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he soon has an epic made for him. A of lofty Greek poetry; Beattie, a Scotsman, a man of wit, of too much metaphysical moralist, with a young wit, having published on his own ac- girl's nerves and an ?? m.id's hob count an unsuccessful rhapsody, wish- bies; the amiable and affectionato ed to recover his expenses, visited the Goldsmith who wrote the Vicar of Wakt mnountains of his country, gathered pic. field, the most charming of Protestant Luresque images, collected fragments pastorals; poor Collins, a young enthu. of legends, plastered over the whole an siast, who was disgusted with life, abundance of eloquence and rhetoric, would read nothing but the Bible, we and created a Celtic Homer, Ossian, mad, was shut up in an asylum, ind in who with Oscar, Malvina, and his his intervals of liberty wandered in whole troop, neade the tour of Europe, Chichester cathedral, accompanying the and, about 1830, ended_by furnishing music with sobs and groans; Glover, baptismal names for French grisettes Watts, Shenstone, Smart, and others. and perruquiers. Macpherson display- The title of their works sufficiently in. ed to the world an imitation of primi- dicate their character. One writes a tive manners, not over-true, for the ex- poem on The Pleasure of Imagination, treme rudeness of barbarians would another odes on the Passions and or have shocked the people, but yet well Liberty; one an Elegy written in a enough preserved or portrayed to con- Country Churchyard and a Hymn to trast with modern civilization, and per- Adversity, another a poem on a Deserted suade the public that they were look- Village, and on the character of sur. ing upon pure nature. Å keen sym- rounding, civilizations (Goldsmith's pathy with Scottish landscape,so grand, Traveller); one a sort of epic on Therso cold, so gloomy, rain on the hills, mopyla, and another the moral history the birch trembling to the wind, the of a young Minstrel. They were nearmist of heaven and the vague musing ly all grave, spiritual men, impassioned of the soul, so that every dreamer for noble ideas, with Christian aspirafound there the emotions of his soli- tions or convictions, given to meditatary walks and his philosophic sadness ; ting on man, inclined to melancholy, to chivalric exploits and magnanimity, he description, invocation, lovers of ab roes who set out alone to engage an straction and allegory, who, to attain army, faithful virgins dying on the greatness, willingly mounted on stilts. tomb of their betrothed; an impas. One of the least strict and most noted sioned, colored style, affecting to be of them was Young, the author of abrupt, yet polished ; able to charm a Night Thoughts, a clergyman and a cour. disciple of Rousseau by its warmth and tier, who, having vainly attempted to elegance : here was something to trans- enter Parliament, then to become a port the young enthusiasts of the time; bishop, married, lost his wife and chil. civilized barbarians, scholarly lovers dren, and made use of his misfortunes of nature, dreaming of the delights of to write meditations on Life, Death, savage life, whilst they shook off the Immortality, . Time, Friendship. The powder which the hairdresser had left Christian Triumph, Virtue's Apology, on their coats.
A Moral Survey of the Nocturnal Yet this is not the course of the Heavens, and many other similar pieces. main current of poetry; it runs in the Doubtless there are : rilliant flashes of direction of sentimental reflection : the imagination in his poems ; seriousness greatest number of poems, and those and elevation are not wanting; we can most sought after, are emotional dis- even see that he aims at them; but we sertations. In fact, a man of feeling discover much more quickly that he breaks out in excessive declamations. makes the most of his grief, and When he sees a cloud, he dreams of strikes attitudes. He exaggerates and human nature and constructs a phrase. declaims, studies effect and style, con Hence at this time among poets, swarm fuses Greek and Christian ideas. Fan the melting philosophers and the tear-cy an unhappy father, who says : ful academicians; Gray, the morose acrmit of Cambridge, and Akenside, a “ Silence and Darkness / Solemn sietan doble thinker, both learned imitators Twins
From ancient Night! 10 Day's soft-ey'd the slave of the period: Dr. Johnson, sister pay my court,
who was at once the La Harpe and (Endymion's rival !) and her aid implore ; Now first implord in succour
to the Muse." the Boileau of his age, explains and
