« AnteriorContinuar »
was every creature over I! for they stood fast, and kept their station. But I was gone and lost." Scarcely any madhouse could produce an instance of delusion so strong, or of misery
of Isaiah to the household and guests of Gaius; and then sallies out to attack Slaygood, who was of the nature of flesh-eaters, in his den. These are inconsistencies; but they are inconsistencies which add, we think, to the interest It was through this Valley of the Shadow of of the narrative. We have not the least doubt Death, overhung by darkness, peopled with that Bunyan had in view some stout old Greatdevils, resounding with blasphemy and lamen-heart of Naseby and Worcester, who prayed tation, and passing amidst quagmires, snares, with his men before he drilled them; who and pitfalls, close by the very mouth of hell, knew the spiritual state of every dragoon in that Bunyan journeyed to that bright and his troop; and who, with the praises of God in fruitful land of Beulah, in which he sojourned his mouth, and a two-edged sword in his hand, during the latter days of his pilgrimage. The had turned to flight, on many fields of battle, only trace which his cruel sufferings and the swearing, drunken bravoes of Rupert and temptations seem to have left behind them, was Lunsford. an affectionate compassion for those who were Every age produces such men as By-ends still in the state in which he had once been. But the middle of the seventeenth century was Religion has scarcely ever worn a form so eminently prolific of such men. Mr. Southey calm and soothing as in his allegory. The feel- thinks that the satire was aimed at some paring which predominates through the whole ticular individual; and this seems by no means book is a feeling of tenderness for weak, timid, improbable. At all events, Bunyan must have and harassed minds. The character of Mr. known many of those hypocrites who followed Fearing, of Mr. Feeble-Mind, of Mr. Despond-religion only when religion walked in silver ency and his daughter Miss Muchafraid; the slippers, when the sun shone, and when the account of poor Littlefaith, who was robbed people applauded. Indeed, he might have by the three thieves of his spending-money; easily found all the kindred of By-ends among the description of Christian's terror in the the public men of his time. He might have dungeons of Giant Despair, and in his passage found among the peers, my Lord Turn-about, through the river, all clearly show how strong my Lord Time-server, and my Lord Fair a sympathy Bunyan felt, after his own mind speech; in the House of Commons, Mr. had become clear and cheerful, for persons Smooth-man, Mr. Anything, and Mr. Facing afflicted with religious melancholy. both-ways; nor would "the parson of the Cal-parish, Mr. Two-tongues," have been wanting. The town of Bedford probably contained more than one politician, who, after contriving to raise an estate by seeking the Lord during the reign of the saints, contrived to keep what he had got by persecuting the saints during the reign of the strumpets; and more than one priest who, during repeated changes in the discipline and doctrines of the church, had remained constant to nothing but his benefice.
Mr. Southey, who has no love for the vinists, admits that, if Calvinism had never worn a blacker appearance than in Bunyan's works, it would never have become a term of reproach. In fact, those works of Bunyan with which we are acquainted, are by no means more Calvinistic than the homilies of the Church of England. The moderation of his opinions on the subject of predestination, gave offence to some zealous persons. We have scen an absurd allegory, the heroine of which is named Hephzibah, written by some raving supralapsarian preacher, who was dissatisfied with the mild theology of the Pilgrim's Progress. In this foolish book, if we recollect rightly, the Interpreter is called the Enlightener, and the House Beautiful is Castle Strength. Mr. Southey tells us that the Catholics had also their Pilgrim's Progress without a Giant Pope, in which the Interpreter is the Director, and the House Beautiful Grace's Hall. It is surely a remarkable proof of the power of Bunyan's genius, that two religious parties, both of which regarded his opinions as heterodox, should have had recourse to him for
There are, we think, some characters and scenes in the Pilgrim's Progress, which can be ully comprehended and enjoyed only by persons familiar with the history of the times through which Bunyan lived. The character of Mr. Greatheart, the guide, is an example. His fighting is, of course, allegorical; but the allegory is not strictly preserved. He delivers a sermon on imputed righteousness to his companions; and, soon after, he gives battle to Gian' Grim, who had taken upon him to back the lions He expounds the fifty-third chapter
One of the most remarkable passages in the Pilgrim's Progress, is that in which the proceedings against Faithful are described. It is impossible to doubt that Bunyan intended to satirize the mode in which state trials were conducted under Charles the Second. The license given to the witnesses for the prosecu tion, the shameless partiality and ferocious insolence of the judge, the precipitancy and the blind rancour of the jury, remind us of those odious mummeries which, from the Restoration to the Revolution, were merely forms preliminary to hanging, drawing, and quartering. Lord Hategood performs the office of counsel for the prisoners as well as Scroggs himself could have performed it.
