AN ENGLISH GARNER
CRITICAL ESSAYS AND LITERARY FRAGMENTS
WITH AN INTRODUCTION BY J. CHURTON COLLINS
The texts contained in the present volume are reprinted with very slight alterations from the English Garner issued in eight volumes (1877-1890, London, 8vo.) by Professor Arber, whose name is sufficient guarantee for the accurate collation of the texts with the rare originals, the old spelling being in most cases carefully modernised. The contents of the original Garner have been rearranged and now for the first time classified, under the general editorial supervision of Mr. Thomas Seccombe. Certain lacunae have been filled by the interpolation of fresh matter. The Introductions are wholly new and have been written specially for this issue. The references to volumes of the Garner (other than the present volume) are for the most part to the editio princeps, 8 vols. 1877-90.
I. Extract from Thomas Wilson's Art of Rhetoric, 1554 II. Sir Philip Sidney's Letter to his brother Robert, 1580 III. Extract from Francis Meres's Palladis Tamia, 1598 IV. Dryden's Dedicatory Epistle to the Rival Ladies, 1664 V. Sir Robert Howard's Preface to four new Plays, 1665 VI. Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy, 1668 VII. Extract from Thomas Ellwood's History of Himself, describing his relations with Milton, 1713 VIII. Bishop Copleston's Advice to a Young Reviewer, 1807 IX. The Bickerstaff and Partridge Tracts, 1708 X. Gay's Present State of Wit, 1711 XI. Tickell's Life of Addison, 1721 XII. Steele's Dedicatory Epistle to Congreve, 1722 XIII. Extract from Chamberlayne's Angliae Notitia, 1669 XIV. Eachard's Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and of Religion, 1670 XV. Bickerstaff's Miseries of the Domestic Chaplain, 1710 XVI. Franklin's Poor Richard Improved, 1757
The miscellaneous pieces comprised in this volume are of interest and value, as illustrating the history of English literature and of an important side of English social life, namely, the character and status of the clergy in the seventeenth and early eighteenth centuries. They have been arranged chronologically under the subjects with which they are respectively concerned. The first three—the excerpt from Wilson's Art of Rhetoric, Sir Philip Sidney's Letter to his brother Robert, and the dissertation from Meres's Palladis Tamia—are, if minor, certainly characteristic examples of pre-Elizabethan and Elizabethan literary criticism. The next three—the Dedicatory Epistle to the Rival Ladies, Howard's Preface to Four New Plays, and the Essay of Dramatic Poesy—not only introduce us to one of the most interesting critical controversies of the seventeenth century, but present us, in the last work, with an epoch-marking masterpiece, both in English criticism and in English prose composition. Bishop Copleston's brochure brings us to the early days of the Edinburgh Review, and to the dawn of the criticism with which we are, unhappily, only too familiar in our own time. From criticism we pass, in the extract from Ellwood's life of himself, to biography and social history, to the most vivid account we have of Milton as a personality and in private life. Next comes a series of pamphlets illustrating social and literary history in the reigns of Anne and George I., opening with the pamphlets bearing on Swift's inimitable Partridge hoax, now for the first time collected and reprinted, and preceding Gay's Present State of Wit, which gives a lively account of the periodic literature current in 1711. Next comes Tickell's valuable memoir of his friend Addison, prefixed, as preface, to his edition of Addison's works, published in 1721, with Steele's singularly interesting strictures on the memoir, being the dedication of the second edition of the Drummer to Congreve. The reprint of Eachard's Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion Enquired into, with the preceding extract from Chamberlayne's Angliae Notitia and the succeeding papers of Steele's in the Tatler and Guardian, throws light on a question which is not only of great interest in itself, but which has been brought into prominence through the controversies excited by Macaulay's famous picture of the clergy of the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries. Last comes what is by general consent acknowledged to be one of the most valuable contributions ever made to the literature of proverbs, Franklin's summary of the maxims in Poor Richard's Almanack.
Our first excerpt is the preface to a work which is entitled to the distinction of being the first systematic contribution to literary criticism written in the English language. It appeared in 1553, and was entitled The Art of Rhetorique, for the use of all suche as are studious of eloquence, sette foorthe in Englishe by Thomas Wilson, and it was dedicated to John Dudley, Earl of Warwick. Thomas Wilson—erroneously designated Sir Thomas Wilson, presumably because he has been confounded with a knight of that name—was born about 1525, educated at Eton and subsequently at King's College, Cambridge, whence he graduated B.A. in 1549. In life he played many parts, as tutor to distinguished pupils, notably Henry and Charles Brandon, afterwards Dukes of Suffolk, as diplomatist and ambassador to various countries, as a Secretary of State and a Privy Councillor, as one of the Masters of Requests, and as Master of St. Catherine's Hospital at the Tower, at which place and in which capacity he terminated a very full and busy life on June 16th, 1581. The pupil of Sir John Cheke and of Sir Thomas Smith, and the intimate friend of Roger Ascham, Wilson was one of the most accomplished scholars in England, being especially distinguished by his knowledge of Greek. He is the author of a translation, of a singularly vigorous translation, of the Olynthiacs and Philippics of Demosthenes, published in 1570. His most popular work, judging at least from the quickly succeeding editions, appears to have been his first, The Rule of Reason, conteinynge the Art of Logique set forth in Englishe, published by Grafton in 1551, and dedicated to Edward VI. The Art of Rhetorique is said to have been published at the same time, but the earliest known copy is dated January 1553. The interest of this Art of Rhetoric is threefold. It is the work of a writer intelligently familiar with the Greek and Roman classics, and it thus stands beside Elyot's Governour, which appeared two years before, as one of the earliest illustrations of the influence of the Renaissance on our vernacular literature. It is one of the earliest examples, not only of the employment of the English language in the treatment of scholastic subjects, but of the vindication of the use of English in the treatment of such subjects; and, lastly, it is remarkable for its sound and weighty good sense. His friend, Ascham, had already said: 'He that wyll wryte well in any tongue muste folowe thys councel of Aristotle, to speake as the common people do, to think as wise men do, and so shoulde every man understande hym. Many English writers have not done so, but usinge straunge words, as Latin, French, and Italian, do make all thinges darke and harde.' And it is indeed by no means improbable that this work, which is written to inculcate all that Ascham upheld, may have been suggested by Ascham. It is in three books, and draws largely on Quintilian, the first two books being substantially little more than a compilation, but a very judicious one, from the Institutes of Oratory. But Wilson is no pedant, and has many excellent remarks on the nature of the influence which the classics should exercise on English composition. One passage is worth transcribing—
'Among all other lessons, this should first be learned, that we never affect any straunge ynkhorne termes, but to speake as is commonly received, neither seeking to be over fine, nor yet being over carelesse, using our speeche as most men doe, and ordering our wittes as the fewest have done. Some seke so far outlandishe English, that thei forget altogether their mothers language. And I dare sweare this, if some of their mothers were alive, thei were not able to tell what thei saie; and yet these fine English clerkes will saie thei speake in their mother tongue—if a man should charge them for counterfeityng the kinges Englishe.... The unlearned or foolish phantasicalle that smelles but of learnyng (suche fellowes as have seen learned men in their daies) will so Latin their tongues that the simple can not but wonder at their talke, and thinke surely thei speake by some revelation. I know them that thinke Rhetorique to stand wholie upon darke woordes; and he that can catche an ynke horne terme by the taile him thei coumpt to bee a fine Englisheman and a good Rhetorician.'
In turning to Wilson's own style, we are reminded of Butler's sarcasm—
'All a rhetorician's rules Teach nothing but to name his tools.'
He is not, indeed, deficient, as the excerpt given shows, in dignity and weightiness, but neither there nor elsewhere has he any of the finer qualities of style, his rhythm being harsh and unmusical, his diction cumbrous and diffuse.
The excerpt which comes next in this miscellany is by the author of that treatise which is, with the exceptions, perhaps, of George Puttenham's Art of English Poesie and Ben Jonson's Discoveries, the most precious contribution to criticism made in the Elizabethan age; but, indeed, the Defence of Poesie stands alone: alone in originality, alone in inspiring eloquence. The letter we print is taken from Arthur Collins's Sydney Papers, vol. i. pp. 283-5, and was written by Sir Philip Sidney to his brother Robert, afterwards (August 1618) second Earl of Leicester, then at Prague. From letters of Sir Henry Sidney in the same collection (see letters dated March 25th and October 1578) we learn that Robert, then in his eighteenth year, had been sent abroad to see the world and to acquire foreign languages, that he was flighty and extravagant, and had in consequence greatly annoyed his father, who had threatened to recall him home. 'Follow,' Sir Henry had written, 'the direction of your most loving brother. Imitate his virtues, exercyses, studyes and accyons, hee ys a rare ornament of thys age.' This letter was written at a critical time in Sidney's life. With great courage and with the noblest intentions, though with extraordinary want of tact, for he was only in his twenty-sixth year, he had presumed to dissuade Queen Elizabeth from marrying the Duke of Anjou. The Queen had been greatly offended, and he had had to retire from Court. The greater part of the year 1580 he spent at Wilton with his sister Mary, busy with the Arcadia. In August he had, through the influence of his uncle Leicester, become reconciled with the Queen, and a little later took up his residence at Leicester House, from which this letter is dated. It is a mere trifle, yet it illustrates very strikingly and even touchingly Sidney's serious, sweet, and beautiful character. The admirable remarks on the true use of the study of history, such as 'I never require great study in Ciceronianism, the chief abuse of Oxford, qui dum verba sectantur, res ipsas negligunt,' remind us of the author of the Defence; while the 'great part of my comfort is in you,' 'be careful of yourself, and I shall never have cares,' and the 'I write this to you as one that for myself have given over the delight in the world,' show that he had estimated royal reconciliations at their true value, and anticipate the beautiful and pathetic words with which he is said to have taken leave of the world. Short and hurried as this letter is, we feel it is one of those trifles which, as Plutarch observes, throw far more light on character than actions of importance often do.
