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than see it, you feel it too. Those who were made before Beaumont's death; accuse him to have wanted learning, give and they understood and imitated the (80 him the greater commendation: he was conversation of gentlemen much better; naturally learned; he needed not the whose wild debaucheries, and quickness spectacles of books to read nature; he (30 of wit in repartees, no poet before them looked inwards, and found her there. I could paint as they have done. Humor, cannot say he is everywhere alike; were which Ben Jonson derived from particuhe so, I should do him injury to compare lar persons, they made it not their busihim with the greatest of mankind. He ness to describe; they represented all is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit the passions very lively, but above all, degenerating into clenches, his serious love. I am apt to believe the English swelling into bombast. But he is always language in them arrived to its high- 100 great, when some great occasion is pre- est perfection; what words have since been sented to him: no man can say, he ever taken in, are rather superfluous than had a fit subject for his wit, and did [40 ornamental. Their plays are now the not then ise himself as high above the most pleasant and frequent entertainrest of poets,
ments of the stage; two of theirs being Quantum lenta solvent inter viburna cu
acted through the year for one of Shakepressi.
speare's or Jonson's: the reason is, because
there is a certain gaiety in their comeThe consideration of this made Mr. dies, and pathos in their more serious Hales of Eton say, that there was no plays, which suits generally with all (100 subject of which any poet ever writ, but men's humors. Shakespeare's language is he would produce it much better done in likewise a little obsolete, and Ben JonShakespeare; and however others are now son's wit comes short of theirs. generally preferred before him, yet the (50 As for Jonson, to whose character I age wherein he lived, which had contem- am now arrived, if we look upon him poraries with him, Fletcher and Jonson, while he was himself (for his last plays never equaled them to him in their es- were but his dotages), I think him the teem: and in the last king's court, when most learned and judicious writer which Ben's reputation was at highest, Sir any theater ever had. He was a most John Suckling, and with him the greater severe judge of himself, as well as (110 part of the courtiers, set our Shakespeare others. One cannot say he wanted wit. far above him.
but rather that he was frugal of it. In his Beaumont and Fletcher, of whom I am works you find little to retrench or alter. next to speak, had, with the advantage (60 | Wit and language, and humor also in of Shakespeare's wit, which was their pre- some measure, we had before him; but cedent, great natural gifts, improved by something of art was wanting to the study; Beaumont especially being so drama, till he came. He managed his accurate a judge of plays, that Ben Jon- strength to more advantage than any son, while he lived, submitted all his writ- who preceded him. You seldom find him ings to his censure, and 'tis thought, making love in any of his scenes, or (120 used his judgment in correcting, if not endeavoring to move the passions; his contriving all his plots. What value he genius was too sullen and saturnine to do had for him, appears by the verses he it gracefully, especially when he knew he writ to him; and therefore I need speak (70 came after those who had performed both no further of it. The first play that to such an height. Humor was his proper brought Fletcher and him in esteem, was sphere; and in that he delighted most their Philaster; for before that, they had to represent mechanic people. He was written two or three very unsuccessfully: | deeply conversant in the ancients, both as the like is reported of Ben Jonson, Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly before he writ Every Man in his Humor. from them: there is scarce a poet (130 Their plots were generally more regular or historian among the Roman authors than Shakespeare's, especially those which of those times, whom he has not trans
lated in Sejanus and Catiline. But he his way, but swept, like a drag-net, great has done his robberies so openly, that and small. There was plenty enough, one may see he fears not to be taxed by but the dishes were ill sorted; whole any law.
He invades authors like a pyramids of sweetmeats for boys and (20 monarch; and what would be theft in women, but little of solid meat for men. other poets, is only victory in him. With All this proceeded, not from any want of the spoils of these writers he so repre- knowledge, but of judgment. Neither sents old Rome to us, in its rites, (140 did he want that in discerning the beauceremonies, and customs, that if one of ties and faults of other poets, but only their poets had written either of his indulged himself in the luxury of writing; tragedies, we had seen less of it than in and perhaps knew it was a fault but hoped him. If there was any fault in his lan- the reader would not find it. For this guage, it was, that he weaved it too reason, though he must always be thought closely and laboriously, in his comedies a great poet, he is no longer esteemed (30 especially: perhaps, too, he did a little a good writer; and for ten impressions, too much Romanize our tongue, leaving
which his works have had in so many the words which he translated almost successive years, yet at present a hundred as much Latin as he found them: (150 books are scarcely purchased once wherein, though he learnedly followed their twelvemonth; for, as my last Lord Rocheslanguage, he did not enough comply with ter said, though somewhat profanely, the idiom of ours. If I would compare
“Not being of God, he could not stand.” him with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge Chaucer followed nature everywhere, him the more correct poet, but Shake- but was never so bold to go beyond her; speare the greater wit. Shakespeare was and there is a great difference of being (46 the Homer, or father of our dramatic poets poeta and nimis poeta, if we believe CatulJonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elabo- lus, as much as betwixt a modest behavior rate writing; I admire him, but I love and affectation. The verse of Chaucer, Shakespeare. To conclude of him; as 160 I confess, is not harmonious to us; but he has given us the most correct plays, so 'tis like the eloquence of one whom Taciin the precepts which he has laid down tus commends, it was auribus istius temin his Discoveries, we have as many and poris accommodata; they who lived with profitable rules for perfecting the stage, him, and some time after him, thought it as any wherewith the French can furnish musical; and it continues so even in our
judgment, if compared with the num- 150 bers of Lydgate and Gower, his contem
poraries; there is the rude sweetness of a From the PREFACE TO THE FABLES Scotch tune in it, which is natural and
pleasing though not perfect. 'Tis true I It remains that I say somewhat of cannot go so far as he who published Chaucer in particular.
