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He (Pope) asked Addison's advice. Ad- persuades, and spreads as much evi dison said that the poem as it stood was a deli- dence over obscure questions as certi cious little thing, and entreated Pope not to run the risk of marring what was so excellent in tude over doubtful points. It is im trying to mend it. Pope afterwards declared possible sot to understand him; he that this insidious counsel first opened his eyes approaches the subject under every as to the baseness of him who gave it.
“ Now there can be no doubt that Pope's pect, he turns it over on every side ; it plan was most ingenious, and that he afterwards seems as though he addressed himself executed it with great skill and success. does it necessarily follow that Addison's advice himself understood by every individ
But to every spectator, and studied to make was bad? And it Addison's advice was bad, ual; he calculates the scope of every does it necessarily follow that it was given from Lad motives? If a friend were to ask us mind, and seeks for each a fit mode oi xhether we would advise him to risk his all in exposition; he takes us all by the hand I lottery of which the chances were ten to one and leads us alternately to the end, against him, we should do our best to dissuade bim from running such a risk. Even if he which he has marked out beforehand. were so lucky as to get the thirty thousand He sets out from the simplest facts, he pound prize, we should not admit that we had descends to our level, he brings him. counselled him ill; and we should certainly self even with our mind; he spares us think it the height of injustice in him to accuse us of having been actuated by malice. We the pain of the slightest effort; then think Addison's advice good advice. It rested he leads us on, and smoothes the road on a sound principle, the result of long and throughout ; we rise gradually withwide experience. The general rule undoubtedly is that, when a successful work of imagina- out perceiving the slope, and at the tion has been produced, it should not be recast. end we find ourselves at the top, after We cannot at this moment call to mind a single having walked as easily as on the instance in which this rule has been trans- plain. When a subject is obscure, he of the Rape of the Lock. Tasso recast his
is not content with a first explanation ; Jerusalem, Akenside recast his Pleasures of the he gives a second, then a third : he Imagination and his Epistle to Curio. Pope sheds light in abundance from all himself, emboldened no doubt by the success sides, he searches for it in all regions with which he had expanded and remodelled the Rape of the Lock, made the same experi- of history; and the wonderful thing is, ment on the Dunciad. All these attempts that he is never prolix. In reading failed. Who was to foresee that Pope would, him we find ourselves in our proper once in his life, be able to do what he could not sphere ; we feel as though we could himself do twice, and what nobody else has ever done?
understand; we are annoyed to have “ Addison's advice was good. But had it taken twilight so long for day; we rebeen bad, why should we pronounce it dis-joice to see this abounding light rising
Scott tells us that one of his best and leaping forth in tcrrents, the exfriends predicted the failure of Waverley. Herder adjured Goethe not to take so unpromising act style, the antithesis of ideas, the a subject as Faust. Hume tried to dissuade harmonious construction, the artfully Robertson from writing the History of Charles balanced paragraphs, the vigorous the Fifth. Nay, Pope himself was one of those who prophesied that Cato would never
summaries, the regular sequence of succeed on the stage, and advised Addison to thoughts, the frequent comparisons, print it without risking a representation. But the fine arrangement of the whole-not Scott, Goethe, Robertson, Addison, had the an idea or phrase of his writings in good sense and generosity to give their advisers credit for the best intentions. Pope's heart which the talent and the desire to ex: was not of the same kind with theirs." # plain, the characteristic of an orator, What does the reader think of this member of Parliament, and spoke sa
does not shine forth. Macaulay was a lilemma, and this double series of in: well, we are told, that he was listened Zuctions ? The demonstrations would not be more studied or rigorous, if a The habit of public speaking is per.
to for the mere pleasure of listening. physical law were in question.
