An Anthology of Invective and Abuse  

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"Invective has been understood in this Anthology to mean any direct verbal attack. Irony and satire are therefore, as far as possible, excluded, though the line of demarcation is sometimes indistinct. Irony is apt to pass into invective, as a writer or orator loses his detachment; the transition being marked among inferior performers by some such phrase as “But this is not a subject for mere jesting”, or “But joking apart”, words which are often the first indication to the readers or the audience that anything mirth-provoking has been set before them. As the detachment of irony makes it a finer weapon, intellectually if not morally, than invective, the transition from irony to invective is even in skilful hands nearly always jarring in its effect. Swift himself does not altogether escape the charge of sinking when he makes this transition. “The Voyage to the Houyhnhnms”, in which the proportion of invective to irony is far greater than in the earlier portions of “Gulliver’s Travels”, is on the whole inferior to the Voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag. Occasionally the transition is entirely successful, as in Johnson's letter to Chesterfield, where the direct attack of the bulk of the letter is so restrained in tone as to harmonise perfectly with the irony of the opening paragraph." --introduction to An Anthology Of Invective And Abuse

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An Anthology Of Invective And Abuse (1929) is an anthology of invective edited by Hugh Kingsmill.

Full text of 1944 edition[1]

INVECTIVE AND ABUSE



INVECTIVE AND ABUSE

An Anthology

by

HUGH KINGSMILL


1944

EYRE & SPOTTISWOODE, LTD. LONDON


First published in rpzf-jo This combined edition, 1944

THIS BOOK IS PRODUCED IN COMPLETE CONFORMITY WITH THE AUTHORIZED ECONOMY STANDARD


Printed in Great Britain for Eyre <& Spottisvood* {Publishers) Ltd. if Bedford Street, Strand , , London , W.C.z


PREFACE


This volume contains nearly the whole of Invective and Abuse , an anthology which I brought out in 1929, and a large part of a sequel which appeared in the following year.

Invective and Abuse has had, compared with my other books, a considerable success. I often meet persons who say that, of course, they know my work . . . “that thing of yours on abuse”; and I have a friend who from time to time rings me up to talk about some beautiful woman he has just met ana, when my attention begins to flag, seeks to re- vive it by telling me that she is a great admirer of my collec- tion of insults. No author has much tenderness for his most popular book, and his feeling that it is being favoured at the expense of his real masterpieces is particularly strong when, as in the present instance, it consists of extracts from other men’s work.

While, therefore, wishing this volume every success I take this opportunity to ask its readers to divert their attention from myself to the very able body of contributors whose names they will find in the list of contents.

I ask this the more readily because there is nothing gratifying in the kind of attention extended to the editor of an anthology of invective. “But you are not at all what I expected” persons have said to me, in rather disillusioned tones. On enquiry I have ascertained that they had figured a sort of literary Jack the Ripper, red-eyed and sabre-toothed, scrabbling, year in, year out, among old folios for lost jewels of vilification; and when I have conveyed to them, as considerably as possible, that my researches into invec- tive have Occupied only a few weeks of my life, they have turned coldly away.

This brief explanation will safeguard future readers of this anthology against a similar disappointment.


H.K.


CONTENTS



PAGE

PREFACE

• •

J

INTRODUCTION

  • 3

JOHN SKELTON


Cardinal Wolsey

18

JOHN KNOX


The Monstrous Regiment of Women

20

THE AUTHORISED VERSION


9

fob complainetb of Life

  • 3

Judgements upon Impiety .

• .

  • 5

The Day of the Lord


25

The Villages of Galilee

26

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


Prince Hal on Falstaff

• •

26

Ajax

• •

26

Before Philippi

Antony to Cleopatra

Othello to Desdemona

• •

• •

27

27

• •

28

Sonnet cxxxvii

• •

29

Posthumus on Women

• *

3 °

King Lear to Goneril and Regan .

• « 

3 °

Timon Looks Back at Athens

• •

31

Prospero on Caliban

9 *

32

Caliban on Prospero .

• •

32

Coriolanus's Farewell to his Fellow-Citizens .

33

Sonnet Ixvi

33

BEN JONSON


From “ Ode to Himself ” .

.

34


JOHN DONNE

The Apparition .....

The Perfume ......

KING JAMES I

A Counterblaste to Tobacco . . . . 38


CONTENTS


7


WILLIAM PRYNNE

MOB

Histrio-Mastix: The Title-Page .

4 i

The Pleasure-Laving Modem woman .

4 *

A Filthy Spectacle . . .

44

OLIVER CROMWELL


Killing No Murder ....

4 J

To Mr. Waters ....

4 « 

Abraham Cowley: Cromwell the Wicked

48

An Anabaptist Address to Charles II

50

Letter Accompanying Address

Ji

MONTROSE


Montrose and the Presbyterian Ministers

55

SAMUEL BUTLER


The Commonwealth ....

55

After the Restoration

54

The Weakness and Misery of Man

55

JOHN EVELYN


The Last Sunday of Charles H .

56

JEREMY TAYLOR


On Life .....

5 *

JOHN OLDHAM


The Jesuits .....

57

JOHN DRYDEN


Acbitopbel .....

60

Zimri ......

. 61

Corah ......

61

Nadab ......

61

Ben Jocbanan .....

. 61

Doeg and © g .

. 62

Mac Flecknoe .....

63

Bishop Burnet ....

64

Life

65

ANONYMOUS


Against Marriage ....

66


8


CONTENTS


pact

JEREMY COLLIER

Short View of the Stage

67

THOMAS OTWAY

To Mrs. Barry ....

69

ALEXANDER POPE

Addison .....


7i

Wharton . . .


7*

. Lard Hervey . . . . .

75

Grub Street at Night

The Lord Mayor's Procession


74

74

JONATHAN SWIFT

« 


The King of Brobdingnag on the English .


75

The English Nobility

75

Colonising .....

76

Gulliver's Return to the Yahoos of England

77

LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU ,

Swift and Pope ....

78

OLIVER GOLDSMITH

From ‘ ‘ Retaliation "

80

SAMUEL JOHNSON

Letter to Lord Chesterfield


82

Lord Chesterfield ....


85

To Mr. James Macpherson

Boswell Misunderstood


84


84

An Unreported Outburst .


85

Johnson and “ A Gentleman"


85

Inflammable Particles


86

Ur. Johnson Queries a Statement


87

Oviparous and Viviparous .


87

On Charity . . . . • .


88

On Hunting .....


8 ft

Letter to Airs. Thrale


89

CHARLES CHURCHILL

The Scot in England


90

Jockey and Sawnie ....

  • .

91


CONTENTS . 9

PAGE

TOBIAS SMOLLETT

'Post-War Profiteers .... 9a

The Speed of Modem Ufe .... 93

London Night Ufe . . . . 94

Tifef Noise of London .... 95

• Adulterated Pood ..... 95

ROBERT BURNS

Hfl/y Willie* s Prayer .... 96

EDWARD GIBBON

Oxford ....... 98

3 A? Golden Age of Mediaval Christendom . 99

Hannah More on Gibbon's Heath ... 99

JUNIUS

Tiw of Grafton .... 100

Grafton's Private Ufe .... 101

THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS

Edmund Burke's Peroration . . . 102

Richard Sheridan: The Begum of Oude . . 105

Warren Hastings: From his Reply . . 106

Edmund Burke: The Acquittal of Hastings . 107

EDMUND BURKE

To a Noble Lord ..... 109

WILLIAM COWPER

A Review of Schools .... 113

WILLIAM BLAKE

His Contemporaries . . . . .114

ROBERT SOUTHEY

Napoleon Bonaparte . . . . iij

'♦THE TIMES”

On Napoleon Bonaparte . . . . 117

P. B. SHELLEY

England in 1819 ..... 119

The Masque of Anarchy .... 120


IO


CONTENTS


PAGE

JOHN KEATS

To Fanny Browne ..... 122

Blackwood on Keats’ “ Endymion ” . 123

“Adonais ** ...... 124

Blackwood on “Adonais ” .... 12 j

MRS. TROLLOPE

A Mississippi Steamer .... 126

WILLIAM COBBETT

Tie Wbigs ...... 127

CHARLES GREVILLE

0 » Racing . . . . . . • 130

The Third Marams of Hertford . . . 130

Georg IV and bis Court . . . .132

BENJAMIN DISRAELI

HrV Contemporaries . . . . . 133

DANIEL O’CONNELL

On Disraeli . . . . .134

CHARLES DICKENS

HoJe-and-Comer Buffery . . . . 137

Serjeant Bu%Jus£s Peroration . . . 138

Mrs. Raddle . . . . . . 139

Millais ....... * 4 °

Ralph NickJebj Foiled .... 14 1

DEAN FARRAR


Plain-Speaking in Mid-Victorian Cambridge . 142


A CUMBRIAN

Laxity of Cumbrian Females . . . 144

THE TRIAL OF THE MANNINGS

Mrs. Manning after the Verdict . . . 147

During the Passing of the Sentence * . . 147

After the Sentence . . . . . 147

Charles Dickens on the Execution . 148

LORD MACAULAY

Sir Robert Peel ..... *49

Barire ijo


CONTENTS XI

M.OS

JOHN MITCHEL

The Irish Famine of 1846 . ... . IJ4

Dublin City ijj

Macaulay ... . • . . . ijj

War or Peaceful Afftation . . . xj6


THOMAS CARLYLE

His Contemporaries . . . . . 159

CARDINAL NEWMAN— CHARLES KINGSLEY


Newman and Kingsley .... 163

CARDINAL NEWMAN

The Heel of Acbilli ..... 167

“The Times ” the Verdict . . . 169

JOHN RUSKIN

Kailway s in the Lake District . . . 171

Application for a Subscription . . . 173

ROBERT BROWNING

Edward FitzGerald on E. B. Browning. . 175

To Edward FitzGerald .... 175

Letters ( I and IT) . . . 176

JAMES THOMSON

The City of Dreadful Night . . . 177

Statue of Melancholia .... 179

ROBERT BUCHANAN

The City of Dreadful Day . . . 180

Swinburne , Baudelaire and Rossetti . . 181

ALGERNON CHARLES SWINBURNE

Tennyson’s Immorality . . . ' . 185

On Whitman ..... 187

To Emerson ...... 188

• Matthew Arnold; Byron . . . 189


Arthur Clough; Andrew Lang; George Eliot as Poet; Bernard Show; John Addington Symonds 1 90

Carlyle; Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle; Dante’s

“Inferno”; Wordsworth’s “The Borderers ” 191

Froude ....... 19*


12


CONTENTS


GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

if

PAGE

Blather , Blood and Balderdash


>95

Shakespeare . ,


  • 95

JAMES McNEILL WHISTLER


Raskin on Whistler . . .


196

Whistler on Raskin .

>97

Whistler and Oscar Wilde


>97

Apology to Frederick Wedmore .


>99

ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL


. Defence of Freetbougbt

200

MARK TWAIN


Titian’s Beast . ... .


205

Cecil Rhodes . ... ,

204

Padd’ ahead Wilson’s Calendar


205

OUIDA


Vivisection . ... .

.

206

The New Woman (1894) .


207

R. L. STEVENSON


Letter to the Reverend Dr. Hyde

209

T. W. H. CROSLAND


The Scots . ... .

(

213

    • Margaret Ogiky”

, ,

214

“Missy” . ... .

,

215

Votes for Women .

216

HILAIRE BELLOC


Verses to a Lord .

216

G. K. CHESTERTON


The Wife of Flanders

► *

217

Sonnet . . . . . *

218

The Fall of Wells . .

21$

Professors and the Prehistoric Man

221

Antichrist ....

> •

221

GEOFFREY HOWARD


Oxford: A Satire .

► * •*

223


INTRODUCTION

Invective has been understood in this Anthology to mean any direct verbal attack. Irony and satire are therefore, as far as possible, excluded, though the line of demarcation is • sometimes indistinct. Irony is apt to pass into invective, as a writer or orator loses his detachment; the transition being marked among inferior performers by some such phrase as “But this is not a subject for mere jesting”, or “But joking apart”, words which are often the first indica- tion to the readers or the audience that anything mirth- provoking has been set before them. As the detachment of irony makes it a finer weapon, intellectually if not morally, than invective, the transition from irony to invective is even in skilful hands nearly always jarring in its effect. Swift himself does not altogether escape die charge of sinking when he makes this transition. “The Voyage to the Houyhnhnms”, in which the proportion of invective to irony is far greater than in the earlier portions of “Gulliver’s Travels”, is on the whole inferior to the Voyages to Lilliput and Brobdingnag. Occasionally the transition is entirely successful, as in Johnson’s letter to Chesterfield, where the direct attack of the bulk of the letter is so restrained in tone as to harmonise perfectly with the irony of the opening paragraph.

No attempt has been made in this Anthology to discrim- inate between the passages of invective and those of abuse. Everyone recognises a general distinction between invective and abuse, which might be defined as colloquial invective; but in particular instances opinion must necessarily be divided. What will strike the victim as abuse, usually qualified as “mere” or “cheap”, will seem to its author, and to those who sympathise with him, to be hardly as much as invective, but rather a plain statement of fact. Even in the apparently unequivocal instance of Mrs. Raddle’s out- cry against Mr. Pickwick, Mrs. Raddle herself would have denied that she had passed the limits of temperate expostu- lation; in real life, as opposed to fiction, Swinburne held that in calling Emerson “a gap-toothed and hoary-headed


INTRODUCTION


14

ape*', he had confined himself to “language of the strictest reserve*’.

The specimens of invective in this volume are arranged, with a few slight exceptions, in chronological order. More formal methods of classification seemed, in the two alternatives considered, less satisfactory. The first • alternative was to classify invective by epochs. But this is to give too much importance to the age and too little to the individual. The themes of invective vary only superficially from century to century. In the extracts quoted from Shakespeare we find most of the topics on which men express themselves with acrimony, with the marked excep- tion of religion. In “Ajax” Shakespeare paints a fellow- worker in the same field as himself, anticipating and excell- ing similar word-pictures from Blake, Carlyle, and Swin- burne. In Prince Hal’s attack on Falstaff, he prefigures Dickens’s mastery of everyday abuse. In Mark Antony’s exchange with Cassius and Brutus, and in Coriolanus’s fere- well to the plebs, he gives models of political invective, based on genuine emotion. In Lear’s parting from his daughters he expresses the rage of weakness against the callous indifference of power. In Timon this rage takes all society for its object. In Antony upbraiding Cleopatra, in Posthumus when Iachimo has convinced him of Imogen’* infidelity, and in his own sonnet to the Dark Lady, he gives the disgust of men when they realise that infidelity is not an exclusively masculine prerogative. Finally, in the sonnet “Tir’d with all these, for restful death I cry”, he rises to that general indictment of life, the substance of which is much the same in all ages, from Solomon to Schopenhauer.

Another objection to classifying invective in epochs is the impossibility of marking off one epoch from another with precision. Undoubtedly the biggest and cleanest bfeak in modem English history is at the Restoration. Yet even here it is difficult to decide whether Evelyn and Samuel Butler are predominantly .post- or pre-Restoration in their outlook. The decade after the French Revolution is usually , taken as markin g the end of the period inaugurated by the


INTRODUCTION


If

Restoration, but a classification which included Blake and Bums under the same heading as Pope and Gibbon, while pairing off Macaulay with Shelley, would be misleading.

An arrangement in chronological sequence avoids these arbitrary divisions, while at the same time illustrating how invective, like every other form of expression, is coloured and modified by contemporary currents of emotion, and the intellectual fashion of the moment.

Prynne’s attack on the morals and manners of his age, for example, is a theme which recurs throughout the literature of all civilised nations. But his reliance on the Bible as the final court of appeal in all matters, great or trivial, is peculiarly Puritan. Biblical references are already far fewer in Jeremy Collier’s criticism of the Restoration stage; and in Smollett, in the third quarter of the eighteenth century, the mundane reaction against Puritanism has entirely obliter- ated the Bible as an authority on conduct. It is the manners of his pleasure-loving contemporaries, rather than their morals, which disgust Smollett, speaking through his mouthpiece, Matthew Bramble; and when he glances at their morals it is from an exclusively secular standpoint.

It is this coherent and limited outlook in the period between the Restoration and the French Revolution which has recommended its invective so strongly to the general taste. The victims of Dryden, Pope, Churchill, and Johnson understood what was being said about them, and agreed at least with the intellectual assumptions behind the invective.

A hundred years after Johnson, in the middle of Victoria’s reign, the intervening political, literary, and religious up- heavals had shattered this common outlook. The first half of Victoria’s reign was a chaos of confused opinions. The secular outlook of the eighteenth century clashed with the emotionalism of tlffc imaginative renaissance; while Puritan- ism, which worked within the limits of die Evangelical revival in the previous century, had burst its banks, and poured over the whole country. The mid-Victorian carried within his congested breast a puritan, a poet, and a pagan, and the invective produced by this triple collaboration was


INTRODUCTION


16

a carious compound. In Dickens, for example, die satire on political journalism in "Pickwick” would have been quite comprehensible to Smollett. But what would Smollett have made of the angel-devil antithesis in the Ralph Nickleby-Madcline Bray scene, product of the imaginative renaissance working on the Puritan sense of guilt? What would even Prynne, Puritan though he was, have made of Farrar’s denunciation, through the mouth of Julian Home, of an undergraduate who had taken to drink and women? Prynne would have understood the denunciation of the youth, but the innocence and helplessness of the youth’s partner in guilt would have been a conception entirely strange to his philosophy. Equally baffling to him would have been the horror of Buchanan, lover of Rabelais, Don Juan, and Paul de Kock, at the depravity of London life. This confusion had subsided by the close of the century. An attitude common to all cultured persons was no longer possible, but a number of different attitudes had crystallised themselves. In Mr. Bernard Shaw, in Mr. Belloc, and Mr. Chesterton, we again find coherency, and a defined philosophy.

In personal, as differentiated from moral, invective, the chronological sequence is less instructive. Here individual character is far the most important factor; though doubtless there would have been a marked difference in tone had Swinburne written the letter to Emerson in the eighteenth century, or Johnson the letter to Macpherson in the nine- teenth. Even in love, the age conditions the manner of expression, as a comparison between Otway’s reproaches and Keats’s shows.

In political, as in personal, invective, the situation is more important than the age, when there is a situation, and not merely an opportunity for a rhetorical display. Skelton’s attack on Wolsey, Saxby’s and CowleyVon Cromwell, s|nd Burke’s on Warren Hastings, all have the universal note of revolt against tyranny. But most political invective derives not from personal emotion but from tactical necessities, and therefore reaches its highest technical development in the relatively unemotional eighteenth century. Here


INTRODUCTION 17

again the chronological arrangement seemed the most satisfactory.

In the indictment of life itself, which has been illustrated in this anthology from Shakespeare, Samuel Butler, Jeremy Taylor, Dryden, James Thomson, and Mark Twain, some- thing of the difference in tone between the various passages must be assigned to the epoch in which they were written. Dryden’s view of the deceptiveness of life, for example, is, because of the anti-Puritan reaction, more purely intellec- tual than Shakespeare’s; and the despair of James Thomson is coloured by the contrast between the material prosperity of the mid-Victorians and the collapse of the old certainties before file discoveries of science and the wide changes in ordinary life brought about by machinery.

The second method of classification which suggested itself was into imaginative and historical invective. It is, however, not as simple as might be thought to discriminate between invective stirred by actual events and persons, and invective created by the imagination. Shakespeare’s portrait of Ajax seems as directly connected with life as Dryden’s of Achitophel, and far more directly connected than Sheridan’s of Warren Hastings. The mass of first-hand experience and knowledge which supplied the material for Sergeant Buzfuz must have been much in excess of that which inspired Swinburne’s pen-picture of the autocopro- phagous sage of Concord. It seemed better, therefore, not to entangle oneself in the dangerous distinction between life and literature.


JOHN SKELTON

(c. 1460-1529)

Bishop Hall, the Elizabethan satirist, spoke of Skelton's “ breath- less rhymes ”, a phrase which expresses both the faults and the energy of Skelton's attack on Cardinal Wolsey. According to popular tradition, the Cardinal was much incensed by Skelton's invective, and sent the poet to prison more than once.

Skelton's picture of the Cardinal as the typical upstart who has risen to supreme power , while it omits the Cardinal's good qualities, is confirmed, within its limits , by Cardinal Wolsey' s latest biographer. Dr. A. E. Pollard. “Hike some other great men” Dr. Pollard writes, “of whom Napoleon was the greatest, he came to a sudden end because he did not know when or even how to stop. His spirit ruled him, not he his spirit', and his spirit was highly explosive ... .He betrayed the characteristics of an age of self-made men, marked by what modem psychology calls an 'inferiority complex' . ”

“why come ye not to courte?”

(A Satire on Cardinal Wolsey)

set up a wretch on hye In a trone triumphantlye.

And he wyll play check mate With ryall maieste,

Counte him selfe as good as he;

A prelate potencyall.

To rule under Bellyall,

As ferce and as cruell As the fynd of hell.

His seruantes menyall He doth reuyle, and brail,

Lyke Mahounde in a play;

No man dare him withsay:

He hath dispyght and scorne At them that be well borne;

He rebukes them and rayles.

Ye horsons, ye vassayles.

Ye knauves, ye churles sonnys.


  • 9


JOHN SKELTON

Ye rebads , 1 not worth two plummis,

Yc raynbetyn beggars reiagged,*

Ye recrayed 8 ruffyns all ragged!

With, stowpe , 4 thou hauell , 5 Rynne, thou iavell ! 6 Thou peuysshe 7 pye 8 pecked.

Thou losell* longe necked!

Thus dayly they be decked , 10 Taunted and checked.

That they are so wo.

They wot not whether to go.

No man dare come to the speche Of this gentell Iacke breche.

Of what estate he be.

Of spirituall dygnyte.

Nor duke of hye degre,

Nor marques, erle, nor lorde;

Which shrewdly doth accorde,

Thus he borne so base All noble men shulde out face.

His countynaunce like a kayser.

My lorde is not at layser;

Syr, ye must tary a stounde , 11 Tyll better layser be founde;

And, syr, ye must daunce attendaunce.

And take pacient sufferaunce.

For my lordes grace.

Hath nowe no tyme nor space To speke with you as yet.

And thus they shall syt,

Chuse them syt or flyt,

Stande, walke, or ryde.

And Ijis layser abyde Parchaunce halfe a yere.

And yet neuer the nere.

John Skelton (1460-1529)

1 Rascals. * Tattered. * Recreant. * Stoop.

  • Scoundrel. ‘Rascal. ’Silly. ‘Magpie.

• Worthless.fellow. 10 Sprinkled. 11 Time.


JOHN KNOX

(1505-1575)

John Knox's “First Blast of the Trumpet against the Monstrous Regiment of Women " was blown against the women rulers who were hostile to the Reformation, Catharine de’ Medici, Mary of Guise, and above all Mary Tudor, “ Bloody " Mary. The “Blast", which was written at Dieppe and secretly printed at Geneva, was published in 1558, a few months before Mary Tudor's death. Unfortunately, in the excitements of composition , John Knox passed from the particular to the general, and, like Fal staff, “ did in some sort, indeed, handle women." In spite of the confidence with which, in the passage quoted below, he pro- phesies the speedy death of Mary Tudor, it did not apparently occur to him that it would be wise to temper his generalisations about “ the hole race and daughters of Heva" with a view to con- ciliating Mary Tudor's successor, Elizabeth. Elizabeth treated the “Blast" as a personal insult-, and Calvin, who regarded Elizabeth as potentially the most powerful ally of the Reforma- tion among the sovereigns of Europe, was much annoyed with Knox, and wrote from Geneva to Sir William Cecil-. “I had no suspicion of the book, and for a whole year was ignorant of its publication." This explanation did not appease Elizabeth. So deep, indeed, was her resentment that she denied herself the pleasure of reading Calvin's Commentaries on Isaiah, a presentation copy of which she returned to its author. Another eminent theologian of Geneva, Theodore de Be%a, tempted her, a little later, with his Annotations on the New Testament, but this bait she also evaded.

FROM “the FIRST BLAST OF THE TRUMPET AGAINST THE MONSTROUS REGIMENT OF WOMEN”

to promote a Woman to beare rule, superioritie, dominion, or empire above any Realme, nation, or* Citie, is repugnant to Nature; contumelie to God, a thing most contrarious to his reveled will and appioved ordinance; and finallie, it is the subversion of good Order, of all equitie and justice .... For who can denie but it is repugneth to nature, that the blind shall be appointed to leade and conduct such as do


21


JOHN KNOX

see? That the weake, the sicke, and impotent persons shall norishe and kepe the hole and strong? And finallie, that the foolishe, madde, and phrenetike shal goveme the discrete, and give counsel to such as be sober of mind? And such be al women, compared unto man in bearing of authoritie. For their sight in civile regiment is but blindnes; their strength, weaknes; their counsel, foolishnes; and judgment, phrensie, if it be rightlie considered.

. . . Nature, I say, doth paynt them further to be weake, fraile, impacient, feble, and foolishe; and experience hath declared them to be unconstant, variable, cruell, and lack- ing the spirit of counsel and regiment.

. . . Tertullian in his boke of Women’s Apparell, after that he hath shewed many causes why gorgious apparell is abominable and odiouse in a woman, addeth these words, speaking as it were to every woman by name: “Dost thou not knowe (saith he) that thou art Heva? The sentence of God liveth and is effectuall against this kind; and in this worlde, of necessity against this kind; and in this ,worlde, of necessity it is, that the punishement also live. Thou art the porte and gate of the Devil. Thou art the first trans- gressor of goddes law. Thou diddest persuade and easely deceive him whome the Devil durst not assault. For thy merit (that is for thy death) it behoved the Sonne of God to suffer the death, and doth it yet abide in thy mind to decke thee above thy skin coates?”

By these and many other grave sentences and quicke interrogations, did this godlie writer labour to bring everie woman in contemplation of herselfe, to the end that everie one depelie weying what sentence God had pronounced against the hole race and doughters of Heva, might not onely learne daily to humble and subject them selves in the presence of God^ but also that they shulde avoide and abhorre what soever thing might exalte them or puffe them up in pride, or that might be occasion that they shuld for- get the curse and malediction of God. And what, I pray you, is more able to cause woman to forget her oune con- dition, then if she be lifted up in authoritie above man? It is a thing verie difficile to a man (be he never so constant)


22


JOHN KNOX

promoted to honors, not to be tickled somewhat with pride; (for the winde of vaine glorie doth easilie carie up the drie dust of the earth). But as for woman, it is no more possible that she being set aloft in authorise above man shall resist the motions of pride, then it is able to the weake reed, or to the turning wethercocke, not to bowe or tume at the vehemencie of the un-constant wind. And therefore the same writer expreslie forbiddeth all women to inter- medle with the office of man.


CONCLUDING PERORATION; ADDRESSED TO MARY TUDOR

cursed Jesabel of England, with the pestilent and detestable generation of Papistes, make no little bragge and boast, that they have triumphed not only against Wyet, but also against all such as have entreprised any thing against them or their procedinges. But let her and them consider, that yet they have not prevailed against God: his throne is more high than that the length of their homes be able to reache. And let them further consider, that in the beginning of this their bloodie reigne, the harvest of their iniquitie was not comen to full maturitie and ripenes: No! it was grene, so secret I mean, so covered, and so hid with hypocrisie, that some men (even the servantes of God) thought it not im- possible but that wolves might be changed into lambes, and also that the vipere might remove her natural venom. But God, who doth revele in his time apointed the secretes of hartes, and that will have his judgements justified even by the verie wicked, hath now given open testimonie of her and their beastlie crueltie ... so that now, not onlie the blood of Father Latimer, of the milde man of God the Bishop of Cantorburie (Cranmer), of learned and /discrete Ridley, of innocent Lady Jane Dudley, and many godly and worthie preachers that cannot be forgotten, such as fier hath con- sumed, and the sworde of tyrannie most unjustlie hath shed, doth call for vengeance in the eares of the Lord God of hostes; but also the sobbes and teares of the poore oppressed, the groninges of the Angeles, the watchmen of


THE AUTHORISED VERSION 2 3

the Lord, yea, and everie earthlie creature abused by their tyrannie, do continuallie crie and call for the hastie execution of the same I feare not to say, that the day of vengeance, whiche shall apprehend that horrible monstre Jesabel of England, and such as maintain her monstruous crueltie, is •alredie apointed in the counsel of the Eternall: and I verilie beleve, that it is so nigh, that she shall not reigne so long in tyrannie as hitherto she hath done, when God shall declare him selfe to be her enemie, when he shall poure forth con- tempt upon her according to her crueltie, and shal kindle the hartes of such as somtimes did favor her with deadly hatred against her, that they may execute his judgements. And therefore let such as assist her, take hede what they do; for assuredlie her empire and reigne is a wall without foundation: I meane the same of the Authoritie of all Women. It hath been underpropped this blind time that is past, with the foolishness of people, and with the wicked lawes of ignorant and tyrannous Princes. But the fier of Goddes Worde is alredie laid to those rotten proppes, (I include the Pope’s lawe with the rest,) and presendie they burn, albeit we espie not the flame. When they are con- sumed, (as shortlie they will be, for stubble and drie tim- bre can not long indure the fier,) that rotten wall, the usurped and unjust empire of women, shall fall by itself in despit of all man, to the destruction of so manie as shall labor to uphold it. And therefore let all man be advertised,

for THE TRUMPET HATH ONES BLOWEN.


THE AUTHORISED VERSION

JOB COMPLAINETH OF LIFE

After this opened Job his mouth, and cursed his day. Aid Job spake, and said.

Let the day perish wherein I was born, and the night in which it was said. There is a man child conceived.

Let that day be darkness; let not God regard it from above, neither let the light shine upon it; let the blackness of the day terrify- it.


H


THE AUTHORISED VERSION


As for that night, let darkness seize upon it; let it not be joined unto the days of the year, let it not come into the number of the months.

Lo, let that night be solitary, let no joyful voice come therein.

Let them curse it that curse the day, who are ready to raise their mourning.

Let the stars of the twilight thereof be dark; let it look for light, but have none; neither let it see the dawning of the day:

Because it shut not up the doors of my mother’s womb, nor hid sorrow from mine eyes.

Why died I not from the womb? Why did I not give up the ghost when I came out of the belly?

Why did the knees prevent me? or why the breasts that I should suck?

For now should I have lain still and been quiet, I should have slept: then had I been at rest.

With kings and counsellors of the earth, which built desolate places for themselves;

Or with princes that had gold, who filled their houses with silver:

Or as an hidden untimely birth I had not been; as infants which never saw light.

There the wicked cease from troubling; and there the weary be at rest.

There the prisoners rest together; they hear not the voice of the oppressor.

The small and great are there; and the servant is free from his master.

Wherefore is light given to him that is in misery, and life unto the bitter in soul;

Which long for death, but it cometh not; and dig for it more than for hid treasures; f

Which rejoice exceedingly, and are glad, when they can find the grave?

... I was not in safety, neither had I rest, neither was I quiet; yet trouble came.


(Job, Chapter 3.)


THE AUTHORISED VERSION


  • 5


JUDGMENTS UPON IMPIETY

Woe unto them that join house to house, that lay field to field, till there be no place, that they may be placed alone in the earth!

In mine ears said the Lord of hosts, of a truth many houses shall be desolate, even great and fair, without inhabitant.

. . . Woe unto them that rise up early in the morning, that they may follow strong drink; that continue until night, till wine inflame them!

And the harp, and the viol, the tabret, and pipe, and wine, are in th£ir feasts: but they regard not the work of the Lord, neither consider the operation of his hands.

... Woe unto them that call evil good, and good evil; that put darkness for light, and light for darkness; that put bitter for sweet, and sweet for bitter!

Woe unto them that are wise in their own eyes, and prudent in their own sight! Woe unto them that are mighty to drink wine, and men of strength to mingle strong drink.

Which justify the wicked for reward, and take away the righteousness of the righteous from him!

( Isaiah , Chapter j.)

THE DAY OF THE LORD

Behold, the day of the Lord cometh, cruel both with wrath and fierce anger, to lay the land desolate: and he shall destroy the sinners thereof out of it. . . .

Everyone that is found shall be thrust through; and every one that is joined unto them shall fall by the sword.

Their children also shall be dashed to pieces before their eyes; their houses shall be spoiled, and their wives ravished.

Behold, I will stir up the Medes against them, which shall not regard silver; and as for gold, they shall not delight in it.

Their bows also shall dash the young men to pieces; and they shall have no pity on the fruit of the womb; their eye shall not spare children.

(Isaiah, Chapter 13.)


z 6


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


THE VILLAGES OF GALILEE

then began he to upbraid the cities wherein most of his mighty works were done, because they repented not:

Woe unto thee, Chorazin! woe unto thee, Bethsaida! for if the mighty works, which were done in you, had been done in Tyre and Sidon, they would have repented long ago in sackcloth and ashes.

But I say unto you, it shall be more tolerable for Tyre and Sidon at the day of judgment, than for you.

And thou, Capernaum, which art exalted unto heaven, shalt be brought down to hell: for if the mighty works, which have been done in thee, had been done in Sodom, it would have remained until this day.

But I say unto you, That it shall be more tolerable for the land of Sodom in the day of judgment, than for thee.

(St. Matthew, Chapter n.)

WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

(1564-1616)

PRINCE HAL ON FALSTAFF

there is a devil haunts thee in the likeness of an old fat man; a tun of man is thy companion. Why dost thou con- verse with that trunk of humours, that bolting-hutch of beastliness, that swoln parcel of dropsies, that huge bombard of sack, that stuffed cloak-bag of guts, that roasted Manning- tree ox with the pudding in his belly, that reverend vice, that grey iniquity, that father ruffian, that vanity in years? Wherein is he good but to taste sack and drink it? Wherein neat and cleanly but to carve a capon and eat it? Wherein cunning but in craft? Wherein crafty but in villainy? Wherein villainous but in all things? Wherein worthy but in nothing?

(Henry IV, Part I. Act 11. Sc. iv.)


AJAX

this man, lady, hath robbed many beasts of their particular additions: he is as valiant as the lion, churlish as the bear.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


  • 7

slow as the elephant: a man into whom nature hath so crowded humours that his valour is crushed into folly, his folly sauced with discretion: there is no man hath a virtue that he hath not a glimpse of, nor any man an attaint but he carries some stai n of it. He is melancholy without cause, and merry against the hair; he hath the joints of everything, but everything so out of joint that he is a gouty Briareus, many hands and no use; or purblind Argus, all eyes and no sight.

(' Troilus and Cressida , Act 1. Sc. ii.)

• Not If. — The elaboration of this portrait has suggested that Shakespeare had a living model in mind; and as Ben Jonson and Shakespeare were on opposite sides in the dispute known as The War of the Theatres, it is possible that Ajax is intended for Jonson.

BEFORE PHILIPPI

. . . Antony,

The posture of your blows are yet unknown; But for your words, they rob the Hybla bees. And leave them honey less.

Not stingless too.

Ol yes, and soundless too;

For you have stol’n their buzzing, Antony,

And very wisely threat before you sting. Villains! you did not so when your vile daggers Hack’d one another in the sides of Cxsar:

You show’d your teeth like apes, and fawn’d like hounds.

And bow’d like bondmen, kissing Csesar’s feet; Whilst damned Casca, like a cur, behind Struck Gesar on the neck. O you flatterersl”

(Julius Casar, Act v. Sc. i.)

ANTONY TO CLEOPATRA

Antony : You were half blasted ere I knew you: ha! Have I my pillow left unpress’d in Rome, Forborne the getting of a lawful race.

And by a gem of women, to be abus’d By one that looks on feeders?


Cassius:

Antony:

Brutus:

Antony:


Cleopatra: .


Good my lord —


28

Antony:


Cleopatra:

Antony:


Cleopatra:

Antony:


Othello:


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE

You have been a boggier ever:

But when we in our viciousness grow hard —

0 misery on’tl — the wise gods seel our eyes;

In our own filth drop our clear judgments;

make us

Adore our errors; laugh at’s while we strut To our confusion.

O! is’t come to this?

1 found you as a morsel, cold upon

Dead Caesar’s trencher; nay, you were a frag-, ment

Of Cneius Pompey’s; besides what hotter hours,

Unregister’d in vulgar fame, you have Luxuriously pick’d out; for, I am sure.

Though you can guess what temperance should be,

You know not what it is.

Wherefore is this?

To let a fellow that will take rewards And say “God quit you!” be familiar with My playfellow, your hand; this kingly seal And plighter of high hearts. O! that I were Upon the hill of Basan, to outroar The horned herd; for I have savage cause . . .”

( Antony and Cleopatra , Act hi. Sc. xiii.)


OTHELLO TO DESDEMONA

But there, where I have garner’d up my heart. Where either I must live or bear no life.

The fountain from the which my current runs. Or else dries up — to be discarded thencel Or keep it as a cistern for foul toads To knot and gender in! — Turn thy complexion there,

Patience, thou young and rose-lipp’d cherubin. Ay, there, look grim as hell!


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


z 9


Desdemona:

Othello:


Desdemona:

Othello:

Desdemona:

Othello:

Desdemona:

Othello: *

Desdemona:

Othello:

Desdemona:

Othello:


I hope my noble lord esteems me honest.

O, ay; as summer flies are in the shambles.

That quicken even with blowing. — O thou weed. Who art so lovely fair and smell’st so sweet That the sense aches at thee, would thou hadst ne’er been born!

Alas, what ignorant sin have I committed?

. . . What committed!

Impudent strumpet!

By heaven, you do me wrong. Are not you a strumpet?

No, as I am a Christian! . . . What, not a whore?

No, as I shall be saved.

Is’t possible?

O, heaven forgive us!

I cry you mercy then;

I took you for that cunning whore of Venice That married with Othello.


{Othello, Act iv. Sc. ii.)


SONNET CXXXVII

thou blind fool, Love, what dost thou to mine eyes.

That they behold, and see not what they see?

They know what beauty is, see where it lies,

Yet what the best is take the worst to be.

If eyes, corrupt by over-partial looks,

Be anchor’d in the bay where all men ride.

Why of eyes’ falsehood hast thou forged hooks.

Whereto the judgment of my heart is tied?

Why should my htfart think that a several plot

Which my heart knows the wide world’s common place?

Or mine eyes, seeing this, say this is not.

To put fair truth upon so foul a face?

In things right true my heart and eyes have err’d.

And to this false plague are they now transferr’d.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


5 °


POSTHUMUS ON WOMEN

COULD I find out

The woman’s part in me! For there’s no motion That tends to vice in man but I affirm It is the woman’s part; be it lying, note it The woman’s; flattering, hers; deceiving, hers;

Lust and rank thoughts, hers, hers; revenges, hers; Ambitions, covetings, change of prides, disdain,

Nice longing, slanders, mutability.

All faults that man may name, nay, that hell knows. Why, hers, in part, or all; but rather, all;

For even to vice

They are not constant, but are changing still

One vice but of a minute old for one

Not half so old as that. I’ll write against them.

Detest them, curse them. Yet ’tis greater skill In a true hate to pray they have their will:

The very devils cannot plague them better.

( Cymbeline , Act ir. Sc. v.)

KING LEAR TO GONERIL AND REGAN

you see me here, you gods, a poor old man.

As full of grief as age; wretched in both!

If it be you that stir these daughters’ hearts Against their father, fool me not so much To bear it tamely; touch me with noble anger.

And let not women’s weapons, water-drops.

Stain my man’s cheeks! No, you unnatural hags,

I will have such revenges on you both That all the world shall — I will do such things, — What they are yet I know not, — but they shall be The terrors of the earth. You think I’ll weep; # No, I’ll not weep:

I have full cause of weeping, but this heart Shall break into a hundred thousand flaws Or ere I’ll weep. O fool! I shall go mad.

{King Lear, Act n;. Sc. iv.)


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


31


TIMON LOOKS BACK AT ATHENS

let me look back upon thee. O thou wall.

That girdlest in those wolves, dive in the earth.

And fence not Athens! Matrons, turn incontinent! Obedience fail in children! Slaves and fools Pluck the grave wrinkled senate from the bench.

And minister in their steads! To general filths Convert, o’ the instant, green virginity!

Do ’t in your parents’ eyes! Bankrupts, hold fast; Rather than render back, out with your knives And cut your trusters’ throats! Bound servants steal! — Large-handed robbers your grave masters are.

And pill by law. Maid, to thy master’s bed;

Thy mistress is o’ the brothell Son of sixteen.

Pluck the lin’d crutch from thy old limping sire.

With it beat out his brains! Piety, and fear,

Religion to the gods, peace, justice, truth.

Domestic awe, night-rest and neighbourhood. Instruction, manners, mysteries and trades.

Degrees, observances, customs and laws.

Decline to your confounding contraries.

And let confusion live! Plagues incident to men.

Your potent and infectious fevers heap On Athens, ripe for stroke! Thou cold sciatica Cripple our senators, that their limbs may halt As lamely as their manners! Lust and liberty Creep in the minds and marrows of our youth.

That ’gainst the stream of virtue they may strive,

And drown themselves in riot! Itches, blains.

Sow all the Athenian bosoms, and their crop Be general leprosy! Breath infect breath.

That their society, as their friendship, may B5 merely poison! Nothing I’ll bear from thee But nakedness, thou detestable town!

Take thou that too, with multiplying bans!

Timon will to the woods; where he will shall find The unkindest beast more kinder than mankind.

(Timon of Athens, Act iv. Sc. i.)


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


3 *


Prospero:


Caliban:


Prospero:


Caliban:


PROSPERO ON CALIBAN

Thou most lying slave ,

Whom stripes may move, not kindness! I have used thee.

Filth as thou art, with human care; and lodged thee

In mine own cell, till thou didst seek to violate

The honour of my child.

O ho, O ho! would’t had been done!

Thou didst prevent me; I had peopled else

This isle with Calibans.

Abhorred slave.

Which any print of goodness will not take.

Being capable of all ill! I pitied thee,

Took pains to make thee speak, taught thee each hour

One thing or other: when thou didst not, savage.

Know thine own meaning, but wouldst gabble like

A thing most brutish, I endow’d thy purposes

With words that made them known. But thy vile race.

Though thou didst learn, had that in’t which good natures

Could not abide to be with . . .

You taught me language; and my profit on’t

Is, I know how to curse.

{Tempest, Act 1. Sc. ii.)


CALIBAN ON PROSPERO

All the infections that the sun sucks up

From bogs, fens, flats, on Prosper fall, and make him

By inch-meal a disease! His spirits hear me.

And yet I needs must curse. But they’ll nor pinch. Fright me with urchin-shows, pitch me i’ the mire.


WILLIAM SHAKESPEARE


55


Nor lead me, like a fire brand, in the dark Out of my way, unless he bid ’em: but For every trifle are they set upon me;

Sometime like apes, that mow and chatter at me. And after bite me; then like hedgehogs, which Lie tumbling in my barefoot way and mount Their pricks at my footfall; sometime am I All wound with adders, who with cloven tongues Do hiss me into madness.

{Tempest, Act 11. Sc. ii.)

CORIOLANUS’S FAREWELL TO HIS FELLOW-CITIZENS

You'comraon cry of curs! whose breath I hate As reek o* the rotten fens, whose loves I prize As the dead carcases of unburied men That do corrupt my air, I banish you;

And here remain with your uncertainty!

Let every feeble rumour shake your hearts!

Your enemies, with nodding of their plumes.

Fan you into despair! Have the power still To banish your defenders; till at length Your ignorance — which finds not, till it feels, — Making not reservation of yourselves, —

Still your own foes, — deliver you as most

Abated captives to some nation

That won you without blowsl Despising,

For you, the city, thus I turn my back:

There is a world elsewhere.

(< Coriolanus , Act hi. Sc. iii.)

SONNET LX VI

tir’d with all these, for restful death I cry.

As to behold desert a beggar born.

And needy nothing trimm’d in jollity.

And purest faith unhappily forsworn.

And gilded honour shamefully misplac’d.

And maiden virtue rudely strumpeted.

And right perfection wrongfully disgrac’d.


3


34


BEN JONSON

And strength by limping sway disabled.

And art made tongue-tied by authority.

