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GAY, SAVAGE, BLAIR, DYER. 291
more leisure for writing, and rapidly brought out several poems and dramatic pieces. For about two months he held the position of Secretary to the Embassy at Hanover. But he was not fitted for business of any kind, and found his proper sphere when he was permitted to nestle down in a corner of the Queensberry household as a humble friend and domestic joker. “There,” says Thackeray, “he was lapped in cotton, and had his plate of chicken and his saucer of cream, and frisked, and barked, and wheezed, and grew fat, and so ended.” The Shepherd's Week, a series of comic pastorals; Trivia, or the Art of Walking the Streets of London; and The Fan, in three books, are among his works. But his fame rests chiefly on his artless, pleasant Fables, his song of Black-eyed Susan, and his Beggars' Opera. Gay died of fever in 1732.
RICHARD SAVAGE, born about 1697 in London, was the illegitimate child of noble parents. His history is a miserable tale. Drink and debauchery plunged him lower and lower, until in 1743 he was found dead in his wretched bed within Bristol Jail, where he lay a prisoner for debt. The Wanderer is his principal work; written in 1729, during a short glimpse of sunshine which he enjoyed in Lord Tyrconnel's mansion. .
RoBERT BLAIR, born in 1699 at Edinburgh, became at thirtytwo minister of Athelstaneford in East Lothian. Before that event he had composed his fine blank-verse poem, The Grave, but it was not published till 1743. A private fortune enabled Blair to cultivate society above what usually falls to the lot of a country minister. He died in 1746.
JoHN DYER, painter, poet, and clergyman, was born in Caermarthenshire about 1698, and died in 1758. He wrote Grongar Hill, The Ruins of Rome, and The Fleece; works which, especially the first, entitle him to a high place among descriptive and picturesque poets.
ANTHoNY ASHLEY CoopFR, Earl of Shaftesbury, was born in London in 1671. In fine, sonorous, and elaborate English he
292 shAFTESBURY, BolingBROKE, BERKELEY.
discussed the great themes of metaphysics, most difficult of all sciences. His belief in a “moral sense, by which virtue and vice —things naturally and fundamentally distinct—are discriminated, and at once approved of or condemned, without reference to the self-interest of him who judges,” is the salient point in his philosophical system. His works, published in three volumes, bear the name, Characteristics of Men, Manners, Opinions, and Times. He died at Naples in 1713. SAMUEL CLARKE, Newton's friend, was born at Norwich in 1675. A graduate of Cambridge, he entered the Church, in which he held important livings both in his native town and in Westminster. His works are chiefly on such theological and metaphysical subjects, as The Being and Attributes of God, Natural and Revealed Religion, The Immortality of the Soul, and The Trinity. This learned and worthy man died in 1729. His refusal to accept the lucrative post of Master of the Mint, vacant by Newton's death, because it would interfere with his clerical duties, shows the unworldliness of his devotion to the sacred office he had chosen. HENRY ST. JoHN, Wiscount Bolingbroke, born at Battersea in 1678, received his education at Eton and Oxford. He was noted as a cold-hearted profligate, as an unfortunate politician, and as a writer of much eloquence, but of unfixed and shifting principles, both in religion and philosophy. In the reign of Anne he was Secretary of State. But the accession of the Guelphs drove him to France, where he joined the Pretender. A pardon enabled him in 1723 to return to England; but he was obliged again to retire across the Straits. During those days of exile in France some of his chief works were written: Reflections on Exile, Letters on the Study of History, and a Letter on the True Use of Retirement. He afterwards wrote at Battersea Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, and the Idea of a Patriot King. From Bolingbroke Pope got much of that ethical system unfolded in the Essay on Man. Bolingbroke died in 1751. GEORGE BERKELEY, made Bishop of Cloyne in 1734, was then fifty years of age. He was born in 1684 at Thomastown, in the
LADY MONTAGU, CHESTERFIELD, HOME. 293
county Kilkenny. He is noted among our metaphysical writers, especially for his Theory of Vision, and those works which embody and display his theory of ideas. He strives, but in vain, to prove that all sensible qualities, hardness, figure, extension, &c., are mere ideas in our own minds, and have no existence at all in the things we call hard, &c.—a dangerous and unsound doctrine. Berkeley died at Oxford in 1753. His English is simple, scholar-like, and clear.