This demonstrative talent was in.haps the cause of this incomparable creased by his talent for development bly, we must address all the members;
lucidity. To convince a great assem Macaulay enlightens inattentive minds, to rivet the attention of absent-minded as well as he convinces opposing and weary men, we must save them minds; he manifests, as well as he from all fatigue; they must take in to
Macaulay, vii. 109; Life and Writings of much in order to take in enough Addison
Public speaking vulgarizes ideas ; i
drags truth from the height at which I urged forward by internal passion it dwells, with some thinkers, to bring sweeping away objections in its course, it amongst the crowd ; it reduces it to and addir g to the dash of eloquence the level of ordinary minds, who, with the irresistible force of its mass and out this intervention, would only have weight. We might say that the his. seen it from afar, and high above tory of James II. is a discourse in two them. Thus, when great orators con- volumes, spoken without stopping, and sent to write, they are the most pow. with never-failing voice. We see the erful of writers ; they make philosophy oppression and discontent begin, inpopular ; they lift all minds a stage crease, widen, the partisans of James higher, and seem to enlarge human in. abandoning him one by one, the idea telligence. In the hands of Cicero, of revolution arise in all hearts, con. the dogmas of the Stoics and the dia- firmed, fixed, the preparations made, lectics of the Academicians lose their the event approaching, growing immi prickles. The subtle Greek arguments nent, then suddenly falling on the become united and easy; the hard blind and unjust monarch, and sweepproblems of providence, immortality, ing away his throne and dynasty, with highest good, become public property. the violence of a foreseen and fatal Senators, men of business, lawyers, tempest. True eloquence is that which lovers of formulas and procedure, the thus perfects argument by emotion, massive and narrow intelligence of which reproduces the unity of events publicists, comprehend the deductions by the unity of passion, which repeats of Chrysippus ; and the book De Officiis the motion and the chain of facts by has made the morality of Panætius the 'motion and the chain of ideas. popular. In our days, M. Thiers, in It is a genuine imitation of nature ; his two great histories, has placed more complete than pure analysis ; it within reach of everybody the most reanimates beings; its dash and vehe.nvolved questions of strategy and mence form part of science and of finance ; if he would write a course of truth. Of whatever subject Macaulay political economy for street-porters, I treats, political economy, morality, am sure he would be understood; and philosophy, literature, history, he is impupils of the lower classes at school passioned for his subject. The curhave been able to read M. Guizot's rent which bears away events, excites History of Civilization.
in him, as soon as he sees it, a curren. When, with the faculty for proof which bears forward his thought. He and explanation, a man feels the desire does not set forth his opinion; he of proving, he arrives at vehemence. pleads it. He has that energetic, sus. These serried and multiplied argu- tained, and vibrating tone which dows ments which all tend to a single aim, down opposition and conquers belief. those reiterated logical points, return- His thought is an active force; it is ing every instant, one upon the other, imposed on the hearer ; it attacks him to shake the opponent, give heat and with such superiority, falis upon him passion to the style. Rarely was elo- with such a train of proofs, such a quence more captivating than Macau- manifest and legitimate authority, such lay's. He has the oratorical afflatus ; a powerful impulse, that we all his phrases have a tone ; we feel think of resisting it; and it masters that he would govern minds, that he is the heart by its vehemence, whilst at irritated by resistance, that he fights the same time it masters the reason by as he discusses. In his books the dis. its evidence. cussion always seizes and carries away All these gifts are common to ora. the rea ler; it advances evenly, with tors; they are found in different proaccumulating force, straightforward, portions and degrees, in men like like those great American rivers, im- Cicero and Livy, Bourdaloue and petuous as a torrent and wide as a sea. Bossuet, Fox and Burke. These fine This abundance of thought and style, and solid minds form a natural family, this multitude of explanations, ideas, and all have for their chief feature tho and facts, this vast aggregate of his habit and talent of passing from par. torical knowledge goes rolling on, ticular to general ideas, crderly anu
successively, as we climb a ladder by scalpel ,ut in a living body,an unlooked setting our feet one after the other on for color in a liquid These are le