And folly — doctor-like — controlling skill.

And simple truth miscall’d simplicity.

And captive good attending captain ill:

Tir’d with all these, from these would I be gone. Save that, to die, I leave my love alone.


BEN JONSON

(1573-1657)

Jonson’s “Ode to Himself ” was written in 1629, after the failure of bis comedy “ The New Inn ”, which, in his own words, was “ never acted, but most negligently played by some, the King’s servants, and more squeamishly beheld and censured by others, the King’s subjects.”

Contributory sources to the bitterness in this invective were Jonson’s increasing ill-health, and his decline in royal favour since the accession of Charles I. This latter grievance he referred to in the course of the Ode, and the king acknowledged the rebuke with a present of one hundred pounds.

FROM “ODE TO HIMSELF”

come, leave the loathed stage.

And the more loathsome age;

Where pride and impudence, in faction knit.

Usurp the chair of witl

Indicting and arraigning every day Something they call a play.

Let their fastidious, vain Commission of the brain

Run on and rage, sweat, censure, and condemn;

They were not made for thee, less thou for them. .

Say that thou pour’st them wheat.

And they will acorns eat;

, Twere simple fury still thyself to waste On such as have no taste!


35


JOHN DONNE

To offer them a surfeit of pure bread Whose appetites arc dead!

No, give them grains their fill.

Husks, draff to drink or swill:

If they love lies, and leave the lusty wine.

Envy them not, their palate’s with the swine.

No doubt some mouldy tale,

Like Pericles , 1 and stale As the shrieve’s crusts, and nasty as his fish —

Scraps out of every dish Thrown forth, and raked into the common tub,

  • May keep up the Play-club:

There, sweepings do as well As the best-order’d meal;

For who the relish of these guests will fit.

Needs set them but the alms-basket of wit. . . .

f

Leave things so prostitute,

And take the Alcaic lute;

Or thine own Horace or Anacreon’s lyre;

Warm thee by Pindar’s fire:

And though thy nerves be shrunk, and blood be cold. Ere years have made thee old.

Strike that disdainful heat Throughout, to their defeat.

As curious fools, and envious of thy strain,

May, blushing, swear no palsy’s in thy brain.

1 The play attributed to Shakespeare, though much of it, and beyond doubt the first two acts, are by another hand.


• JOHN DONNE

(1573-1631)

Donne's greatest love-poetry was written to bis future wife, Anne More , whom he met when he was twenty-seven. “The Apparition" and “The Perfume" are earlier pieces, belonging to the period when he was either celebrating his own inconstancy or


36 JOHN DONNE

denouncing some woman’s fickleness. c4s nothing is known of Donne’s early love-affairs, these two poems may be read as poetical exercises by those who prefer literature not to derive from personal experience.


THE APPARITION

when by thy scorn, O murd’ress, I am dead,

And that thou think’st thee free From all solicitation from me,

Then shall my ghost come to thy bed.

And thee, feign’d vestal, in worse arms shall see: Then thy sick taper will begin to wink, •

And he, whose thou art then, being tired before. Will, if thou stir, or pinch to wake him, think Thou call’st for more,

And, in false sleep, will from thee shrink:

And then, poor aspen wretch, neglected thou Bathed in a cold quicksilver sweat wilt lie A verier ghost than I.

What I will say, I will not tell thee now.

Lest that preserve thee; and since my love is spent. I’d rather thou shouldst painfully repent.

Than by my threatenings rest still innocent.

(Donne.)


the perfume (elegy iv)

Once, and but once, found in thy company,

All thy supposed escapes are laid on me.

And as a thief at bar is question’d there By all the men that have been robb’d that year. So am I — by this traitorous means surprized —

By thy hydroptic father catechized.*

Though he had wont to search with glazed eyes, As though he came to kill a cockatrice;

Though he hath oft sworn that he would remove Thy beauty’s beauty, and food of our love,

Hope of his goods, if I with thee were seen.


37


JOHN DONNE

Yet close and secret, as our souls we’ve been:

Though thy immortal mother, which doth lie Still buried in her bed, yet will not die.

Takes this advantage to sleep out daylight,

And watch thy entries and returns all night;

And, when she takes thy hand, and would seem kind. Doth search what rings and armlets she can find,

And kissing notes the colour of thy face;

And fearing lest thou’rt swollen, doth thee embrace; And to try if thou long, doth name strange meats;

And notes thy paleness, blushing, sighs, and sweats;

And politicly will to thee confess

The sins of her own youth’s rank lustiness;

Yet love these sorceries did remove, and move Thee to gull thine own mother for my love.

Thy little brethren, which like fairy sprites

Oft skipped into our chamber, those sweet nights.

And kiss’d, and ingled on thy father’s knee.

Were bribed next day to tell what they did see;

The grim-eight-foot-high-iron-bound-serving-man That oft names God in oaths, and only then,

He that, to bar the first gate, doth as wide As the great Rhodian Colossus stride — Which, if in hell no other pains there were,

Makes me fear hell because he must be there — Though by thy father he were hired to this.

Could never witness any touch or kiss.

But O! too common ill, I brought with me That, which betrayed me to mine enemy,

A loud perfume, which at my entrance cried E’en at thy father’s nose; so were we spied.

When, like a tyrant king, that in his bed Smelt gunpowder, the pale wretch shivered,

Had it been some bad smell he would have thought That his own feet, or breath, that smell had wrought.


KING JAMES I

King James' “ Court terb la ste to Tobacco ” was published in 1604. Tobacco was introduced into Europe in 1558 by a Spaniard, but it was the English, led by Drake and Ralph Lane, the 'first governor of Virginia, who popularised its use. Later, Raleigh became a keen smoker, and enjoyed a pipe shortly before his execution. The practice of smoking became general in the course of the seventeenth century, in spite of many measures to suppress it, including prison and flogging.

A COUNTERBLASTS TO TOBACCO .

. . . And now good Countrey men let us (I pray you) consider, what honour or policie can moove us to imitate the barbarous and beastly manners of the wilde, godlesse, and slavish Indians, especially in so vile and stinking a custome? Shall wee that disdaine to imitate the maners of our neighbour France (having the stile of the first Christian Kingdom) and that cannot endure the spirit of the Spaniards (their King being now comparable in largenes of Dominions, to the great Emperor of Turkie). Shall wee, I say, that have bene so long civill and wealthy in Peace, famous and and invincible in Warre, fortunate in both, we that have bene ever able to aide any of our neighbours (but never deafed any of their eares with any of our supplications for assistance) shall we, I say, without blushing, abuse ourselves so farre, as to imitate these beastly Indians, slaves to the Spaniards, refuse to the World, and as yet aliens from the holy Covenant of God? Why doe we not as well imitate them in walking naked as they doe? in preferring glasses, feathers, and such toyes, to golde and precious stones, as they do? Yea why do we not denie God apd adore the Devill, as they doe?

. . . And for the vanities committed in this filthie custome, is it not both great vanitie and uncleanenesse, that at the table a place of respect, of cleanlinesse, of modestie, men should not be ashamed, to sit tossing of Tobacco pipes, and puffing of the smoke of Tobacco one to another.


KING JAMES I 39

making the filthy smoke and stinke thereof, to exhale athwart the dishes, and infect the aire, when very often men that abhorre it are at their repast? Surely Smoke becomes a kitchin far better than a Dining Chamber, and yet it makes a kitchin also often-times in the inward parts of men, soiling and infecting them, with an unctuous and oily kinde of Soote, as hath bene found in some great Tobacco takers, that after their death were opened. And not only meate time, but no other time nor action is ex- empted from the publike use of this uncivil! tricke: so as if the wives of Diepe list to contest with this Nation for good maners their worst maners would in all reason be found at least not so dishonest (as ours are) in this point. The publike use whereof, at all times, and in all places, hath now so farre prevailed, as divers men very sound both in judge- ment, and complexion, have bene at last forced to take it also without desire, partly because they were ashamed to seeme singular, (like the two Philosophers that were forced to duck themselves in that raine water, and so become fooles as well as the rest of the people) and partly, to be as one that was content to eate Garlicke (which hee did not love) that he might not be troubled with the smell of it, in the breath of his fellowes. And is it not a great vanitie, that a man cannot heartily welcome his friend now, but straight they must bee in hand with Tobacco? Now it is become in place of a cure, a point of good fellow-ship, and he that will refuse to take a pipe of Tobacco among his fellowes, (though by his own election he would rather feele the savour of a Sinke) is accounted peevish and no good company, even as they doe with tippeling in the Easterne Countries. Yea the Mistresse cannot in a more manerly kinde, entertaine her servant, then by giving him out of her faire hand a pipe of Tobacco. But herein is not onely a great vanitie, but a great contempt of Gods good giftes, that the sweetenesse of men’s breath, being a good gift of God, should be wilfully corrupted by this stinking smoke, wherein I must confesse, it hath too strong a virtue: and so that which is an ornament of nature, and can neither by any artifice be at the first acquired, nor once lost, be


40


WILLIAM PRYNNE


recovered againe, shall be filthily corrupted with an incurable stinke.

. . . Moreover, which is a great iniquitie, and against all humanitie, the husband shall not be ashamed, to reduce thereby his delicate, wholesome, and cleane complexioned wife, to that extremitie, that either shee must also corrupt her sweete breath therewith, or else resolve to live in a perpetuall stinking torment.

Have you not reason then to bee ashamed, and to forbeare this filthie noveltie ... a custome loathsome to the eye, , hatefull to the nose, harmefull to the braine, dangerous to the Lungs, and in the blacke stinking fume thereof, neerest resembling the horrible Stigian smoke of the pit that is bottomlesse.


WILLIAM PRYNNE

(1600-1669)

William Prynne’ s “Histrio-Mastix” , an attack on the stage , was published in 1652, a little more than seventy years after Calvin and de Bcya were trying to erase from Elizabeth’s mind the prejudice against Puritanism which Knox had so unhappily stimulated by his “Blast” . In the interval Puritanism had enorm- ously strengthened its hold on the nation , but even so Prynne was a little premature. Within a month or two of the appearance of “Histrio-Mastix” , the queen and her ladies took part in a theatri- cal performance. His pamphlet was held to reflect on the queen , and there were other references which seemed applicable to the king. So Prynne was imprisoned in the Tower, by order of the Star- Chamber, fined £5,000, and deprived of both his ears in the pillory.

This experience in no way quenched his productivity. In the course of a long life he wrote over two hundred books and pamphlets, the objects of his invective ranging from Archbishop Laud to the regicides. He is the typical Puritan controversialist, full of energy, and courage, but with no depth or subtlety of under- standing.


WILLIAM PRYNNE


41


THE TITLE-PAGE OF HISTRIO-MASTTX THE PLAYER’S SCOURGE OR

ACTORS TRAGAEDIE

divided into Two Parts

wherein it is largely evidenced, by divers arguments, by the concurring Authorities and Resolutions of sundry texts of Scripture; of the whole Primitive Church, both under the Law andCospell; of 5 5 Synodes and Councels; of 71 Fathers and Christian Writers, before the yeare of our Lord 1200; of above 150 foraigne and domestique Protestants and Popish Authors, since; of 40 Heathen Philosophers, Histor- ians, Poets; of many Heathen, many Christian Nations, Republiques, Emperors, Princes, Magistrates; of sundry Apostolicall, Canonicall, Imperial Constitutions; and of our own English Statutes, Magistrates, Universities, Writers, Preachers.

That popular Stage-playes (the very Pompes of the Divell which we renounce in Baptisme, if we believe the Fathers) are sinfull, heathenish, lewde, ungodly Spectacles, and most pernicious Corruptions; condemned in all ages, as intoler- able Mischiefes to Churches, to Republickes, to the manners, mindes, and soules of men. And that the Profession of Play- poets, of Stage-players; together with the penning, acting, and frequenting of Stage-playes, are unlawfull, infamous and misbeseeming Christians. All pretences to the contrary are here likewise fully answered; and the unlawfulnes of act- ing of beholding Academicall Interludes, briefly discussed; besides sundry other particulars concerning Dancing, Dicing, Health-drinking, etc.: of which the Table will inform you.

(By William Prynne, an Utter-Barrester of

Lincolnes Inne.)


WILLIAM PRYNNE


42


THE PLEASURE-LOVING MODERN WOMAN

pott it is to see how many ingenious Youthes and Girles; how many young (that I say not old) Gentlemen and Gentlewomen of birth and quality (as if they were borne for no other purpose but to consume their youth, their lives in lascivious dalliances, Playes and pastimes, or in pampering, in adorning those idolized living carcases of theirs, which will turne to earth, to dung, to rottennesse and wormes-meat ere be long, and to condemne theire poore neglected soules) casting by all honest studies, r ailin gs, imployments, all care of Heaven, of salvation, of their own immortall soules, of that God who made them, that Saviour who redeemed them, that Spirit who should sanctifie them, and that Common-weale that fosters them; doe in this idle age of ours, like those Epicures of old most prodigally, most sinfully riot away the very creame and flower of their yeares and theire dayes in Playhouses, in Dancing-Schooles, Tavemes, Ale-houses, Dice-houses, Tobacco-shops, Bowling-allies, and such infamous places, upon those life-devouring, time-exhausting Playes and pastimes (that I say not sinnes beside), as is a shame for Pagans, much more for Christians to approve. ... You there- fore deare Christian Brethren, who are, who have beene peccant in this kinde, for Gods sake, for Christs sake, for the holy Ghosts sake, for Religions sake (which now extremely suffers by this your folly), for the Church and Common- weales sake, for your own soules sake, which you so much neglect, repent of what is past recalling, and for the future time resolve through Gods assistance, never to cast away your time, your money, your estates, your good names, your lives, your salvation, upon these unprofitable spectacles of vanity, lewdnesse, lasciviousnesse, . or these delights of sinne, of which you must necessarily repent and be ashamed, or else be condemned for them at the last. . . And because we have now many wanton females of all sorts re- sorting daily by troopes unto our Playes, our Play-houses, to see and to be seene, as they did in Ovids age; I shall only desire them (if not their Parents and Husbands) to consider,


WILLIAM PRYNNE


43

that it hath evermore been the notorious badge of pros- tituted strumpets and the lewdest Harlots, to ramble abroad to Playes, to Play-houses; whither no honest chast or sober Girles or Women, but only branded Whores and infamous Adulteresses did usually resort in ancient times: the Theater being then made a common Brothell: and that all ages, all places have constantly suspected the chastity, yea branded the honesty of those females who have been so immodest as to resort to Theaters, to Stage-playes, which .either finde or make them Harlots; inhibiting all married wives and virgins to resort to playes and Theaters, as I have here amply proved. . . . Whereas the dissolutenesse of our lascivious, impudent, rattle-pated gadding females now is such as if they had purposely studied to appropriate to themselves King Solomons memorable character of an “whorish woman, with an impudent face, a subtile heart and the attire of an Harlot; they are lowde and stubborne; their feet abide not in their houses; now they are without, now in the streets, and lie in wait at every corner”; being never well pleased nor contented, but when they are wander- ing abroad to Playes, to Play-houses, Dancing-matches, Masques, and publike Shewes; from which nature it selfe (if we believe S. Chrysostome) hath sequestered all women.

Let me now beseech all female Play-haunters, as they regard this Apostolicall precept, which enjoynes them, to be sober, chast, keepers at home, adorning themselves in modest apparell, with shamefastnesse and sobriety (which now are out of fashion), not with broidered cut or borrowed plaited haire, or gold, or pearles, or costly array (the onely fashions of our age) but (which becommeth women pro- fessing godlinesse) with good workes: As they tender their owne honesty, fame or reputadon both with God and men; the honour of their s,ex; the prayse of that Christian Religion, which they professe, the glory of their God, their Saviour, and their soules salvation, to abandon Playes and Play- houses, as most pernicious Pestes; where all females wrecke their credits; most, their chastity; some, their fortunes; not a few, their soules: and to say unto them as the Philosopher did unto his wealth which he cast into the Sea, “Abite in


OLIVER CROMWELL


44

profundum make cupiditates, ego vos mergam nc ipse mergar a vobis.”


A FILTHY SPECTACLE

and as the verdict of human nature condemns men de- generating into women; so from the very self-same grounds,' it deeply censures the aspiring of women above the limits of their female sex, and their metamorphosis into the shapes of men, either in haire, or apparreil. . . . Even nature herselfe abhors to see a woman shorne or polled; a woman with cut • hair is a filthy spectacle, and much like a monster, and all repute it a very great absurdity for a woman to waljce abrode with shorne haire; for this is all one as if she should take upon her the forme or person of a man, to whom short cut haire is proper, it being naturall and comly to women to nourish their haire, which even God and nature have given them for a covering, a token of subjection, and a naturall badge to distinguish them from men. Yet not with- standing our English gentlewomen (as if they all intended to turn men outright and weare the Breeches, or to become Popish Nonnes) are now growne so farre past shame, past modesty, grace and nature, as to clip their haire like men with lockes and foretops, and to make this whorish cut the very guise and fashion of the times, to the eternall infamy of their sex, their Nation, and the great scandall of religion.


OLIVER CROMWELL

(i599“ l6 58)

The worship of Oliver Cromwell , first instituted by Carlyle , has died out of late years; and there are signs nowadays , notably a pamphlet by Air. Hilaire Belloc, of a conscious movement against the nineteenth-century cult of Cromwell.

It would be a pity if this movement followed the line of argument marked out by Mr. Belloc so far as to forget that Cromwell’s contemporary ill-wishers did not see him merely as a muddle- headed crook, who was preserved from a nervous breakdown only by his over-developed sense of self-preservation.


OLIVER CROMWELL


45

“ Killing no Murder ", the passionate incitement to tyrannicide, an extract from which is given here , expresses in every line the consciousness of Cromwell's power. Its author. Colonel Edward Saxby, had served under Cromwell from 1643, but as an extreme Republican quarrelled with Cromwell when he became Protector ; and the rest of his life was spent in devising schemes for assassin- ating Cromwell. His repeated attempts to compass the Protector's death, culminating in the lack of response to “ Killing no Murder", had the unintended effect of shortening his own life, and he died insane in the Tower in 1658, a year after the publication of his pamphlet.

Abraham Cowley's attack on Cromwell was published after the Restoration. Anticipating Mr. Belloc, Cowley denies exceptional intelligence* to Cromwell, whom he characterises as “ a person of mean birth , no fortune, no eminent qualities of body, or of mind . . and he also anticipates Mr. Belloc in omitting to explain how this mediocre person first made himself absolute master of England and then raised her to a position of which Cromwell's enemy , Clarendon, wrote “It was hard to discover which feared him most, France, Spain , or the Low Countries." But in spite of himself, Cowley's sense of Cromwell's greatness is felt in the passion of his invective.

Between these two elaborate indictments, a brief specimen of Cromwell's own style of im'ective is given, in a letter he wrote, at the beginning of his career, shortly after the outbreak of wars to an inefficient committee-man.

The last two extracts are from Clarendon's History of the Rebellion". They form part of an address sent by the Anabaptists to Charles II, at Bruges, shortly before Cromwell's death, and are valuable as evidence of the rage felt against Cromwell by the extremists of his own party.

KILLING NO MURDER (1657)

■“BY COLONEL SAXBY

who made thee a Prince and a Judge over us? If God made thee, make it manifest to us: If the People, where did we meet to do it? Who took our Subscriptions? To whom deputed we our Authority? And when and where did these Deputies make the Choice? Sure these Interrogations are


OLIVER CROMWELL


46

very natural, and, I believe, would much trouble his Highness’s Council, and his Junto to answer. In a word, that I may not tire my Reader (who will not want Proofs for what I say, if he wants not Memory) : If to change the government, without the Peoples Consent: If to dissolve die Representatives by Force, and disannul their Acts: If to give the Name of the Peoples Representatives to Con- federates of his own, that he may establish Iniquity by a Law: If to take away Mens Lives out of all Course of Law, by certain Murtherers of his own Appointment, whom he names A High Court of Justice: If to decimate Men’s Estates, and by his own Power to impose upon the People what Taxes he pleases; and to maintain this by *Force of Arms: If, I say, all this does make a Tyrant, his own Impu- dence cannot deny but he is as complete a one, as ever hath been since there have been Societies of men. He that hath done, and does all this, is the Person for whose Preservation the People of England must pray; but certainly if they do, ’tis for the same Reason that the old Woman of Syracuse pray’d for the long Life of the Tyrant Dionysius, lest the Devil should come next. . . . T’is but unnecessary to say, that had not his Highness had a Faculty to be fluent in his Tears, and eloquent in his Execrations: Had he not had spongy Eyes, and a supple Conscience; and besides, to do with a People of great Faith but little Wit: his Courage and the rest of his Moral Virtues, with the help of his Janizaries, had never been able so far to advance him out of the reach of Justice, that we should have need for any other Hand to remove him, but that of the Hangman.

. . . See but to what Degree we (the nation) are come already: . . . What have we of Nobility among us but the Name, the Luxury and Vices of it? Poor wretches, those that now carry that Title are so far fronp having any of the Virtues, that should adorn it, that they have not so much as the generous Vices that attend Greatness; they have lost all Ambition and Imagination. As for our Ministers, what have they, or indeed desire they, of their Calling, but the Tithes, etc? How do these horrid Prevaricators search for Distinctions to piece contrary Oaths? How do they rake


OLIVER CROMWELL -


47

Scriptures for Flatteries, and impudently apply them to his monstrous Highness? What is the City but a great tame Beast, that eats and carries, and cares not who rides it? What’s the Thing call’d a Parliament, but a mock? compos’d of a People that are only suffer’d to sit there because they are known to have no Virtue, after the Exclusion of all others that were but suspected to have any? What are they but Pimps of Tyranny, who are only employed to draw in the People to prostitute their Liberty? What will not the Army fight for? What will they not fight against? What 'are they but Janizaries, Slaves themselves, and making all others so? What are the People in general but Knaves, Fools, and Cowards, principled for Ease, Vice, and Slavery? This is our Temper this Tyrant hath brought us to already; and if it continues, the little Virtue that is yet left to stock the Nation, must totally extinguish; and then his Highness hath compleated his Work of Reformation. And the truth is, till then his Highness cannot be secure. He must not endure Virtue for that will not endure him.

. . . But to conclude this already over-long Paper. Let every man to whom God hath given the Spirit of Wisdom and Courage be persuaded by his Honour, his Safety, his own Good and his Country’s, and indeed the Duty he owes to his Generation, and to Mankind, to endeavour by all rational means to free the world from this Pest. . . . His Bed, his Table, is not secure, and he stands in need of other Guards to defend him against his own. Death and Destruc- tion pursues him wherever he goes; they follow him every- where, like his Fellow-travellers, and at last they will come upon him like armed Men. Darkness is hid in his secret places; a Fire not blown shall consume him; it shall go ill with him that is left in his Tabernacle. He shall flee from the Iron Weapon, and a Bow of Steel shall strike him through. Because he hath oppressed and forsaken the Poor; because he hath violently taken away a House which he builded not; we may be confident, and so may he, ere long all this will be accomplish’d; for the Triumphing of the wicked is but short, and the Joy of the Hypocrite but for a moment. Though his Excellency mount up to the Heavens, and his Head


OLIVER CROMWELL


48

reacheth unto the Clouds, yet shall he perish for ever like his own Dung. They that have seen him shall say, where is He?

TO MR. WATERS, AT THE CROSS KEYS: THESE IN ALL SPEED SIR,

If no more be done than you and yours have done, it is well you give over such powers as you have to those who will. I say to you now my mind thereto: If I have not that aid which is my due, I say to you I will take it. And so heed , me; for I find your words are mere wind: I shall do as I say, if I find no aid come to me by Tuesday. — Sir, I rest, as you will,

Oliver Cromwell.

FROM A VISION, CONCERNING HIS LATE PRETENDED HIGHNESS, CROMWELL THE WICKED BY ABRAHAM COWLEY. PRINTED 1 66 1.

what can be more extraordinarily -wicked, than for a person to pretend freedom for all men, and, under the help of that pretence, to make all men his servants? To take arms against taxes of scarce two-hundred-thousand pounds a year, and to raise them himself to above two millions? To quarrel for the loss of three or four ears, and strike off three or four hundred heads? To fight against an imaginary suspicion of I know not what two-thousand guards to be fetched for the king, I know not from whence, and to keep up for himself no less than forty-thousand? To pretend the defence of parliaments, and violently to dissolve all, even of his own calling and almost choosing? To undertake the reformation of religion, to rob it even to the very skin, and then to expose it naked to the rage of all sects and heresies? To set up councils of rapine, and courts of murder? To fight against the king under a commission for him; to take him forcibly out of the hands of those for whom he had conquered him; to draw into his net, with protestations and vows of fidelity; and when he had caught him in it, to butcher him, with as little shame, as conscience, or humanity.


OLIVER CROMWELL


49

in the open face of the whole world? To receive a com- mission for king and parliament, to murder (as I said) the one; and destroy, no less impudently, the other? To fight against monarchy, when he declared for it; and declare against it, when he contrived for it in his own person? To abase perfidiously, and supplant ungratefully, his own general (Fairfax) first, and afterwards most of those officers, who with the loss of their honour, and hazard of their souls, had lifted him up to the top of his unreasonable ambitions? To break his faith with all enemies, and with all friends equally; and to make no less frequent use of the most solemn perjuries, than the looser of people do of customary oaths? To usurp three kingdoms without any shadow of the least pretensions, and to govern them as unjustly as he got them? To set himself up as an idol (which we know, as St. Paul says, “in itself is nothing,”) and make the very streets of London like the valley of Hinnom, by burning the bowels of men as a sacrifice to his Moloch-ship? To seek to entail this usurpation upon his posterity, and with it an endless war upon the nation; and lastly, by the severest judgment of Almighty God, to die hardened, and mad, and unrepentant with the curses of the present age, and the detestation of all to succeed. . . . These are great calamities; but even these are not the most insupportable that we have endured; for so it is, that the scorn and mockery, and insultings of an enemy, are more painful than the deepest wounds of his serious fury. This man was wanton and merry, unwittily and ungracefully merry, with our sufferings; he loved to say and do senseless and fantastical things, only to shew his power of doing or saying anything. It would ill befit mine, or any civil mouth, to repeat those words which he spoke concerning the most sacred of our English laws, the petition of right, and Magna Charta. To-day you should see him ranting so wildly, that nobody durst come near him; the morrow Hinging of cushions, and playing at snowballs, with his servants. This month he assembles a parliament, and professes himself with humble tears to be only their servant and their minister; the next month he swears by the living God, that he will turn them out of doors;


OLIVER CROMWELL


5 °

and he does so, in his princely way of threatening, bidding them turn the buckles of their girdles behind them. The representative of a whole, nay of three whole nations, was in his esteem so contemptible a meeting, that he thought the affronting and expelling of them to be a thing of so little consequence, as not to deserve that he should advise with any mortal man about it. What shall we call this? Boldness, or brutishness? rashness, or phrensy? There is no name can come up to it, and therefore we must leave it without one. Now a parliament must be chosen in the new manner, next time in the old forms, but all cashiered still after the newest mode. Now he will govern by major-generals, now by one house, now by another house, now by no house; now the freak takes him, and he makes seventy peers of the land at one clap; and, to manifest the absolute power of the potter, he chose not only the worst clay he could find, but picks up even the dirt and mire, to form out of it his “vessels of honour” . . . Good Godl what have we seen? and what have we suffered? What do all these actions signify? What do they say aloud to the whole nation, but this, even as plainly as if it were proclaimed through the streets of London, “You are slaves and fools, and so I will use you”?

FROM AN ANABAPTIST ADDRESS TO CHARLES II . . .We know not, we know not, whether we have juster matter of shame or sorrow administered to us, when wee take a reflex view of our past actions, and consider into the commission of what crimes, impieties, wickednesses, and unheard of villainies, we have been led, cheated, cozened, and betrayed, by that grand imposter, that loathsome hypocrite, that detestable traitor, that prodigy of nature, that opprobrium of mankind, that landscape of iniquity, that sink of sin, and that compendium of baseness, who now calls himself our Protector. What have we done, nay, what have we not done, which either hellish policy was able to contrive, or brutish power to execute? We have trampled underfoot all authorities; we have laid violent hands upon our own Sovereign; we have ravished our Parliaments; we have deflowered the virgin liberty of our nation; we have


OLIVER CROMWELL


5*

put a yoke, an heavy yoke of iron, upon the necks of our own countrymen; we have thrown down the wails and bulwarks of the people’s safety; we have broken often- repeated oaths, vows, engagements, covenants, protestations; we have betrayed our trusts; we have violated our faiths; we • have lifted up our hands to heaven deceitfully; and that these our sins might want no aggravation to make them exceeding sinful, we have added hypocrisy to them all; and have not only, like the audacious strumpet, wiped our mouths, and boasted that we have done no evil ; but in the midst of all our abominations (such as are too bad to be named amongst the worst of heathens) we have not wanted impudence enough to say, Let the Lord be glorified: let Jesus Christ be exalted: let his kingdom be advanced: let the Gospel be propagated: let the Saints be dignified: let righteousness be established.

FROM A LETTER ACCOMPANYING THE ANABAPTIST ADDRESS

Time, the great discoverer of all things, has at last un- mask’d the disguised designs of this mysterious Age, and made that obvious to the dull sense of Fools, which was before visible enough to the quick-sighted prudence of wise Men, viz, that Liberty, Religion, and Reformation, the wonted Engines of Politicians, are but deceitful baits, by which the easily deluded Multitude are tempted to a greedy pursuit of their own ruin. In the unhappy number of these Fools, I must confess my Self to have been one; who have nothing more now to boast of, but only that, as I was not the first was cheated, so I was not the last was undeceiv’d; having long since, by peeping a little (now and then, as I had opportunity) under the vizzard of the Imposter got such glimpses, ^though imperfect ones, of his ugly face, conceal’d under the painted pretences of Sanctity, as made me conclude, that the series of Affairs, and the revolution of a few years, would convince this blinded Generation of their Errors; and make them affrightedly to start from Him, as a prodigious piece of deformity, whom they adored and reverenced as the beautiful Image of a Deity.


52 JAMES GRAHAM, MARQUIS OF MONTROSE

Nor did this my expectation fail me: God who glories in no Attribute more than to be acknowledged the Searcher of the inward parts, could no longer endure the bold affronts of this audacious Hypocrite; but, to the astonishment and confusion of all his Idolatrous worshippers, has, by the unsearchable wisdom of his deep laid Counsels, lighted such a Candle in the dark Dungeon of his Soul, that there is none so blind who does not plainly read Treachery, Tyranny, Perfidiousness, Dissimulation, Atheism, Hypocrisy, and all manner of Villainy, written in large Characters on his heart, nor is there anyone remaining, who dares open his mouth in justification of him for fear of incurring the deserved Character of being a professed advocate for all wickedness, and a sworn enemy to all Virtue.

. . . Great was the rage, and just the indignation of the People, when they first found the Authority of their Parliament swallow’d up in the new Name of a Protector; greater was their fury, and upon better grounds, when they observed that, under the silent, modest, and flattering Title of this Protector, was secretly assumed a Power more absolute, more arbitrary, more unlimited, than ever was pretended to by any King. The Pulpits straightways sound with Declamations, the streets are filled with Pasqutls and Libels, everyone expresses a detestation of this Innova- tion by publick Invectives, and all the Nation, with one accord, seems at once to be inspired with one and the same resolution of endeavouring valiantly to redeem that Liberty, by armes and force, which was treacherously stolen from them by deceit and fraud.

JAMES GRAHAM, MARQUIS OF MONTROSE

(1612-1650)

The extract given below is from Clarendon’s “ History of the Rebellion”. Montrose , the most brilliant general of his age, after Cromwell, was captured when attempting to raise a force in Scotland to restore Charles II to the Throne. The brutality of his Presbyterian captors , and his spirited retorts , are vividly recorded in this passage.


SAMUEL BUTLER


5 ?


MONTROSE AND THE PRESBYTERIAN MINISTERS

That he might not enjoy any ease or quiet during the short remainder of his life, their Ministers came presently to insult him with all the reproaches imaginable; pronounced his damnation; and assured him, “That the judgement he was next day to suffer, was but an easy prologue to that which he was to undergo afterwards.” After many such barbarities, they offer’d to intercede for him to the Kirk upon his repentance, and to pray with him; but he too well ‘understood the form of their Common Prayer, in those Cases, to be only the most virulent, and insolent impre- cations upon the Persons of those they prayed against (“Lord, vouchsafe yet to touch the obdurate heart of this proud incorrigible Sinner, this wicked, perjured, traitorous, and profane person, who refuses to hearken to the voice of thy Kirk,” and the like charitable expressions), and therefore he desired them “to spare their pains, and to leave him to his own devotions . . . they were a miserable, deluded, and deluding people; and would shortly bring that poor nation under the most insupportable servitude ever people had submitted to.”


SAMUEL BUTLER

(1612-1680)

Everyone knows Samuel Sutler as the satirist of Puritanism, in “Hudibras” , which was the fruit of his experience as clerk to Sir Samuel Luke, one of Cromwell’s officers. His disillusionment after the Restoration is less well-known. An extract from his condemnation of the age of Charles II is, therefore, given here , to balance “ Hudibras ”, together with a fine passage from his general lament on life, which gives his conclusion of the whole matter.

DURING THE COMMONWEALTH

for his religion, it was fit To match his learning and his wit:

’Twas Presbyterian true blue;


SAMUEL BUTLER

For he was of that stubborn crew Of errant saints, whom all men grant To be the true Church Militant;

Such as do build their faith upon The holy text of pike and gun;

Decide all controversies by Infallible artillery;

And prove their doctrine orthodox,

By Apostolic blows and knocks;

Call fire and sword, and desolation,

A godly, thorough Reformation,

Which always must be carry’d on.

And still be doing, never done;

As if Religion were intended For nothing else but to be mended:

A sect whose chief devotion lies In odd perverse antipathies;

In falling out with that or this,

And finding somewhat still amiss;

More peevish, cross, and splenetic.

Than dog distract, or monkey sick:

That with more care keep holy day The wrong, than others the right way; Compound for sins they are inclin’d to.

By damning those they have no mind to:

Still so perverse and opposite,

As if they worshipp’d God for spite.

(Hudibras.)

AFTER THE RESTORATION

t’is a strange age we’ve liv’d in, and a lewd,

As e’er the sun in all his travels.view’d;

An age as vile as ever Justice urg’d,

Like a fantastic lecher, to be scourg’d;

Nor has it ’scap’d, and yet has only learn’d,

The more t’is plagued, to be the less concern’d. Twice have we seen two dreadful judgments rage. Enough to fright the stubborn’st-hearted age;


55


JOHN EVELYN

The one to mow vast crowds of people down. The other (as then need less) half the Town; And two as mighty miracles restore What both had ruin’d and destroy’d before;

In all as unconcerned as .if they’d been But pastimes for diversion to be seen.

Or, like the plagues of Egypt, meant a curse. Not to reclaim us, but to make us worse.

(Satire upon the 'Licentious Age of Charles II.)

FROM “the WEAKNESS AND MISERY OF MAN”

our pains are real things, and all Our pleasures but fantastical;

Diseases of their own accord.

But cures come difficult and hard.

Our noblest piles, and stateliest rooms.

Are but out-houses to our tombs;

Cities, though e’er so great and brave.

But mere warehouses to the grave.

Our bravery’s but a vain disguise.

To hide us from the world’s dull eyes.

The remedy of a defect,

Yet makes us swell with pride and boast As if w’ had gain’d by being lost.


JOHN EVELYN

(1620-1706)

Evelyn's Diary , which covers seventy years and of which Scott scud he “ had never known jo rich a mine ”, came from the pen of a staunch though prudent Loyalist , who had joined the king’s army in 1642. After three days’ service he returned to civilian life, lest he “ should be expos’d to mine , without any advantage to bis majestie *’. His sympathies , however , continued to be with the royal family, a fact which, as in the parallel case of Samuel Butler, lends an added weight to his disgust with Charles II.


56


JEREMY TAYLOR


THE LAST SUNDAY OF CHARLES II

From the Diary of John Evelyn

i can never forget the inexpressible luxury and prophane- ness, gaming, and all dissoluteness, and as it were total forgetfulnesse of God (it being Sunday evening) which this day se’ennight I was witnesse of, the king sitting and toying with his concubines, Portsmouth, Cleaveland, and Mazarine, etc.; a French boy singing love-songs in that glorious gallery, whilst about 20 of the greate courtiers and other dissolute persons were at basset round a large table, a bank of at least £2,000 in gold before them, upon which two gentlemen who were with me made reflexions with astonishment. Six days after, all was in the dust!


JEREMY TAYLOR

(1613-1667)

The passage quoted below is one of those general indictments of the world which have a composing effect after invective against particular persons or institutions.

ON LIFE

he that is no fool, but can consider wisely, if he be in love with this world, we need not despair but that a witty man might reconcile him with tortures, and make him think charitably of the rack, and be brought to dwell with vipers and dragons, and entertain his guests with the shrieks of mandrakes, cats, and screech-owls, with the filing of iron, and the harshness of rending of silk, or to admire the harmony that is made by a herd of evening wolves, when they miss their draught of blood in their midnight revels. The groans of a man in a fit of the stone are worse than all these; and the distractions of a troubled conscience are • worse than those groans; and yet a merry careless sinner is worse than all that. But if we could from one of the battlements of heaven espy how many men and women at this time lie fainting and dying for want of bread, how


JOHN OLDHAM 57

many young men are hewn down by the sword of war, how many poor orphans are now weeping over the graves of their father, by whose life they were enabled to eat; if we could but hear how many marines and passengers are at this present in a storm, and shriek out because their keel dashes against a rock or bulges under them; how many people there are who weep with want and are mad with oppression, or are desperate by a too quick sense of a constant infelicity; in all reason we should be glad to be out of the noise and the participation of so many evils.

(Of Holy Dying.)


JOHN OLDHAM

(1653-1683)

Oldham's Satires on the Jesuits were written at the time of the Popish Plot. The full excellence of Dryden is felt after reading the wholesale and therefore unconvincing invective of Oldham. It is, however, brilliantly done, and explains the admiration both of Dryden and Pope, though the latter's praise is qualified: “ he has strong rage, but it is too much like Billingsgate."

ON THE JESUITS

now see we why your founder, weary grown.

Would lay his former trade of soldier down:

He found t’was dull; he found a crown would be A fitter case, and badge of cruelty.

Each snivelling hero seas of blood can spill.

When wrongs provoke, and honour bids him kill; — Give me your through-paced rogue, who scorns to be Prompted by poor revenge, or injury.

But does it of true inbred cruelty;

Your cool and sober murderer, who prays And stabs at the same time, who one hand has Stretched up to Heaven, the other to make the pass.

So the late saints of blessed memory.

Cut-throats in godly pure sincerity,


5 « 


JOHN DRTDEN

So they with lifted hands, and eyes devout,

Said grace, and carved a slaughtered monarch out. When the first traitor Cain (too good to be Thought patron of this black fraternity)

His bloody tragedy of old designed.

One death alone quenched his revengeful mind, Content with but a quarter of mankind:

Had he been Jesuit, and but put on Their savage cruelty, the rest had gone;

His hand had sent old Adam after too,

And forced the Godhead to create anew.

JOHN DRYDEN

(163 x-1700)

Dryden's “ Absalom and Acbitopbel" , from which all but the last three passages given below are taken, was published in 1681.

The occasion of this poem, the greatest verse satire in English literature, was the attempt of Shaftesbury (. Acbitopbel) to secure the exclusion of the king's brother, James, from the throne, and the appointment of Monmouth ( Absalom ) as Charles ITs successor.

Titus Oates' Popish Plot, in 1678, invented to discredit the Catholics in general and James in particular , was used by Shaftesbury to strengthen bis schemes on behalf of Monmouth. Charles's policy with the Protestant extremists was, in his own phrase, “ to give them line enough." In the popular reaction, which in 168 r followed the exposure of Titus Oates, Shaftesbury's Exclu- sion Bill was dropped, and Shaftesbury himself was committed to the Tower. An indictment against him for high treason was, however, quashed by a grand jury, and at the end of the following year he retired to Holland, where he died in 1683.

Buckingham, Dryden's Zimri, took an active part in prosecut- ing those who were supposed to be implicated in the Popish Plot , but he disliked both Shaftesbury and Monmouth, and dissociated himself from the Exclusion Bill. He was restored to the king's favour in 1684.

It is extremely difficult, with the confused and inadequate knowledge we possess of Dryden’s life and circumstances , to


JOHN DRTDEN 59

decide on the purpose and emotion behind bis various satirical portraits. Though he pictured Charles II as a King David menaced by ungrateful traitors he can hardly have felt that there was anything in common between the two monarch s except the multiplicity of their wives. The fact that a spirited defence of . Charles II might draw the royal attention to the fact that the poet's pension had not been paid for over a year may well have weighed with Dryden more than any remoter impulse. Nor does the fact that, during the Popish Plot frenzy, Dryden produced a play, “The Spanish Friar ", in which he attacked the Catholic priesthood, suggest that be was deeply troubled by Shaftesbury's Protestant agitation. If, however, he had written “ Absalom and Acbitophel" for purelj venal reasons, his invective would have been entirely unmeasured and malignant. The vigour and freedom, and on occasion, especially in the portrait of Shaftesbury, the magnanimity with which he portrays bis victims, suggest that though political and religious conviction was lacking, their absence was supplied ly the enthusiasm of a writer inspired by a congenial subject. He bad, too, as far as our information goes, some personal grudges to work off. Buckingham ( Zimri ) had, in “ The Rehearsal", written a skit on the heroic drama, with Dryden as his chief butt. Thomas Shadwell ( Og ) attacked Dryden, between the first and second parts of “Absalom and Acbitophel" , as a “half-wit", a “ half-fool ", and “an abandoned rascal". Elkanah Settle ( Doeg ) was taken up by Rochester, and run against Dryden, one of his pieces, “The Empress of Morocco", being played at Whitehall ly the court lords and ladies.

Finally, Flecknoe, to whom, together with Shadwell, Dryden devoted the satire of Mac Flecknoe , had, more than thirty years before Jeremy Collier, attacked the indecency of the contemporary stage , a point on which Dryden had reason to be sensitive.

In his attacks on his dramatic and poetic colleagues, though he is never malicious in the manner of Pope, Dryden sweeps forward with the undiscriminating fury of an avalanche. EJkanah Settle , who in his old age had the misfortune to be finally dispatched by Pope, perhaps deserved his fate; but neither Shadwell nor Flecknoe was the imbecile of Dryden' s magnificent painting. In a lyric on love, Flecknoe has a couplet not unworthy of Donne, though it would be still better if it rhymed.


6o


JOHN DRYDEN

“It is the pulse by which we know Whether our souls have life or no,”

The portrait of Bishop Burnet is from Dry den' s “ The Hind and the Panther ”, a piece of Catholic propaganda , written after Dryden's conversion , which took place when James 11, a Catholic , ascended the throne .

ACHITOPHEL (SHAFTESBURY)

of these the false Achitophel was first,

A name to all succeeding Ages curst,

For close Designs and crooked Counsels fit.

Sagacious, Bold, and Turbulent of wit.

Restless, unfixt in Principles and Place,

In Pow’r unpleased, impatient of Disgrace;

A fiery Soul, which working out its way.

Fretted the Pigmy Body to decay:

And o’r informed the Tenement of Clay.

A daring Pilot in extremity;

Pleas’d with the Danger, when the Waves went high He sought the Storms; but, for a Calm unfit.

Would Steer too nigh the Sands to boast his Wit.

Great Wits are sure to Madness near alli’d.

And thin Partitions do their Bounds divide;

Else, why should he, with Wealth and Honour blest. Refuse his age the needful hours of Rest?

Punish a Body which he could not please.

Bankrupt of Life, yet Prodigal of Ease?

And all to leave what with his Toil he won To that unfeathered two-legg’d thing, a Son:

Got, while his Soul did huddled Notions trie;

And born a shapeless Lump, like Anarchy.

In Friendship false, implacable in Hate,

Resolv’d to Ruine or to Rule the Stafe;

To Compass this the Triple Bond he broke;

The Pillars of the Publick Safety shook.

