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almost worshipping good people, found no relief by en. deavouring to imitate their mode of life, while feeling that he was only playing a part. His vehement, impulsive nature was a source of trouble to him long after his more terrible agonies had disappeared. He often felt an almost uncontrollable desire to utter words which he ought not to utter, just as some people cannot stand on the brink of a lofty precipice without wishing to throw themselves over. Thus at his first communion after he had joined the Baptist society at Bedford, he with difficulty refrained from imprecating destruction on his brethren while the cup was passing from hand to hand; and sometimes when he was preaching he was “violently assaulted with words of blasphemy, and strongly tempted to speak the words with his mouth before the congregatiorr." Yet all these peculiarities did not prevent him from being a man of sound common-sense, with a clear and half-humorous insight into the ways and thoughts of the different types of humanity. The fact that he was often employed as a mediator in family quarrels—the most difficult and dangerous diplomatic office any man can undertake-is a conclusive proof of his tact and skill in the management of men; and many of the characters in the "Pilgrim's Progress” are evidently drawn from the life, with such accuracy and spirit as show Bunyan to have been a first-rate observer of human nature.
Mr. Froude is probably correct in thinking that the "Pilgrim's Progress” has affected the spiritual opinions of the English race in every part of the world more powerfully than any book or books except the Bible. The simplicity of its style, combined with the interest of its allegory, and its touches of genuine eloquence and pathos, admirably adapt it for all classes of readers-for the poor and uneducated as well as for the rich and cultivated, for the man of letters and for the humble peasant, for the child just setting out on life's journey, and for those who are nearing the gates of the Celestial City. Macaulay declares that during the century which followed his death, Bunyan's fame was entirely confined to religious families
of the middle and lower classes, and that very seldom during that time was his name mentioned with respect by any writer of great literary eminence. This seems rather an overcharged statement. Johnson, it is well known, praised Bunyan highly, saying that “his ‘Pilgrim's Progress' has great merit, both for invention, imagination, and the conduct of the story; and it has had the best evidence of its merit, the general and continued approbation of mankind. Few books, I believe, have had a more extensive sale.” If Johnson's opinion of the “Pilgrim's Progress” had been different from that generally prevalent in literary society, we may be pretty sure that Boswell, who records the above, would have drawn attention to the fact. Bunyan's chief works besides the "Pilgrim's Progress” are the autobiographical “ Grace Abounding" already mentioned and the “Holy War," an allegorical account of the fall and redemption of mankind under the figure of a war carried on by Satan ("Diabolus ") for the possession of the city of Mansoul.
Izaak Walton (1593–1683) is best known as the author of the “Complete Angler" (1653), a delightful book even to those who have no skill in the art with which it deals, full of sweet pictures of pastoral scenery, and having, as it were, the fresh air of the country blowing over every page.
His Lives of Donne, Wotton, Hooker, Herbert, Sanderson, written at various times between 1640 and 1678, are among our first good biographies, appreciative, affectionate, and truth-telling. In a fine sonnet Wordsworth has celebrated their excellence:
“There are no colours in the sairest sky
So fair as these. The feather whence the pen
Satellites burning in a lucid ring
Around meek Walton's heavenly memory." Walton was a retired London linendraper, who, having amassed a competent fortune in business, spent his latter days in the pursuits that pleased him best, reading and writing occasionally, enjoying the society of good men, and wandering about the country in the pursuit of his favourite art.