LADY MARY WoRTLEY MONTAGU, daughter of the Duke of Kingston, was born in 1690, and at twenty-two was married to Edward Wortley Montagu. Her residence for two years (1716–18) at Constantinople, where her husband was English ambassador, gave her an opportunity of seeing life in many varieties, and her graceful, graphic Letters, descriptive of travel and foreign fashions, abound with light and most agreeable reading. Her amusement at Pope's silly declaration of love for her threw her into a hearty burst of laughter, which made the little poet ever afterwards her mortal foe. She died in 1761, and her “Letters” were first printed two years later. She conferred a great benefit on England by the introduction of inoculation for the small-pox, a practice she had noticed among the Turkish poor.
PHILIP STANHoPE, Earl of Chesterfield, born in 1694, wrote a series of Letters to his son, which had a great sale in the years succeeding the author's death. They are just such Letters as a polished infidel man of fashion would write, and depict anything but the true notion of gentlemanhood. A brilliant polish on the surface would atone, according to the maxims of Chesterfield, for any rottenness, however great, within. He died in 1773.
HENRY HomE, born in 1696, assumed the title of Lord Kames, when in 1752 he ascended the Scottish bench. The work for which his name is best known is that entitled The Elements of Criticism, in which he founds the art upon the principles of human nature. He wrote other metaphysical and several legal works. He died in 1782.
A VIOLENT CONTRAST.
SEVENTH ERA OF ENGLISH LITERATURE.
FROM THE PUBLICATION OF PAMELA IN 1740 A.D. TO THE DEATH
OF JOHNSON IN 1784 A.D.
LITERARY LIFE IN THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
Phases of author-life.
Success of a few.
As we look back upon that remarkable era of our literature which runs through Queen Anne's reign and far into that of George the First, we see two phases of author-life—the one rich and brilliant—the other dark, poor,' and wretched. There are no middle tints-nothing but bright light and deepest shadow. If an author made a hit, up he went to the very top of the tree, where the golden fruit grew and the sunlight of courtly favour played ever warmly round him; if he failed to attract attention, there was nothing for even the most hard-working hack but to plod on with as much hope as he could muster, orubbing in the earth around its roots for the wretched food that scarcely kept his bones from starting through the skin.
But the artificial system of encouragement, by rewhich men who wrote well, became, without the possession of ot) juer qualifications, Ambassadors, Commissioners, Surveyors, or Secretaries, did not last long. Walpole
, a man who cared little for kipooks and less for their writers, came into office, and almost at onceho the whole literary
THE WORK THAT POOR AUTHORS DID.
profession sank, with a few exceptions, into indigence and obscurity. The exceptions can easily be counted. Pope had made enough by his “Homer" to live snugly at Twickenham; so he was independent of Walpole or any other man. Richardson, the novelist, lived on the profits of his extensive business as a printer. Young, to be sure, got a pension; and Thomson, after tasting the worst miseries of author-life, got £100 a year from the Prince of Wales and a sinecure office worth other £300. But they were a mere handful of the writers who swarmed in London during the last century. Nearly all the rest lived from hand to mouth, a life so wretched and precarious, that Grub Street, in which they herded together, has become a name inseparably associated with rags and hunger.
The mode of life among prosperous writers has been indicated with sufficient clearness in the chapters on Addison and Steele. They wore the clothes, drank the wine, played the games, and resorted to the haunts of fine gentlemen in the time of Anne. They tapped their snuff-boxes, and offered the perfumed pinch with the true modish air, in the dainty drawing-rooms of Covent Garden and Soho Square. They paid their twopence at the bar of the fashionable coffee-houses, and lit their long clay pipes at the little wax tapers that burned on the tables among the best company in London.
There were literary men, however, of Addison's own time, but more especially of a later day, to whom the penny or twopence paid for admission to the coffee-house was often the price of a meal. These poor strugglers were glad to get any kind of work that pen
could do. They compiled indexes and almanacs; they wrote puffing reviews and short notices of books; they kept a stock of prefaces and prologues always on hand, one of which they gladly sold for halfa-crown. They edited classic authors with notes, and translated works from French, Italian, Latin, or Greek, for fewer guineas than the thin fingers that held their worn-out stump of a goose-quill. It was a red-letter day with them, when one of their articles was accepted by the proprietor of the Gentleman's Magazine, And all this drudgery was in many cases imbittered by the con