Page images

dulness in a Master of a College makes him a quarter of a year, have plentiful scope for fitter to manage secular affairs.”

revenge, The Good Yeoman.-“ Is a gentleman in Bishop Brownrig.-"He carried learning ore, whom the next age may see refined.” enough in numerato about nim in his pockets

Good Parent.--"For his love, therein like for any discourse, and had much more at a well-drawn picture, he eyes all his children home in his chests for any serious dispute.” alike."

Modest Want.-—“Those that with diligence Deformity in Children.—“This partiality fight against poverty, though neither conquer is tyranny, when parents despise those that till death makes it a drawn battle, expect are deformed; enough to break those whom not but prevent their craving of thee : for God had bowed before.

God forbid the heavens should never rain, Good Master.—“In correcting his servant till the earth first opens her mouth ; seeing he becomes not a slave to his own passion. some grounds will sooner burn than chap." Not cruelly making new indentures of the

Death-bed Temptations.—“The devil is most flesh of his apprentice. He is tender of his busy on the last day of his term ; and a servant in sickness and age. If crippled in tenant to be outed cares not what mischief his service, his house is his hospital. Yet he doth.” how many throw away those dry bones, out Conversation.—“Seeing we are civilised of the which themselves have sucked the Englishmen, let us not be naked savages in marrow!"

our talk." Good Widow.-“If she can speak but little Wounded Soldier.—“Halting is the stategood of him (her dead husband] she speaks liest march of a soldier; and 'tis a brave but little of him. So handsomely folding up sight to see the flesh of an ancient as torn as her discourse, that his virtues are shown his colours." outwards, and his vices wrapt up in silence; Wat Tyler.—“A misogrammatist; if a good us counting it barbarism to throw dirt on Greek word may be given to so barbarous a his memory, who hath mould cast on his rebel.”. body."

Heralds. “ Heralds new mould men's Horses.—“ These are men's wings, where-names--taking from them, adding to them, with they make such speed. A generous melting out all the liquid letters, torturing creature a horse is, sensible in some sort of' mutes to make them speak, and making honour; and made most handsome by that vowels dumb,—to bring it to a fallacious which deforms men most-pride."

homonomy at the last, that their names may be Martyrdom.—“ Heart of oak hath some- the same with those noble houses they pretimes warped a little in the scorching heat tend to.” of persecution. Their want of true courage Antiquarian Diligence.-"It is most worthy herein cannot be excused. Yet many cen- observation, with what diligence he [Camden] sure them for surrendering up their forts inquired after ancient places, making hue after a long siege, who would have yielded and cry after many a city which was run up their own at the first summons.-Oh! away, and by certain marks and tokens purthere is more required to make one valiant, suing to find it; as by the situation on the than to call Cranmer or Jewel coward ; as if Roman highways, by just distance from other the fire in Smithfield had been no hotter ancient cities, by some affinity of name, by than what is painted in the Book of Martyrs.” tradition of the inhabitants, by Roman coins

Text of St. Paul. ——“St. Paul saith, Let' digged up, and by some appearance of ruins. not the sun go down on your wrath, to carry A broken urn is a whole evidence; or an news to the antipodes in another world of thy revengeful nature. Yet let us take the

* This whimsical prevention of a consequence which Apostle's meaning rather than his words, no one would have thought of deducing, -setting up an

absurdum on purpose to hunt it down ----plucing guards with all possible speed to depose our passion ;

as it were at the very outposts of possibility, -gravely not understanding him so literally, that we giving out laws to insanity and prescribing moral fences may take leave to be angry till sunset : then to distempered intellects, could never have entered into

a head less entertainingly constructed than that of Fuller, might our wrath lengthen with the days; and

or Sir Thomas Browne, the very air of whose style the men in Greenland, where the day lasts above conclusion of this passage most aptly imitates.