the last edition of him, for he would make In the first place, as he is the father of us believe the fault is in our ears, and English poetry, so I hold him in the same that there were really ten syllables in a degree of veneration as the Grecians verse where we find but nine; but this held Homer, or the Romans Virgil. He opinion is not worth confuting; 'tis so [60 is a perpetual fountain of good sense, gross and obvious an error that common learned in all sciences, and therefore sense (which is a rule in everything but speaks properly on all subjects. As he matters of faith and revelation) must knew what to say, so he knows also (10 convince the reader that equality of when to leave off; a continence which is numbers, in every verse which we call practised by few writers, and scarcely by heroic, was either not known or not always any of the ancients, excepting Virgil and practised in Chaucer's age. It were an Horace. One of our late great poets is easy matter to produce some thousands sunk in his reputation because he could of his verses which are lame for want of never forgive any conceit which came in half a foot, and sometimes a whole (70
one, and which no pronunciation can make otherwise. We can only say that he lived in the infancy of our poetry, and that nothing is brought to perfection at the first. We must be children before we grow men.
lady abbesses, and nuns; for mankind is ever the same, and nothing lost out of nature though everything is altered.
DANIEL DEFOE (16607-1731)
From THE TRUE-BORN ENGLISHHe must have been a man of a most
MAN wonderful comprehensive nature, because, as it has been truly observed of him, he Satire, be kind, and draw a silent veil, has taken into the compass of his (80 Thy native England's vices to conceal; Canterbury Tales the various manners Or, if that task's impossible to do, and humors (as we now call them) of the At least be just, and show her virtues too; whole English nation in his age. Not a Too great the first, alas! the last too few. 5 single character has escaped him. All his pilgrims are severally distinguished from each other, and not only in their Ingratitude, a devil of black renown, inclinations but in their very physiog- Possessed her very early for his own: nomies and persons. Baptista Porta An ugly, surly, sullen, selfish spirit, could not have described their natures Who Satan's worst perfections does inbetter than by the marks which the (90 herit; poet gives them. The matter and manner Second to him in malice and in force, of their tales and of their telling are so All devil without, and all within him suited to their different educations, humors, and callings that each of them would He made her first-born race to be so be improper in any other mouth. Even rude, the grave and serious characters are dis- And suffered her to be so oft subdued, tinguished by their several sorts of gravity: By several crowds of wandering thieves their discourses are such as belong to o'er-run, their age, their calling, and their breed - Often unpeopled, and as oft undone; 15 ing; such as are becoming of them, (100 While every nation that her powers reand of them only. Some of his persons
duced are vicious and some virtuous; some are Their languages and manners introduced; unlearned, or (as Chaucer calls them) From whose mixed relics our compounded lewd, and some are learned. Even the breed ribaldry of the low characters is different: By spurious generation does succeed, the Reeve, the Miller, and the Cook are Making a race uncertain and uneven, several men, and distinguished from each Derived from all the nations under other as much as the mincing Lady heaven. Prioress and the broad-speaking, gap- The Romans first with Julius Cæsar toothed Wife of Bath. But enough (110 came, of this; there is such a variety of game Including all the nations of that name, springing up before me that I am dis- Gauls, Greeks, and Lombards; and by tracted in my choice and know not which computation to follow. It is sufficient to say, accord- Auxiliaries or slaves of every nation. ing to the proverb, that here is God's With Hengist, Saxons; Danes with Sweno plenty. We have our forefathers and
came, great-grand-dames all before us as they In search of plunder, not in search of were in Chaucer's days: their general fame. characters are still_remaining in man- Scots, Picts, and Irish from the Hibernian kind, and even in England, though (120 shore; they are called by other names than those And conquering William · brought the of monks, and friars, and canons, and Normans o'er.
All these their barbarous offspring left Forgetting that themselves are all derived behind,
30 From the most scoundrel race that ever The dregs of armies, they of all man- lived,
A horrid crowd of rambling thieves and Blended with Britons, who before were drones here,
Who ransacked kingdoms and dispeopled Of whom the Welsh have blest the char- towns; acter.
