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much learning and reason one of the first scholars of his age thought necessary, to prove that it was no crime to throw a die, or
play at cards, or to hide a shilling for the reckoning? 47 Astrology however, against which so much of the satire is
directed, was not more the folly of the Puritans than of others. It had in that time a very extensive dominion. Its predictions raised hopes and fears in minds which ought to have rejected it with contempt? In hazardous undertakings care was taken to begin under the influence of a propitious planet; and when the king was prisoner in Carisbrook Castle, an astrologer was consulted
what hour would be found most favourable to an escape 3. 48 What effect this poem had upon the publick, whether it shamed
imposture or reclaimed credulity, is not easily determined. Cheats can seldom stand long against laughter“. It is certain that the credit of planetary intelligence wore fast away; though some men of knowledge, and Dryden among them, continued to believe that conjunctions and oppositions had a great part in the distribution
of good or evil, and in the government of sublunary things 5. 49 Poetical action ought to be probable upon certain suppositions,
and such probability as burlesque requires is here violated only by one incident. Nothing can shew more plainly the necessity of doing something, and the difficulty of finding something to do, than that Butler was reduced to transfer to his hero the flagellation of Sancho, not the most agreeable fiction of Cervantes; very suitable indeed to the manners of that age and nation, which : * South, preaching on Prov. xvi. Judicial Astrology.' Masson's Mil33, 'The lot is cast into the lap, but ton, iv. 392. the whole disposing of it is of the Lilly, the astrologer, says that, Lord,' says :- I cannot think myself with his Majesty's consent,' he was engaged from these words to dis- asked to ascertain by his art, 'in course of lots, as to their nature, use, what quarter of this nation he might and allowableness; and that, not be most safe,' if he escaped. At a only in matters of moment and busi second consultation he elected a day ness, but also of recreation; which and hour when to receive the Comlatter is indeed impugned by some, missioners' sent by Parliament; and, though better defended by others.' after agreeing to what they proposed, Sermons, i. 201.
'with all speed to come up with * In 1643 Parliament appointed them to London.' He does not say a Licenser of the Press for the that he was consulted about the hour Mathematicks, Almanacks, and Pro- of escape. Lilly's Life and Times, gnostications. Rushworth's Hist. 1826, pp. 61, 63. Coll. v. 336. In Feb. 1651-2, cer " See post, AKENSIDE, 6, for Johntain leading Independent divines son's attack on 'Shaftesbury's foolish petitioned Parliament 'to take some assertion of the efficacy of ridicule speedy course for the utter suppress for the discovery of truth.' ing of that abominable cheat of 5 Post, DRYDEN, 191.
ascribed wonderful efficacy to voluntary penances, but so remote from the practice and opinions of the Hudibrastick time that judgement and imagination are alike offended.
The diction of this poem is grossly familiar, and the numbers 50 purposely neglected, except in a few places where the thoughts by their native excellence secure themselves from violation, being such as mean language cannot express. The mode of versification has been blamed by Dryden, who regrets that the heroick measure was not rather chosen?. To the critical sentence of Dryden the highest reverence would be due, were not his decisions often precipitate and his opinions immature 3. When he wished to change the measure, he probably would have been willing to change more. If he intended that when the numbers were heroick the diction should still remain vulgar, he planned a very heterogeneous and unnatural composition. If he preferred a general stateliness both of sound and words, he can be only understood to wish that Butler had undertaken a different work.
The measure is quick, spritely, and colloquial, suitable to the 51 vulgarity of the words and the levity of the sentiments“. But
· The following passages are in turns earnest too much to jest, and stances of this :
gives us a boyish kind of pleasure. • The moon pull'd off her veil of light, ... It is indeed below so great a That hides her face by day from master to make use of such a little sight
instrument. . . . After all, he has (Mysterious veil of brightness made, chosen this kind of verse, and has That's both her lustre and her shade), written the best in it; and had he And in the lanthorn of the night taken another he would always have With shining horns hung out her
excelled.' DRYDEN, Works, xiii. 112. light,' &c. Hudibras, ii. 1. 905. It is a dispute among the critics "For though outnumber'd, over. whether burlesque poetry runs best thrown,
in heroic verse, like that of The DisAnd by the fate of war run down, pensary (post, GARTH, 17), or in Their duty never was defeated, doggerel, like that of Hudibras. I. Nor from their oaths and faith re- think where the low character is to treated ;
be raised the heroic is the proper For loyalty is still the same,
measure ; but when an hero is to be Whether it win or lose the game; pulled down and degraded, it is done True as the dial to the sun,
best in doggerel.' ADDISON, The Although it be not shin'd upon.' Spectator, No. 249.