Between 1580 and the appearance of Meres's work in 1598 there was much activity in critical literature. Five years before the date of Sidney's letter George Gascogne had published his _Certayne Notes of Instruction concerning the makyng of Verse in Rhyme_. This was succeeded in 1584 by James I.'s _Ane Short Treatise conteining some rewles and cautelis to be observit_. Then came William Webbe's _Discourse of English Poesie_, 1586, which had been preceded by Sidney's charming _Defence of Poetry_, composed in or about 1579, but not published till 1593. This and Puttenham's elaborate treatise, _The Art of English Poesie contrived into three books_ (1589), had indeed marked an epoch in the history of criticism. Memorable, too, in this branch of literature is Harington's _Apologie for Poetry_ (1591), prefixed to his translation of the _Orlando Furioso_. But it was not criticism only which had been advancing. The publication of the first part of Lyly's _Euphues_ and of Spenser's _Shepherd's Calendar_ in 1579 may be said to have initiated the golden age of our literature. The next twenty years saw Marlowe, Greene, Peele, Kyd, Shakespeare, Chapman, Decker, and Ben Jonson at the head of our drama; Spenser, Warner, Daniel, and Drayton leading narrative poetry; the contributors to _England's Helicon_, published a year later, at the head of our sonneteers and lyric poets; and Sidney, Lyly, Greene, and Hooker in the van of our prose literature. The history of Meres's work, a dissertation from which is here extracted, is curious. In or about 1596, Nicholas Ling and John Bodenham conceived the idea of publishing a series of volumes containing proverbs, maxims, and sententious reflections on religion, morals, and life generally. Accordingly in 1597 appeared a small volume containing various apothegms, extracted principally from the Classics and the Fathers, compiled by Nicholas Ling and dedicated to Bodenham. It was entitled _Politeuphuia_: _Wits Commonwealth_. In the following year appeared '_Palladis Tamia, Wits Treasury_: _Being the Second Part of Wits Commonwealth_. By Francis Meres, Maister of Arts in both Universities.' On the title-page is the motto '_Vivitur ingenio, cetera mortis erunt_.' It was printed by P. Short for Cuthbert Burbie. From the address to the reader, which does not appear in the first edition, though it was apparently intended for that edition, we learn that it had been undertaken because of the extraordinary popularity of _Wits Commonwealth_, which 'thrice within one year had runne thorough the Presse.' Meres's work differs importantly from _Wits Commonwealth_. It is not merely a compilation, but contains original matter, generally by way of commentary. The extracts are much fuller, many being taken from modern writers, notably Robert Greene, Lyly, Warner, and Sir Philip Sidney. In 1634 the work was re-issued under another title, _Wits Commonwealth, The Second Part: A Treasurie of Divine, Moral, and Phylosophical Similes and Sentences generally useful. But more particular published for the Use of Schools_. In 1636 it was again reprinted. The only part of Meres's work which is of interest now is what is here reprinted. It belongs to that portion of his compilation which treats of studies and reading, the preceding sections discussing respectively of 'books,' of 'reading of books,' of 'choice to be had in reading of books,' of 'the use of reading many books,' of 'philosophers,' of 'poetry,' of 'poets,' consisting for the most part of remarks compiled from Plutarch, and in one or two instances from Sir Philip Sidney's _Defence of Poetry. A portion of the passage which immediately precedes the _Discourse_ may be transcribed because of its plain speaking about the indifference of Elizabeth and her ministers to the fortune of poets; though this, with curious inconsistency, is flatly contradicted, probably for prudential reasons, in the _Discourse_ itself—
'As the Greeke and Latin Poets have wonne immortal credit to their native speech, being encouraged and graced by liberal patrones and bountiful benefactors; so our famous and learned Lawreate masters of England would entitle our English to far greater admired excellency, if either the Emperor Augustus or Octavia his sister or noble Maecenas were alive to reward and countenance them; or if witty Comedians and stately Tragedians (the glorious and goodlie representers of all fine witte, glorified phrase and great action) bee still supported and uphelde, by which meanes (O ingrateful and damned age) our Poets are soly or chiefly maintained, countenanced and patronized.'
Of the author of this work, Francis Meres or Meers, comparatively little is known. He sprang from an old and highly respectable family in Lincolnshire, and was born in 1565, the son of Thomas Meres, of Kirton in Holland in that county. After graduating from Pembroke College, Cambridge, in 1587, proceeding M.A. in 1591 at his own University, and subsequently by ad eundem at Oxford, he settled in London, where in 1597, having taken orders, he was living in Botolf Lane. He was presented in July 1602 to the rectory of Wing in Rutland, keeping a school there. He remained at Wing till his death, in his eighty-first year, January 29, 1646-7. As Charles FitzGeoffrey, in a Latin poem in his Affaniae addressed to Meres, speaks of him as 'Theologus et poeta', it is possible that the 'F.M.' who was a contributor to the Paradise of Dainty Devices is to be identified with Meres. In addition to the Palladis Tamia, Meres was the author of a sermon published in 1597, a copy of which is in the Bodleian, and of two translations from the Spanish, neither of which is of any interest.
Meres's Discourse is, like the rest of his work, mainly a compilation, with additions and remarks of his own. Much of it is derived from the thirty-first chapter of the first book of Puttenham; with these distinctions, that Meres's includes the poets who had come into prominence between 1589 and 1598, and instituted parallels, biographical and critical, between them and the ancient Classics. It is the notices of these poets, and more particularly the references to Shakespeare's writings, which make this treatise so invaluable to literary students. Thus we are indebted to Meres for a list of the plays which Shakespeare had produced by 1598, and for a striking testimony to his eminence at that date as a dramatic poet, as a narrative poet, and as a writer of sonnets. The perplexing reference to Love's Labour's Won has never been, and perhaps never will be, satisfactorily explained. To assume that it is another title for All's Well that Ends Well in an earlier form is to cut rather than to solve the knot. It is quite possible that it refers to a play that has perished. The references to the imprisonment of Nash for writing the Isle of Dogs, to the unhappy deaths of Peele, Greene, and Marlowe, and to the high personal character of Drayton are of great interest. Meres was plainly a man of muddled and inaccurate learning, of no judgment, and of no critical power, a sort of Elizabethan Boswell without Boswell's virtues, and it is no paradox to say that it is this which gives his Discourse its chief interest. It probably represents not his own but the judgments current on contemporary writers in Elizabethan literary circles. And we cannot but be struck with their general fairness. Full justice is done to Shakespeare, who is placed at the head of the dramatists; full justice is done to Spenser, who is styled divine, and placed at the head of narrative poets; to Sidney, both as a prose writer and as a poet; to Drayton, to Daniel, and to Hall, Lodge, and Marston, as satirists. We are surprised to find such a high place assigned to Warner, 'styled by the best wits of both our universities the English Homer,' and a modern critic would probably substitute different names, notably those of Lodge and Campion, for those of Daniel and Drayton in a list of the chief lyric poets then in activity. In Meres's remarks on painters and musicians, there is nothing to detain us.
Of a very different order is the important critical treatise which comes next, Dryden's Essay of Dramatic Poesy, to which are prefixed as prolegomena Dryden's Dedicatory Epistle to The Rival Ladies, Sir Robert Howard's Preface to Four New Plays, and, as supplementary, Howard's Preface to The Duke of Lerma, and Dryden's Defence of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy. As Dryden's Essay, like almost all his writings, both in verse and prose, was of a more or less occasional character, it will be necessary to explain at some length the origin of the controversy out of which it sprang, as well as the immediate object with which it was written.
The Restoration found Dryden a literary adventurer, with a very slender patrimony and with no prospects. Poetry was a drug in the market; hack-work for the booksellers was not to his taste; and the only chance of remunerative employment open to him was to write for the stage. To this he accordingly betook himself. He began with comedy, and his comedy was a failure. He then betook himself to a species of drama, for which his parts and accomplishments were better fitted. Dryden had few or none of the qualifications essential in a great dramatist; but as a rhetorician, in the more comprehensive sense of the term, he was soon to be unrivalled. In the rhymed heroic plays, as they were called, he found just the sphere in which he was most qualified to excel. The taste for these dramas, which owed most to France and something to Italy and Spain, had come in with the Restoration. Their chief peculiarities were the complete subordination of the dramatic to the rhetorical element, the predominance of pageant, and the substitution of rhymed for blank verse. Dryden's first experiment in this drama was the Rival Ladies, in which the tragic portions are composed in rhyme, blank verse being reserved for the parts approaching comedy. In his next play, the Indian Queen, written in conjunction with Howard, blank verse is wholly discarded. The dedication of the Rival Ladies to Orrery is appropriate. Roger Boyle, Baron Broghill, and first Earl of Orrery, was at this time Lord President of Munster, and it was he who had revived these rhymed plays in his Henry V., which was brought out in the same year as Dryden's comedy. Whoever has read this drama and Orrery's subsequent experiments, Mustapha (1665), the Black Prince (1667), Tryphon (1668), will be able to estimate Dryden's absurd flattery at its proper value.
