« ElőzőTovább »
THE LEARNED SELDEN.
above twenty plays, wrote, among other prose works, The Gull's Hornbook, a satirical guide to the follies of London life, which was published in 1609. Dekker died about 1638.
LORD HERBERT of Cherbury was born in 1581 at Eyton in Shropshire, and was educated at Oxford. Though noted for his deistic works, of which the chief is entitled De Veritate, he deserves our kindly remembrance for his Life and Reign of Henry VIII., published in 1649. Memoirs of his own Life were printed more than a century after his death, which took place in 1648.
JAMES USSHER, Archbishop of Armagh, was born in Dublin in 1581. While Professor of Divinity in Trinity College, Dublin, he became noted as a theologian and controversialist. A treatise, called The Power of the Prince and Obedience of the Subject, written in the reign of Charles I., fully displayed his Royalist opinions. In 1641 he was obliged by the war in Ireland to take refuge at Oxford, and, after many changes of abode, he died in 1656 at Ryegate in Surrey. He won his chief fame, as a chronologer, by the publication (1650–54) of the Annals, a view of general history from the Creation to the Fall of Jerusalem.
JOHN SELDEN, born in 1584 near Tering in Sussex, earned the distinguished praise from Milton of being "the chief of learned men reputed in this land.” Educated at Oxford, he studied law in the London schools. Besides several histories and antiquarian works written in Latin, he was the author of an English book called A Treatise on Titles of Honour, which, published in 1614, is still highly valued by heralds and genealogists. His History of Tithes (1618) excited the rage of the clergy and drew a rebuke from the King. As a member of the Long Parliament, he took a leading part in the politics of the day, but was opposed to the Civil War. Appointed in 1643 Keeper of the Records in the Tower, he continued to write until his death in 1654. Some time after his death his secretary, who had been acting the Boswell to this Puritan Johnson, published the Table-talk that had dropped from his learned lips during twenty years.
Thomas HOBBES was born at Malmesbury in 1588. Some years of his earlier life were spent in travelling on the Continent
IZAAK WALTON'S “ COMPLETE ANGLER."
as tutor to Lord Cavendish, afterwards Earl of Devonshire. After a residence at Chatsworth, he was obliged to hide himself and his Royalist doctrines at Paris in 1640; and there some years later he became mathematical tutor to the Prince of Wales. He published four works, dealing with politics and moral philosophy, which gave deep offence to the friends of religion and constitutional government. The principal of these works he called Leviathan (1651); and the key-note of his whole system, there developed, is the doctrine that all our notions of right and wrong depend on selfinterest alone. Works of a different kind from the pen of Hobbes are his Translation of Homer in Verse, and his Behemoth, a History of the Civil Wars. He died in December 1679.
IZAAK WALTON, who wielded pen and fishing-rod with equal love and skill, was born at Stafford in 1593. He kept a linen draper's shop in Cornhill, and then in Fleet Street, London; retired from business in 1643, and lived afterwards for forty years to enjoy his favourite pursuit. His memory is dear to every lover of our literature for the delightful book he has left us, redolent of wild-flowers and sweet country air-The Complete Angler, or Contemplative Man's Recreation (1653). The Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, George Herbert, and Bishop Sanderson, written with beautiful simplicity, remain also as fruits of honest Izaak's old age. He died in 1683 at the age of ninety.
JAMES HOWELL, born in Caermarthenshire about 1596, spent much of his life travelling on the Continent—as agent for a glasswork—as tutor to a young gentleman—and as a political official. Returning home, he was made in 1640 clerk to the Council; was imprisoned in the Fleet by order of the Parliament; became historiographer-royal in 1660, and died six years later. His Familiar Letters (1645), giving, in lively, picturesque language, sketches of his foreign observations, mingled with philosophical remarks, have gained for him the reputation of being the earliest contributor to our epistolary literature. He wrote altogether about forty works.
DRESS OF THE CAVALIERS.
FOURTH ERA OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
FROM THE SHUTTING OF THE THEATRES IN 1648 A.D. TO THE
DEATH OF MILTON IN 1674 A.D.
PURITANS AND CAVALIERS—THEIR INFLUENCE UPON
Puritan and Cavalier.
Gallantry in the field.
Hatred of amusement.
JOSTling in London streets, and scowling as they passed each other on leafy country roads; grappling in deadly conflict upon many a battle-field from Edgehill to Naseby, resting upon hacked sword or bloody ash-wood pike only till the leaping heart was still enough to begin the strife again—Puritans and Cavaliers stand out in violent contrast during that period of English history which is filled with the great central struggle of the seventeenth century. Close and deadly though their occasional collision, the currents of their domestic lives flowed far apart;—the one, a brilliant stream flashing along its noisy way, and toying with its flowery banks, all unheeding of the great deep to which its waters ran ;the other, a dark, strong, and solemn river, sweeping sternly on to its goal between rugged shores of cold grey stone. .
