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-the background to one dark and melancholy fortunate in his domestic relations; the public figure. treated him with cruel injustice; ki health and spirits suffered from his dissipated habits of life; he was, on the whole, an unhappy man. He early discovered that, by parading his unhappiness before the multitude, he excited an unrivalled interest. The world gave
Never had any writer so vast a command of the whole eloquence of scorn, misanthropy, and despair. That Marah was never dry. No art could sweeten, no draughts could exhaust, its perennial waters of bitterness. Never was there such variety in monotony as that of By-him every encouragement to talk about his ron. From maniac laughter to piercing la- mental sufferings. The effect which his first mentation, there was not a single note of hu- confessions produced, induced him to affect man anguish of which he was not master. much that he did not feel; and the affectation Year after year, and month after month, he probably reacted on his feelings. How far continued to repeat that to be wretched is the the character in which he exhibited himself destiny of all; that to be eminently wretched, was genuine, and how far theatrical, would is the destiny of the eminent; that all the de- probably have puzzled himself to say. sires by which we are cursed lead alike to misery; if they are not gratified, to the misery of disappointment; if they are gratified, to the misery of satiety. His principal heroes are men who have arrived by different roads at the same goal of despair, who are sick of life, who are at war with society, who are supported in their anguish only by an unconquerable pride, resembling that of Prometheus on the rock, or of Satan in the burning marl; who can master their agonies by the force of their will, and who, to the last, defy the whole power of earth and heaven. He always described himself as a man of the same kind with his favourite creations, as a man whose heart had been withered, whose capacity for happiness was gone, and could not be restored; but whose invincible spirit dared the worst that could befall him here or hereafter.
There can be no doubt that this remarkable man owed the vast influence which he exercised over his contemporaries, at least as much to his gloomy egotism as to the real power of his poetry. We never could very clearly understand how it is that egotism, so unpopular in conversation, should be so popu lar in writing; or how it is that men who affect in their compositions qualities and feelings which they have not, impose so much more easily on their contemporaries than on posterity. The interest which the loves of Petrarch excited in his own time, and the pitying fondness with which half Europe looked upon Rousseau, are well known. To readers of our time, the love of Petrarch seems to have been love of that kind which breaks no hearts; and the sufferings of Rousseau to have deserved laughter rather than pity-to have How much of this morbid feeling sprung been partly counterfeited, and partly the con from an original disease of mind, how much sequences of his own perverseness and vanity. from real misfortune, how much from the What our grandchildren may think of the nervousness of dissipation, how much of it was character of Lord Byron, as exhibited in his fanciful, how much of it was merely affected, poetry, we will not pretend to guess. It is It is impossible for us, and would probably certain, that the interest which he excited dur have been impossible for the most intimate ing his life is without a parallel in literary friends of Lord Byron, to decide. Whether history. The feeling with which young readthere ever existed, or can ever exist, a personers of poetry regarded him, can be conceived answering to the description which he gave of only by those who have experienced it. To himself, may be doubted: but that he was not people who are unacquainted with the real casuch a person is beyond all doubt. It is ri-lamity, "nothing is so dainty sweet as lovely diculous to imagine that a man whose mind melancholy." This faint image of sorrow has was really imbued with scorn of his fellow in all ages been considered by young gentlecreatures, would have published three or four men as an agreeable excitement. Old gentle books every year in order to tell them so; or men and middle-aged gentlemen have so many that a man, who could say with truth that he real causes of sadness, that they are rarely neither sought sympathy nor needed it, would inclined "to be as sad as night only for wanhave admitted all Europe to hear his farewell tonness." Indeed they want the power almost to his wife, and his biessings on his child. In as much as the inclination. We know very the second canto of Childe Harold, he tells us | few persons engaged in active life, who, even that he is insensible to fame and obloquy: if they were to procure stools to be melancholy upon, and were to sit down with all the pre meditation of Master Stephen, would be able to enjoy much of what somebody calls the "ecstasy of wo."
"I may such contest now the spirit move, Which heeds nor keen reproof nor partial praise." Yet we know, on the best evidence, that a day or two before he published these lines, he was greatly, indeed childishly, elated by the compliments paid to his maiden speech in the House of Lords.
