Slike strani

residence during his visit to England ; and Evelyn gives a lamentable account of the dirt and devastation caused in the house and its beautiful garden by the barbarian monarch and his suite. Indeed, he obtained compensation from Government for the injury done to his property. His diary, as well as his other works, abounds in traits of personal character. He was a keen topographer, and his notes upon the places he visited, the houses he saw-and, of course, their gardens-give the diary the character of a pleasant guide book, written by an extremely cultivated and well-informed gentleman. He, his family, and his friends seem to have been, as it were, an oasis of piety, virtue, and refinement amid the wilderness His

character. of corruption and ignorance which was represented by the higher society of those days, and his writings will always retain the double interest derived from his own virtues and from the fidelity with which they delineate a curious social phase in our national history.

$ 20. The other great diarist of the age is that very original, amusing, and singular person, the artless SAMUEL PEPYS. His family was old but poor, and his father was for some time a tailor. He himself went to Magdalene College, SAMUEL Cambridge, and took his Master's degree in 1660.

(1633-1703). During his whole life he retained an almost ludicrous passion for fine clothes, which he is never weary of describing with more delight than is usual with even the most successful man-milliner. By the protection of his father's cousin, Sir Edward Montagu, he was placed in a subordinate office in the Admiralty, and by his punctuality, honesty, and knowledge of business, rose to the important post of secretary to that department. He remained in this office many years, and must be lis post considered as almost the only honest and able official

Admiralty. who had anything to do with the naval administration during the reigns of Charles II and James II. In Charles' time the marine service was reduced, by the corruption of the Court, to the lowest degree of inefficiency and degradation. James was, however, by profession a seaman-we can get some idea of his ability by "liberally discounting from the praise in Dryden's Annus 'Mirabilis. It has been the fashion of historians to speak of James II with a studied contempt and horror; his administration, nevertheless, included a sincere attempt to improve the condition of the fleet. Pepys' honesty and activity contributed to this object, and, after acquiring a sufficient fortune without any serious imputation on his integrity, the old secretary retired from the service into well-earned ease. During the whole of his long and active career he

Pepys' had amused himself by writing down, day after day, in a sort of cipher or shorthand, a diary of everything (published he saw, did, or thought. He left this manuscript, with 1825). the rest of his books, to a nephew, after whose death they were to pass, under certain restrictions, to Magdalene College, Cam.


" Diary

bridge. There they eventually arrived, and remain until this day. It was not, however, until the beginning of the nineteenth century that the diary was deciphered by Lord Braybrooke, the visitor of the college, and, since his edition, fresh work has been done in the same quarter, until we are now in possession of the whole work—the most curious piece of self-revelation which any man has ever left behind, the disclosure of a businesslike, generous, easy-going, frail, and, in his frank confessions of his weaknesses, sometimes ludicrous type of character. Pepys' graver faults, revealed in some hitherto suppressed portions of the diary, are now well known to the world ; they were the common vices of his day, and he had none of that celibate spirit which raised Evelyn above the faults of his time. He was a thorough gossip, inquisitive as an old woman, and had a touch of the antiquary and curiosity-hunter; and he was necessarily brought into contact with all classes of persons, from the King and his ministers down to the half-starved sailors whose pay he had to distribute. He wrote, we may suppose, entirely for himself, and, in so doing, set down every minute detail of his life with ludicrous naïveté. He describes at length his general rise to wealth and importance; he notes, in terms of rapturous enthusiasm, every suit of clothes ordered either by himself or his wife; he chronicles every quarrel and reconciliation arising out of Mrs. Pepys' frequent jealousy. Her passion was not unfounded, considering Mr. Pepys' suspicious fondness for the pleasant but profligate society of pretty actresses and singers. The diary is a complete picture of a gay and debauched society. . Its simple descriptions bring the whole age before us: the statesmen, courtiers, players, and ladies of pleasure live before our eyes; we see for ourselves the people whom Dryden satirised; we understand the spirit which pervaded the age's literature, the direct outcome of the extraordinary state of society then prevalent. All the minutiæ of dress, manners, and social life are vividly presented to us ; it is a chronicle of small beer, but it is just this trivial kind of thing that is necessary to our realisation of history and provides the

needed atmosphere. Pepys' own character—an inHis

imitable mixture of shrewdness, vanity, good sense character.

and simplicity-adds infinitely to the relish of his revelations; and his book possesses the interest, not only of the value and curiosity of its matter, but of the colouring given to that matter by the oddity of the writer.

