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and Italian. The prevalence of Greek and Roman learning was the chief cause of the introduction of so many words from those languages. Vain of their new scholarship, the learned writers delighted in parading Greek and Latin words, and even whole sentences; so that some specimens of the composition of that time seem to be a mixture of various tongues. Bacon, Burton, and Browne, were among those who most frequently adopted long passages from Latin authors; and of Ben Jonson it is remarked by Dryden, that he did a little too much to Romanise our tongue, leaving the words which he translated almost as much Latin as he found them.' It would appear that the rage, as may be called, for originality, which marked this period, was one of the causes of this change in our language. Many think,' says Dr Heylin in 1658, 'that they can never speak elegantly, nor write significantly, except they do it in a language of their own devising; as if they were ashamed of their mother tongue, and thought it not sufficiently curious to express their fancies. By means whereof, more French and Latin words have gained ground upon us since the middle of Queen Elizabeth's reign, than were admitted by our ancestors (whether we look upon them as the British or Saxon race), not only since the Norman, but the Roman conquest.' And Sir Thomas Browne about the same time obthat if elegancy still proceedeth, and English pens maintain that stream we have of late observed to flow from many, we shall, within few years, be fain to learn Latin to understand English, and a work will prove of equal facility in either.' great an extent was Latin thus naturalised among English authors, that Milton at length, in his prose works, and also partly in his poetry, introduced the idiom or peculiar construction of that language; which, however, was not destined to take a permanent hold of English literature; for we find immediately after, that the writings of Clarendon, Dryden, and Barrow, were not affected by it.
In looking back upon the style of the writers of whose works we have given an account in the present section, it will be perceived that no standard and regular form of composition had as yet been recognised. Each author,' says Dr Drake, arrogated to himself the right of innovation, and their respective works may be considered as experiments how far their peculiar and often very adverse styles were calculated to improve their native tongue. That they have completely failed to fix a standard for its structure, cannot be a subject of regret to any man who has impartially weighed the merits and defects of their diction. A want of neatness, precision, and simplicity, is usually observable in their periods, which are either eminently enervated and loose, or deserveth greatest praise: so he, not that hath most years, but many virtues, nor he that hath grayest hairs, but greatest goodness, liveth longest. The chief beauty of life consisteth not in the numbering of many days, but in the using of virtuous doings. Amongst plants, those be best esteemed that in shortest time bring forth much fruit.
The following sentence affords a sample of Lyly's most affected
manner in the Euphues':
When parents have more care how to leave their children wealthy than wise, and are more desirous to have them maintain the name than the nature of a gentleman; when they put gold into the hands of youth, where they should put a od under their girdle; when, instead of awe, they make then. past grace, and leave them rich executors of goods, and poor executors of godliness; then it is no marvel that the son, being his father, will become retchless in his own will. The Euphues' consists of two publications-one entitled Euphues, the Anatomy of Wit,' 1580; and the other, Euphues and his England,' 1581.
pedantic, implicated, and obscure. Nothing can be more incompact and nerveless than the style of Sidney; nothing more harsh and quaint, from an affectation of foreign and technical terms, than the diction of Browne. If we allow to Hooker and Milton occasional majesty and strength, and sometimes a peculiar felicity of expression, it must yet be admitted, that though using pure English words, the elaboration and inversion of their periods are such as to create, in the mere English reader, no small difficulty in the comprehension of their meaning; a fault, surely, of the most serious nature, and ever productive of aversion and fatigue. To Raleigh, Bacon, and Burton, we are indebted for a style which, though never rivalling the sublime energy and force occasionally discoverable in the prose of Milton, makes a nearer approach to the just idiom of our tongue than any other which their age afforded. It is to the Restoration, however, that we must look for that period when our language, with few exceptions, assumed a facility and clearness, a fluency and grace, hitherto strangers to its structure.' *
ORIGIN OF NEWSPAPERS.
Before concluding the present section, it may be proper to notice the rise of a very important branch of modern literature. We allude to NEWSPAPERS, which, at least in a printed form, had their origin in England. Among the ancient Romans, reports (called Acta Diurna) of what was done in the senate were frequently published. This practice seems to have existed before the time of Julius Cæsar, who, when consul, gave orders that it should be attended to. The publication was, however, prohibited by AugusActa Diurna,' containing more general intelligence of passing events, appear to have been common both during the republic and under the emperors; of one of these, the following specimen is given by Petronius:—
On the 26th of July, 30 boys and 40 girls were born at Trimalchi's estate at Cuma.