And fitted Israel for a Foreign Yoke;

Then, seiz’d with Fear, yet still affecting Fame,

Usurp’d a Patriot’s All-atoning Name.


JOHN DRYDEN 6l

ZIMRI (BUCKINGHAM)

A man so various, that he seem’d to be Not one, but all mankind’s Epitome.

Stiff in Opinions, always in the wrong;

Was Everything by starts, and Nothing long:

But, in the course of one revolving Moon,

Was Chymist, Fidler, Statesman, and Buffoon;

Then all for Women, Painting, Rhiming, Drinking, Besides ten thousand Freaks that died in thinking. Blest madman, who coud every hour employ.

With something New to wish, or to enjoy!

Railing and praising were his usual Theams;

And both (to show his Judgment) in Extreams:

So over Violent, or over Civil,

That every Man, with him, was God or Devil.

In squandering Wealth was his peculiar Art: Nothing went unrewarded but Desert.

CORAH (TITUS OATES)

Yet, Corah, thou shalt from Oblivion pass;

Erect thyself thou Monumental Brass.

NADAB 1 (WILLIAM, LOUD HOWARD OF ESCRICK)

and Canting Nadab let Oblivion damn,

Who made new Porridge for the Paschal Lamb.

BEN JOCHANAN 3 (SAMUEL JOHNSON)

let Hebron, nay let Hell produce a Man So made for mischief as Ben Jochanan,

A Jew of humble Parentage was He,

By Trade a Lcvite, though of Low Degree:

1 Lord Howard, wherf a prisoner in the Tower, declared his innocence while taking the Sacrament. He is accused of taking the Sacrament on this occasion not in wine but in a mixture calicd “lamb’s wool*’; an ale poured on roasted apples and sauce.

1 Samuel Johnson was Chaplain to Lord Russell, and author of a work entitled Julian the Apostate^ the aim of which was to show the danger of a sovereign whose faith was not that of his subjects. He is said to have been a man of high character.


6 2


JOHN DRYDEN

His Pride no higher than the Desk aspir’d.

But for the Drudgery of Priests was hir’d To Reade and Pray in Linen Ephod brave.

And pick up single sheckles from the Grave.

Married at last, and finding Charge come faster.

He cou’d not live by God, but chang’d his Master: Inspir’d by Want, was made a Factious Tool,

They got a Villain, and we lost a Fool.

DOEG AND OG DOEG (ELKANAH SETTLE)

To make quick way I’ll Leap o’er heavy blocks.

Shun rotten Uzza as I woud the Pox;

And hasten Og and Doeg to rehearse.

Two Fools that Crutch their Feeble sense on Verse, Who by my Muse, to all succeeding times Shall live in spight of their own Dogrell Rhimes. Doeg, though without knowing how or why.

Made still a blundering kind of melody;

Spurd boldly on, and Dash’d through Thick and Thin, Through Sense and Non-sense, never out nor in;

Free from all meaning, whether good or bad.

And in one word, Heroically mad,

He was too warm on Picking-work to dwell.

But Faggotted his Notions as they fell,

And, if they Rhim’d and Rattl’d, all was well. Spightfull he is not, though he wrote a Satyr,

For still there goes some thinking to ill-nature:

He needs no more than Birds and Beasts to think.

All his occasions are to eat and drink.

If he call Rogue and Rascal from a Garrat,

He means you no more mischief than a Parot.

The words for Friend and Foe alike Vere made.

To Fetter ’em in Verse is all his Trade.

For Almonds he’ll cry Whore to his own mother:

And call young Absalom King David’s Brother.

Let him be Gallows-Free by my consent.

And nothing suffer, since he nothing meant. . . .


JOHN DRYDEN


63


OG (THOMAS SHADWELL)

Now stop your noses. Readers, all and some.

For here’s a tun of midnight work to come,

Og from a Treason Tavern rowling home.

Round as a Globe, and Liquored every chink. Goodly and Great he Sayls behind his Link;

With all this Bulk there’s nothing lost in Og,

For every inch that is not Fool is Rogue:

A Monstrous mass of foul corrupted matter.

As all the Devils had spew’d to make the batter. When wine has given him courage to Blaspheme,

He curses God, but God before Curst him . . .

With wealth he was not trusted, for Heav’n knew What t’was of Old to pamper up a Jew;

To what would he on Quail and Pheasant swell. That ev’n on Tripe and Carrion cou’d rebell?

But though Heaven made him poor, (with reverence speaking,)

He never was a Poet of God’s making;

The Midwife laid her hand on his Thick Skull,

With this Prophetick blessing — Be tbou Dull.

. . I will not rake the Dunghill of thy Crimes,

For who would read thy Life that reads thy rhimes? But of King David’s Foes be this the Doom,

May all be like the Young-man Absalom;

And for my Foes may this their Blessing be.

To talk like Doeg and to write like Thee.

MAC FLECKNOE (SHADWELL)

all humane things are subject to decay.

And, when Fate summons, Monarchs must obey: This Fleckno fourld, who, like Augustus, young Was call’d to Empire and had govern’d long:

In Prose and Verse was own’d, without dispute Through all the realms of Non-sense, absolute.

This aged Prince now flourishing in Peace,

And blest with issue of a large increase.


64 JOHN DRYDEN

Worn out with business, did at length debate To settle the Succession of the State;

And pond ’ring which of all his Sons was fit To Reign, and wage immortal War with Wit,

Cry’d, ’tis resolved; for Nature pleads that He Should onely rule, who most resembles me:

Sh — alone my perfect image bears.

Mature in dullness from his tender years;

Sh — alone of all my Sons is he Who stands confirm’d in full stupidity.

The rest to some faint meaning make pretence.

But Sh — never deviates into sense.

Some Beams of Wit on other souls may fall.

Strike through and make a lucid intervall;

But Sh — ’s genuine night admits no ray.

His rising Fogs prevail upon the Day:

Besides his goodly Fabrick fills the eye And seems design’d for thoughtless Majesty: Thoughtless as Monarch Oakes that shade the plain. And, spread in solemn state, supinely reign. Heywood and Shirley were but Types of thee.

Thou last great Prophet of Tautology:

Even I, a dunce of more renown than they.

Was sent before but to prepare thy way:

And coarsely clad in Norwich Drugget came To teach the Nations in thy greater name.

(Mac Flecknoe.)


BISHOP BURNET

A portly prince, and goodly to the sight.

He seem’d a son of Anak for his height:

Like those whom stature did to crowns prefer; Black-brow’d and bluff, like Homer’s Jupiter; Broad-back’d, and brawny-built for love’s delight, A prophet form’d to make a female proselyte.

Loud praises to prepare his path he sent.

And then himself pursued his compliment.


ANONYMOUS


6j


Prompt to assail, and careless of defense. Invulnerable in his impudence,

He dares the world; and eager of a name.

He thrusts about, and justles into fame.

Frontless and satire-proof he scours the streets. And runs an Indian muck at all he meets.

So fond of loud report, that not to miss Of being known (his last and utmost bliss)

He rather would be known for what he is.

(The Hind and the 'Panther.')


LIFE

when I consider life, t’is all a cheat;

Yet, fooled with hope, men favour the deceit;

Trust on, and think to-morrow will repay: To-morrow’s falser than the former day;

Lies worse; and while it says, wc shall be blessed With some new joys, cuts off what we possessed. Strange cozenage! None would live past years again. Yet all hope pleasures in what yet remain;

And from the dregs of life think to receive What the first sprightly running could not give.


ANONYMOUS

The author of this attack on marriage preferred to remain anony- mous. There is neither a printer's name , nor a date on the pamphlet, which is attributed, in the British Museum Catalogue, to 1690 approximately. It is characteristically Restoration in tone, and may be compared, in the angle from which it regards marriage, with Rochester's

“ The clog of all pleasure, the luggage of life.

Is the best can be said for a very good wife.”


s


66


JEREMY COLLIER


AGAINST MARRIAGE

Directed to that Inconsiderable Animal called Husband

Husband! thou Dull unpittied miscreant.

Wedded to Noise, to Misery, and Want;

Sold an Eternal Vassall for thy Life,

Oblig’d to Cherish and to Heat a Wife:

Repeat thy loath’d Embraces every Night Prompted to Act, by Duty not Delight,

Christen thy froward Bantling every Year,

And carefully thy Spurious Issue rear.

Go once a Week to see the Brat at Nurse,

And let the Young Impostor drain thy Purse: Marry’d! O Hell and Furies! Name it not,

Hence, hence you Holy Cheats; a Plot, a Plot!

By Day ’tis nothing but an endless Noise;

By Night the Eccho of Forgotten Joys:

Ye Gods! that Man by his own Slavish Law, Should on himself such Inconvenience draw.

Pox on him! let him go: what can I say? Anathemas on him are Thrown away;

The wretch is marry’d, and has known the worst. And now his Blessing is, he can’t be Curst.


JEREMY COLLIER

(1650-1726)

Jeremy Collier produced his “ Short View of the Immorality and Profaneness of the English Stage in 1698”, by which date the revolt against the restraints of the Puritan period had spent its force. In spite of much pedantry and no sense of dramatic art. Collier’s attack on the stage compares very favourably with the Puritan Prynne’s. As a Tory and high churchman, he both was, and was tacitly allowed by his victims to be, more competent than any Puritan to discuss indecency and profanity without absurd exag- geration; and, as the extract given shows, he had a good command of a blunt though effective irony. Dryden, in the preface to his Fables, acknowledged the justice of Collier’s attack in a passage


JEREMY COLLIER 67

which illustrates Dryden's magnanimity, and is therefore interesting to the student of Dryden's satires: “J shall say the less of Mr. Collier, because in many things he has tax'd me justly; and I have pleaded guilty to all Thoughts and Expressions of mine, which can be truly argu'd of Obscenity, Profaneness, or Immorality, and retract them . If he be my Enemy, let him triumph; if he be my Friend, as I have given him no Personal Occasion to be otherwise, he will be glad of my Repentance."

FROM "A DEFENCE OF THE SHORT VIEW OF THE

PROFANENESS AND IMMORALITY OF THE ENGLISH

, STAGE, ETC./’

BEING A REPLY TO MR. CONGREVE’S AMENDMENTS,

ETC.

BY JEREMY COLLIER

. . . mr. Congreve proceeds to acquaint us, how careful the Stage is for the Instruction of the Audience. That the moral of the whole is generally summ’d up in the concluding Lines of the Poem, and put into Rhime, that it may be easy and engaging to the Memory. To this I answer,

First, That this Expedient is not always made use of. And not to trouble the Reader with many Instances, we have nothing of it in “Love in a Nunnery”, and the “Relapse”, both of which Plays are in my Opinion not a little dangerous.

Secondly, Sometimes these comprehensive Lines do more harm than good: They do so in “The Soldiers Fortune”: They do so likewise in the “Old Batchellor”; which instructs us to admirable purposes in these words:

But oh

What rugged Ways attend the Noon of Eife ?

(1 Our Sun declines) and with what anxious Strife,

What Pain we tug that galling Eoad a Wife?

This moral is uncurtly and vitious, it encourages Lewd- ness, and agrees extremely well with the Fable. “Love for Love” may have somewhat a better Farewel, but would do a Man little Service, should he remember it to his dying


68 JEREMY COLLIER

Day. Here Angelica, after a fit of profane Vanity in Prose, takes her leave as follows:

The Miracle to Day is that we find

A "Lover true : Not that a Woman's kind.

This last Word is somewhat ambiguous, and with a little Help may strike off into a light Sense. But take it at the- best, ’tis not overloaden with Weight and Apophthegme.

Thirdly, Supposing the Moral grave and unexceptionable, it amounts to little in the present Case. Alasl The Doctor comes too late for the Disease, and the Antidote is much , too weak for the Poison. When a Poet has flourished on an ill Subject for some Hours: When he has larded his Scenes with Smut, and play’d his Jests on Religion; and exhausted himself upon Vice, what can a dry Line or two of good Counsel signify? The Tincture is taken, the Fancy is preingaged, and the Man is gone off into another Interest. Profane Wit, luscious Expressions, and the handsome Appearance of a Libertine, solicit strongly for Debauchery. These Things are mighty Recruits to Folly, and make the Will too hard for the Understanding. A Taste of Philosophy has a very flat Relish, after so full an Entertainment. An agreeable Impression is not so easily defaced by a single Stroak, especially when ’tis worn deep by Force and Repetition. And as the Audience are not secur’d, so neither are the Poets this way. A Moral Sentence at the Close of a lewd Play, is much like a pious Expression in the Mouth of a dying Man, who has been wicked all his Life Time. This some ignorant People call making a good End, as if one wise Word would atone for an Age of Folly. To return to the Stage. I suppose other Parts of a Discourse besides the Conclusion, ought to be free from Infection. If a man was sound only at his Finger Ends, he would have little Comfort in his Constitution ... In short, this Expedient of Mr. Congreve’s, as ’tis insignificant to the Purpose ’tis brought to, so it looks very like a Piece of formal Hypocrisy, and seems to be made use of to conceal the Immorality of the Play, and cover the Poet from Censure.


THOMAS OTWAY

(1652-1685)

The love-letters of Thomas Otway , a tragedian born into an age of comedy, are, in spite of their formal language, among the most .moving in English literature. The object of his long passion , Mrs. Barry, the actress , treated him with an indifference perhaps provoked by his too unreserved surrender to his love for her. Only in the letter given below did he ever venture to reproach her. Other- _ wise he wrote to her in the despair, unmixed with complaint, of the following passage: “Generally with wine or conversation I diverted or appeased the demon that possessed me; but when at night, returning to my unhappy self, to give my heart an account why I had done it so unnatural a violence, it was then I always paid a treble interest for the short moments of ease which I had borrowed; then every treacherous thought rose up and took your part, nor left me till they had thrown me on my bed and opened those sluices of tears that were to run till morning.

remember poor Otway.”

THOMAS OTWAY TO MRS. BARRY, THE ACTRESS

(letter v)

you cannot but be sensible that I am blind, or you would not so openly discover what a ridiculous tool you make of me. I should be glad to discover whose satisfaction I was sacrificed to this morning; for I am sure your own ill-nature could not be guilty of inventing such an injury to me, merely to try how much I could bear, were it not for the sake of some ass that has the fortune to please you. In short, I have made it the business of my life to do you service and please you, if possible by any way to convince you of the unhappy # love I have for seven years toiled under; and your whole business is to pick ill-natured conjectures out of my harmless freedom of conversation, to vex and gall me with, as often as you are pleased to divert yourself at the expense of my quiet. O thou tormentorl Could I think it were jealousy, how should I humble myself to be justified! But I cannot bear the thought of being made a


ALEXANDER POPE


7 °

property either of another man’s good fortune or the vanity of a woman that designs nothing but to plague me.

There may be means found, some time or other, to let you know your mistaking.


ALEXANDER POPE

(1688-1744)

Of the extracts here given from Pope, the first, the attack on Addison, is the most studied and delicate piece of invective in the language. The occasion, if not the cause , of Pope's estrangement from Addison was a translation hy Tickell of the first book of the Iliad. Pope was bringing out his own translation, and was much incensed on being told by Gay that Steele had said that Addison had called Tickell' s work the best translation ever made in any language. This was not exactly first-hand information , but Pope, as far as we can now judge, desired some pretext for feeling ill-used by Addison. His defence of Addison's “Cato" against Dennis's little-known but witty and well-aimed attack had been disavowed by Addison, who expressed his disapproval of Pope’s controversial manners. Pope said nothing at this time; but it was probably Addison's action on this occasion rather than his real or imagined preference of Tickell' s Homer to Pope's that generated the driving force behind the immortal malice of “ Atticus" .

Pope's portrait of Wharton, son of the Wharton whom Swift called “ the most universal villain I ever knew,” is fairly exact. Ineffective as wit and politician , and vacillating between blasphemy and superstition, Wharton was consistent only as a libertine, in which character he is said to have been Richardson' s model for Hove lace in “Clarissa” .

The cause of the quarrel between Lord Hervey and Pope is not known, though it is conjectured that Pope, was jealous of -Lady Mary Worthy Montagu’s preference for Hervey. Pope, who was under five feet and very shrunk and widened, certainly exhibits the traditional malignity of dwarfs in this attack on Hervey, who retorted in a poem entitled “ The Difference between Verbal and Practical Virtue, exemplified in some Instances both ancient and modem.” Pope had written


ALEXANDER POPE



“ Yes, I am proud, and must be proud to see Those not afraid of God afraid of me,”

and Iiervej scored a point in his comment —

. . the great honour of that boast is such ,

That hornets and mad dogs may boast as much .”

Pope's references to Hervey's appearance and diet are confirmed by ford Hailes: “ Lord Hervey having felt some attacks of epilepsy, entered upon and practised a very strict regimen, and thus stopped the progress and prevented the effects of that dreadful disease. His daily food was a small quantity of asses' milk and a flour biscuit-, once a week he indulged himself with eating an apple: he used emetics daily. . . Lord Hervey used to paint to soften his ghastly appearance.”

“ The Dunciad”, modelled on Dry den's “Mac Flecknoe”, altogether lacks the largeness and geniality of that satire. Over- crowded with the names of forgotten hack-writers , whose chief crime was that they were not living in the ease and comfort enjoyed by Pope, it is no longer readable as a whole. Its best couplet, quoted below, gives the aged Settle his quietus; and the picture of Grub Street at night is amusing if taken as lightly as Pope took the misfortunes of starving hacks. “ Orator ” Henley, referred to in this passage, for many years lived profitably as a popular preacher. The titles of some of his sermons have the attraction of the enigmatic; as, for example, “Ught in a Candlestick, or the Impartial Clergyman ” and “A Hectare on high fits of geal, or Mrs. Cadiere's raptures”.


ADDISON

peace to all suchl but were there one whose fires True genius kindles, and fair fame inspires; Blessed with £ach talent, and each art to please. And born to write, converse, and live with case: Should such a man too fond to rule alone,

Bear, like the Turk, no brother near the throne, View him with scornful, yet with jealous eyes, And hate for arts that caused himself to rise; Damn with faint praise, assent with civil leer.


ALEXANDER POPE


And, without sneering, teach the rest to sneer;

Willing to wound, and yet afraid to strike.

Just hint a fault, and hesitate dislike;

Alike reserved to blame or to commend,

A timorous foe, and a suspicious friend;

Dreading e’en fools, by flatterers besieged,

And so obliging, that he ne’er obliged;

Like Cato give his little senate laws,

And sit attentive to his own applause;

While wits and Templars every sentence raise,

And wonder with a foolish face of praise —

Who but must laugh, if such a man there be?

Who would not weep, if Atticus were he?

( Epistle to Dr. Arbuthnot.)

WHARTON

wharton, the scorn and wonder of our days.

Whose ruling passion was the lust of praise:

Born wdth whate’er could win it from the wise. Women and fools must like him, or he dies:

Though wondering senates hung on all he spoke,

The club must hail him master of t?he joke.

Shall parts so various aim at nothing new?

He’ll shine a Tully and a Wilmot 1 too.

Then turns repentant, and his God adores With the same spirit that he drinks and whores; Enough if all around him but admire,

And now the punk applaud, and now the friar.

Thus with each gift of nature and of art,

And wanting nothing but an honest heart;

Grown all to all, from no one vice exempt,

And most contemptible, to shun cqntempt;

His passion still, to covet general praise,

His life, to forfeit it a thousand ways.

A constant bounty which no friend has made;

An angel tongue which no man can persuade;

1 “ John Wilmot, Earl of Rochester, famous for his wit and extravagances in the time of Charles II. ” — Pope.


ALEXANDER POPE


7 ?


A fool with more of wit than half mankind.

Too rash for thought, for action too refined;

A tyrant to the wife his heart approves;

A rebel to the very king he loves;

He dies, sad outcast of each church and state.

And, harder still! flagitious, yet not great.

Ask you why Wharton broke through every rule? ’Twas all for fear the knaves should call him fool.

(The Epistle to Sir Richard Temple.)

LORD HERVEY

let Sporus tremble — A.: What? that thing of silk, Sporus, that mere white curd of ass’s milk ? 1 Satire or sense, alas! can Sporus feel,

Who breaks a butterfly upon a wheel?

P.: Yet let me flap this bug with gilded wings,

This painted 2 child of dirt, that stinks and stings; Whose buzz the witty and the fair annoys.

Yet wit ne’er tastes, and beauty ne’er enjoys:

So well-bred spaniels civilly delight In mumbling of the game they dare not bite.

Eternal smiles his emptiness betray,

As shallow streams run dimpling all the way. Whether in florid impotence he speaks.

And, as the prompter breathes, the puppet squeaks; Or at the ear of Eve, familiar toad.

Half froth, half venom, spits himself abroad.

In puns, or politics, or tales, or lies Or spite, or smuts, or rhymes, or blasphemies.

His wit all see-sa\e, between that and this Now high, now low, now master up, now miss.

And he himself one vile antithesis.

Amphibious thing! that acting either part.

The trifling head, or the corrupted heart;

Fop at the toilet, flatterer at the board,

Now trips a lady, and now struts a lord.

  • To keep off epilepsy. Lord Hervcy lived on ass’s milk and biscuits.

a Alluding to his use of rouge to improve his complexion.


74


JONATHAN SWIFT

Eve’s tempter thus the Rabbins have expressed,

A cherub’s face, a reptile all the rest.

Beauty that shocks you, parts that none will trust. Wit that can creep, and pride that licks the dust.

(Epistle to Arbutbnot.)


GRUB STREET AT NIGHT

thus the soft gifts of sleep conclude the day,

And stretched on bulks, as usual, Poets lay.

Why should I sing, what bards the nightly muse Did slumbering visit and convey to stews;

Who prouder marched, with magistrates in state To some famed round-house, ever open gate!

How Henley lay inspired beside a sink,

And to mere mortals seemed a Priest in drink:

While others, timely, to the neighbouring Fleet 1 (Haunt of the Muses) made their safe retreat.

( Dunciad ', Book II.)

THE LORD mayor’s PROCESSION

Now Night descending, the proud scene was o’er.

But lived, in Settle’s 2 numbers, one day more.

(Dunciad, Book I.)

1 The Fleet : a prison for insolvent debtors on the bank of the Ditch. 1 Elkanah Settle, city poet, 1648-1724. Satirised by Dryden as Docg in the second part of Absalom and Achitophel.


JONATHAN SWIFT

(1667-1745) *

After the malignancy of Pope, the more generalised invective of Swift , profoundly individual though it is, comes as a relief. Swift often attacks persons, as in his sketch of Wharton , or his verse satire, “ The Legion Club ”, but his peculiar genius required, for its fullest expression, a larger target than any single individual.


JONATHAN SWIFT 7J

The extracts given here are , therefore , all taken from “Gulliver’s Travels”, in the belief that “Gulliver”, in spite of much opinion to the contrary, is Swift’s most complete and most profound picture of life as he had experienced it.

Thackeray' s answer to the Yahoos was a hoot, a retort which might have seemed to Swift to support his argument. Gulliver’s swoon, when his wife embraces him on his return from the Hotyhnhnms, is an image of Swift’s growing horror of life, and a foreshadow- ing of his final madness. It is included here as marking the extreme limit of disgust reached in English or perhaps in any literature.

THE KING OF BROBDINGNAG ON THE ENGLISH

MY little friend Grildrig, you have made a most admirable panegyric upon your country; you have clearly proved that ignorance, idleness, and vice, are the proper ingredients for qualifying a legislator; that laws arc best explained, interpreted, and applied, by those whose interest and abilities lie in perverting, confounding, and eluding them. . . It does not appear, from all you have said, how any one perfection is required towards the procurement of any one station among you; much less that men are ennobled on account of their virtue, that priests are advanced for their piety or learning, soldiers for their conduct or valour, judges for their integrity, senators for the love of their country, or counsellors for their wisdom ... By what I have gathered from your own relation, and the answers I have with much pains wringed and extorted from you, I cannot but conclude the bulk of your natives to be the most pernicious race of little odious vermin that nature ever suffered to crawl upon the surface of the earth.

GULLIVHR ON THE ENGLISH NOBILITY

I made his honour my most humble acknowledgments for the good opinion he was pleased to conceive of me; but assured him, at the same time, that my birth was of the lower sort, having been born of plain honest parents, who Were just able to give me a tolerable education; that nobility


76 JONATHAN SWIFT

among us was altogether a different thing from the idea he had of it; that our young noblemen are bred from their childhood in idleness and luxury; that as soon as years will permit, they consume their vigour, and contract odious diseases, among lewd females; and when their fortunes are almost ruined, they marry some woman of mean birth, disagreeable person, and unsound constitution, merely for the sake of money, whom they hate and despise; that the productions of such marriages are generally scrofulous, rickety, or deformed children; by which means the family seldom continues above three generations, unless the wife takes care to provide a healthy father, among her neighbours or domestics, in order to improve and continue the breed; that a weak, diseased body, a meagre countenance, and sallow complexion, are the true marks of noble blood; and a healthy, robust appearance is so disgraceful in a man of quality, that the world concludes his real father to have been a groom or a coachman. The imperfections of his mind run parallel with those of his body, being a composition of spleen, dulness, ignorance, caprice, sensuality, and pride.

Without the consent of this illustrious body no law can be enacted, repealed, or altered; and these nobles have likewise the decision of all our possessions, without appeal.

GULLIVER ON THE ENGLISH SYSTEM OF COLONISING

A crew of pirates are driven by a storm they know not whither; at length a boy discovers land from the topmast; they go on shore to rob and plunder; they see a harmless people, are entertained with kindness; they give the country a new name; they take formal possession of it for their king; they set up a rotten plank or a stone for a memorial; they murder two or three dozen of the natives; bring away a couple more by force for a sample; return home and get their pardon. Here commences a new dominion acquired with a title by divine right. Ships are sent with the first opportunity; the natives driven out or destroyed; their princes tortured to discover their gold; a free licence given to all acts of inhumanity and lust, the earth reeking with the


JONATHAN SWIFT 77

blood of its inhabitants: and this execrable crew of butchers, employed in so pious an expedition, is a modern colony, sent to convert and civilise an idolatrous and barbarous people.

Gulliver’s return to the yahoos of England my wife and family received me with great surprise and joy, because they concluded me certainly dead; but 1 must freely confess the sight of them filled me only with hatred, disgust, and contempt; and the more, by reflecting on the near alliance I had to them. For although, since my unfortunate exile from the Houyhnhnm country, I had compelled myself to tolerate the sight of Yahoos, and to converse with Don Pedro de Mendez, yet my memory and imagination were perpetually filled with the virtues and ideas of those exalted Houyhnhnms. And when I began to consider, that by copulating with one of the Yahoo species I had become a parent of more, it struck me with the utmost shame, confusion, and horror.

As soon as I entered the house, my wife took me in her arms and kissed me; at which, having not been used to the touch of that odious animal for so many years, I fell into a swoon for almost an hour. At the time I am writing, it is fiveyears since my last return to England:during the first year I could not endure my wife or children in my presence; the very smell of them was intolerable; much less could I suffer them to eat in the same room. To this hour they dare not presume to touch my bread, or drink out of the same cup; neither was I ever able to let one of them take me by the hand. The first money I laid out was to buy two young stone horses, which I keep in a good stable; and next to them the groom is my greatest favourite, for I feel my spirits revived by the sme[l he contracts in the stable. My horses understand me tolerably well; I converse with them at least four hours every day. They are strangers to bridle or saddle; they live in great amity with me, and friendship to each other.


LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU

(1689-1762)

Lady Mary Worthy Montagu quarrelled with Pope , whose declaration of love she is said to have received with an outburst of laughter. Her portrait of Swift, with whom she had no personal quarrel, is even bitterer than her attack on Pope. Both show a great deal of feminine good sense as well as feminine malice.

SWIFT AND POPE

Dean Swift, by his lordship’s own account, was so intoxi- cated with the love of flattery, he sought it amongst the lowest of people, and the silliest of women; and was never so well pleased with any companions as those that worship- ped him, while he insulted them. . . .

He (Lord Orrery) has now drawn his pen, and given an example to mankind, that the most villainous actions, nay the most arrant nonsense, are only small blemishes in a great genius. I happen to think quite contrary, weak woman as 1 am. I have always avoided the conversation of those who endeavour to raise an opinion of their understanding by ridiculing what both law and decency obliges them to revere; but, whenever I have met with any of those bright subjects who would be smart on sacred subjects, I have ever cut short their discourse by asking them if they had any lights and revelations by which they would propose new articles of faith? Nobody can deny but religion is a comfort to the distressed, a cordial to the sick, and sometimes a restraint on the wicked; therefore, whoever would laugh or argue it out of the world, without giving some equivalent for it, ought to be treated as a common enemy: but, when this language comes from a churchman, who enjoys large benefices and dignities from that very church he openly despises, it is an object of horror for which I want a name, and can only be excused by madness, which I think the Dean was always strongly touched with. His character seems to me a parallel with that of Caligula; and had he had the same power, would have made the same use of it. That emperor


LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU 79

erected a temple to himself, where he was his own high- priest, preferred his horse to the highest honours in the state, professed enmity to the human race, and at last lost his life by a nasty jest on one of his inferiors, which I dare swear Swift would have made in his place. There can be no worse picture made of the Dean’s morals than he has given us himself in the letters printed by Pope. We see him vain, trifling, ungrateful to the memory of his patron, that of Lord Oxford, making a servile court when he had any interested views, and meanly abusive when they were disappointed, and, as he says (in his own phrase), flying in the face of mankind with his adorer Pope. It is pleasant to consider, that, had it not been for the good nature of these very mortals they contemn, these two superior beings were entitled, by their birth and hereditary fortune, to be only a couple of link-boys. I am of opinion their friendship would have continued, though they had remained in the same kingdom: it had a very strong foundation — the love of flattery on one side, and the love of money on the other. Pope courted with the utmost assiduity all the old men from whom he could hope a legacy, the Duke of Buckingham, Lord Peterborough, Sir G. Knelier, Lord Bolingbroke, Mr. Wycherly, Mr. Congreve, Lord Harcourt, etc., and I do not doubt projected to sweep the Dean’s whole inheritance, if he could have persuaded him to throw up his deanery, and come to die in his house; and his general preaching against money was meant to induce people to throw it away, that he might pick it up. There cannot be a stronger proof of his being capable of any action for the sake of gain than publishing his literary correspondence, which lays open such a mixture of dulness and iniquity, that one would imagine it visible even to his most passionate admirers, if Lord, Orrery did not show that smooth lines have as much influence over some people as the authority of the church in these countries, where it can not only excuse, but sanctify any absurdity or villainy whatever.

(To the Countess of Bute from Louvere, 1752.)


OLIVER GOLDSMITH

(1728-1774)

Goldsmith's portrait of Garrick , in “Retaliation" , mixes severity and appreciation with extraordinary skill. There is an air of impartiality about it which no other piece of portraiture in this anthology possesses , except Shakespeare' s Jon son- Ajax.

The occasion of “ Retaliation ” was a couplet which Garrick composed on Goldsmith at St. James's Coffee-house, one day when some friends of Goldsmith, but not , Goldsmith himself \ were dining with Garrick .

“ Here lies Poet Goldsmith, for shortness called Noll,

Who wrote like an angel, but talked like poor Poll."

FROM “RETALIATION”

here lies David Garrick, describe him who can,

An abridgment of all that was pleasant in man:

As an actor, confess’d without rival to shine;

As a wit, if not first, in the very first line:

Yet, with talents like these, and an excellent heart.

This man had his failings — a dupe to his art.

Like an ill judging beauty, his colours he spread,

And be-plaster’d with rouge his own natural red.

On the stage he was natural, simple, affecting;

’Twas only that when he was off he was acting.

With no reason on earth to go out of his way.

He turn’d and he varied full ten times a day:

Though secure of our hearts, yet confoundedly sick If they were not his own by finessing and trick:

He cast off his friends, as a huntsman his pack.

For he knew when he pleased he could whistle them back. Of praise a mere glutton, he swallow’d what came.

And the puff of a dunce he mistook it for fame;

Till his relish grown callous, almost to disease.

Who pepper’d the highest was surest to please.

But let us be candid, and speak out our mind,

If dunces applauded, he paid them in kind.

Ye Kenricks, ye Kellys, and Woodfalls so grave,


SAMUEL JOHNSON 8 1

What a commerce was yours while you got and you gavel How did Grub-Street re-echo the shouts that you raised. While he was be-Roscius’d, and you were be-praisedl But peace to his spirit, wherever it flies,

To act as an angel and mix with the skies:

Those poets, who owe their best fame to his skill Shall still be his flatterers, go where he will;

Old Shakespeare receive him with praise and with love. And Beaumonts and Bens be his Kellys above.


SAMUEL JOHNSON

(1709-1784)

Johnson’s letter to Lord Chesterfield, the patron who had neglected to help him while he was working on the Dictionary, is often spoken of as the spontaneous outpouring of a rugged unworldly nature , disgusted by aristocratic insolence and insincerity. But Johnson , as his ajfcction and admiration for the elegant Topham Beauclerk show , had a strong appreciation of worldly grace and distinction. He even on one occasion astonished Boswell by claiming a high degree of politeness as one of his own special characteristics. It was his pride, not his faith in human nature, which was wounded by Chesterfield’s neglect. The restraint and dignity of his rebuke are perfectly adjusted to its recipient. Chesterfield is not to be gratified by the unpolished reproaches of an inferior. He is to be humiliated by a digtiity as unruffled as his own, and far more massive. This would seem to have been Johnson’s intention , and his execution was magnificently equal to it. Chesterfield took his unexpected chastisement with characteristic adroitness. When Dodsley, the bookseller, called on him soon afterwards, Johnson’s letter lay on his table, for his visitors to peruse. “He read it to me,” Dodsley records, “said ‘ this man has great powers ,’ pointed out the severest passages, and observed how well they were expressed”. “ Glossy duplicity” is Boswell's comment on this anecdote.

How Johnson dealt with a middle-class opponent is shown in his letter to James Macpherson, the alleged translator of the Ossianic poems. These poems Johnson bad, in his “Journey to the Western Islands of Scotland”, declared to be a forgery. Slacpherson sent 6


82 SAMUEL JOHNSON

Johnson a challenge, and Johnson replied in the terms quoted below. Macpherson did not press the matter.

The Ossian mystery has never been satisfactorily solved, but it is now generally held that Macpherson drew to some extent on Gaelic originals.

Of the next four extracts , two are from Boswell's “Tour to the Hebrides”, and two from the “Ufe”; and the remaining extracts, excepting the last , are from Mrs. Piooyf's “Anecdotes” . Mrs. Piogyi was, during her marriage to Thrale, Johnson's greatest friend and confidant, her reports of Johnson's talk are as valuable as Boswell's; and Boswell has no single outburst to compare in grandeur of style and depth of emotion with Johnson’s defence of charity.

The famous letter to Mrs. Tbrale, in answer to her letter in which she told Johnson that she was finally decided to marry Pioogi, expressed the despair of the old man, who loved Mrs. Thrale with the intensity of a hopeless and unacknowledged passion. He regretted the attack almost at once , and wrote to acknowledge bis unreason, ending, “The tears stand in my eyes.” She did not reply, and in his last illness he tried to “ drive her quite from my mind” as he said, by destroying every letter and piece of paper which contained her name.

THE LETTER TO LORD CHESTERFIELD

February q, 1755.

MY LORD,

I have been lately informed by the proprietor of the World, that two papers, in which my Dictionary is recom- mended to the public, were written by your lordship. To be so distinguished is an honour, which, being very little accustomed to favours from the great, I know not well how to receive, or in what terms to acknowledge.

When, upon some slight encouragement, I first visited your lordship, I was overpowered, like the rest of mankind, by the enchantment of your address, and could not forbear to wish that I might boast myself le vainqueur du vainqueur de la terre — that I might obtain that regard for which I saw the world contending; but I found my attendance so little encouraged, that neither pride nor modesty would suffer me to continue it. When I had once addressed your lordship


SAMUEL JOHNSON 85

in public, I had, exhausted all the art of pleasing which a retired and uncourtly scholar can possess. I had done all that I could; and no man is well pleased to have his all neglected, be it ever so little.

Seven years, my lord, have now passed since I waited in your outward rooms, or was repulsed from your door; during which time I have been pushing on my work through difficulties, of which it is useless to complain, and have brought it at last to the verge of publication, without one act of assistance, one word of encouragement, or one one smile of favour. Such treatment I did not expect, for I never had a patron before.

The shepherd in Virgil grew at last acquainted with Love, and found him a native of the rocks.

Is not a patron, my lord, one who looks with unconcern on a man struggling for life in the water, and when he has reached ground encumbers him with help? The notice which you have been pleased to take of my labours, had it been early, had been kind; but it has been delayed till I am indifferent, and cannot enjoy it; till I am solitary, and cannot impart it; till I am known, and do not want it. I hope it is no very cynical asperity not to confess obligations where no benefit has been received, or to be unwilling that the public should consider me as owing that to a patron which Pro- vidence has enabled me to do for myself.

Having carried on my work thus far with so little obliga- tion to any favourer of learning, I shall not be disappointed though I should conclude it, if less be possible, with less; for I have been long wakened from that dream of hope, in which I once boasted myself with so much exultation, my lord — Your lordship’s most humble, most obedient servant,

Sam. Johnson.


• LORD CHESTERFIELD

Johnson having now explicitly avowed his opinion of Lord Chesterfield, did not refrain from expressing himself concerning that nobleman with pointed freedom: “This man (said he) I thought had been a Lord among wits; but, I find, he is only a wit among Lords!” And when his Letters to his


8 4


SAMUEL JOHNSON


natural son were published, he (Johnson) observed, that “they teach the morals of a whore, and the manners of a dancing master.”

(Boswell’s Ufe of Johnson .)

TO MR. JAMES MACPHERSON, I77J

mr. james macpherson, — I received your foolish and impudent letter. Any violence offered me I shall do my best to repel; and what I cannot do for myself, the law shall do for me. I hope I shall never be deterred from detecting what I think a cheat, by the menaces of a ruffian.

What would you have me retract? I thought your book an imposture; I think it an imposture still. For this opinion I have given my reasons to the publick which I here dare you to refute. Your rage I defy. Your abilities, since your Homer, are not so formidable; and what I hear of your morals, inclines me to pay regard not to what you shall say, but to what you shall prove. You may print this if you will.

Sam. Johnson.

BOSWELL MISUNDERSTOOD

it grew dusky; and we had a very tedious ride for what was called five miles; but I am sure would measure ten. We had no conversation. I was riding forward to the inn at Glenelg, on the shore opposite to Sky, that I might take proper measures, before Dr. Johnson, who was now advancing in dreary silence, Hay leading his horse, should arrive. Vass also walked by the side of his horse, and Joseph followed behind: as therefore he was thus attended, and seemed to be in deep meditation, 1 thought there could be no harm in leaving him for a little while. He called me back with a tremendous shout, and was really in a passion with me for leaving him. I told him my intentions, but he was not satisfied, and said, “Do you know. I should as soon have thought of picking a pocket, as doing so.” Boswell. “I am diverted with you, sir.” Johnson. “Sir, I could never be diverted with incivility. Doing such a thing, makes one lose confidence in him who has done it, as one cannot tell


SAMUEL JOHNSON 8 J

what he may do next.” His extraordinary warmth con- > founded me so much, that I justified myself but lamely to him; yet my intentions were not improper. . . I however continued to ride by him, finding he wished I should do so.

(Boswell’s Tour to tbe Hebrides.)


AN UNREPORTED OUTBURST


Johnson: “All animal substances are less cleanly than vege- tables. Wool, of which flannel is made, is an animal substance; flannel therefore is not so cleanly as linen ... I have often thought, that, if I kept a seraglio, the ladies should all wear linen gowns — or cotton; — I mean stuffs made of vegetable substances. I would have no silk; you cannot tell when it is clean: It will be very nasty before it is perceived to be so. Linen detects its own dirtiness.”

To hear the grave Dr. Samuel Johnson, “that majestick teacher of moral and religious wisdom”, while sitting solemn in an armchair in the Isle of Sky, talk, ex cathedra, of his keeping a seraglio, and acknowledge that the sup- position had often been in his thoughts, struck me so forcibly with ludicrous contrast, that I could not but laugh immoderately. He was too proud to submit, even for a moment, to be the object of ridicule, and instantly retaliated with such keen sarcastic wit, and such a variety of degrading images, of every one of which 1 was the object, that, though I can bear such attacks as well as most men, I yet found myself so much the sport of all the company that I would gladly expunge from my mind every trace of this


severe retort.


(Boswell’s Tour to the Hebrides.)


JOHNSON AND “A GENTLEMAN”

He sometimes could not bear being teazed with questions. I was once present when a gentleman asked so many as, “What did you do. Sir?” “What did you say, Sir?” that he at last grew enraged, and said, “I will not be put to the question. Don’t you consider, Sir, that these are not the manners of a gentleman? I will not be baited with what.


86 SAMUEL JOHNSON

and why; what is this? what is that? why is a cow’s tail long? why is a fox’s tail bushy.” The gentleman, who was a good • deal out of countenance said, “Why, Sir, you are so good that I venture to trouble you.”

Johnson : “Sir, my being so good is no reason why you should be so ill.”


INFLAMMABLE PARTICLES

Percy: “Pennant does not describe well; a carrier who goes along the side of Loch Lomond would describe it better.”

Johnson: “I think he describes very well.”

Percy: “I travelled after him.”

Johnson: “And I travelled after him.”

Percy: “But, my good friend, you are shortsighted, and do not see as well as I do.”

I wondered at Dr. Percy’s venturing thus. Dr. Johnson said nothing at the time; but inflammable particles were collecting for a cloud to burst. In a little while Dr. Percy said something more in disparagement of Pennant.

Johnson (pointedly): “This is the resentment of a narrow mind, because he did not find everything in Northumberland.

Percy (feeling the stroke): “Sir, you may be as rude as you please.”

Johnson: “Hold, Sir! Don’t talk of^ rudeness; remember. Sir, you told me (puffing hard with passion struggling for a vent) I was shortsighted. We have done with civility. We are to be as rude as we please.”

Percy: “Upon my honour, Sir, I did not mean to be uncivil.”

Johnson: “I cannot say so, Sir, for I did mean to be uncivil, thinkingyou had been uncivil.”

Dr. Percy rose, ran up to him, and taking him by the hand, assured him affectionately that his meaning had been misunderstood; upon which a reconciliation instantly took place.

Johnson: “My dear Sir, I am willing you shall bang Pennant.”

(Boswell’s Life of Johnson .)


SAMUEL JOHNSON


87


DR. JOHNSON QUERIES A STATEMENT

MR. Johnson did not like anyone who said they were happy, or who said anyone else was so. “It is all cant (he would cry), the dog knows he is miserable all the time.” A friend whom he loved exceedingly, told him on some occasion notwithstanding, that his wife’s sister was really happy, and called upon the lady to confirm his assertion, which she did somewhat roundly as we say, and with an accent and manner capable of offending Mr. Johnson, if her position (argument) had not been sufficient, without anything more, to put him in very ill humour. “If your sister-in-law is really the contented being she professes herself, Sir (said he), her life gives the lie to every research of humanity; for she is happy without health, without beauty, without money, and without understanding.” This story he told me himself; and when I expressed something of the horror I felt, “the same stupidity (said he) which prompted her to extol felicity she never felt, hindered her from feeling what shocks you on repetition. I tell you, the woman is ugly, and sickly, and foolish, and poor; and would it not make a man hang himself to hear such a creature say, it was happy?”

( Anecdotes of Johnson ly Mrs. Piooyf.)