Among that large class of young persons whose reading is almost entirely confined to works of imagination, the popularity of Lord We are far, however, from thinking that his Byron was unbounded. They bought pictures sadness was altogether feigned. He was na- of him, they treasured up the smallest relics turally a man of great sensibility; he had been of him; they learned his poems by heart, and ill-educated; his feelings had been early ex- did their best to write like him, and to look posed to sharp trials; he had been crossed in like him. Many of them practised at the glass, his boyish love; he had been mortified by the in the hope of catching the curl of the upper failure of his first literary efforts; he was strait-lip, and the scowl of the brow, which appear ened in pecuniary circumstances; he was un-in some of his portraits. A few discarded
their neckcloths in imitation of their great were, to hate your neighbour, and to love your leader. For some years, the Minerva press sent forth no novel without a mysterious, unhappy, Lara-like peer. The number of hopeful undergraduates and medical students who became things of dark imaginings, on whom the freshness of the heart ceased to fall like dew, whose passions had consumed themselves to dust, and to whom the relief of tears was denied, passes all calculation. This was not the worst. There was created in the minds of many of these enthusiasts, a pernicious and absurd association between intellectual power and moral depravity. From the poetry of Lord Byron they drew a system of ethics, compounded of misanthropy and voluptuousness: a system in which the two great commandments
This affectation has passed away; and a few more years will destroy whatever yet remains of that magical potency which once belonged to the name of Byron. To us he is still a man, young, noble, and unhappy. To our children he will be merely a writer; and their impartial judgment will appoint his place among writers, without regard to his rank or to his private history. That his poetry will undergo a severe sifting; that much of what has been admired by his contemporaries will be reject ed as worthless, we have little doubt. But we have as little doubt, that, after the closest scrutiny, there will still remain much that can only perish with the English language.
SOUTHEY'S EDITION OF THE PILGRIM'S PROGRESS.*
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1831.]
Turs is an eminently beautiful and splendid | in his choice of subjects. He should never edition of a book which well deserves all that have attempted to illustrate the Paradise Lost. the printer and the engraver can do for it. There can be no two manners more directly The life of Bunyan is, of course, not a per- opposed to each other, than the manner of his formance which can add much to the literary painting and the manner of Milton's poetry. reputation of such a writer as Mr. Southey. Those things which are mere accessaries in But it is written in excellent English, and, for the descriptions, become the principal objects the most part, in an excellent spirit. Mr. Sou- in the pictures; and those figures which they propounds, we need not say, many opi- are most prominent in the descriptions can be nions from which we altogether dissent; and detected in the pictures only by a very close his attempts to excuse the odious persecution scrutiny. Mr. Martin has succeeded perfectly to which Bunyan was subjected, have some-in representing the pillars and candelabras of times moved our indignation. But we will Pandemonium. But he has forgotten that avoid this topic. We are at present much Milton's Pandemonium is merely the backmore inclined to join in paying homage to the ground to Satan. In the picture, the Archangel genius of a great man, than to engage in a is scarcely visible amidst the endless coloncontroversy concerning church government nades of his infernal palace. Milton's Paradise, again, is merely the background to his We must not pass without notice the en- Adam and Eve. But in Mr. Martin's picture gravings with which this beautiful volume is the landscape is every thing. Adam, Eve, decorated. Some of Mr. Heath's woodcuts are and Raphael attract much less notice than the admirably designed and executed. Mr. Mar-lake and the mountains, the gigantic flowers, tin's illustrations do not please us quite so and the giraffes which feed upon them. We well. His Valley of the Shadow of Death is have read, we forget where, that James the not that Valley of the Shadow of Death which Second sat to Verelst, the great flower-painter. Bunyan imagined. At all events, it is not that When the performance was finished, his madark and horrible glen which has from child-jesty appeared in the midst of sunflowers and hood been in our mind's eye. The valley is a tulips, which completely drew away all atten cavern: the quagmire is a lake: the straight tion from the central figure. All who looked path runs zigzag: and Christian appears like at the portrait took it for a flower-piece. Mr. a speck in the darkness of the immense vault. Martin, we think, introduces his immeasurable We miss, too, those hideous forms which make spaces, his innumerable multitudes, his gorso striking a part of the description of Bunyan, geous prodigies of architecture and landscape, and which Salvator Rosa would have loved to almost as unseasonably as Verelst introduced draw. It is with unfeigned diffidence that we his flower-pots and nosegays. If Mr. Martin pronounce judgment on any question relating were to paint Lear in the storm, the blazing to the art of painting. But it appears to us sky, the sheets of rain, the swollen torrents, that Mr. Martin has not of late been fortunate and the tossing forest, would draw away all attention from the agonies of the insulted king and father. If he were to paint the death of Il-Lear the old man, asking the bystanders to
The Pilgrim's Progress, with a life of John Bunyan. By Robert SOUTHEY, Esq., LL.D., Poet Laureate. ustrated with Engravings. 8vo. London. 1830.