"JUDGE. Thou runagate, heretic, and traitor, hast thou heard what these honest gentlemen have witnessed against thee?
"FAITHFUL. May I speak a few words in my own defence?
“JUDGE. Sirrah, Sirrah! thon deservest to live no longer, but to be slain immediately upon the place; yet, that all men may see our gentleness to thee, let us hear what thou, vile runagate, hast to say."
No person who knows the state trials can b
at a loss for parallel cases. Indeed, write what Bunyan would, the baseness and cruelty of the lawyers of those times "sinned up to it still," and even went beyond it. The imaginary trial of Faithful before a jury composed of personified vices, was just and merciful, when compared with the real trial of Lady Alice Lisle before that tribunal where all the vices sat in the person of Jeffries.
divine, this homely dialect, the dialect of plain workingmen, was perfectly sufficient. There is no book in our literature on which we could so readily stake the fame of the old unpolluted English language; no book which shows so well how rich that language is in its own proper wealth, and how little it has been improved by all that it has borrowed.
Cowper said, forty or fifty years ago, that he dared not name John Bunyan in his verse, for fear of moving a sneer. To our refined forefathers, we suppose, Lord Roscommon's Essay on Translated Verse, and the Duke of Buck
The style of Bunyan is delightful to every reader, and invaluable as a study to every person who wishes to obtain a wide command over the English language. The vocabulary is the vocabulary of the common people. inghamshire's Essay on Poetry, appeared to There is not an expression, if we except a few be compositions infinitely superior to the alle technical terms of theology, which would puz-gory of the preaching tinker. We live in zle the rudest peasant. We have observed better times; and we are not afraid to say several pages which do not contain a single that, though there were many clever men in word of more than two syllables. Yet no wri- England during the latter half of the seven. ter has said more exactly what he meant to teenth century, there were only two great say. For magnificence, for pathos, for vehe- creative minds. One of those minds pro ment exhortation, for subtle disquisition, for duced the Paradise Lost, the other the Pil every purpose of the poet, the orator, and the grim's Progress.
CROKER'S EDITION OF BOSWELL'S LIFE OF
[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1831.]
THIS work has greatly disappointed us. Beattie, died in 1816.* Whatever faults we may have been prepared to find in it, we fully expected that it would be a valuable addition to English literature, that it would contain many curious facts and many judicious remarks; that the style of the notes would be neat, clear, and precise; and that the typographical execution would be, as in new editions of classical works it ought to be, almost faultless. We are sorry to be obliged to say, that the merits of Mr. Croker's performance are on a par with those of a certain leg of mutton on which Dr. Johnson dined, while travelling from London to Oxford, and which he, with characteristic energy, pronounced to be, "as bad as bad could be; ill-fed, ill-killed, ill-kept, and ill-dressed." That part of the volumes before us, for which the editor is responsible, is ill-compiled, ill-arranged, ill-expressed, and ill-printed.