OVIPAROUS AND VIVIPAROUS

another strange thing he told me once which there was no danger of forgetting: how a young gentleman called on him one morning, and told him that his father having, just before his death, dropped suddenly into the enjoyment of an ample fortune, he, the son, was willing to qualify himself for genteel society by adding some literature to his other endowments, and. wished to be put in an easy way of obtaining it. Johnson recommended the university: “for you read Latin, Sir, with facility .” “I read it a little to be sure, Sir.” “But do you read it with facility , I say?” “Upon my word, Sir, I do not very well know, but I rather believe not. ’ ’ Mr. J ohnson now began to recommend other branches of science, when he found languages at such an immeasur-


88 SAMUEL JOHNSON

able distance, and advising him to study natural history, there arose some talk about animals, and their divisions into oviparous and viviparous; “And the cat here. Sir,” said the youth who wished for instruction; “pray in which class is she?” Our Doctor’s patience and desire of doing good began now to give way to the natural roughness of his temper. “You would do well (said he) to look for some person to be always about you. Sir, who is capable of explaining such matters, and not come to us (there were some literary friends present as I recollect) to know whether the cat lays eggs or not: get a discreet man to keep you company, there are many who would be glad of your table and fifty pounds a year.”

(Mrs. Piozzi.)


ON CHARITY

he loved the poor as I never yet saw anyone else do, with an earnest desire to make them happy. — “What signifies” says someone, “giving halfpence to common beggars? They only lay it out in gin or tobacco.” “And why should they be denied such sweeteners of their existence (says Johnson)? It is surely very savage to refuse them every possible avenue to pleasure, reckoned too coarse for our own acceptance. Life is a pill which none of us can bear to swallow without gilding; yet for the poor we delight in stripping it still barer, and are not ashamed to show even visible displeasure, if ever the bitter taste is taken from their mouths.”

(Mrs. Piozzi.)


on hunting

He certainly rode on Mr. Thrale’s old hunter with a good firmness, and though he would follow the hounds fifty miles on end sometimes, would never own himself either tired or amused. “I have now learned,” said he, “by hunting, to perceive, that it is no diversion at all, nor ever takes a man out of himself for a moment: the dogs have less sagacity than I could have prevailed on myself to suppose; and the gentlemen often call to me not to ride


CHARLES CHURCHILL


89

over them. 1 It is very strange, and very melancholy, that •the paucity of human pleasures should persuade us ever to call hunting one of them.”

(Mrs. Piozzi.)

1 Query — The dogs or the gentlemen ?


LETTER TO MRS. THRALE ON HER PROPOSED MARRIAGE WITH PIOZZI


Madam,

If I interpret your letter right, you are ignominiously married; if it is yet undone, let us once more talk together. If you have abandoned your children and your religion, God forgive your wickedness: if you have forfeited your fame and your country, may your folly do no further mischief. If the last act is yet to do, I who have loved you, esteemed you, reverenced you, and served you, I who long thought you the first of humankind, entreat that, before your fate is irrevocable, I may once more see you. I was, I once was,

Madam, most truly yours,

Sam. Johnson.

July 2, 1784.

I will come down, if you permit it.


CHARLES CHURCHILL

(1731-1764)

After attacking the stage in the “ Rosciad ”, Churchill turned his attention to Scotland , in “ The Prophecy of Famine ”, which came out in 1763, at a time when the Scotch place-hunters in attend- ance on the Scotch Prime Al inis ter, Ford Bute, were exciting the indignation of the English place-hunters whom they had dispossessed.

Johnson spoke contemptuously of Churchill. “/ called the fellow a blockhead at first, and I will call him a blockhead still,” he roared, when Boswell ventured to hint that Johnson was biased by Churchill’s attack on him for collecting subscriptions to bring out an edition of Shakespeare, and then spending the money without


CHARLES CHURCHILL


90

troubling to bring out the edition. Boswell appears to have been stunned at the moment , but in bis comment on this scene writess “His ‘Prophecy of Famine ’ is a poem of no ordinary merit. It is, indeed, falsely injurious to Scotland, hut therefore may be allowed a greater share of invention

As the passage on Jockey and Sawnie shows, Churchill was not a mere continuator of the Pope tradition of satire. He has, joined to great force, a freshness and pictorial sense which reveal the first stirrings of the Komantic revival.

Johnson, of course , shared Churchill's feeling against the Scotch „ though it was much modified after his journey to the Hebrides. One of his greatest triumphs in the cumulative style of retort, in which be excelled all other men, was at the expense of Scotland.

“Mr. Ogilvie”, Boswell narrates, “then took new ground, where, I suppose , he thought himself perfectly safe; for be observed, that Scotland had a great many noble wild prospects. Johnson, ‘/ believe. Sir, you have a great many. Norway, too, has noble wild prospects-, and Lapland is remarkable for prodigious noble wild prospects. But, Sir, let me tell you, the noblest prospect which a Scotchman ever sees, is the high road that leads him to England !' This unexpected and pointed sally produced a roar of applause. After all, however, those who admire the rude grandeur of. Nature, cannot deny it to Caledonia."


THE SCOT TO ENGLAND

the Scots arc poor, cries surly English pride;

True is the charge, nor by themselves denied.

Are they not then in strictest reason clear.

Who wisely come to mend their fortunes here?

If, by low, supple arts successful grown.

They sapp’d our vigour to increase their own;

If, mean in want and insolent in power,

They only fawn’d more surely to devour,

Roused by such wrongs should reason take alarm. And e’en the Muse for public safety arm:

But if they own ingenuous virtue’s sway,

And follow where true honour points the way;


CHARLES CHURCHILL 91

If they revere the hand by which they’re fed.

And bless the donors for their daily bread.

Or by vast debts of higher import bound.

Are always humble, always grateful found;

If they, cUrected by Paul’s holy pen.

Become discreetly all things to all men.

That all men may become all things to them.

Envy may hate, but justice can’t condemn.

“Into our places, states, and beds they creep;”

They’ve sense to get what we want sense to keep.

(The Prophecy of Famine.)

JOCKEY AND SAWNIE

two boys, whose birth, beyond all question, springs From great and glorious, though forgotten, kings. Shepherds of Scottish lineage, born and bred On the same bleak and barren mountain’s head.

By niggard nature doom’d on the same rocks To spin out life, and starve themselves and flocks, Fresh as the morning, which, enrobed in mist.

The mountain’s top with usual dulness kiss’d.

Jockey and Sawney to their labours rose;

Soon clad, I ween, where nature needs no clothes; Where, from their youth enured to winter-skies.

Dress and her vain refinements they despise.

Jockey, whose manly, high-boned cheeks to crown. With freckles spotted, flamed the golden down. With meiklc art could on the bag-pipes play.

E’en from the rising to the setting day;

Sawney as long without remorse could bawd Home’s madrigals and ditties from Fingal:

Oft at his strains, all natural though rude.

The Highland lass forgot her want of food.

And, whilst she scratched her lover into rest.

Sunk pleased, though hungry, on her Sawney’s breast.

Far as the eye could reach, no tree was seen.

Earth, clad in russet, scorn’d the lively green:


92 TOBIAS SMOLLETT

The plague of locusts they secure defy.

For in three hours a grasshopper must die:

No living thing, whate’er its food, feasts there.

But the cameleon who can feast on air.

No birds, except as birds of passage, flew;

No bee was known to hum, no dove to coo:

No streams, as amber smooth, as amber clear.

Were seen to glide, or heard to warble here: Rebellion’s spring, which through the country ran, Furnish’d with bitter draughts, the steady clan:

No flowers embalm’d the air, but one white rose , 1 Which, on the tenth of June, by instinct blows;

By instinct blows at morn, and when the shades Of drizzly eve prevail, by instinct fades.

(The Prophecy of Famine.)

1 The Jacobite badge.


TOBIAS SMOLLETT

(1721-1771)

Matthew Bramble, in Smollett' s last novel, “ Humphry Clinker", though a Welshman, is really Smollett himself, and his criticisms of English life, as it appeared to Smollett's Scotch eyes, adequately revenge the attacks of Johnson and Churchill on the Scotch.

There is no more vigorous invective on current manners in English literature than the passages given below. It is worth noticing that Smollett's subjects of complaint are identical with those which the pessimist of to-day laments.

MATTHEW BRAMBLE ON :

POST-W'AR PROFITEERS

every upstart of fortune, harnessed in the trappings of the mode, presents himself at Bath, as in the very focus of observation — Clerks and factors from the East Indies, loaded with the spoil of plundered provinces; planters, negro-drivers, and hucksters, from our American plantations, enriched they know not how; agents, commissaries, and


TOBIAS SMOLLETT


95

contractors, who have fattened, in two successive wars, on the blood of the nation; usurers, brokers, and jobbers of every kind; men of low birth, and no breeding, have found themselves suddenly translated into a state of affluence, unknown to former ages; and no wonder that their brains should be intoxicated with pride, vanity, and presumption. Knowing no other criterion of greatness, but the ostentation of wealth, they discharge their affluence without taste or conduct, through every channel of the most absurd extra- vagance; and all of them hurry to Bath, because here, without any further qualification, they can mingle with the princes and nobles of the land. Even the wives and daughters of low tradesmen, who, like shovel-nosed sharks, prey upon the blubber of these uncouth whales of fortune, are infected with the same rage of displaying their importance; and the slightest imposition serves them for a pretext to insist upon being conveyed to Bath, where they may hobble country dances and cotillons among lordlings, ’squires, counsellors, and clergy. These, delicate creatures from Bedfordbury, Butcher-row, Crutched-Friers, and Botolph- Lane, cannot breathe in the gross air of the Lower Town, or conform to the vulgar rules of a common lodging- house; the husband, therefore, must provide an entire house, or elegant apartments in the new buildings. Such is the composition of what is called the fashionable company at Bath; where a very inconsiderable proportion of genteel people arc lost in a mob of impudent plebeians, who have neither understanding nor judgment, nor the least idea of propriety and decorum; and seem to enjoy nothing so much as an opportunity of insulting their betters.

THE SPEED OF MODERN LIFE

t

in short, there is no distinction or subordination left — The different departments of life are jumbled together — The hod-carrier, the low mechanic, the tapster, the publican, the shopkeeper, the pettifogger, the citizen, and courtier, all tread upon the kibes of one another: actuated by the demons of* profligacy and licentiousness, they are seen everywhere.


TOBIAS SMOLLETT


94

rambling, riding, rolling, rushing, jostling, mixing, bouncing, cracking, and crashing in one vile ferment of stupidity and corruption — All is tumult and hurry; one would imagine they were impelled by some disorder of the brain, that will not suffer them to be at rest. The foot-passengers run along as if they were pursued by bailiffs. The porters and chairmen, trot with their burdens. People, who keep their own equipages, drive through the streets at full speed. Even citizens, physicians, and apothecaries, glide in their chariots like lightning. The hackney-coachmen make their horses, smoke, and the pavement shakes under them; and I have actually seen a waggon pass through Piccadilly at the hand gallop. In a word, the whole nation seems to be running out of their wits.


LONDON NIGHT LIFE

what are the amusements at Ranelagh? One half of the company are following one another’s tails, in an eternal circle; like so many blind asses in an olive-mill; where they can neither discourse, distinguish, nor be distinguished; while the other half are drinking hot water under the denomination of tea, till nine or ten o’clock at night, to keep them awake for the rest of the evening. As for the orches- tra, the vocal musick especially, it is well for the performers that they cannot be heard distinctly. Vauxhall is a compo- sition of baubles overcharged with paltry ornaments, ill conceived and poorly executed; without any unity of design or propriety of disposition. ... In ail probability, the proprietors of this and other public gardens of inferior note, in the skirts of the metropolis, are, in some shape, connected with the faculty of physic, and the company of undertakers; for, considering that eagerness in thp pursuit of what is called pleasure, which now predominates through every rank and denomination of life, I am persuaded, that more gouts, rheumatisms, catarrhs, and consumptions are caught in these nocturnal pastimes, sub dio , than from all the risques and accidents to which a life of toil and danger is exposed.


TOBIAS SMOLLETT


95


THE NOISE OF LONDON

i GO to bed after midnight, jaded and restless from the dissipations of the day — I start every hour from my sleep, at the horrid noise of the watchmen bawling the hour through every street, and thundering at every door; a set of useless fellows, who serve no other purpose but that of disturbing the repose of the inhabitants; and by five o’clock I start out of bed, in consequence of the still more dreadful alarm made by the country carts, and noisy rustics bellowing green pease under my window.

ADULTERATED FOOD

the bread I eat in London, is a deleterious paste, mixed up with chalk, alum and bone-ashes; insipid to the taste, and destructive to the constitution. The good people are not ignorant of this adulteration; but they prefer it to wholesome bread because it is whiter than the meal of corn: thus they sacrifice their taste and their health, and the lives of their tender infants, to a most absurd gratification of a misjudging eye; and the miller, or the baker, is obliged to poison them and their families, in order to live by his profession. The same monstrous depravity appears in their veal, which is bleached by repeated bleedings, and other villainous arts, till there is not a drop of juice left in the body, and the poor animal is paralytic before it dies; so void of all taste, nourishment, and savour, that a man might dine as comfortably on a white fricassee of kid-skin gloves, or chip hats from Leghorn. ... I shall conclude this catalogue of London dainties, with that table-beer, guiltless of hops and malt, vapid and nauseous; much fitter to facilitate the operation of a vomit, than to quench thirst and promote digestion; the tallowy rancid mass called butter, manufactured with candle-grease and kitchen stuff; and their fresh eggs, imported from France and Scotland.


ROBERT BURNS

(1759-1796) holy willie’s prayer

Bums’ note on “ Holy Willie's Prayer ”, a satire on election and other Calvinist doctrines, is a translation into invective of the irony of the “Prayer”. “Holy Willie”, the note runs, “was a rather oldish bachelor elder, in the parish of Mauchline, and much and justly famed for that polemical chattering which ends in tippling ortbodovy, and for that spiritualised bawdry which refines to liquorish devotion.”

The “Prayer” itself concludes with the following invective , launched by Holy Willie at Gavin Hamilton and the Presbytery of Ayr, for reasons which Bums gives in his note — “In a sessional process with a gentleman of Mauchline — a Mr. Gavin Flamilton — Holy Willie and his priest, Father Auld, after full hearing in the Presbytery of Ayr, came off but second best; owing partly to the oratorical powers of Air. Robert Aiken, Air. Hamilton's counsel, but chiefly to Mr. Hamilton's being one of the most irreproach- able and truly respectable characters in the country. On losing his process , the Muse overheard him at his devotions, as follows —


. . . Lord mind Gau’n Hamilton’s deserts; He drinks, and swears, and plays at cartes, Yet has sae monie takin arts Wi’ great an’ sma’,

Frae God's ain Priest the people’s hearts He steals awa.

And when we chasten’d him therefore, Thou kens how he bred sic a splorc , 1 And set the warld in a roar O’ laughin at us:

Curse thou this basket and his store,

Kail and potatoes.


1 Row.


EDWARD GIBBON


97


Lord, hear my earnest cry and pray’r Against that Presbyt’ry of Ayr!

Thy strong right hand, Lord, mak it bare Upo’ their heads!

Lord, visit them, an’ dinna spare.

For their misdeeds!

O Lord, my God! that glib-tongu’d Aiken, My vera heart and flesh are quakin To think how we stood sweatin, shakin. An’ pished wi’ dread.

While he, wi’ hingin lip an snakin , 1 Held up his head.

Lord, in Thy day o’ %'engeance try him! Lord, visit them wha did employ him!

And pass not in Thy mercy by them.

Nor hear their pray’r,

But for Thy people’s sake destroy them, An’ dinna spare!

But, Lord, remember me and mine Wi’ mercies temporal and divine,

That I for grace and gear may shine, Exccll’d by nanc!

And a’ the glory shall be Thine,

Amen! Amen!

1 Sneering.


EDWARD GIBBON

(i737-i794)

Both for prudential and artistic reasons, Gibbon, in his History, expressed his aversion from Christianity in an equivocal and ironical style. In the passage quoted below, from an abstract of the history of the world, compiled in his twenties , he gives the raw material of his anti-Christian or, at any rate , anti-Catholic attitude. After the Catholic system, though at a great distance.


EDWARD GIBBON


98

bis chief aversion was Oxford, which he treats with an unqualified contempt that is scud to have, at the present day, a merely historical significance.

Hannah More's outburst on Gibbon's death is representative of the strong Evangelical piety which was as characteristic of eighteentb-centuty England, especially in its last half, as the scepticism of Chesterfield and Gibbon.


OXFORD AND THE FELLOWS OF MAGDALEN

to the university of Oxford I acknowledge no obligation; and she will as cheerfully renounce me for a son, as I am willing to disclaim her for a mother. I spent fourteen months at Magdalen College; they proved the fourteen months the most idle and unprofitable of my whole life: the reader will pronounce between the school and the scholar; but I cannot affect to believe that nature had disqualified me for all literary pursuits. . . . The fellows or monks of my time were decent easy men, who supinely enjoyed the gifts of their founder; their days were filled by a series of uniform employments; the chapel and the hall, the coffee-house and the common room, till they retired, weary and well satisfied, to a long slumber. From the toil of reading, or thinking, or writing, they had absolved their conscience; and the first shoots of learning and ingenuity withered on the ground, without yielding any fruits to the owners or the public. As a gentleman commoner, I was admitted to the society of the fellows, and fondly expected that some questions of literature would be the amusing and instructive topics of their discourse. Their conversation stagnated in a round of college business, Tory politics, personal anecdotes, and private scandal: their dull and deep potations excused the brisk intemperance of youth; and their* constitutional toasts were not expressive of the most lively loyalty for the house of Hanover.


(Autobiography).


THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS


99


THE GOLDEN AGE OF MEDI/EVAL CHRISTENDOM

the numerous vermin of mendicant friars, Franciscans, Dominicans, Augustins, Carmelites, who swarmed in this century (the thirteenth), with habits and institutions variously ridiculous, disgraced religion, learning, and common sense. They seized on scholastic philosophy as a science peculiarly suited to their minds; and, excepting only Friar Bacon, they all preferred words to things. The subtle, the profound, the irrefragable, the angelic, and the seraphic Doctor acquired those pompous titles by filling ponderous volumes with a small number of technical terms, and a much smaller number of ideas. Universities arose in every part of Europe, and thousands of students employed their lives upon these grave follies.

(From Gibbon's “ Outlines of the History of the World ” —

compiled between 1758 and 1763)

HANNAH MORE ON GIBBON’S DEATH

January 19, 1794. — Heard of the death of Mr. Gibbon, the calumniator of the despised Nazarcne, the derider of Christianity. Awful dispensation! He too was my acquain- tance. Lord, I bless thee, considering how much infidel acquaintance I have had, that my soul never came into their secretl How many souls have his writings polluted! Lord preserve others from their contagion!


THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS

(1769-1772)

The letters of Junius , seventy in number , appeared in “ The Public Advertiser" m the most popular newspaper of the day , during a period of great political excitement , centring in foreign politics round the beginning of the struggle with the American colonies , and in home politics round the fight between Wilkes and the House of Commons .

The anonymity of Junius was strictly preserved , and the question of the authorship is still unsolved, though the weight of evidence is in


loo THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS

favour of Sir Philip Frauds, later the most inveterate of Warren Hastings’ enemies.

The invective of Junius has the artifidal air which is usually present in political invective, and is interesting nowadays chiefly as illustrating the extreme licence of personal abuse permitted in the eighteenth century. It is, fortunately no doubt, impossible to imagine a modem newspaper printing anything similar to the second of the extracts given below, in connection with some big public figure, say. Lord Pass field, or Lord Birkenhead.

Junius ’ accusation against the Duke of Grafton, that he took Miss Nancy Parsons to the Opera, was accurate. His easy morality is also stigmatised by Horace Walpole, who said that Grafton thought “ the world should be postponed to a whore and a horse race.” In later life the Duke worshipped for many years at a Unitarian chapel, and published, among other pamphlets, “ Hints submitted to the serious attention of the Clergy, Nobility, and Gentry, by a Layman”, a plea for greater propriety of life among the upper classes, and a stricter attention to public worship.

FROM A LETTER TO THE DUKE OF GRAFTON (May 30, 1769)

. . . let me be permitted to consider your character and conduct merely as a subject of curious speculation. — There is something in both, which distinguishes you not only from all other ministers, but all other men. It is not that you do wrong by design, bur that you should never do right by mistake. It is not that your indolence and your activity have been equally misapplied, but that the first uniform principle, or, if I may so call it, the genius of your life, should have carried you through every possible change and contradiction of conduct without the momentary imputation or colour of a virtue; and that the wildest spirit of incon- sistency should never once have betrayed you into a wise or honourable action. This, I own, gives an air of singu- larity to your fortune, as well as to your disposition.

. . . The character of the reputed ancestors of sotnc men, has made it possible for their descendants to be vicious in the extreme, without being degenerate. Those of your


THE LETTERS OF JUNIUS IOI

Grace, for instance, left no distressing examples of virtue 'even to their legitimate posterity, and you may look back with pleasure to an illustrious pedigree in which heraldry has not left a single good quality upon record to insult or upbraid you. 1 You have better proofs of your descent, 'my Lord, than the register of a marriage, or any trouble- . some inheritance of reputation. There are some hereditary strokes of character by which a family may be as clearly distinguished as by the blackest features of the human ■face. Charles the First lived and died a hypocrite. Charles the Second was a hypocrite of another sort, and should have died upon the same scaffold. At the distance of a century, we see their different characters happily revived, and blended in your Grace. Sullen and severe without religion, profligate without gaiety, you live like Charles the Second, without being an amiable companion, and, for aught I know 1 ’, may die as his father did, without the reputation of a martyr.

1 The first Duke of Grafton was an il legit imare son of Charles II.


grafton’s private life (June 22, 1769)

if vice itself could be excused, there is yet a certain display of it, a certain outrage to decency, and violation of public decorum, which, for the beneiit of society, should never be forgiven. It is not that he kept a mistress at home, but that he constantly attended her abroad. It is not the private indulgence, but the public insult of w'hich I complain. The name of Miss Parsons would hardly have been known if the First Lord of the Treasury had not led her to triumph through the open House, even in the presence of the Queen. When wc see a man act in this manner we may admit the shameless depravity t>f his heart, but what are we to think of his Understanding?

His Grace, it seems, is now to be a regular domestic man, and, as an omen of the future delicacy and correctness of his conduct, he marries a first cousin of the man, who had fixed that mark and title of infamy upon him, which, at the same moment, makes a husband unhappy and ridiculous.


102


THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS


The tics of consanguinity may possibly preserve him from the same fate a second time, and as to the distress of meeting,' I take for granted that the venerable Uncle of these common cousins has settled the Etiquette in such a manner, that, if a mistake should happen, it may reach no farther than from Madame ma femme to Madame ma cousine.

THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS

WARREN HASTINGS (l 7} 2 - 1 8 1 8)

EDMUND BURKE (1729-1797)

RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN (1751-1816)

The issues raised by Edmund Burke ’ s year-long campaign against Warren Hastings are far too complex to be even referred to here. It will be sufficient to draw attention to the difference between Burke’s passionate sincerity and Sheridan’s mellifluous fustian. In the course of his indictment of the cruelties practised by Deby Sing on the natives of Bengal , Burke had a seizure, and was com- pelled to break off for the day. Struck by the effectiveness of this incident , Sheridan, at the close of his speech , sank back into Burke’s arms , overcome by Warren Hastings’ corruption of the filial sentiment in the Nawab of Oude. In actual fact, the worst that can be urged against Hastings in this connection is that he improved the Nawab’ s already effective technique for extracting money out of bis mother.

Burke’s letter to Dr. Lawrence on the acquittal of Warren Hastings is the final proof that, unlike almost all other politicians, Burke felt public questions as passionately as other men feel their private joys or reverses.

edmund burke’s peroration {February 19, 1788).

therefore I charge Mr. Hastings with having destroyed, for private purposes, the whole system of government by the six provincial Councils, which he had no right to destroy.

I charge him with having delegated away from himself that power which the Act of Parliament had directed him-to preserve inalienably in himself.


THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS IO}

I charge him with having formed a Committee to be mere instruments and tools, at the enormous expense of £62,000 per annum.

I charge him with having appointed a person their diwan, to whom these Englishmen were to be subservient tools; whose name was — to his own knowledge, by the general voice of the Company, by the recorded official transactions, by everything that can make a man known — abhorred and detested, stamped with infamy; and I charge him with giving him the whole power he had thus separated from the Council General and from the provincial Councils.

I charge him with taking bribes of Gunga Govind Sing.

I charge him with not having done that bribe-service which fidelity, even in iniquity, requires at the hands of the worst of men.

I charge him with having robbed those persons of whom he took the bribes.

I charge him with having fraudulently alienated the fortunes of widows.

I charge him with having, without right, title or purchase, taken the lands of orphans and given them to wicked persons under him.

I charge him with having removed the natural guardians of a minor Raja, and given his zamindary to that wicked person, Deby Sing.

I charge him — his wickedness being known to himself and all the world — with having committed to Deby Sing the management of three great provinces; and with having thereby wasted the country, destroyed the landed interest, cruelly harassed the peasants, burnt their houses, seized their crops, tortured and degraded their persons, and destroyed the honour of the whole female race of that country.

In the name of the Commons of England, I charge all this villainy upon Warren Hastings in this last moment of my application to you.

My Lords, what is that we want here to a great act of national justice? Do we want a cause, my Lords? You have the cause of oppressed princes, of undone women of the first rank, of desolated provinces and of wasted kingdoms.


104 the TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS

Do you want a criminal, my Lords? When was there so much iniquity ever laid to the charge of any one? No, my Lords, you must not look to punish any delinquent in India more. Warren Hastings has not left substance enough in India to nourish such another delinquent.

My Lords, is it a prosecutor that you want? You have before you the Commons of Great Britain as prosecutors; and I believe, my Lords, that the sun, in his beneficent progress round the world, does not behold a more glorious sight than that of men, separated from a remote people by the material bounds and barriers of nature, united by the bond of a social and moral community; — all the Commons of England resenting as their own the indignities and cruelties that are offered to all the people of India.

. . . Therefore it is with confidence that, ordered by the Commons,

I impeach Warren blastings, Esquire, of high crimes and misdemeanours.

I impeach him in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, whose parliamentary trust he has betrayed.

I impeach him in the name of all the Commons of Great Britain, whose national character he has dishonoured.

I impeach him in the name of the people of India, whose laws, rights and liberties, he has subverted, whose properties he has destroyed, whose country he has laid waste and desolate.

I impeach him in the name and by virtue of those eternal laws of justice which he has violated.

I impeach him in the name of human nature itself, which he has cruelly outraged, injured and oppressed, in both sexes, in every age, rank, situation and condition of life.

RICHARD BRINSLEY SHERIDAN ON THE *NAWAB OF OUDIt’s BREACH OF FILIAL DUTY TOWARDS THE BEGUM AT THE INSTIGATION OF WARREN HASTINGS

(June 13, 1788)

good Godl my Lords, what a cause is this we are maintain- ing! What! when I feel it a part of my duty, as it were, when


THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS IOJ

I feel it an instruction in my brief to support the claim of age to reverence, of maternal feebleness to filial protection and support, can I recollect where I stand? Can I recollect before whom I am pleading? I look round on this various assembly that surrounds me, seeing in every countenance a breathing testimony to this general principle, and yet for a moment think it necessary to enforce the bitter aggravation which attends the crimes of those who violate this universal duty. Yet, my Lords, such is the nature of the charge Vhich we maintain — such the monstrous nature of the guilt which we arraign — and such the more monstrous nature of the defence opposed to that guilt — that when I see in many of these letters the infirmities of age made a subject of mockery and ridicule — when I see the feelings of a son, treated by Mr. Middleton as puerile (as he calls them) and contemptible — when I see an order given from Mr. Hastings to harden that son’s heart, to choke the struggling nature in his bosom — when I see them pointing to the son’s name and to his standard, when they march to oppress the mother, as to a banner that gives dignity, that gives an holy sanction and a reverence, to their enterprise — when I see and hear these things done — when I hear them brought into three deliberate Defences offered to the charges of the Commons — my Lords, I own I grow puzzled and confounded, and almost doubt whether where such a defence can be offered it may not be tolerated.

And yet, my Lords, how can I support the claim of filial love by argument, much less the affection of a son to a mother, where love loses its awe, and veneration is mixed with tenderness? What can I say upon such a subject? What can 1 do but repeat the ready truths which with the quick impulse of the mind must spring to the lips of every man upon stich a theme? Filial love — the morality, the instinct, the sacrament of nature — a duty; or rather let me say it is miscalled a duty, for it flows from the heart without effort — its delight — its indulgence — its enjoyment. It is guided not by the slow dictates of reason; it awaits not encouragement from reflection or from thought; it asks no aid of memory; it is an innate but active conscious-


106 THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS

ness of having been the object of a thousand tender solici- tudes, a thousand waking watchful cares, of meek anxiety and patient sacrifices, unremarked and unrequited by the object. . . .

If these are the general sentiments of man, what must be their depravity, what must be their degeneracy, who can blot out and erase from the bosom the virtue that is deepest rooted in the human heart, and twined within the cords of life itself — aliens from nature — apostates from humanityl And yet, if there is a crime more fell — more foul — if there is anything worse than a wilful persecutor of his mother — it is to see a deliberate, reasoning, instigator and abetter to the deed. This is a thing that shocks, disgusts and appals, the mind more than the other. To view — not a wilful parricide — to see a parricide by compulsion — a miserable wretch not actuated by the stubborn evils of his own heart — not driven by the fury of his own distracted brain — but lending his sacrilegious hand, without malice of his own, to answer the abandoned purposes of the human fiends that have subdued his will. To condemn crimes like these we need not talk of laws or of human rules. Their foulness — their deformity — does not depend upon local constitu- tions, upon human institutes or religious creeds. They are crimes; and the persons who perpetrate them are masters who violate the primitive condition upon which the earth was given to man. They are guilty by the general verdict of human kind.

FROM WARREN HASTINGS’ REPLY

(June 2, 1791)

one word more, my Lords, and I have done. It has been the fashion in the course of this trial, sometimes to represent the natives of India as the most virtuOus, and, sometimes, as the most profligate of mankind. I attest their virtue, and offer this unanswerable proof of it. When I was arraigned before your Lordships in the name of the Commons of Great Britain, for sacrificing their honour by acts of injustice, oppression, cruelty and rapacity, committed upon the princes, nobles and commonalty, of Hindustan, the


THE TRIAL OF WARREN HASTINGS 107

natives of India, of all ranks, came forward unsolicited to clear my reputation from the obloquy with which it was loaded. They manifested a generosity of which we have no example in the European world. Their conduct was the effect of their sense of gratitude for the benefits they had received during my administration. My Lords, I wish I had received the same justice from my countryl


, EDMUND BURKE ON THE ACQUITTAL OF WARREN

HASTINGS AT THE BAR OF THE HOUSE OF LORDS

(April 23, 1795)

( From a letter , July zo, 1 796, written shortly before bis death to his friend Dr. French Lawrence, who had acted as one of the two assisting Counsel for the Managers during the trial )

AS it is possible that my stay on this side of the grave may be yet shorter than I compute it, let me now beg you to call to your recollection the solemn charge and trust I gave you, on my departure from the public stage. . . . Let not this cruel, daring, unexampled, act of public corruption, guilt and meanness, go down to posterity, perhaps as careless as the present race, without its due animadversion, which will be best found in its own acts and monuments. Let my endeavours to save the nation from that shame and guilt be my monument; the only one I will ever have. Let everything I have done, said or written, be forgotten, but this. I have struggled with the great and the little on this point, during the greater part of my active life; and I wish, after death, to have my defiance [recorded] of the judgments of those who consider the dominion of the glorious empire given by an incomprehensible dispensation of the Divine Providence into our hands as nothing more than an opportunity of gratifying, for the lowest of their purposes, the lowest of their passions — and that for such poor rewards, and, for the most part, indirect and silly bribes, as indicate even more the folly than the corruption of these infamous and contemptible wretches.

I blame myself exceedingly for not having employed the


108 EDMUND BURKE

last year in this work, and beg forgiveness of God for such a neglect. I had strength enough for it, if I had not wasted some of it in compromising grief with drowsiness and forgetfulness, and employing some of the moments in which I have been roused to mental exertion in feeble endeavours to rescue this dull and thoughtless people from the punishments which their neglect and stupidity will bring upon them, for their systematic iniquity and oppression. But you are made to continue all that is good of me, and to augment it with the various resources of a mind fertile in virtues, and cultivated with every sort of talent and of knowledge. Above all, make out the cruelty of this pretended acquittal, but in reality this barbarous and inhuman condemnation of whole tribes and nations, and of all the classes they contain. If ever Europe recovers its civilization that work will be useful. Remember! Remember! Remember!


EDMUND BURKE

( I 7 2 9~ I 797)

Burke's famous “Letter to a Noble Lord", written in the last year of his life, has been recently reprinted in Mr. A. A. Baumann’s “Burke, the Founder of Conservatism" .

The full title is “A Letter from the Right Honourable Edmund Burke to a Noble Lord ( Earl Fit^william) on the attacks made upon him and his pension in the House of lairds by the Duka of Bedford and the Earl of Lauderdale early in the present sessions of Parliament , 1796.”

“The grounds of objection," Mr. Baumann writes, “were that the grant had been made by the Crown instead of by Parliament; that its reception by an advocate of public economy was inconsistent; and the amount was excessive."

Mr. Baumann adds that this letter “together with the ‘ Letter on a Regicide Peace’, which immediately followed it, formed the political thought and guided the conduct of the Tories up to the passing of the first Reform Act in 1832.”


EDMUND BURKE


109


TO A NOBLE LORD

My Lord,

I could hardly flatter myself with the hope, that so very early in the season I should have to acknowledge obligations to the Duke of Bedford and to the Earl of Lauderdale. These noble persons have lost no time in conferring upon me, that sort of honour, which it is alone within their competence, and which it is certainly most congenial to their nature and their manners to bestow.

To be ill spoken of, in whatever language they speak, by the zealots of the new sect in philosophy and politics, of which these noble persons think so charitably, and of which others think so justly, to me, is no matter of un- easiness or surprise. To have incurred the displeasure of the Duke of Orleans or the Duke of Bedford, to fall under the censure of citizen Brissot or of his friend the Earl of Lauderdale, I ought to consider as proofs, not the least satisfactory, that I have produced some part of the effect I proposed by my endeavours. I have laboured hard to earn, what the noble lords are generous enough to pay. Personal offence I have given them none. The part they take against me is from zeal 10 the cause. It is well! It is perfectly welll I have to do homage to their justice. I have to thank the Bedfords and the Lauderdales for having so faithfully and so fully acquitted towards me whatever arrear of debt was left undischarged by the Priestlcys and the Paines.

. . . Why will they not let me remain in obscurity and inaction? Are they apprehensive, that if an atom of me remains, the sect has something to fear? Must I be annihi- lated, lest, like old John Zisca’s, my skin should be made into a drum, to aninaate Europe to eternal battle, against a tyranny that threatens to overwhelm all Europe, and all the human race?

My lord, it is a subject of awful meditation. Before this of France, the Annals of all time have not furnished an instance of a complete revolution. That revolution seems to have extended even to the constitution of the mind of


no


EDMUND BURKE


man. It has this of wonderful in it, that it resembles what Lord Verulam says of the operations of nature. It was perfect, not only in its elements and principles, but in all its members and its organs from the very beginning. The moral scheme of France furnishes the only pattern ever known, which they who admire will instantly resemble. It is indeed an inexhaustible repertory of one kind of examples. In my wretched condition, though hardly to be classed with the living, I am not safe from them. They have tigers to fall upon animated strength. They have hyenas to prey upon carcasses. The national menagerie is collected by the first physiologists of the time; and it is defective in no description of savage nature. They pursue, even such as me, into the obscurest retreats, and haul them before their revolutionary tribunals. Neither sea, nor age — nor the sanctuary of the tomb, is sacred to them. They have so determined a hatred to all privileged orders that they deny, even to the departed, the sad immunities of the grave. They are not wholly without an object. Their turpitude purveys to their malice; and they unplumb the dead for bullets to assassinate the living.

... In one thing I can excuse the Duke of Bedford for his attack upon me and my mortuary pension. He cannot readily comprehend the transaction he condemns. What I have obtained is the fruit of no bargain; the production of no intrigue; the result of no compromise; the effect of no solicitation. The first suggestion of it never came from me, mediately or immediately, to his majesty or any of his ministers. It was long known that the instant my engage- ments would permit it, and before the heaviest of all calamities had for ever condemned me to obscurity and sorrow, I had resolved on a total retreat. I had executed that design. I was entirely out of the jway of serving or of hurting any statesman, or any party, when the ministers so generously and so nobly carried into effect the spontaneous bounty of the crown. Both descriptions have acted as became them. When I could no longer serve them, the ministers have considered my situation. When I could no longer hurt them, the revolutionists have trampled on my


EDMUND BURKE


III


infirmity. My gratitude, I trust, is equal to the manner in which the benefit was conferred. It came to me indeed, at a time of life, and in a state of mind and body, in which no circumstance of fortune could afford me any real pleasure. But this was no fault in the royal donor, or in his ministers, who are pleased, in acknowledging the merits of an invalid servant of the public, to assuage the sorrows of a desolate old man.

. . . The crown has considered me after long service: the crown has paid the Duke of Bedford by advance. He is secure, and long may he be secure, in his advance, whether he performs any services or not. But let him take care how he endangers the safety of that constitution which secures his own utility or his own insignificance; or how he dis- courages those, who take up, even puny arms, to defend an order of things, which, like the sun of heaven, shines alike on the useful and the worthless. . . . The Duke of Bedford will stand as long as prescriptive law endures; as long as the great stable laws of property common to us with all civilized nations, are kept in their integrity.

. . . But if the rude inroad of Gallic tumult, with its sophistical rights of man, to falsify the account, and its sword as a makeweight to throw into the scale, shall be introduced into our city by a misguided populace, set on by proud great men, themselves blinded and intoxicated by a frantic ambition, we shall, all of us, perish and be overwhelmed in a common ruin. If a great storm blow on our coast, it will cast the whales on the strand as well as the periwinkles. His grace will not survive the poor grantee he despises, no, not for a twelvemonth. If the great look for safety in the services they render to this Gallic cause, it is to be foolish, even above the weight of privilege allowed to wealth. .

. . . The consequences (of the French Revolution) are before us, — not in remote history; not in future prognosti- cation: they are about us; they are upon us. They shake the public security; they menace private enjoyment. They dwarf the growth of the young; they break the quiet of the old. If we travel, they stop our way. They infest us in


1 1 z


WILLIAM COWPER


town; they pursue us to the country. Our business is interrupted; our repose is troubled; our pleasures are sadden- ed; our very studies are poisoned and perverted, and know- ledge is rendered worse than ignorance, by the enormous evils of this dreadful innovation. The revolution harpies of France, sprung from night and hell, or from that chaotic anarchy, which generates equivocally “all monstrous, all prodigious things,” cuckoo-like, adulterously lay their eggs, and brood over, and hatch them in the nest of every neigh- bouring state. These obscene harpies, who deck themselves in I know not what divine attributes, but who in reality are foul and ravenous birds of prey (both mothers and daugh- ters), flutter over our heads, and souse down upon our tables, and leave nothing unrent, unrifled, unravaged, or unpolluted with the slime of their filthy offal.

If his grace can contemplate the result of this complete innovation, or, as some friends of his will call it, reform , in the whole body of its solidity and compound mass, at which, as Hamlet says, the face of heaven glows with horror and indignation, and which, in truth, makes every reflecting mind and every feeling heart perfectly thought- sick, without a thorough abhorrence of everything they say, and everything they do, I am amazed at the morbid strength, or the natural infirmity of his mind.


WILLIAM COWPER

(1731-1800)

Cowper, in a letter about “Tirocinium ” , wrote: “ Public schools . . . are becoming a nuisance , a pest, an abomination; and it is fit that the eyes and noses of mankind should, if possible, be open to perceive it.”

Although Cowper was exceptionally unhappy at Westminister, his view of public schools is not much more severe than that of other eighteenth- or early nineteenth-century writers, from Fielding through Gibbon to Charles Lamb.


WILLIAM BLAKE


IIJ


PROM TIROCINIUM OR A REVIEW OF SCHOOLS BY WILLIAM COWPER

would you your son should be a sot or dunce. Lascivious, headstrong, or all these at once; That in good time, the stripling’s finished taste For loose expense and fashionable waste, Should prove your ruin and his own at last, Train him in public with a mob of boys. Childish in mischief only and in noise.

Else of a mannish growth, and five in ten In infidelity and lewdness, men.

There shall he learn, ere sixteen winters old That authors are most useful, pawned or sold; That pedantry is all that schools impart.

But taverns teach the knowledge of the heart; There waiter Dick, with Bacchanalian lays,

Shall win his heart and have his drunken praise, His counsellor and bosom-friend shall prove, And some street-pacing harlot his first love.


WILLIAM BLAKE

(1757-1827)


Blake, who wrote:

“ And throughout all Eternity 1 forgive you, you forgive me”

possessed in full measure the irascibility which, as the later examples of Tolstoi pnd Dostoievsky show, seems to be the chief penalty attached to preaching the gospel of love. In Blake, however, this exasperation was childlike and unsophisticated, like his greatest poetry, and in its expression either entirely successful, as in the epigram on the dishonest publisher, Cromek , or purely insane, as in the indictment of the mild and gentlemanly Hay ley as a foiled adulterer and assassin.


WILLIAM BLAKE


IT 4


BLAKE’S CONTEMPORARIES HAYLEY

thy friendship oft has made my heart to ache: —

Do be my enemy, for friendship’s sake.

HAYLEY

to forgive enemies H does pretend

Who never in his life forgave a friend.

And when he could not act upon my wife Hired a villain to bereave my life.

CROMEK

A petty sneaking knave I knew . . .

Oh, Mr. Cromek, how do ye do?

TO ENGLISH CONNOISSEURS

you must agree that Rubens was a fool.

And yet you make him master of your school.

And give more money for his slohberings

Than you will give for Raphael’s finest things.

I understood Christ was a carpenter,

And not a brewer’s servant, my good sir.

STOTHARD

S , in childhood, on the nursery floor.

Was extreme old and most extremely poor:

He has grown old, and rich, and what he will;

He is extreme old, and extreme poor still.

STOTHARD

YOU say reserve and modesty he has,

Whose heart is iron, his head wood, and his face brass. The fox, the owl, the spider, and the bat.

By sweet reserve and modesty grow fat. ’


ROBERT SOUTHEY

(1774-1843)

PROM “ODE, WRITTEN DURING THE NEGOCIATIONS WITH BUONAPARTE, IN JANUARY, 1814”

. . . but Evil was his good.

For all too long in blood had he been nurst.

And ne’er was earth with verier tyrant curst.

Bold man and bad.

Remorseless, godless, full of fraud and lies,

And black with murders and with perjuries. Himself in Hell’s whole panoply he clad;

No law but his own headstrong will he knew.

No counsellor but his own wicked heart.

From evil thus portentous strength he drew.

And trampled under foot all human ties.

All holy laws, all natural charities.

O France! beneath this fierce Barbarian’s sway Disgraced thou art to all succeeding times;

Rapine, and blood, and fire have mark’d thy way. All loathsome, all unutterable crimes.

A curse is on thee, France! from far and wide It hath gone up to Heaven; all lands have cried For vengeance upon thy detested head;

All nations curse thee, France! for wheresoe’er In peace or war thy banner hath been spread.

All forms of human woe have follow’d there:

The Living and the Dead Cry out alike Against thee! They who bear, Crunching beneath its weight, thine iron yoke.

Join in the bitterness of secret prayer The voice of that innumerable throng Whose slaughtered spirits day and night invoke The everlasting Judge of right and wrong.

How long, O Lord! Holy and Just, how long! . .


ROBERT SOUTHEY


One man hath been for ten long wretched years The cause of all this blood and all these tears;

One man in this most awful point of time Draws on thy danger, as he caused thy crime.

Wait not too long the event.

For now whole Europe comes against thee bent; His wiles and their own strength the nations know; Wise from past wrongs, on future peace intent.

The People and the Princes, with one mind,

From all parts move against the general foe:

One act of justice, one atoning blow.

One execrable head laid low,

Even yet, O France, averts thy punishment:

Open thine eyes! too long hast thou been blind; Take vengeance for thyself, and for mankindl

France! if thou lov’st thine ancient fame.

Revenge thy sufferings and thy shame!