At the same time a slave was put to death for uttering disrespectful words against his lord.
The same day a fire broke out in Pompey's gardens, which began in the night, in the stew I's apartment. In modern times, nothing similar appears to have been known before the middle of the sixteenth century. The Venetian government were, in the year 1563, during a war with the Turks, in the habit of communicating to the public, by means of written sheets, the military and commercial information received. These sheets were read in a particular place to those desirous to learn the news, who paid for this privilege a coin called gazetta—a name which, by degrees, was transferred to the newspaper itself in Italy and France, and passed over into England. The Venetian government eventually gave these announcements in a regular manner once amonth; but they were too jealous to allow them to be printed. Only a few copies were transmitted to various places, and read to those who paid to hear. Thirty volumes of these manuscript newspapers exist in the Magliabechian library at Florence.
About the same time, offices were established in France, at the suggestion of the father of the celebrated Montaigne, for making the wants of individuals known to each other. The advertisements received at these offices were sometimes pasted on walls in public places, in order to attract more attention, and were thence called affiches. This led in time to a systematic and periodical publication of advertisements in sheets; and these sheets were
* Essays Illustrative of the Tatler, &c. vol. i. p. 38.
It was during the civil war that newspapers first acquired that political importance which they have After inquiring in various countries,' says Mr ever since retained. Whole flights of 'Diurnals' and George Chalmers, for the origin of newspapers, I'Mercuries,' in small quarto, then began to be dissehad the satisfaction to find what I sought for in minated by the different parties into which the state England. It may gratify our national pride to be was divided. Nearly a score are said to have been told, that mankind are indebted to the wisdom of started in 1643, when the war was at its height. Elizabeth, and the prudence of Burleigh, for the Peter Heylin, in the preface to his 'Cosmography,' first newspaper. The epoch of the Spanish Armada mentions that the affairs of each town or war were is also the epoch of a genuine newspaper. In the better presented in the weekly newsbooks.' AccordBritish Museum there are several newspapers, which ingly, we find some papers entitled News from Hull, had been printed while the Spanish fleet was in the Truths from York, Warranted Tidings from Ireland, English channel, during the year 1588. It was a and Special Passages from other places. As the conwise policy to prevent, during the moment of general test proceeded, the impatience of the public for early anxiety, the danger of false reports, by publishing intelligence led to the shortening of the intervals of real information. And the earliest newspaper is publication, and papers began to be distributed twice entitled The English Mercurie, which, by authority, or thrice in every week. Among these were The was "imprinted at London, by Christopher Barker, French Intelligencer, The Dutch Spy, The Irish Merher highness's printer, 1588." Burleigh's newspapers cury, The Scots Dove, The Parliament Kite, and The were all Extraordinary Gazettes, which were pub- Secret Owl. There were likewise weekly papers of lished from time to time, as that profound statesman a humorous character, such as Mercurius Acheronwished either to inform or terrify the people. The ticus, or News from Hell; Mercurius Democritus, Mercuries were probably first printed in April 1588, bringing wonderful news from the world in the moon; when the Armada approached the shores of England. The Laughing Mercury, with perfect news from the After the Spanish ships had been dispersed by a antipodes; and Mercurius Mastix, faithfully lashing wonderful exertion of prudence and spirit, these ex-all Scouts, Mercuries, Posts, Spies, and other inteltraordinary gazettes very seldom appeared. The ligencers. On one side was The Weekly Discoverer, Mercurie, No. 54, which is dated on Monday, Novem- and on the other The Weekly Discoverer Stripped ber the 24th, 1588, informed the public that the Naked. So important an auxiliary was the press' solemn thanksgiving for the successes which had considered, that each of the rival armies carried a been obtained against the Spanish Armada was this printer along with it. day strictly observed. This number contains also an article of news from Madrid, which speaks of putting the queen to death, and of the instruments of torture that were on board the Spanish fleet. We may suppose that such paragraphs were designed by the policy of Burleigh, who understood all the artifices of printing, to excite the terrors of the English people, to point their resentment against Spain, and to inflame their love for Elizabeth.' It is almost a pity to mar the effect of this passage by adding, that doubts are entertained of the genuineness of The English Mercurie.' Of the three numbers preserved, two are printed in modern type, and no originals are known; while the third is in manuscript of the eighteenth century, altered and interpolated with changes in old language such as only an author would make.'*
The first newspaper ever printed in Scotland was issued under the auspices of a party of Cromwell's troops at Leith, who caused their attendant printer to furnish impressions of a London Diurnal for their information and amusement. It bore the title of Mercurius Politicus, and the first number of the Scotch reprint appeared on the 26th of October, 1653. In November of the following year, the establishment was transferred to Edinburgh, where this reprinting system was continued till the 11th of April, 1660. About nine months afterwards was established the Mercurius Caledonius, of which the ten numbers published contain some curious traits of the extravagant feeling of joy occasioned by the Restoration, along with much that must be set down as only the product of a very poor wit trying to say clever and amusing things. It was succeeded by The Kingdom's Intelligencer, the duration of which is said to have been at least seven years. After this, the Scotch had only reprints of the English newspapers till 1699, when The Edinburgh Gazette was
termed affiches, in consequence of their contents having been originally fixed up as placards.