Nothing in the work had astonished us so much as the ignorance or carelessness of Mr. Croker with respect to facts and dates. Many of his blunders are such as we should be surprised to hear any well-educated gentleman commit, even in conversation. The notes absolutely swarm with misstatements, into which the editor never would have fallen, if he had taken the slightest pains to investigate the truth of his assertions, or if he had even been well acquainted with the very book on which he undertook to comment. We will give a few
In one note we read, that Sir Herbert Croft, the author of that pompous and foolish account of Young, which appears among the Lives of the Poets, died in 1805. Another note in the same volume states, that this same Sir Herbert Croft died at Paris, after residing abroad for fifteen years, on the 27th of April, 1816.9
Mr. Croker informs us, that Sir William Forbes of Pitsligo, the author of the life of
The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.; including
+ V. 184.
A Sir William Forbes undoubtedly died in that year; but not the Sir William Forbes in question, whose death took place in 1806. It is notorious, indeed, that the biographer of Beattie lived just long enough to complete the history of his friend. Eight or nine years before the date which Mr. Croker has assigned for Sir William's death. Sir Walter Scott lamented that event, in the introduction, we think, to the fourth canto of Marmion. Every school-girl knows the lines:
"Scarce had lamented Forbes paid
commencement of the intimacy between Dr. In one place, Mr. Croker says, that at the Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, in 1765, the lady was twenty-five years old. In other places he says, that Mrs. Thrale's thirty-fifth year coincided with Johnson's seventieth. Johnson was born in 1709. If, therefore, Mrs. Thrale's ventieth, she could have been only twenty-one thirty-fifth year coincided with Johnson's seyears old in 1765. This is not all. Mr. Croker, in another place, assigns the year 1777 the date of the complimentary lines which Johnson made on Mrs. Thrale's thirty
Mr. Croker tells us, in a note, that Derrick, who was master of the ceremonies at Bath, died very poor, in 1760. We read on; and, a fifth birthday. If this date be correct, Mrs. few pages later, we find Dr. Johnson and Bos-Thrale must have been born in 1742, and could well talking of the same Derrick as still living have been only twenty-three when her acand reigning, as having retrieved his character, quaintance with Johnson commenced. Two as possessing so much power over his subjects of Mr. Croker's three statements must be false. at Bath, that his opposition might be fatal to We will not decide between them; we will Sheridan's lectures on oratory. And all this only say, that the reasons which he gives for in 1763. The fact is, that Derrick died in thinking that Mrs. Thrale was exactly thirtyfive years old when Johnson was seventy, appear to us utterly frivolous.
Again, Mr. Croker informs his readers that "Lord Mansfield survived Johnson full ten years." Lord Mansfield sarvived Dr. John son just eight years and a quarter.
Johnson found in the library of a French Paris, some works which he regarded with lady, whom he visited during his short visit to great disdain. "I looked," says he, "into the books in the lady's closet, and, in contempt, showed them to Mr. Thrale-Prince Titi; Biblothèque des Fées, and other books."tt "The
In one place, we are told, that Allan Ramsay the painter, was born in 1709, and died in 1784 ;† in another, that he died in 1784, in the statement be correct, he must have been born seventy-first year of his age. If the latter in or about 1713.
history of Prince Titi," observes Mr. Croker, was said to be the autobiography of Frederic Prince of Wales, but was probably written by Ralph, his secretary." A more absurd note never was penned. The history of Prince Titi, to which Mr. Croker refers, whether written by Prince Frederic or by Ralph, was certainly never published. If Mr. Croker had taken the trouble to read with attention the very passage in Park's Royal and Noble Authors, which he cites as his authority, he would have seen that the manuscript was given up to the government. Even if this memoir had been printed, it was not very likely to find its way into a French lady's bookcase. And would any man in his senses speak contemptuously of a French lady, for having in her possession an English work so curious and interesting as a Life of Prince Frederic, whether written by himself or by a confidential secretary, must have been? The history at which Johnson laughed was a very proper companion to the Bibliothèque des Fées-a fairy tale about good Prince Titi and naughty Prince Violent. Mr. Croker may find it in the Magasin des Enfans, the first French book which the little girls of England read to their governesses.
execution is one of the finest passages in Lord Clarendon's History. We can scarcely suppose that Mr. Croker has never read that passage; and yet we can scarcely suppose that any person who has ever perused so noble and pathetic a story can have utterly forgotten all its most striking circumstances.