The inconvenience of cisive specimens. The whole substance this art is the use of commonplace of theory, the whole force of proof, is They who practise it do not depict ob-contained in this. Truth is here, as jects with precision; they fall easily nut in its shell : painful and ingenious into vague rhetoric. They hold in discussion adds nothing thereto; it only their hands ready-made developments, extracts the nut. Thus, if we would a sort of portable scales, equally ap. rightly prove, we must before every plicable on both sides of the same and thing present these specimens, insist every question. They continue will- upon them, make them visible and ingly in a middle region, amongst the tangible to the reader, as far as may be tirades and arguments of the special done in words. This is difficult, fu pleader, with an indifferent knowledge words are not things. The only reof the human heart, and a fair number source of the writer is to employ words of amplifications on that which is use. which bring things before the eyes. ful and just. In France and at Rome, For this he must appeal to the reader's amongst the Latin races, especially in personal observation, set out from his the seventeenth century, these men experience, compare the unknown oblove to hover above the earth, amidstjects présented to him with the known grand words or general considerations, objects which he sees every day, place in the style of the drawing-room and past events beside contemporary events. the academy. They do not descend to Macaulay always has before his mind minor facts, convincing details, circum- English imaginations, full of English stantial examples of everyday life. images, I mean full of the detailed and They are more inclined to plead than present recollections of a London Street, to prove. In this Macaulay is dis- a dram-shop, a wretched alley, an after. tinguished from them. His principle noon in Hyde Park, a moist, green is, that a special fact has more hold on landscape, a white, ivy-covered country. the mind than a general reflection. He house, a clergyman in a white tie, a knows that, to give men a clear and sailor in a sou’-wester. He has revivid idea, they must be brought back course to such recollections; he makes to their personal experience. He re- them still more precise by descriptions marks* that, in order to make them and statistics; he notes colors and realize a storm, the only method is to qualities; he has a passion for exactrecall to them some storm which they ness; his descriptions are worthy both have themselves seen and heard, with of a painter and topographer; he which their memory is still charged, writes like a man who sees a physical and which still re-echoes through all and sensible object, and who at the their senses. He practises in his style same time classifies and weighs it. We the philosophy of Bacon and Locke. will see him carry his figures even to With him, as well as with them, the moral or literary worth, assign to an acorigin of every idea is a sensation. tion, a virtue, a book, a talent, its comEvery complicated argument, every partment and its step in the scale, with entire conception, has certain particular such clearness and relief, that we could facts for its only support. It is so for easily imagine ourselves in a dassifed every structure of ideas, as well as for museum, not of stuffed skins, :u: d a scientific theory: Beneath long cal. feeling, suffering, living animals. s.ulations, algebraical formulas, subtle Consider, for instance, these phrases, la ductions, written volumes which con- by which he tries to render visible to rain the combinations and elaborations an English public, events in India : of learned minds, there are two or three sensible experiences, two or three little During that interval the business of a ser facts on which we may lay our finger, a
vant of the Company was simply to wring out turn of the wheel in a machine, a
of the natives a hundred or two hundred thor
sand pounds as speedily as possible, that he * See in his Essay on the Life and Writ-might return home before his constitution has songs of Addison (vii. 78); Macaulay's obser- suffered from the heat, to marry a peer's vations on the campaign.
daughter, to buy rotten boroughs in Commall
and to give balls in St. James's Square.* empire, under which the village crowds assem There was st Il a nabob of Bengal, who stood ble; the thatched roof of the peasant's hut; to the English rulers of his country in the same the rich tracery of the mosque where the imaum relation in which Augustulus stood to Odoacer, prays with his face to Mecca, the drums, and or the last Merovingians to Charles Martel and banner s, and gaudy idois, the devotee swinging Pepin. He lived at Moorshedabad, surround in the air, the graceful maiden, with the pitcher ed by princely magnificence. He was ap- on her head, descending the steps to the river. proached with outward marks of reverence, and side, the black faces, the long beards, the yelhis name was used in public instruments. But low streaks of sect, the turbans and the flowing in the government of the country he had less robes, the spears and the silver maces, the ele. real share than the youngest writer or cadet in phants with their canopies of state, the gorgethe Company's service." +
