, xv. 286. † See Andrew Marvell's Works, i. 210. t Marriage à la Mode, iv. 245.
nage is a dissertation, he props up his
which is to reward virtue, and punish
His great Essay upon Satire swarms with useless or long protracted passages, with the inquiries and comparisons of a commentator. He cannot get rid of the scholar, the logician, the rhetorician, and show the plain downright man.
have suffered in siler :e, and possessed my soul in quiet." * Insulted by Colier as a corrupter of morals, he en dured this coarse reproof, and nobly confessed the faults of his youth: shall say the less of Mr. Collier, be cause in many things he has taxed me But his true manliness was often justly; and I have pleaded guilty to apparent; in spite of several falls and all thoughts and expressions of mine many slips, he shows a mind constant- which can be truly argued cbscenity, ly upright, bending rather from con- profaneness, or immorality and re ventionality than from nature, possess-tract them. If he be my enemy, le ing enthusiasm and afflatus, occupied him triumph; if he be my friend, as I with grave thoughts, and subjecting have given him no personal occasion his conduct to his convictions. He to be otherwise, he will be glad of my was converted loyally and by conviction repentance." There is some wit in to the Roman Catholic creed, perse- what follows: "He (Collier) is too vered in it after the fall of James II., much given to horseplay in his raillery, lost his post of historiographer and and comes to battle like a dictator poet-laureate, and though poor, bur- from the plough. I will not say, 'the dened with a family, and infirm, rezeal of God's house has eaten him up,' fused to dedicate his Virgil to King but I am sure it has devoured some William. He wrote to his sons: "Dis- part of his good manners and civility."‡ sembling, though lawful in some cases, Such a repentance raises a man; when is not my talent: yet, for your sake, I he humbles himself thus, he must be a will struggle with the plain openness great man. He was so in mind and of my nature. In the mean time, I in heart, full of solid arguments and flatter not myself with any manner of individual opinions, above the petty hopes, but do my duty, and suffer for mannerism of rhetoric and affectations God's sake. . . . You know the profits of style, a master of verse, a slave to (of Virgil) might have been more; but his idea, with that abundance of thought neither my conscience nor my honor which is the sign of true genius: would suffer me to take them; but I "Thoughts such as they are, come can never repent of my constancy, crowding in so fast upon me, that my since I am thoroughly persuaded of the only difficulty is to chuse or to reject, justice of the cause for which I suf- to run them into verses, or to give them fer."* One of his sons having been the other harmony of prose: I have so expelled from school, he wrote to the long studied and practised both, that master, Dr. Busby, his own former they are grown into a habit, and beteacher, with extreme gravity and no- come familiar to me." § With these bleness, asking without humiliation, powers he entered upon his second cadisagreeing without giving offence, in a reer; the English constitution and sustained and proud style, which is genius opened it to him. calculated to please, seeking again his favor, if not as a debt to the father, at least as a gift to the son, and concluding, "I have done something, so far to conquer my own spirit as to ask it." He was a good father to his children, as well as liberal, and sometimes even generous, to the tenant of his little estate. He says: "More libels have been written against me than almost any man now living.... I have seldom answered any scurrilous lampoon,
and, being naturally vindictive, *Letter 23, "to his sons at Rome," xviii. ↑ Scott's Life of Dryden, i. 449.
"A man," says La Bruyère, "born
himself constrained in satire; great
§ Ibid. xi. 209.