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was not master.
This, however, is a mere trifle. Imauns, Brah-, weapon, offensive or defensive, of which he mins, priests of Jupiter, priests of Baal, are
But his conscience smote all to be held sacred. Drydén is blamed for him; he stood abashed, like the fallen arch. making the Musti in “Don Sebastian” talk angel at the rebuke of Zephon, Lee is called to a severe account
"And felt how awful goodness is, and saw for his incivility to Tiresias. But the most Virtue in her shape how lovely; saw and pined curious passage is that in which Collier re
His loss." sents some uncivil reflections thrown by Cas- At a later period he mentioned the “ Short sandra, in “Cleomenes," on the calf Apis and View” in the preface to his “Fables." He his hierophants. The words, “grass-eating, complained, with some asperity, of the harshfoddered god,”—words which really are much ness with which he had been treated, and in the style of several passages in the Old urged some matters in mitigation. But on the Testament, give as much offence to this Chris- whole, he frankly acknowledged that he had tian divine as they could have given to the been justly reproved. “If,” said he, “Mr. Colpriests at Memphis.
lier be my enemy, let him triumph. If he be But, when all these deductions have been my friend, as I have given him no personal made, great merit must be allowed to this occasion to be otherwise, he will be glad of my work. There is hardly any book of that time repentance." from which it would be possible to select spe- It would have been wise in Congreve to cimens of writing so excellent and so various. follow his master's example. He was preTo compare Collier with Pascal would indeed cisely in that situation in which it is madness be absurd. Yet we hardly know where, ex: to atiempt a vindication; for his guilt was so cept in the “Provincial Letters,” we can find clear, that no address or eloquence could obmirth so harmoniously and beco - : ly blend- tain an acquittal. On the other hand, there ed with solemnity as in the “ View.” | were, in his case, many extenuating circumIn truth, all the modes of ridicule, .. m broad stances, which, if he had acknowledged his fun to polished and antithetical sarcasm, were error, and promised amendment, would have at Collier's command. On the other hand, he procured his pardon. The most rigid censor was complete master of the rhetoric of honest could not but make great allowances for the indignation. We scarcely know any volume faults into which so young a man had been which contains so many bursts of that pecu-seduced by evil example, by the luxuriance of liar eloquence which comes from the heart, a vigorous fancy, and by the inebriating effect and goes to the heart. Indeed, the spirit of the of popular applause. The esteem, as well as book is truly heroic. In order fairly to appre- the admiration, of the public was still within ciate it, we must remember the situation in the reach. He might easily have effaced all which the writer stood. He was under the memory of his transgressions, and have shared frown of power. His name was already a with Addison the glory of showing that the mark for ihe invectives of one half of the most brilliant wit may be the ally of virtue. writers of the age; when, in the case of good But in any case, prudence should have relaste, good sense, and good morals, he gave strained him from encountering Collier. The battle to the other half. Strong as his political non-juror was a man thoroughly fitted by naprejudices were, he seems on this occasion to ture, education, and habit, for polemical dispute. have entirely laid them aside. He has for- Congreve's mind, though one of no common gotten that he was a Jacobite, and remembers fertility and vigour, was of a different class. only that he is a citizen and a Christian. Some No man understood so well the art of polishof his sharpest censures are directed against ing epigrams and repartees into the clearest poetry which had been hailed with delight by effulgence, and setting them tastefully in easy the Tory party, and had inflicted a deep wound and familiar dialogue. In this sort of jewellery on the Whigs. It is really inspiriting to see he attained to a mastery unprecedented and how gallantly the solitary outlaw advances to inimitable. But he was altogether rude in the attack enemies, formidable separately, and it art of controversy, and he had a cause to deinight have teen thought, irresistible when rend which scarcely any art could have rencombined - distributes his swashing blows Jered victorious. right and left among Wycherley, Congreve, The event was such as might have been and Vanbrugh—treads the wretched D'Ursey foreseen. Congreve's answer was a complele down in the dirt beneath his feet-and strikes failure. He was angry, obscure, and dull. with all his strength full at the towering crest Even the Green Room and Wills' Coffee-House of Dryden.