But these dramatic innovations were sure not to pass without protest, though the protest came from a quarter where it might least have been expected. Sir Robert Howard was the sixth son of Thomas, first Earl of Berkshire. He had distinguished himself on the Royalist side in the Civil War, and had paid the penalty for his loyalty by an imprisonment in Windsor Castle during the Commonwealth. At the Restoration he had been made an Auditor of the Exchequer. Dryden seems to have made his acquaintance shortly after arriving in London. In 1660 Howard published a collection of poems and translations, to which Dryden prefixed an address 'to his honoured friend' on 'his excellent poems.' Howard's rank and position made him a useful friend to Dryden, and Dryden in his turn was no doubt of much service to Howard. Howard introduced him to his family, and in December 1663 Dryden married his friend's eldest sister, the Lady Elizabeth Howard. In the following year Dryden assisted his brother-in-law in the composition of the Indian Queen. There had probably been some misunderstanding or dispute about the extent of the assistance which Dryden had given, which accounts for what follows. In any case Howard published in 1665, professedly under pressure from Herringman, four plays, two comedies, The Surprisal and The Committee, and two tragedies, the Vestal Virgin and Indian Queen; and to the volume he prefixed the preface, which is here reprinted. It will be seen that though he makes no reference to Dryden, he combats all the doctrines laid down in the preface to the Rival Ladies. He exalts the English drama above the French, the Italian, and the Spanish; and vindicates blank verse against rhymed, making, however, a flattering exception of Orrery's dramas. If Dryden was not pleased, he appears to have had the grace to conceal his displeasure. For he passed the greater part of 1666 at his father-in-law's house, and dedicated to Howard his Annus Mirabilis. But Howard was to have his answer. In the Essay of Dramatic Poesy he is introduced in the person of Crites, and in his mouth are placed all the arguments advanced in the Preface that they may be duly refuted and demolished by Dryden in the person of Neander. At this mode of retorting Howard became really angry; and in the Preface to the Duke of Lerma, published in the middle of 1668, he replied in a tone so contemptuous and insolent that Dryden, in turn, completely lost his temper. The sting of Howard's Preface lies, it will be seen, in his affecting the air of a person to whom as a statesman and public man the points in dispute are mere trifles, hardly worth consideration, and in the patronising condescension with which he descends to a discussion with one to whom as a mere litterateur such trifles are of importance. The Defence of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy Dryden prefixed to the second edition of the Indian Emperor, one of the best of his heroic plays. The seriously critical portion of this admirable little treatise deals with Howard's attacks on the employment of rhyme in tragedy, on the observance of strict rules in dramatic composition, and on the observance of the unities. But irritated by the tone of Howard's tract, Dryden does not confine himself to answering his friend's arguments. He ridicules, what Shadwell had ridiculed before, Howard's coxcombical affectation of universal knowledge, makes sarcastic reference to an absurdity of which his opponent had been guilty in the House of Commons, mercilessly exposes his ignorance of Latin, and the uncouthness and obscurity of his English. The brothers-in-law afterwards became reconciled, and in token of that reconciliation Dryden cancelled this tract.
The Essay of Dramatic Poesy was written at Charleton Park in the latter part of 1665, and published by Herringman in 1668. It was afterwards carefully revised, and republished with a dedication to Lord Buckhurst in 1684. Dryden spent more pains than was usual with him on the composition of this essay, though he speaks modestly of it as 'rude and indigested,' and it is indeed the most elaborate of his critical disquisitions. It was, he said, written 'chiefly to vindicate the honour of our English writers from the censure of those who unjustly prefer the French before them.' Its more immediate and particular object was to regulate dramatic composition by reducing it to critical principles, and these principles he discerned in a judicious compromise between the licence of romantic drama as represented by Shakespeare and his School, and the austere restraints imposed by the canons of the classical drama. Assuming that a drama should be 'a just and lively image of human nature, representing its passions and humours, and the changes of fortune to which it is subject, for the delight and instruction of mankind,' it is shown that this end can only be attained in a drama founded on such a compromise; that the ancient and modern classical drama fails in nature; that the Shakespearian drama fails in art. At the conclusion of the essay he vindicates the employment of rhyme, a contention which he afterwards abandoned. The dramatic setting of the essay was no doubt suggested by the Platonic Dialogues, or by Cicero, and the essay itself may have been suggested by Flecknoe's short Discourse of the English Stage, published in 1664.
The Essay of Dramatic Poesy may be said to make an era in the history of English criticism, and to mark an era in the history of English prose composition. It was incomparably the best purely critical treatise which had hitherto appeared in our language, both synthetically in its definition and application of principles, and particularly in its lucid, exact, and purely discriminating analysis. It was also the most striking and successful illustration of what may be called the new prose style, or that style which, initiated by Hobbes and developed by Sprat, Cowley, and Denham blended the ease and plasticity of colloquy with the solidity and dignity of rhetoric, of that style in which Dryden was soon to become a consummate master.
The Advice to a Young Reviewer brings us into a very different sphere of criticism, and has indeed a direct application to our own time. It was written by Edward Copleston, afterwards Dean of St. Paul's and Bishop of Llandaff. Born in February 1776 at Offwell, in Devonshire, Copleston gained in his sixteenth year a scholarship at Corpus Christi College, Oxford. After carrying off the prize for Latin verse, he was elected in 1795 Fellow of Oriel. In 1800, having been ordained priest, he became Vicar of St. Mary's. In 1802 he was elected Professor of Poetry, in which capacity he delivered the lectures subsequently published under the title of Praelectiones Academicae—a favourite book of Cardinal Newman's. In 1814 he succeeded Dr. Eveleigh as Provost of Oriel. In 1826 he was made Dean of Chester, in 1828 Bishop of Llandaff and Dean of St. Paul's. He died at Llandaff, on October 14th, 1849. Copleston is one of the fathers of modern Oxford, and from his provostship date many of the reforms which transformed the University of Gibbon and Southey into the University of Whateley, of Newman, of Keble, and of Pusey. The brochure which is printed here was written when Copleston was Fellow and Tutor of Oriel. It was immediately inspired, not, as is commonly supposed, by the critiques in the Edinburgh Review, but by the critiques in the British Critic, a periodical founded in 1793, and exceedingly influential between that time and about 1812. Archbishop Whateley, correcting a statement in the Life of Copleston by W.J. Copleston, says that it was occasioned by a review of Mant's poems in the British Critic. But on referring to the review of these poems, which appeared in the November number of 1806, plainly the review referred to, we find nothing in it to support Whateley's assertion. That the reviews in the British Critic are, however, what Copleston is parodying in the critique of L'Allegro is abundantly clear, but what he says about voyages and travels and about science and recondite learning appear to have reference to articles particularly characteristic of the Edinburgh Review. It was not, however, till after the date of Copleston's parody that the Edinburgh Review began conspicuously to illustrate what Copleston here satirises; it was not till a time more recent still that periodical literature generally exemplified in literal seriousness what Copleston intended as extravagant irony. It is interesting to compare with Copleston's remarks what Thackeray says on the same subjects in the twenty-fourth chapter of Pendennis, entitled 'The Pall Mall Gazette.' This brochure is evidently modelled on Swift's 'Digression Concerning Critics' in the third section of the Tale of a Tub, and owes something also to the Treatise on the Bathos in Pope's and Swift's Miscellanies, as the title may have been suggested by Shaftesbury's Advice to an Author. The Advice itself and the supplementary critique of Milton are clever and have good points, but they will not bear comparison with the satire of Swift and Pope.
The excerpt which comes next in this Miscellany links with the name of the author of the Essay of Dramatic Poesy the name of the most illustrious of his contemporaries. The difference, indeed, between Milton and Dryden is a difference not in degree merely, but in kind, so immeasurably distant and alien is the sphere in which they moved and worked both as men and as writers. It has sometimes been questioned whether Dryden is a poet. Few would dispute that Milton divides with Shakespeare the supremacy in English poetry. In Dryden as a man there is little to attract or interest us. In character and in private life he appears to have been perfectly commonplace. We close his biography, and our curiosity is satisfied. With Milton it is far otherwise. We feel instinctively that he belongs to the demi-gods of our race. We have the same curiosity about him as we have about Homer, Aeschylus, and Shakespeare, so that the merest trifles which throw any light on his personality assume an interest altogether out of proportion to their intrinsic importance. Our debt to Ellwood is, it must be admitted, much less than it might have been, if he had thought a little more of Milton and a little less of his somewhat stupid self and the sect to which he belonged. But, as the proverb says, we must not look a gift-horse in the mouth, and we are the richer for the Quaker's reminiscences. With Ellwood's work, the History of Thomas Ellwood, written by Himself, we are only concerned so far as it bears on his relation with Milton. Born in 1639, the son of a small squire and justice of the peace at Crowell in Oxfordshire, Ellwood had, in 1659, been persuaded by Edward Burrough, one of the most distinguished of Fox's followers, to join the Quakers. He was in his twenty-fourth year when he first met Milton. Milton was then living in Jewin Street, having removed from his former lodging in Holborn, most probably in the autumn of 1661. The restoration had terminated his work as a controversialist and politician. For a short time his life had been in peril, but he had received a pardon, and could at least live in peace. He could no longer be of service as a patriot, and was now occupied with the composition of Paradise Lost. Since 1650 he had been blind, and for study and recreation was dependent on assistance. Having little domestic comfort as a widower, he had just married his third wife.
Ellwood's narrative tells its own story. What especially strikes us in it, and what makes it particularly interesting, is that it presents Milton in a light in which he is not presented elsewhere. Ellwood seems to have had the same attraction for him as Bonstetten had for Gray. No doubt the simplicity, freshness, and enthusiasm of the young Quaker touched and interested the lonely and world-wearied poet who, when Ellwood first met him, had entered on his fifty-fifth year; he had no doubt, too, the scholar's sympathy with a disinterested love of learning. In any case, but for Ellwood, we should never have known the softer side of Milton's character, never have known of what gentleness, patience, and courtesy he was capable. And, indeed, when we remember Milton's position at this time, as tragical as that of Demosthenes after Chaeronea, and of Dante at the Court of Verona, there is something inexpressibly touching in the picture here given with so much simplicity and with such evident unconsciousness on the part of the painter of the effect produced. There is one passage which is quite delicious, and yet its point may be, as it commonly is, easily missed. It illustrates the density of Ellwood's stupidity, and the delicate irony of the sadly courteous poet. Milton had lent him, it will be seen, the manuscript of Paradise Lost; and on Ellwood returning it to him, 'he asked me how I liked it, and what I thought of it, which I modestly but freely told him, and after some further discourse about it I pleasantly said to him, "Thou has said much here of Paradise Lost, but what has thou to say of Paradise Found?"' Now the whole point and scope of Paradise Lost is Paradise Found—the redemption—the substitution of a spiritual Eden within man for a physical Eden without man, a point emphasised in the invocation, and elaborately worked out in the closing vision from the Specular Mount. It is easy to understand the significance of what follows: 'He made me no answer, but sat sometime in a muse; then broke off that discourse, and fell upon another subject.' The result no doubt of that 'muse' was the suspicion, or, perhaps, the conviction, that the rest of the world would, in all probability, be as obtuse as Ellwood; and to that suspicion or conviction we appear to owe Paradise Regained. The Plague over, Milton returned to London, settling in Artillery Walk, Bunhill Fields. 'And when afterwards I went to wait on him there ... he shewed me his second poem, called Paradise Regained, and in a pleasant tone said to me, "This is owing to you, for you put it into my head by the question you put to me at Chalfont, which before I had not thought of."' In 'the pleasant tone' more, and much more, is implied, of that we may be very sure, than meets the ear. We should like to have seen the expression on Milton's face both on this occasion and also when, on Dryden requesting his permission to turn Paradise Lost into an opera, he replied; 'Oh, certainly, you may tug my verses if you please, Mr. Dryden.' It may be added that Paradise Lost was not published till 1667, and Paradise Regained did not see the light till 1671. Ellwood seems to imply that Paradise Regained was composed between the end of August or the beginning of September 1665, and the end of the autumn of the same year, which is, of course, incredible and quite at variance with what Phillips tells us. Ellwood is, no doubt, expressing himself loosely, and his 'afterwards' need not necessarily relate to his first, or to his second, or even to his third visit to Milton after the poet's return to Artillery Walk, but refers vaguely to one of those 'occasions which drew him to London.' When he last saw Milton we have no means of knowing. He never refers to him again. His autobiography closes with the year 1683.