old gate still surviving, out of which the city the condition of Sir Edward. This accident, is run out. Besides, commonly some new that he had killed one in a private quarrel, spruce town not far off is grown out of the put a period to his carnal mirth, and was a ashes thereof, which yet hath so much natural covering to his eyes all the days of his life. affection as dutifully to own those reverend No possible provocations could afterwards ruins for her mother."

tempt him to a duel ; and no wonder that Henry de Essex.—“ He is too well known one's conscience loathed that whereof he had in our English Chronicles, being Baron of surfeited. He refused all challenges with Raleigh, in Essex, and Hereditary Standard more honour than others accepted them ; it Bearer of England. It happened in the reign being well known, that he would set his foot of this king (Henry II.) there was a fierce as far in the face of his enemy as any man battle fought in Flintshire, at Coleshall, be alive.”— Worthies, article Lincolnshire. tween the English and Welsh, wherein this Decayed Gentry.—“ It happened in the Henry de Essex animum et signum simul reign of King James, when Henry Earl of abjecit, betwixt traitor and coward, cast away Huntingdon was Lieutenant of Leicestershire, both his courage and banner together, occa- that a labourer's son in that country was sioning a great overthrow of English. But pressed into the wars ; as I take it, to go he that had the baseness to do, had the bold-over with Count Mansfield. The old man at ness to deny the doing, of so foul a fact; Leicester requested his son might be disuntil he was challenged in combat by Robert charged, as being the only staff of his age, de Momford, a knight, eye-witness thereof, who by his industry maintained him and his and by him overcome in a duel. Whereupon mother. The Earl demanded his name, his large inheritance was confiscated to the which the man for a long time was loath to king, and he himself, partly thrust, partly tell (as suspecting it a fault for so poor a going, into a convent, hid his head in a coul, man to contess the truth), at last he told his unier which, betwi.ct shame and sunctity, he name was Hastings. 'Cousin Hastings,' said blushed out the remainder of his life."'*— the Earl,' we cannot all be top branches of Worthies, article Bedfordshire.

the tree, though we all spring from the same Sir Edward Harwood, K’nt.—“I have read root; your son, my kinsman, shall not be of a bird, which hath a face like, and yet pressed.' So good was the meeting of will prey upon, a man: who coming to the modesty in a poor, with courtesy in an honwater to drink, and finding there by reflec-ourable person, and gentry I believe in both. tion, that he had killed one like himself, And I have reason to believe, that some who pineth away by degrees, and never after-I justly own the surnames and blood of Bohuns, wards enjoyeth itselfit Such is in some sort Mortimers, and Plantagenets (though igno

rant of their own extractions,) are hid in the • The fine imagination of Fuller has done what might heap of common people, where they find that have been pronounced impossible : it has given an inte. rest and a holy character to coward infamy. Nothing under a thatched cottage which some of their can be more beautiful than the concluding account of the ancestors could not enjoy in a leaded castle, last days, and expiatory retirement, of poor Henry de

-contentment, with quiet and security.”— story is told is most consummate : the charm of it seems Worthies, article Of Shire-Reeves or Sheriffes. to consist in a perpetual balance of antitheses not too

T'enderness of Conscience in a Tradesman.violently opposed, and the consequent activity of mind in which the reader is kept :-“ Betwixt traitor and

“ Thomas Curson, born in Allhallows, Lomcoward”—“ baseness to do, boldness to deny”-“ partly bard-street, armourer, dwelt without Bishopsthrust, partly going, into a convent”-“ betwixt shame and sanctity.” The reader by this artifice is taken into a kind of partnership with the writer, -his judgment is Errors; but the delight which he would have taken in exercised in settling the preponderance,-he feels as if the discussing of its probabilities, would have shown

But the modern his that the truth of the fact, though the avowed object of torian flings at once the dead weight of his own judg. his search was not so much the motive which put him ment into the scale, and settles the inatter.

upon the investigation, as those hidden affinities and + I do not know where Fuller read of this bird ; but a poetical analogies,—those essential verities in the appli. more awful and affecting story, and moralising of a story, cation of strange fable, which made him linger with such in Natural History, or rather in that Fabulous Natural reluctant delay among the last fading lights of popular History where poets and mythologists found the Phænix tradition ; and not seldom to conjure up a superstition, and the Unicorn, and “ other strange fowl," is nowhere that had been long extinct, from its dusty grave, to inter

It is a fable which Sir Thomas Browne, if he it himself with greater ceremonies and solemnities of had heard of it, would have exploded among his Vulgar burial.