$ 21. An important branch of writing in this age was the political pamphlet, and one of the earliest and most famous

pamphleteers was Sir ROGER L'ESTRANGE, an

active hack-writer on behalf of the Royalist party. (1616-1704) His diatribes against the opponents of the Court and the pamphleteers.

are now almost forgotten, but their peculiar force

of slang and vulgar liveliness was then regarded as smart writing. They are full of the familiar expressions then

Sir Roger


current in society, and, although their taste is not very good, they have a certain fire. He and his fellow-pamphleteers, TOM BROWN (1663-1704), for example, give examples of the always ephemeral nature of the success of that soi-disant humorous style which depends for its effect upon employing the current jargon of the town. In every age there are authors who trust to this for their popularity, and their temporary vogue is usually co-extensive with the oblivion to which they are certain to be condemned. L'Estrange has curiously exemplified his mode of writing in his prose paraphrase of Æsop's fables (1692), and his life of that mysterious and legendary ancient is a good specimen of the familiarity which at that time passed for wit.

But the political pamphlet reached a far higher level in the calm style of GEORGE SAVILE, MARQUESS OF HALIFAX, the Trimmer," who occupies so honourable a place in Macaulay's gallery of statesmen. He came of a Halifax the Yorkshire family, whose seat was at Thornhill, near

(1633-1695). . Dewsbury. He succeeded to his father's baronetcy in 1644, and in 1660 sat as member for Pontefract. Throughout Charles II's reign he was a prominent figure in the state. In 1668 he was created Baron Savile of Elland and Viscount Halifax ; in 1679, on joining Shaftesbury's cabinet, he became an earl, and in 1682, Marquess of Halifax and Lord Privy Seal. He was appointed to and dismissed from the presidency of the Council by James II (1685), and was one of the leading spirits in the Revolution. He returned to office as Lord Privy Seal after the accession of William III, but resigned in February, 1690, and retired to Rufford. He died in April, 1695. It will be seen, from this short sketch of his life, that he was essentially a man of action-a man, too, whose singular breadth of mind kept him from extremities, and led him to be, on his own confession (that is, if he was the real writer of The Character of a Trimmer), a man of no party, but a trimmer. Trimmer adores the goddess Truth,” he said ; and this veneration inspired all his pamphlets, which, as Macaulay said, “well deserve to be studied for their literary merits, and fully entitle him to a place among English classics.” Halifax's tracts had always something to do with the questions of the day: in his Historical Remarks upon the Edwards and Richard II, he applied past history to modern very much as Machiavelli did in his discourses on Livy. He was eminently a calm and impartial philosopher; something of a freethinker; and a bold patriot. His Character of Charles II is perhaps more to the point than those other bygone analogies; it is distinguished by his usual acuteness, and his concluding sentence is entirely typical of his fairness of mind. “Should nobody throw a stone at his faults but those who are free from them, there would be but a slender shower." His collected miscellanies remained in MS, till 1750, when they were published by his granddaughter, Lady Burlington. He had something of Machiavelli in him, something also which reminds us, in the discreet pomposity of his style, of his contemporary, Sir William Temple. `And in his Advice to a Daughter, which became for a time a most popular manual of behaviour, he reminds us, as Professor Ward has observed, of his famous grandson, the fourth Earl of Chesterfield.

** Our

$ 22. In Halifax's style we have a very clear example of the prose of the century. The poetry of the Restoration speaks for

itself ; it is comprehended in the single name of Characteris. tics of post

Dryden, which marks the noble transition from the Restoration style of which Cowley was the last lingering exponent prose. to the style of Pope-for Milton stands by himself

. It is impossible to overrate the importance of Dryden ; for in his prose, as in his poetry, we discern the change in style, the abandonment of the lyric spirit for something more sober and prosaic-in short, the establishment of a new criterion. We have seen the noblest examples of Elizabethan prose (using the term Elizabethan as general) in Jeremy Taylor and in Milton, the second of whom preserved the traditions of the classic age of English literature down to a very late period. But the troubles of the Civil War put an end to the audacity of these lyric flights : with the Commonwealth came an age of action, and the age of fine words and rapturous sentences passed away; the Restoration, with its materialism, its absence of ideals, and its preference for statecraft, swept away the last remnants of that era.