In the reign of James I., packets of news were occasionally published in the shape of small quarto pamphlets. These were entitled Newes from Italy, Hungary, &c., as they happened to refer to the transactions of those respective countries, and gene-established. rally purported to be translations from the Low Dutch. In the year 1622, when the thirty years' war, and the exploits of Gustavus Adolphus, excited curiosity, these occasional pamphlets were converted into a regular weekly publication, entitled The Certain Newes of this Present Week, edited by Nathaniel Butter, and which may be deemed the first journal of the kind in England. Other weekly papers speedily followed; and the avidity with which such publications were sought after by the people, may be inferred from the complaint of Burton, in his • Anatomy of Melancholy,' that if any read now-adays, it is a play-book, or a pamphlet of newes.' Lord Clarendon mentions, in illustration of the disregard of Scottish affairs in England during the early part of Charles I.'s reign, that when the whole nation was solicitous to know what passed weekly in Germany and Poland, and all other parts of Europe, no man ever inquired what was doing in Scotland, nor had that kingdom a place or mention in one page of any gazette.'
*Penny Cyclopædia, xvi. 193.
*For example- March 1, 1661. A report fron London of a new gallows, the supporters to be of stones, and beautified with statues of the three Grand Traitors, Cromwell, Bradshaw, As our old laws are renewed, so likewise are our
THE COMMONWEALTH AND REIGNS OF CHARLES II. AND JAMES II. [1649 TO 1689.]
In the department of divinity, Jeremy Taylor, Barrow, and Tillotson, laid the sure foundations of ProHE forty years testantism, and the best defences of revealed religion. comprehended In speculative philosophy, we have the illustrious in this period name of Locke; in history and polite literature, produced some Clarendon, Burnet, and Temple. In this period, too, great names; Bunyan composed his inimitable religious allegory, but, considering and gave the first conspicuous example of native mighty force of mind and powers of imagination rising sucevents which cessful over all the obstructions caused by a low then agitated station in life, and a miserably defective education. the country, and The world has never been, for any length of time, must have in- without some great men to guide and illuminate the fluenced the onward course of society; and, happily, some of them national feel- were found at this period to serve as beacons to ings-such as their contemporaries and to all future ages. the abolition of the ancient monarchy of England, and the establishment of
the commonwealth-there was less change in the taste and literature of the nation than might have been anticipated. Authors were still a select class, and literature, the delight of the learned and ingenious, had not become food for the multitude. The chivalrous and romantic spirit which prevailed in the reign of Elizabeth, had even, before her death, begun to yield to more sober and practical views of human life and society: a spirit of inquiry was fast spreading among the people. The long period of peace under James, and the progress of commerce, gave scope to domestic improvement, and fostered the reasoning faculties and mechanical powers, rather than the imagination. The reign of Charles I., a prince of taste and accomplishments, partially revived the style of the Elizabethan era, but its lustre extended little beyond the court and the nobility. During the civil war and the protectorate, poetry and the drama were buried under the strife and anxiety of contending factions. Cromwell, with a just and generous spirit, boasted that he would make the name of an Englishman as great as ever that of a Roman had been. He realised his wish in the naval victories of Blake, and the unquestioned supremacy of England abroad; but neither the time nor inclination of the Protector permitted him to be a patron of literature. Charles II. was better fitted for such a task, by natural powers, birth, and education; but he had imbibed a false and perverted taste, which, added to his indolent and sensual disposition, was as injurious to art and literature as to the public morals. Poetry declined from the date of the Restoration, and was degraded from a high and noble art to a mere courtly amusement, or pander to immorality. The whole atmosphere of genius was not, however, tainted by this public degeneracy. Science was assiduously cultivated, and to this period belong some of the London in the year 1618, and was the posthumous proudest triumphs of English poetry, learning, and son of a respectable grocer. His mother had influence philosophy. Milton produced his long-cherished enough to procure admission for him as a king's epic, the greatest poem which our language can scholar at Westminster; and in his eight enth year boast; Butler his inimitable burlesque of Hudibras; he was elected of Trinity college, Cambridge. Cowley and Dryden his matchless satire and versification.lisped in numbers;' he published a volume of poems