imposes on all the studied, balanced, ind a few pages further on he invokes irreproachable phrase; and classical jeaven and earth, when mentioning the ascendency is still so strong that it resurrection of the Saviour. And yet domineers over nascent history, the .he sentiment is fresh and sincere. Is only kind of English literature which t not one of the greatest of modern was then European and original. deas to put Christian philosophy into Hume, Robertson, and Gibbon were verse ? Young and his contemporar- almost French in their taste, language les say beforehand that which Chateau- education, conception of man. They briand and Lamartine were to discover. relate like men of the world, cultivated TŁe true, the futile, all is here forty and well-informed, with charm and years earlier than in France. The an- clearness, in a polished, rhythmic, susgels and the other celestial machinery tained style. They show a liberal long figured in England before appear. spirit, an unvaried moderation, an iming in Chateaubriand's Génie du Christ. partial reason. They banish from his. ianisme and the Martyrs. Atala and tory all coarseness and tediousness Chactas are of the same family as The write without fanaticism or preMalvina and Fingal. If Lamartine judice. But, at the same time, they read Gray's odes and Akenside's re- attenuate human nature; comprehend flections, he would find there the mel. neither barbarism nor loftiness ; paint ancholy sweetness, the exquisite, art, revolutions and passions, as people the fine arguments, and half the ideas might do who had seen nothing but of his own poetry. And nevertheless, decked drawing-rooms and dusted linear as they were to a literary renova. braries ; they judge enthusiasts with tion, Englishmen did not yet attain it. the coldness of chaplains or the smile In vain the foundation was changed, of a skeptic; they blot out the salient the form remained. They did not features which distinguish human physshake off the classical drapery; they iognomies; they cover all the harsh write too well, they dare not be natur- points of truth with a brilliant and al. They have always a patent stock uniform varnish. At last there started of fine suitable words, poetical ele- up an unfortunate Scotch peasant gances, where each of them thought (Burns), rebelling against the world, himself bound to go and pick out his and in love, with the yearnings, lusts, phrases. It boots them nothing to be greatness, and irrationality of modern impassioned or realistic; like Shen- genius. Now and then, behind his stone, to dare to describe a Schoolmis plough, he lighted on genuine verses, tress, and the very part on which she verses such as Heine and Alfred de whips a young rascal; their simplicity is Musset ave written in our own days. conscious, their frankness archaic, their In thos .ew words, combined after a emotion formal, their tears academical. new fashion, there was a revolution Ever, at the moment of writing, an au- Two hundred new verses sufficed. The gust model starts up, a sort of school. human mind turned on its hinges, and master, weighing on each with his full so did civil sociecy. When Roland, weight, with all the weight which a hun. being made a minister, presented him. dred and twenty years of literature can self before Louis XVI. in a simple give his precepts. Their prose is always dress-coat and shoes without buckles,
the master of the ceremonies raised his Young's Night. Thoughts. Night the hands to heaven, thinking that all was First: On Life, Death, and Immortality. f Ihich Night the Third Narcissa. lost. In reality, all was changed.
HISTORY OF ENGLISH LITERATURE
applications of science, democracy ap
pears. The steam-engine and spin. Ideas and Productions. ning-jenny create in England towns of
from three hundred and fifty thousang I.
to five hundred thousand souls. The On the eve of the nineteenth century and agriculture becomes so perfect
population doubled in fifty years the great modern revolution began in Europe. The thinking public and the that, in spite of this enormous increase human mind changed,
and whilst these of mouths to be fed, one-sixth of the changes took place a new literature inhabitants provide from the same soil
food for the rest; imports increase sprang up.
The preceding age had done .its threefold, and even more; the tonnage work.
of vessels increases sixfold, the exPerfect prose and classical style put within reach of the most ports sixfold and more.* Comfort, backward and the dullest minds the leisure, instruction, reading, travel, notions of literature and the discoveries whatever had been the privilege of a of science. Moderate monarchies and few, became the common property of regular administrations had permitted
the many. The rising tide of wealth the middle class to develop itself under raised the best of the poor to comfort, the pompous aristocracy of the court, lence. The rising tide of civilization
and the best of the well-to-do to opuas useful plants may be seen shooting raised the mass of the people to the up beneath trees which serve for show and ornament. They multiply, grow, rise rudiments of education, and the mass to the height of their rivals, envelop of citizens to complete education. In :hem in their luxuriant growth, and ob- 1709 appeared the first daily news. scure them by their dense clusters. A paper, as big as a man's hand, which new world, a world of citizens and ple- the editor did not know how to kill, and heians. henceforth occupies the ground, which, added to all the other papers,
did not circulate to the extent of three attracts the gaze, imposes its form on
In manners, stamps its image on minds. thousand numbers in the year. Towards the close of the century a * See Alison, History of Europe ; Porter, sudden concourse of extraordinary Progress of the Nation. events brings it all at once to the light,
t in the Fourth Esti:e, by F. Knight Hint and sets it on an eininence unknown and morning paper, ke Baily Cowe wt, op
2 vols. 1840, it is said (. 195) that the first daily o any previous age. With the grand peared in 1909. -TR.