By the bones that bleach on Jaffa’s beach;

By the blood which on Domingo’s shore Hath clogg’d the carrion-birds with gore;

By the flesh that gorged the wolves of Spain,

Or stiffen’d on the snowy plain Of frozen Muscovy;

By the bodies that lie all open to the sky.

Tracking from Elbe to Rhine the Tyrant’s flight;

By the widow’s and the orphan’s cry,

By the childless parent’s misery,

By the lives which he hath shed.

By the ruin he hath spread.

By the prayers that rise for curses on his head. Redeem, O France! thine ancient fame.

Revenge thy sufferings and thy $hame;

Open thine eyes! . . . too long hast thou been blind; Take vengeance for thyself, and for mankindl

By those horrors which the night Witness’d, when the torches’ light To the assembled murderers show’d Where the blood of Conde flowed;


“the times” ON NAPOLEON BONAPARTE 117

By thy murder’d Pichegru’s fame;

By murder’d Wright, ... an English name;

By murder’d Palm’s atrocious doom;

By murder’d Hofer’s martyrdom;

Ohl by the virtuous blood thus vilely spilt.

The Villain’s own peculiar private guilt,

Open thine eyesl too long hast thou been blind!

Take vengeance for thyself, and for mankind!

“THE TIMES” ON NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

This article appeared in “ The Times ” on July 25 , 1815 . It is interesting to compare it with the leaders in “The Times ' ’ after the Armistice in 1918 .

Our paper of this day will satisfy the sceptics, for such there were beginning to be, as to the capture of that bloody miscreant, who has so long tortured Europe, Napoleon Bonaparte. Savages are always found to unite the greatest degree of cunning to the ferocious part of their nature. . . . The cruelty of this person is written in characters of blood in almost every country in Europe, and in the contiguous angles of Africa and Asia which he visited; and nothing can more strongly evince the universal conviction of his low, perfidious craft, than the opinion which was beginning to get abroad, that even after his capture had been officially announced both in France and England, he might yet have found means to escape.

However all doubts upon this point are at an end, by his arrival off the British coast, and if he be not now placed beyond the possibility of again outraging the peace of Europe, England will certainly never again deserve to have heroes such as those who have fought and bled at Waterloo, for this his present overthrow. The lives of the brave men who fell on that memorable day will have been absolutely "thrown away by a thoughtless country, the grand object obtained by their valour will have been frustrated, and we shall do little less than insult over their remains, almost before they have ceased to bleed. But Fortune, seconding


Il8 “THE times” ON NAPOLEON BONAPARTE

their undaunted efforts, has put it in our power to do far otherwise.

Captain Sartorius of the Slaney frigate, arrived yesterday with despatches from Captain Maitland of the heller ophon, confirming all the antecedent accounts of Bonaparte’s* surrender, with various other details, and closing them by their natural catastrophe — his safe conveyance to England. He is, therefore, what we may call, here. Captain Sartorius delivered his despatches to Lord Melville, at Wimbledon, by whom their contents were communicated to Lord Liverpool, at his seat at Coombe Wood; summonses were immediately issued for a Cabinet Council to meet at 12 o’clock; what passed there was, of course, not suffered to transpire; our narrative must therefore revert to the Slaney frigate, and the accounts brought by her. She had been sent forward by Captain Maitland, to Plymouth, with the despatches announcing that Bonaparte was on board the Bellerophon with a numerous suite. But it was the intention of Captain Maitland himself, to proceed to Torbay, and not to land his prisoners until he had received orders from Government.

Bonaparte’s suite, as it is called, consists of upwards of forty persons, among whom are Bertrand, Savary, Lallemand, Grogeau, and several women. He has been allowed to take on board carriages and horses, but admission was denied to about fifty cavalry, for whom he had the impudence to require accommodation. This wretch has really lived in the commission of every crime so long that he has lost all sight and knowledge of the difference that exists between good and evil, and hardly knows when he is doing wrong, except he be taught by proper chastisement. A creature — who ought to be greeted with a gallows as soon as he lands — to think of an attendance of fifty horsemen! He had at first wanted to make conditions with Captain Maitland, as to his treatment, but the British officer very properly declared that he must refer him upon this subject to his Government. -

When he had been some time on board, he asked the Captain what chance two large frigates, well-manned, would have with a seventy-four. The answer, we under-


P. B. SHELLEY


1X9

stand, which he received to this enquiry, did not give him any cause to regret that he had not risked his fortune in a naval combat with the relative forces in question. By the way, we should not have been surprised, if he had come into an action with the two frigates, and then endeavoured to escape in his own, and leave the other to her fate. It has been the constant trick of this villain, whenever he has got his companions into a scrape, to leave them in it and seek his own safety by flight. In Egypt, in the Moscow expedi- tion, and at Waterloo, such was his conduct.

P. B. SHELLEY

(1792-1822)

The “ Masque of Anarchy ” and the “ Sonnet on George III” were both written in 1819, the year of the Manchester Massacre, and of universal unrest among the poor , who were suffering intensely from a variety of causes, some due to the reactionary callousness and stupidity of the governing classes, others to the late war and the spread of machinery.

The reference to Eldon in the “ Masque of Anarchy ” is clearly shaped by Eldon’s refusal, in 1817, to allow Shelley the custody of his two children by Harriet.

ENGLAND IN 1819

An old, mad, blind, despised, and dying king, —

Princes, the dregs of their dull race, who flow Through public scorn, — mud from a muddy spring, — Rulers who neither are, nor feel, nor know,

But leech-like to their fainting country cling,

Till they drop, blind in blood, without a blow, —

A people starved and stabbed in the untilled field, —

An army, which iiberticide and prey

Makes as a two-edged sword to all who wield, —

Golden and sanguine laws which tempt and slay; Religion Christless, Godless — a book sealed;

A Senate, — Time’s worst statue unrepealed, — fae graves, from which a glorious Phantom may Burst, to illumine our tempestuous day.


120


V. B. SHELLEY


FROM “THE MASQUE OF ANARCHY”

“I met murder on the way He had a mask like Castlereagh —

Very smooth he looked, yet grim;

Seven blood-hounds followed him:

All were fat; and well they might Be in admirable plight.

For one by one, and two by two.

He tossed them human hearts to chew Which from his wide cloak he drew.

Next came Fraud, and he had on.

Like Eldon, an ermined gown;

His big tears, for he wept well.

Turned to mill-stones as they fell.

And the little children, who Round his feet played to and fro. Thinking every tear a gem,

Had their brains knocked out by them.

. . . And many more Destructions played In this ghastly masquerade,

All disguised, even to the eyes.

Like bishops, lawyers, peers, or spies.

Last came Anarchy; he rode On a white horse, splashed with blood; He was pale even to the lips, t Like Death in the Apocalypse.

And he wore a kingly crown;

And in his grasp a sceptre shone;

And on his brow this mark I saw —

‘I am God, and King, and Law!’


P. B. SHELLEY


1 21


. . . Men of England, Heirs of Glory, Heroes of unwritten story.

Nurslings of one mighty mother, Hopes of her, and one another.

Rise, like lions after slumber.

In unvanquishable number.

Shake your chains to earth like dew. Which in sleep had fall’n on you.

What is Freedom? Ye can tell That which Slavery is too well.

For its very name has grown To an echo of your own.

‘Tis to work, and have such pay As just keeps life from day to day In your limbs, as in a cell For the tyrants’ use to dwell. . . .

‘Tis to see your children weak With their mothers pine and peak. When the winter winds are bleak: — They are dying whilst I speak.

‘Tis to hunger for such diet.

As the rich man in his riot Casts to the fat dogs that lie Surfeiting beneath his eye.

‘Tis to let the Ghost of Gold Take from toil a thousand fold.

More tharf e’er its substance could In the Tyrannies of old:

. . . Asses, swine, have litter spread. And with fitting food are fed;

All things have a home but one: Thou, oh Englishman, hast nonel”


JOHN KEATS

(1795-1821)

The review of “ Endymion” , quoted from below, appeared in “Blackwood’s” in 1818. Lockhart is supposed to have written ‘ it, with some help from Christopher North. Keats was attacked also in the “Quarterly” by Croker, but in far less offensive terms. After Keats’ death in 1821, Shelley wote “ Adonais ”, to com- memorate Keats’ genius and misfortunes, the least of which was bis treatment by the reviewers, and the greatest, of which Shelley knew nothing, his unsatisfied passion for Fanny Browne. Like Byron, who passed some characteristic remarks on the contrast between Keats’ feebleness and his own heroic resistance to insult, Shelley believed that Keats’ death bad been chiefly brought about by the reviewers, and in this belief wrote the preface to “ Adonais ” and the stanzas given below. At this date Shelley had not seen the “ Blackwood ” review, and the references in the preface are therefore to the “Quarterly”. Lockhart and Wilson felt, however, that they bad been obliquely reflected upon, and retorted both in prose, and in a parody of “Adonais ” , beginning —

Weep for my Tomcat! all ye Tabbies weep,

For he is gone at last !

KEATS TO FANNY BRAWNE (1820)

I am tormented day and night. They talk of my going to Italy. ’Tis certain I shall never recover if I am to be so separate from you: yet with all this devotion to you I cannot persuade myself into any confidence of you. Past experience connected with the fact of my long separation from you gives me agonies which are scarcely to be talked of. When your mother comes I shall be very sudden and expert in asking her whether you have been to Mrs. Dilke’s, for she might say no to make me easy.' I am literally worn to death, which seems my only recourse. I cannot forget what has pass’d. What? nothing with a man of the world, but to me dreadful. . . When you were in the habit o£~ flirting with Brown you would have left off, could your own heart have felt one half of one pang mine did. Brown is a good sort of Man — he did not know he was doing me to


JOHN KEATS

death by inches. I feel the effect of every one of those hours in my side now; and for that cause, though he has done me many services, though I know his love and friend- ship for me, though at this moment I should be without peace were it not for his assistance, I will never see or speak to him until wc are both old, if we are to be. . . You will call this madness. I have heard you say that it was not unpleasant to wait a few years — you have amusements — your mind is away — you have not brooded over one idea as I have, and how should you? . . . Any party, anything to fill up the day has been enough. How have you pass’d this month? Who have you smil’d with? All this may seem savage to you. You do not feel as I do— you do not know what it is to love — one day you may — your time is not come. ... I appeal to you by the blood of that Christ you believe in: Do not write to me if you have done anything this month which it would have pained me to have seen. You may have altered — if you have not — if you still behave in dancing rooms and other societies as I have seen you — I do not want to live — if you have done so, I wish this coming night may be my last. I cannot live without you, and not only you but chaste you-, virtuous you.

FROM BLACKWOOD ON KEATS’ “ENDYMION”

the Phrenzy of the “Poems” was bad enough in its way; but it did not alarm us half so seriously as the calm, settled, imperturbable drivelling idiocy of “Endymion”. . . . Mr. Hunt is a small poet, but he is a clever man. Mr. Keats is a still smaller poet, and he is only a boy of pretty abilities, which he has done everything in his power to spoil. . . We venture to make one small prophecy, that his bookseller will not a second thne venture £50 upon any tiling he can write. It is a better and a wiser thing to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet; so back to the shop, Mr. 'John, back to “plasters, pills, and ointment boxes,” etc. But for Heaven’s sake, young Sangrado, be a little more sparing of extenuatives and soporifics in your practice than you have been with your poetry.


124


JOHN KEATS


"adonais”

From the Preface.

it may be well said that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisoned shaft lights on a heart made callous by many blows or one like Keats’s composed of more penetrable stuff. ... As to Endymion, was it a poem, whatever might be its defects, to be treated contemptuously by those who had celebrated, with various degrees of complacency and panegyric, Paris, and Women , and a Syrian Tale, and Mrs. Lefanu, and Mr. Barrett, and Mr. Howard Payne, and a long list of the illustrious obscure? Are these the men who in their venal good nature presumed to draw a parallel between the Rev. Mr. Milman and Lord Byron? What gnat did they strain at here, after having swallowed all those camels? Against what woman taken in adultery dares the foremost of these literary prostitutes to cast his opprobrious stone? Miserable man! You, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used none.

From “Adonais”.

our Adonais has drunk poison — oh!

What deaf and viperous murderer could crown Life’s early cup with such a draught of woe?

The nameless worm would now itself disown:

It felt, yet could escape, the magic tone Whose prelude held all envy, hate, and wrong,

But what was howling in one breast alone.

Silent with expectation of the song, *

Whose master’s hand is cold, whose silver lyre unstrung.

Live thou, whose infamy is not thy famel Live! fear no heavier chastisement from me.

Thou noteless blot on a remembered name!

But be thyself, and know thyself to be!


MRS. TROLLOPE


I2J


And ever at thy season be thou free To spill the venom when thy fangs o’erflow:

Remorse and self-contempt shall cling to thee;

Hot shame shall burn upon thy secret brow,

And like a beaten hound tremble thou shalt — as now.

FROM BLACKWOOD ON “ADONAIS”

the present story is thus: A Mr. John Keats, a young man ♦who had left a decent calling for the melancholy trade of Cockney-poetry, has lately died of a consumption, after . having written two or three little books of verses, much neglected by the public. His vanity was probably wrung not less than his purse; for he had it upon the authority of the Cockney Homers and Virgils, that he might become a light to their region at a future time. But all this is not necessary to help a consumption to the death of a poor sedentary man, with an unhealthy aspect, and a mind harassed by the first troubles of versemaking. The New School, however, will have it that he was slaughtered by a criticism of the Quarterly Review — “O flesh, how art thou fishified!” — We are not now to defend a publication so well able to defend itself. But the fact is, that the Quarterly finding before it a work at once silly and presumptuous, full of the servile slangx hat Cockaigne dictates to its servitors, and the vulgar indecorums which that Grub Street Empire rejoiceth to applaud, told the truth of the volume, and recommended a change of manners and masters to the scribbler. Keats wrote on; but he wrote indecently, probably in the indulgence of his social propensities.


MRS. TROLLOPE

(1780-1863)

Frances Trollope, mother of Anthony Trollope, went with her husband to the United States, in 1829, and opened a small fancy- goods shop in Cincinnati. After three years in the States, she returned to England, where she published her impressions of her


WILLIAM COBBETT


126

trans-Atlantic visit. The changed attitude of the English writer of to-day when visiting the States , lends historic interest to the following brief and uncourt ly quotation.

ON A MISSISSIPPI STEAMER

the total want of all the usual courtesies of the table; the voracious rapidity with which the viands were seized and devoured; the strange uncouth phrases and pronunciation; the loathsome spitting, from the contamination of which it was absolutely impossible to protect our dresses; the frightful manner of feeding with their knives, till the whole blade seemed to enter into the mouth; and the still more frightful manner of cleaning the teeth afterwards with a pocket-knife, soon forced us to feel that we were not surrounded by the generals, colonels, and majors of the Old World, and that the dinner-hour was to be anything rather than an hour of enjoyment.

( Domestic Manners of the Americans.)


WILLIAM COBBETT

(1762-1835)

The magnificent speech given below was delivered in 1831 when Cobbett was prosecuted by the Government for sedition. The jury , being unable to agree , were discharged, and Cobbett was acquitted. It was the greatest triumph of his tumultuous and mixed career.

The English Reformation , especially in its destruction of the monastries , was together with the Whigs the chief object of Cobbett' s detestation. The Catholic democratic movement of to-day has naturally turned back to Cobbett, as one of its forerunners, and his reputation stands higher now than it has ever yet stood. — It is perhaps worth noting that like many assailants of public corruption Cobbett' s own private reputation for integrity, especially in money matters , was indifferent.


WILLIAM COBBETT


127


THE WHIGS

This is the second time in my life that I have been prose- cuted by an Attorney-General, and brought before this Court. I have been writing for 30 years, and only twice out of that long period have I been brought bofore this Court. The first time was by an apostate Whig. What, indeed, of evil have the Whigs not done? Since then, although there have been six Attorneys-General, all Tories, and although were I a crown lawyer I might pick out plenty of libels from my writings, if this be a libel, yet I have never for 21 years been prosecuted until this Whig Government came in. But the Whigs were always a most tyrannical faction; they always tried to make tyranny double tyranny; they were always the most severe, the most grasping, the most greedy, the most tyrannical faction whose proceedings are recorded in history. It was they who seized what remained of the crown lands; it was they who took to themselves the last portion of church property: it was they who passed the monstrous Riot Act; it was they also who passed the Septennial Bill. The Government are now acquiring great credit for doing away with the rotten boroughs; but if they deserve credit for doing them away, let it be borne in mind that the Whigs created them. They established an interest in the regulation, and gave con- sistency and value to corruption. Then came the excise laws, which were brought in by the Whigs, and from them, too, emanated that offensive statute by which Irish men and Irish women may be transported without judge or jury. There is, indeed, no faction so severe and cruel; they do everything by force and violence: the Whigs are the Reho- boam of England: the Tories ruled us with rods, but the Whigs scourge us* with scorpions! The last time I was brought before this Court, I was sent out of it to two year’s imprisonment among felons, and was condemned to pay, at the expiration of the two years, a fine of £1000 to the King, which the King took and kept. ... In order to avoid being confined in the same cells with common felons, I was obliged to ransom myself at the rate of ten guineas per week.


I2 8 WILLIAM COBBETf

which I paid to the jailor, and my other expenses amounted to ten guineas a week more; so that I was obliged to pay twenty guineas a week for 104 weeks. I was carried seventy miles from my family, and shut up in a jail, doubtless from the hope that I should expire from stench and mortification of mind. It pleased God, however, to bless me with health, and though deprived of liberty, by dint of sobriety and temperance, I outlived the base attempt to destroy me. What crime had I committed? For what was it that I was condemned to this horrible punishment? Simply for writing a paragraph in which I expressed the indignation I felt at an English local militiaman having been flogged under a guard of German bayonets! I only expressed the indig- nation I felt, and I should have been a base creature indeed if I had not expressed it. But now, military flogging excites universal indignation. If there be at present any of the jury alive who found me guilty and sentenced me to that punishment, what remorse must they not feel for their conduct when they perceive that every writer in every periodical of the present day, even including the favourite publication of this Whig Attorney-General, are now unanimous in deprecating the system of military flogging altogether! Yes, for expressing my disapprobation of that system, I was tossed into a dungeon like Daniel into the lion’s den. But why am I now tossed down before this Court by the Attorney-General. What are my sins? I have called on the Government to respect the law; I have cautioned them that hard-hearted proceedings are driving the labourers to despair; that is my crime. If the Govern- ment really wish to avoid disturbances in the country, let them give us back the old laws; let them give the people the old game law, and repeal the new law; and let them do away with the other grinding laws that oppress the poor. I have read, with horror which I cannot describe, of a magistrate being accused to the Lord Chancellor of subornation of perjury; I have read of that magistrate being reinstated* and I have shuddered with horror at supposing that a poor starving labourer may be brought before such a man, and, in conjunction with another such magistrate, may be doomed


CHARLES CAVENDISH GREVTLLE 1 29

to seven years’ transportation for being out at night, and such a magistrate may be himself a game-preserver! This is a monstrous power, and certainly ought to be abolished. The ministry, however, will perhaps adopt the measures I have recommended, and then prosecute me for recom- mending them. Just so it is with Parliamentary Reform, a measure which I have been foremost in recommending for twenty years. I have pointed out, and insisted upon, the sort of reform that we must have; and they are compelled already to adopt a large part of my suggestions, and avow- edly against their will. They hate me for this; they look upon it as I do, that they are married to Reform, and that I am the man who has furnished the halter in which they are led to church. For supplying that halter, they have made this attack on me, through the Attorney-General, and will slay me if they can. The Whigs know that my intention was not bad. This is a mere pretence to inflict pecuniary ruin on me, or cause me to die of sickness in a jail; so that they may get rid of me because they can neither buy nor silence me. It is their fears which make them attack me, and it is my death they intend. In that object they will be defeated, for, thank Heaven, you stand between me and destruction. If, however, your verdict should be — which I do not anticipate — one that will consign me to death, by sending me to a loathsome dungeon, I will with my last breath pray to God to bless my country and curse the Whigs, and I bequeath my revenge to my children and the labourers of England.

[Mr. Cobbett then sat down amidst loud acclamations from the spectators in the gallery, which it was with great difficulty the officers could suppress.]


CHARLES CAVENDISH GREVILLE

(1794-1865)

Greville, who was intimate with the most important statesmen of his time, the Duke of Wellington, Palmerston , Lord Clarendon , thi Duke of Bedford, and many others, kept a diary for many


9


I JO CHARLES CAVENDISH GREVILLE

years which he banded to Mr. Henry Reeve, for publication after his death.

Its value may be judged from the brilliant portraits, given here, of George IV, and the third Marquis of Hertford, who served as a model for Thackeray' s “ Marquis of Steyne" and Disraeli's “Lord Monmouth" .

ON RACING

Racing is just like dram-drinking, momentary excitement and wretched intervals, full consciousness of the mischiev- ous effects of the habit and equal difficulty in abstaining from it. ... A pretty sort of life! Very well for most of the fellows there (at the races) who live for nothing else, but for we who have tasted of better things it is too bad. . . . These are my holidays — exclusively devoted to the turf, passed in complete idleness, without ever looking into a book, or doing one useful or profitable thing, living with the merest wretches, whose sole and perpetual occupation it is, jockeys, trainers, betters, blacklegs, blackguards, people who do nothing but gamble, smoke, and talk everlastingly of horses and races. ... I grow more and more disgusted with the atmosphere of villainy I am forced to breathe ... it is not easy to keep one’s self undefiled. It is monstrous to see high bred and high born gentlemen of honoured names and families, themselves marching through the world with their heads in the air, “all honourable men,” living in the best, the greatest and most refined society, mixed up in schemes which are neither more nor less than a system of plunder.

THE THIRD MARQUIS OF HERTFORD

As Lord Yarmouth he was known as a sharp, cunning, luxurious, avaricious man of the world, with some talent, the favourite of George IV (the worst of kings) when Lady Hertford, his mother, was that Prince’s mistress. He was celebrated for his success at play, by which he supplied himself with the large sums of money required for his pleasures, and which his father had no inclination to give him, and the son had none to ask of him. He won largely.


CHARLES CAVENDISH GREVILLE I3I

not by any cheating or unfairness, but coolness, calculation, always backing the best players, and getting the odds on his side. He was a bon vivant , and when young and gay his parties were agreeable, and he contributed his share to their hilarity. But after he became Lord Hertford and the possessor of an enormous property he was puffed up with vulgar pride, very unlike the real scion of a noble race; he loved nothing but full pomp and ceremony, and could only endure people who paid him court and homage. After a great deal of coarse and vulgar gallantry, generally pur- chased at a high rate, he formed a connexion with Lady Strachan, which thenceforward determined all the habits of his life. She was a very infamous and shameless woman, and his love after some years was changed to hatred; and she, after getting very large sums out of him, married a Sicilian. But her children, three daughters, he in a manner adopted; though eventually all his partiality centred upon one, Charlotte by name, who married Count Zichy-Ferraris, a Hungarian nobleman. She continued to live with Hertford on and off, here and abroad, until his habits became in his last year so ostentatiously crapulous that her residence in his house, in England at least, ceased to be compatible with common decency. She was, however, here till within a week or ten days of his death, and her departure appears curiously enough to have led to the circumstances which immediately occasioned it. There has been, as far as I know, no example of undisguised debauchery exhibited to the world like that of Lord Hertford, and his age and infirmities rendered it at once the more remarkable and the more shocking. Between sixty and seventy years old, broken with various infirmities, and almost unintelligible from a paralysis of the tongue, he has been in the habit pf travelling about with a company of prostitutes who formed las principal society, and by whom he was surrounded up to the moment of his death, generally picking them up from the dregs of that class, and changing them according to his fancy and caprice. Here he was to be seen driving about the town, and lifted by two footmen from his carriage into the brothel, and he


132 CHARLES CAVENDISH GREVTLLE

never seems to have thought it necessary to throw the slightest veil over the habits he pursued. For some months or weeks past he lived at Dorchester House, and the Zichys with him; but every day at a certain hour his women, who were quartered elsewhere, arrived, passed the greater part of the day, and one or other of them all the night in his room. He found the presence of the Countess Zichy troublesome and embarrassing to his pleasures, and he made her comprehend that her absence would not be disagreeable to him, and accordingly she went away. He had then been ill in bed for many days, but as soon as she was gone, as if to celebrate his liberation by a jubilee, he got up and posted with his seraglio to Richmond. No room was ready, no fire lit, nevertheless he choose to dine there amidst damp and cold, drank a quantity of champagne, came back chilled and exhausted, took to his bed, grew gradually worse, and in ten days died.

GEORGE IV AND HIS COURT

A more despicable scene cannot be exhibited than that which the interior of our Court presents — every base, low, and unmanly propensity, with selfishness, avarice and life of petty intrigue and mystery. . . .

A more contemptible, cowardly, selfish, unfeeling dog does not exist than this King, on whom such flattery is constantly lavished. He has a sort of capricious good- nature, arising however out of no good principle or good feeling, but which is of use to him, as it cancels in a moment and at small cost a long score of misconduct. Princes have only to behave with common decency and prudence, and they are sure to be popular, for there is a great and general disposition to pay court to them. There have been good and wise kings, but not many of them. Take them one with another they are of an inferior character, and this I believe to be one of the 'worst of the kind. The littleness of his character prevents his displaying the dangerous faults that belong to great minds, but with vices and weaknesses of the lowest and most contemptible order it would be difficult to find a disposition more abundantly furnished.


BENJAMIN DISRAELI

(1804-1881)

The extracts from O'Connell's invective against Disraeli , and from Disraeli's abuse of Palmerston, Russell, Gladstone, and Hume, should be read in conjunction with Mr. Pott's article on Hole-and-Corner Bujfery, and Serjeant Bu^fufs peroration ‘against Pickwick. Dickens was a parliamentary reporter in his Marly youth, and a comparison between the invective actually ’ uttered by O'Connell and Disraeli, and that invented by Dickens shows that even Dickens could not caricature the contemporary rhetorician , of pen or tongue. It would require a very fine sense to distinguish between “ You are now exhaling upon the constitution of your country all that long-hoarded venom and all those distempered humours" or “ England is degraded in tolerating or having upon the face of her society a miscreant of his abominable, foul and atrocious nature" and “A reptile contemporary has recently sweltered forth his black venom. ...”

Disraeli’s contemporaries

Palmerston . — You owe the Whigs great gratitude, my lord, and therefore, 1 think, you will betray them.

Your lordship is like a favourite footman on easy terms with his mistress. Your dexterity seems a happy com- pound of the smartness of an attorney’s clerk and the intrigue of a Greek of the lower empire.

Tord John Russell . — If a traveller were informed that such a man was leader of the House of Commons he may begin to comprehend how the Egyptians worshipped an Insect.

You are now exhaling upon the constitution of your country all that long-hoarded venom and all those distem- pered humours that have for years accumulated in your petty heart and tainted the current of your mortified life.

To Mr. Joseph Hume.

1. (From a letter, June 5, 1832, when Disraeli was contesting Wycombe as a Radical.)


DANIEL O’CONNELL


134

Accept my sincere, my most cordial thanks. . . . Believe me, sir, that if it be my fortune to be returned in the present instance to a Reformed Parliament, I shall remember with satisfaction that that return is mainly attributed to the interest expressed in my success by one of the most dis- tinguished and able of our citizens.

2. (From a letter, January 12, 1836, after Disraeli had left the Radicals.)

You are a man who, having scraped together a fortune by jobbing in Government Contracts in a colony, and entering the House of Commons as the Tory representative of a close corporation, became the apostle of economy and unrestricted suffrage; and you close a career, commenced and matured in corruption, by spouting Sedition in Middlesex and counselling rebellion in Canada.

Gladstone . — A sophistical rhetorician, inebriated with the exuberance of his own verbosity, and gifted with an egotistical imagination that can at all times command an interminable and inconsistent series of arguments to malign an opponent and glorify himself.


DANIEL O’CONNELL

(1775-1847)

O’CONNELL ON DISRAELI

(From a speech in 1835 at a meeting of Trades Unions in

Dublin)

1 must confess there is one of the late attacks on me which excited in my mind a great deal of astonishment. (Hear, hear.) It is this: the attack made at Taunton by Mr. D’Israeli. In the annals of political turpitude there is not anything deserving the appellation of blackguardism to equal that attack on me. What is my acquaintance with this man? Just this: In 1831, or the beginning of 1832, the borough of Wycombe became vacant. He got an introduction to rhe,


DANIEL O’CONNELL


  • 35

and wrote me a letter stating that I was a Radical Reformer, and as he was also a Radical (Laughter), and was going to stand upon the Radical interest for the borough of Wycombe where he said there were many persons of that way of thinking who would be influenced by my opinion, he would feel obliged by receiving a letter from me recom- mendatory of him as a Radical. His letter to me was so distinct upon the subject that I immediately complied with the request, and composed as good a letter as I could in his behalf. Mr. D’Israeli thought this letter so valuable that he not only took the autograph, but had it printed and placarded. It was, in fact, the ground upon which he canvassed the borough. He was, however, defeated, but that was not my fault. (Laughter.) I did not demand gratitude from him, but I think if he had any feeling he would conceive I had done him a civility at least, if not a service, which ought not to be repaid by atrocity of the foulest description. (Cheers.) The next thing I heard of him was that he had started upon the Radical interest for Marylcbone, but was again defeated. Having been twice defeated in the Radical interest, he was just the fellow for the Conservatives (laughter), and accordingly he joined a Conservative club and started for two or three places in the Conservative interest. (Loud laughter.) At Taunton, this miscreant had the audacity to call me an incendiary! Why, I was a greater incendiary in 18 ji than I am at present — if I ever were one (laughter), — and, if I am, he is doubly so for having employed me (Cheers and laughter). Then he calls me a traitor. My answer to that is, he is a liar (Cheers). He is a liar in action and in words. His life is a living lie. He is a disgrace to his species. What state of society 7 must that be that could tolerate such a creature — having the audacity to come forward with one set of principles at one time, and obtain political assistance by reason of those principles, and at another to profess diametrically the reverse? His life, I say again, is a living lie. He is the most degraded of his species and kind; and England is degraded in tolerating or having upon the face of her society a mis- creant of his abominable, foul and atrocious nature (Cheers).


CHARLES DICKENS


136

If there be harsher terms in the British language I should use them, because it is the harshest of all terms that would be descriptive of a wretch of his species (Cheers and laughter). His name shows he is by descent a Jew. His father became a convert. He is the better for that in this world, and I hope he will be the better for it in the next. I have the happiness of being acquainted with some Jewish families in London, and among them more accomplished ladies, or more humane, cordial, high-minded, or better-educated gentle- men I have never met (Hear, hear). It will not be supposed therefore that when I speak of D’Israeli as the descendant of a Jew, that I mean to tarnish him on that account. They were once the chosen people of God. There were mis- creants amongst them however, also, ami it must certainly have been from one of these that D’Israeli descended (Roars of laughter). He possesses just the qualities of the impenitent thief who died upon the Cross, whose name, I verily believe, must have been D’Israeli (Roars of laughter). For aught I know, the present D’Israeli is descended from him, and, with the impression that he is, I now forgive the heir-at-law of the blasphemous thief who died upon the Cross (Loud cheers and roars of laughter).

CHARLES DICKENS

(1812-1870)

The connection between the invective and abuse of the imaginary Mr. Pott and Serjeant Bwgjtr^, and the style of contemporary rhetoricians has been referred to above. Another parallel between fiction and real life may be found in Serjeant Buq^fufs emotional note — “It is ill jesting when our deepest sympathies are awakened" — and Sheridan’s “Good God! my Lords, rghat a cause is this we are maintaining! ...”

It is worth noting that, after gentle Shakespeare, the author of the “Christmas Carol" has the widest range of invective in TLnglish literature. The specimens given here include, in addition to Pott and Buo^ftr^, and a not very happy example from Dickens himself as an art critic, the termagant landlady, Mrs. Raddle ,


CHARLES DICKENS I37

and the foiling of Ralph Nickleby. The chief speciality of the Victorian age , especially in its middle period , was the angel- devil antithesis , the clash between unredeemed depravity and untainted innocence. Dickens was the greatest master in this department', but the most extraordinary single achievement in this vein is Julian Home’s denunciation of his fellow-undergraduate, Hamlet, which is given here as a pendant to the rescue of Madeline Bray from the embraces of the senile Gride.

HOLE-AND-CORNER BUFFERY

(From an article bj Air. Pott, Editor of the il Eatanswill

Gazette.”)

A reptile contemporary has recently sweltered forth his black venom in the vain hope and hopeless attempt of sullying the fair fame of our distinguished and excellent representative, the Honourable Mr. Slumkcy — that Slumkey whom we, long before he gained his present noble and exalted position, predicted would one day be, as he now is, at once his country’s brightest honour, and her proudest boast: alike her bold defender and her honest pride — our reptile contemporary, we say, has made himself merry, at the expense of a superbly embossed plated coal-scuttle, which has been presented to that glorious man by his enraptured constituents, and towards the purchase of which, the nameless wretch insinuates, the 1 honourable Mr. Slumkcy himself contributed, through a contidential friend of his butler’s, more than three-fourths of the whole sum subscribed. Why, does not the crawling creature see, that even if this be the fact, the Honourable Mr. Slumkey only appears in a still more amiable and radiant light than before, if that be possible? Does not even his obtuseness perceive that this amiable and touching desire to carry out the wishes of the constituent body, must for ever endear him to the hearts and souls of such of his fellow townsmen as arc not worse than swine; or, in other words, who are not as debased as our contemporary himself? But such is the wretched trickery of hole-and-corner Bufferyl These are not its only artifices. Treason is abroad. Wfc boldly state, now that we are goaded to the disclosure.


CHARLES DICKENS


I38

and we throw ourselves on the country and its constables for protection — we boldly state that secret preparations are at this moment in progress for a Buff ball; which is to be held in a Buff town, in the very heart and centre of a Buff population; which is to be conducted by a Buff master of the ceremonies; which is to be attended by four ultra Buff members of Parliament, and the admission to which is to be by Buff ticketsl Does our fiendish contemporary wince? Let him writhe in impotent malice, as we pen the words,

WE WILL BE THERE.

(The Pickwick Papers.)

SERJEANT BUZFUZ’s PERORATION “but enough of this, gentlemen,” said Serjeant Buzfuz, “it is difficult to smile with an aching heart; it is ill jesting when our deepest sympathies are awakened. My client’s hopes and prospects are ruined, and it is no figure of speech to say that her occupation is gone indeed. The bill is down — but there is no tenant. Eligible single gentlemen pass and repass — but there is no invitation for them to inquire within or without. All is gloom and silence in the house; even the voice of the child is hushed; his infant sports arc disregarded when his mother weeps; his “alley tors” and his “commoneys” are alike neglected; he forgets the long familiar cry of “knuckle down,” and at tip-cheese, or odd and even, his hand is out. But Pickwick, gentlemen, Pickwick, the ruthless destroyer of this domestic oasis in the desert of Goswell Street — Pickwick, who has choked up the well, and thrown ashes on the sward — Pickwick, who comes before you to-day with his heartless Tomata sauce and warming pans — Pickwick still rears his head with unblushing effrontery, and gazes without a sigh on the ruin he has made. Damages, gentlemen — heavy damages — is the only punishment with which you can visit him; the only recompense you can award to my client. And for those damages she now appeals to an enlightened, a high-minded, a right-feeling, a conscientious, a dispassionate, a sym- pathising, a contemplative jury of her civilised countrymen.

(The Pickwick Papers.)


CHARLES DICKENS


139


MRS. RADDLE

'Tr was at the end of the chorus to the first verse, that Mr. Pickwick held up his hand in a listening attitude, and ■ said, as soon as silence was restored:

“Hush! I beg your pardon. I thought I heard somebody calling from up stairs.”

A profound silence immediately ensued; and Mr. Bob Sawyer was observed to turn pale.

“I think I hear it now,” said Mr. Pickwick. “Have the goodness to open the door.”

The door was no sooner opened than all doubt on the subject was removed.

“Mr. Sawyer! Mr. Sawyer!” screamed a voice from the two-pair landing.

“It’s my landlady,” said Bob Sawyer, looking round him with great dismay. “Yes, Mrs. Raddle.”

“What do you mean by this, Mr. Sawyer?” replied the voice, with great shrillness and rapidity of utterance. “Ain’t it enough to be swindled out of one’s rent, and money lent out of pocket besides, and abused and insulted by your friends that dares to call themselves men: without having the house turned out of window, and noise enough made to bring the fire-engines here, at two o’clock in the morning? — Turn them wretches away.”

“You ought to be ashamed of yourselves,” said the voice of Mr. Raddle, which appeared to proceed from beneath some distant bed-clothes.

“Ashamed of themselves!” said Mrs. Raddle. “Why don’t you go down and knock ’em every one down stairs? You would if you was a man!”

“I should if I was a dozen men, my dear,” replied Mr. Raddle pacifically, “but they’ve the advantage of me in numbers, my dear.”

“Ugh, you coward!” replied Mrs. Raddle, with supreme contempt. “Do you mean to turn them wretches out, or not, Mr. Sawyer?”

“They’re going, Mrs. Raddle, they’re going,” said the mis’erable Bob. “I am afraid you’d better go,” said Bob


140 CHARLES DICKENS

Sawyer to his friends. “I thought you were making too much noise.” . . .

“Shall I step up stairs, and pitch into the landlord?” inquired Hopkins, “or keep on ringing the bell, or go and groan on the staircase? You may command me, Bob.”

“I am very much indebted to you for your friendship and good nature, Hopkins,” said the wretched Bob Sawyer, “but I think the best plan to avoid any further dispute is for us to break up at once.”

“Now, Mr. Sawyer!” screamed the shrill voice of Mrs. Raddle, “ are them brutes going?”

“They’re only looking for their hats, Mrs. Raddle,” said Bob; “they are going directly.”

“Going!” said Mrs. Raddle, thrusting her nightcap over the banisters just as Mr. Pickwick, followed by Mr. Tupman, emerged from the sitting-room. “Going! What did they ever come for?”

“My dear ma’am,” remonstrated Mr. Pickwick, looking up.

“Get along with you, you old wretch!” replied Mrs. Raddle, hastily withdrawing the night-cap. “Old enough to be his grandfather, you willin! You’re worse than any of ’em.”

Mr. Pickwick found it in vain to protest his innocence, so hurried down stairs into the street, whither he was closely followed by Mr. Tupman, Mr. Winkle, and Mr. Snodgrass.”

(The Pickwick Papers.)

DICKENS ON MILLAIS’ “CHRIST IN THE HOUSE OF HIS

PARENTS”

(From “Household Words”.)

in the foreground of the carpenter’s .shop is a hideous, wry-necked, blubbering, red-haired boy in a • nightgown, who appears to have received a poke playing in an adjacent gutter, and to be holding it up for the contemplation of a kneeling woman, so horrible in her ugliness that (supposing it were possible for any human creature to exist for a moment with that dislocated throat) she would stand but


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from the rest of the company as a monster in the vilest cabaret in France or the lowest gin-shop in England.

RALPH NICKLEBY FOILED

Ralph nickleby and Gride, stunned and paralysed by the fewful event which had so suddenly overthrown their schemes (it would not otherwise, perhaps, have made much impression on them), and carried away by the extraordinary energy and precipitation of Nicholas, which bore down all before him, looked on at these proceedings like men in a riream or trance. It was not until every preparation was made for Madeline’s immediate removal that Ralph broke silence by declaring she should not be taken away.

“Who says so?” cried Nicholas, rising from his knee and confronting them, but still retaining Madeline’s lifeless hand in his.

“II” answered Ralph, hoarsely.

“Hush, hush!” cried the terrified Gride, catching him by the arm again. “Hear what he says.”

“Aye!” said Nicholas, extending his disengaged hand in the air, “hear what he says. That both your debts are paid in the one great debt of nature. That the bond, due to-day at twelve, is now waste paper. That your contemplated fraud shall be discovered yet. That your schemes are known to man, and overthrown by Heaven. Wretches, that he defies you both to do your worst!”

“This man, said Ralph, in a voice scarcely intelligible, “this man claims his wife, and he shall have her.”

“That man claims what is not his, and he should not have her if he were fifty men, with fifty more to back him,” said Nicholas.

“Who shall preveqt him?”

“I will.”

“By what right, I should like to know,” said Ralph. “By what right, I ask?”

“By this right. That, knowing what I do, you dare not tempt me further,” said Nicholas, “and by this better right; that those I serve, and with whom you would have done me


142


DEAN FARRAR


base wrong and injury, are her nearest and her dearest friends. In their name I bear her hence. Give way!”

“One word!” cried Ralph, foaming at the mouth.

“Not one,” replied Nicholas, “I will not hear of one — save this. Look to yourself, and heed this warning that I give you! Day is past in your case, and night is coming on.”J

“My curse, my bitter, deadly curse upon you, boy!”

“Whence will curses come at your command? Or what avails a curse or blessing from a man like you? I tell you, that misfortune and discovery are thickening about your head; that the structures you have raised, through all your ill-spent life, are crumbling into dust; that your path is beset, with spies; that this very day, ten thousand pounds of your hoarded wealth have gone in one great crash!”

“’Tis false!” cried Ralph, shrinking back.

“’Tis true, and you shall find it so. I have no more words to waste. Stand from the door. Kate, do you go first. Lay not a hand on her, or on that woman, or on me, or so much as brush their garments as they pass you by!”

{Nicholas Nickleby.)

DEAN FARRAR

(1831-1903)

PLAIN-SPEAKING IN MID-VICTORIAN CAMBRIDGE

{From “ Julian Home”. A Tale of College Fife by Frederic

W. Farrar.)

“certainly,” said Julian sternly, “the choice lies with yourself. Run, if you will, as a bird to the snare of the fowler, till a dart strike you through. But if you are dead and indifferent to your own miserable soul, think that in this sin you cannot sin alone; think tljat you arc dragging down to the nethermost abyss others besides yourself. Remember the wretched victims of your infamous passions, and tremble while you desecrate and deface for ever God’s image stamped on a fair human soul. Think of those whom your vileness dooms to a life of loathliness, a death of shame and anguish, perhaps an eternity of horrible despair.


A CUMBRIAN


14?

Learn something of the days they are forced to spend that they may pander to the worst instincts of your degraded "nature; days of squalor and drunkenness, disease and dirt; gin at morning, noon, and night; eating infection, horrible ■madness, and sudden death at the end. Can you ever hope \for salvation and the light of God’s presence while the cry of the souls of which you have been the murderer — yes, do not disguise it, the murderer, the cruel, willing, pitiless murderer — is ringing upwards from the depths of hell?”

“What do you mean by the murderer?” said Hazlet, with an attempt at misconception.

“I mean this, Hazlet; setting aside all considerations which affect your mere personal ruin — not mentioning the atrophy of spiritual life and the clinging sense of degradation which is involved in such a course as yours — I want you to see, if you will be honest, that the fault is yet more deadly, because you involve other souls and other lives in your own destruction. Is it not a reminiscence sufficient to kill any man’s hope, that but for his own brutality some who are now perhaps rotting in the lazar house or raving in the asylum might have been clasping their own children to their happy breasts, and wearing in unpolluted innocence the rose of matronly honour? Oh, Hazlet, I have heard you talk about missionary societies, and seen your name in subscription-lists, but believe me you could not, by myriads of such conventional charities, cancel the direct and awful quota which you are now contributing to the aggregate of the world’s misery and shame.”


A CUMBRIAN

The following dialogue is entitled “ The Evil and Sin of Unchastity: Discussed in a Dialogue between Mr. Goodman, a schoolmaster , and Mr. Wainwright, a Farmer. By a Cumbrian. 1866.”

The utilitarian basis of Victorian sex morality has never been more succinctly put than by Mr. Goodman in the sentence, “ They ( upper-class women) have the same passions as the females composing our rural populations, but they keep them under proper


A CUMBRIAN


I44

control , and careful culture has taught them the value of a spotless reputation; they are sure not to do anything that will deprive them of their good position. . . ”

LAXITY OF CUMBRIAN FEMALES

Mr. Goodman: Good morning, Mr. Wainwright. I have not had the pleasure of seeing you for a few days. I hope you are well?