were compelled to acknowledge, that in wit The effect produced by the “Short View” the parson had a decided advantage over the was immense. The nation was on the side of poei. Not only was Congreve unable to make Collier. But it could not be doubted that, in any show of a case where he was in the wrong, the great host which he had defied, some cham- but he succeeded in putting himself completely pion would be found to lift the gauntlet. The in the wrong where he was in the right. Collier general belief was, that Dryden would take the had taxed him with profaneness for calling a field; and ail the wits anticipated a sharp clergyman Mr. Prig, and for introducing a coachcontest between two well-paired combatants. man named Jehu, in allusion to the King of Israel, The great poet had been singled out in the who was known at a distance by his furious mnost marked manner. It was well known that driving. Had there been nothing worse in the he was deeply hurt, that much smaller provo- " Old Bachelor" and Double Dealer," Concations had formerly roused him to violent greve might pass for as pure a writer as Cowreseniment, and that there was no literary per himself; who in poems revised by so
austere a censor as John Newton, calls a fox- A new race of wits and poets arose, who genehunting squire Nimrod, and gives to a chaplain rally treated with reverence the great ties which the disrespectful name of Smug. Congreve bind society together; and whose very indemight with good effect have appealed to the cencies were decent when compared with those public whether it might not be fairly presumed of the school which flourished during the last ihat, when such frivolous charges were made, forty years of the seventeenth century. there were no very serious charges to make. This controversy probably prevented ConInstead of doing this, he pretended that he greve from fulfilling the engagements into meant no allusion to the Bible by the name of which he had entered with the actors. It was Jehu, and no reflection by the name of Prig. not till 1700 that he produced the “Way of the Strange that a man of such parts should, in World,” the most deeply meditated, and the order to defend himself against imputations most brilliantly written, of all his works. It which nobody could regard as important, tell wants, perhaps, the constant movement, the untruths which it was certain that nobody effervescence of animal spirits, which we find would believe.
ir" Love for Love." But the hysterical rants One of the pleas which Congreve set up for of Lady Wishfort, the meeting of Witwould himself and his brethren was, ihat, though they and his brother, the country knight's courtship might be guilty of a little levity here and there, and his subsequent revel, and above all, the they were careful to inculcate a moral, packed chase and surrender of Milamant, are superior close into two or three lines, at the end of every to any thing that is to be found in the whole play. Had the fact been as he stated it, the range of English comedy from the Civil War defence would be worth very little. For no downwards. It is quite inexplicable to us that man acquainted with human nature could think this play should have failed on the stage. Yet that a sententious couplet would undo all the so it was; and the author, already sore with mischief that five profligate acts had done. the wounds which Collier had inflicted, was But it would have been wise in Congreve to galled past endurance by this new stroke. He have looked again at his own comedies before resolved never more to expose himself to the he used this argument. Collier did so; and rudeness of a tasteless audience, and took leave found that the moral of the “Old Bachelor"— of the theatre forever. the grave apophthegm which is to be a set-off He lived twenty-eight years longer, without against all the libertinism of the piece-is con- adding to the high literary reputation which he tained in the following triplet:
had attained. He read much while he retained “What rugged ways attend the noon of life!
his eyesight, and now and then wrote a short Our sun declines, and with what anxious strife, essay, or an idle tale in verse; bit appears What pain, we tug that galling load--a wife.” never to have planned any considerable work. a Love for Love,” says Collier, “may have in 1710 are of little value, and have long been
The miscellaneous pieces which he published a somewhat better farewell, but it would do a
forgotten. man little service should he remember it to his
The stock of fame which he had acquired by dying day:"
his comedies was sufficient, assisted by the “The miracle to-day is, that we find
graces of his manner and conversation, to seA lover true, not that a woman's kind.”
cure for him a high place in the estimation of Collier's reply was severe and triumphant. the world. During the winter, he lived among One of his repartees we will quote, not as a the most distinguished and agreeable people favourable specimen of his manner, but be- in London. His summers were passed at the cause it was called forth by Congreve's cha- splendid country-scats of ministers and peers. racteristic affectation. The poet spoke of the Literary envy, and political faction, which in “Old Bachelor" as a trifle to which he at that age respected nothing else, respected his tached no value, and which had become public repose. He professed to be one of the party by a sort of accident. “I wrote it,” he said, of which his patron Montagu, now Lord Halifax, “ to amuse myself in a slow recovery from a was the head. But he had civil words and fit of sickness.”_"What his disease was,” re- small good offices for men of every shade of plied Collier," I am not to inquire : but it must opinion. And men of every shade of opinion be a very ill one to be worse than the remedy:" spoke well of him in return.