The violence of the opposition between Puritan and Cavalier was strikingly expressed by the difference of their dress and of their amusements. The Cavalier (the word was borrowed from the Spanish) in full dress wore a brilliant silk or satin doublet with slashed sleeves, a falling collar of rich point lace, a short cloak hanging carelessly from one shoulder, and a broad-leafed
WILD LIFE OF THE CAVALIERS.
low-crowned hat of Flemish beaver, from which floated one or two graceful feathers. His broad sword-belt, supporting a Spanish rapier, was a marvel of costly embroidered-work. A laced buff coat and silken sash sometimes took the place of the doublet; and when the steel gorget was buckled over this, the gallant Cavalier was ready for the fray. Long waves of curled hair, rippling on the shoulders, formed a graceful framework for the finely moulded features of a high-bred English gentleman; and to this class of the nation the Cavaliers for the most part belonged. But, unhappily, these silks and ringlets filled the taverns and surrounded the gaming-tables of London by night and day. Great fortunes were lost then, as in later times, on a single throw of the dice; and many a fair-plumed hat was dashed fiercely with curses in the mud, when the half-sobered reveller, staggering with torn and wine-splashed finery out of the tavern into the cold grey light of the breaking day, found every gold piece vanished from his shrunken purse.
Well might he pluck at the dishevelled lovelock—special eye-sore to the Puritans—which hung over his pallid brow, and curse his drunken folly. Such a life lived many of the Cavaliers. Tennis, billiards, drinking, masquerading, dressing, intriguing, composing and singing love songs, filled their days and their nights. Madly the whirlpool spun round with its reckless freight of gaily dressed debauchees, who, seeing one and another wasted face sink from view, only drowned the cry of dying remorse in a wilder burst of revelry. A few were flung out from the fatal circles with ruined fortune and broken health, to find nothing left them but a painful dragging out of days in some lonely country farm-house; or, if the pure air and quiet hours restored them, a life of exile, as a soldier in some foreign service, and then, perhaps, a grave in unknown soil. Yet even all this vicious round could not destroy the pluck of Englishmen. Gallantly and gaily did Rupert's horsemen, the very flower of the Cavaliers, ride in the face of hailing bullets upon the Puritan musketeers. While we condemn the vices of the Cavaliers, and pity the wretched end of so many of these brilliant English gentlemen, we cannot help respecting the bravery of the men who rallied so loyally round
THE PURITAN DRESS AND MIEN.
the banner of their erring king, and, for the cause of' monarchy, spilt their blood on English battle-fields with the same careless gaiety as if they were pouring out bumpers of red wine in the taverns by St. Paul's.
The literature of the Cavaliers, we may almost guess, did not, for the most part, go very deep. The poetry was chiefly lyric, the sparkling, spontaneous effusions of a genius, that poured forth its sweet and living waters in spite of overwhelming floods of wine and dense fumes of tobacco-smoke. Herrick, Suckling, Waller, and the unhappy Lovelace were the chief poets of the Cavaliers; and the works of all are stamped with characters that proclaim their birth-place and their fostering food. The Cavalier was graceful and gay, polite and polished ; so are the verses of Lovelace and his brother bards. The Cavalier was dissipated, and often vicious; there are many works of these men that bear deepest stains of immorality and vice. History, on the Cavalier side, is best represented by Lord Clarendon; theology, by the witty Thomas Fuller and the brilliant Jeremy Taylor. The quaint oddities of the former divine, and the gentle pictures, rich in images of loveliness, with which the sermons of the latter are studded, afford the most pleasing examples of English literature written in the atmosphere of Cavalier life.
Of a totally different stamp were the Puritan and his writings. Instead of the silk, satin, and lace which decked his gay antagonists, he affected usually a grave sobriety of dress and manners, which should place him at the utmost possible distance from the fashion of the vain world from which he sought to separate himself. His tastes were simple, his pleasures moderate, and his behaviour reverent and circumspect. Living in an atmosphere of habitual seriousness, the Bible was much in his hands and its sacred words often on his lips; while, disdaining lighter recreations, he often found his chief enjoyment in the hearing of sermons and the singing of psalms. As in other days of high religious fervour, his children at their baptism were called by sacred names, either drawn from the genealogical lists of Old Testament times, or expressive of his Christian faith and hope. That the perfor