For the rest of his life Ellwood was engaged for the most part in fighting the battles of the Quakers-esoterically in endeavouring to compose their internal feuds, exoterically in defending them and their tenets against their common enemies—and in writing poetry, which it is to be hoped he did not communicate to his 'master.' After the death of his father in 1684 he lived in retirement at Amersham. His most important literary service was his edition of George Fox's Journal, the manuscript of which he transcribed and published. He died at his house on Hunger Hill, Amersham, in March 1714, and lies with Penn in the Quaker's burying-ground at New Jordan, Chalfont St. Giles.
We have now arrived at the pamphlets in our Miscellany bearing on the reign of Queen Anne. First come the Partridge tracts. The history of the inimitable hoax of which they are the record is full of interest. In November 1707 Swift, then Vicar of Laracor, came over to England on a commission from Archbishop King. His two satires, the Battle of the Books and the Tale of a Tub, published anonymously three years before, had given him a foremost place among the wits, for their authorship was an open secret. Though he was at this time principally engaged in the cause of the Established Church, in active opposition to what he considered the lax latitudinarianism of the Whigs on the one hand and the attacks of the Freethinkers on the other, he found leisure for doing society another service. Nothing was more detestable to Swift than charlatanry and imposture. From time immemorial the commonest form which quackery has assumed has been associated with astrology and prophecy. It was the frequent theme or satire in the New Comedy of the Greeks and in the Comedy of Rome; it has fallen under the lash of Horace and Juvenal; nowhere is Lucian more amusing than when dealing with this species of roguery. Chaucer with exquisite humour exposed it and its kindred alchemy in the fourteenth century, and Ben Jonson and the author of Albumazar in the seventeenth. Nothing in Hudibras is more rich in wit and humour than the exposure of Sidrophel, and one of the best of Dryden's comedies is the Mock Astrologer. But it was reserved for Swift to produce the most amusing satire which has ever gibbeted these mischievous mountebanks.
John Partridge, whose real name is said to have been Hewson, was born on the 18th of January 1644. He began life, it appears, as a shoemaker; but being a youth of some abilities and ambition, had acquired a fair knowledge of Latin and a smattering of Greek and Hebrew. He had then betaken himself to the study of astrology and of the occult sciences. After publishing the Nativity of Lewis XIV. and an astrological essay entitled Prodromus, he set up in 1680 a regular prophetic almanac, under the title of Merlinus Liberatus. A Protestant alarmist, for such he affected to be, was not likely to find favour under the government of James II., and Partridge accordingly made his way to Holland. On his return he resumed his Almanac, the character of which is exactly described in the introduction to the Predictions, and it appears to have had a wide sale. Partridge, however, was not the only impostor of his kind, but had, as we gather from notices in his Almanac and from his other pamphlets, many rivals. He was accordingly obliged to resort to every method of bringing himself and his Almanac into prominence, which he did by extensive and impudent advertisements in the newspapers and elsewhere. In his Almanac for 1707 he issues a notice warning the public against impostors usurping his name. It was this which probably attracted Swift's attention and suggested his mischievous hoax.
The pamphlets tell their own tale, and it is not necessary to tell it here. The name, Isaac Bickerstaff, which has in sound the curious propriety so characteristic of Dickens's names, was, like so many of the names in Dickens, suggested by a name on a sign-board, the name of a locksmith in Long Acre. The second tract, purporting to be written by a revenue officer, and giving an account of Partridge's death, was, of course, from the pen of Swift. The verses on Partridge's death appeared anonymously on a separate sheet as a broadside. It is amusing to learn that the tract announcing Partridge's death, and the approaching death of the Duke of Noailles, was taken quite seriously, for Partridge's name was struck off the rolls of Stationers' Hall, and the Inquisition in Portugal ordered the tract containing the treasonable prediction to be burned. As Stationers' Hall had assumed that Partridge was dead—a serious matter for the prospects of his Almanac—it became necessary for him to vindicate his title to being a living person. Whether the next tract, Squire Bickerstaff Detected, was, as Scott asserts, the result of an appeal to Rowe or Yalden by Partridge, and they, under the pretence of assisting him, treacherously making a fool of him, or an independent j'eu d'esprit, is not quite clear. Nor is it easy to settle with any certainty the authorship. In the Dublin edition of Swift's works, it is attributed to Nicholas Rowe; Scott assigns it to Thomas Yalden, the preacher of Bridewell and a well-known poet. Congreve is also said to have had a hand in it. It would have been well for Partridge had he allowed matters to rest here, but unhappily he inserted in the November issue of his Almanac another solemn assurance to the public that he was still alive; and was fool enough to add, that he was not only alive at the time he was writing, but was also alive on the day on which Bickerstaff had asserted that he was dead. Swift saw his opportunity, and in the most amusing of this series of tracts proceeded to prove that Partridge, under whatever delusions as to his continued existence he might be labouring, was most certainly dead and buried.
The tracts here printed by no means exhaust the literature of the Partridge hoax, but nothing else which appeared is worth reviving. It is surprising that Scott should include in Swift's works a vapid and pointless contribution attributed to a 'Person of Quality.' The effect of all this on poor Partridge was most disastrous; for three years his Almanac was discontinued. When it was revived, in 1714, he had discovered that his enemy was Swift. What comments he made will be found at the end of these tracts. Partridge did not long survive the resuscitation of his Almanac. What had been fiction became fact on June 24th, 1715, and his virtues and accomplishments, delineated by a hand more friendly than Swift's, were long decipherable, in most respectable Latin, on his tomb in Mortlake Churchyard.
The Partridge hoax has left a permanent trace in our classical literature. When, in the spring of 1709, Steele was about to start the Tatler, he thought he could best secure the ear of the public by adopting the name with which Englishmen were then as familiar as a century and a half afterwards they became with the name of Pickwick. It was under the title of the Lucubrations of Isaac Bickerstaff that the essays which initiated the most attractive and popular form of our periodical literature appeared.
The next tract, Gay's Present State of Wit, takes up the history of our popular literature during the period which immediately succeeded the discomfiture of poor Partridge. Its author, John Gay, who is, as we need scarcely add, one of the most eminent of the minor poets of the Augustan age, was at the time of its appearance almost entirely unknown. Born in September 1685, at Barnstaple, of a respectable but decayed family, he had received a good education at the free grammar school of that place. On leaving school he had been apprenticed to a silk mercer in London. But he had polite tastes, and employed his leisure time in scribbling verses and in frequenting with his friend, Aaron Hill, the literary coffee-houses. In 1708 he published a vapid and stupid parody, suggested by John Philip's Splendid Shilling and Cider, entitled Wine. His next performance was the tract which is here printed, and which is dated May 3rd, 1711. It is written with skill and sprightliness, and certainly shows a very exact and extensive acquaintance with the journalistic world of those times. And it is this which gives it its value. The best and most useful form, perhaps, which our remarks on it can take will be to furnish it with a running commentary explaining its allusions both to publications and to persons. It begins with a reference to the unhappy plight of Dr. King. This was Dr. William King, who is not to be confounded with his contemporaries and namesakes, the Archbishop of Dublin or the Principal of St. Mary Hall, Oxford, but who may be best, perhaps, described as the Dr. William King 'who could write verses in a tavern three hours after he could not speak.' He had long been a prominent figure among wits and humorists. His most important recent performances had been his Art of Cookery and his Art of Love, published respectively in 1708 and in 1709. In the latter year he had, much to the disgust of Sir John Soames, issued some very amusing parodies of the Philosophical Transactions, which he entitled Useful Transactions in Philosophy and other sorts of Learning, to be continued as long as it could find buyers. It ceased apparently to find buyers, and after reaching three numbers had collapsed. When the Examiner was started in August 1710, King was one of the chief contributors. Latterly, however, things had been going very badly with this 'poor starving wit,' as Swift called him. He was either imprisoned or on the point of being imprisoned in the Fleet, but death freed him from his troubles at the end of 1712. John Ozell was, perhaps, the most ridiculous of the scribblers then before the public, maturing steadily for the Dunciad, where, many years afterwards, he found his proper place. He rarely aspired beyond 'translations,' and the Monthly Amusement referred to is not, as might be supposed, a periodical, but simply his frequent appearances as a translator. Gay next passes to periodicals and newspapers. De Foe is treated as he was always treated by the wits. Pope's lines are well known, and the only reference to him in Swift is: 'The fellow who was pilloried—I forget his name.' Posterity has done him more justice. The 'poor Review' is of course the Weekly Review, started by De Foe in 1704, the first number of which appeared on Saturday, February 19th of that year. It had been continued weekly, and still continued, till 1712, extending to nine volumes, eight of which are extant. The Observator, which is also described as in its decline, had been set up by John Tutchin in imitation of the paper issued by Sir Roger L'Estrange in 1681, its first number appearing April 1st, 1702. Tutchin, dying in 1707, the paper was continued for the benefit of his widow, under the management of George Ridpath, the editor of the Flying Post, and it continued to linger on till 1712, when it was extinguished by the Stamp Tax. The first number of the Examiner appeared on the 3rd of August 1710, and it was set up by the Tories to oppose the Tatler, the chief contributors to it being Dr. King, Bolingbroke, then Henry St. John, Prior, Atterbury, and Dr. Freind. With No. 14 (Thursday, October 26th, 1710), Swift assumed the management, and writing thirty-two papers successively, made it the most influential political journal in the kingdom. The 'Letter to Crassus' appeared on February 1st, 1711, and was written by Swift. To oppose the Examiner, the Whigs set up what, after the second number, they called the Whig Examiner, the first number of which appeared on September 14th, 1710. It was continued weekly till October 12th, five numbers appearing, all of which were, with one exception, perhaps, written by Addison, so that Gay's conjecture—if Bickerstaff may be extended to include Addison—was correct. The Medley, to which Gay next passes, was another Whig organ. The first number appeared on August 5th, 1710, and it was continued weekly till August 6th, 1711. It was conducted by Arthur Mainwaring, a man of family and fortune, and an ardent Whig, with the assistance of Steele, Anthony Henley, and Oldmixon.
