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sulky and distant one day, after having been friendly the last. Swift took him to task at once; and told him that he must not treat him like a boy. He had had enough of that with Temple, when he was young and poor, and only beginning to feel his strength. He tells us so. He had to make that all clear to my Lord-Treasurer,—whose ears must have tingled when he found himself set right on a point of breeding."-But enough to illustrate Mr. Hannay's skill in adaptation of style, and to show that although he has chosen a good model, and trodden closely in his steps- that although του αγαθου μιμητης γεγονε, yet a μιμητης to a provoking degree he certainly is. It would not be provoking, were he not so evidently entitled to take higher rank than attaches to any mimetic art.
The manner in which Mr. Hannay expresses and, so to say, illuminates his meaning, is often fresh and pleasantly fanciful. His images are quaint and telling, sometimes quite felicitous in the way of novelty and suggestiveness. Thus he makes it his especial business to show that the great Satirists have been good and lovable men-avoiding, he says, the too common mistake of supposing Satire to be like a certain poison known to the ancients, which best retained its properties when carried in an ass's hoof. He claims to deal with great men, who would never have known scorn if they had not known love; whose natures foamed into excitement at contact with the base, as the old Venetian glass cracked when the poison was poured into it. Of the Latin Satirists he affirms, that as long as any human society shall have impostors and rogues triumphant, the shades of these dead old Romans will be found stirring, like banshees, near them, and prognosticating doom. Such are by no means the stock similes of the lecture-room-indeed a little too recondite, perhaps, for lecture-room applause. So, again, we are told that Erasmus's light of intellect, a scientific and not spiritual light, was to him, within his church, a Davy's safety-lamp, which he carried safely through all sorts of foul atmosphere, doing his work without explosions, and deserving credit for what work he did. Donne's mind is aptly likened to some costly, dark-hued, solemn church-garment, embroidered with flowers, and with threads of brilliant wit woven into it: the surface is brilliant, but the whole awes you, and the effect is saintly. Boileau's image, calm and majestic, was set up by the French classical party, to receive the barbarians, like the old Roman senators sitting in their curule chairs. Of Swift, again, and his life of gloom, Mr. Hannay says, Hercules had the poisoned shirt on him all his life,—and repeats from “Singleton Fontenoy" the comparison of the Dean's celebrity to the Tower of Pisa, far from straight to the eye, but true for all that to the law of gravitation, and able to stand firm, and defy breeze and rain. An Irish agitator, ill at ease in his Dublin seclusion, the Dean is likened to the giant under Ætna, who, when he moved himself, set going a volcano of fire and mud. And once more, the same Very Reverend Satirist is said, on the strength of his ver
Thackeray, and will bear retrenchment with the happiest effect. His sentences tell well enough without this obtrusive and unpleasantly demonstrative superfluity at the tag-end. They need no such tall flunkey behind their chair, to proclaim their importance. Give this “ Jeames” notice, by all means, Mr. Hannay: you can do much better without him. At the least he might be taken down a peg or two.
satility or comprehensiveness in all the functions of satire, to include in himself, like the Trojan horse, many different fighting men. Churchill's is called a famous name, dimmed, but still hanging up, and looking like the V. R.'s, and other letters, the day after an illumination,—distinguishable to read, though the glory of the light has gone from it. And, to give a concluding illustration, and a choice one withal, of Mr. Hannay's imagery, our old English satires he describes as being of a very fossilised appearance, just now, affecting you as old spear-heads dug up from a moss do. “What old rusty nails are these, which once made the blood spurt from the crucified malefactor! .... We can approach these terrible libellers of old days now, as we look at the wasps and deadly insects in a museum, fingering them without the least fear of that sting which set the flesh quivering two hundred years ago. Here lies, for instance, poor John Cleveland, pinned to his card, with a little memorandum, “Royalist Satirist ; old specimen ; presented by the seventeenth century. A touch of fancy, however, and we see the purpled and dyed wings futter, and the active body moving again."*
In the earlier lectures Mr. Hannay makes it his business to choose his Satirists for their relation to history, and their influence on mankind showing how Roman society had its Horace and Juvenal; mediæval corruption its Erasmus, its Lindsay, and its Buchanan; the Ego et Rex Meus Cardinalate its Skelton; the absurdities of French taste their Boileau ; and some of the bad men of Charles II.'s time their Dryden. Horace is hit off with a few happy strokes, and we see him strolling along the Sacred Way, “a little pudgy dark man, with somewhat weak eyes, and a slovenly, sauntering, abstracted gait”—and we get the character of him as a good-natured elegant-minded man of the world, with no very high views of nature or life, but quite free from cant. Juvenal is duly accredited with a fund of “ poetic pathos, and moral reflections, worthy of the gravest and purest souls”-as a satirist unsurpassed by any in sheer wit, brave manliness, hot eloquence and energy-by no means so polite as Horace, but with a deeper laugh-relieving and redeeming his coarse sallies and his fierce jests by the sudden utterance of “ quite startling moral aphorisms; while at times there comes from him a kind of prophetic wail, that touches the heart inore than any laughter.” The base of Erasmus's character is defined to be “worldly good sense”-his soul dwelt “ in a mild, healthy, classic region of good sense and cheerfulness”-and we are treated to more than one of the familiar specimens of the "sharp rays of witty light he threw out aslant the clouds in those troublous and stormy times." . Then comes Buchanan with his more peremptory scorn and his deeper moral nature, and his compatriot
Sir David Lindsay of the Mount,
Lord Lion King-at-arms, " a warm-hearted, truth-loving gentleman, who took up Satire half as an amateur,” yet did yeoman's service with it in his day and generation. And then we have the great Monsieur Boileau, who is characterised as a satirist of society, and a brilliant wit, rather than a satirical reformer or a deep-hearted humorist—his epigrams gleaming among common-place
* See “Lectures,” pp. 5, 77, 116, 118, 152, 174, 185, 203, 205.