ABRAHAM COWLEY was perhaps the most popular English poet of his times. Waller stood next in public estimation. Dryden had as yet done nothing to stamp his name, and Milton's minor poems had not earned for him a national reputation: the same year that witnessed the death of Cowley ushered the Paradise Lost' into the world. Cowley was born in
in his thirteenth year. A copy of Spenser used to lie in his mother's parlour, with which he was infinitely delighted, and which helped to make him a poet. The intensity of his youthful ambition may be seen from the two first lines in his miscellanies
What shall I do to be for ever known,
Cowley, being a royalist, was ejected from Cambridge, and afterwards studied at Oxford. He went with the queen-mother to France, where he remained twelve years. He was sent on various embassies, and deciphered the correspondence of Charles and his queen, which, for some years, took up all his days, and two or three nights every week. At last the Restoration came with all its hopes and fears. England looked for happy days, and loyalty for its reward, but in both cases the cup of joy was dashed with disappointment. Cowley expected to be made master of the Savoy, or to receive some other appointment, but his claims were overlooked. In his youth he had written an ode to Brutus, which was remembered to his disadvantage; and a dramatic production, the Cutter of Coleman Street, which Cowley brought out shortly after the Restoration, and in which the jollity and debauchery of the cavaliers are painted in strong colours, was misrepresented or misconstrued at court. It is certain that Cowley felt his disappointment keenly, and he resolved to retire into the country. He had only just passed his fortieth year, but the greater part of his time had been spent in incessant labour, amidst dangers and suspense. He always professed,' says Dr Sprat, his biographer, that he went out of the world as it was man's, into the same world as it was nature's and as it was God's. The whole compass of the creation, and all the wonderful effects of the divine wisdom, were the constant prospect of his senses and his thoughts. And, indeed, he entered with great advantage on the studies of nature, even as the first great men of antiquity did, who were generally both poets and philosophers.' Cowley had obtained, through Lord St Albans and the Duke of Buckingham, the lease of some lands belonging to the queen, worth about £300 per annum-a decent provision for his retirement. The poet finally settled at Chertsey, on the banks of the Thames, where his house still remains. Here he cultivated his fields, his garden, and his plants; he wrote of solitude and obscurity, of the perils of greatness, and the happiness of liberty. He renewed his acquaintance with the beloved poets of antiquity, whom he rivalled occasionally in ease and elegance, and in commemorating the charms of a country life; and he composed his fine prose discourses, so full of gentle thoughts and well-digested knowledge, heightened by a delightful bon-hommie and communicativeness worthy of Horace or Montaigne. The style of these discourses is pure, natural, and lively. Sprat mentions that Cowley excelled in letter-writing, and that he and Mr M. Clifford had a large collection of his letters, but they had decided that nothing of that kind should be published. This is much to be regretted. The private letters of a distinguished author are generally read with as much interest as his works, and Cowper and others owe much of their fame to such confidential disclosures of their habits, opinions, and daily life. Cowley was not happy in his retirement. Solitude, that had so long wooed him to her arms, was a phantom that vanished in his embrace. He had attained the long-wished object of his studious youth and busy manhood; the woods and fields at length enclosed the melancholy Cowley' in their shades. But happiness was still distant. He had quitted the monster London ;' he had gone out from Sodom, but had not found the little Zoar of his
dreams. The place of his retreat was ill selected, and his health was affected by the change of situation. The people of the country, he found, were not
House of Cowley at Chertsey.