With the reference to the Tatler, we pass from obscurity into daylight. Since April 12th, 1709, that delightful periodical had regularly appeared three times a week. With the two hundredth and seventy-first number on January 2nd, 1711, it suddenly ceased. Of the great surprise and disappointment caused by its cessation, of the causes assigned for it, and of the high appreciation of all it had effected for moral and intellectual improvement and pleasure, Gay gives a vivid picture. What he says conjecturally about the reasons for its discontinuance is so near the truth that we may suspect he had had some light on the subject from Steele himself. It was, of course, from the preface to the edition of the first three volumes of the collected Tatlers, published in 1710, that Gay derived what he says about the contributions of Addison (though Steele had not mentioned him by name, in accordance, no doubt, with Addison's request) and about the verses of Swift. In all probability this was the first public association of Addison's name with the Tatler. The Mr. Henley referred to was Anthony Henley, a man of family and fortune, and one of the most distinguished of the wits of that age, to whom Garth dedicated The Dispensary. In politics he was a rabid Whig, and it was he who described Swift as 'a beast for ever after the order of Melchisedec.' Gay had not been misinformed, for Henley was the author of the first letter in No. 26 and of the letter in No. 193, under the character of Downes.
The cessation of the Tatler had been the signal for the appearance of several spurious papers purporting to be new numbers. One entitling itself No. 272 was published by one John Baker; another, purporting to be No. 273, was by 'Isaac Bickerstaff, Junior.' Then, on January 6th, appeared what purported to be Nos. 272 and 273 of the original issue, with a letter from Charles Lillie, one of the publishers of the original Tatler. Later in January, William Harrison, a protege of Swift, a young man whose name will be familiar to all who are acquainted with Swift's Journal to Stella, was encouraged by Swift to start a new Tatler, Swift liberally assisting him with notes, and not only contributing himself but inducing Congreve also to contribute a paper. And this new Tatler actually ran to fifty-two numbers, appearing twice a week between January 13th and May 19th, 1711, but, feeble from the first, it then collapsed. Nor had the Tatler been without rivals. In the two hundred and twenty-ninth number of the Tatler, Addison, enumerating his antagonists, says, 'I was threatened to be answered weekly Tit for Tat, I was undermined by the Whisperer, scolded at by a Female Tatler, and slandered by another of the same character under the title of Atalantis.' To confine ourselves, however, to the publications mentioned by Gay. The Growler appeared on the 27th of January 1711, on the discontinuance of the Tatler. The Whisperer was first published on October 11th, 1709, under the character of 'Mrs. Jenny Distaff, half-sister to Isaac Bickerstaff.' The Tell Tale appears to be a facetious title for the Female Tatler, the first number of which appeared on July 8th, 1709, and was continued for a hundred and eleven numbers, under the editorship of Thomas Baker, till March 3rd, 1710. The allusion in the postscript to the British Apollo is to a paper entitled The British Apollo: or Curious Amusements for the Ingenious, the first number of which appeared on Friday, March 13th, 1708, the paper regularly continuing on Wednesdays and Fridays till March 16th, 1711. Selections from this curious miscellany were afterwards printed in three volumes, and ran into three editions. Gay does not appear to be aware that this periodical had ceased. The reference in 'the two statesmen of the last reign whose characters are well expressed in their mottoes' are to Lord Somers and the Earl of Halifax, as what follows refers respectively to Addison and Steele. The tract closes with a reference to the Spectator, the first number of which had appeared on the first of the preceding March.
Gay's brochure attracted the attention of Swift, who thus refers to it in his Journal to Stella, May 14th, 1711: 'Dr. Freind was with me and pulled out a two-penny pamphlet just published called The State of Wit. The author seems to be a Whig, yet he speaks very highly of a paper called the Examiner, and says the supposed author of it is Dr. Swift, but above all he praises the Tatler and Spectator.'
The two tracts which follow consist of the Life of Addison, which forms the preface to Addison's collected works, published by Tickell in 1721, and of the Dedicatory Epistle prefixed by Steele to an edition of Addison's Drummer in 1722. To the student of the literary history of those times they are of great interest and importance. Of all Addison's friends, Steele had long been the most intimate of the younger men whom he had taken under his patronage. Tickell was the most loyal and the most attached. While still at Oxford he had expressed his admiration of Addison in extravagant terms: on arriving in London he made his acquaintance. Tickell was an accomplished poet and man of letters, and though not a profound a graceful scholar. Addison was pleased with a homage which was worth accepting. As he rose, his protege rose with him. On his appointment as Chief Secretary in Ireland he took Tickell with him. When he was appointed Secretary of State he chose him as Under Secretary, and shortly before his death made him his literary executor, instructing him to collect his writings in a final and authentic edition. This, for reasons which will be explained directly, was a task of no small difficulty, but to this task Tickell loyally addressed himself. In the spring of 1721 appeared, in four sumptuous quartos, the collected edition of Addison's works. It was prefaced by the biography which is here reprinted, and to the biography was appended that noble and pathetic elegy which will make Tickell's name as immortal as Addison's.
There can be very little doubt that Steele had been greatly distressed and hurt by the rupture of the friendship which had so long existed between himself and Addison, but that Tickell should have taken his place in Addison's affections must have been inexpressibly galling to him. Naturally irritated, his irritation had no doubt been intensified by Addison appointing Tickell Under Secretary of State, and still more by his making him his literary executor—offices which Steel might naturally have expected, had all gone well, to fill himself. It would not have been in human nature that he could regard Tickell with any other feelings than hostility and jealousy. Tickell's omission of the Drummer from Addison's works was, in all probability—such at least is the impression which the letter makes on me—a mere pretext for the gratification of personal spite. There is nothing to justify the interpretation which he puts on Tickell's words. All that Steele here says about Addison he had said publicly and quite as emphatically before, as Tickell had recorded. As Steele had, in Tickell's own words, given to Addison 'the honour of the most applauded pieces,' it is absurd to accuse Tickell of insinuating that Addison wished his papers to be marked because he was afraid Steele would assume the credit of these pieces. In one important particular he flatly contradicts himself. At the beginning he asks 'whether it was a decent and reasonable thing that works written, as a great part of Mr. Addison's were, in correspondence with me, ought to have been published without my review of the catalogue of them.' Three pages afterward, it appears that, in compliance with the request of Addison delivered to him by Tickell, he did mark with his own hand those Tatlers which were inserted in Addison's works—a statement of Tickell's, but a statement to which Steele takes no exception. So far from attempting to disparage Steele, Tickell does ample justice to him; and to accuse him of insensibility to Addison's virtues, and of cold indifference to him personally, is a charge refuted not only by all we know of Tickell, but by every page in the tract itself. Many of the objections which he makes to Tickell's remarks are too absurd to discuss. From nothing indeed which Tickell says, but from one of Steele's own admissions, it is impossible not to draw a conclusion very derogatory to Steele's honesty, and to make us suspect that his sensitiveness was caused by his own uneasy conscience: 'What I never did declare was Mr. Addison's I had his direct injunctions to hide.' This certainly seems to imply that Steele had allowed himself to be credited with what really belonged to his friend. A month after Addison's death he had written in great alarm to Tonson, on hearing that it had been proposed to separate Addison's papers in the Tatler from his own. He bases his objection, it is true, on the pecuniary injury which he and his family would suffer, but this is plainly mere subterfuge. The truth probably is, that Steele wished to leave as undefined as possible what belonged to Addison and what belonged to himself; that he was greatly annoyed when he found that their respective shares were by Addison's own, or at least his alleged, request to be defined; that in his assignation of the papers he had not been quite honest; and that, knowing this, he suspected that Tickell knew it too. There is nothing to support Steele's assertion that it was at his instigation that Addison distinguished his contributions to the Spectator and the Guardian. Addison, as his last injunctions showed, must have contemplated a collective edition of his works, and must have desired therefore that they should be identified. Steele's ambition, no doubt, was that he and his friend should go down to posterity together, but the appointment of Tickell instead of himself as Addison's literary executor dashed this hope to the ground.
Few things in literary biography are more pathetic than the estrangement between Addison and Steele. They had played as boys together; they had, for nearly a quarter of a century, shared each other's burdens, and the burdens had not been light; in misfortune and in prosperity, in business and in pleasure, they had never been parted. The wisdom and prudence of Addison had more than once been the salvation of Steele; what he knew of books and learning had been almost entirely derived from Addison's conversation; what moral virtue he had, from Addison's influence. And he had repaid this with an admiration and affection which bordered on idolatry. A more generous and genial, a more kindly, a more warm-hearted man than Steele never lived, and it is easy to conceive what his feelings must have been when he found his friend estranged from him and a rival in his place. There is much to excuse what this letter to Congreve plainly betrays; but excuse is not justification. Tickell had a delicate and difficult task to perform: a duty to his dead friend, which was paramount, a duty to Steele, and a duty to himself, and he succeeded in performing each with admirable tact. Whether Tickell ever made any reply to Steele's strictures, I have not been able to discover.