16. iii. 2. 169. 3 Post, DRYDEN, 202. 2 “The choice of his numbers is " I am afraid that great numbers suitable enough to his design, as he of those who admire the incomparhas managed it; but in any other hand able Hudibras, do it more on account the shortness of his verse, and the of these doggerel rhymes than of the quick returns of rhyme, had debased parts that really deserve admiration. the dignity of style. And besides, I am sure I have heard the the double rhyme (a necessary com
“pulpit, drum ecclesiastic, panion of burlesque writing) is not Was beat with fist instead of a so proper for manly satire, for it stick;" [i. 1. 11]
such numbers and such diction can gain regard only when they are used by a writer whose vigour of fancy and copiousness of knowledge entitle him to contempt of ornaments, and who, in confidence of the novelty and justness of his conceptions, can afford to throw metaphors and epithets away'. To another that conveys common thoughts in careless versification, it will only be said, 'Pauper videri Cinna vult, et est pauper?' The meaning and diction will be worthy of each other, and criticism may justly
doom them to perish together. 552 -Nor even though another Butler should arise, would another
Hudibras obtain the same regard. Burlesque consists in a disproportion between the style and the sentiments, or between the adventitious sentiments and the fundamental subject. It therefore, like all bodies compounded of heterogeneous parts, contains in it a principle of corruption. All disproportion is unnatural ; and from what is unnatural we can derive only the pleasure which novelty produces. We admire it awhile as a strange thing ; but, when it is no longer strange, we perceive its deformity. It is a kind of artifice, which by frequent repetition detects itself; and the reader, learning in time what he is to expect, lays down his book, as the spectator turns away from a second exhibition of those tricks, of which the only use is to shew that they can be played 3.
Ross over,” [i. 2. 1]
" Prior wrote of Butler :-
• MARTIAL, Epig. viii. 19.
Dryden says of a poet :- He doubly starves all his verses, first for want of thought, and then of expression. His poetry neither has wit in it, nor seems to have it; like him in Martial, “ Pauper videri Cinna vult, et est pauper.") Works, xv. 288.
3 Post, JOHN PHILIPS, 11.
Fielding, in the Preface to Joseph Andrews, writing of burlesque, says: ' But though we have sometimes admitted this in our diction, we have carefully excluded it from our sentiments and characters; for there it is never properly introduced, unless in writings of the burlesque kind, which this is not intended to be. Indeed, no two species of writing can differ more widely than the comic and the burlesque ; for as the latter is ever the exhibition of what is monstrous and unnatural, and where our delight, if we examine it, arises from the surprising absurdity, as in appropriating the manners of the highest to the lowest, or e converso, so in the former we should ever confine ourselves strictly to nature, from the just imitation of which will flow all the pleasure we can this way convey to a sensible reader.'
TOHN WILMOT, afterwards Earl of Rochester, the son of 1
Henry, Earl of Rochester, better known by the title of Lord Wilmot, so often mentioned in Clarendon's History', was born April 10, 1647 ?, at Ditchley, in Oxfordshire. After a grammatical education at the school of Burford, he entered a nobleman into Wadham College in 1659, only twelve years old ; and in 1661, at fourteen, was, with some other persons of high rank, made master of arts by Lord Clarendon in person.
He travelled afterwards into France and Italy; and, at his 2 return, devoted himself to the Court. In 1665 he went to sea with Sandwich, and distinguished himself at Bergen by uncommon intrepidity *; and the next summer served again on board [the ship commanded by 5] Sir Edward Spragge, who, in the heat of the engagement, having a message of reproof to send to one of his captains, could find no man ready to carry it but Wilmot, who, in an open boat, went and returned amidst the storm of shot o.