The address with which the whole of this little

he were consulted as to the issue.


One feels the ashes of Wick

gate. It happened that a stage-player bor people) be taken out of the ground, and rowed a rusty musket, which had lain long thrown far off from any Christian burial. leger in his shop : now though his part were in obedience hereunto, Richard Fleming, comical, he therewith acted an unexpected Bishop of Lincoln, Diocesan of Lutterworth, tragedy, killing one of the standers by, the sent his officers (vultures with a quick sight, gun casually going off on the stage, which scent, at a dead carcass) to ungrave him. Ache suspected not to be charged. Oh the cordingly to Lutterworth they come, Sumner, difference of divers men in the tenderness of Commissary, Official, Chancellor, Proctors, their consciences ! some are scarce touched Doctors, and their servants, (so that the with a wound, whilst others are wounded remnant of the body would not hold out a bone with a touch therein. This poor armourer amongst so many hands,) take what was left was highly afflicted therewith, though done out of the grave, and burnt them to ashes, against his will, yea, without his know- and cast them into Swift, a neighbouring ledge, in his absence, by another, out of brook, running hard by. Thus this brook has mere chance. Hereupon he resolved to give conveyed his ashes into Avon, A von into Severn, all his estate to pious uses : no sooner had he Severn into the narrow seas, they into the gotten a round sum, but presently he posted main ocean ; and thus the ashes of Wickliffe with it in his apron to the Court of Alder are the emblem of his doctrine, which now is men, and was in pain till by their direction dispersed all the world over.'

.** — Church he had settled it for the relief of poor in his History. own and other parishes, and disposed of some

* The concluding period of this most lively narrative hundreds of pounds accordingly, as I am I will not call a conceit: it is one of the grandest concredibly informed by the then church wardens ceptions 1 ever met with. of the said parish. Thus as he conceived him-liffe gliding away out of the reach of the Sumners, Com

missaries, Officials, Proctors, Doctors, and all self casually (though at a great distance) to puddering rout of executioners of the impotent rage of have occasioned the death of one, he was the battled Council: from Swift into Avon, from Avon

into Severn, from Severn into the narrow seas, from the the immediate and direct cause of giving a

narrow seas into the main ocean, where they become the comfortable living to many."

emblem of his doctrine,“ dispersed all the world over.” Burning of Wickliffe's Body by Order of the Hamlet's tracing the body of Cæsar to the clay that

stops a beer barrel is a no less curious pursuit of Council of Constance.—“ Hitherto (A.D. 1428] “ ruined mortality;” but it is in an inverse ratio to this : the corpse of John Wickliffe had quietly least ; but this expands the whole of our nature, and

it degrades and saddens us, for one part of our nature at slept in his grave about forty-one years after gives to the body a sort of ubiquity,-a diffusion as far as his death, till his body was reduced to bones, the actions of its partner can have reach or influence.

