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integrity, he is set fast, and nothing will
RAL VOTE OF MANKIND.
sincerity is true wisdom. Particularly as to the affairs of this world, integrity hath many advantages over all the fine and artificial ways of dissimulation and deceit; it is much the plainer and easier, much the safer and more secure way of dealing in the world; it VIRTUE AND VICE DECLARED BY THE GENEhas less of trouble and difficulty, of entanglement and perplexity, of danger and hazard in it; it is the shortest and nearest way to our end, carrying us thither in a straight line, and will hold out and last longest. The arts of deceit and cunning do continually grow weaker, and less effectual and serviceable to them that use them; whereas integrity gains strength by use; and the more and longer any man practiseth it the greater service it does him, by confirming his reputation, and encouraging those with whom he hath to do to repose the greatest trust and confidence in him, which is an unspeakable advantage in the business and affairs of life.
Truth is always consistent with itself, and needs nothing to help it out; it is always near at hand, and sits upon our lips, and is ready to drop out before we are aware; whereas a lie is troublesome, and sets a man's invention upon the rack, and one trick needs a great many more to make it good. It is like building upon a false foundation, which continually stands in need of props to shore it up, and proves at last more chargeable than to have raised a substantial building at first upon a true and solid foundation: for sincerity is firm and substantial, and there is nothing hollow or unsound in it, and because it is plain and open, fears no discovery; of which the crafty man is always in danger; and when he thinks he walks in the dark, all his pretences are so transparent that he that runs may read them. He is the last man that finds himself to be found out; and whilst he takes it for granted that he makes fools of others, he renders himself ridiculous.
Add to all this, that sincerity is the most compendious wisdom, and an excellent instrument for the speedy despatch of business: it creates confidence in those we have to deal with, saves the labour of many inquiries, and brings this to an issue in few words; it is like travelling in a plain beaten road, which commonly brings a man sooner to his journey's end than by-ways, in which men often lose themselves. In a word, whatever convenience may be thought to be in falsehood and dissimulation, it is soon over, but the inconvenience of it is perpetual, because it brings a man under an everlasting jealousy and suspicion, so that he is not believed when he speaks truth, nor trusted perhaps when he means honestly. When a man has once forfeited the reputation of his
God hath shown us what is good by the general vote and consent of mankind. Not that all mankind do agree concerning virtue and vice; but that as to the greater duties of piety, justice, mercy, and the like, the exceptions are but few in comparison, and not enough to infringe a general consent. And of this I shall offer to you this threefold evidence:
1. That these virtues are generally praised and held in esteem by mankind, and the contrary vices generally reproved and evil spoken of. Now, to praise anything, is to give testimony to the goodness of it; and to censure anything, is to declare that we believe it to be evil. And if we consult the history of all ages, we shall find that the things which are generally praised in the lives of men, and recommended to the imitation of posterity, are piety and devotion, gratitude and justice, humanity and charity ; and that the contrary to these are marked with ignominy and reproach: the former are commended even in enemies, and the latter are branded even by those who had a kindness for the persons that were guilty of them: so constant hath mankind always been in the commendation of virtue and the censure of vice. Nay, we find not only those who are virtuous themselves giving their testimony and applause to virtue, but even those who are vicious; not out of love to goodness, but from the conviction of their own minds, and from a secret reverence they bear to the common consent and opinion of mankind. And this is a great testimony, because it is the testimony of an enemy, extorted by the mere light and force of truth.
And, on the contrary, nothing is more ordinary than for vice to reprove sin, and to hear men condemn the like or the same things in others which they allow in themselves. And this is a clear evidence that vice is generally condemned by mankind; that many men condemn it in themselves; and those who are so kind as to spare themselves are very quick-sighted to spy a fault in anybody else, and will censure a bad action done by another with as much freedom and impartiality as the most virtuous man in the world.
