Pagina-afbeeldingen
PDF
ePub

so acute.

[ocr errors]

was every creature over I! for they stood fast, of Isaiah to the household and guests of Gaius and kept their station. But I was gone and and then sallies out to attack Slaygood, wblost.” Scarcely any madhouse could produce was of the nature of flesh-eaters, in his den an instance of delusion so strong, or of misery These are inconsistencies; but they are incon

sistencies 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 Greate devils, resounding with blasphemy and lamen- heart of Nase by and Worcester, who prayed lation, 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 par. ing 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, Budyan 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 Mr. Southey, who has no love for the Cal- parish, Mr. Two-tongues," have been wanting. sinists, admits that, if Calvinism had never The town of Bedford probably contained more worn a blacker appearance than in Bunyan's than one politician, who, after contriving to works, it would never have become a term of raise an estate by seeking the Lord during the reproach. In fact, those works of Bunyan reign of the saints, contrived to keep what he with which we are acquainted, are by no had got by persecuting the saints during the means more Calvinistic than the homilies of reign of the strumpets; and more than one the Church of England. The moderation of priest who, during repeated changes in the his opinions on the subject of predestination, discipline and doctrines of the church, had gave offence to some zealous persons. We remained constant to nothing but his benehave scen an absurd allegory, the heroine of fice. which is named Hephzibah, written by some One of the most remarkable passages in the raving supralapsarian preacher, who was dis. Pilgrim's Progress, is that in which the prosatisfied with the mild theology of the Pilgrim's ceedings against Faithful are described. It is Progress. In this foolish book, if we recollect impossible to doubt that Bunyan intended 10 rightly, the Interpreter is called the Enlight- satirize the mode in which state trials were ener, and the House Beautiful is Castle conducted under Charles the Second. The Sirength. Mr. Southey tells us that the Ca- license given to the witnesses for the prosecu. tholics had also their Pilgrim's Progress with- tion, the shameless partiality and ferocious inout a Giant Pope, in which the Interpreter is solence of the judge, the precipitancy and the the Director, and the House Beautiful Grace's blind rancour of the jury, remind us of those Hall. It is surely a remarkable proof of the odious mummeries which, from the Restoration power of Bunyan's genius, that iwo religious to the Revolution, were merely forms prelimi. parties, both of which regarded his opinions as nary to hanging, drawing, and quartering. heterodox, should have had recourse to him for Lord Hategood performs the office of counsel assistance.

for the prisoners as well as Scroggs himself There are, we think, some characters and could have performed it. scenes in the Pilgrim's Progress, which can be “ JUDGE. Thou runagate, heretic, and traitor, ully comprehended and enjoyed only by per. hast thou heard what these honest gentlemen sons familiar with the history of the times have witnessed against thee? through which Bunyan lived. The character “Faithful. May I speak a few words in my of Mr. Grcatheart, the guide, is an example. own defence

? llis fighting is, of course, ailegorical; but the “ JUDGE. Sirrah, Sirrah! thou deservest to allegory is not strictly preserved. He delivers live no longer, but to be slain immediately a sermon on iniputed righteousness to his com- upon the place; yet, that all men may see our panions; anıl, soon after, he gives battle to gentleness to thee, let us hear what thou, vile Gan Grim, who had taken upon him to back runagate, hast to say.” the lions He expounds the fifty-third chapter No person who knows the state trials can b

ut a loss for parallel cases. Indeed, write what divine, this homely dialect, the dialect of plain Bunyan would, the baseness and cruelty of the workingmen, was perfectly sufficient. There lawyers of those times "sinned up to it still," is no book in our literature on which we could und even went beyond it. The imaginary trial so readily stake the fame of the old unpolluted of Faithful before a jury composed of personi- English language; no book which shows so bed vices, was just and merciful, when com- well how rich that language is in its own propared with the real trial of Lady Alice Lisle per wealth, and how little it has been improved before that tribunal where all the vices sat in by all that it has borrowed. the person of Jeffries.

Cowper said, forty or fifty years ago, that he The style of Bunyan is delightful to every dared not name John Bunyan in his verse, for reader, and invaluable as a study to every per- fear of moving a sneer. To our refined foreson who wishes to obtain a wide command fathers, we suppose, Lord Roscommun's Essay over the English language. The vocabulary on Translated Verse, and the Duke of Buck. is the vocabulary of the common people. inghamshire's Essay on Poetry, appeared to There is not an expression, if we excepi 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.