and conventionalism, with a Vauxhall sort of light-himself, on the whole, “a cutting, but not a bitter or bloody-satirist,” whose “blows, sharp, pungent, and annoying, have a good deal of the effect of a peashooter.” What would Messieurs of the Academy in Nick's own day, or what will they in our own, think of this pea-shooter? But n'importe; we must revenir à nos moutons : and the next mouton, like (in Speed's phrases) a lost mutton after a laced mutton, is Samuel Butler, whose only sheepish quality, however, was his shyness—who, Mr. Hannay “can quite see,” was “a shy, strange, and unmanageable sort of a man, who did not come out in society," and whom Mr. Hannay patronisingly calls “old Butler," and discusses in no very fresh or searching manner. To "old Butler," that “somewhat of an odd fellow," succeeds John Dryden, who went to work to satirise with the same bluff heartiness with which he did everything else," and whose castigating-rod “has the leaves and blossoms still sticking to it.” The measure with which the lecturer metes Glorious John, is borrowed from Bell, not from Macaulay—if borrowed it is at all, which Mr. Hannay, who rejoices in capital I's, would probably disallow.
Upon Swift he has bestowed more abundant pains. For Swift he takes up the cudgels against even Mr. Thackeray. That gentleman is talked at, page after page, for comparing the Dean to a highwayman. If it was honourable for Addison to get himself made Secretary of State, “I am really at a loss,” says Mr. Hannay, “ to know why Swift is to be likened to a highwayman.” “I deny that Swift had no motives but those ‘highwayman' ones of getting place.” “A man is not necessarily a “highwayman' because he wants his proper position.” Mr. Hannay is as sore about it as though he had been hailed with a tu quoque, "you're another!” He can't bear to hear of the Dean's foibles. He will write him up in the face of all comers, male and female. “ Swift," says he, “ was a great favourite with women ; I don't mean only with your Stellas and Vanessas, but with sensible cultivated: ladies,” like Lady Betty Germain, Lady Betty Brownlowe, Lady Kerry, and others ; and in illustration of this, all to the prejudice of “your Stellas and Vanessas,” Mr. Hannay quotes a passage from one of my Lady Betty Germain's later letters, and that passageworthy of all attention from those who side with or feel for “your Stellas and Vanessas”-is neither more nor less than this : “ Adieu, my honoured old friend.” What chance has Stella with Lady Betty after that? But, “ I am not going to deal with the “Stella and Vanessa question at any length,” says Mr. Hannay. “I say, we cannot judge of it fairly. Swift is more to be pitied than anything else; it seems to me.” Astfor Stella, — “ if a mysterious destiny.compelled him to make her suffer, did not he, too, suffer with her ?" — while as for Vanessa, "she seems to have flung herself at Swift's head in the teeth of prudence and judgment,” and “was (I fear) a vain dilettante kind of woman," who wanted to play the nouvelle Heloise to this Very Reverend Abélard redivivils, and who,“ poor woman!" “ flew like the moth to the lamp," and had only herself to blame, for it is not the lamp's fault.” There is plenty here to give us pause ; a thumping appeal to our bump of combativeness ; but expressive silence is all we can at present award it; and so en avant.