ous palanquin of the prince, and the close litter
of the noble lady, all those things were to hin Of Nuncomar, the native servant of the as the objects amidst which his own life had Company, he writes :
been passed, as the objects which lay on thi
road between Beaconsfield and St. James's “Of his moral character it is difficult to give Street. All India was present to the eye of a notion to those who are acquainted with hu- his mind, from the halls where suitors laid gold man nature only as it appears in our island. and perfumes at the feet of sovereigns, to the What the Italian is to the Englishman, what wild moor where the gipsy camp was pitched, the Hindoo is to the Italian, what the Bengalee from the bazaar, humming like a bee-híve with is to other Hindoos, that was Nuncomar to the crowd of buyers and sellers, to the jungle other Bengalees. The physical organization of where the lonely courier shakes his bunch of the Bengalee is feeble even to effeminacy. He iron rings to scare away the hyænas. He had lives in a constant vapour bath. His pursuits just as lively an idea of the insurrection at are sedentary, his limbs delicate, his move- Benares as of Lord George Gordon's riots, and ments languid. During many ages he has of the execution of Nuncomar as of the execubeen trampled upon by men of bolder and m. re tion of Dr. Dodd. Oppression in Bengal was hardy breeds. Courage, independence, verac, to him the same thing as oppression in the ity, are qualities to which his constitution and streets of London." + his situation are equally unfavourable. His mind bears a singular analogy to his body. It
VI. is weak even to helplessness, for purposes of manly resistance; but its suppleness and its Other forms of his talent are more tact move the children of sterner climates to peculiarly English. Macaulay has a admiration not unmingled with contempt. All those arts which are the natural defence of the rough touch ; when he strikes, he weak are more familiar to this subtle race than knocks down. Béranger sings : to the Ionian of the time of Juvenal, or to the
“ Chez nous, point, Jew of the dark ages. What the horns are to
Point de ces coups de poing the buffalo, what the paw is to the tiger, what
Qui font tant d'honneur à Angleterre." I the sting is to the bee, what beauty, according to the old Greek song, is to woman, deceit is to And a French reader would be the Bengalee. Large promises, smooth ex- astonished if he heard a great historian cuses, elaborate tissues of circumstantial falsehood, chicanery, perjury, forgery, are the weap- treat an illustrious poet in this style : ons, offensive and defensive, of the people of “But in all those works in which Mr. Southey the Lower Ganges. All those millions do not has completely abandoned narration, and has furnish one sepoy to the armies of the Com- undertaken to argue moral and political quespany. But as usurers, as money-changers, as sharp legal practitioners, no class of human tions, his failure has been complete and igna
minious. On such occasions his writings are beings can bear a comparison with them." I
rescued from utter contempt and derision solely It was such men and such affairs, which by the beauty and purity of the English. We were to provide Burke with the amplest ey's style that, even when he writes nonsense,
find, we confess, so great a charm in Mr. Southand most brilliant subject matter for his we generally read it with pleasure, except indeed eloquence ;
; and when Macaulay de- when he tries to be droll. A more insufferan je scribed the distinctive talent of the to be humourous, and yet we do not remember
jester never existed. He very : ften attempts great orator, he described his own:
a single occasion on which he has succeeded
further than to be quaintly and flippantly dull. He (Burke) had, in the highest degree, that In one of his works he tells us that Bishop sob e faculty whereby man is able to live in the Spratt was very properly so zalled, inasmuch past and in the future, in the distant and in the unreal. India and its inhabitants were not to
as he was a very small poet. And in the book him, as to most Englishmen, mere names and the renegade Quaker, without a remark on his
now before us he cannot quote Francis Bugg, abstractions, but a real country and a real peo- unsavoury name. A wise man might talk folly ple. The burning sun, the strange vegetation like this by his own fireside ; but that any of the palm and the cocoa-tree, the rice-field; human being, after having made such a joke th: tank, the huge trees, older than the Mogul
* Ibid. 619 • Macaulay, vi 549; Warren Hastings. Beranger, Chansons, : vols. 1893 ; ha
Boscurs, on L'Anglomane.
+ Ibid. 553.
1 Ibid. 555.
mit it to the printer, and correct the proof-sheets, an excellent means of raillery ; and we should write it down, and copy it out, and trans | Mathematics become in English hande and send it forth into the world, is enough to rake us ashamed of our species." *
remember how the Dean, comparing
Roman and English generosity by num. We may imagine that Macaulay does bers, overwhelmed Marlborough by a not treat the dead better than the
sum in addition.