But his reputation for bravery was not lasting: he was 3 reproached with slinking away in street quarrels and leaving his companions to shift as they could without him; and Sheffield, Duke of Buckingham, has left a story of his refusal to fight him?.
='Wilmot loved debauchery, but and active spirits, which constantly shut it out from his business; never attended on this excellent native's neglected that, and seldom miscarried mind, insomuch that no subject came in it. Goring had a much better amiss to him.' Gadbury's Ephemeris, understanding, and a sharper wit, 1698, quoted in Ath. Oxon. iii, 1230 n. except in the very exercise of de- Burnet places his birth in 1648. Some bauchery, and then the other was passages of the Life and Death of inspired.' CLARENDON, Hist. v. 2. John, Earl of Rochester, 1680, p. I. See also ib. iv. 472.
3. He was admitted very affection3.He was born anno 1647, on ately into the fraternity by a kiss on April the 1st day, 11 h. 7 m. a.m., and the left cheek from the Chancellor of endued with a noble and fertile muse. the University. Ath. Oxon. iii. 1229. The sun governed the horoscope, and · Life, by Burnet, p. 9. the moon ruled the birth hour. The 5 These four words, omitted also in conjunction of Venus and Mercury the first edition, are supplied from in M. Coeli, in sextile of Luna, aptly Burnet's Life, p. 10. denotes his inclination to poetry. Ib. p. 11. The great reception of Sol with Mars ? Post, SHEFFIELD,3. If Rochester and Jupiter posited so near the latter, was cowardly, Sheffield was a ruffian. bestowed a large stock of generous They were, he says, to fight on horse
4 He had very early an inclination to intemperance, which he
totally subdued in his travels'; but when he became a courtier he unhappily addicted himself to dissolute and vitious company, by which his principles were corrupted and his manners depraved. He lost all sense of religious restraint; and, finding it not convenient to admit the authority of laws which he was resolved not
to obey, sheltered his wickedness behind infidelity. 5 As he excelled in that noisy and licentious merriment which
wine incites, his companions eagerly encouraged him in excess, and he willingly indulged it, till, as he confessed to Dr. Burnet, he was for five years together continually drunk, or so much inflamed by frequent ebriety as in no interval to be master of himself? 6 In this state he played many frolicks, which it is not for his
honour that we should remember, and which are not now distinctly known. He often pursued low amours in mean disguises, and always acted with great exactness and dexterity the characters
which he assumed. 7 He once erected a stage on Tower-hill, and harangued the
populace as a mountebank; and, having made physick part of
his study, is said to have practised it successfully 3. 8 He was so much in favour with King Charles that he was made one of the gentlemen of the bedchamber, and comptroller of Woodstock Park *. back, because 'Lord Rochester told ' Life, p. II. me he was so weak with a distemper : 'Not all the while under the that he found himself unfit to fight at visible effects of it, but his blood was all any way, much less a-foot. ..., so inflamed that he was not, in all My anger against him being quite that time, cool enough to be perfectly over, because I was satisfied that he master of himself.: Life, p. 12. See never spoke those words I resented, also Hearne's Collections, ed. C. E. I took the liberty of representing Doble, 1889, iii. 263. what a ridiculous story it would make 3 'He set up in Tower Street for an if we returned without fighting.... Italian mountebank, where he pracI must be obliged in my own defence tised physic for some weeks not to lay the fault on him, by telling the without success. He took pleasure truth of the matter. His second to disguise himself as a porter, or as spread it abroad. Works, 1729, ii. 8. a beggar; sometimes to follow some
Scott, quoting the passage, twice - mean amours. He would go about speaks of Rochester's infamy, but in odd shapes, in which he acted his passes over in silence the other's part so naturally that even those who brutality. Scott's Dryden, xv. 215. were in the secret could perceive
For Rochester's cowardly brutality nothing by which he might be disto Dryden see post, DRYDEN, 105. covered. Life, p. 27. See also
His father was charged with 'want Burnet's History, i. 294. of mettle' early in the Civil War. 4'He was raunger of WoodstockClarendon's Hist. iii. 188 n.
parke, and lived often at the lodge at