I have seen this passage smiled at, and set down as a and his bones almost to dust. For though the

quaint conceit of old Fuller. earth in the chancel of Lutterworth, in Leices- to tho who read it in a temper different from that in tershire, where he was interred, hath not so

which the writer composed it ? The most pathetic parts

of poetry to cold tempers seem and are nonsense, quick a digestion with the earth of Aceldama, as divinity was to consume flesh in twenty-four hours, yet Richard II., meditating on his own utter annihilation as such the appetite thereof, and all other to royalty, cries out, English graves, to leave small reversions of “ O that I were a mockery king of snow,

To melt before the sun of Bolingbroke," a body after so many years. But now such the spleen of the Council of Constance, as

if we had been going on pace for pace with the passion they not only cursed his memory as dying an into something to be actually realised in nature, like that

before, this sudden conversion of a strong-felt metaphor obstinate heretic, but ordered that his bones of Jeremiah, “Oh! that my head were waters, and mine (with this charitable caution,-if it may be eyes a fountain of tears,” is strictly and strikingly

natural; but come unprepared upon it, and it is a con. discerned from the bodies of other faithful ceit: and so is a “head » turned into “ waters."


But what is not a conceit

to the Greeks foolishness.




One of the earliest and noblest enjoy- riot and extravagance, ending in the one with ments I had when a boy, was in the contem- driving the Prodigal from the society of men plation of those capital prints by Hogarth, into the solitude of the deserts, and in the the Harlot's and Rake's Progresses, which, other with conducting the Rake through his along with some others, hung upon the walls several stages of dissipation into the still of a great hall in an old-fashioned house in more complete desolations of the mad-house,

-shire, and seemed the solitary tenants in the play and in the picture, are described (with myself) of that antiquated and life- with almost equal force and nature. The deserted apartment.

levee of the Rake, which forms the subject Recollection of the manner in which those of the second plate in the series, is almost a prints used to affect me has often made me transcript of Timon's levee in the opening wonder, when I have heard Hogarth de- scene of that play. We find a dedicating scribed as a mere comic painter, as one of poet, and other similar characters, in both. those whose chief ambition was to raise a The concluding scene in the Rake's Progress laugh. To deny that there are throughout is perhaps superior to the last scenes of the prints which I have mentioned circum- Timon. If we seek for something of kindred stances introduced of a laughable tendency, excellence in poetry, it must be in the scenes would be to run counter to the common of Lear's beginning madness, where the King notions of mankind ; but to suppose that in and the Fool and the Tom-oʻ-Bedlam conspire their ruling character they appeal chietly to to produce such a medley of mirth checked the risible faculty, and not first and foremost by misery, and misery rebuked by mirth; to the very heart of man, its best and most where the society of those “strange bedserious feelings, would be to mistake no less fellows” which misfortunes have brought grossly their aim and purpose. A set of severer Lear acquainted with, so finely sets forth the Satires (for they are not so much Comedies, destitute state of the monarch ; while the which they have been likened to, as they are lunatic baus of the one, and the disjointed strong and masculine Satires) less mingled sayings and wild but pregnant allusions of with anything of mere fun, were never the other, so wonderfully sympathise with written upon paper, or graven upon copper. that confusion, which they seem to assist in They resemble Juvenal, or the satiric touches the production of, in the senses of that in Timon of Athens.

“child-changed father.” I was pleased with the reply of a gentleman, In the scene in Bedlam, which terminates who being asked which book he esteemed the Rake's Progress, we find the same assortmost in his library, answered, -"Shak- ment of the ludicrous with the terrible. speare:” being asked which he esteemed Here is desperate madness, the overturning next best, replied, " Hogarth.” His graphic of originally strong thinking faculties, at representations are indeed books: they have which we shudder, as we contemplate the the teeming, fruitful, suggestive meaning of duration and pressure of aflliction which it words. Other pictures we look at,-his must have asked to destroy such a building; prints we read.