A map of much more unique genius than Walton was Sir Thomas Browne, who has written passages of such fine, organlike rhythm as it would be difficult to parallel save in the pages of De Quincey. The son of a rich merchant; he was born in London in 1605, educated at Winchester, and afterwards at Oxford, where he studied medicine. He then travelled for some time on the Continent, taking the degree of doctor of physic at Leyden in 1633. On his return to England he practised for a short time at Halifax, after which he settled at Norwich, where he remained till his death in 1682. He was knighted, “with singular marks of consideration," by Charles II. in 1671. Browne's first work, "Religio Medici” (the Religion of a Physician) was published in 1643. This little work, which was at once successful, being “ very eagerly read in England, France, Italy, Belgium, and Germany," is divided into two parts, the first containing an account of his religious opinions and feelings, and the second of his human feelings. Grave and musical in style, the book besides possesses that peculiar attractiveness which is always found in the self-por, traiture of a gifted and original mind. We may quote one passage as showing the width of Browne's learning, and the odd mixture of vanity and humility which characterised him :“I thank God,” he says, “amongst these millions of vices I do inherit and hold from Adam, I have escaped one, and that a mortal enemy to charity, the first and father sin, not only of man, but of the devil-pride ; à vice whose name is comprehended in a monosyllable, but in its nature not circumscribed by a world. I have escaped it in a condition that can hardly avoid it. Those petty acquisitions and reputed perfections that advance and elevate the conceits of other men add no feathers
unto mine. I have seen a grammarian tower and plume himself over a single line in Horace, and show more pride in the construction of one ode than the author in the composure of the whole book. For my own part, besides the jargon and patois of several provinces, I understand no less than six languages; yet I protest I have ro higher conceit of myself than had our fathers before the confusion of Babel, when there was but one language in the world, and none to boast himself either linguist or critic. I have not only seen several countries, beheld the nature of their climes, the chorography of their provinces, topography of their cities, but understood their several laws, customs, and policies; yet cannot all this persuade the dulness of my spirit into such an opinion of myself as I behold in nimble and conceited heads, that never looked a degree beyond their nests.” In a similar half-deprecating, half-conceited way he goes on to describe his attainments in astronomy and botany. Three years after the “Religio Medici” appeared the “Pseudodoxia Epidemica,” commonly known as “Browne's Vulgar Errors," devoted to the resutation of many beliefs current in the seventeenth century, such as the legends about the phoenix, that a man hath one rib less than a woman, that crystal is nothing else but ice strongly congealed, that a wolf first seeing a man begets a dumbness in him. Browne's finest effort is his“Hydriotaphia" (1658) (Urn Burial), a discourse founded upon the discovery of certain sepulchral urns found in Norfolk, The concluding chapter, in which he speaks of the shortness of life and of posthumous fame, is one of the noblest examples in English literature of solemn, impassioned eloquence. “It is,” wrote Carlyle in his Diary for Dec. 3, 1826, "absolutely beautiful: a still, elegiac mood, so soft, so deep, so solemn and tender, like the song of some departed saint flitting faint under the everlasting canopy of night; an echo of deepest meaning from the great and famous nations of the dead. Browne must have been a good man.” Browne's greatest fault as a writer is his excessive fondness for words derived from the Latin.
His highly Latinised style no doubt adds to the diginity and sonorous swell of his sentences, but it detracts from their general intelligibility. He was also an extensive coiner of new words, a fault common with the writers of his time.
Only one historian of any eminence appeared during the period with which we are dealing. This was Edward Hyde, Earl of Clarendon, a prominent actor in the events which he recorded. He was born in 1608 at Dinton, in Wiltshire, the son of a country gentleman. Destined for the Church, he turned aside to the study of the law, and in 1640 began his public career as member of Parliament for Wootton Basset. By his caution and prudence he soon rose to high favour; in 1643 he was knighted and made Chancellor of the Exchequer. In 1646 he went with the Prince of Wales to Jersey, where he began his “History of the Rebellion.” He aiterwards accom panied the Prince and the Queen Mother to France, returning to England at the Restoration, which he had no inconsiderable share in bringing about. He was made Earl of Clarendon and Lord Chancellor in 1660; but his prosperity did not continue long. In 1667 he was impeached of high treason by the Commons and ordered to quit the kingdom. He never returned to England, dying at Rouen in 1674. He completed his “History of the Rebellion” during his second exile, writing besides his “Life and Continuation of the History," published from his manuscripts in 1759; the History having appeared previously in 1707. No active partisan can be a fair chronicler of a movement in which he was himself engaged. It is therefore not surprising that though many facts are to be found in Clarendon's account of the Great Civil War which add to our knowledge of that struggle and the men who figured in it, it is often exceedingly incorrect and prejudiced. Its main excellence consists in its noble gallery of portraits, drawn with great skill and with much discernment of character. The style of the history, looked at from what may be called the mechanical point of view, is exceedingly bad, prolix and tautological, full of parentheses and endless involutions.
That English style was, however, advancing in the right direction is proved by the writings of one of Clarendon's