We pass now from the literary pamphlets to the extract and excerpts illustrating the condition of the Church and the clergy at the end of the seventeenth and about the first half of the eighteenth century. They are of particular interest, not only in themselves, but in their relation to Swift and Macaulay—to Swift as a Church reformer, to Macaulay as a social historian. Few historical questions in our own time provoked more controversy than the famous pages delineating the clergy who, according to Macaulay, were typical of their order about the time of the Restoration. The first excerpt is from Chamberlayne's Angliae Notitia. The author of that work, Edward Chamberlayne, was born on the 13th of December 1616. He was educated at Oxford, where he graduated as B.A. in April 1638. For a short time he was Reader in Rhetoric to the University, but on the breaking out of the Civil War he left for the Continent, where he visited nearly every country in Europe. At the Restoration he returned; and about 1675, after having been secretary to the Earl of Carlisle, he became tutor to the King's natural son, Henry Fitzroy, afterwards Duke of Grafton, and subsequently instructor in English to Prince George of Denmark. He was also one of the earliest Fellows of the Royal Society. He died at Chelsea in May 1703. In 1669 he published anonymously Angliae Notitia, or the Present State of England with Divers Reflection upon the Ancient State therefor, a work no doubt suggested by and apparently modelled on the well-known L'Estat Nouveau de la France. The work contains more statistics than reflections, and is exactly what its title implies—a succinct account of England, beginning with its name, its climate, its topography, and giving information, now invaluable, about everything included in its constitution and in its economy. The extract printed here is, as is indicated, from pp. 383-389 and p. 401. The work passed through two editions in the year of its appearance, the second bearing the author's name, and at the time of Chamberlayne's death it had, with successive amplifications, reached its twentieth edition.
Of a very different order to Chamberlayne's work is the remarkable tract which follows. The author, John Eachard, was born about 1636, at what date is doubtful, but he was admitted into Catherine Hall, Cambridge, in May 1653. Becoming Fellow of the Hall in 1658, he was chosen, on the death of Dr. Lightfoot, Master. His perfectly uneventful life closed on the 7th of July 1697. Personally he was a facetious and agreeable man, and had the reputation of being rather a wit and humorist than a divine and scholar. Baker complained of his inferiority as a preacher; and Swift, observing 'that men who are happy enough at ridicule are sometimes perfectly stupid upon grave subjects,' gives Eachard as an instance. The Grounds and Occasions of the Contempt of the Clergy and Religion enquired into, In a letter written to R.L., appeared anonymously in 1670. This anonymity Eachard carefully preserved during the controversies which it occasioned. It is difficult to understand how any one after reading the preface could have misunderstood the purpose of the book. But Eachard's fate was Swift's fate afterwards, though there was more excuse for the High Church party missing the point of the Tale of a Tub than for the clergy generally missing that of Eachard's plea for them. Ridicule is always a dangerous ally, especially when directed against an institution or community, for men naturally identify themselves with the body of which they are members, and resent as individuals what reflects on them collectively. When one of the opponents of Barnabus Oley in his preface to Herbert's Country Parson observed: 'The pretence of your book was to show the occasions, your book is become the occasion of the contempt of God's ministers,' he expressed what the majority of the clergy felt. The storm burst at once, and the storm raged for months. 'I have had,' wrote Eachard in one of his many rejoinders, 'as many several names as the Grand Seignior has titles of honour; for setting aside the vulgar and familiar ones of Rogue, Rascal, Dog, and Thief (which may be taken by way of endearment as well as out of prejudice and offence), as also those of more certain signification, as Malicious Rogue, Ill-Natured Rascal, Lay Dog, and Spiteful Thief.' He had also, he said, been called Rebel, Traitor, Scot, Sadducee, and Socinian. Among the most elaborate replies to his work were: An Answer to a Letter of Enquiry into the Ground, etc.. 1671; A Vindication of the Clergy from the Contempt imposed upon them, By the author of the Grounds etc., 1672; Hieragonisticon, or Corah's Doom, being an Answer to, etc., 1672; An Answer to two Letters of T.B., etc., 1673. The occasional references to it in the theological literature of these times are indeed innumerable. Many affected to treat him as a mere buffoon—the concoctor, as one bitterly put it, of 'a pretty fardle of tales bundled together, and they have had the hap to fall into such hands as had rather lose a friend, not to say their country, than a jest.' Anthony Wood, writing at the time of its appearance, classes it with 'the fooleries, playes, poems, and drolling books,' with which, as he bitterly complains, people were 'taken with' coupling with it Marvell's Rehearsal Transposed and Butler's Hudibras.
To some of his opponents Eachard replied. Of his method of conducting controversy, in which it is clear that he perfectly revelled, I give a short specimen. It is from his letter to the author of Hieragonisticon:—
'You may possibly think, sir, that I have read your book, but if you do you are most mistaken. For as long as I can get Tolambu's History of Mustard, Frederigo Devastation of Pepper, The Dragon, with cuts, Mandringo's Pismires rebuffeted and retro-confounded, Is qui me dubitat, or a flap against the Maggot of Heresie, Efflorescentina Flosculorum, or a choice collection of F. (sic) Withers Poems or the like, I do not intend to meddle with it. Alas, sir, I am as unlikely to read your book that I can't get down the title no more than a duck can swallow a yoked heifer'—and then follows an imitation of gulps straining at the divided syllables of Hieragonisticon.
There is no reason to suspect the sincerity of Eachard, or to doubt that he was, in his own words, an honest and hearty wisher that 'the best of the clergy might for ever continue, as they are, rich and learned, and that the rest might be very useful and well esteemed in their profession.' To describe the work as 'a series of jocose caricatures—as Churchill Babington in his animadversions on Macaulay's History does—is absurd. Eachard was evidently a man of strong common sense, of much shrewdness, a close observer, and one who had acquainted himself exactly and extensively with the subject which he treats. But he was a humorist, and, like Swift, sometimes gave the reins to his humour. It must be remembered that his remarks apply only to the inferior clergy, and there can be no doubt that since the Reformation they had, as a body, sunk very low. Chamberlayne had no motive for exaggeration, but the language he uses in describing them is stronger even than Eachard's. Swift had no motive for exaggeration, and yet his pictures of Corusodes and Eugenio in his Essay on the Fates of Clergymen, and what we gather from his Project for the Advancement of Religion, his Letter to a Young Clergyman, and what may be gathered generally from his writings, very exactly corroborate Eachard's account. The lighter literature of the later seventeenth and of the first half of the eighteenth century teems with proofs of the contempt to which their ignorance and poverty exposed them. To the testimonies of Oldham and Steele, and to the authorities quoted by Macaulay and Mr. Lecky, may be added innumerable passages from the Observator, from De Foe's Review, from Pepys, from Baxter's Life of himself, from Archbishop Sharp's Life, from Burnet, and many others.
It is remarkable that Eachard says nothing about two causes which undoubtedly contributed to degrade the Church in the eyes of the laity: its close association with party politics, and the spread of latitudinarianism, a conspicuous epoch in which was marked some twenty-six years later in the Bangorian controversy.
The appearance of the first volume of Macaulay's History in 1848 again brought Eachard's work into prominence. Macaulay's famous description of the clergy of the seventeenth century in his third chapter was based mainly on Eachard's account. The clergy and orthodox laity of our own day were as angry with Eachard's interpreter as their predecessors, nearly two centuries before, had been with Eachard himself. The controversy began seriously, after some preliminary skirmishing in the newspapers and lighter reviews, with Mr. Churchill Babington's Mr. Macaulay's Characters of the Clergy in the Latter Part of the Seventeenth Century Considered, published shortly after the appearance of the History. What Mr. Babington and those whom he represented forgot was precisely what Eachard's opponents had forgotten, that it was not the clergy universally who had been described, for Macaulay, like Eachard, had distinguished, but the clergy as represented by its proletariat.
If Eachard had occasionally given the reins to humour, Macaulay had occasionally perhaps given them to rhetoric. But of the substantial accuracy of both there can be no doubt at all.
On the intelligent, discriminating friends of the Church, Eachard's work had something of the same effect, as Jeremy Collier's Short View of the Profaneness and Immorality of the English Stage had in another sphere. It directed serious attention to what all thoughtful and right-feeling people must have felt to be a national scandal. It was an appeal to sentiment and reason on matters with respect to which, in this country at least, such appeals are seldom made in vain. It did not, indeed, lead immediately to practical reform, but it advanced the cause of reform by inspiring and bringing other initiators into the field. And pre-eminent among these was Swift. Swift was evidently well acquainted with Eachard's work. In the apology prefixed to the fourth edition of the Tale of a Tub in 1710, he speaks of Eachard with great respect. Contemptuously explaining that he has no intention of answering the attacks which had been made on the Tale, he observes: 'When Dr. Eachard wrote his book about the Contempt of the Clergy, numbers of these answerers immediately started up, whose memory, if he had not kept alive by his replies, it would now be utterly unknown that he were ever answered at all.' No one who is familiar with Swift's tracts on Church reform can doubt that he had read Eachard's work with minute attention, and was greatly influenced by it. In his Project for the Advancement of Religion, he largely attributed the scandalous immorality everywhere prevalent to the insufficiency of religious instruction, and to the low character of the clergy, the result mainly of their ignorance and poverty. His Letter to a Young Clergyman is little more than a didactic adaptation of that portion of Eachard's work which deals with the character and education of the clergy. The Essay on the Fates of Clergymen is another study from the Contempt, while the fragment of the tract which he had begun, Concerning that Universal Hatred which prevails against the Clergy, brings us still more closely to Eachard. The likeness between them cannot be traced further; they were both, it is true, humorists, but there is little in common between the austere and bitter, yet, at the same time, delicious flavour of the one, and the trenchant and graphic, but coarse and rollicking, humour of the other.