Mr. Wainwright: Thank you, Mr. Goodman. So far as my health is concerned I have no reason to complain; but, previous to leaving home this morning, I heard some- thing which has rather distressed me.

Mr. Goodman: I am sorry to hear that. Would it be impertinent on my part to ask, if the unpleasant news which you have heard relates to your business, or has it any connexion with the members of your family?

(Mr. Wainwuright explains that he, his family, and his business are all flourishing, but that Jane Smith, the daughter of James Smith, an honest labourer, has been betrayed by the assistant-steward of Mr. Williams of the Grange, on whose property James Smith is employed.)

Mr. Wainwright ... I am sorry for him, and for his daughter too, poor thing! It is a sad downfall for her.

Mr. Goodman: If you mean, Mr. Wainwright, that you are sorry for her in having given way to temptation, sorry that she had no more regard for her good name, and the laws of God, than to trail the former through the mire, and trample upon the latter, I am with you, but beyond this I cannot go. Jane Smith has wilfully and openly sinned, and she must bear the punishment.

Mr. Wainwright: Don’t you think you are speaking rather too harshly of this unfortunate girl, Mr. Goodman?

Mr. Goodman: Certainly not. I speak justly, and, when you call her unfortunate, you make use of a word which has no bearing upon the case. A young woman who gives the rein to an unholy passion is not “unfortunate” according to the proper acceptation of that term, she is simply guilty. The evil of unchastity is, I am sorry to say, taking a wider and deeper root among the humble class of our population,


A CUMBRIAN


145

and it is fostered, I doubt not, by the indifference and apathy of those who, instead of raising their voices, and protesting against it as a bane to the happiness of humanity and a sin in the sight of Heaven, look upon the woman who, with her eyes open, has wandered from the path of virtue as a victim, and the seducer, the brazen-faced trafficker in wrong, as neither more nor less than a giddy, thoughtless fellow. . . .

Society is, or ought to be governed by a certain code of laws; and upon the question of unchastity these laws are clear and imperative. You seldom, if ever, hear of open and avowed unchastity among the women composing the upper ranks of society, and why? They have the same passions as the females composing our rural populations, but they keep them under proper control, and careful culture has taught them the value of a spotless reputation; they are sure not to do anything that will deprive them of their good position, and render them universally shunned and despised. . . .

Mr. Wainwright: I don’t for a moment doubt that unchastity is a great evil, but I think you somewhat over- rate its importance.

Mr. Goodman: Do I? . . . Visit the workhouses, where numbers of young women, in the prime of youth and vigour, bring poor children into the world who, from their birth, are doomed to go through life marked with the brand of illegitimacy. At the same receptacles for misery and destitution you will also find boys and girls deserted by those whose duty it is to care for them, left to the tender mercies of strangers, and supported, not by those upon whom they have a claim, but by the hard-working, honest portion of the community who pay the rates. I will carry the case further. You shall visit some of our towns, walk through their streets at night, and you shall see a hideous, painted, mockery of humanity, ready to prostitute herself for money, and if you appeal to this living, breathing, walking horror, and others like her, and ask them, what made them the wrecks and ruins, the waifs and strays in the sea of human life, which they are, you will, in many cases, be told that the one false step reduced them, from the pride

IO


A CUMBRIAN


I46

and glory of womanhood, to the frightful condition in which you behold them. . . .

Air. Wainwright: ... It seems to me you are reserving all your censure for the woman who happens to fall. Have you nothing to say concerning the men who reduce seduc- tion to an art, and ruin females with as little compunction as they would destroy a reptile?

Mr. Goodman : Mr. Wainwright, known language is utterly insufficient to express the loathing, the contempt and disgust which I feel for the creatures of whom you speak. Men they don’t deserve to be called; they are simply moral assassins, licensed butchers in the shambles of profligate love. During our conversation I have referred more particularly to females because when they allow them- selves to be deceived, they have the most to lose; they have to bear the brunt of the sin, and by far the largest part of the odium attaches to them. It is a pity that it should be so; and deeply do I regret the feeling that pervades our rural population generally with regard to the hypocrites who unblushingly plan seduction, and pride themselves upon its accomplishment. . . . Those who move in their own sphere, instead of looking upon them as the very incarnation of all that is dastardly, mean, cowardly, and cruel, hesitate not to give them the right hand of fellowship. Why, you know as well as I can tell you, that there are some females with whom a man stands all the better for being the father of one or two illegitimate children, and they are attracted by him in the same way that mackerel are attached by a scarlet rag

Mr. Wainwright-. I must confess that the view you take with respect to the seducer is a just one; and I have no hesita- tion in saying, that on unchastity generally, your arguments have had the effect of changing my opinions on the subject.

Mr. Goodman-. I am glad to hear you say so. I only wish that what I have said to you, could reach the hearts and ears' of every man and woman in this lovely country of ours. . . . But the day is advancing, and I see that some of my boys have passed on their way to school. Good morning, Mr. Wainwright.

Mr. Wainwright-. Good morning, sir.


THE TRIAL OF THE MANNINGS


The Mannings were tried and found guilty , in October 1849, of the murder of Patrick O'Connor. The object of the murder was robbery. Mrs. Manning was Swiss by birth.

Charles Dickens' account of the execution appeared in a letter to “The Times".

MRS. MANNING AFTER THE VERDICT

“There is no justice nor fair treatment for a foreign subject in this country. I have had no proper protection from the judges, or from the prosecutor, or from my husband. I am wrongly condemned. My solicitors should have called witnesses to prove that the shares were bought with my own money. I have lots of letters from Mr. O’Connor to show his regard for me. I think, too, that considering I am a woman and alone, and have had to fight against my husband’s statements, as well as against the prosecution, and that even the judge himself is against me — well, I think that I am not being treated like a Christian, but like a wild beast of the forest. The judge and jury will have it on their consciences for giving a verdict against me. I am not guilty. I have lived in respectable families, and can produce testimonials of character. If my villain of a husband, through jealousy and revenge, chose to murder poor Mr. O’Connor, I really don’t see why I should be punished.”

DURING THE PASSING OF THE SENTENCE

Mr. Justice Cresswell: George Frederick Manning and Maria Manning, you have been convicted of the crime of murder. . . .

Mrs. Manning: I # have not been convicted, my lord. I will not stop here and let you say it. You ought all to be ashamed of yourselves.

AFTER THE SENTENCE

“Qase and shameful England! There is no justice in this country!”


148


THE TRIAL OF THE MANNINGS


CHARLES DICKENS ON THE EXECUTION

A sight so inconceivably awful as the wickedness and levity of the immense crowd collected at the execution this morning could be imagined by no man, and presented by no heathen land under the sun. The horrors of the gibbet, and of the crime which brought the wretched murderers to it, faded in my mind before the atrocious bearing, looks, and language of the assembled spectators. When I came upon the scene at midnight, the shrillness of the cries and howls that were raised from time to time, denoting that they came from a concourse of boys and girls already assembled in the best places, made my blood run cold.

. . . When the day dawned, thieves, low prostitutes, ruffians, and vagabonds of every kind, flocked on to the ground, with every variety of offensive and foul behaviour. Fightings, faintings, whistlings, imitations of Punch, brutal jokes, tumultuous demonstrations of indecent delight when swooning women were dragged out of the crowd by the police, with their dresses disordered, gave a new zest to the general entertainment. When the two miserable creatures who attracted all this ghastly sight were turned quivering into the air, there was no more thought that two immortal souls had gone to judgment, no more restraint in the previous obscenities than if the name of Christ had never been heard in this world.

... I am solemnly convinced that nothing that ingenuity could devise to be done in this city, in the same compass of time, could work such ruin as one public execution, and I stand astounded and appalled by the wickedness it exhibits. I do not believe that any community can prosper where such a scene of horror and demoralisation as was enacted this morning outside Horsemonger Lane Gaol is presented at the very doors of good citizens, and is passed by, unknown or forgotten. And when, in our prayers and thanksgivings for the seasons, we are humbly expressing before God our desire to remove the moral evils of the land, I would ask your readers to consider whether it is not a time to think of this one, and to root it out.


LORD MACAULAY

(1800-1859)

Macaulay’s speech on the Maynooth College Bill, containing the famous “ Exeter Hall sets up its bray is an excellent example of parliamentary invective of the less fantastic kind. It seems to have had some relation to reality , for Macaulay tells in a letter how poor Peel turned pale at the words , “There you sit, doing penance for the disingenuousness of years.”

The little-known diatribe against Barere, one of Macaulay’s longest essays, is the most sustained piece of invective in the English language. It seems only fair to Barere to quote from the English translator of his Memoirs, Mr. de Payen-Payne, who , writing in 1896, called Barere “a man of undoubted courage , rigid incorruptibility, and unselfish devotion to the great idea of the Trench Bjevolution.”

MACAULAY ON SIR ROBERT PEEL

( From a speech on the Maynooth College Bill, delivered in the House of Commons on April 14, 1845.)

there is too much ground for the reproaches of those who, having, in spite of a bitter experience, a second time trusted him, now find themselves a second time deluded. I cannot but see that it has been too much his practice, when in opposition, to make use of passions with which he has not the slightest sympathy, and of prejudices which he regards with profound contempt. As soon as he is in power a change takes place. The instruments which have done his work are flung aside. The ladder by which he has climbed is kicked down. . . . Can we wonder that the eager, honest, hot-headed Protestants, who raised you to power in the confident hope that you would curtail the privileges of the Roman Catholics, should stare and grumble when you propose to give public money to the Roman Catholics? Can we wonder that, from one end of the country to the other, everything should be ferment and uproar, that petitions should, night after night, whiten all our benches like a snow storm. Can we wonder that the people out of doors


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150

should be exasperated by seeing the very men who, when we were in office, voted against the old grant to Maynooth, now pushed and pulled into the House by your whippers-in to vote for an increased grant? The natural consequences follow. All those fierce spirits, whom you halloed on to harass us, now turn round and begin to worry you. The Orangeman raises his war-whoop: Exeter Hall sets up its bray: Mr. McNeile shudders to see more costly cheer than ever provided for the priests of Baal at the table of the Queen; and the Protestant Operatives of Dublin call for impeachments in exceedingly bad English. But what did you expect? Did you think, when, to serve your turn, you called the Devil up, that it was as easy to lay him as to raise him? Did you think, when you went on, session after session, thwarting and reviling those whom you knew to be in the right, and flattering all the worst passions of those whom you knew to be in the wrong, that the day of reckon- ing would never come? It has come. There you sit, doing penance for the disingenuousness of years. If it be not so, stand up manfully, and clear your fame before the House and the country. . . . Give us some reason which shall prove that the policy which you are following, as ministers, is entitled to support, and which shall not equally prove you to have been the most factious and unprincipled opposition that ever this country saw.


BARfeRE

(From a review by Macaulay of 11 Ml moires de Bertrand Barere”; publics par MM. Hippolyte Carnot et David d’ Angers. 1843.)

Barere introduced

. . . our opinion then is this: that Barere approached nearer than any person mentioned in history* or fiction, whether man or devil, to the idea of consummate and universal depravity. In him the qualities which are the proper objects of hatred, and the qualities which are the proper objects of contempt, preserve an exquisite and absolute harmony. In almost every particular sort of wickedness he has had riv.als. His sensuality was immoderate; but this was a failing


LORD MACAULAY


IJI

common to him with many great and amiable men. There have been many men as cowardly as he, some as cruel, a ‘few as mean, a few as impudent. There may also have been as great liars, though we never met with them or read of 'them. But when we put everything together, sensuality, poltroonery, baseness, effrontery, mendacity, barbarity, the result is something which in a novel we should condemn as caricature, and to which, we venture to say, no parallel can be found in history.

Bar'ere as liar

... A man who has never been within the tropics does not know what a thunderstorm means; a man who has never looked on Niagara has but a faint idea of a cataract; and he who has not read Bar£re’s Memoirs may be said not to know what it is to lie.

Barire as voluptuary

. . . that in Bar£re, as in the whole breed of Neros, Caligulas, and Domitians whom he resembled, voluptuousness was mingled with cruelty; that he withdrew, twice in every decade (ten days), from the work of blood to the smiling gardens of Clichy, and there forgot public cares in the madness of wine and in the arms of courtesans, has often been repeated. M. Hippolyte Carnot does not altogether deny the truth of these stories, but justly observes that Bar£re’s dissipation was not carried to such a point as to interfere with his industry. Nothing can be more true. Bar£rc was by no means so much addicted to debauchery as to neglect the work of murder. It was his boast that, even during his hours of recreation, he cut out work for the Revolutionary Tribunal. To those who expressed a fear that his exertions would hurt his health, he gaily answered that he was less busy than they thought. “The guillotine,” he said, “does all; the guillotine governs.”

... A very few months had sufficed to bring this man into a state of mind in which images of despair, wailing, and death had an exhilarating effect on him, and inspired him as wine and love inspire men of free and joyous natures.


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The cart creaking under its daily freight of victims, ancient men and lads, and fair young girls, the binding of the hands, the thrusting of the head out of the little national sash-* ■window, the crash of the axe, the pool of blood beneath the scaffold, the heads rolling by scores in the panier — these' things were to him what Lalage and a cask of Falernian were to Horace, what Rosette and a bottle of iced cham- pagne to De Beranger.

Barere as informer

... to this vocation, a vocation compared with which the life of a beggar, of a pickpocket, of a pimp, is honourable, did Barere now descend. It was his constant practice, as often as he enrolled himself in a new party, to pay his footing with the heads of old friends. He was at first a Royalist; and he made atonement by watering the tree of liberty with the blood of Louis. He was then a Girondist; and he made atonement by murdering Vergniaud and Gensonne. He fawned on Robespierre up to the eighth of Thermidor; and he made atonement by moving, on the ninth, that Robespierre should be beheaded without a trial. He was now enlisted in the service of the new monarchy; and he proceeded to atone for his republican heresies by sending republican throats to the guillotine.

Barere as Anglophobe

ignorant, however, as Barere was, he knew enough of us to hate us; and we persuade ourselves that, had he known us better, he would have hated us more. The nation which has combined, beyond all example and all hope, the blessings of liberty with those of order, might well be an object of aversion to one who had been false a*like to the cause of order and to the cause of liberty. . . . We therefore like his invectives against us much better than anything else that he has written; and dwell on them, not merely with com- placency, but with a feeling akin to gratitude. It was but little that he could do to promote the honour of our counfry; but that little he did strenuously and constantly. Renegade,


JOHN MITCHEL I53

traitor, slave, coward, liar, slanderer, murderer, hack writer, police-spy — the one small service which he could render to England was to hate her: and such as he was may all who hate her be!


Barere dismissed

. . . something more we had to say about him. But let him go. We did not seek him out, and will not keep him longer. . . . We have no pleasure in seeing human nature thus degraded. We turn with disgust from the filthy and spiteful Yahoos of the fiction; and the filthiest and most spiteful Yahoo of the fiction was a noble creature when compared with the Barere of history. But what is no pleasure M. Hippolyte Carnot has made a duty. ... By attempting to enshrine this Jacobite carrion, he has forced us to gibbet it; and we venture to say that, from the eminence of infamy on which we have placed it, he will not easily take it down.


JOHN MITCHEL

(1815-1875)

John Mitchel, extracts from whose “ Jail Journal ” are given here , was, after Parnell, perhaps the most interesting character in the Irish conflict with England during the nineteenth century.

Carlyle, who met him in 1846, spoke of him as “ a fine elastic- spirited young fellow , whom I grieved to see rushing on destruction palpable, by attack of windmills, but on whom all my persuasions were thrown away.'”

In 1848 Mitchel founded the “ United Irishman” in which he incited his fellow-countrymen to rebellion. He was arrested, and finally sentenced to transportation for fourteen years.

In 1853 he escaped from Van Diemen’s hand and made bis way to San Francisco. He remained in America many years , and during the Civil War worked on behalf of the South. By temperament he was an aristocrat, and he believed in war and in slavery, an attitude which was incomprehensible to most Irish patriots, whose hatred of the English domination has usually


I 54 JOHN MITCHEL

inclined them to humanitarian sm, and abstract sympathy with the under-dog.

Mitchel returned at last to Ireland , and died there in 1875, His mixed sympathies prevented him from being successful as a practical politician , but his love of Ireland , marvellously expressed in his passionate regret as the ship bore him past the Wicklow mountains, and the sacrifice he made for his country remained a source of inspiration in her later struggles.

Mitchel is described as “ tall and gaunt, his eyes grey and piercing, his expression of countenance self-contained, if not saturnine

THE IRISH FAMINE OF 1 846 AND ENGLISH “RELIEF”

At the end of six years, I can set these things down calmly; but to see them might have driven a wise man mad. There is no need to recount how the Assistant Barristers and Sheriffs, aided by the Police, tore down the roof-trees and ploughed up the hearths of village after village, how the farmers and their wives and little ones in wild dismay, trooped along the highways — how in some hamlets by the seaside, most of the inhabitants being already dead, an adventurous traveller would come upon some family eating a famished ass — how maniac mothers stowed away their dead children to be devoured at midnight — how Mr. Darcy of Clifden describes a humane gentleman going to a village near that place with some crackers (biscuits), and standing at the door of the house; “and when he threw the crackers to the children (for he was afraid to enter), the mother attempted to take them from them” — how husband and wife fought like wolves for the last morsel of food in the house; how families, when all was eaten and no hope left, took their last look at the Sun, built up their cottage doors, that none might see them die nor hear their groans, and were found weeks afterwards, skeletons on their own hearths; how the “law” was vindicated all this while; how the Arms Bills were diligently put in force, and many examples were made; how starving wretches were transported for stealing vegetables by night; how overworked coroners declared they would hold no more inquests; how Americans spnt corn, and the very Turks, yea, negro slaves, sent money for


JOHN MITCHEL I J 5

alms; which the British Government was not ashamed to administer to the “sister country”; and how, in every one r>f these years, ’46, ’47, and *48, Ireland was exporting to England, food to the value of fifteen million pounds sterling, and had on her own soil at each harvest good and ample provision for double her own population, not- withstanding the potato blight.

To this condition had forty years of “moral and peaceful agitation” brought Ireland. The high aspirations after a national Senate and a national flag had sunk to a mere craving for food. And for food Ireland craved in vain.

DUBLIN CITY

May 27, 1848

(Tie day of MitcbeTs deportation as a convicted felon)

. . . But the enterprise was great, and was needful. And I know that my wife and little ones shall not want. He that feedeth the young ravens — but then, indeed, as I remember, young ravens and other carrion-birds have been better fed in Ireland than the Christians, these latter years. . . . Dublin City, with its bay and pleasant villas — city of bellow- ing slaves — villas of genteel dastards — lies now behind us, and the sun has set behind the blue peaks of Wicklow, as we steam past Bray Head, where the Vale of Shanganagh, sloping softly from the Golden Spurs, sends its bright river murmuring to the sea. And I am on the first stage of my way, faring to what regions of unknown horror? And may never, never — never more, O Ireland! — my mother and queen! — see vale, or hill, or murmuring stream of thine

MACAULAY

June 17. — Reading — for want of something better — Macaulay’s Essays. He is an Edinburgh Reviewer this Macaulay; and, indeed, a type-reviewer — an authentic specimen-page of nineteenth century “literature”. He has the, right, omniscient tone, and air, and the true knack of administering reverential flattery to British civilization.


Ij6 JOHN MITCHF.L

British prowess, honour, enlightenment, and all that, especially to the great nineteenth century and its astounding civilization, that is, to his readers. It is altogether a new thing in the history of mankind, this triumphant glorification of a current century upon being the century it is. No former age, before Christ or after, ever took any pride in itself and sneered at the wisdom of its ancestors; and the new phenomenon indicates, I believe, not higher wisdom, but deeper stupidity. The nineteenth century is come, but not gone; and what now, if it should be, hereafter, memor- able among centuries for something quite other than its wondrous enlightenment?

... As I am now about to retire a little while from the great business of this stirring age, to hide me, as it were, in a hole of the rock, while the loud-sounding century, with its steam-engines, printing-presses, and omniscient popular literature, flares and rushes roaring and gibbering by, I have a mind to set down a few of Macaulay’s sentences, as a kind of land-marks, just to remind me where I and the world parted. . . .

The highest phase of human intellect and virtue is to be what this base spirit (Macaulay) calls a philanthropist — that is, one who by new inventions and comfortable contrivances mitigates human suffering, heightens human pleasure. . . . Whatsoever things are snug, whatsoever things are influen- tial — if there be any comfort, if there be any money, think on these things. . . .

WAR OR PEACEFUL AGITATION

A. Dialogue between John Mitchel and his Doppelganger (Jan. 1 6, 1849)

Ego: To uphold the stability of the grand central fraud, British policy must drain the blood and suck the marrow of all the nations it can fasten its desperate claws upon: and by the very nature of a bankrupt concern sustaining itself on false credit, its exertions must grow more desperate, its exactions more ruthless day by day, until the mighty smash come. The great British Thing cannot now do


JOHN MITCHEL IJ7

without any one of the usual sources of plunder. The British Empire could not now stand a week without India — Could not breathe an hour without Ireland: the Thing has strained itself to such a pass that the smallest jag will let the wind out of it, and then it must ignominiously collapse. Or you may call this abomination a pyramid balancing itself upon its apex — one happy kick on any side will turn it upside down. For ever blessed be the toe of that boot which shall administer the glorious kickl

Doppelganger: And must every new order of things in the revolutions of eternity be brought about only through a fierce paroxysm of war? Let your mind dwell for a minute on the real horrors of war.

Ego: Let your mind dwell a moment on the horrors of peaceful and constitutional famine, and tell me which is better, to pine and whiten helplessly into cold day, passing slowly and painfully through the stages of hungry brute-ferocity — passionless, drivelling, slavering idiocy, and dim awful unconsciousness, the shadow-haunted confines of life and death, or to pour out your full soul in all its pride and might with a hot torrent of red raging blood — triumphant defiance in your eye, and an appeal to heaven’s justice on your lips? Which? Nay, whether is it better that a thousand men perish in a nation by tame beggarly famine, or that fifty thousand fall in a just war? Which is the more hideous evil — three seasons of famine-slaughter in the midst of heaven’s abundance, at the point of foreign bayonets, with all its train of debasing diseases and more debasing vices, or a thirty years’ war to scourge the stranger from your soil, though it leave that soil a smoking wilderness?

Doppelganger: I cannot see the absolute necessity of either. Those good people tnay not be mere idiots, after all, who look forward to the total cessation of war.

Ego: Give me none of your confounded cant about cessation of war. Nature has laws. Because the Irish have been taught peaceful agitation in their slavery, therefore they have been swept by a plague of hunger worse than many years of bloody fighting. Because they would not


THOMAS CARLYLE


Ij8

fight, they have been made to rot off the face of the earth, that so they might learn at last how deadly a sin is patience and perseverance under a stranger’s yoke.

Doppelganger: Nature has laws; but you are not their infallible interpreter. Can you argue? Can you render a reason?

Ego: I never do. It is all assertion. I declaim vehemently; I dogmatise vigorously, but argue never. You have my thought. I don’t want you to agree with me; you can take it or leave it.

Doppelganger: Satisfactory; but I find the Irish people draw quite a different moral lesson from late events. They are becoming, apparently, more moral and constitutional than ever; and O’Connell’s son points to “Young Ireland,” hunted, chained, condemned, transported, and says: “Behold the fate of those who would have made us depart from the legal and peaceful doctrines of the Liberatorl” And they hearken to him.

Ego: And do you read Ireland’s mind in the canting of O’Connell’s son? Or in the sullen silence of a gagged and disarmed people? Tell me not of O’Connell’s son. His father begat him in moral force, and in patience and persever- ance did his mother conceive him. I swear to you there are blood and brain in Ireland yet, as the world one day shall know. God! let me live to see it. On that great day of the Lord, when the kindred and tongues and nations of the old earth shall give their banners to the wind, let this poor carcase have but breath and strength enough to stand under Ireland’s immortal green!


THOMAS CARLYLE

(1795-1881) *

The extracts given below explain themselves. To correct the one-sided impression they leave of Carlyle, one must remember his affectionate relations with Tennyson, Thackeray, FitzGerald, Dickens and Browning. There is, too, a sentence of his on chqrity which , at some distance, recalls Johnson's magnificent outburst:


THOMAS CARLYLE


  • 59

“ Modem life” Carlyle said, “doing its charity by institutions is a sad hardener of our hearts. We should give for our own sakes. It is very low water with the wretched beings, one can easily see that!”

carlyle’s contemporaries

Wordsworth.

one finds also a kind of sincerity in his speech. But for prolixity, thinness, endless dilution, it excels all the other speech I had heard from mortals. A genuine man, which is much, but also essentially a small genuine man. Nothing perhaps is sadder (of the glad kind) than the unbounded laudation of such a man, sad proof of the rarity of such. . . . The languid way in which he gives you a handful of numb unresponsive fingers is very significant.

Charles Eamb.

Charles lamb I sincerely believe to be in some considerable degree insane. A more pitiful, rickctty, gasping, stagger- ing, stammering Tomfool I do not know. He is witty by denying truisms and abjuring good manners. His speech wriggles hither and thither with an incessant painful fluctuation, not an opinion in it, or a fact, or a phrase that you can thank him for — more like a convulsion fit than a natural systole and diastole. Besides, he is now a con- firmed, shameless drunkard; asks vehemently for gin and water in strangers’ houses, tipples till he is utterly mad, and is only not thrown out of doors because he is too much despised for taking such trouble with him. Poor Lambl Poor England, when such a despicable abortion is named geniusl

Edward Bulwer Lytton.

intrinsically a poor creature this Bulwer; has a bustling whisking agility and restlessness which may support him in a certain degree of* significance with some, but which partakes much of the nature of levity. Nothing truly notable can come of him or of it.

Coleridge.

A weak, diffusive, weltering, ineffectual man ... a great possibility that has not realised itself. Never did I see such


THOMAS CARLYLE


160

apparatus got ready for thinking, and so little thought. He mounts scaffolding, pulleys, and tackle, gathers all the tools in the neighbourhood with labour, with noise, demon- stration, precept, abuse, and sets — three bricks.

Macaulay.

at bottom, this Macaulay is but a poor creature with his dictionary literature and erudition, his saloon arrogance. He has no vision in him. He will neither see nor do any great thing, but be a poor Holland House unbeliever, with spectacles instead of eyes, to the end of him.

George Sand , Balzac, etc.

in the world there are few sadder, sicklier phenomena for me than George Sand and the response she meets with. ... A new Phallus worship, with Sue, Balzac, and Co., for prophets, and Madame Sand for a virgin.

Keats.

fricassee of dead dog (Monckton Milnes’ Life of Keats) . ... A truly unwise little book. The kind of man that Keats was gets ever more horrible to me. Force of hunger for pleasure of every kind, and want of all other force— such a soul, it would once have been very evident, was a chosen “vessel of Hell”; and truly, for ever there is justice in that feeling.

Shelley.

shelley is a poor creature, who has said or done nothing worth a serious man being at the trouble of remembering. . . . Poor soul, he has always seemed to me an extremely weak creature; a poor, thin, spasmodic, hectic, shrill and pallid being. . . . The very voice of him, shrill, shrieky, to my ear has too much of the ghost!

Gladstone.

Gladstone appears to me one of the contemptiblest men I ever looked on. A poor Ritualist; almost spectral kind of phantasm of a man — nothing in him but forms and


CARDINAL NEWMAN — CHARLES KINGSLEY l6l

ceremonies and outside wrappages; incapable of seeing veritably any fact whatever, but seeing, crediting, and laying to heart the mere clothes of the fact, and fancying that all the rest does not exist. Let him fight his own battle, in the name of Beelzebub the god of Ekron, who seems to be his God. Poor phantasm!

Harriet Martineau.

“broken into utter wearisomeness, a mind reduced to these three elements: Imbecility, Dogmatism, and unlimited Hope.”

Leigh Hunt.

“dwarfed and dislocated into the merest imbecility.” Napoleon III.

“his mind was a kind of extinct sulphur-pit, and gave out nothing but a smell of rotten sulphur.”

John Keble.

“a little ape.”

Daniel O'Connell.

“a wretched, blustering quack.”

Darwinism.

“i have no patience whatever with these gorilla damnifica- tions of humanity.”


CARDINAL NEWMAN

(1801-1890)

CHARLES KINGSLEY

(1819-1875)

The famous quarrel between Kingsley and Newman , the main stages of which are set forth below, is always held to have ended in a complete victory for Newman. This verdict entirely in Newman's


IX


i6z


CARDINAL NEWMAN CHARLES KINGSLEY


favour is much exaggerated . In the first place , it cannot be denied that Kingsley by his muddled handling of his case conclusively demonstrated the soundness of his implied position that a Protestant Englishman and gentleman was no match for a Catholic priest in verbal dialectics. “ Tongues ", according to the Catholics , were, Kingsley had suggested, “ given to men, as claws to cats, and horns to bulls, simply for purposes of offence and defence ." Father Newman's handling of Kingsley did nothing to disprove this accusation.

On looking more closely into the history of the debate, we find that Kingsley' s gentlemanly but impolitic acceptance, in his letter to Macmillan' s Magazine, of Newman's denial of Kingsley's accusation, was due to good feeling, not to the untenability of his charge. “1 was informed," Kingsley wrote, “ that he was in weak health , that he wished for peace and quiet, and was averse to controversy; I therefore felt some regret at having disturbed him: and this regret was increased by the moderate and courteous tone of his letters."

Kingsley having withdrawn his charge out of consideration for Newman's health, and touched by Newman's courtesy, Newman was miraculously restored to health and vigour, and fell upon Kingsley with the fervour illustrated in the passages quoted below from his “ Reflections on the Above."

This attack Kingsley answered in his pamphlet, “ What , then , does Dr. Newman mean?" Unfortunately one of Kingsley's friends, no less gentlemanly than himself, had confirmed Kingsley's feeling that he could not withdraw his acceptance of Newman's denial that the sermon on “ Wisdom and Innocence" in any sense advocated verbal disingenuousness.

Kingsley did, however, venture on an unannotated quotation from this sermon. “ Considering ," Newman says, “ that the serpent was chosen by the enemy of mankind as the instrument of his temptations in Paradise, it is very remarkable that Chrjst should choose it as the pattern of wisdom for His followers. It is as if He appealed to the whole world of sin , and to the bad arts by which the feeble gain advantages over the strong. It is as if He set before us the craft and treachery, the perfidy of the slave, and bade us extract a lesson even from so great an evil. It is as if the more we are forbidden violence, the more we are exhorted to prudence; as if it were our


CARDINAL NEWMAN — CHARLES KINGSLEY 1 63

bounden duly to rival the wicked in endowments of mind, and to excel them in their exercise .”

Even after allowing all possible weight to the operative words “as if” , it is a little difficult to understand why Newman was held to have emerged from the battle with all the honours.

There was another contribution, now forgotten, to the debate , a pamphlet by the Rev. F. Meyrick, entitled “Rut isn't Kingsley right after all?”

The Reverend Meyrick put a series of questions to Newman, one of which ran as follows — “ For example , if on seeing the initials C. K. you had written to Mr. Kingsley to ask whether he was the author of the article, and he had replied, T say No,' meaning you to understand that he denied the authorship of the article, but meaning to himself only to assert that he had made use of the word ‘No,’ would not that be lying? I should say so, and Mr. Kingsley would say so, but you can't. For your authority, whose every word you are bound to accept (St. Alfonso de' Uguori, the great Catholic casuist), says that it is no lie at all, but merely an amphibology which you are justified in using.”

In his “Apologia pro Vita sua”, Newman dealt with this and similar questions as follows — “In this department of morality , much as I admire the high points of the Italian character, I like the English character better; but, in saying so, 1 am not, as will be seen, saying anything disrespectful to St. Alfonso, who was a lover of truth, and whose intercession I trust I shall not lose, though, on the matter under consideration , I follow other guidance in preference to his.”

While sharing Newman’s hope that the amphibological Liguori continued to put in a good word for him in the proper quarter, one cannot but feel that St. Alfonso would have preferred a champion who did not, in effect, reply to “Is St. Liguori a liar?” with “ 1 say No.”

NEWMAN AND KINGSLEY (1864)

I. From a review by Charles Kingsley (C. K.) in Macmillan’ s Magazine of Froude's History of England, Vols. VII and VIII.

truth, for its own sake, had never been a virtue with the Romish clergy. Father Newman informs us that it need not, and on the whole ought not to be; that cunning is the weapon which Heaven has given to the saints wherewith to


164 CARDINAL NEWMAN CHARLES KINGSLEY

withstand the brute male force of the wicked world which marries and is given in marriage. Whether his notion be doctrinally correct or not, it is at least historically so.'

Ever since Pope Stephen forged an epistle from St. Peter to Pepin, King of France, and sent it with some filings of the saint’s holy chains, that he might bribe him to invade Italy . . . ever since the first monk forged the first charter of his monastery, or dug the first heathen Anglo-Saxon out of his barrow, to make him a martyr and a worker of miracles, because his own minister did not “draw” as well as the rival minister ten miles off; — ever since this had the heap of lies been accumulating, spawning, breeding fresh lies, till men began to ask themselves whether truth was a thing worth troubling a practical man’s head about, and to suspect that tongues were given to men, as claws to cats and horns to bulls, simply for purposes of offence and defence.

z. From a letter from Charles Kingsley ( January 6, 1864) to Newman , who had written to Messrs. Macmillan and Co., not in complaint, nor desiring reparation, but merely to draw their attention to a grave and gratuitous slander.

that my words were just, I believed from many passages of your writings; but the document to which I expressly referred was one of your sermons on “Subjects of the Day”, No. XX, in the volume published in 1844, and entitled “Wisdom and Innocence”. It was in consequence of that sermon, that I finally shook off the strong influence which your writings exerted on me; and for much of which I still owe you a deep debt of gratitude.

I am most happy to hear from you that I mistook (as I understand from your letter) your meaning; and I shall be most happy, on your showing me that I have wronged you, to retract my accusation publicly as I have made it.

3. From a letter from Charles Kingsley {January 14, 1864) to

Newman.

the course, which you demand of me, is the only course fit for a gentleman; and, as the tone of your letters (even


CARDINAL NEWMAN CHARLES KINGSLEY 165

more than their language) make me feel, to my very deep pleasure, that my opinion of the meaning of your words was a mistaken one, I shall send at once to Macmillan’s Magazine the few lines which I enclose. ...”

4. Kingsley's letter to Macmillan' s Magazine, January 14, 1864. SIR,

In your last number I made certain allegations against the teaching of Dr. John Henry Newman, which I thought were justified by a Sermon of his, entitled “Wisdom and Innocence” (Sermon 20 of “Sermons bearing on Subjects of the Day”). Dr. Newman has by letter expressed, in the strongest terms, his denial of the meaning which I have put upon his words. It only remains, therefore, for me to express my hearty regret at having so seriously mistaken him.

Yours faithfully,

Charles Kingsley.

5. From a letter from Newman to Charles Kingsley , January 17,

1864.

... 1 am sorry to say I feel it my duty to withhold from it (Kingsley’s letter) the approbation which I fain would bestow.

Its main fault is, that, quite contrary to your intention, it will be understood by the general reader to intimate, that I have been confronted with definite extracts from my works, and have laid before you my own interpretations of them. Such a proceeding I have indeed challenged, but have not been so fortunate as to bring about.

6. From a letter frorri Charles Kingsley to Newman, January 18.

... it seems to me, that, by referring publicly to the sermon on which my allegations are founded, I have given, not only you, but everyone an opportunity of judging of their injustice. Having done this, and having frankly accepted your assertion that I was mistaken, I have done as much as one English gentleman can expect from another. . . .


1 66


CARDINAL NEWMAN — CHARLES KINGSLEY


7 . From “Reflections on the Above ” by Dr. Newman.

mr. kingsley begins then by exclaiming — “O the chicanery,* the wholesale fraud, the vile hypocrisy, the conscience- killing tyranny of Rome! We have not far to seek for an evidence of it. There’s Father Newman to wit: one living specimen is worth a hundred dead ones. He, a Priest writing of Priests, tells us that lying is never any harm.”

I interpose: “You are taking a most extraordinary liberty with my name. If I have said this, tell me when and where.”

Mr. Kingsley replies: “You said it, Reverend Sir, in a Sermon which you preached, when a Protestant, as Vicar of St. Mary’s, and published in 1844; and I could read you a very salutary lecture on the effects which that sermon had at the time on my own opinion of you.”

I make answer: “Oh . . . not, it seems, as a Priest speaking of Priests; — but let us have the passage.”

Mr. Kingsley relaxes: “Do you know, I like your tone. From your tone I rejoice, greatly rejoice, to be able to believe that you did not mean what you said.”

I rejoin: “ Mean it! I maintain I never said it, whether as a Protestant or as a Catholic.”

Mr. Kingsley replies: “I waive that point.”

I object: “Is it possible! What? waive the main question!

I either said it or I didn’t. You have made a monstrous charge against me; direct, distinct, public. You are bound to prove it as directly, as distinctly, as publicly; — or to own you can’t.”

“Well,” says Mr. Kingsley, “if you are quite sure you did not say it. I’ll take your word for it; I really will.”

My word! I am dumb. Somehow I thought that it was my word that happened to be on trial. The word of a Professor of lying, that he does not lie!

But Mr. Kingsley reassures me: “We are both gentle- men,” he says: “I have done as much as one English gentleman can expect from another.”

I begin to see: he thought me a gentleman at the very time that he said I taught lying on system. After all, it is


CARDINAL NEWMAN 1 67

not I, but it is Mr. Kingsley who did not mean what he said. “Habemus confitentem reum.”

. ' . . . While I feel then that Mr. Kingsley’s February explanation is miserably insufficient in itself for his January Enormity, still I feel also that the Correspondence, which lies between these two acts of his, constitutes a real satisfac- .tion to those principles of historical and literary justice to which he has given so rude a shock.

‘ Accordingly, I have put it into print, and make no further criticism on Mr. Kingsley.

CARDINAL NEWMAN

The extract given below is from a lecture which Newman delivered at the London Oratory in reply to the anti-Catholic utterances of Dr. Achilli, an ex-Dominican friar, and Minister of the Gospel to the Italian Protestant Church in Golden Square.

The leader in i( The Times ” says all that is necessary about Lord Campbell’s misdirection of the jury , who found Newman guilty and fined him £100. The expenses incurred were £14,000. This sum was raised by public subscription; and there was a surplus that enabled Newman to buy a small property in the Lickey Hills , where he built a chapel, in the cemetery of which he was buried.

The chief interest of this case is the evidence it affords of the violent anti-Catholic prejudice of the mid- Victorians.


THE HEEL OF ACHILLI

Ah! Dr. Achilli, I might have spoken of him last week, had time admitted of it. The Protestant world flocks to hear him, because he has something to tell of the Catholic Church. He has something to tell, it is true; he has a scandal to reveal, he has an argument to exhibit. It is a simple one, and a powerful one, as far as it goes — and it is one. That one argument is himself; it is his presence which is the triumph of Protestants; it is the sight of him which is the Catholic’s confusion. It is, indeed, our confusion, that our Holy Mother could have had a priest like him. He feels the force of the argument, and he shows himself to the multitude


i68


CARDINAL NEWMAN


that is gazing on him. “Mothers of families,” he seems to say, “gentle maidens, innocent children, look at me, for I am worth looking at. You do not see such a sight every day. Can any Church live over the imputation of such a production as I am? I have been a Roman priest and a hypocrite; I have been a profligate under a cowl;- I am that Father Achilli, who, as early as 1826, was deprived, of my faculty to lecture, for an offence which my superiors did their best to conceal; and who, in 1827, had already earned the reputation of a scandalous friar. I am that Achilli, who in the diocese of Viterbo, in February, 1831, robbed of her honour a young woman of eighteen; who in September, 1833, was found guilty of a second such crime, in the case of a person of twenty-eight; and who perpetrated a third in July, 1834, in the case of another aged twenty- four. I am he, who afterwards was found guilty of sins, similar or worse, in other towns of the neighbourhood.

I am that son of St. Dominic who is known to have repeated the offence at Capua, in 1834 and 1835, and at Naples again in 1840, in the case of a child of fifteen. I am he who chose the sacristy of the church for one of these crimes, and Good Friday for another. Look on me, ye mothers of England, a confessor against Popery, for ye ‘ne’er may look upon my like again.’ I am that veritable priest who, after all this, began to speak against, not only the Catholic faith, but the moral law, and perverted others by my teaching.

I am the Cavaliere Achilli, who then went to Corfu, made the wife of a tailor faithless to her husband, and lived publicly and travelled about with the wife of a chorus singer. I am that professor in the Protestant college at Malta, who with two others was dismissed from my post for offences which the authorities could not get themselves to describe. And now attend to me, such as I am, and you shall see what you shall see about the barbarity and pro- fligacy of the inquisitors of Rome.” You speak truly, O Achilli, and we cannot answer you a word. You are a priest, you have been a friar; you are, it is undeniable, the scandal of Catholicism, and the palmary argument of Protestants, by your extraordinary depravity. You have


CARDINAL NEWMAN


169

been, it is true, a profligate, an unbeliever, and a hypocrite. Not many years passed of your conventual life, and you were never in choir, always in private houses, so that the laity observed you. You were deprived of your professor- ship, we own it; you were prohibited from preaching and hearing confessions; you were obliged to give hush-money to the father of one of your victims, as we learn from the official report of the police of Viterbo. You are reported in an official document of the Neapolitan police to be ‘known for habitual incontinency”; your name came before the civil tribunal at Corfu for your crime of adultery. You have put the crown on your offences by, as long as you could, denying them all; you have professed to seek after truth, when you were ravening after sin. Yes, you are an incon- trovertible proof that priests may fall and friars break their vows. You are your own witness; but while you need not go out of yourself for your argument, neither are you able. With you the argument begins; with you too it ends: the beginning and the ending you are both. When you have shown yourself, you have done your worst and your all: you are your best argument and your sole. Your witness against others is utterly invalidated by your witness against yourself. You leave your sting in the wound; you cannot lay the golden eggs, for you are already dead.

“the times” ON THE VERDICT Has the lapse of 170 years entirely removed us from those narrow prejudices and cruel partialities which in the days of the Popish plot poisoned the pure fountains of justice, and affixed an indelible stigma on the character of a nation not habitually unfair or inhuman? Will the opinion of the educated classes in this country, and of the great European community, ratify* the verdict of a jury which absolved Dr. Achilli from every taint and stain, and seemed to aim at placing him on a higher pinnacle of moral purity than even he arrogated to himself. . . . ?

Dr. Newman undertook to prove certain acts of incon- tinence, and produced persons from a vast number of different places. . . . These witnesses did not break down.


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170

were not involved in any material contradiction, and stated nothing in which there was any strong antecedent impro- bability. . . . The police at Naples, and the Inquisition at Rome, the Bishops’ Court at Viterbo, and the Courts of Corfu — all seem to have had more or less to do with him (Dr. Achilli), and all for the same alleged propensity, and after a short residence in England we find a number of women ready to bring the same charges against him. Now stopped in a procession at Naples by a clamorous mother, now dogged at Corfu by a jealous tailor, now solemnly remonstrated with by members of his congregation on account of his maidservant, he is the most unfortunate of men if all these charges have been trumped up without substantial foundation. . . .

We wish we could conclude our observations on this case without saying anything calculated to imply a censure on the jury or the judge, under whose auspices they have, it seems to us, so signally miscarried. From the time when one of them objected to the exclusion of Dr. Achilli from the Court, and another to the searching and reasonable question as to his general chastity, which he did not find it expedient to answer, till the faltering announcement, preceded and followed by unchecked applause, that the justification was not proved to their satisfaction, there is every reason to think that the case was not viewed by the jury with complete impartiality and absence of sectarian feeling.