1944 the Stamp Office showed that 71 | officers,” says Stendhal, "commanded million newspapers had been printed a battery at Talavera; a ball laid low during the past year, many as large as the captain. 'So!' said the lienten volumes, and containing as much mat ant, : François is dead, I shall be cap ter. Artisans and townsfolk, enfran- tain. 'Not yet,' said François, who chised, enriched, having gained a com- was only stunned, and got on his feet petence left the low depths where they again." These two men were neither had been buried in their narrow parsi- enemies nor wicked; on the contrary, mony, ignorance, and routine ; they they were companions and comrades, made their appearance on the stage but the lieutenant wanted to rise a step. now, doffed their workman's and super. Such was the sentiment which pro numerary's dress, assumed the leading vided men for the exploits and carnage parts by'a sudden irruption or a con- of the Empire, which caused the Rev. tinuous progress, by dint of revolutions, olution of 1830, and which now, in this with a prodigality of labor and genius, vast stifing democracy, compels men amidst vast wars, successively or simul- to vie with each other in intrigues and taneously in America, France, the labor, genius and baseness, to get out whole of Europe, founding or destroy of their primitive condition, and raise ing states, inventing or restoring sci- themselves to the summit, of which the ences, conquering or acquirins, politi- possession is given up to their rivalr cal rights. They grew noble through or promised to their toil The domí. their great deeds, became the rivals, nant character now-a-days is no longer equals, conquerors of their masters; the man the drawing-room, whose they need no longer imitate them, position in society is settled and whose being heroes in their turn: like them, fortune is made ; elegant and careless, they can point to their crusades; like with no employment but to amuse him. them, they have gained the right of self and to please ; who loves to conhaving a poetry; and like them, they verse, who is gallant, who passes his will have a poetry.
life in conversation with finely dressed In France, the land of precocious ladies, amidst the duties of society and equality and completed revolutions, we the pleasures of the world: it is the must observe this new character—the man in a black coat, who works alone plebeian bent on getting on ; Augereau, in his room or rushes about in a cab son of a greengrocer ; Marceau, son of to make friends and protectors ; often a lawyer; Murat, son of an innkeeper; envious, feeling himself always above Ney, son of a cooper ; Hoche, formerly or below his station in life, sometimes a sergeant, who in his tent, by night, resigned, never satisfied, but fertile in read Condillac's Traité des Sensations; invention, not sparing his labor, find. and chief of all, that spare young man, ing the picture of his blemishes and his with lank hair, hollow cheeks, eaten strength in the drama of Victor Hugo up with ambition, his heart full of and the novels of Balzac. * romantic fancies and grand rough. This man has also other and greater hewn ideas, who, a lieutenant for seven
With the state of human so years, read twice through the whole ciety, the form of the human mind has stock of a bookseller at Valence, who changed. It changed by a natural and about this time (1792) in Italy, though irresistible development, like a flower suffering from itch, had just destroyed growing into fruit, like fruit turning five armies with a troop of barefooted to seed. The mind renews the evolu. heroes, and gave his government an tion which it had already performed in account of his victories with all his Alexandria, not as then in a deleterious faults of spelling and of French. He atmosphere, amidst the universal de became master, proclaimed himself the gradation of enslaved men, in the inrepresentative of the Revolution, de creasing decadence of a disorganized dlared, " that a career is open to tal society, amidst the anguish of despa. ent,” and impelled others along with him in his enterprises. They follow
• To realize the contrast, compare Gü Bias him, because there is glory, and above and Stendhal's Julien Sorel (in Rouge
and Ruy Blas, Marivaux's Paysan Parden all, advancement, to be won. “Two Noir).