undo his button, would be thrown into the shade by a vast blaze of pavilions, standards, armour, and herald's coats. He would illustrate the Orlando Furioso well, the Orlando Innamorato still better, the Arabian Nights best of all. Fairy palaces and gardens, porticoes of agate, and groves flowering with eme-ed. ralds and rubies, inhabited by people for whom nobody cares, these are his proper domain. He would succeed admirably in the enchanted ground of Alcina, or the mansion of Aladdin. its fair shows; the prisoner in the iron cage; But he should avoid Milton and Bunyan. the palace, at the doors of which armed men The characteristic peculiarity of the Pil-kept guard, and on the battlements of which grim's Progress is, that it is the only work of walked persons clothed all in gold; the cross its kind which possesses a strong human in- and the sepulchre; the steep hill and the pleaterest. Other allegories only amuse the fancy. sant arbour; the stately front of the House The allegory of Bunyan has been read by many Beautiful by the wayside; the low green valley thousands with tears. There are some good of Humiliation, rich with grass and covered allegories in Johnson's works, and some of with flocks, all are as well known to us as the still higher merit by Addison. In these per-sights of our own street. Then we come to the formances there is, perhaps, as much wit and narrow place where Apollyon strode right ingenuity as in the Pilgrim's Progress. But across the whole breadth of the way, to stop the pleasure which is produced by the Vision the journey of Christian, and where afterwards of Mirza, or the Vision of Theodore, the gene- the pillar was set up to testify how bravely the alogy of Wit, or the contest between Rest and pilgrim had fought the good fight. As we adLabour, is exactly similar to the pleasure vance, the valley becomes deeper and deeper. which we derive from one of Cowley's Odes,The shade of the precipices on both sides falls or from a Canto of Hudibras. It is a pleasure blacker and blacker. The clouds gather overwhich belongs wholly to the understanding, head. Doleful voices, the clanking of chains, and in which the feelings have no part what- and the rushing of many feet to and fro, are ever. Nay, even Spenser himself, though heard through the darkness. The way, hardly assuredly one of the greatest poets that ever discernible in gloom, runs close by the mouth lived, could not succeed in the attempt to make of the burning pit, which sends forth its flames, allegory interesting. It was in vain that he its noisome smoke, and its hideous shapes, to lavished the riches of his mind on the House terrify the adventurer. Thence he goes on, of Pride, and the House of Temperance. One amidst the snares and pitfalls, with the mangled unpardonable fault, the fault of tediousness, bodies of those who have perished lying in the pervades the whole of the Faerie Queen. We ditch by his side. At the end of the long dark become sick of Cardinal Virtues and Deadly valley, he passes the dens in which the old Sins, and long for the society of plain men and giants dwelt, amidst the bones and ashes of women. Of the persons who read the first those whom they had slain. Canto, not one in ten reaches the end of the First Book, and not one in a hundred perse-waste moor, till at length the towers of a disveres to the end of the poem. Very few and tant city appear before the traveller; and soon very weary are those who are in at the death he is in the midst of the innumerable multiof the Blatant Beast. If the last six bool tudes of Vanity Fair. There are the jugglers which are said to have been destroyed in Ire-and the apes, the shops and the puppet-shows. land, had been preserved, we doubt whether There are Italian Row, and French Row, and any heart less stout than that of a commentator Spanish Row, and Britain Row, with their would have held out to the end. crowds of buyers, sellers, and loungers, jabbering all the languages of the earth.