Pope is recognised as “our classical English satirist,” on the score of his elaborateness and finish, and his awful completeness ;”, though it is safely doubted whether he is to be ranked among the first of satirists for his moral position, and the impulse which made him write satire. He is shown to have had much in common with Horace—“ moral insight of the same kind,-similar mastery over a subtle gaiety of ridicule (by dint of which likeness he has imitated him so well) ; but he was bitterer by nature and temper, and makes wounds that do not heal. Horace was a fatter man (if I may be permitted the liberty to mention such a fact); was more happily circumstanced, under the kindly protection of a great emperor, and a great emperor's favourite ; lived in a lovely climate, was an easier, more playful, more essentially humorous man, and a more healthy man. Pope could be either ferocious or light; but his ferocity was so deliberate and so sly,—there is such a snaky coldness of selfcommand about him while he is inflicting hellish torture, that he appears more unamiable than the most violent professors of satiric indignation." A good word, and he needs it, is said for Churchill, than whom a betterhearted man, Mr. Hannay contends, never lived; "he was an affectionate, enthusiastic, loving soul, and English in his tastes and prejudices," and he had “all the qualities that go to make up a fine satirist,—warm feeling, penetrating sense, bright wit, and fancy,”— taking for his master, not Pope, but Dryden, whose“ flowing vigour and manly ease” he often achieved. Junius gets at least his full meed of admiration, though his theatrical affectation is said to make him cut a figure half-Roman and half-French, and look like the ghost of Brutus uttering quotations from a lampoon. Then, again, we come to Wolcot, “rather a buffoon than a satirist;" and Burns, who, in one instance at least, is said to have employed irony as exquisite as Swift's; and Gifford, who “flung his whole soul into Billingsgate” as heartily as erst into algebra in the shoemaker's shop ; and Byron, about whom Mr. Hannay delivers some opinions that will not go unquestioned—the paradoxical one, for instance, that Juan is the healthiest and most cheerful of Byron's productions, and, in spite of “certain levities,” a “high and valuable work.” The “certain levities,” Mr. Hannay makes over to the concrete nonentity he calls Stiggins, to preach about at leisure and at length, and adds, “ I think it disgraceful, the way in which this book is often treated. I do not consider it a dangerous book to anybody who is fit to read it.” Why should we demur to this ipse diri? To demur is to argue oneself a Stiggins ipso facto, and Stiggins will only be told that he'd better “shut up” at once.
But Stiggins would seem welcome to lift up his voice against Tom Moore, on the charge of breaches in good manners, and sacrifice of the decorum to the dulce. Mr. Hannay, who has such perfect confidence in Don Juan, and its innocuous attractions, says of Moore, “ In my opinion, his laurel is too big for him. Let us deny no man his merit. . . . . He is a brilliant man ; a melodious, ornamental, glittering genius ;-a genius like an Eastern dancing-girl, with bells at the ankles, and bells at the waist, ringing with lively music, and bright with holiday-colour in the sunshine. All very graceful and pretty, no doubt. But the fancy, rather than the heart, is touched by the spectacle ; and sometimes seriously-disposed persons had better keep in-doors when the performance is going to begin.” Master Tom, however, as the lecturer styles him, is allowed to have had his good points as a satirist—"good sharp satire” he could indite, with “much humour,” and “real comic gaiety." Theodore Hook is rather severely handled; “your Theodore Hook" is said to have “ sold himself for the enjoyment of gold plate and white Hermitage.” “He was inclined to swagger, I understand, among his equals. The plush had eaten into his very soul." "He satirised in a truly vulgar spirit.” Mr. Hannay, in his notice of Swift, quotes applaudingly some one's mot à propos of Jeffrey's essay on the Dean—that if it proved Jeffrey was alive, it proved still more clearly that Swift was dead; and he thinks it was just as well for Jeffrey that he was dead !”-adding, “ Don't let us crow too much on the strength of it!" Theodore Hook was no Swift, but possibly it may be none the worse for Mr. Hannay that even “your Theodore Hook” is dead and makes no sign.
Hood is honourably “ entreated,” and it is truly said of him, whom we, too, set infinitely more store by than by the Hook and Maginn school, that there was a real spirit of chivalry in him; that while high-minded and aspiring he ever remained a homely, brotherly, unaffected man; and that with all his sense of fun and ridicule, and his abundant playfulness, he never loses his exquisite sense for the beautiful. Living satirists, too, are briefly indicated and characterised; Fonblanque, as a satiric reasoner; Thackeray, as a satiric painter ; Dickens, as embodying his satire in a huge element of comic and grotesque fun, and human enjoyment of life ; Landor, kar' etoxnu “ the classic,” as darting beautiful lightning, when not more amiably disposed ; Disraeli, as a satirist bitter and dig. nified, “ who browsed in his youth on Byron and Junius, who affects Apollo when he sneers, and Pegasus when he kicks;" Aytoun, whose “jolly contempt has a good-fellowish air about it, and whose rod seems odorous of whisky-toddy;" and Douglas Jerrold, as endowed with “real satiric genius, --spontaneous, picturesque,—with the beauty and the deadliness of nightshade.”.
The lectures conclude with a hearty fling at the “simious satirist” and his tribe-a school of satirists devoid of natural reverence,* suspecting everything, sparing nothing. The whole finale deserves quotation; but it deserves more, and this desert better agrees with our limits,—to be read as an ungarbled sequel, in its original form.
* That such a school should take root and bear much fruit on English ground, forbid it Heaven! English literature of the satirical and humorous kind has been hitherto recognised as representative of a quite opposite tendency, by admiring and sympathising foreigners. Jean Paul, for example, says: “Salt is a very good condiment, but very bad food. Never do I feel more refreshed by serious passages than when they occur amidst comic ones ; as the green spots amid the rocks and glaciers of Switzerland soothe the eye amid the glare and glitter of snow and ice. Hence it is that the humour of the English, which is engrafted on the stem of lofty seriousness, has grown so luxuriantly, and overtopped that of all other nations. A satire on everything is a satire on nothing ; it is mere absurdity. ... Can there be a more mortally poisonous consumption and asphyxy of the mind than this decline and extinction of all reverence ?”—Mrs. Austin's Translation.
Nov.-VOL. CII. NO. CCCCVII.