The essays reprinted from the Tatler give humorous expression to a grievance which not only wounded the pride of the clergy, but touched them on an equally sensitive part—the stomach. It was not usual for the chaplain in great houses to remain at table for the second course. When the sweets were brought in, he was expected to retire. As Macaulay puts it: 'He might fill himself with the corned beef and carrots; but as soon as the tarts and cheese-cakes made their appearance, he quitted his seat and stood aloof till he was summoned to return thanks for the repast, from a great part of which he had been excluded.' Gay refers to this churlish custom in the second book of Trivia:—
'Cheese that the table's closing rites denies. And bids me with th' unwilling chaplain rise.'
Possibly the custom originally arose, not from any wish to mark the social inferiority of the chaplain, but because his presence was a check on conversation. It must be owned, however, that this would have been more intelligible had he retired, not with the corned beef and carrots, but with the ladies. The passage quoted by Steele from Oldham is from his Satire, addressed to a Friend that is about to Leave the University and come Abroad in the World, not the only poem in which Oldham has thrown light on the degraded profession of the clergy. See the end of his Satire, spoken in the person of Spenser.
The last piece in this Miscellany has no connection with what precedes it, but it has an interest of its own. Among the many services of one of the purest and most indefatigable of philanthropists to his fellow-citizens was the establishment of what is commonly known as Poor Richard's Almanack. Of this periodical, and of the particular number of it which is here reprinted, Franklin gives the following account in his autobiography:—
'In 1732 I first published an Almanack, under the name of Richard Saunders; it was continued by me about twenty-five years, and commonly called Poor Richard's Almanack. I endeavoured to make it both entertaining and useful, and it accordingly came to be in such demand that I reaped considerable profit from it, vending annually near ten thousand. And observing that it was generally read (scarce any neighbourhood in the province being without it), I considered it as a proper vehicle for conveying instruction among the common people, who bought scarcely any other books. I therefore filled all the little spaces that occurred between the remarkable days in the calendar with proverbial sentences, chiefly such as inculcated industry and frugality as the means of procuring wealth and thereby securing virtue, it being more difficult for a man in want to act always honestly, as, to use here one of these proverbs, "it is hard for an empty sack to stand upright." These proverbs, which contained the wisdom of many ages and nations, I assembled and formed into a connected discourse prefixed to the Almanack of 1757, as the harangue of a wise old man to the people attending an auction. The bringing all these scattered counsels thus into a focus enabled them to make a greater impression. The piece being universally approved, was copied in all the newspapers of the American Continent, reprinted in Britain on a large sheet of paper to be stuck up in houses; two translations were made of it in France, and great numbers bought by the clergy to distribute gratis among their poor parishioners and tenants. In Pennsylvania, as it discouraged useless expense in foreign superfluities, some thought it had its share of influence in producing that growing plenty of money which was observable for several years after its publication.'—Memoirs of Benjamin Franklin, Part II, Works Edit. 1833, vol. ii. pp. 146-148.
Reprinted innumerable times while Franklin was alive, this paper has, since his death, passed through seventy editions in English, fifty-six In French, eleven in German, and nine in Italian. It has been translated into nearly every language in Europe: into French, German, and Italian, as we have seen; into Spanish, Danish, Swedish, Polish, Bohemian, Dutch, Welsh, and modern Greek; it has also been translated into Chinese. In the edition of Franklin's Works, printed in London in 1806, it appears under the title of The Way to Wealth, as clearly shown in the Preface to an old Pennsylvanian Almanack, entitled Poor Richard Improved, and under this title it was usually printed when detached from the Almanack.
As Franklin himself owns, the maxims have little pretension to originality. It is evident that he had laid under contribution such collections as Clerk's Adagio Latino-Anglica, Herbert's Jacula Prudentum, James Howell's collection of proverbs, David Fergtison's Scotch Proverbs (with the successively increasing editions between 1641 and 1706), Ray's famous Collection of English Proverbs, William Penn's Maxims, and the like. A few are probably original, and many have been re-minted and owe their form to him.
The first number of the famous Almanack from which they are extracted was published at the end of 1732, just after Franklin had set up as a printer and stationer for himself, its publication being announced in the Pennsylvania Gazette of December 9th, 1732; and for twenty-five years it continued regularly to appear, the last number being that for the year 1758, and having for preface the discourse which became so extraordinarily popular. The name assumed by Franklin was no doubt borrowed from that of Richard Saunders, a well-known astrologer of the seventeenth century, of whom there is a notice in the Dictionary of National Biography. But Mr. Leicester Ford says that it was the name of 'a chyrurgeon' of the eighteenth century who for many years issued a popular almanac entitled The Apollo Anglicanus. Of this publication I know nothing, and can discover nothing. The probability is that its compiler, whoever he was, anticipated Franklin in assuming the name of John Saunders. He is most certainly not to be identified with Saunders the astrologer, who died in, or not much later than, 1687.
It remains to add that no pains have been spared to make the texts of the excerpts and tracts in this Miscellany as accurate as possible—indeed, Mr. Arber's name is a sufficient guarantee of the efficiency with which this important part of the work has been done. For the modernisation of the spelling, which some readers may perhaps be inclined to regret, and for the punctuation, as well as for the elucidatory notes within brackets, Mr. Arber is solely responsible.
J. CHURTON COLLINS.
 See his Preface to his version of part of Virgil's second Aeneid.
 Whateley's Reminiscences of Bishop Copleston, p. 6.
 See Late Stuart Tracts.
 Wood's Life and Times, Clark's Ed. vol. ii. p. 240.
 See, for example, Diary, February 16th, 1668: 'Much discourse about the bad state of the Church, and how the clergy are come to be men of no worth in the world, and, as the world do now generally discourse, they must be reformed.'
 For this information I am indebted to Mr. Paul Leicester Ford's interesting monograph on the sayings of Poor Richard, prefixed to his selections from the Almanack, privately printed at Brooklyn in 1890.
 Introduction to his selections from the Almanack.
Eloquence first given by GOD, after lost by man, and last repaired by GOD again.
[The Art of Rhetoric.]
Man in whom is poured the breath of life, was made at his first being an everlasting creature, unto the likeness of GOD; endued with reason, and appointed lord over all other things living. But after the fail of our first father, sin so crept in that our knowledge was much darkened, and by corruption of this our flesh, man's reason and entendment [intellect] were both overwhelmed. At what time, GOD being sore grieved with the folly of one man; pitied, of His mere goodness, the whole state and posterity of mankind. And therefore whereas through the wicked suggestion of our ghostly enemy, the joyful fruition of GOD's glory was altogether lost; it pleased our heavenly Father to repair mankind of his free mercy and to grant an everlasting inheritance unto such as would by constant faith seek earnestly thereafter.
Long it was, ere that man knew; himself being destitute of GOD's grace, so that all things waxed savage, the earth untilled, society neglected, GOD's will not known, man against man, one against another, and all against order. Some lived by spoil, some like brute beasts grazed upon the ground, some went naked, some roamed like woodwoses [mad wild men], none did anything by reason, but most did what they could by manhood. None almost considered the everliving GOD; but all lived most commonly after their own lust. By death, they thought that all things ended; by life, they looked for none other living. None remembered the true observation of wedlock, none tendered the education of their children; laws were note regarded, true dealing was not once used. For virtue, vice bare place; for right and equity, might used authority. And therefore whereas man through reason might have used order, man through folly fell into error. And thus for lack of skill and want of grace, evil so prevailed that the devil was most esteemed; and GOD either almost unknown among them all or else nothing feared among so many. Therefore—even now when man was thus past all hope of amendment—GOD still tendering his own workmanship; stirred up his faithful and elect, to persuade with reason all men to society; and gave his appointed ministers knowledge both to see the natures of men; and also granted to them the gift of utterance, that they might with ease win folk at their will, and frame them by reason to all good order.
And therefore whereas men lived brutishly in open fields having neither house to shroud [cover] them in, nor attire to clothe their backs; nor yet any regard to seek their best avail [interest]; these appointed of GOD, called them together by utterance of speech; and persuaded with them what was good, what was bad, and what was gainful for mankind. And although at first the rude could hardly learn, and either for the strangeness of the thing would not gladly receive the offer or else for lack of knowledge could not perceive the goodness; yet being somewhat drawn and delighted with the pleasantness of reason and the sweetness of utterance, after a certain space, they became through nurture and good advisement, of wild, sober; of cruel, gentle; of fools, wise; and of beasts, men. Such force hath the tongue, and such is the power of Eloquence and Reason that most men are forced, even to yield in that which most standeth against their will. And therefore the poets do feign that HERCULES, being a man of great wisdom, had all men linked together by the ears in a chain, to draw them and lead them even as he listed. For his wit so great, his tongue so eloquent, and his experience such that no man was able to withstand his reason; but every one was rather driven to do that which he would, and to will that which he did; agreeing to his advice both in word and work, in all that ever they were able.
Neither can I see that men could have been brought by any other means to live together in fellowship of life, to maintain cities, to deal truly, and willingly to obey one another; if men, at the first, had not by art and eloquence persuaded that which they full oft found out by reason. For what man, I pray you, being better able to maintain himself by valiant courage than by living in base subjection, would not rather look to rule like a lord, than to live like an underling; If by reason he were not persuaded that it behoveth every man to live in his own vocation, and not to seek any higher room than that whereunto he was at the first, appointed? Who would dig and delve from morn till evening? Who would travail and toil with the sweat of his brows? Yea, who would, for his King's pleasure, adventure and hazard his life, if wit had not so won men that they thought nothing more needful in this world nor anything whereunto they were more bounden than here to live in their duty and to train their whole life, according to their calling. Therefore whereas men are in many things weakly by nature, and subject to much infirmity; I think in this one point they pass all other creatures living, that they have the gift of speech and reason.
And among all other, I think him of most worthy fame, and amongst men to be taken for half a god that therein doth chiefly and above all other excel men; wherein men do excel beasts. For he that is among the reasonable of all the most reasonable; and among the witty, of all the most witty; and among the eloquent, of all the most eloquent: him, think I, among all men, not only to be taken for a singular man, but rather to be counted for half a god. For in seeking the excellency hereof, the sooner he draweth to perfection the nigher he corneth to GOD, who is the chief Wisdom: and therefore called GOD because He is the most wise, or rather wisdom itself.