And to this consent of mankind about virtue and vice the Scripture frequently appeals. As when it commands us to provide
things honest in the sight of all men; and by well-doing to put to silence the ignorance of foolish men; intimating that there are some things so confessedly good, and owned to be such by so general a vote of mankind, that the worst of men have not the face to open their mouths against them. And it is made the character of a virtuous action if it be lovely and commendable, and of good report: Philip. iv. 8, "Whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report, if there be any virtue, if there be any praise, make account of these things" intimating to us that mankind do generally concur in the praise and commendation of what is virtuous.
2. Men do generally glory and stand upon their innocency when they do virtuously, but are ashamed and out of countenance when they do the contrary. Now, glory and shame are nothing else but an appeal to the judgment of others concerning the good or evil of our actions. There are, indeed, some such monsters as are impudent in their impieties, but these are but few in comparison. Generally, mankind is modest: the greatest part of those who do evil are apt to blush at their own faults, and to confess them in their countenance, which is an acknowledgment that they are not only guilty to themselves that they have done amiss, but that they are apprehensive that others think so; for guilt is a passion respecting ourselves, but shame regards others. Now, it is a sign of shame that men love to conceal their faults from others, and commit them secretly in the dark and without witnesses, and are afraid even of a child or a fool; or if they be discovered in them, they are solicitous to excuse and extenuate them, and ready to lay the fault upon anybody else, or to transfer their guilt, or as much of it as they can, upon others. All which are certain tokens that men are not only naturally guilty to themselves when they commit a fault, but that they are sensible also what opinions others have of these things.
And, on the contrary, men are apt to stand upon their justification, and to glory when they have done well. The conscience of a man's own virtue and integrity lifts up his head, and gives him confidence before others, because he is satisfied they have a good opinion of his actions. What a good face does a man naturally set upon a good deed! And how does he sneak when he hath done wickedly, being sensible that he is condemned by others, as well as by himself! No man is afraid of being upbraided for having dealt honestly or kindly with others, nor does he account it any calumny or reproach to have it reported of him that he is a sober and chaste man. No man blusheth when he
meets a man with whom he hath kept his word and discharged his trust; but every man is apt to do so when he meets one with whom he has dealt dishonestly, or who knows some notorious crime by him.
3. Vice is generally forbidden .and punished by human laws; but against the contrary virtues there never was any law. Some vices are so manifestly evil in themselves, or so mischievous to human society, that the laws of most nations have taken care to discountenance them by severe penalties. Scarce any nation was ever so barbarous as not to maintain and vindicate the honour of their gods and religion by public laws. Murder and adultery, rebellion and sedition, perjury and breach of trust, fraud and oppression, are vices severely prohibited by the laws of most nations,- -a clear indication what opinion the generality of mankind and the wisdom of nations have always had of these things.
But now, against the contrary virtues there never was any law. No man was ever impeached for living soberly, righteously, and godly in this present world,- -a plain acknowledgment that mankind always thought them good, and never were sensible of the inconvenience of them: for had they been so, they would have provided against them by laws. This St. Paul takes notice of as a great commendation of the Christian virtues,-"The fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, long-suffering, gentleness, kindness, fidelity, meekness, temperance: against such there is no law." As if he had said, Turn over the law of Moses, search those of Athens and Sparta, and the twelve tables of the Romans, and those innumerable laws that have been added since, and you shall not in any of them find any of those virtues that I have mentioned condemned and forbidden,-a clear evidence that mankind never took any exception against them, but are generally agreed about the goodness of them. Sermons.
one of the most eminent of English poets and prose writers, was born 1631, and died 1700. His principal prose compositions are his Essay on Dramatick Poesy, and his excellent Prefaces and Dedications, and criticisms connected with them.
father of English criticism, as the writer who first "Dryden may be properly considered as the of composition. Of our former poets, the greatest taught us to determine upon principles the merit dramatist wrote without rules, conducted through life and nature by a genius that rarely misled, and
rarely deserted him. Of the rest, those who knew the laws of propriety had neglected to teach them." -DR. JOHNSON: Life of Dryden.