Then the road passes straight on through a
Thence we go on by the little hill of the silver mine, and through the meadow of lilies, along the bank of that pleasant river which is
It is not so with the Pilgrim's Progress. That wonderful book, while it obtains admiration from the most fastidious critics, is loved by those who are too simple to admire it. Doctor Johnson, all whose studies were desul-bordered on both sides by fruit trees. On the tory, and who hated, as he said, to read books left side, branches off the path leading to that through, made an exception in favour of the horrible castle, the court-yard of which is Pilgrim's Progress. That work, he said, was paved with the skulls of pilgrims; and right one of the two or three works which he wished onward are the sheepfolds and orchards of the longer. It was by no common merit that the Delectable Mountains. illiterate sectary extracted praise like this from the most pedantic of critics and the most bigoted of Tories. In the wildest parts of Scotland the Pilgrim's Progress is the delight of the peasantry. In every nursery the Pilgrim's Progress is a greater favourite than Jack the Giant-Killer. Every reader knows the straight and narrow path, as well as he knows a road in which he has gone backward and forward a hundred times. This is the highest miracle of genius-that things which VOL. L-17
are not should be as though they were, that the imaginations of one mind should become the personal recollections of another. And this miracle the tinker has wrought. There is no ascent, no declivity, no resting-place, no turnstile, with which we are not perfectly acquaintThe wicket gate, and the desolate swamp which separates it from the City of Destruction; the long line of road, as straight as a rule can make it; the Interpreter's house, and all
From the Delectable Mountains, the way lies through the fogs and briers of the Enchanted Ground, with here and there a bed of soft cushions spread under a green arbour. And beyond is the land of Beulah, where the flowers, the grapes, and the songs of birds never cease, and where the sun shines night and day. Thence are plainly seen the golden pavements and streets of pearl, on the other side of that black and cold river over which there is no bridge.
MACAULAY'S MISCELLANEOUS WRITINGS.
The PilBut we must return to Bunyan. grim's Progress undoubtedly is not a perfect allegory. The types are often inconsistent with each other; and sometimes the allegorical disguise is altogether thrown off. The river, for example, is emblematic of death, and we are told that every human being must Hopeful pass through the river. But Faithful does not pass through it. He is martyred, not in shadow, but in reality, at Vanity Fair. talks to Christian about Esau's birthright, and about his own convictions of sin, as Bunyan might have talked with one of his own congregation. The damsels at the House Beautiful catechise Christiana's boys, as any good ladies might catechise any boys at a Sunday. school. But we do not believe that any man, whatever might be his genius, and whatever his good luck, could long continue a figarative history without falling into many inconsist encies. We are sure that inconsistencies, scarcely less gross than the worst into which Bunyan has fallen, may be found in the shortest and most elaborate allegories of the Spectator and the Rambler. The Tale of a Tub and the History of John Bull swarm with similar errors, if the name of error can be properly applied to that which is unavoidable. It is not easy to make a simile go on all-fours. But we believe that no human ingenuity could produce such a centipede as a long allegory, in which the correspondence between the outward sign and the thing signified should be exactly preserved. Certainly no writer, an The best thing, on the whole, that an cient or modern, has yet achieved the adven ture. allegorist can do, is to present to his readers a succession of analogies, each of which may separately be striking and happy, without look ing very nicely to see whether they harmonize with each other. This Bunyan has done; and, though a minute scrutiny may detect incon sistencies in every page of his tale, the general