In Bunyan we have the characteristic writer of the Commonwealth, clear and simple, making his points with a strength which 'avoids any circumlocution ; in Dryden we have the typical product of the Restoration, a man of sound worldly judgment, a critic whose first attention is to what he says, and his second to how he says it. The cumbrous period, stocked with parenthesis and embellished with epithet, disappeared ; the short, pithy sentence took its place. The whole spirit of literature became matter-of-fact ; style, regarded for its own sake, became merely neatness, and the compact medium of thought. It remained so for a great many years to come--easy, graceful, devoid of superfluous ornament, and, in writers like Halifax, Temple, Chesterfield, and South, eminently self-complacent. In a word, just as the style of the sixteenth century continues well into the seventeenth, so the style of the seventeenth century overlaps that of the eighteenth. We shall speak immediately of the same transition in its relation to drama, while the divines, philosophes, and statesmen of William and Mary's reign will bear witness to the complete change effected by this most important epoch in the history of English politics and thought.


OTHER WRITERS. of Halifax, the Trimmer." (See

p. 335.) DR. WALTER CHARLETON (1619

JOHN OLDHAM (1653–1683) made 1707) was physician to Charles II,

some reputation as a satirist with and President of the Royal College his Satires on the Jesuits (1679-80); of Physicians. He was a man of and, after his death, when a volume science and a theologian, a philo- of his Remains was published (1684). sopher and an antiquarian. His

was honoured by an eulogy from works, chiefly, medical, are very Dryden and the title of the Marnumerous, and many of them are cellus of our tongue." He was of translated into English or Latin. He poor birth, and, after leaving St. was among the first who accounted Edmund Hall, Oxford, became an for the differences in men's minds usher in Archbishop Whitgift's school by the size and form of the brain.

at Croydon. Afterwards he became THOMAS CREECH (1659-1700) a tutor in two or three families, and published (1682) a translation of died at his patron, Lord Kingston's, Lucretius in heroic verse. Creech house of Holme Pierrepoint in Notwas a fellow of All Souls and a tinghamshire. scholar, and his version of a poet WILLIAM WALSH (1663– 1708), not very popular with translators member of Parliament for Worcesterkept the field for many years. It shire from 1698 to 1705, was a critic, acted also as an incentive to Dryden scholar, and patron of literary men. in writing his Virgil. Creech's He himself published some fugitive personal history was somewhat un.

pieces. Wycherley introduced Pope happy. Certain eccentricities grew

to him, and Pope writes of his critical upon him, and, after a brief interval skill : -as head-master of Sherborne school, be returned to Oxford, where he

“But why then publish ? Granville the committed suicide in 1700.


And knowing Walsh, would tell me I CHARLES MONTAGU, EARL OF could write." HALIFAX (1661-1715), was a great patron of letters during the reigns ANNE FINCH, COUNTESS OF WIN. of William III and Anne, and be- CHILSEA (1660-1720), although her friended Addison among others. He Nocturnal Reverie was previously himself wrote some poems, but most known, is, speaking loosely, a disoften his name appeared on the early covery of the present century. Her pages of authors' works, “ fed with Pindaric ode on The Spleen was soli dedication all day long." He published separately in 1709, having assisted Prior in The Town and appeared previously in 1701, and, in Country Mouse. He rose to great | 1713, she brought out a volume of distinction as a politician in the Miscellaneous Poems. Wordsworth reign of William III, when he filled said that, between Paradise Lost and the office of Chancellor of the Ex-Thomson's Seasons, there is not a chequer. His recall of the coinage “single new image of external na. (1695) in that capacity is one of the ture," except in Pope's Windsor Forest, great financial operations of history : and Lady Winchiisea's Nocturnal and he received the reward of his Reverie. She was the daughter of services in a peerage (1699). He Sir William Kingsmill of Sidmonton, took his title out of respect to the gear Southampton, and married memory of George Savile, Marquess | Heneage, fourth Earl of Winchilsea



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