-and here is the gradual hurtless lapse into In pursuance of this parallel, I have some idiocy, of faculties, which at their best of times entertained myself with comparing the times never having been strong, we look Timon of Athens of Shakspeare (which I upon the consummation of their decay with have just mentioned) and Hogarth’s Rake's no more of pity than is consistent with a Progress together. The story, the moral, in smile. The mad tailor, the poor driveller both is nearly the same. The wild course of that has gone out of his wits (and truly he

appears to have had no great journey to go finest representation of a virtuous death-bed to get past their confines) for the love of surrounded by real mourners, pious children, Charming Betty Careless,—these half-laugh-weeping friends,-perhaps more by the very able, scarce-pitiable objects, take off from the contrast. What reflections does it not awake, horror which the principal figure would of of the dreadful heartless state in which the itself raise, at the same time that they assist creature (a female too) must have lived, who the feeling of the scene hy contributing to in death wants the accompaniment of one the general notion of its subject :

genuine tear. That wretch who is removing

the lid of the coffin to gaze upon the corpse "Madness, thou chaos of the brain,

What art, that pleasure giv'st and pain ? with a face which indicates a perfect negation
Tyranny of Fancy's reign!

of all goodness or womanhood—the hypocrite
Mechanic Fancy, that can build
Vast labyrinths and mazes wild,

parson and his denture partner-all the With rule disjointed, shapeless measure, fiendish group-to a thoughtful mind present Filld with horror, fill'd with pleasure !

a moral emblem more affecting than if the Shapes of horror, that would even Cast doubts of mercy upon heaven;

poor friendless carcass had been depicted as Shapes of pleasure, that but seen,

thrown out to the woods, where wolves had Would split the shaking sides of Spleen." .

assisted at its obsequies, itself furnishing Is it carrying the spirit of comparison to forth its own funeral banquet. excess to remark, that in the poor kneeling It is easy to laugh at such incongruities as weeping female who accompanies her seducer are met together in this picture-incongruous in his sad decay, there is something analogous objects being of the very essence of laughter, to Kent, or Caius, as he delights rather to —but surely the laugh is far different in its be called, in Lear,—the noblest pattern of kind from that thoughtless species to which virtue which even Shakspeare has conceived, we are moved by mere farce and grotesque. —who follows his royal master in banishment, We laugh when Ferdinand Count Fatbom, that had pronounced his banishment, and, at the first sight of the white cliffs of Britain, forgetful at once of his wrongs and dignities, feels his heart yearn with filial fondness taking on himself the disguise of a menial, towards the land of his progenitors, which he retains his fidelity to the figure, his loyalty is coming to fleece and plunder,—we smile to the carcass, the shadow, the shell and at the exquisite irony of the passage,—but if empty husk of Lear?

we are not led on by such passages to some In the perusal of a book, or of a picture, more salutary feeling than laughter, we are much of the impression which we receive very negligent perusers of them in book or depends upon the habit of mind which we picture. bring with us to such perusal. The same

It is the fashion with those who cry up circumstance may make one person laugh, the great Historical School in this country, which shall render another very serious; or at the head of which Sir Joshua Reynolds is in the same person the first impression may placed, to exclude Hogarth from that school, be corrected by after-thought. The mis- as an artist of an inferior and vulgar class. employed incongruous characters at the Those persons seem to me to confound the Harlot's Funeral, on a superficial inspection, painting of subjects in coromon or vulgar provoke to laughter; but when we have life with the being a vulgar artist. The sacrificed the first emotion to levity, a very quantity of thought which Hogarth crowds different frame of mind succeeds, or the into every picture would alone unvulgarise painter has lost half his purpose. I never every subject which he might choose. Let look at that wonderful assemblage of depraved us take the lowest of his subjects, the print beings, who, without a grain of reverence or called Gin Lane. Here is plenty of poverty pity in their perverted minds, are performing and low stuff to disgust upon a superficial the sacred exteriors of duty to the relics of view; and accordingly a cold spectator feels their departed partner in folly, but I am as himself immediately disgusted and repeiled. much moved to sympathy from the very I have seen many turn away from it, not want of it in them, as I should be by the being able to bear it. The same persons

would perhaps have looked with great com* Lines inscribed under the plate.

placency upon Poussin's celebrated picture

« PreviousContinue »