All the stages of the journey, all the forms which cross or overtake the pilgrims, -giants and hobgoblins, ill-favoured ones and shining ones; the tall, comely, swarthy Madam Bubble, with her great purse by her side, and her fingers playing with the money; the black man in the bright vesture; Mr. Worldly-Wiseman, and my Lord Hategood; Mr. Talkative, and Mrs. Timorous-are all We follow the actually existing beings to us. travellers through their allegorical progress with interest not inferior to that with which we follow Elizabeth from Siberia to Moscow, or Jeanie Deans from Edinburgh to London. Bunyan is almost the only writer that ever gave to the abstract the interest of the concrete. In the works of many celebrated authors, men are mere personifications. We have not an Othello, but jealousy; not an Iago, but perfidy; not a Brutus, but patriotism. The mind of Bunyan, on the contrary, was so imaginative, that personifications, when he A dialogue dealt with them, became men. between two qualities in his dream, has more dramatic effect than a dialogue between two human beings in most plays. In this respect the genius of Bunyan bore a great resemblance to that of a man who had very little else in common with him, Percy Bysshe Shelley. The strong imagination of Shelley made him an idolater in his own despite. Out of the most indefinite terms of a hard, cold, dark, metaphysical system, he made a gorgeous Pantheon, full of beautiful, majestic, and lifeHe turned atheism itself into a like forms. mythology, rich with visions as glorious as the gods that live in the marble of Phidias, or the virgin saints that smile on us from the canvass of Murillo. The Spirit of Beauty, the Principle of Good, the Principle of Evil, when he treated of them, ceased to be abstractions. They took shape and colour. They were no longer mere words; but "intelligible forms;" "fair humanities;" objects of love, of adora-effect which the tale produces on all persons, tion, or of fear. As there can be no stronger learned and unlearned, proves that he has done signs of a mind destitute of the poetical faculty well. The passages which it is most difficult than that tendency which was so common to defend, are those in which he altogether among the writers of the French school to turn drops the allegory, and puts into the mouth of images into abstractions-Venus, for example, his pilgrims religious ejaculations and disqui into Love, Minerva into Wisdom, Mars into sitions, better suited to his own pulpit at BedWar, and Bacchus into Festivity-so there can ford or Reading, than to the Enchanted Ground be no stronger sign of a mind truly poetical, of the Interpreter's Garden. Yet even these than a disposition to reverse this abstracting passages, though we will not undertake to deprocess, and to make individuals out of gene- fend them against the objections of critics, ralities. Some of the metaphysical and ethical we feel that we could ill spare. We feel that theories of Shelley were certainly most absurd the story owes much of its charm to these oc and pernicious. But we doubt whether any casional glimpses of solemn and affecting modern poet has possessed in an equal degree subjects, which will not be hidden, which force the highest qualities of the great ancient mas- themselves through the veil, and appear before ters. The words bard and inspiration, which us in their native aspect. The effect is not seem so cold and affected when applied to unlike that which is said to have been pro other modern writers, have a perfect propriety duced on the ancient stage, when the eyes of when applied to him. He was not an author, the actor were seen flaming through his mask but a bard. His poetry seems not to have been and giving life and expression to what would an art, but an inspiration. Had he lived to the else have been inanimate and uninteresting full age of man, he might not improbably have disguise. given to the world some great work of the very Bighest rank in design and execution. But,
ο Δαφν ς εβα ροον· εκλυσε δινα
It is very amusing and very instructive to Abounding. The latter work is indeed one of compare the Pilgrim's Progress with the Grace the most remarkable pieces of autobiography in the world. It is a full and
of the fancies which passed through the mind of an illiterate man, whose affections were warm, whose nerves were irritable, whose imagination was ungovernable, and who was under the influence of the strongest religious excitement. In whatever age Bunyan had lived, the history of his feelings would, in all probability, have been very curious. But the Latime in which his lot was cast was the time of a great stirring of the human mind. A tremendous burst of public feeling, produced LE by the tyranny of the hierarchy, menaced the old ecclesiastical institutions with destruction. To the gloomy regularity of one intolerant church had succeeded the license of innumerable sects, drunk with the sweet and heady B1st of their new liberty. Fanaticism, engendered by persecution, and destined to enegender fresh persecution in turn, spread rapid- | rly through society. Even the strongest and most commanding minds were not proof against this strange taint. Any time might have produced George Fox and James Naylor. But to one time alone belong the frantic delusions of such a statesman as Vane, and the hysterical tears of such a soldier as Cromwell.
