« ПредишнаНапред »
An Antiquary Is one that has his being in this age, but his life and conversation is in the days of old. He despises the present age as an innovation, and slights the future; but has a great value for that which is past and gone, like the madman that fell in love with Cleopatra.
All his curiosities take place of one another according to their seniority, and he values them not by their abilities, but their standing. He has a great veneration for words that are stricken in years, and are grown so aged that they have outlived their employments—These he uses with a respect agreeable to their antiquity, and the good services they have done. He is a great time-server, but it is of time out of mind, to which he conforms exactly, but is wholly retired from the present. His days were spent and gone long before he came into the world, and since his only business is to collect what he can out of the ruins of them. He has so strong a natural affection to any thing that is old, that he may truly say to dust and worms, you are my father, and to rottenness, thou art my mother. He has no providence nor fore-sight; for all his contemplations look backward upon the days of old, and his brains are turned with them, as if he walked backwards. He values things wrongfully upon their antiquity, forgetting that the most modern are really the most ancient of all things in the world, like those that reckon their pounds before their shillings and pence of which they are made up
He esteems no customs but such as have outlived themselves, and are long since out of use: as the catholics allow of no saints, but such as are dead, and the fanatics, in opposition, of none but the living.
Butler was a man who insisted on thinking and judging for himself. He was not one who would allow his mind to be “cabin'd, cribb’d, confin'd, bound in” by names and precedents. The gravest authorities are fearlessly weighed by him " in the balance, and found wanting." Though a party writer, he never compromises his independence or his intellect. The political and religious fanaticism of the puritans roused his unmingled hatred and contempt, and if he pursues them with incessant and unjustifiable bitterness, much allowance should be made for a man of a warm temperament and a satiric turn of mind, who saw religion used as a watchword for sedition and violence-an ignorant and intolerant zeal trampling upon every thing which was holy and venerable—and civil and religious liberty monopolized by its pretended champions. At this distance of time, we can perceive faults enow on both sides to justify a conscientious man in having been the enemy of either. To Butler's honour be it recorded, that while exposing the inconsistencies and absurdities of one party he never glosses over the faults of the other. We meet in his writings with none of the slavish doctrines which, after the restoration, were so industriously inculcated by hirelings of all ranks, from the bench, and from the pulpit-in the
senate, and in Grub Street. He never prostitutes his talents to enforce the fashionable tenets of passive obedience and nonresistance—"the right divine of kings to govern wrong” —which cost the first Charles his head and his family the throne.
That such a writer as Butler should have been neglected by a profligate and arbitrary court ought not to excite a moment's surprise. His intellect was too sturdy and independent for their purposes : he was not a fit companion for the L'Estranges and the Birkenheads—" he stood amongst them, but not of them.” They were labourers worthy of their hire, and went through their dirty work without any compunctious visitings. They received their reward, and Butler trusted for his to his conscience and to posterity.
Of Mr. Thyer's annotations we have only to add, that, excepting a few strange oversights,* they are generally pertinent and sensible, and have always the merit of being brief.
Since this article was written, the following passage has appeared in the Edinburgh Review, in a critique on Mr. Hogg's Jacobite Relics—“ That we may have enough of so good a thing, he subjoins the prose character of a whig drawn by the celebrated Butler,' and which sets out with stating him to be the spawn of a regicide, hammered out of a rank Anabaptist hypocrite,' and forthwith becomes too indecent to be farther transcribed. We will here just mention, for the edification of Mr. Hogg, that the celebrated Butler,' who, among many other vituperations, compares a whig to the nettle, because the more gently you handle him, the more he is apt to hurt you,' is well known to those who know any thing of literary history, to have lived in the family, supported by the bounty of Sir Samuel Luke, one of Cromwell's captains, at the very time he planned his Hudibras, of which he was pleased to make his kind and hospitable patron the hero-Now we defy the history of whiggism to match this anecdote—or to produce so choice a specimen of the human nettle."