All that Congreve gained by coming forward His means were for a long time scanty. The on this occasion was, that he completely de- place which he had in possession, barely enprived himself of the excuse which he might abled him to live with comfort. And when with justice have pleaded for his early offences. the Tories came into power, some thought that “Why,” asked Collier, “should the man laugh he would lose even ihis moderate provision. at the mischief of the boy, and make the dis- But Harley, who was by no means disposed to orders of his nonage his own, by an afier ap- adopt the exterminating policy of the October probation?"
club, and who, with all his faults of under Congreve was not Collier's only opponent. standing and temper, had a sincere kindness Vanbrugh, Denis, and Settle took the field. for men of genius, reassured the anxious poet And, from the passage in a contemporary sa- by quoting very gracefully and happily the tire, we are inclined to think that among the lines of Virgilanswers to the “Short View," was one written,
“Non obtusa aden gestamus pectora Peni, or supposed to be written, by Wycherley. The
Nec tam aversus equos Tyria sol jungit ab urbe." victory remained with Collier. A great and rapid reform in all the departments of our The indulgence with which Congreve wa lighter literature was the effect of his labours. inewined by the Tories, was not purchased av any concession on his part which could justly neither the ministers nor the leaders of the opoffend the Whigs. It was his rare good-fortune position could be offended. 10 share the triumph of his friends without The singular affectation which had from the having shared their proscription. When the first been characteristic of Congreve, grew house of Hanover came to the throne, his for- stronger and stronger as he advanced in life. tunes began to flourish. The reversion to At last it became disagreeable to him to hear which he had been nominated twenty years his own comedies praised. Voltaire, whose hefore, fell in. He was made a secretary to the soul was burned up by the raging desire for island of Jamaica; and his whole income literary renown, was half puzzled, half dis. amounted to 12001. a year-a fortune which, gusted by what he saw, during his visit to for a single man, was, in that age, not only England, of this extraordinary whim. Coneasy, but splendid. He continued, however, greve disclaimed the character of a poet-deto practise the frugality which he had learned clared that his plays were trifles produced in when he could scarcely spare, as Swift tells an idle hour, and begged that Voltaire would us, a shilling to pay the chairman who carrieu consider him merely as a gentleman. “If you him to Lord Halifax's. Though he had no- had been merely a gentleman,” said Voltaire, body to save for, he laid up at least as much “I should not have come to see you." as he spent.
Congreve was not a man of warm affections. The infirmities of age came early upon him. Domestic ties he had none; and in the tempo. His habits had been intemperate; he suffered rary connections which he formed with a sucmuch from gout; and when confined to his cession of beauties from the green-room, his chamber, had no longer the solace of literature. heart does not appear to have been at all inBlindness, the most cruel misfortune that can terested. Of all his attachments, that to Mrs. befall the lonely student, made his books uses Bracegirdle lasted the longest, and was the less to him. He was thrown on society for all most celebrated. This charming actress, who his amusement, and, in society, his good breed- was, during many years, the idol of all Lon ing and vivacity made him always welcome. don; whose face caused the fatal broil in
By the rising men of letters he was consi- which Mountfort fell, and for which Lord Modered not as a rival, but as a classic. He had hun was tried by the Peers; and to whom the left their arena; he never measured his Earl of Scarsdale was said to have made strength with them; and he was always loud honourable addresses, had conducted herself, in applause of their exertions. They could, in very trying circumstances, with extraorditherefore, entertain no jealousy of him; and nary discretion. Congreve at length became thought no more of detracting from his fame her confidential friend. They constantly rode than of carping at the great men who had been out together, and dineil together. Some people lying a hundred years in Poet's Corner. Even said that she was his mistress, and others that the inmates of Grub Street, even the heroes of she would soon be his wife. He was at last the Dunciad, were for once just to living | drawn away from her by the influence of a merit. There can be no stronger illustration wealthier and haughtier beauty. Henrietta, of the estimation in which Congreve was held, | daughter of the great Marlborough, and wife than the fact that Pope's Iliad, a work which of the Earl of Godolphin, had, on her father's appeared with more splendid auspices than death, succeeded to his dukedom, and to the any other in our language, was dedicated to greater part of his immense property. Her him. There was not a duke in the kingdom husband was an insignificant man, of whom who would not have been proud of such a Lord Chesterfield said, that he came to the compliment. Dr. Johnson expresses great House of Peers only to sleep, and that he admiration for the independence of spirit might as well sleep on the right as on the left which Pope showed on this occasion, and of the woolsack. Between the duchess and some surprise at his choice. “He passed over Congreve sprung up a most eccentric friendpeers and statesmen to inscribe his “Iliad' to ship. He had a seat every day at her table, Congreve, with a magnanimity of which the and assisted in the direction of her concerts. praise had been complete, had his friend's That malignant old hag, the Dowager Duchess virtue been equal to his wit. Why he was Sarah, who had quarrelled with her daughter, chosen for so great an honour, it is not now as she had quarrelled with everybody else, possible to know.” It is certainly impossible affected to suspect that there was something 30 know; yet, we think, it is possible to guess. wrong. But the world in general appears to The translation of the “Iliad” had been zeal- have thought that a great lady might, without ously befriended by men of all political opi- any irnputation on her character, pay attention nions. The poet who at an early age had to a man of eminent genius, irho was nearly been raised to affluence by the emulous libe-sixty years old, who was still older in appear. rality of Whigs and Tories, could not with pro- ance and in constitution, who was confined 10 priety inscribe to a chief of either party, a his chair by gout, and was unable to read from work which had been munificently patronised blindness. by both. It was necessary to find some person In the summer of 1728, Congreve was orwho was at once eminent and neutral. It was dered to try the Bath waters. During his ex: therefore necessary to pass over peers and cursion he was overturned in his charios, and statesmen. Congreve had a high name in received some severe internal injury, from letters. He had a high name in aristocratic which he never recovered. He came back circles. He lived on terms of civility with 10 London in a dangerous state, complained deri of all parties. By a courtesy paid him constantly of a pain in his side, and con
tinued i siuk, till, in the following January, that is a bold word) the ugliest and most absurd he expired.
of the buildings at Stowe. He left 10,0001. saved out of the emolu- We have said that Wycherley was a worse ments of his lucrative places. Johnson says Congreve. There was, indeed, a remarkable that this money ought to have gone to ilie Con- analogy between the writings and lives of these greve family, which was then in grea: distress. Iwo men. Both were gentlemen liberally eduDoctor Young and Mr. Leigh Hunt, two gen- cated. Both led town lives, and knew human tlemen who seldom agree with each other, but nature only as it appears between Hyde Park with whom, on this occasion, we are happy to and the Tower. Both were men of wit. Neiagree, think that it ought to have gone to Mrs. ther had much imagination. Both at an early Bracegirdle. Congreve bequeathed 2001. to age produced lively and profligaie comedies, Mrs. Bracegirdle, and an equal sum to a cer-Both retired from the field while still in early tain Mrs. Jellat; but the bulk of his accumu- manhood, and owed to their youthful achieve lations went to the Duchess of Marlborough, ments in literature the consideration which in whose immense wealth such a legacy was they enjoyed in later life. Both, after they had as a drop in the bucket. It might have raised ceased to write for the stage, published volumes the fallen fortunes of a Staffordshire squire- of miscellanies, which did little credit either to it might have enabled a retired actress to en- their talents or their morals. Both, during joy every comfort, and, in her sense, every their declining years, hung loose upon society; luxury-but it was not sufficient to defray the and both, in their last moments, made eccentric duchess's establishment for two months. and unjustifiable dispositions respecting their
The great lady buried her friend with a estates. pump seldom seen at the funerals of poets. But in every point Congreve maintained his The corpse lay in state under the ancient roof superiority to Wycherley. Wycherley had wit; of the Jerusalem Chamber, and was interred but the wit of Congreve far outshines that of in Westminster Abbey. The pall was borne every comic writer, except Sheridan, who has by the Duke of Bridgewater, Lord Cobham, the arisen within the last two centuries. Congreve Earl of Wilmington, who had been Speaker, had not, in a large measure, the poetical faculand who was afterwards First Lord of the ty, but, compared with Wycherley, he might be Treasury, and other men of high consideration. called a great poet. Wycherley had some Her grace laid out her friend's bequest in a knowledge of books, but Congreve was a man superb diamond necklace, which she wore in of real learning. Congreve's offences against honour of him; and, if report is to be believed, decorum, though highly culpable, were not so showed her regard in ways much more extra- gross as those of Wycherley; nor did Congreve, ordinary. It is said that she had a statue of like Wycherley, exhibit to the world the deplohim in ivory, which moved by clock work, and rable spectacle of a licentious dotage. Con. was placed daily at her table; that she had a greve died in the enjoyment of high considerawax doll made in imitation of him, and that the tion; Wycherley forgotten or despised. Confeer of this doll were regularly blistered and greve's will was absurd and capricious; but anointed by the doctors, as poor Congreve's Wycherley's last actions appeared to have feet had been when he suffered from the gout. been prompted by obdurate malignity. A monument was erected to the poet in West- Here, at least for the present, we must stop minster Abbey, with an inscription written by Vanbrugh and Farquhar are not men to be the duchess; and Lord Cobham honoured him hastily dismissed, and we have not left ourwith a cenotaphy, which seems to us (though | selves space to do them justice.