END OF VOL. I.

CROKER'S EDITION OF BOSWELL'S LIFE OF

JOHNSON.*

[EDINBURGH REVIEW, 1831.]

This work has greatly disappointed us. Beattie, died in 1816. A Sir William Forbes Whatever faults we may have been prepared undoubtedly died in that year; but not the Sir to find in it, we fully expected that it would be William Forbes in question, whose death took a valuable addition to English literature, that place in 1806. It is notorious, indeed, that the it would contain many curious facts and many biographer of Beattie lived just long enough to judicious remarks; that the style of the notes complete the history of his friend. Eight or would be neat, clear, and precise ; and that the nine years before the date which Mr. Croker typographical execution would be, as in new has assigned for Sir William's death. Sir Wal. editions of classical works it ought to be, al- ter Scott lamented that event, in the introducmost faultless. We are sorry to be obliged to tion, we think, to the fourth canto of Marmion. say, that the merits of Mr. Croker's perform- Every school-girl knows the lines : ance are on a par with those of a certain leg

"Scarce had lamented Forbes paid of mutton on which Dr. Johnson dined, while The tribute to his Minstrel's shade; travelling from London to Oxford, and which The tale of friendship scarce was told,

Ere the narrator's heart was cold he, with characteristic energy, pronounced to Far may we search before we find be, “as bad as bad could be; ill-fed, ill-killed, A henri so manly and so kind !" ill-kep, and ill-dressed.";. That part of the In one place, we are told, that Allan Ramsay volumes before us, for which the editor is re- the painter, was born in 1709, and died in sponsible, is ill-compiled, ill-arranged, ill-ex- 1784 ;t in another, that he died in 1784, in the pressed, and ill-printed. Nothing in the work had astonished us so statement be correct, he must have been born

seventy-first year of his age. If the latter much as the ignorance or carelessness of Mr. in or about 1713. Croker with respect to facts and dates. Many of his blunders are such as we should be sur commencement of the intimacy between DE

In one place, Mr. Croker says, that at the prised to hear any well-educated gentleman Johnson and Mrs. Thrale, in 1765, the lady commit, even in conversation. The notes ab- was twenty-five years old. In other places solutely swarm with misstatements, into which he says, that Mrs. Thrale's thirty-fifth year com the editor never would have fallen, if he had incided with Johnson's seventiethel Johnson taken the slightest pains to investigate the was born in 1709. If, therefore, Mrs. Thrale's truth of his assertions, or if he had even been well acquainted with the very book on which ventieth, she could have been only twenty-one

thirty-fifth year coincided with Johnson's son he undertook to comment. We will give a few years old in 1765. This is not all.

Mr. instances. Mr. Croker tells us, in a note, that Derrick, 1777 as the date of the complimentary lines

Croker, in another place, assigns the year who was master of the ceremonies at Bath, which Johnson made on Mrs. Thrale's thirtydied 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 wil 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 thirty1769.

five years old when Johnson was seventy, ap In one note we read, that Sir Herbert Croft,

pear to us utterly frivolous. the author of that pompous and foolish account

Again, Mr. Croker informs his readers that of Young, which appears among the Lives of Lord Mansfield survived Johnson full ten the Poets, died in 1805. Another note in the years."** Lord Mansfield sarvived Dr. John same volume states, that this same Sir Her

son just eight years and a quarter. bert Croft died at Paris, after residing abroad

Johnson found in the library of a French for fifteen years, on the 27th of April, 1816.9

lady, whom he visited during his short visit to Mr. Croker informs us, that Sir William Paris, some works which he regarded with Forbes of Pitsligo, the author of the life of great disdain. “I looked,” says he, “into the

books in the lady's closet, and, in conteinpt, • The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D.; including # showed them to Mr. Thrale-Prince Titi; Bi. Journal of a four to the Hebrides. By James Boswell, blothèque des Fées, and other books.”If “The Esq. 'New Edition, with numerous Water. By JorN WILSON CROKER, LL.D., F.R.8. 5 Tols. Svo. London. 1831. * V. 184. 1 1. 394. 1 I. 404.

