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full of types, foreshadows, and metaphors; had not Christ and his Apostles spoken in parables; and was it not found that eminent men of recent times, men "as high as trees" intellectually, had delivered their doctrines by way of allegory and imagined dialogue? If these last had abused the truth, the curse was on them, and not on their method! And so, with his strong sense, he came to the right conclusion. Nay, he knew that his book would last!
"Wouldest thou remember,
From New Year's day to the last of December?
The immediate popularity of the book in England, Scotland, and the Puritan colonies of America, showed that Bunyan had not miscalculated its power. By the year 1685, there were ten editions of it-coarsely printed, it is true, and on coarse paper; for the poor and the rude discovered its merits long before it was customary to speak of it as a feat of literary genius. Such of Bunyan's more critical contemporaries as did read it would not believe that the untaught Baptist preacher was its real author; and he had to write the second part of the Allegory, and his other Allegory of the Holy War, to convince them.
Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress and his Holy War
are the last English works of prose fiction in which, for many a day, we find high poetic ideality. It is, indeed, an alleged fact in our literary history that, from the date of the Restoration onwards till near the close of the eighteenth century, this quality, and certain other qualities associated with it, had forsaken the aggregate mind of England. In such men as Milton and Bunyan, sons as they were of the prior period of Puritan supremacy, the quality survived for a time, and that in an inordinate degree; but, when these men died out, the nation seemed to enter on a long period of very different intellectual manifestation-an age of wit and animal recklessness and keen physical research, an age of Whiggism and Toryism, in which one had done with "the sublimities," and winked when they were talked of. It was as if, to use a phrenological figure, the national brain of Britain had then suffered a sudden contraction in the frontal organs of ideality, wonder, and comparison, and in the related coronal region, and, retaining perhaps the same force and mass on the whole, had balanced the deficiency by a corresponding expansion of the occiput, and an increased prominence in such special anterior organs as wit, number, and weight, and perhaps also causality. Henceforward, at all events, high ideality-with an exception here and
there-takes leave of British literature. In the department of Poetry, it is the age of declamatory maxim and sentiment, of fine metrical wit and criticism, of a quick fancy in the conventional and artificial. Above all, it was the age of the Comic Drama. The name of Dryden, the first and greatest laureate of the period, and its living link with the period that had passed, suggests at once the prosaic strength that was being gained, and the subtle and soaring peculiarities that were being lost.
In the Narrative Prose Fiction of the time we should expect to find those characteristics (and what they are is well known) which Dryden and others imparted to its Dramatic Poetry. And, to the extent to which narrative prose fiction was practised, such was actually the case. Mrs. Aphra Behn, who died in 1689, after having written many plays, some poems, and a few short novels, is remembered as a kind of female Wycherley. "As love is the most "noble and divine passion of the soul," writes the warm-blooded little creature in the opening of one of her novels, called The Fair Jilt; or, the Amours of Prince Tarquin and Miranda, "so it is that to which "we may justly attribute all the real satisfactions of "life; and, without it, man is unfinished and unhappy." It is the text of all her tales, but with
the swiftest possible interpretation. The tales may have been read by Charles II., Dryden, Rochester, Etherege, and other wits of the day, to all of whom the fair Aphra was personally known; and they were certainly more read in polite circles than Bunyan's Pilgrim's Progress. But Aphra's place in the literature of her day was a slight one; and the fact that she alone is now usually named as representing the Novel of the Restoration shows how little of the real talent of the time took that particular direction. It was not till considerably later, when the passion for the Comic Drama had somewhat abated, and when, by the coming in of Dutch William, the moral atmosphere at the centre of the nation had been a little cleared, that the Prose Fiction shot up into vigour and importance. This it did in Swift and Defoe.
BRITISH NOVELISTS OF THE EIGHTEENTH CENTURY.
THE modern British Prose Fiction, as distinct from such earlier works as came under our notice in the last lecture, may be considered to have begun in Swift and Defoe.
It was in 1704, the second year of the reign of Queen Anne, that Swift, then in his thirty-eighth year, and known as a strange, black-browed Irish parson, who had come over to try to connect himself with the Whigs, and so open for himself a career out of Ireland, published his Battle of the Books and his Tale of a Tub. The publications were anonymous, but were traced to their author; and, from that time forward, through the whole of the reign of Queen Anne, the whole of that of George I., and part of that of George II., Swift-alternating between London and Ireland, and, latterly, no longer a Whig,