We have every respect for the high judicial character and attainments of Lord Campbell, and it is, therefore, with great regret we find him, in a case of so much delicacy and excitement . . . “thanking God” that “we have no Inqui- sition in this country”; and after he had been sufficiently applauded, renewing the remark that he might be applauded again, and assuring the audience with grotesque solemnity, that by admitting this document (a copy of the proceedings of the Inquisition against Dr. Achilli) he did so without the slightest degree of danger to the Protestant religion of this country — a discovery which was received by the audience with a third round of cheers. We now take our leave of this


JOHN RUSKIN 171

painful subject, trusting we may not soon again be called upon to comment on proceedings so indecorous in their nature, so unsatisfactory in their result — so little calculated to increase the respect of the people for the administration bf justice, or the estimation by foreign nations of the English •name and character.


JOHN RUSKIN

(1819-1900)

The preface, extracts from which are quoted below, was written by Ruskin for a pamphlet against the construction of a railway between Windermere and Keswick.

The two main sources of Ruskin’ s rhetorical invective are both displayed in this preface; his dislike of humanity in the mass (“ the stupid herds of modem tourists”'), and his compensatory passion for reforming the minds and morals of the many (“It is precisely because I passionately wish to improve the minds of the populace ...” etc.).

The characteristically overcharged and hectoring letter which follows was sold for a guinea by its recipient, and the guinea was paid in to the subscription on behalf of Duke Street Chapel.

FROM RUS KIN’S PREFACE TO “a PROTEST AGAINST THE EXTENSION OF RAILWAYS IN THE LAKE DISTRICT” BY ROBERT SOMERVELL (1876)

. . . when the frenzy of avarice is daily drowning our sailors, suffocating our miners, poisoning our children, and blasting the cultivable surface of England into a treeless waste of ashes, — what does it really matter whether a flock of sheep, more or less, be driven from the slopes of Helvellyn, or the little pool of Thirlmere filled with shale, or a few wild blossoms of St. John’s vale lost to the coronal of English spring? Little, to anyone; and — let me say this, at least, in the outset of all saying — nothing, to me. . . . All my own dear mountain-grounds, and treasure-cities, Chamouni, Interlachen, Lucerne, Geneva, Venice, are long ago destroy- ed By the European populace; and now, for my own part,


1 72 JOHN RUSKIN

I don’t care what more they do; they may drain Loch Katrine, drink Loch Lomond, and blow all Wales and Cumberland into a heap of slate shingle; the world is wide enough yet to find me some refuge during the days appointed me to stay in it. But it is no less my duty, in the cause of those to whom the sweet landscapes of England are yet* precious, and to whom they may yet teach what they taught • me, in early boyhood, and would still, if I had it now to learn, — it is my duty to plead with what earnestness I may, that these sacred sibylline books may be redeemed from perishing.

. . . The arguments in favour of the new railway are in the main four, and may be thus answered.

I. There are mineral treasures in the district capable of development.

Answer . — It is a wicked lie, got up by whosoever has got it up, simply to cheat shareholders. Every lead and copper vein in Cumberland has been known for centuries; the copper of Coniston does not pay; and there is none so rich in Helvellyn. And the main central rocks, through which the track lies, produce neither slate nor haematite, while there is enough of them at Llanberis and Dalton to roof and iron grate all England into one vast Bedlam, if it honestly perceives itself in need of that accommodation.

II. The scenery must be made accessible to the public.

Answer . — It is more than accessible already; — the public

are pitched into it head-foremost, and necessarily miss two-thirds of it . . . the stupid herds of modern tourists let themselves be emptied, like coals from a sack, at Windermere and Keswick. Having got there, what the new railway has to do is to shovel those who have come to Keswick, to Windermere — and to shovel those who have come to Windermere, to Keswick. And what then?

III. But cheap, and swift transitis necessary for the working population, who otherwise could not see the scenery at all.

Answer. — After all your shrieking about what the opera- tives spend in drink, can’t you teach them to save enough out of their year’s wages to pay for a chaise and pony for a


JOHN RUSKIN 173

day, to drive Missis and the Baby that pleasant 20 miles, stopping when they like, to Unpack the basket on a mossy bank? If they can’t enjoy the scenery that way, — they can’t any way; and all that your railroad company can do for ’them is only to open taverns and skittle grounds round Grasmere, which will soon, then, be nothing but a pool of drainage, with a beach of broken gingerbeer bottles.

IV. What else is to be said? I protest I can find nothing, unless that engineers and contractors must live. Let them live; but in a more useful and honourable way than by keeping Old Bartholomew Fair under Helvellyn, and making a steam merry-go-round of the lake country.

... It is precisely because I passionately wish to improve the minds of the populace, and because I am spending my own mind, strength, and fortune, wholly on that object, that I don’t want to let them see Helvellyn while they are drunk. ... If then — my benevolent friend, you are prepared to take OUT your twopence, and to give them to the hosts here in Cumberland, saying — “Take care of him, and whatsoever thou spendest more, I will repay thee when I come to Cumberland myself”: on these terms — oh my benevolent friends, I am with you, hand and glove, in every effort you wish to make for the enlightenment of poor men’s eyes. But if your motive is, on the contrary, to put twopence into your own purse, stolen between the Jerusa- lem and Jericho of Keswick and Ambleside — out of the poor drunken traveller’s pocket . . . then, my pious friends, enthusiastic Ananias, pitiful Judas, and sanctified Korah, — I will do my best, in God’s name, to stay your hands, and stop your tongues.

LETTER FROM JOHN RUSKIN, ON AN APPLICATION BEING MADE TO HIM %0 SUBSCRIBE TO PAY OFF THE DEBT UPON DUKE STREET CHAPEL, RICHMOND, SURREY

Brantwood, 19 th May, 1886.

Sir,

I am scornfully amused at your appeal to me, of all people in the world the precisely least likely to give you a farthing! My first word to all men and boys who care


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174

to hear me is “Don’t get into debt. Starve and go to heaven — but don’t borrow. Try first begging — I don’t mind if it’s really needful — stealing! But don’t buy things you can’t pay for!” And of all manner of debtors pious people building churches they can’t pay for, are the most detestable' nonsense to me. Can’t you preach and pray behind the hedges — or in a sandpit — or a coalhole first? And of all manner of churches thus idiotically built, iron churches are the damnablest to me. And of all the sects and believers in any ruling spirit — Hindoos, Turks, Feather Idolaters, and Mumbo Jumbo, Log and Fire Worshippers — who want churches, your modern English Evangelical sect is the most absurd, and entirely objectionable and un- endurable to me!

All which they might very easily have found out from my books — any other sort of sect would! — before bothering me to write it to them. Ever, nevertheless, and in all this saying, your faithful servant,

John Ruskin.


ROBERT BROWNING

(1812-1889)

Browning's defence of his Sonnet to FitzGerald is set forth in the letters he wrote to his son , extracts from which are given below. The sonnet was dashed off by Browning on seeing the offending passage about Mrs. Browning quoted in a review. After he had sent the sonnet to “ The Athenaeum" , it suddenly occurred to Browning that FitzGerald’ s remark might have been made in a letter to Tennyson , whose “adulatory lickspittle " , in Brownings phrase to his son , FitzGerald had always been. To his great relief , on investigating the matter , Browning ascertained that Tennyson was not the recipient of this letter. He appears , however , to have still been uneasy about the effect on Tennyson of this violent attack on a man, now dead, who had been one of Tennyson’s closest friends. His fear that Tennyson might resent his assault on FitzGerald was, however, allayed when Tennyson


ROBERT BROWNING


  • 75

wrote to acknowledge a letter Browning sent him on his eightieth birthday. Tennyson's acknowledgment was in effusive terms, and Browning wrote in exultation to his son , saying, “I want you to know that Tennyson is not the man to sympathise with a poor creature like FitzGerald, whom I punished no more than •he deserved, heartily wishing that he were alive in the body, not , Jor the first time , alive in his words which only now go forth to the world ’.”


EDWARD FITZGERALD ON E. B. BROWNING

“Mrs. Browning’s death is rather a relief to me, I must say. No more Aurora Leighs, thank Godi A woman of real genius, I know; but what is the upshot of it all? She and her sex had better mind the kitchen and the children; and perhaps the poor. Except in such things as little novels, they only devote themselves to what men do much better, leaving that which men do worse or not at all.”

(From The Fife and Letters of Edward FitzGerald. Edited by Aldis Wright.)


TO EDWARD FITZGERALD

I chanced upon a new book yesterday:

I opened it, and, where my finger lay

’Twixt page and uncut page, these words I read

— Some six or seven at most — and learned thereby

That you, FitzGerald, whom by ear and eye

She never knew, “thanked God my wife was dead.”

Ay, dead! and were yourself alive, good Fitz,

How to return .you thanks would task my wits: Kicking you seems the lot of common curs —

While more appropriate greeting lends you grace: Surely to spit there glorifies your face —

Spitting — from lips once sanctified by Hers.

(Sonnet by Robert Browning in The Athenaeum , July 13, 1889.)


ROBERT BROWNING


176


LErrER i

29 De Vere Gardens, London, W July i$th, 1889.

Dearest Son,

With this you will get to-day’s Athenaeum , and see - what I have said in reply to FitzGerald’s brutality. I. opened the book, at just this place, as I have said. There was more abuse of Aurora Leigh and women-writers generally, but that he had a right to say, and take the consequences of being a fool or worse; but the shocking notion of thanking God for the death of a person who never saw him (as was only the case with me, a few years ago), this was unbearable, and I was not going to let the people who are reading the book suppose for a moment that I am inclined to let such a ruffian insult the dead with impunity. The main thing will be to get the Editor, Aldis Wright, duly blamed for his stupidity — which is inconceiv- able — in letting such a blackguardism pass, when he could have simply dropped it out and done harm to nobody, least of all to the Irish fribble and “feather-head”, as his own friends allowed him to be. ... I shall not look at the book again. In all likelihood he has delivered himself of the usual impertinences about me , and if that is the case I should be sorry to even seem in the least moved by any other than contempt for the poor envious creature, and might wish I had let him alone, as the more dignified way. . . .

I shall now try and forget it all, having really been the worse, physically, for this outrage.

LETTER II

July 17 th.

“You are wrong in supposing that such expressions as that of FitzGerald ‘recoil’ sufficiently on those who use them . . . and ‘contempt’ is not exactly applicable to a man of such wide and high reputation as FitzGerald. . . . The praise of the book ( Life of FitzGerald) was unbounded in the papers, nobody thinking it worth while to say a word about FitzGerald’s little slip of the tongue or his


JAMES THOMSON 177

editor’s trifling mistake in printing it, and here was a piece of brutality to go on circulating without the least objection from anybody. . . . But I said a little of my mind, and there it will remain — I expect as long as FitzGerald’s recorded ‘relief’ — the blackguard. I have inspected the book since. My name only occurs once in it, he calls me a ‘great man’ . .


JAMES THOMSON

( 1834 - 1882 )

“The City of Dreadful Night ” appeared in the National Keformer in 1874 , when Thomson was forty years of age. At the time of its composition , he had been living alone for many years in London , in great poverty , partly due to drink , which was in its turn due to his loneliness , poverty, and insomnia. His first volume, containing “ The City of Dreadful Night,” was published in 1880 , two years before his death.

The National Keformer was edited by Bradlaugh, the great mid-Victorian secularist ; and Thomson's indictment of life may be taken as in part a poetic expression of the materialistic atheism of the epoch, though the intensity of its despair sprang from deeper than intellectual sources.

THE CITY OF DREADFUL NIGHT

we do not ask a longer term of strife.

Weakness and weariness and nameless woes;

We do not claim renewed and endless life

When this which is our torment here shall close.

An everlasting conscious inanition!

We yearn for speedy death in full fruition.

Dateless oblivion and divine repose.

O melancholy Brothers, dark, dark, dark!

O battling in black floods without an ark!

O spectral wanderers of unholy night!

My soul hath bled for you these sunless years.

With bitter blood-drops running down like tears:

' Oh, dark, dark, dark, withdrawn from joy and light.


178 JAMES THOMSON

My heart is sick with anguish for your bale;

Your woe hath been my anguish; yea, I quail And perish in your perishing unblest.

And I have searched the heights and depths, the Of all our universe, with desperate hope To find some solace for your wild unrest.


And now at last authentic word I bring. Witnessed by every dead and living thing;

Good tidings of great joy for you, for all: There is no God; no Fiend with names divine Made us and tortures us; if we must pine,

It is to satiate no Being’s gall.


It was the dark delusion of a dream,

That living Person conscious and supreme. Whom we must curse for cursing us with life; Whom we must curse because the life He gave Could not be buried in the quiet grave.

Could not be killed by poison or by knife.


This little life is all we must endure,

The grave’s most holy peace is ever sure, We fall asleep and never wake again; Nothing is of us but the mouldering flesh. Whose elements dissolve and merge afresh In earth, air, water, plants and other men.


We finish thus; and all our wretched race Shall finish with its cycle, and give place To other beings, with their own time-doom.

Infinite aeons ere our kind began;

Infinite aeons after the last man

Has joined the mammoth in earth’s tomb and womb.


ROBERT BUCHANAN


179


THE STATUE OF MELANCHOLIA

titanic from her high throne in the north.

That City’s sombre Patroness and Queen,

In bronze sublimity she gazes forth Over her Capital of teen and threne.

Over the river with its isles and bridges.

The marsh and moorland, to the stern rock-ridges. Confronting them with a coeval mien.

The moving moon and stars from east to west Circle before her in the sea of air;

Shadows and gleams glide round her solemn rest. Her subjects often gaze up to her there:

The strong to drink new strength of iron endurance. The weak new terrors; all, renewed assurance And confirmation of the old despair.


ROBERT BUCHANAN

(1841-1901)

Robert Buchanan, at one time regarded as a poet of considerable promise , is now remembered only for the attack which, under the pseudonym of Thomas Maitland, he delivered in the “ Contemporary Review”, October 1871, on Rossetti, Swinburne , and other representatives of what Buchanan called “ The Fleshly School of Poetry”.

This attack he published in an enlarged form in 1872. The two extracts given below deal respectively with the general depravity of mid-Victorian London, and the particular depravity of Swinburne and Rossetti.

To strengthen the force of his indictment, Buchanan urged that he was “ not a purist in the worst sense”. His favourite authors, he pleaded, were Rabelais, Heine, Byron ( Don Juan), and de Musset; and he concluded his defence with a vigtette which may be held to exonerate him from the charge of being a purist in any sense at all “I still beguile many an hour, when snug at anchor in some lovely Highland loch, with the inimitable, yet questionable, pictures of Parisian life left by Paul de Kock.”


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THE CITY OF DREADFUL DAY

is this London? Is this the year 1872? That peep of blue up yonder resembles the sky, and these figures that pass seem men and women. What evil dream, then, what malignant influence is upon me? Weary of surveying the poetry of the past, and listening to the amatory wails of generations, I walk down the streets, and lol again harlots stare from the shop-windows, and the great Alhambra posters cover the dead-walls. I go to the theatre which is crowded nightly, and I listen in absolute amazement to the bestialities of Genevifoe de Brabant. I walk in the broad day, and a dozen hands offer me indecent prints. I step into a bookseller’s shop, and beholdl I am recommended to purchase a reprint of the plays and novels of Mrs. Aphra Behn. I buy a cheap republican newspaper, thinking that there, at least, I shall find some relief, if only in the wildest stump oratory, and I am saluted instead in these words: —

Fanny Hill. Genuine edition, illustrated. Two volumes, zs. (id. each. Lover’s Festival, plates, 3 s. 6 d. Adventures of a Lady’s Maid. zs. 6d. Intrigues of a Ballet Girl. zs. 6d. Aristotle, illustrated, zs. French transparent cards, ix. the set. The Bachelor’s Scarf pin, containing secret photos of pretty women, 24 stamps. . . .

Stop where I may, the snake Sensualism spits its venom upon me. . . . Photographs of nude, indecent, and hideous harlots, in every possible attitude that vice can devise, flaunt from the shop-windows, gloated over by the fatuous g lin t of the libertine and the greedy open-mouthed stare of the day-labourer. Never was this Snake, which not all the naturalists of the world have been able to scotch, so vital and poisonous as now. It has penetrated into the very sweetshops; and there, among the commoner sorts of confectionery, may be seen this year fnodels of the female Leg, the whole definite and elegant article as far as the thigh, with a fringe of paper cut in imitation of the female drawers and embroidered in the female fashionl

(“The Fleshly School of Poetry ”, 1872.)


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181


ON SWINBURNE, BAUDELAIRE, AND ROSSETTI

(From “The Fleshly School of Poetry ”, 1872.)

all that is worst in Mr. Swinburne belongs to Baudelaire. •The offensive choice of subject, the obtrusion of unnatural passion, the blasphemy, the wretched animalism, are all taken intact out of the Fleurs de Mai. Pitifull that any sane man, least of all any English poet, should think this dunghill worthy of importation! In the centre of his collection Baudelaire placed the most horried poem ever written by man, a poem unmatched for simple hideousness even in Rome during the decadence — a piece worthy to be spoken by Ascyltos in Petronius Arbiter — and entitled Femmes Damnees. The interlocutors in this piece are two women, who have just been guilty of the vilest act con- ceivable in human debauchery, but the theme and the treatment are too loathsome for description. Encouraged by the hideousness of Femmes Damnees, Mr. Swinburne attempted to beat it in Anactoria, a poem the subject of which is again that branch of crime which is generally known as the Sapphic passion. It would be tedious, apart from the unsavouriness of the subject, to pursue the analogy much farther through individual poems. . . .

... In the sweep of one single poem, the weird and doubtful Vivien , Mr. Tennyson has concentrated all the epicene force which, wearisomely expanded, constitutes the characteristic of the writers at present under considera- tion; and if in Vivien he has indicated for them the bounds of sensualism in art, he has in Maud , in the dramatic person of the hero, afforded distinct precedent for the hysteric tone and overloaded style which is now so familiar to readers of Mr. Swinburne. The fleshliness of Vivien may indeed be described as the distinct quality held in common by all the members of the last sub-Tennysonian school, and it is a quality which becomes unwholesome when there is no moral or intellectual quality to temper or control it. Fully conscious of this themselves, the fleshly gentlemen have bound themselves by solemn league and covenant to extol fleShliness as the distinct, and supreme end of poetic and


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A. C. SWINBURNE


pictorial art; to aver that poetic expression is greater than poetic thought, and by inference that the body is greater than the soul, and sound superior to sense; and that the poet, properly to develop his poetic faculty, must be an intellectual hermaphrodite, to whom the very facts of day and night are lost in a whirl of aesthetic terminology. . . .

I close this book of the “mature” person (Rossetti). I close Mr. Swinburne’s volumes. I try to gather some definite impression, some thought, some light, from what I have been reading. I find my mind jaded, my whole body sick and distressed, a dull pain lurking in the region of the medulla oblongata. I try to picture up Mr. Rossetti’s poetry, and I am dazzled by conceits in sixteenth-century costume, — “rosy hours,” “Loves” with “gonfalons,” damsels with “citherns,” “soft-complexioned” skies; flowers, fruits, jewels, vases, apple-blossoms, lutes: I see no gleam of nature, not a sign of humanity; I hear only the heated ravings of an affected lover, indecent for the most part, and often blasphemous. I attempt to describe Mr. Swin- burne; and lo! the Bacchanal screams, the sterile Dolores sweats, serpents dance, men and women wrench, wriggle, and foam in an endless alliteration of heated and meaningless words, the veriest garbage of Baudelaire flowered over with the epithets of the Della Cruscans.


A. C. SWINBURNE

(1837-1910)

Tennyson is reported to have said , after reading his “Lucretius’* to a friend, “What a mess little Swinburne would have made of this.” Whether this opinion was conveyed to Swinburne or not , Swinburne’s reply to Buchanan shows how deeply he resented the general mid-Victorian view that Tennyson knew how to handle questionable themes with purity and taste, and that Swinburne didn’t. That Swinburne was actually as distressed by that portion of “ The Idylls of the King ” which he criticises below as he asserts, cannot now be determined; but it is worth recalling that Dr. John Brown, author of “Rab and his friends ”, a wise Scot of a


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very fine type, and more immune from mid- Victorian emotionalism than readers south of the Tweed, expressed himself as disgusted by Tennyson’s “Vivien”.

Swinburne’ s attack on Whitman, though it, too, owes some of its vehemence to a natural desire to affirm his own much-disputed jense of decency, is substantially sound . It refers, of course, to Whitman’ s attempts to capture the ecstasy of physical desire in American “ vers libre”.

The original draft of Swinburne’s letter to Emerson , an extract from which appears below, was discovered by Mr. Wise in 1918 ; and has been privately printed by Mr. Wise, with an introduction by the late Sir Edmund Gosse.

Swinburne, Edmund Gosse narrates, had read in an American paper some abusive remarks on himself, attributed to Emerson. He had written to Emerson, stating his conviction that Emerson could not have been guilty of these remarks; but Emerson did not

reply.

Some months later, in February 1874 , as Swinburne and Gosse were sitting together in St. James’s Park , Gosse asked Swinburne if he had ever received an answer from Emerson.

“ I did NOT!” Swinburne replied.

“ You will take no more notice, I suppose ?”

“I have just taken exactly such notice as a gentleman in my position was bound to take. I have written him another letter.”

“I hope your language was quite moderate.”

“ Perfectly moderate! I merely informed him, in language of the strictest reserve, that he was a hoary-headed and toothless baboon, who, first lifted into notice on the shoulder of Carlyle, now spits and splutters from a filthier platform of his own finding and fouling. That is all I’ve said.”

Matthew Arnold, whose poetry Swinburne was the first to praise, later annoyed Swinburne by disparaging Shelley and Victor Hugo, and by praising Byron. After Arnold’s death, bis letters were published by G. W. Russell, who omitted to delete a reference to Swinburne as “a kind of pseudo-Shelley” . Swinburne saw this reference and replied in the sentence given below. The reference to Byron and to Clough, Arnold' s friend, both owe some of their sharpness to Swinburne’s vexation with Arnold.

Andrew Lang annoyed Swinburne, who did not think a Scotchman


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entitled to patronise Dickens. Another Scotchman , Robertson Nicoll, defended Swinburne's attack on Lang. “Nothing," he wrote, “ could be worse than Lang’s introductions to Dickens. They almost deserve the tremendous trouncing they received from Mr. Swinburne.”

Swinburne’s remarks on George Eliot as a poet derived partly from a reasonable distaste for her poetry, and partly from an understandable partisan preference for Emily and Charlotte Bronte.

That in the three extracts given below, and attached to the name of Bernard Shaw, Swinburne had Shaw in mind is certain. When Swinburne wrote these sentences, Shaw had been praising Ibsen for years , and attacking Shakespeare and the Elizabethans generally. There is no other journalist or critic of the ’ nineties and the first decade of the twentieth century who combined admiration for Ibsen with contempt for Shakespeare.

The hit at Addington Symonds is more playful than censorious. Playfulness on such a subject as a respectable Victorian’ s enthu- siasm over the beauty of Venetian gondoliers was rare in Swinburne’ s time.

For Carlyle, as for Arnold, Swinburne was enthusiastic in his youth, but Carlyle’ s increasing advocacy of force alienated Swin- burne. The description of Carlyle as “ a champion of slave-holding and slave-torture” refers to Carlyle’ s defence of Governor Eyre, who had suppressed a negro rising in Jamaica with great severity. John Stuart Mill, supported by Huxley, Thomas Hughes, and Herbert Spencer agitated for the prosecution of Eyre on a charge of murder. Carlyle, supported by Ruskin and Tennyson, formed a committee to defend Eyre. Lyre, we are told, maintained “ a quiescent attitude” throughout , and died some thirty-five years later, at the ripe age of eighty-six.

In referring to Carlyle and his wife as “ Thomas Cloacina and his Goody,” Swinburne was no doubt thinking of Carlyle’ s “ Diogenes Devil sdung”; but, if the anecdote is true, he must also have had in mind Carlyle’s refusal to receive Swinburne, on the ground that he did not wish to meet a person who was “ sitting in a sewer and adding to it.”

The attack on Wordsworth's tragedy “ The Borderers” is interesting for several reasons. One motive for it was the defire to


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show that Wordsworth , when several years older than Shelley , had written something much more open to criticism , both on moral and intellectual grounds , than Shelley' s early work. Further, Swinburne, who had been so savagely attacked for morbidity and sensuality, was delighted to show that the idols of his respectable critics, Wordsworth and Tennyson, were as open to condemnation as himself; Wordsworth in “The Borderers" , and Tennyson in “The Idylls of the King”. But the most interesting thing about this attack on Wordsworth is the fact, unknown to Swinburne, that Wordsworth, when he wrote “The Borderers”, was feeling neither correct nor orthodox, having recently deserted Annette Vallon and the child she had borne him.

The last extract, from “A Study” , has Froude for its victim, though Froude is not mentioned. Froude was obnoxious to Swinburne on many grounds, his treatment of Mary Queen of Scots, his period as a disciple of Newman, his later period as a disciple of Carlyle, and his academic enthusiasm for robust and simple men.

SWINBURNE PAINED BY TENNYSON’S IMMORALITY

the enemies of Tennyson . . . are those of his own house- hold. . . . They are the men who find in his collection of Arthurian idylls, — the Morte d’Albert as it might perhaps be more properly called, after the princely type to which (as he tells us with just pride) the poet has been fortunate enough to make his central figure so successfully conform, — an epic poem of profound and exalted morality. . . .

Wishing to make his central figure the noble and perfect symbol of an ideal man, he has removed not merely the excuse but the explanation of the fatal and tragic loves of Launcelot and Guinevere. ... In the old story, the king, with the doom denounced in the beginning by Merlin hanging over all his toils and triumphs as a tragic shadow, stands apart in no undignified patience to await the end in its own good time of all his work and glory, with no eye for the pain and passion of the woman who sits beside him as queen rather than as wife. Such a figure is not unfit for the centre of a tragic action; it is neither ignoble nor itlconceivable; but the besotted blindness of Mr. Tennyson’s


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“blameless king” to the treason of a woman who has had the first and last of his love and the whole devotion of his blameless life is nothing more or less than pitiful and ridiculous. All the studious care and exquisite eloquence of the poet can throw no genuine halo round the sprouting brows of a royal husband who remains to the very last the one man in his kingdom insensible of his disgrace. The unclean taunt of the hateful Vivien is simply the expression in vile language of an undeniable truth; such a man as this king is indeed hardly “man at all”; either fool or coward he must surely be. . . . The fatal consequence or corollary of this original flaw in his scheme is that the modern poet has been obliged to degrade all the other figures of the legend in order to bring them into due harmony with the degraded figures of Arthur and Guinevere. The courteous and loyal Gawain of the old romancers, already deformed and maligned in the version of Mallory himself, is here a vulgar traitor; the benignant Lady of the Lake, foster- mother of Launcelot, redeemer and comforter of Pelleas, becomes the very vilest figure in all that cycle of more or less symbolic agents and patients which Mr. Tennyson has set revolving round the figure of his central wittol. . . . The Vivien of Mr. Tennyson’s idyll seems to me, to speak frankly, about the most base and repulsive person ever set forth in serious literature. Her impurity is actually eclipsed by her incredible and incomparable vulgarity — (“O ay,” said Vivien, “that were likely too.”) She is such a sordid creature as plucks men passing by the sleeve. I am of course aware that this figure appears the very type and model of a beautiful and fearful temptress of the flesh, the very embodied and ennobled ideal of danger and desire, in the chaster eyes of the virtuous journalist who grows sick with horror and disgust at the licence of other French and English writers; but I have yet to find the French or English contemporary poem containing a passage that can be matched against the loathsome dialogue in which Merlin and Vivien discuss the nightly transgressions against chastity, within doors and without, of the various knights of Arthur’s court. I do not remember that any modefn


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poet whose fame has been assailed on the score of sensual immorality — say for instance the author of “Mademoiselle de Maupin” or the author of the “Fleurs du Mai” — has ever devoted an elaborate poem to describing the erotic fluctuations and vacillations of a dotard under the moral and physical manipulation of a prostitute. The conversation of Vivien is exactly described in the poet’s own phrase — it is “as the poached filth that floods the middle street.” Nothing like it can be cited from the verse which embodies other poetic impersonations of unchaste women. From the Cleopatra of Shakespeare and the Dalilah of Milton to the Phraxanor of Wells, a figure worthy to be ranked not far in design below the highest of theirs, we may pass without fear of finding any such pollution. These heroines of sin are evil, but noble in their evil way; it is the utterly ignoble quality of Vivien which makes her so unspeakably repulsive and unfit for artistic treatment. “Smiling saucily,” she is simply a subject for the police-court. The “Femmes Damnees” of Baudelaire may be worthier of hell-fire than a common harlot like this, but that side of their passion which would render them amenable to the notice of the nearest station is not w r hat is kept before us throughout that condemned poem.


ON WHITMAN

as to his originality in the matter of free speaking, it need only be observed that no remarkable mental gift is requisite to qualify man or woman for membership of a sect men- tioned by Dr. Johnson — the Adamites, who believed in the virtue of public nudity. If those worthies claimed the right to bid their children run about the streets stark naked, the magistrate, observed Johnson, “would have a right to flog them into thpir doublets”; a right no plainer than the right of commonsense and sound criticism to flog the Whitmaniacs into their strait-waistcoats; or, were there any female members of such a sect, into their strait-petticoats . . . . Into “the troughs of Zolaism,” as Lord Tennyson calls them (a phrase which bears rather unduly hard on the quadrupedal pig), I am happy to believe that Mr. Whitman


i88


A. C. SWINBURNE


has never dipped a passing nose: he is a writer of something occasionally like English, and a man of something occasion- ally like genius. But in his treatment of topics usually regarded as no less unfit for public exposition and literary illustration than those which have obtained notoriety fof the would-be bastard of Balzac — the Davenant of the (French) prose Shakespeare, he has contrived to make “the way of a man with a maid” almost as loathsomely ludicrous and almost as ludicrously loathsome — I speak merely of the aesthetic or literary aspect of his effusions — as the Swiftian or Zolaesque enthusiasm of bestiality which insists in handling what “goeth into the belly, and is cast out into the draught.”

Under the dirty clumsy paws of a harper whose plectrum is a muck-rake any tune will become a chaos of discords, though the motive of the tune should be the first principle of nature — the passion of man for woman or the passion of woman for man. And the unhealthily demonstrative and obtrusive animalism of the Whitmaniad is as unnatural, as incompatible with the wholesome instincts of human passion, as even the filthy and inhuman asceticism of SS. Macarius and Simeon Stylites. If anything can justify the serious and deliberate display of merely physical emotion in literature or in art, it must be one of two things: intense depth of feeling expressed with inspired perfection of simplicity, with divine sublimity of fascination, as by Sappho; or transcendant supremacy of actual and irresistible beauty in such revelation of naked nature as was possible to Titian. But Mr. Whitman’s Eve is a drunken apple- woman, indecently sprawling in the slush and garbage of the gutter amid the rotten refuse of her overturned fruit-stall: but Mr. Whitman’s Venus is a Hottentot wench under the influence of cantharides and adulterated rum. Cotytto herself would repudiate the ministration of such priestesses as these.

FROM A “LETTER TO RALPH WALDO EMERSON”

{January 50, 1874)

1 am informed that certain American journalists, not content with providing filth of their own for the consumption of


A. C. SWINBURNE


189

their kind, sometimes offer to their readers a dish of beastli- ness which they profess to have gathered from under the chairs of more distinguished men. While the abuse lavished on my name and writings could claim no higher than a nameless source, I have always been able to say with Shelley, “I have neither curiosity, interest, pain nor plea- sure, in anything, good or evil, they can say of me. I feel only a slight disgust, and a sort of wonder, that they presume to write my name.”

If I am to believe that that name has been made the mark for such vile language as is now publicly attributed to men of note in the world of letters, I, who am not sufficiently an expert in the dialect of the cesspool and the dung-cart to retort in their own kind on these venerable gentlemen — I, whose ears and lips alike are unused to the amenities of conversation embroidered with such fragments of flowery rhetoric as may be fished up by congenial fingers or lapped up by congenial tongues out of the sewage of Sodom, can return no better or more apt reply than was addressed by the servant of Octavia to the satellites of Nero, and applied by Lord Denman when counsel for Queen Caroline to the sycophants of George IV.

A foul mouth is so ill-matched with a white beard that I would gladly believe the newspaper-scribes alone respon- sible for the bestial utterances which they declare to have dropped from a teacher whom such disciples as these exhibit to our disgust and compassion as performing on their obscene platform the last tricks of tongue now possible to a gap- toothed and hoary-headed ape, carried at first into notice on the shoulder of Carlyle, and who now in his dotage spits and chatters from a dirtier perch of his own finding and fouling: coryphaeus or choragus of his Bulgarian tribe of auto- cophagous baboons, who make the filth they feed on. . . .

Matthew Arnold : — A man whose main achievement in creative literature was to make himself by painful painstaking into a sort of pseudo-Wordsworth. . . .

Byron : — The most affected of sensualists and the most pretentious of profligates.


A. C. SWINBURNE


I90

Arthur Clough : — Literary history will hardly care to remember or to register the fact that there was a bad poet named Clough, whom his friends found it useless to puff: for the public, if dull, has not quite such a skull as belongs to believers in Clough.

Andrew 'Lang : — The publishers of the beautiful and convenient Gadshill series are good enough to favour its purchasers with the prefatory importunities of a writer disentitled to express and disqualified to form an opinion on the work of an English humourist. The intrusive condes- cension or adulation of such a commentator was perhaps somewhat superfluous in front of the reprinted Waverley Novels; the offence becomes an outrage, the impertinence becomes impudence, when such rubbish is shot down before the doorstep of Charles Dickens.

George Eliot as Poet : — Britomartis or Bradamante, on her most desperate and forlorn adventure, has a claim at least on the compassionate forbearance of every good knight-errant who may have ridden on the like or any such quest; and even the felon Sir Breuse Sans Pitie might be moved by some momentary throb of chivalrous condo- lence at the pitiful and unseemly spectacle of an Amazon thrown sprawling over the crupper of her spavined and spur-galled Pegasus.

Bernard Shaw: — 1. The reviler of Shakespeare can be no other than a scurrilous buffoon, “a decent priest where monkeys are the gods,” and where Ibsen is the idol.

2. Shakespeare and Marlowe to the vile seem vile:

Filths savour but themselves.

Themselves, that is, and their Ibsens. “Like lips, like lettuce.”

3. That a Jephson or a Tate, a Cibber or an Ibsen, should for a moment be compared or preferred to Shake- speare by any howling dervish or laughing jackass of criticism is a matter of no moment.

John Addington Sjmonds : — The Platonic amorist of blue-breeched gondoliers who is now in Aretino’s bosom.


A. C. SWINBURNE


ipi

Carlyle : — The immaculate Calvinism of so fiery and so forcible a champion of slave-holding and slave-torture as Mr. Carlyle.

. Mr. and Mrs. Carlyle : — That very sorry pair of phenomena, Thomas Cloacina and his Goody.

Dante' s “Inferno ”: — Immeasurably beyond contemplation of any Christian poet’s capacity is the awfulness of evil and expiation, as symbolised in the Sophoclean grove of the Furies. The perpetuation of the infinitely little for a perpetuity of infinitely mean suffering, the degradation of eternity by the eternity of degradation, in brutal and obscene horror of abject wickedness and abject anguish, is a concep- tion below the serious acceptance of the ancient or the modern mind — fit only for the dead and malodorous level of mediaeval faith.

Wordsworth' s “ The Borderers ”: — A tragedy to which perhaps somewhat less than justice has been done on the score of literary power, but which, in the moral conception and development of its leading idea, is, I suppose, un- paralleled by any serious production of the human intellect for morbid and monstrous extravagance of horrible impossibility.

. . . This is the story: a virtuous young man, misguided by false information, has been led into the folly of com- mitting a peculiarly cruel and cold-blooded murder on the person of an innocent friend. The virtuous young man, on discovering his regrettable error, is for a time, not unnatur- ally, dejected and despondent: but a sudden and a happy thought crosses his mind: he will seek out some younger and yet more virtuous man, and induce him by similar misrepresentations tp commit a yet more cruel and a yet more cold-blooded murder on the person of some yet more unoffending victim than his own: and then there will be two of them, in Mr. Pecksniff’s moving phrase, to walk the world together. This brilliant idea is as happily carried into execution as it was ingeniously conceived: the second young man is induced, by a judicious appeal


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192

to the finest emotions of his moral nature, to murder the blind old father of his betrothed bride by leaving him to die of exposure and starvation in a moorland wilderness. Now I will not ask whether or not this is a probable or a pleasing or a proper subject for tragic poetry: but from the purely ethical or moral point of view I should really be. curious to see its parallel, in any branch of any literature, as a sample of the monstrous and the morbid. . . . None but a very rash and very ignorant partisan will venture to deny ■ that if this burlesque experiment in unnatural horror had been attempted by any poet of less orthodox and correct reputation in ethics and theology than Wordsworth’s, the general verdict of critical morality would almost certainly have described it and dismissed it as the dream of a probably incurable and possibly a criminal lunatic.

Froude —

First in manure of hot religions hatched,

And fattening on the tit-bits that he snatched —

Then with gorge heaving at the daily cram.

And dreaming he had soul enough to damn.

The hybrid, fit for neither man nor priest.

Skulked into light, a ruminative beast.

With foul mouth mincing at the skirts of sin.

With dubious nose and academic chin,

Fetid and flatulent, he snuffed and sipped,

Lapped at thought’s stagnant pools, but rose dry- lipped;

With shreds of doctrine delicately sliced,

For tender thinkers served up half a Christ.

. . . Then, girt to run by some new prophet’s wheels,

He braced the spur on virtue’s booted heels;

And faith’s lost lamb, returning, fell to fawn On massy-muscled saint of beer and brawn.

He changed the whine of dolorous disbelief.

To hymn the fat moralities of beef. . . .


GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

(1856- )

The following opinions on the Elizabethan dramatists seem to derive , apart from a certain amount of actual conviction in them, partly from Mr. Shaw's desire to clear the way for Ibsen and himself and partly from exasperation with Swinburne's dithyram- bics over Webster , Marlowe and the rest.

His attacks on Shakespeare , written in the nineties when he was dramatic critic on “The Saturday Review", belonged to his general campaign against Victorianism. They were most valuable in helping to break up the Victorian effigy of Shakespeare, thus preparing the ground for serious criticism of the poet.

BLATHER, BLOOD, AND BALDERDASH

I. From the Preface to The Admirable Bashville —

Webster’s speciality was blood: Chapman’s balderdash .... It is possible, and even usual, for men professing to have ears and a sense of poetry to snub Peele and Greene and grovel before Fletcher and Webster — Fletcher! a facile blank-verse penny-a-liner: Webster! a turgid paper cut-throat. The subject is one which I really cannot pursue without intemperance of language. The man who thinks The Duchess of Malfi better than David and Bethsabe is outside the pale, not merely of literature, but almost of humanity.

Yet some of the worst of these post-Shakespearean duffers, from Jonson to Heywood, suddenly became poets when they turned from the big drum of pseudo-Shakes- pearean drama to the pipe and tabor of the masque, exactly as Shakespeare himself recovered the old charm of the rigmarole when he turned from Prospero to Ariel and Caliban. Cyril Tourneur and Heywood could certainly have produced very pretty rigmarole plays if they had begun where Shakespeare jjegan, instead of trying to begin where he left off. Jonson and Beaumont would very likely have done themselves credit on the same terms: Marston would have had at least a chance. . . . Webster could have done no good anyhow or anywhere: the man was a fool. And Chapman would always have been a blathering unreadable pedant, like Landor. . . .


194 GEORGE BERNARD SHAW

z. From Dramatic Opinions and Essays —

He (Marlowe) is the true Elizabethan blank-verse beast, itching to frighten other people with the superstitious terrors and cruelties in which he does not himself believe, and wallowing in blood, violence, muscularity of expressioii and strenuous animal passion as only literary men do when they become thoroughly depraved by solitary work, sedentary cowardice, and starvation of the sympathetic centres. It is not surprising to learn that Marlowe was stabbed in a tavern brawl: what would be utterly unbelievable would be his having succeeded in stabbing anyone else. On paper the whole obscene crew of these blank-verse rhetoricians could out-dare Lucifer himself: Nature can produce no murderer cruel enough for Webster, nor any hero bully enough for Chapman, devout disciples, both of them, of Kit Marlowe. But you do not believe in their martial ardour as you believe in the valor of Sidney or Cervantes. One calls the Elizabethan dramatists imagina- tive, as one might say the same of a man in delirium tremens; but even that flatters them; for whereas the drinker can imagine rats and snakes and beetles which have some sort of resemblance to real ones, your typical Eliza- bethan heroes of the mighty line, having neither the eyes to see anything real nor the brains to observe it, could no more conceive a natural or convincing stage figure than a blind man can conceive a rainbow or a deaf one the sound of an orchestra. Such successes as they have had is the success which any fluent braggart and liar may secure in a pothouse.

... I am quite aware that they did not get their reputations for nothing; that there were degrees of badness among them; that Greene was really amusing, Marston spirited and silly-clever, Cyril Tourneur able to string together lines of which any couple picked out and quotpd separately might pass as a fragment of a real organic poem, and so on. Even the brutish pedant Jonson was not heartless, and could turn out prettily affectionate verses and foolishly affectionate criticisms; whilst the plausible firm of Beaumont and Fletcher, humbugs as they were, could produce plays which were, all things considered, not worse than “The


GEORGE BERNARD SHAW I9J

Lady of Lyons.” But these distinctions are not worth making now. There is much variety in a dust-heap, even when the rag-picker is done with it; but we throw it indiscriminately into the “destructor” for all that.

SHAKESPEARE

pray understand, therefore, that I do not defend Cymbeline. It is for the most part stagey trash of the lowest melo- dramatic order, in parts abominably written, throughout intel- lectually vulgar, and judged in point of thought by modern intellectual standards, vulgar, foolish, offensive, indecent, and exasperating beyond all tolerance. There are moments when one asks despairingly why our stage should ever have been cursed with this immortal “pilferer” of other men’s stories and ideas, with his monstrous rhetorical fustian, his unbearable platitudes, his pretentious reduction of the subtlest problems of life to commonplaces against which a Polytechnic debating club would revolt, his incredible unsuggestiveness, his sententious combination of ready reflection with complete intellectual sterility, and his consequent incapacity for getting out of the depth of even the most ignorant audience, except when he solemnly says something so transcendentl/ platitudinous that his more humble-minded hearers cannot bring themselves to believe that so great a man really meant to talk like their grand- mothers. With the single exception of Homer, there is no eminent writer, not even Sir Walter Scott, whom I can despise so entirely as I despise Shakespeare when I measure my mind against his. The intensity of my impatience with him occasionally reaches such a pitch, that it would posi- tively be a relief to me to dig him up and throw stones at him, knowing as I do how incapable he and his worshippers are of understanding any less obvious form of indignity. To read Cymbeline and to think of Goethe, of Wagner, of Ibsen, is, for me, to imperil the habit of studied moderation of statement which years of public responsibility as a journalist have made almost second nature in me.

( Dramatic Opinions and Essays, Vol. II.)


JAMES McNEILL WHISTLER

(1834-1903)

In “ The Gentle Art of Making Enemies ", published in 1890, Whistler collected his many quarrels , with Ruskin, Wilde „ Wedmore, Swinburne , a do^en others. His dispute with

Ruskin arose from the latter' s remark , in “Fors Clavigera ", published in 1878, that Whistler had asked two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public's face. Whistler brought a libel action , and was awarded a farthing's damages.

Whistler, as is clear from the extracts given below, despised Wilde as a pretentious exploiter of other men's ideas, and Wilde's retreat in outraged gentility shows his reluctance to engage in battle with a genuine artist. It should be remembered, however, that at this date Wilde had not published anything of importance, and so was in a weak position for engaging with a man of Whistler' s age and achievement.

From “ ‘The Gentle Art of Making Enemies' as pleasingly exemplified in many instances, wherein the serious ones of this earth, carefully exasperated, have been prettily spurred on to unseemliness and indiscretion, while overcome by an undue sense of right."

RUSKIN ON WHISTLER (1877)

for Mr. Whistler’s own sake, no less than for the protection of the purchaser. Sir Coutts Lindsay ought not to have admitted works into the gallery in which the ill-educated conceit of the artist so nearly approached the aspect of wilful imposture. 1 have seen, and heard, much of cockney impudence before now; but never expected to hear a coxcomb ask two hundred guineas for flinging a pot of paint in the public’s face.