II. 262. + IV. 105. V. 281. 1. 510. I IV. 321. T IV. 128.

I IV. 271, 322. III. 463. * II. 151. HIII III

Additions and

history of Prince Titi,” observes Mr. Croker, execution is one of the finest passages in Lord "was said to be the autobiography of Frederic Clarendon's History. We can scarcely supPrince of Wales, but was probably written by pose that Mr. Croker has never read that pas. Ralph, his secretary.” A more absurd note sage; and yet we can scarcely suppose that never was penned. The history of Prince any person who has ever perused so noble and Titi, to which Mr. Croker resers, whether writ- pathetic a story can have utterly forgotten all ten by Prince Frederic or by Ralph, was cer- its most striking circumstances. tainly never published. If Mr. Croker had “Lord Townshend,” says Mr. Croker, “was taken the trouble to read with attention the not secretary of state till 1720."* Can Mr. very passage in Park's Royal and Noble Au- Croker possibly be ignorant that Lord Townthors, which he cites as his authority, he shend was made secretary of state at the ac. would have seen that the manuscript was cession of George the First, in 1714, that he given up to the government. Even if this continued to be secretary of state till he was memoir had been printed, it was not very likely displaced by the intrigues of Sunderland and to find its way into a French lady's bookcase. Stanhope at the close of 1716, and that he reAnd would any man in his senses speak con- turned to the office of secretary of state, not in temptuously of a French lady, for having in 1720, but in 1721? Mr. Croker, indeed, is geher possession an English work so curious nerally unfortunate in his statements respecto and interesting as a Life of Prince Frederic, ing the Townshend family. He tells us tha: whether written by himself or by a confidential Charles Townshend, the chancellor of the ex secretary, must have been? The history at chequer, was “nephew of the prime minister, which Johnson laughed was a very proper and son of a peer who was secretary of state, companion to the Bibliothèque des Fées-a and leader of the House of Lords.”ť Charles fairy tale about good Prince Titi and naughty Townshend was not nephew, but grand-nePrince Violent. Mr. Croker may find it in the phew of the Duke of Newcastle-not son, Magasin des Enfans, the first French book but grandson of the Lord Townshend who was which the little girls of England read to their secretary of state and leader of the House of governesses.

Lords. Mr. Croker states, that Mr. Henry Bate, who “General Burgoyne surrendered at Saratoafterwards assumed the name of Dudley, was ga,” says Mr. Croker, “ in March, 1778.”+ Geproprietor of the Morning Herald, and fought neral Burgoyne surrendered on the 17th of a duel with George Robinson Stoney, in con- October, 1777. sequence of some attacks on Lady Strathmore, “Nothing," says Mr. Croker, “can be more which appeared in that paper. Now Mr. unfounded than the assertion that Byng fell a Bate was connected, not with the Morning He martyr to political party. By a strange coinci. rald, but with the Morning Post, and the dis. dence of circumstances, it happened that there pute took place before the Morning Herald was a total change of administration between was in existence. The duel was fought in his condemnation and his death; so that one January, 1777. The Chronicle of the Annual party presided at his trial and another at his Register for that year contains an account of execution; there can be no stronger proof that the transaction, and distinctly states that Mr. he was not a political martyr." Now, what Bate was editor of the Morning Post. The will our readers think of this writer when we Morning Herald, as any person may see by assure them that this statement, so confidently looking at any number of it, was not establish- made respecting events so notorious, is abso ed till some years after this affair. For this lutely untrue? One and the same administrablunder there is, we must acknowledge, some tion was in office when the court-martial on excuse : for it certainly seems almost incredi- Byng commenced its sittings, through the whole ble to a person living in our time, that any trial, at the condemnation, and at the execuhuman being should ever have stooped to tion. In the month of November, 1756, the fight with a writer in the Morning Post. 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

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 falsify. ing year,—" quand le printems vint el la saison," ing history. But of this high literary misdesays 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 Mr. Croker sells us inat the great Marquis facts, owes to the public. We accuse him of of Montrose was beheaded in Edinburgh in a negligence and an ignorance analogous to 1650. There is not a forward boy at any that crassa negligentia and that crassa ignorantia scacc. in England who does not know that the lon which the law animadverts in magistrates marquis was hanged. The account of the ; and surgeocs even wnen maiice and corrupe

out.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]
« VorigeDoorgaan »