"Lord Townshend," says Mr. Croker, "was not secretary of state till 1720.”* Can Mr. Croker possibly be ignorant that Lord Townshend was made secretary of state at the ac cession of George the First, in 1714, that he continued to be secretary of state till he was displaced by the intrigues of Sunderland and Stanhope at the close of 1716, and that he returned to the office of secretary of state, not in 1720, but in 1721? Mr. Croker, indeed, is generally unfortunate in his statements respecting the Townshend family. He tells us that Charles Townshend, the chancellor of the exchequer, was "nephew of the prime minister, and son of a peer who was secretary of state, and leader of the House of Lords." Charles Townshend was not nephew, but grand-nephew of the Duke of Newcastle-not son, but grandson of the Lord Townshend who was secretary of state and leader of the House of Lords.
Mr. Croker states, that Mr. Henry Bate, who afterwards assumed the name of Dudley, was proprietor of the Morning Herald, and fought a duel with George Robinson Stoney, in consequence of some attacks on Lady Strathmore, which appeared in that paper." Now Mr. Bate was connected, not with the Morning Herald, but with the Morning Post, and the dispute took place before the Morning Herald was in existence. The duel was fought in January, 1777. The Chronicle of the Annual Register for that year contains an account of the transaction, and distinctly states that Mr. Bate was editor of the Morning Post. The Morning Herald, as any person may see by looking at any number of it, was not established till some years after this affair. For this blunder there is, we must acknowledge, some excuse for it certainly seems almost incredible to a person living in our time, that any human being should ever have stooped to fight with a writer in the Morning Post.
"Nothing," says Mr. Croker, "can be more unfounded than the assertion that Byng fell a martyr to political party. By a strange coinci dence of circumstances, it happened that there was a total change of administration between his condemnation and his death; so that one party presided at his trial and another at his execution; there can be no stronger proof that he was not a political martyr." Now, what will our readers think of this writer when we assure them that this statement, so confidently made respecting events so notorious, is absolutely untrue? One and the same administration was in office when the court-martial on Byng commenced its sittings, through the whole trial, at the condemnation, and at the execu tion. In the month of November, 1756, the Duke of Newcastle and Lord Hardwicke re"James de Duglas," says Mr. Croker, "was signed; the Duke of Devonshire became first requested by King Robert Bruce, in his last lord of the treasury, and Mr. Pitt secretary of hours, to repair with his heart to Jerusalem, state. This administration lasted till the month and humbly to deposit it at the sepulchre of of April, 1757. Byng's court-martial began to our Lord, which he did in 1329." Now it is sit on the 28th of December, 1756. He was well known that he did no such thing, and for shot on the 14th of March, 1757. There is a very sufficient reason-because he was killed something at once diverting and provoking in by the way. Nor was it in 1329 that he set the cool and authoritative manner in which out. Robert Bruce died in 1329, and the ex- Mr. Croker makes these random assertions. pedition of Douglas took place in the follow- We do not suspect him of intentionally falsifying year," quand le printems vint et la saison," ing history. But of this high literary misde says Froissart, in June, 1330, says Lord meanor we do without hesitation accuse him Hailes, whom Mr. Croker cites as the author--that he has no adequate sense of the obligaity for his statement. tion which a writer, who professes to relate facts, owes to the public. We accuse him of a negligence and an ignorance analogous to that crassa negligentia and that crassa ignorantia on which the law animadverts in magistrates and surgeons even when manice and corrup
Mr. Cгoxer tells us that the great Marquis of Montrose was beheaded in Edinburgh in 1650. There is not a forward boy at any senoci in England who does not know that the marquis was hanged. The account of the + IV, 29.
⚫ III. 52. + III. 368.
"General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoga," says Mr. Croker, "in March, 1778." General Burgoyne surrendered on the 17th of October, 1777.