"As to his writings, I may venture to say in general terms, that no man hath written in our language so much, and so various matter, and in so various manners, so well. . . . His prose had all the clearness imaginable, together with all the nobleness of expression, all the graces and ornaments proper and peculiar to it, without deviating into the language or diction of poetry. I have heard him frequently own with pleasure that if he had any talent of English prose, it was owing to his having often read the writings of the great Archbishop Tillotson. His versification and his numbers he could learn of nobody: for he first possessed those talents in perfection in our tongue: and they who have succeeded in them since his time have been indebted to his example; and the more they have been able to imitate him, the better they have succeeded."-CONGREVE: Dedication of Dryden's Dramatic Works to the Duke of New
Shakspeare's wit, which was their precedent, great natural gifts, improved by study; Beaumont, especially, being so accurate a judge of plays, that Ben Jonson, while he lived, submitted all his writings to his censure and, 'tis thought, used his judgment in correcting, if not contriving, all his plots. What value he had for him appears by the verses he writ to him, and therefore I need speak no farther of it. The first play that brought Fletcher and him in esteem was their "Philaster;" for before that they had written two or three very unsuccessfully: as the like is reported of Ben Jonson before he writ "Every man in his Humour. Their plots were generally more regular than Shakspeare's, especially those which were made before Beaumont's death; and they understood and imitated the conversation of gentlemen much better; whose wild debaucheries, and quickness of wit in repartees, no poet before them could
ON SHAKSPEARE, BEAUMONT AND FLETCHER, paint as they have done. Humour, which
AND BEN JONSON.
Ben Jonson derived from particular persons, they made it not their business to describe: they represented all the passions very lively, but above all, love. I am apt to believe the English language in them arrived to its highest perfection: what words have since been taken in are rather superde-fluous than ornamental. Their plays are tainments of the stage; two of theirs being now the most pleasant and frequent enteracted through the year for one of Shakspeare's or Jonson's: the reason is, because there is a certain gaiety in their comedies, and pathos in their more serious plays, which suits generally with all men's humours. Shakspeare's language is likewise a little obsolete, and Ben Jonson's wit comes short of theirs.
To begin, then, with Shakspeare. He was the man who, of all modern, and perhaps ancient, poets had the largest and most comprehensive soul. All the images of nature were still present to him, and he drew them not laboriously, but luckily. When he scribes anything, you more than see it,—you feel it too. Those who accuse him to have wanted learning, give him the greater commendation. He was naturally learned; he needed not the spectacles of books to read nature; he looked inwards, and found her there. I cannot say he is everywhere alike: were he so, I should do him injury to compare him with the greatest of mankind. He is many times flat, insipid; his comic wit degenerating into clenches, his serious swelling into bombast. But he is always great when some great occasion is presented to him no man can ever say he had a fit subject for his wit, and did not then raise himself as high above the rest of poets,
Quantum lenta solent inter viburna cupressi. The consideration of this made Mr. Hales, of Eton, say, that there was no subject of which any poet ever writ but he would produce it much better done in Shakspeare: and however others are now generally preferred before him, yet the age wherein he lived, which had contemporaries with him Fletcher and Jonson, never equalled them to him in their esteem. And in the last king's court, when Ben's reputation was at highest, Sir John Suckling. and with him the greater part of the courtiers, set our Shakspeare far above him.
Beaumont and Fletcher, of whom I am next to speak, had, with the advantage of
As for Jonson, to whose character I am now arrived, if we look upon him while he was himself (for his last plays were but his dotages) I think him the most learned and judicious writer which any theatre ever had. He was a most severe judge of himself, as well as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it. In his works you find little to retrench or alter. Wit, and language, and humour also in some measure, we had before him; but something of art was wanting to the drama till he came. He managed his strength to more advantage than any who preceded him. You seldom find him making love in any of his scenes, or endeavouring to move the passions; his genius was too sullen and saturnine to do it gracefully, especially when he knew he came after those who had performed both to such a height. Humour was his proper sphere; and in that he delighted most to represent mechanic people. He was deeply conversant in the ancients.