The history of Bunyan is the history of a most excitable mind in an age of excitement. By most of his biographers he has been treated with gross injustice. They have understood in a popular sense all those strong terms of self-condemnation which he employed in a theological sense. They have, therefore, represented him as an abandoned wretch, reclaimed by means almost miraculous; or, to 蕾 use their favourite metaphor, "as a brand plucked from the burning." Mr. Ivimey calls him the depraved Bunyan, and the wicked tinker of Elstow. Surely Mr. Ivimey ought to have been too familiar with the bitter accusations which the most pious people are in the habit of bringing against themselves, to understand literally all the strong expressions which are to be found in the Grace Abounding. It is quite clear, as Mr. Southey most justly remarks, that Mr. Bunyan never was a vicious man. He married very early; and he solemnly declares that he was strictly faithful to his wife. He does not appear to have been a drunkard. He owns, indeed, that when a boy, he never spoke without an oath. But a single admonition cured him of this bad habit for life; and the cure must have been wrought early for at eighteen he was in the army of the Parliament; and if he had carried the vice of profaneness into that service, he would doubtless have received something more than an admonition from Sergeant Bind-their-kings-inchains, or Captain Hew-Agag-in-pieces-beforethe-Lord. Bell-ringing, and playing at hockey on Sundays, seem to have been the worst vices of this depraved tinker. They would have passed for virtues with Archbishop Laud. It is quite clear that, from a very early age, Bunyan was a man of a strict life and of a tender conscience. "He had been," says Mr. Southey, "a blackguard." Even this we think too hard a censure. Bunyan was not, we admit, so fine a gentleman as Lord Digby; yet be was a blackguard no otherwise than as
every tinker that ever lived has been a black. guard. Indeed Mr. Southey acknowledges this "Such he might have been expected to be by his birth, breeding, and vocation. Scarcely indeed, by possibility, could he have been otherwise." A man, whose manners and sentiments are decidedly below those of his class, deserves to be called a blackguard. But it is surely unfair to apply so strong a word of reproach to one who is only what the great mass of every community must inevitably be.
Those horrible internal conflicts which Bunyan has described with so much power of language prove, not that he was a worse man than his neighbours, but that his mind was constantly occupied by religious considera tions, that his fervour exceeded his knowledge, and that his imagination exercised despotic power over his body and mind. He heard voices from heaven: he saw strange visions of distant hills, pleasant and sunny as his own Delectable Mountains; from those seats he was shut out, and placed in a dark and horrible wilderness, where he wandered through ice and snow, striving to make his way into the happy region of light. At one time he was seized with an inclination to work miracles. At another time he thought himself actually possessed by the devil. He could distinguish the blasphemous whispers. He felt his infernal enemy pulling at his clothes behind him. He spurned with his feet, and struck with his hands, at the destroyer. Sometimes he was tempted to sell his part in the salvation of mankind. Sometimes a violent impulse urged hin to start up from his food, to fall on his knees, and break forth into prayer. At length he fancied that he had committed the unpardonable sin. His agony convulsed his robust frame. He was, he says, as if his breastbone would split; and this he took for a sign that he was destined to burst asunder like Judas. The agitation of his nerves made all his movements tremulous; and this trembling, he supposed, was a visible mark of his reprobation, like that which had been set on Cain. At one time, indeed, an encouraging voice seemed to rush in at the window, like the noise of wind, but very pleasant, and commanded, as he says, a great calm in his soul. At another time, a word of comfort "was spoke loud unto him; it showed a great word; it seemed to be writ in great letters." But these intervals of ease were short. His state, during two years and a half, was generally the most horrible that the human mind can imagine. "I walked," says he, with his own peculiar eloquence, "to a neighbouring town; and sat down upon a settle in the street, and fell into a very deep pause about the most fearful state my sin had brought me to; and, after long musing, I lifted up my head; but methought I saw as if the sun that shineth in the heavens did grudge to give me light; and as if the very stones in the streets and tiles upon the houses did band themselves against me. Methought that they all combined together to banish me out of the world! I was abhorred of them, and unfit to dwell among them, because I had sin ned against the Saviour. Oh, how happy now