a whit better or more innocent than those of the town. He could get no money from his tenants, and his meadows were eaten up every night by cattle put in by his neighbours. Dr Johnson, who would have preferred Fleet Street to all the charms of Arcadia and the golden age, has published, with a sort of malicious satisfaction, a letter of Cowley's, dated from Chertsey, which the poet makes a querulous and rueful complaint over the downfall of his rural prospects and enjoyment. His retirement extended over a period of only seven years. One day, in the heat of summer, he had stayed too long amongst his labourers in the meadows, and was seized with a cold, which, being neglected, proved fatal in a fortnight. The death of this amiable and accomplished man of genius took place on the 28th of July, 1667. His remains were taken by water to Westminster, and interred with great pomp in the abbey. The king himself,' says Sprat, was pleased to bestow on him the best epitaph, when, upon the news of his death, his majesty declared that Mr Cowley had not left a better man behind him.'
Cowley's poetical works are divided into four parts- Miscellanies,' the Mistress or Love Verses,' Pindaric Odes,' and the 'Davideis, a heroical poem of the Troubles of David.' The character of his genius is well expressed by Pope
Who now reads Cowley? If he pleases yet,
Cowper has also drawn a sketch of Cowley in his Task,' in which he laments that his splendid wit' should have been entangled in the cobwebs of the schools.' The manners of the court and the age inspired Cowley with a portion of gallantry, but he seems to have had no deep or permanent passion. He expresses his love in a style almost as fantastic as the euphuism of old Lyly or Sir Percie Shafton.
'Poets,' he says, 'are scarce thought freemen of their Above the subtle foldings of the sky, company, without paying some duties, and obliging Above the well-set orbs' soft harmony; themselves to be true to love;' and it is evident that Above those petty lamps that gild the night, he himself composed his 'Mistress' as a sort of task-There is a place o'erflown with hallowed light; work. There is so much of this wit-writing in Cow-Where Heaven, as if it left itself behind, ley's poetry, that the reader is generally glad to Is stretched out far, nor its own bounds can find: escape from it into his prose, where he has good Here peaceful flames swell up the sacred place, sense and right feeling, instead of cold though glitter- Nor can the glory contain itself in th' endless space. ing conceits, forced analogies, and counterfeited pas- For there no twilight of the sun's dull ray sion. His anacreontic pieces are the happiest of his Glimmers upon the pure and native day. poems; in them he is easy, lively, and full of spirit. No pale-faced moon does in stolen beams appear, They are redolent of joy and youth, and of images Or with dim tapers scatter darkness there. of natural and poetic beauty, that touch the feelings On no smooth sphere the restless seasons slide, as well as the fancy. His 'Pindaric Odes,' though No circling motion doth swift time divide; deformed by metaphysical conceits, though they do Nothing is there to come, and nothing past, not roll the full flood of Pindar's unnavigable song, But an eternal Now does always last. though we admit that even the art of Gray was higher, yet contain some noble lines and illustrations. The best pieces of his 'Miscellanies,' next to the 'Anacreontics,' are his lines on the death of his college companion, Harvey, and his elegy on the religious poet, Crashaw, which are tender and imaginative. The 'Davideis' is tedious and unfinished, but we have extracted a specimen to show how well Cowley could sometimes write in the heroic couplet. It is evident that Milton had read this neglected poem.
On the Death of Mr Crashaw.
Poet and Saint! To thee alone are given
The two most sacred names of earth and heaven;
How well, blest swan, did Fate contrive thy death,
So far, at least, great saint, to pray to thee.
Oppos'd by our old enemy, adverse chance,
Heaven and Hell.
[From the Davideis."]
Sleep on! Rest, quiet as thy conscience, take,
*Mr Crashaw died of a fever at Loretto, being newly chosen nanon of that church.
Beneath the silent chambers of the earth,
A dreadful silence fill'd the hollow place,
In imitation of Horace's Ode, Lib. i. Od. 5.
To whom now, Pyrrha, art thou kind?
Thy hidden sweets discover,
And, with large bounty, open set
Ah, simple youth! how oft will he
So airy and so vain;
Of so cameleon-like a hue,
That still their colour changes with it too!
How oft, alas! will he admire
Who ne'er, alas, had been before at sea!