WHISTLER ON RUSKIN (1878)

over and over again did the Attorney-General cry out aloud, in the agony of his cause, “What is to become of painting if the critics withhold their lash?”

As well might he ask what is to become of mathematics under similar circumstances, were they possible. I maintain


JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER 1 97

that two and two the mathematician would continue to make four, in spite of the whine of the amateur for three, or the cry of the critic for five. We are told that Mr. Ruskin has devoted his long life to art, and as a result — is ■“Slade Professor” at Oxford. In the same sentence we have thus his position and its worth. It suffices not. Messieurs! a life passed among pictures makes not a painter — else the policeman in the National Gallery might assert himself. As well allege that he who lives in a library must needs die a poet. Let not Mr. Ruskin flatter himself that more education makes the difference between himself and the policeman when both stand gazing in the Gallery.

There they might remain till the end of time; the one decently silent, the other saying, in good English, many high-sounding empty things, like the crackling of thorns under a pot — undismayed by the presence of the Masters with whose names he is sacrilegiously familiar; whose intentions he interprets, whose vices he discovers with the facility of the incapable, and whose virtues he descants upon with a verbosity and flow of language that would, could he hear it, give Titian the same shock of surprise that was Balaam’s, when the first great critic proffered his opinion.


WHISTLER AND OSCAR WILDE

From “ The World” November 17, 1886.

TO THE COMMITTEE OF THE “NATIONAL ART

exhibition”

Gentlemen, — I am naturally interested in any effort made amofig Painters to prove that they are alive — but when I find, thrust in the van of your leaders, the body of my dear ’Arry, I know that putrefaction alone can result. When, following ’Arry, there comes our Oscar, you finish in farce, and bring upon yourselves the scorn and ridicule of your confreres in Europe.

What has Oscar in common with Art? except that he dines at our tables and picks from our platters the plums for the pudding he peddles in the provinces. Oscar — the


198 JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER

amiable, irresponsible, esurient Oscar — with no more sense of a picture than of the fit of a coat, has the courage of the opinions. . . of othersl

With ’Arry and Oscar you have avenged the Academy. I am, Gentlemen, yours obediently.

wilde’s reply

(From “ The World”, November 24.)

atlas, this is very sad! With our James vulgarity begins at home, and should be allowed to stay there. — A. vous,

OSCAR WILDE.


whistler concludes

“a poor thing,” Oscar! — “but”, for once, I suppose “your own.”

From a letter to “ Truth ”, entitled, “ The Habit of Second Natures” , January 2, 1890.

how was it that, in your list of culprits [plagiarists], you omitted that fattest of offenders — our own Oscar?

His methods are brought again freshly to my mind, by the indefatigable and tardy Romeike, who sends me newspaper cuttings of “Mr. Herbert Vivian’s Reminis- cences,” in which, among other entertaining anecdotes, is told at length, the story of Oscar simulating the becoming pride of another, upon a certain evening, in the club of the Academy students, and arrogating to himself the respon- sibility of the lecture, with which, at his earnest prayer, I had, in good fellowship, crammed him, that he might not add deplorable failure to foolish appearance, in his anomalous position, as art expounder, before his clear- headed audience.

He went forth on that occasion, as my St. John — but, forgetting that humility should be his chief characteristic, and unable to withstand the unaccustomed respect with which his utterances were received, he not only trifled with my shoe, but bolted with the latchet. ...


JAMES MCNEILL WHISTLER


199


Reply — “Truth”, January 9, 1890

... as Mr. James Whistler has had the impertinence to attack me with both venom and vulgarity in your columns, 1 hope you will allow me to state that the assertions contained in his letters are as deliberately untrue as they are deliberately offensive. . . .

As for borrowing Mr. Whistler’s ideas about art, the only thoroughly original ideas I have ever heard him express have had reference to his own superiority as a painter over painters greater than himself.

It is a trouble for any gentleman to have to notice the lucubrations of so ill-bred and ignorant a person as Mr. Whistler, but your publication of his insolent letter left me no option in the matter. — I remain. Sir, faithfully yours,

OSCAR WILDE.

From a letter in reply entitled “Panic”. “Truth”, January 16, 1890.

o truth! — Cowed and humiliated, I acknowledge that our Oscar is at last original. At bay, and sublime in his agony, he certainly has, for once, borrowed from no living author, and comes out in his own true colours — as his own “gentle- man.” . . .

... I am awe-stricken and tremble, for truly, “the rage of the sheep is terrible!”

Conclusion — Untitled “ Just Indignation” .

upon perceiving the Poet, in Polish cap and green overcoat, befrogged and wonderfully befurred.

“Oscar — How dare you! What means this disguise? Restore those things to Nathan’s, and never again let me find you masquerading the streets of my Chelsea in the combined costumes of Kossuth and Mr. Mantalinil”

WHISTLER APOLOGISES TO WEDMORE

(From a letter to “The World ”, February 28, 1883, in which Whistler apologises to Mr. Frederick Wedmore , who had com-


200


ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL


plained that Whistler bad defended himself against a criticism by misquoting “ did not wish to understate Mr. Whistler's merit ” as “ did not wish to understand it.”)

. . . mr. Frederick wedmore — a critic — one of the wounded. — complains that by dexterously substituting “understand” for “understate”, I have dealt unfairly by him, and wrongly rendered his writing. Let me hasten to acknowledge the error, and apologise. My carelessness is culpable, and the misprint without excuse; for naturally I have all along known, and the typographer should have been duly warned, that with Mr. Wedmore, as with his brethren, it is always a matter of understating, and not at all one of understanding.

ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL

(1833-1899)

The extracts given below are from a five hours' speech which Colonel Ingersoll delivered to the jury at the trial for blasphemy of C. B. Reynolds at Morris ton. New Jersey, May 19 and 20, 1887.

The Reverend C. B. Reynolds was an accredited Freethought missionary who had been attacking the truth and the morality of the Old Testament in the manner illustrated below. In spite of Colonel Ingersoll, he was found guilty and condemned to pay a fine of twenty-five dollars, and costs. Colonel Ingersoll defrayed this verdict out of his own pocket.

Ingersoll, who was born in the same year as Bradlaugh, critic- ised orthodoxy from the same literal standpoint. It is usual nowadays to treat this kind of criticism as old-fashioned. It would be less old-fashioned now if it had been less effective then.

FROM “DEFENCE OF FREETHOUGHT”

now let us come to this old law (the Statute under which the defendant, the Rev. C. B. Reynolds, was tried); this law that was asleep for a hundred years before this Constitu- tion 1 was adopted; this law coiled like a snake beneath

1 The Constitution of 1844, containing this clause, quoted by Colonel Ingersoll : “ No law shall be passed to restrain or abridge the liberty of speech or of the press.”


ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL


201


the foundations of the Government; this law, cowardly, dastardly; this law passed by wretches who were afraid to discuss; this law passed by men who could not, and who knew they could not, defend their creed; and so they said: ‘“Give us the sword of the State and we will cleave the heretic down.” And this law was made to control the minority. When the Catholics were in power they visited that law upon their opponents. When the Episcopalians were in power, they tortured and burned the poor Catholics who had scoffed and who had denied the truth of their religion. Whoever was in power used that, and whoever was out of power cursed that, and yet the moment he got in power he used it. The people became civilized; but that law was on the statute book. It simply remained. There it was, sound asleep; its lips drawn over its long and cruel teeth. Nobody savage enough to waken it. And it slept on, and New Jersey has flourished. . . . Nobody raised the statute until the defendant in this case went to Boonton and there made a speech in which he gave his honest thought, and the people not having an argument handy, threw stones.

... I say if you believe the Bible, say so; if you do not believe it, say so. And here is the vital mistake, I might almost sav, in Protestantism itself. The Protestants, when they fought the Catholics, said: “Read the Bible for your- selves; stop taking it from your priests; read the sacred volume with your own eyes. It is a revelation from God to his children; and you are the children.” And then they said: “If, after you read it, you do not believe it, and say anything against it, we will put you in gaol and God will put you in hell.” That is a fine position to get a man in. It is like a man who invited his neighbour to come and look at his pictures, saying: “They are the finest in the place, and 1 want your candid.opinion. A man who looked at them the other day said they w r ere daubs, and I kicked him down- stairs. Now, I want your candid judgment.” So the Protestant Church says to a man: “This Bible is a message from your Father — your Father in heaven. Read it. Judge it for yourself. But if, after you have read it, you say it is not true I will put you in the penitentiary for one year.” The


202


ROBERT GREEN INGERSOLL


Catholic Church has a little more sense about that — at least, more logic. It says: “This Bible is not given to everybody. It is given to the world, to be sure; but it must be interpreted by the Church. God would not give a Bible to the world unless he also appointed someone, some organisation, to tell the world what it means.” They said: “We do not want the world filled with interpretations, and all the interpreters fighting each other.” And the Protestant has gone to the infinite absurdity of saying: “Judge for yourself; but if you judge wrong you will go to the penitentiary here and to hell hereafter.”

. . . The defendant further blasphemed and said that: — “An all-wise, unchangeable God, who got out of patience with a world which was just what his own stupid blundering had made it, knew no better way out of the muddle than to destroy it by drowning!”

Is that true? Was not the world exactly as God made it? Certainly. Did he not, if the Bible be true, drown the people? He did. Did he know he would drown them when he made them? He did. Did he know they ought to be drowned when they were made? He did. Where then is the blasphemy in saying so? . . . And yet you would arrest this man and put him in the penitentiary. But after you lock him in the cell, there remains the question still. Is it possible that a good and wise God, knowing that he was going to drown them, made millions of people? What did he make them for? I do not know. I do not pretend to be wise enough to answer that question. Of course, you cannot answer the question. Is there anything blasphe- mous in that? Would it be blasphemy in me to say that I do not believe that any God ever made men, women, and children, mothers, with babes clasped to their breasts, and then sent a flood to fill the world with death?

A rain lasting for forty days, the water rising hour by hour, and the poor wretched children of God climbing to the tops of their houses, then to the tops of the hills. The water still rising — no mercy. The people climbing higher and higher, looking to the mountains for salvation, the merciless rain still falling, the inexorable flood still rising.


MARK TWAIN


203

Children falling from the arms of mothers — no pity. The highest hills covered, infancy and old age mingling in death, the cries of women, the sobs and sighs lost in the roar of the waves, the heavens still relentless. The moun- tains are covered, a shoreless sea rolls round the world, and in its billows are billions of corpses.

This is the greatest crime that man has imagined, and this crime is called a deed of infinite mercy.

Do you believe that? I do not believe one word of it, and I have the right to say to all the world that this is false.

MARK TWAIN

(1835-19x0)

Mark Twain's views on Titian's Venus, evidently the fruit of a protracted study of the object of bis indictment , appeared in “A Tramp Abroad", 1880. His summary of Rhodes is from “ Following the Equator ," 1897; and the Pudd'nhead Wilson reflections are of about the same date. His intense pessimism, revealed in these Pudd'nhead Wilson maxims , has been explained by a recent biographer , Mr. Van Wyck Brooks, as the result of the defeat which his sincerity and its expression in his writings suffered at the hands of a conventional wife and unduly respectable friends, such as W. D. Howells.

“titian’s beast”

( From “A Tramp Abroad".)

at the door of the Ufizzi 1 in Florence, one is confronted by statues of a man and a woman, noseless, battered, black with accumulated grime, — they hardly suggest human beings — yet these ridiculous creatures have been thoughtfully and conscientiously fig-leaved by this fastidious generation. You enter, and proceed to that most- visited little gallery that exists in the world — the Tribune — and there, against the wall, without obstructing rag or leaf, you may look your fill upon the foulest, the vilest, the obscenest picture the world possesses — Titian’s Venus. It isn’t that she is naked and stretched out on a bed — no, it is the attitude of one 1 Mark Twain’s spelling.


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of her arms and hand. If I ventured to describe that attitude there would be a fine howl — but there the Venus lies, for anybody to gloat over that wants to — and there she hasa right to lie, for she is a work of art, and art has its privileges. I saw a young girl stealing furtive glances at' her; I saw young men gazing long and absorbedly at her; I saw aged, infirm men hang upon her charms with a pathetic interest. How I should like to describe her — just to see what a holy indignation 1 could stir up in the world — just to hear the unreflecting average man deliver himself about my grossness and coarseness, and all that. The world says that no worded description of a moving spectacle is a hundredth part as moving as the same spectacle seen with one’s own eyes — yet the world is willing to let its sons and its daughters and itself look at Titian’s beast, but won’t stand a description of it in words.

. . . There are pictures of nude women which suggest no impure thought — I am well aware of that. I am not railing at such. What I am trying to emphasize is the fact that Titian’s Venus is very far from being one of that sort. Without any question it was painted for a bagnio and it was probably refused because it was a trifle too strong. In truth, it is a trifle too strong for any place but a public art gallery.

CECIL RHODES

( From “ Following the Equator”.)

one fact is sure: he keeps his prominence and a vast follow- ing, no matter what he does. He “deceives” the Duke of Fife — it is the Duke’s word — but that does not destroy the Duke’s loyalty to him. He tricks the Reformers into immense trouble with his Raid, but the most of them believe he meant well. He weeps over the harshly-taxed Johannesburgers and makes them his friends; at the same time he taxes his Charter-settlers 50 per cent, and so wins their affection and their confidence that they are squelched with despair at every rumour that the Charter is to be annulled. He raids and robs and slays and enslaves the Matabele and gets worlds of Charter-Christian applause for it. He has beguiled England into buying Charter waste


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paper for Bank of England notes, ton for ton, and the ravished still burn incense to him as the Eventual God of Plenty. He has done everything he could think of to pull himself down to the ground; he has done more than enough ‘to pull sixteen common-run great men down; yet there he stands, to this day, upon his dizzy summit under the dome of the sky, an apparent permanency, the marvel of the time, the mystery of the age, an Archangel with wings to half the world, Satan with a tail to the other half.

I admire him, I frankly confess it; and when his time comes I shall buy a piece of the rope for a keepsake.

( From Pudd’nhead Wilson's Calendar) whoever has lived long enough to find out what life is, knows how deep a debt of gratitude we owe to Adam, the first great benefactor of our race. He brought death into the world.

The holy passion of Friendship is of so sweet and steady and loyal and enduring a nature that it will last through a whole lifetime, if not asked to lend money.

All say, “How hard it is to die” — a strange complaint to come from the mouths of people who have had to live.

If you pick up a starving dog and make him prosperous, he will not bite you. This is the principal difference between a dog and a man.

Pity is for the living, envy is for the dead.

Each person is born to one possession which out-values ail his others — his last breath.

Satan ( impatiently ) to New Comer. “The trouble with you Chicago people is, that you think you are the best people down here; whereas you are merely the most numerous.”

OUIDA

(1839-1908)

Ouida in her latest writings was a vehement controversialist , generally acute and sensitive, but, as in her novels, never able to refrain from repeating herself. The gist of her remarks on Vivisection and The New Woman are contained in the compara- tively brief extracts given below.


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Ouida' s New Woman, who is now a grandmother , seems to be exactly like the New Woman of to-day.

• On Vivisection Ouida agrees with Shakespeare and Bernard Shaw. Shakespeare in “Cymbeline” makes the wicked Queen say — “I will try the forces

Of these thy compounds on such creatures as We count not worth the hanging :”

The doctor replies:

“ Your highness

Shall from this practice but make hard your he art.”

Mr. Shaw, in the preface to the “ Doctor’s Dilemma”, writes: “ Take the hackneyed case of the Italian who tortured mice , ostensibly to find out about the effects of pain rather less than the nearest dentist could have told him, and who boasted of the ecstatic sensations (be actually used the word love ) with which he carried out his experiments. Or the gentleman who starved sixty dogs to death to establish the fact that a dog deprived of food gets progress- ively lighter and weaker, becoming remarkably emaciated, and finally dying. . . . The Italian is diagnosed as a cruel voluptuary, the dog-starver is passed over as such a hopeless fool that it is impossible to take any interest in him”

VIVISECTION

In the various demands made in the English Press of late, by physiologists, for the free acceptance of what is called vivisection, as practised by themselves, no feature is more conspicuous than the utter absence of any expression of sorrow that such methods are necessary; or any suggestion that the right to torture, if a right, is to be claimed with apology and regret. . . . Given that the incessant and excruciating torture of millions of animals is absolutely necessary for the pursuit and development of knowledge, this might at least be regarded by the scientist himself, as a hideous necessity. But there is no such note perceptible in any one of the many essays in favour of experiment on living bodies which have been recently so liberally poured forth in magazines and other literary organs.

. . . Think of a practical physiologist, rising every day


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and going to the same hideous employment with the morn- ing light, keeping the tortured and mutilated creatures beside him week after week, month after month, refusing them even the comfort of a drop of water, if thirst will increase the “interest” of his experiment; think of him, eating and drinking, jesting and love-making, filling his belly and indulging his desires, then returning to his laboratory to devise and execute fresh tortures, his hands steeped in blood, his eyes greedily watching the throes he stimulates.

. . . How long will the laboratory wait for the human body? . . . Science has declared that man is but a beast which perishes; the superiority once claimed by humanity as having been made in the likeness of Deity cannot be put forward by a world which has long been taught by science to see itself as a mere accidental congregation of atoms. Why shall not the physiologist claim the cripple, the mute, the idiot, the convict, the pauper, to enhance the “interest” of his experiments?. . . The most intricate social problems wait unsolved; political economy remains merely a name; all the revolutions and reasonings of mankind have failed to produce any even balance of property or any just division of pleasure; drink, vice, dirt, prostitution, hunger, and unnatural crimes work their wholesale ruin amidst the millions of miserable creatures who crowd together in all the cities of the world: yet the scientists think that the whole key of study and knowledge lies in a rabbit’s rectum or a dog’s pancreas, and turn their backs and close their sight to the frightful needs of the nations, which draw with every hour nearer to communism and chaos, whilst these “helpers of humanity” watch with “freudige Aufregung ” 1 the piteous struggles of a puppy whose eyes they have put out by hot irons, or gaze “con molto amort e pa%ieti%a ,,z on the guinea-pig which they have larded with nails.

1 From the Metbodik of Cyon, a German physiologist.

2 From the Fisiologta del Dolore of Mantegazza, an Italian physiologist.

THE NEW WOMAN (1894)

She cannot clothe herself with commonsense or common gra'ce, she cannot resist the dictates of tailors and the


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examples of princesses; she cannot resist the squaw-like preference for animals’ skins, and slaughtered birds, and tufts torn out of the living and bleeding creature; she cannot show to any advantage the natural lines of her form, but disguises them as grotesquely as mantua-makers bid* her to do. She cannot go into the country without making herself a caricature of man, in coat and waistcoat and gaiters; she apes all his absurdities, she emulates all his cruelties and follies; she wears his ugly pot hats, his silly, stiff collars; she copies his inane club-life and then tells us that this parody, incapable of initiative, base of taste and destitute of common sense, is worthy to be enthroned as the supreme teacher of the world!

. . . The New Woman reminds me of an agriculturalist who, discarding a fine farm of his own, and leaving it to nettles, stones, thistles and wire-worms, should spend his whole time in demanding neighbouring fields which are not his. . . .

So long as she goes to see one of her own sex dancing in a lion’s den, the lions being meanwhile terrorised by a male brute; so long as she wears dead birds as millinery and dead seals as coats, so long as she goes to races, steeple- chases, coursing and pigeon matches; so long as she “walks with the guns”; so long as she goes to see an American lashing horses to death in idiotic contest with velocipedes, so long as she curtsies before princes and emperors who reward the winners of distance-rides; so long as she receives physiologists in her drawing-rooms, and trusts to them in her maladies; so long as she invades literature without culture and art without talent; so long as she orders her court-dress in a hurry, regardless of the strain thus placed on the poor seamstresses; so long as she makes no attempt to interest herself in her servants, in her animals, in the poor slaves of her tradespeople; so long as she shows herself, as she does at present, without scruple at every brutal and debasing spectacle which is considered fashionable; so long as she understands nothing of the beauty of meditation, of solitude, of Nature; so long as she is utterly incapable of keeping her sons out of the shambles of modern sport.


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and lifting her daughters above the pestilent miasma of modern society; so long as she is what she is in the , worlds subject to her, she has no possible title or capacity to demand the plea or the privilege of man, for she shows herself incapable of turning to profit her own place and her own privilege.


R. L. STEVENSON

(1850-1894)

Stevenson's famous letter to the Keverend Dr. Hyde, the occasion of which is fully explained in the extracts given below, is regarded by admirers of Stevenson as a magnificent explosion of decent and virile indignation. Others may find the most significant sentence in the letter to be: “ If I have at all learned the trade of using words to convey truth and to arouse emotion, you have at last furnished me with a subject."

The Subject Proposed.

FROM ROBERT LOUIS STEVENSON’S OPEN LETTER ON FATHER DAMIEN TO THE REVEREND DR. HYDE OF HONOLULU

Sydney, February 25, 1890.

sir, —

It may probably occur to you that we have met, and visited, and conversed; on my side, with interest. You may remember that you have done me several courtesies, for which I was prepared to be grateful. But there are duties which come before gratitude, and offences which justly divide friends, far more acquaintances. Your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage is a document which, in my sight, if you had filled me with bread when I was starving, if you had sat up to nurse my father when he lay a-dying, would yet absolve me from the bonds of gratitude. . . .

If I have at all learned the trade of using words to convey truth and to arouse emotion, you have at last furnished me with a subject. For it is in the interest of all mankind and the cause of public decency in every quarter of the world not only that Damien should be righted, but that you and your letter should be displayed at length, in their true colours, to the public eye.


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THE REVEREND DR. HYDE’S LETTER

( Published in the Sydney “Presbyterian” , October 1 6, 1889.)

Honolulu, August 2, 1889.

Rev. H. B. Gage.

dear brother, — In answer to your inquiries about Father Damien, I can only reply that we who knew the man are surprised at the extravagant newspaper laudations, as if he was a most saintly philanthropist. The simple truth is, he was a coarse, dirty man, headstrong and bigoted. He was not sent to Molokai, but went there without orders; did not stay at the leper settlement (before he became one himself), but circulated freely over the whole island (less than half the island is devoted to the lepers), and he came often to Honolulu. He had no hand in the reforms and improvements inaugurated, which were the work of our Board of Health, as occasion required and means were provided. He was not a pure man in his relations with women, and the leprosy of which he died should be attribu- ted to his vices and carelessness. Others have done much for the lepers, our own ministers, the government phy- sicians, and so forth, but never with the Catholic idea of meriting eternal life.

Yours etc.,

C. M. HYDE.


The Tetter analysed.

Damien was coarse.

It is very possible. You make us sorry for the lepers who had only a coarse old peasant for their friend and father. But you, who were so refined^ why were you not there, to cheer them with the lights of culture? Or may I remind you that we have some reason to doubt if John the Baptist were genteel; and in the case of Peter, on whose career you doubtless dwell approvingly in the pulpit, no doubt at all he was a “coarse, headstrong” fisherman! Yet even in our Protestant Bibles Peter is called Saint.


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Damien was dirty.

He was. Think of the poor lepers annoyed with this dirty comrade! But the clean Dr. Hyde was at his food in a .fine house.

Damien was headstrong.

I believe you are right again; and I thank God for his strong head and heart.

Damien was bigoted.

I am not fond of bigots myself, because they are not fond of me. But what is meant by bigotry, that we should regard it as a blemish in a priest? Damien believed his own religion with the simplicity of a peasant or a child; as I would I could suppose that you do. . . .

Damien was not sent to Molokai, but went there without orders.

Is this a misreading? or do you rea'ly mean the words for blame? I have heard Christ, in the pulpits of our Church, held up for imitation on the ground that His sacrifice was voluntary. Does Dr. Hyde think otherwise? . . .

Damien was not a pure man in his relations with women , etc.

. . . This scandal, when I read it in your letter, was not new to me. I had heard it once before; and I must tell you how. There came to Samoa a man from Honolulu; he, in a public-house on the beach, volunteered the statement that Damien had “contracted the disease from having connection with the female lepers”; and I find a joy in telling you how the report was welcomed in a public-house. A man sprang to his feet; I am not at liberty to give his name, but from what I heard I doubt if you would care to have him to dinne* in Beretania Street. “You miserable

little ” (here is a word I dare not print, it would so

shock your ears). “You miserable little ,” he cried,

“if the story were a thousand times true, can’t you see you

are a million times a lower for daring to repeat it?”

I wish it could be told of you that when the report reached you in your house, perhaps after family worship, you had


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found in your soul enough holy anger to receive it with the same expressions; ay, even with that one which I dare not print; it would not need to have been blotted away, like Uncle Toby’s oath, by the tears of the recording angel;, it would have been counted to you for your brightest righteousness. But you have deliberately chosen the part of the man from Honolulu, and you have played it with improvements of your own. The man from Honolulu — miserable, leering creature — communicated the tale to a rude knot of beach-combing drinkers in a public-house, where (I will so far agree with your temperance opinions) man is not always at his noblest; and the man from Honolulu had himself been drinking — drinking, we may charitably fancy, to excess. It was to your “Dear Brother, the Reverend H. B. Gage,” that you chose to communicate the sickening story; and the blue ribbon which adorns your portly bosom forbids me to allow you the extenuadng plea that you were drunk when it was done. . . .

But I fear you scarce appreciate how you appear to your fellow-men; and to bring it home to you, I will suppose your story to be true. I will suppose — and God forgive me for supposing it — that Damien faltered and stumbled in his narrow path of duty; I will suppose that, in the horror of his isolation, perhaps in the fever of incipient disease, he, who was doing so much more than he had sworn, failed in the letter of his priestly oath — he, who was so much a better man than either you or me, who did what we have never dreamed of daring — he too tasted of our common frailty. “O, Iago, the pity of it!” The least tender should be moved to tears; the most incredulous to prayer. And all that you could do was to pen your letter to the Reverend H. B. Gage!

Is it growing at all clear to you what a picture you have drawn of your own heart? I will try yet once again to make it clearer. You had a father: suppose this tale were about him, and some informant brought it to you, proof in hand: I am not making too high an estimate of your emotional nature when I suppose you would regret the circumstance? that you would feel the tale of frailty the more keenly since it shamed the author of your days? and that the last thing


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you would do would be to publish it in the religious press? Well, the man who tried to do what Damien did, is my father, and the father of the man in the Apia bar, and the father of all who love goodness; and he was your father too, if God had given you grace to see it.


T. W. H. CROSLAND

(1865-1924)

Crosland, the famous journalist, was a kind of William Prynne of the twentieth century , and would undoubtedly have lost his ears and been branded in a less humanitarian age. A late-Victorian Bohemian, his invective is far more complex and interesting than Prynne' s. In his attack on the Scotch, he recalls the eighteenth century, in his “ Votes for Women ” he is a romantic, and in his poem on Oscar Wilde, not quoted from here, he indulges his Puritanism, otherwise sunt what starved.

THE SCOTS

who, that has a feeling for warfare, would fight with a Scotchman? Such a one, I hope, does not breathe; the plain fact being that if a Scot beats you, he beats you; whereas if you begin to beat a Scot he will assuredly bawl, in the King’s name, for the law. “Hech, sirs, rin for the polis. A’hm gettin’ whupped!” Let us therefore continue our discourse amicably.

Your proper child of Caledonia believes in his rickety bones that he is the salt of the earth. Prompted by a glozing pride, not to say by a black and consuming avarice, he has proclaimed his saltiness from the house-tops in and out of season, unblushingly, assiduously, and with results which have no d®ubt been most satisfactory from his own point of view. There is nothing creditable to the race of men, from filial piety to a pretty taste in claret, which he has not sedulously advertised as a virtue peculiar to himself. This arrogation has served him passing well. It has brought him into unrivalled esteem. He is the one species of human animal that is taken by all the world to be fifty per cent


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cleverer and pluckier and honester than the facts warrant. He is the daw with a peacock’s tail of his own painting. He is the ass who has been at pains to cultivate the convincing roar of a lion. He is the fine gentleman whose father toils with a muck-fork. And, to have done with parable, he is the bandy-legged lout from Tullietudlescleugh, who, after a childhood of intimacy with the cesspool and the crablouse, and twelve months at “the college” on moneys wrung from the diet of his family, drops his threadbare kilt and comes south in a slop suit to instruct the English in the arts of civilization and in the English language. And because he is Scotch and the Scotch superstition is heavy on our Southern lands, England will forthwith give him a chance, for an English chance is his birthright. Soon, forby, shall he be living in “chambers” and writing idiot books. Or he shall swell and hector and fume in the sub-editor’s room of a halfpenny paper. Or a pompous and gravel-blind city house shall grapple him to its soul in the capacity of con- fidential clerk. Or he shall be cashier in a jam factory, or “boo and boo” behind a mercer’s counter, or “wait on” in a coffee tavern, or, for that matter, soak away his chapped spirit in the four-ale bars off Fleet Street.

(The Unspeakable Scot.)


“MARGARET OGILVY”

there are three Scotch books of biography, all published, I believe, within the last six years, which invariably raise my gorge. One of them is “Margaret Ogilvy” by Dr. J. M. Barrie. . . .

It is an account of the character and sayings of Dr. J. M. Barrie’s mother, viewed in the light of Dr. Barrie’s own literaryness. I have no hesitation in pronouncing it to be one of the most snobbish books that has issued from the press any time this hundred years. It begins snobbishly, it goes on snobbishly, and it ends snobbishly. ... In point of fact Dr. Barrie’s “little study” is just as much a study of himself as of his mother. If it shows Margaret Ogilvy in the figure of an excellent mother, it also shows J. M. Barrie


T. W. H. CROSLAND


in the figure of a preternaturally excellent and dutiful son. If it shows that Margaret Ogilvy was a simple, unsophisti- cated woman of the people, it shows also that J. M. Barrie had compassion on her intellectual shortcomings and was ever ready to humour the poor body and to twinkle tolerantly on her whimsies, when he might, had he so chosen, have withered her with a word. . . . The sagacious, garrulous mother, the highly diverted, patient son! The picture has pleased the Scotch and English-speaking nations of two hemispheres. Yet is it of the stupidest and the most foolish. (j-jjg Unspeakable Scot.)


“missy”

so far as the male person is able to judge, the beginning of woman is the little girl. Shopwalkers, I believe, call her “Missy”. It is a good name, and we will let it stand. . . . Woman is Missy fed up. At twenty she has all the vices that were hers at ten. At ten you found her faithless, spiteful, greedy, merciless, vindictive, impudent, unreason- able, unruly, and illogical. At twenty she is the same girl, only more cunning and a trifle more commercial. Indeed, Missy persists right through the lives of all women. I have seen the ten-year-old chocolate grabber leap into the eyes of women of fifty when devilled bones were concerned. And if you want loyalty or honour in the way that men understand loyalty and honour, you will never go to a woman for them, no matter how old she may be. It is not in woman’s watery blood to be loyal. Neither can she stand up for a losing side. Get beaten by the next little boy when you are young, and see what Missy will do for you. Get beaten in the bigger fight, and note where the applause comes from. MisSy, bless her innocent little heart, was ever for the boy with the most pocket money and the nicest clothes. She is sub-consciouslv, tacitly, or avowedly, on the side of the plutocrat to her dying day.

{hovtly Woman!)


Zl6 HILAIRE BELLOC

“votes for women’ mark how their shining effigies are set For ever on the firmament of Time,

Like lovely words caught in a lovely rhyme,

Or silver stars kept in a faery net.

Ivory and marble hold them for us yet.

And all our blossomy memories of them chime With all the honest graces of the prime —

Helen, and Ruth, Elaine, and Juliet.

And You, in this disconsolate London square Flaunting an ill-considered purple hat And mud-stained, rumpled, bargain-counter coat. You of the broken tooth and buttered hair,

And idiot eye and cheeks that bulge with fat. Sprawl on the flagstones chalking for a vote!


HILAIRE BELLOC

(1870- )

Mr. Belloc's “ Verses to a Lord” unite the two chief emotions of bis earlier years, hostility to the capitalistic system , and love of war.

VERSES TO A LORD WHO, IN THE HOUSE OF LORDS, SAID THAT THOSE WHO OPPOSED THE SOUTH AFRICAN ADVENTURE CONFUSED SOLDIERS WITH MONEY-GRUBBERS

you thought because we held, my lord.

An ancient cause and strong.

That therefore we maligned the sword:

My lord, you did us wrong.

We also know the sacred height Up on Tugela Side,

Where those three hundred fought with Beit And fair young Wernher died.

The daybreak on the failing force.

The final sabres drawn:

Tall Goltman, silent on his horse.

Superb against the dawn.


G. K. CHESTERTON ZI7

The little mound where Eckstein stood And gallant Albu fell,

And Oppenheim, half blind with blood.

Went fording through the rising flood —

My Lord, we know them well.

The little empty homes forlorn.

The ruined synagogues that mourn.

In Frankfurt and Berlin:

We knew them when the peace was torn —

We of a nobler lineage born —

And now by all the gods of scorn We mean to rub them in.

G. K. CHESTERTON

(1874- )

Mr. Chesterton is the most controversial of living writers. Nothing interests him unless it affords material for debate and conflict. Liven his poetry is a defiance to something or someone. He will spend his time in Heaven writing against Beelzebub, instead of listening to the young-eyed Seraphim.

The chief objects of his hostility are: Prussians, politicians, professors, paederasts, prohibitionists, and progressives. But not the Pope.

The four examples given here are: “ The Wife of Flanders”, a fine poem written at the outbreak of the Great War: a Sonnet to a Popular leader, no doubt Mr. Floyd George; a characteristic skit on modern theories about prehistoric man; and a magnificent, and though severe not ungenerous, attack on Mr. Wells' inability to understand the philosophy of the Fall of Man. Nothing finer in defence of the idea of Original Sin against the modem idea of the steady upward progress of humanity from sub-human begiurnngs m has been written in this generation.

THE WIFE OF FLANDERS

Low and brown barns thatched and repatched and tattered Where I had seven sons until to-day,

A ljttlc hill of hay your spur has scattered. . . .

This is not Paris. You have lost the way.


G. K. CHESTERTON


You, staring at your sword to find it brittle. Surprised at the surprise that was your plan.

Who shaking and breaking barriers not a little Find never more the death-door of Sedan.

Must I for more than carnage call you claimant. Paying you a penny for each son you slay?

Man, the whole globe in gold were no repayment For what you have lost. And how shall I repay?

What is the price of that red spark that caught me From a kind farm that never had a name?

What is the price of that dead man they brought me? For other dead men do not look the same.

How should I pay for one poor graven steeple Whereon you shattered what you shall not know. How should I pay you, miserable people?

How should I pay you everything you owe?

Unhappy, can I give you back your honour?

Though I forgave would any man forget?

While all the great green land has trampled on her The treason and terror of the night we met.

Not any more in vengeance or in pardon An old wife bargains for a bean that’s hers.

You have no word to break: no heart to harden.

Ride on and prosper. You have lost your spurs.


SONNET

With the Compliments of the Season

To a Popular "Leader much to be congratulated on the avoidance of a strike at Christmas

I know you. You will hail the huge release.

Saying the sheathing of a thousand swords,

In silence and injustice, well accords

With Christmas beds. And you will gild with grease


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The papers, the employers, the police,

And vomit up the void your windy words To your New Christ; who bears no whips of cords For them that traffic in the doves of peace.

The feast of friends, the candle-fruited tree,

I have not failed to honour. And I say It would be better for such men as we.

And we be nearer Bethlehem, if we lay Shot dead on scarlet snows for liberty,

Dead in the daylight upon Christmas Day.

THE FALL OF WELLS

When a man is as great a genius as Mr. Wells, I admit it sounds provocative to call him provincial. But if he wants to know why anybody does it, it will be enough to point silently to the headline of one of his pages, which runs “Where is the Garden of Eden?” To come down to a thing like that, and to think it telling, when talking to an intelligent Catholic about the Fall; that is provinciality. . . .

The Fall is a view of life. ... A man who holds this view of life will find it giving light on a thousand things; on which mere evolutionary ethics have not a word to say. For instance, on the colossal contrast between the complete- ness of man’s machines and the continued corruption of his motives; on the fact that no social progress really seems to leave seif behind; on the fact that the first and not the last men of any school or revolution are generally the best and purest; as William Penn was better than a Quaker million- aire or Washington better than an American oil magnate; on that proverb that says “The price of liberty is eternal vigilance,” which is only w’hat the theologians say of every other virtue, and is itself only a way of stating the truth of original sift: on those extremes of good and evil by which man exceeds all the animals by the measure of heaven and hell; on that sublime sense of loss that is in the very sound of all great poetry, and nowhere more than in the poetry of pagans and sceptics; “We look before and after, and pine for what is not”; which cries against all prigs and progressives out of the very depths and abysses


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G. K. CHESTERTON


of the broken heart of man, that happiness is not only a hope but also in some strange manner a memory; and that we are all kings in exile.

Now to people who feel that this view of life is more real, more radical, more universal than the cheap simpli- fications opposed to it, it comes with quite a shock of bathos to realise that anybody, let alone a man like Mr. Wells, supposes that it all depends on some detail about the site of a garden in Mesopotamia, like that identified by General Gordon. It is hard to find any parallel to such an incongruity; for there is no real similarity’ between our muddied mortal affairs and scriptures that are sacred even if they are symbolical. But some shadow of a comparison could be made out of the modern myths. I mean the sort of myths that men like Mr. Wells generally do believe in; such as the Myth of Magna Charta or the Myth of the Alayflower. Now many historians will maintain that Magna Charta was really nothing to speak of; that it was largely a piece of feudal privilege. But suppose one of the historians who hold this view began to argue with us excitedly about the fabulous nature of our ordinary fancy picture of Magna Charta. Suppose he produced maps and documents to prove that Magna Charta was not signed at Runnymcde, but somewhere else; as 1 believe some scholars maintain. Suppose he criticised the false heraldry and fancy dress costumes of the ordinary sort of waxwork historical picture of the event. We should think he was rather unduly excited about a detail of medixval history. But with what a shock of astonishment should we realise at last that the man actually thought that all modern attempts at democracy must be abandoned, that all representative government must be w'rong, that all Parliaments would have to be dissolved and all political rights destroyed, if once it were admitted that King John did not sign that special document in that little island in the Thames! What should we think of him, if he really thought we had no reasons for liking law or liberty, except the authenticity of that beloved royal signature? That is very much how I feel when I find that Mr. Wells really imagines that the


G. K. CHESTERTON


221


luminous and profound philosophy of the Fall only means that Eden was somewhere in Mesopotamia.

PROFESSORS AND THE PREHISTORIC MAN . . . I have pointed out the difficulty of keeping a monkey and watching it evolve into a man. Experimental evidence of such an evolution being impossible, the professor is not content to say (as most of us would be ready to say) that such an evolution is likely enough anyhow. He produces his little bone, or little collection of bones, and deduces the most marvellous things from it. He found in Java a part of a skull, seeming by its contour to be smaller than the human. Somewhere near it he found an upright thigh-bone, and in the same scattered fashion some teeth that were not human. If they all form part of one creature, which is doubtful, our conception of the creature would be almost equally doubtful. But the effect on popular science was to produce a complete and even complex figure, finished down to the last detail of hair and habits. He was given a name as if he were an ordinary historical character. People talked of Pithecanthropus as of Pitt or Fox or Napoleon. Popular histories published portraits of him like the portraits of Charles the First and George the Fourth. A detailed drawing was reproduced, carefully shaded, to show that the very hairs of his head were all numbered. No uninformed person looking at its carefully lined face and wistful eyes would imagine for a moment that this was the portrait of a thigh-bone; or of a few teeth and a fragment of a cranium.

ANTICHRIST, OR THE REUNION OF CHRISTENDOM: AN ODE ‘VI Bill which has shocked the conscience of every Christian community in Europe. ,y — Mr. F. E. Smith 1 on the Welsh Disestablishment Bill.

are they clinging to their crosses,

F. Pi. Smith,

Where the Breton boat-fleet tosses.

Are they, Smith?

1 Later Lord Birkenhead.


222


G. K. CHESTERTON


Do they, fasting, trembling, bleeding, Wait the news from this our city? Groaning “That’s the Second Reading!”

Hissing “There is still Committed”

If the voice of Cecil falters.

If McKenna’s point has pith.

Do they tremble for their altars?

Do they. Smith?

Russian peasants round their pope. Huddled, Smith,

Hear about it all, I hope.

Don’t they. Smith?

In the mountain hamlets clothing Peaks beyond Caucasian pales.

Where Establishment means nothing And they never heard of Wales,

Do they read it all in Hansard With a crib to read it with —

“Welsh Tithes: Dr. Clifford Answered,” Really, Smith?

In the lands where Christians were,

F. E. Smith,

In the little lands laid bare.

Smith, O Smith,

Where the Turkish bands are busy.

And the Tory name is blessed Since they hailed the Cross of Dizzy On the banners from the West!

Men don’t think it half so hard if Islam burns their kin and kith.

Since a curate lives in Cardiff Saved by Smith.

It would greatly, I must own,

Soothe me, Smith!

If you left this theme alone.

Holy Smith!


GEOFFREY HOWARD


ZZJ

For your legal cause or civil

You fight well and get your fee;

For your God or dream or devil You will answer, not to me.

Talk about the pews and steeples And the Cash that goes therewith!

But the souls of Christian peoples . . .

Chuck it, Smith!

GEOFFREY HOWARD

(1889- )

Mr. Howard's satire on Oxford, written in 1911 when he was an undergraduate, is still in circulation. It is perhaps the best of all modern examples of the reversion to the eighteenth-century style of irwective. beneath the parody of Johnsonian verse there is a justness and acuteness of criticism which entitle it to be ranked with Gibbon's criticism of Oxford.

FROM “oxford”

A SATIRE

though on my brows there rose an angry frown When B — 11 — Cs Dons sent poor Patroclus down,

Yet envy stirred me as he caught his train,

No more to hear the Oxford bells again.

But far removed from godlessness and Greek,

To earn in town an honest pound a week.

For who that once, these “dreaming spires” among.

Had known the tedium of being young,

Would ever for his days at Oxford sigh.

Or long to leave Sahara for the “High”? . . .

THE OXFORD TRADESMAN

forthwith the tradesmen like some noisome fly,

Buzz round their victim, urging him to buy,

Wave with a smile the proffered coin away.

And blush that such a “gent” should wish to pay. Thus they in time the careless fool entice To buy bad rubbish at three times its price. . . .


224


GEOFFREY HOWARD


And now the too obsequious sons of Zion Discard the lambkin and assume the lion:

His bills, neglected, penetrate to town;

The father pays them, but the son goes down.

THE OXFORD DON

Can pigs grow wings and fly, unwonted birds?

Can the salt sea grow black with grazing herds?

Can the lean thistle blossom into figs?

Or Oxford aught produce save fools and prigs?

Doomed now, deposing reason from its throne,

To spend whole days with boredom and with Bohn,

To read each commentator’s endless reams.

And learn for one Greek word two German names,

To hear some greybeard, chattering and perplexed,

Destroy all meaning and corrupt the text,

Or reading out whole volumes on one word,

Hold “nunc” in scorn, and show why “tune’s” preferred.

FROM THE PERORATION

Yet O my friends, these wretched rags 1 forgive.

Who could write English where few English live?

Dark alien tribes have driven our natives far.

And all the Ganges flows into the Cher.

Such Ethiopian hosts the “High” adorn.

Such crowds of Rajahs jostle in the “Corn,”

That should the timid Briton come in sight They start, affronted, at a face that’s white!

Such are the ills that now in Oxford reign;

Such are the ills I ne’er shall know again.

No more, like wolves, shall bulldogs on me leap For breaking rules I’m not supposed to keep!

No more shall jockeys, dirty, drunk, r.nd dull,

Smash all my furniture and crack my skull!

No longer to my rooms shall Claudius stroll.

Drink all my whisky, and explain his soul.

Or, sitting hourly in my easy chair.

Twiddle his thumbs and wonder if they’re there. . . .

1 The Isis and the Varsity : undergraduate journals.



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