both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them: there is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors of those times whom he has not translated in Sejanus " and "Catiline." But he has done his robberies so openly, that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch; and what would be theft in other poets, is only victory in him. With the spoils of these writers he so represented Rome to us, in its rites, ceremonies, and customs, that if one of their poets had written either of his tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him. If there was any fault in his language, it was that he weaved it too closely and laboriously, in his comedies especially: perhaps, too, he did a little too much Romanise our tongue, leaving the words which he translated almost as much Latin as he found them; wherein, though he learnedly followed their language, he did not enough comply with the idiom of ours. If I would compare him with Shakspeare I must acknowledge him the more correct poet, but Shakspeare the greater wit. Shakspeare was the Homer, or father, of our dramatic poets; Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing: I admire him, but I love Shakspeare. To conclude of him: as he has given us the most correct plays, so in the precepts which he has laid down in his "Discoveries," we have as many and profitable rules for perfecting the stage as any wherewith the French can furnish us. Essay on Dramatic Poesy.
ON SPENSER AND MILTON.
[In epic poetry] the English have only to boast of Spenser and Milton, who neither of them wanted either genius or learning to have been perfect poets, and yet both of them are liable to many censures. For there is no uniformity in the design of Spenser: he aims at the accomplishment of no one action, he raises up a hero for every one of his adventures, and endows each of them with some particular moral virtue, which renders them all equal without subordination or preference. Every one is most valiant in his own legend; only, we must do him that justice to observe, that magnanimity, which is the character of Prince Arthur, shines throughout the whole poem, and succours the rest when they are in distress. The original of every knight was then living in the court of Queen Elizabeth; and he attributed to each of them that virtue which he thought was more conspicuous in them,-an ngenious piece of flattery, though it turned not much to his account. Had he lived to finish his poem, in the six remaining
legends, it had certainly been more of a piece, but could not have been perfect, because the model was not true. But Prince Arthur, or his chief patron, Sir Philip Sidney, whom he intended to make happy by the marriage of his Gloriana, dying before him, deprived the poet both of means and spirit to accomplish his design. For the rest, his obsolete language, and the ill choice of his stanza, are faults but of the second magnitude; for, notwithstanding the first, he is still intelligible, at least after a little practice; and for the last, he is more to be admired that, labouring under such a difficulty, his verses are so numerous, so various, and so harmonious, that only Virgil, whom he professedly imitated, has surpassed him among the Romans, and only Mr. Waller among the English.
As for Mr. Milton, whom we all admire with so much justice, his subject is not that of a heroic poem, properly so called. His design is the losing of our happiness; his event is not prosperous, like that of all other epic works; his heavenly machines are many, and his human persons are but two. But I will not take Mr. Rymer's work out of his hands: he has promised the world a critique on that author, wherein, though he would not allow his poem for heroic, I hope he will grant us that his thoughts are elevated, his words sounding, and that no man has so happily copied the manner of Homer, or so copiously translated his Grecisms, and the Latin elegancies of Virgil. It is true, he runs into a flat of thought sometimes for a hundred lines together, but it is when he has got into a track of Scripture. His antiquated words were his choice, not his necessity; for therein he imitated Spenser, as Spenser did Chaucer. And though, perhaps, the love of their masters may have transported both too far, in the frequent use of them, yet, in my opinion, obsolete words may then be laudably revived when either they are more sounding or more significant than those in practice; and when their obscurity is taken away by joining other words to them which clear the sense, according to the rule of Horace for the admission of new words. But in both cases a moderation is to be observed in the use of them; for unnecessary coinage, as well as unnecessary revival, runs into affectation, -a fault to be avoided on either hand. Neither will I justify Milton for his blank verse, though I may excuse him by the example of Hannibal Caro and other Italians who have used it: for whatever causes he alleges for the abolishing of rhyme (which I have not now the leisure to examine), his own particular reason is plainly this, that rhyme was not his talent: he had neither the ease of doing
it, nor the graces of it; which is manifest in his "Juvenilia," or verses written in his youth, where his rhyme is always constrained and forced, and comes hardly from him, at an age when the soul is most pliant, and the passion of love makes almost every man a rhymer though not a poet. Essay on Dramatic Poesy.