THE LATE LORD HOLLAND.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW FOR JULY, 1841.]
Many reasons make it impossible for us to ed to render—the continuance of an extensive lay before our readers, at the present moment, grievance, and of the dissatisfaction consequent a complete view of the character and public thereupon, dangerous to the tranquillity of the career of the late Lord Holland. But we feel country, and ultimately subversive of the authat we have already deferred too long the duty thority of the state. Experience and theory of paying some tribute to his memory. We alike forbid us to deny that effect of a free confeel that it is more becoming to bring, without stitution; a sense of justice and a love of liberty further delay, an offering, though intrinsically equally deter us from lamenting it. But we of little value, than to leave his tomb longer have always been taught to look for the remewithout some token of our reverence and love. dy of such disorders in the redress of the griey
We shall say very little of the book which ances which justify them, and in the removal lies on our table. And yet it is a book which, of the dissatisfaction from which they flow; even if it had been the work of a less distin- not in restraints on ancient privileges, not in guished man, or had appeared under circum- inroads on the right of public discussion, nor stances less interesting, would have well repaid in violations of the principles of a free governan attentive perusal. It is valuable, both as a ment. If, therefore, the legal method of seekrecord of principles and as a model of compo- ing redress, which has been resorted to by sition. We find in it all the great maxims persons labouring under grievous disabilities, which, during more than forty years, guided be fraught with immediate or remote danger to Lord Holland's public conduct, and the chief the state, we draw from that circumstance a reasons on which those maxims rest, condensed conclusion long since foretold by great authorinto the smallest possible space, and set forth ity-namely, that the British constitution and with admirable perspicuity, dignity, and preci- large exclusions cannot subsist together; that sion. To his opinions on Foreign Policy we, the constitution must destroy them, or they for the most part, cordially assent; but, now will destroy the constitution." and then, we are inclined to think them imprudently generous. We could not have signed It was not, however, of this little book, valuathe protest against the detention of Napoleon. ble and interesting as it is, but of the author, The protest respecting the course which Eng- that we meant to speak; and we will try to do land pursued at the Congress of Verona, though so with calmness and impartiality. it contains much that excellent, contains In order fully to appreciate the character of also positions which, we are inclined to think, Lord Holland, it is necessary to go far back Lord Holland would, at a later period, have into the history of his family; for he had inadmitted to be unsound. But to all his doc- herited something more than a coronet and an trines on Constitutional Questions we give our estate. To the house of which he was the hearty approbation; and we firmly believe that head belongs one distinction, which we believe no British government has ever deviated from to be without a parallel in our annals. During that line of internal policy which he has traced, more than a century, there has never been a without detriment to the public.
time at which a Fox has not stood in a promiWe will give, as a specimen of this little nent station among public men. Scarcely had volume, a single passage, in which a chief the checkered career of the first Lord Holland article of the political creed of the Whigs is closed, when his son, Charles, rose to the head stated and explained with singular clearnests, of the Opposition, and to the first rank among force, and brevity. Our readers will remember English debaters. And before Charles was that, in 1825, the Catholic Association agitated borne to Westminster Abbey, a third Fox had for emancipation with most formidable effect. already become one of the most conspicuous The Tories acted after their kind. Instead of politicians in the kingdom. removing the grievance, they tried to put down It is impossible not to be struck by the strong the agitation, and brought in a law, apparently family likeness which, in spite of diversities sharp and stringent, but, in truth, utterly impo- arising from education and position, appears tent, for restraining the right of petition. Lord in these three distinguished persons. In their Holland's protest on that occasion is excellent. faces and figures there was a resemblance,
such as is common enough in novels, where “We are,” says he, "well aware that the one picture is good for ten generations, but privileges of the people, the rights of free dis- such as in real life is seldom found. The ample cussion, and the spirit and letter of our popular person, the massy and thoughtful forehead, the institutions, must render—and they are intend-large eyebrows, the full cheek and lip; the er
pression, so singularly compounded of sense, • The Opinions of Lord Hollund, as recorded in the humour, courage, openness, a strong will and a Journuls of the House of Lords, from 1797 to 1841. Col
cled and cdited by D. C. Moylan, of Lincoln's Inn, sweet temper, were common to all. But the Barrister-at-Law. Svo London. 1841.
features of the founder of the house, as the