Humor employs living. Thus he speaks of Archbishop against the people it attacks, positive Laud :
facts, commercial arguments, odd con“The severest punishment which the two trasts drawn from ordinary life. This Icuses could have inflicted on him would have surprises and perplexes the reader, reen to set him. at liberty and send him to without warning; he falls abruptly into ord. There he might have staid, tortured by sis own diabolical temper, hungering for Puri- some familiar and grotesque detail ; the ans to pill ory and mangle, plaguing the Cava- shock is violent; he bursts out laugh liers, for wa st of somebody else to plague with his peevishness and absurdity, performing grimaces ing without being much amused; the and antics in th: cathedral, continuing that trigger is pulled so suddenly and so incomparable diary, which we never see with roughly, that it is like a knockdown out forgetting the vices of his heart in the im- blow. For instance, Macaulay is re. becility of his intellect, minuting down his dreams, counting the drops of blood which fell futing those who would not print the from his nose, watching the direction of the indecent classical authors : salt, and listening for the note of the screechowls. Contemptuous mercy was the only venge
“We find it difficult to believe that, in a ance which it became the Parliament to take
world so full of temptations as this, any gentle
man whose life would have been virtuous if he on such a ridiculous old bigot." |
had not read Aristophanes and Juvenal will be While he jests he remains grave, as do made vicious by reading them.
A man who, almost all the writers of his country. exposed to all the influences of such a state o Humor consists in saying extremely societinas that in which we live, is yet afraid of comical things in a . solcmn tone, and Greek or Latin verses, acts, we think, much in preserving a lofty style and ample like the felon who begged the sheriffs to let him phraseology, at the very moment when have an umbrella held over his head from the
door of Newgate to the gallows, because it was the author is making all his hearers a drizzling morning, and he was apt to take laugh. Such is the beginning of an article on a new historian of Burleigh : Irony, sarcasm, the bitterest kinds of
"The work of Dr. Nares has filled us with pleasantry, are the rule with Englishastonishment similar to that which Captain men. They tear when they scratch. To Lemuel Gulliver felt when first he landed in be convinced of this, we should compare Brobdingnag, and saw corn as high as the oaks French scandal, as Molière represents in the New Forest, thimbles as large as buckets, and wrens of the bulk of turkeys. The whole it in the Misanthrope, with English book, and every component part of it, is on a scandal as Sheridan represes it, imi. gigantic scale. The title is as long as an ordi- tating Molière and the Misanthrope. nary preface ; the prefatory matter would furnish Out
an ordinary book : and the book Célimène pricks, but does not wound; contains as much reading as an ordinary library. Lady Sneerwell's friends wound, and We cannot sum up the merits of the stupen- leave bloody marks on all the reputadous inass of paper which lies before us better tions which they handle. The raillery, than by saying that it consists of about two which I am about to give, is one of thousand closely printed quarto pages, that it occupies fifteen hundred inches cubic measure, Macaulay's ténderest: and that it weighs sixty pounds avoirdupois. Suc), a book might, before the deluge, have
“They (the ministers) therefore gave the been considered as light reading by Hilpah and
command to Lord Galway, an experienced vetSbalum. But unhappily the life of man is eran, a man who was in war what Molière's now threescore years and ten ; and we cannot
doctors were in medicine, who thought it much
more honourable to fail according to rule, than to but think it somewhat unfair in Dr. Nares to demand from us so large a portion of sq short succeed by innovation, and who would have been an existence."
very much ashamed of himself if he had taken
Monjuich by means so strange as those which This comparison, borrowed from Peterborough employed. This great commandSwift, is a mockery in Swift's taste.
er conducted the campaign of 1707 in the most
scientific manner. On the plain of Almanza be * Macaulay, v. 333 ; Southey's Colloquies, on encountered the army of the Bourbons. He Society.
drew up his troops according to the methode † Macaulay, v. 204; Hallam's Constitutional History.
* Macaulay, vi. 491 ; Comte Dramatloks † Maraulay, v 587; Burleigh and his Times. I the Restoration.