Now then seeing that GOD giveth heavenly grace unto such as called unto him with outstretched hands and humble heart; never wanting to those that want not to themselves; I purpose by His grace and especial assistance, to set forth such precepts of eloquence, and to show what observation the wise have used in handling of their matters; that the unlearned by seeing the practice of others, may have some knowledge themselves; and learn by their neighbours' device what is necessary for themselves in their own case.
Sir PHILIP SIDNEY.
Letter to his brother ROBERT, then in Germany, 18 October 1580.
Sir PHILIP SIDNEY to his brother, ROBERT SIDNEY, who was the first Earl of LEICESTER of that familiar name.
My Dear Brother,
For the money you have received, assure yourself (for it is true) there is nothing I spend so pleaseth me; as that which is for you. If ever I have ability, you shall find it so: if not, yet shall not any brother living be better beloved than you, of me.
I cannot write now to N. WHITE. Do you excuse me! For his nephew, they are but passions in my father; which we must bear with reverence: but I am sorry he should return till he had the circuit of his travel; for you shall never have such a servant, as he would prove. Use your own discretion!
For your countenance, I would (for no cause) have it diminished in Germany. In Italy, your greatest expense must be upon worthy men, and not upon householding. Look to your diet, sweet ROBIN! and hold up your heart in courage and virtue. Truly, great part of my comfort is in you! I know not myself what I meant by bravery in you; so greatly you may see I condemn you. Be careful of yourself, and I shall never have cares.
I have written to Master SAVELL. I wish you kept still together. He is an excellent man. And there may, if you list, pass good exercises betwixt you and Master NEVELL. There is great expectation of you both.
For method of writing history, BODEN hath written at large. You may read him, and gather out of many words, some matter.
This I think, in haste. A Story is either to be considered as a Story; or as a Treatise, which, besides that, addeth many things for profit and ornament. As a Story, he is nothing, but a narration of things done, with the beginnings, causes, and appendices thereof. In that kind, your method must be to have seriem temporum very exactly, which the chronologies of MELANCTHON, TARCHAGNORA, LANGUET and such others will help you to.
Then to consider by that... as you note yourself, XENOPHON to follow THUCYDIDES, so doth THUCYDIDES follow HERODOTUS, and DIODORUS SICULUS follow XENOPHON. So generally, do the Roman stories follow the Greek; and the particular stories of the present monarchies follow the Roman.
In that kind, you have principally to note the examples of virtue and vice, with their good or evil success; the establishment or rains of great Estates, with the causes, the time, and circumstances of the laws then written of; the enterings and endings of wars; and therein, the stratagems against the enemy, and the discipline upon the soldier.
And thus much as a very historiographer.
Besides this, the Historian makes himself a Discourser for profit; and an Orator, yea, a Poet sometimes, for ornament. An Orator; in making excellent orations, e re nata, which are to be marked, but marked with the note of rhetorical remembrances: a Poet; in painting for the effects, the motions, the whisperings of the people, which though in disputation, one might say were true—yet who will mark them well shall find them taste of a poetical vein, and in that kind are gallantly to be marked—for though perchance, they were not so, yet it is enough they might be so. The last point which tends to teach profit, is of a Discourser; which name I give to whosoever speaks non simpliciter de facto, sed de qualitatibus et circumstantiis facti: and that is it which makes me and many others, rather note much with our pen than with our mind.
Because we leave all these discourses to the confused trust of our memory; because they be not tied to the tenour of a question: as Philosophers use sometimes, places; the Divine, in telling his opinion and reasons in religion; sometimes the Lawyer, in showing the causes and benefits of laws; sometimes a Natural Philosopher, in setting down the causes of any strange thing which the Story binds him to speak of; but most commonly a Moral Philosopher, either in the ethic part, where he sets forth virtues or vices and the natures of passions; or in the politic, when he doth (as often he doth) meddle sententiously with matters of Estate. Again, sometimes he gives precept of war, both offensive and defensive. And so, lastly, not professing any art as his matter leads him, he deals with all arts; which—because it carrieth the life of a lively example—it is wonderful what light it gives to the arts themselves; so as the great Civilians help themselves with the discourses of the Historians. So do Soldiers; and even Philosophers and Astronomers.
But that I wish herein is this, that when you read any such thing, you straight bring it to his head, not only of what art; but by your logical subdivisions to the next member and parcel of the art. And so—as in a table—be it witty words, of which TACITUS is full; sentences, of which LIVY; or similitudes, whereof PLUTARCH: straight to lay it up in the right place of his storehouse—as either military, or more specially defensive military, or more particularly, defensive by fortification—and so lay it up. So likewise in politic matters. And such a little table you may easily make wherewith I would have you ever join the historical part; which is only the example of some stratagem, or good counsel, or such like.
This write I to you, in great haste, of method, without method: but, with more leisure and study—if I do not find some book that satisfies—I will venture to write more largely of it unto you.
Master SAVELL will, with ease, help you to set down such a table of remembrance to yourself; and for your sake I perceive he will do much; and if ever I be able, I will deserve it of him. One only thing, as it comes into my mind, let me remember you of, that you consider wherein the Historian excelleth, and that to note: as DION NICAEUS in the searching the secrets of government; TACITUS, in the pithy opening of the venom of wickedness; and so of the rest.
My time—exceedingly short—will suffer me to write no more leisurely. STEPHEN can tell you who stands with me, while I am writing.
Now, dear brother! take delight likewise in the mathematicals. Master SAVELL is excellent in them. I think you understand the sphere. If you do, I care little for any more astronomy in you. Arithmetic and Geometry, I would wish you well seen in: so as both in matter of number and measure, you might have a feeling and active judgment, I would you did bear the mechanical instruments, wherein the Dutch excel.
I write this to you as one, that for myself have given over the delight in the world; but wish to you as much, if not more, than to myself.
So you can speak and write Latin, not barbarously; I never require great study in Ciceronianism, the chief abuse of Oxford, qui dum verba sectantur, res ipsas negligunt.
My toyful books I will send—with GOD's help—by February ; at which time you shall have your money. And for L200 [nearly L2,000 at the present day] a year, assure yourself! If the estates of England remain, you shall not fail of it. Use it to your best profit!
My Lord of LEICESTER sends you L40 as I understand, by STEPHEN; and promiseth he will continue that stipend yearly at the least. Then that is above commons. In any case, write largely and diligently unto him: for, in truth, I have good proof that he means to be every way good unto you. The odd L30 shall come with the L100, or else my father and I will jarle.
Now, sweet Brother, take a delight to keep and increase your music. You will not believe what a want I find of it, in my melancholy times.
At horsemanship; when you exercise it, read CRISON CLAUDIO, and a book that is called La Gloria de l'Cavallo withal: that you may join the thorough contemplation of it with the exercise: and so shall you profit more in a month, than others in a year. And mark the bitting, saddling, and cur[ry]ing of horses.
I would, by the way, your Worship would learn a better hand. You write worse than I: and I write evil enough. Once again, have a care of your diet; and consequently of your complexion. Remember gratior est veniens in pulchro corpore virtus.
Now, Sir, for news; I refer myself to this bearer. He can tell you how idly we look on our neighbour's fires: and nothing is happened notable at home; save only DRAKE's return. Of which yet, I know not the secret points: but about the world he hath been, and rich he is returned. Portugal, we say, is lost. And to conclude, my eyes are almost closed up, overwatched with tedious business.
God bless you, sweet Boy! and accomplish the joyful hope I conceive of you. Once again commend me to Master NEVELL, Master SAVELL, and honest HARRY WHITE, and bid him be merry.
When you play at weapons; I would have you get thick caps and bracers [gloves], and play out your play lustily; for indeed, ticks and dalliances are nothing in earnest: for the time of the one and the other greatly differs. And use as well the blow as the thrust. It is good in itself; and besides increaseth your breath and strength, and will make you a strong man at the tourney and barriers. First, in any case, practise the single sword; and then, with the dagger. Let no day pass without an hour or two of such exercise. The rest, study; or confer diligently: and so shall you come home to my comfort and credit.
Lord! how I have babbled! Once again, farewell, dearest Brother!
Your most loving and careful brother
At Leicester House this 18th of October 1580.
Francis Meres, M.A.
Sketch of English Literature, Painting, and Music, up to September 1598.
A comparative Discourse of our English Poets [Painters and Musicians] with the Greek, Latin, and Italian Poets [Painters and Musicians].
As Greece had three poets of great antiquity, ORPHEUS, LINUS, and MUSAEUS; and Italy, other three ancient poets, LIVIUS ANDRONICUS, ENNIUS, and PLAUTUS: so hath England three ancient poets, CHAUCER, GOWER, and LYDGATE.
As HOMER is reputed the Prince of Greek poets; and PETRARCH of Italian poets: so CHAUCER is accounted the god of English poets.
As HOMER was the first that adorned the Greek tongue with true quantity: so [WILLIAM LANGLAND, the author of] PIERS PLOWMAN was the first that observed the true quantity of our verse without the curiosity of rhyme.
OVID writ a Chronicle from the beginning of the world to his own time; that is, to the reign of AUGUSTUS the Emperor: so hath HARDING the Chronicler (after his manner of old harsh rhyming) from ADAM to his time; that is, to the reign of King EDWARD IV.
As SOTADES Maronites, the Iambic poet, gave himself wholly to write impure and lascivious things: so SKELTON (I know not for what great worthiness, surnamed the Poet Laureate) applied his wit to scurrilities and ridiculous matters; such [as] among the Greeks were called Pantomimi, with us, buffoons.
As CONSALVO PEREZ, that excellent learned man, and secretary to King PHILIP [II.] of Spain, in translating the "Ulysses" [Odyssey] of HOMER out of Greek into Spanish, hath, by good judgement, avoided the fault of rhyming, although [he hath] not fully hit perfect and true versifying: so hath HENRY HOWARD, that true and noble Earl of SURREY, in translating the fourth book of VIRGIL's AEneas: whom MICHAEL DRAYTON in his England's Heroical Epistles hath eternized for an Epistle to his fair GERALDINE.