The Pict and painted Briton, treacherous From this amphibious, ill-born mob Scot, began
By hunger, theft, and rapine, hither That vain, ill-natured thing, an English- brought;
Norwegian pirates, buccaneering Danes, The customs, sir-names, languages and Whose red-haired offspring everywhere remanners,
mains; Of all these nations, are their own ex- Who, joined with Norman French, complainers;
pound the breed Whose relics are so lasting and so strong, From whence your true-born Englishmen They've left a shibboleth upon our tongue; proceed. By which, with easy search, you may distinguish
40 Your Roman, Saxon, Danish, Norman, But England, modern to the last deEnglish.
gree, Borrows or makes her own nobility, 76
And yet she boldly boasts of pedigree; And here begins the ancient pedigree Repines that foreigners are put upon That so exalts our poor nobility:
her, 'Tis that from some French trooper they And talks of her antiquity and honor. derive,
Her Sackvills, Savils, Cecils, Delameres, 80 Who with the Norman bastard did arrive: Mohuns, Montagues, Duras and Veeres, The trophies of the families appear; 46 Not one have English names, yet all are Some show the sword, the bow, and some English peers.
Your Houblons, Papillons, and Lethuliers, Which their great ancestor, forsooth, did Pass now for true-born English knights wear.
and squires, These in the herald's register remain, And make good senate-members, or lord Their noble mean extraction to explain; 50 mayors.
85 Yet who the hero was, no man can tell, Wealth, howsoever got, in England makes Whether a drummer, or a colonel;
Lords of mechanics, gentlemen of rakes. The silent record blushes to reveal
Antiquity and birth are needless here; Their undescended dark original.
'Tis impudence and money makes a peer. But grant the best. How came the Innumerable city knights we know, 90 change to pass,
From Blue-coat Hospitals, and Bridewell A true-born Englishman of Norman race? flow. A Turkish horse can show more history Draymen and porters fill the city chair, To prove his well-descended family. And foot-boys magisterial purple wear. Conquest, as by the moderns 'tis expressed, Fate has but very small distinction set May give a title to the lands possessed; 60 Betwixt the Counter and the coronet.
95 But that the longest sword should be so Tarpaulin lords, pages of high renown, civil
Rise up by poor men's valor, not their To make a Frenchman English, that's the own; devil.
Great families of yesterday we show, These are the heroes that despise the And lords, whose parents were the Lord Dutch,
knows who. And rail at new-come foreigners so much;
Then let us boast of ancestors no more,
and under strong and very just appreOr deeds of heroes done in days of yore, hensions of being further treated as they In latent records of the ages past,
deserve, begin, with Esop's cock, to preach Behind the rear of time, in long oblivion up peace and union and the Christian placed;
duties of moderation; forgetting that 20 For if our virtues must in lines descend, when they had the power in their hands, The merit with the families would end, 105 those graces were strangers in their gates! And intermixture would most fatal grow, It is now near fourteen years, that the For vice would be hereditary too;
glory and peace of the purest and most The tainted blood would of necessity flourishing Church in the world has been Involuntary wickedness convey.
eclipsed, buffeted, and disturbed by a Vice, like ill-nature, for an age or two sort of men whom God in his providence May seem a generation to pursue;
has suffered to insult over her, and bring But virtue seldom does regard the breed; her down. These have been the days Fools do the wise, and wise men fools of her humiliation and tribulation. She (30 succeed.
has borne with an invincible patience the What's it to us what ancestors we had? reproach of the wicked; and God has at If good, what better? or what worse, if last heard her prayers, and delivered her bad?
from the oppression of the stranger. Examples are for imitation set,
And now, they find their day is over, Yet all men follow virtue with regret. their power gone, and the throne of this Could but our ancestors retrieve their nation possessed by a royal, English, fate,
true, and ever constant member of, and And see their offspring thus degenerate,- friend to, the Church of England. Now How we contend for birth and names un- they find that they are in danger of (40 known,
the Church of England's just resentments. And build on their past actions, not our Now, they cry out, "Peace!” “Union!" own,
“Forbearance!" and "Charity!”: as if They'd cancel records, and their tombs the Church had not too long harbored her deface,
enemies under her wing, and nourished And openly disown the vile degenerate the viperous brood, till they hiss and fly race;
in the face of the mother that cherished For fame of families is all a cheat;
them! It's personal virtue only makes us great.125 No, gentlemen, the time of mercy is
past, your day of grace is over, you 150
should have practised peace, and moderaTHE SHORTEST WAY WITH THE tion, and charity, if you expected any DISSENTERS
We have heard none of this lesson for Sir Roger L'Estrange tells us a story in fourteen years past. We have been huffed his collection of fables, of the cock and and bullied with your Act of Toleration. the horses. The cock was gotten to roost You have told us that you are the Church in the stable among the horses; and there established by law, as well as others; have being no racks or other conveniences for set up your canting synagogues at our him, it seems he was forced to roost upon church doors; and the Church and her 160 the ground. The horses jostling about for members have been loaded with reroom and putting the cock in danger of proaches, with oaths, associations, abhis life, he gives them this grave advice, jurations, and what not! Where has been "Pray, gentlefolks, let us stand still, (10 the mercy, the forbearance, the charity for fear we should tread upon one an- you have shown to tender consciences of other.”
the Church of England that could not There are some people in the world, take oaths as fast as you made them; that, who, now they are unperched, and re- having sworn allegiance to their lawful duced to an equality with other people, and rightful king, could not dispense with