Thus it appears necessary that a man should be a nice critic in his mother-tongue before he attempts to translate in a foreign language. Neither is it sufficient that he be able to judge of words and style, but he must be a master of them too: he must perfectly understand his author's tongue, and absolutely command his own: so that to be a thorough translator he must be a thorough poet. Neither is it enough to give his author's sense, in good English, in poetical expressions, and in musical numbers; for, though all these are exceeding difficult to perform, yet there remains a harder task; and it is a secret of which few translators have sufficiently thought. I have already hinted a word or two concerning it; that is, the maintaining the character of an author, which distinguishes him from all others, and makes him appear that individual poet whom you would interpret. For example, not only the thoughts but the style and versification of Virgil and Ovid are very different; yet I see, even in our best poets, who have translated some parts of them, that they have confounded their several talents; and by endeavouring only at the sweetness and harmony of numbers, have made them both so much alike, that if I did not know the originals, I should never be able to judge by the copies which was Virgil and which was Ovid. It was objected against a late noble painter, that he drew many graceful pictures, but few of them were like. And this happened to him because he always studied himself more than those who sat to him. In such translators I can easily distinguish the hand which performed the work, but I cannot distinguish their poet from another. Suppose two authors are equally sweet; yet there is as great distinction to be made in sweetness, as in that of sugar and that of honey. I can make the difference more plain by giving you (if it be worth knowing) my own method of proceeding in my translations out of four several poets in this volume,-Virgil, Theocritus, Lucretius, and Horace. In each of these, before I undertook them, I considered the genius and distinguishing character of my author. I looked on Virgil as a succinct and grave majestic writer; one
who weighed not only every thought, but every word and syllable; who was still aiming to crowd his sense into as narrow a compass as possibly he could: for which reason he is so very figurative that he requires (I may almost say) a grammar apart to construe him. His verse is everywhere sounding the very thing in your ears whose sense it bears; yet the numbers are perpetually varied, to increase the delight of the reader, so that the same sounds are never repeated twice together. On the contrary, Ovid and Claudian, though they write in styles differing from each other, yet have each of them but one sort of music in their verses.
All the versification and little variety of Claudian is included within the compass of four or five lines, and then he begins again in the same tenor, perpetually closing his sense at the end of a verse, and that verse commonly which they call golden, or two substantives and two adjectives, with a verb between them to keep the peace.
Ovid, with all his sweetness, has as little variety of numbers and sound as he [Claudian]; he is always, as it were, upon the hand-gallop, and his verse runs upon carpetground. He avoids, like the other, all synalæphas, or cutting off one vowel when it comes before another in the following word; so that, minding only smoothness, he wants both variety and majesty. But to return to Virgil: though he is smooth where smoothness is required, yet he is so far from affecting it, that he seems rather to disdain it; frequently makes use of synalæphas, and concludes his sense in the middle of his verse. He is everywhere above conceits of epigrammatic wit and gross hyperboles; he maintains majesty in the midst of plainness; he shines, but glares not; and is stately without ambition, which is the vice of Lucan. I drew my definition of poetical wit from my particular consideration of him; for propriety of thoughts and words are only to be found in him; and where they are proper, they will be delightful. Pleasure follows of necessity, as the effect does the cause, and therefore is not to be put into the definition. This exact propriety of Virgil I particularly regarded as a great part of his character; but must confess, to my shame, that I have not been able to translate any part of him so well as to make him appear wholly like himself; for where the original is close no version can reach it in the same compass. Hannibal Caro's, in the Italian, is the nearest, the most poetical, and the most sonorous of any translation of the Eneids; yet, though he takes advantage of blank verse, he commonly allows two lines for one of Virgil, and does not always hit his sense.