Unfortunately for the infallibility of the Reviewer, it happens, that the passage which calls forth_this tirade is not Butler's—it is not included in his Genuine Remains, nor even in the spurious collection which bears his name; but in the Secret History of the Calves-head Club, under the title of The Character of a Calves-head Club-man. It would require better authority than the assertion of the publisher of that miserable work, to make us believe the author of Hudibras guilty of such impotent
As for instance, doubting the existence of such a writer as Benlowes, (the well-known mock Mæcenas of his time, and shrewdly conjecturing that Denham was the person aimed at.
scurrility. The charge against Butler of ingratitude is more serious, but, we trust, equally unfounded. Butler, it is true, lived some time in the family of Sir Samuel Luke, who was a justice of the peace, as his clerk. Of his treatment, while in his service, we know nothing: to take it for granted, that it was “kind” and “hospitable,” in order to enhance the perfidy of Butler, is wanton and gratuitous malice, and it is equally uncandid and unjust to describe him as “supported by the bounty” of his employer. After all, it is extremely problematical, whether Sir Samuel was the hero of Butler's poem. The circumstance of the poet's having lived some time in the service of a distinguished puritan, was sufficient to make public report exalt the latter to that“ bad eminence;" to say nothing of Sir Henry Rosewell and the other candidates for that distinction. Dr. Nash is decidedly of opinion, that he was not the hero, and gives it as his belief, that Butler began his Hudibras while in the service of the Countess of Kent, previous to his living with Sir Samuel. But the strongest proof against the charge is in the work itself: there is so little of individuality about the knight-his folly is of such a motley description his notions so heterogeneous—and his whole character so outré—that if Butler intended it for a likeness of any one man, we must say, he was a most wretched dauber: the portraits of Lilly, of Lilburne, of Shaftesbury, disprove such a supposition. It is a circumstance worthy of remark, that in his Genuine Remains, he never makes the slightest allusion to his reputed hero.
Art. V. Lingua; or, The combate of the Tongue and the five
Sences for Superioritie. A pleasant Comedie. London, Printed by Augustine Mathewes, for Simon Waterson. 1632. 4to. [Other editions ; 4to. 1607; 4to. 1617; 4to. 1622; 8vo. 1657.]
There are many reasons why we should select this excellent drama for the subject of our notice. It will be sufficient to mention two, its singular merit and its singular nature. The characters may be termed allegorical, though not strictly so; and yet there is as much of life and individuality infused into them as are to be found in the best copies of reality. Though they are abstract, yet the scenes pass off with as much spirit and humour as in the best wrought comedy, filled with actions drawn from nature, and persons whose originals are to be met with every day. And, in addition to this, the unknown author of Lingua possessed an invention and a store of rich expression which cannot but cause us to lament not only that he is unknown, but that he has not left us more of the productions of his manifestly
fertile brain. Before we proceed to describe the plot of this comedy, and make a selection from its scenes, we will give our readers some idea of the nature of the dramatis personæ. The principal mover of the action is Lingua, or the Tongue, who is apparelled in a white satten gowne, a dressing of white roses, a little skeane tied in a purple scarfe, a paire of white buskins drawne with white ribbands, silke garters, gloves, &c.
The five Senses are the next chief personages : Auditus, or the sense of Hearing ; Tactus, that of Touch ; Visus, or that of Sight; Olfactus, of Smell; and Gustus, the Taste-all attired in suitable dresses. Communis Sensus, or Common Sense, “a grave man in a black velvet cassocke like a counsellor,” figures as a very important personage.
Added to these is Memoria, or Memory, “an old decrepit man, in a blacke velvet cassocke, a taffeta gowne, furred with white grogaram, a white beard, velvet slippers, a watch, staffe, &c.;” together with his page Anamnestes, or Remembrancer. We have also Phantastes, or Fancy, a most fantastical creature to behold, with his page Heuresis, or Invention ; with a crowd of other equally substantial individuals, as Appetitus, Somnus, Crapula, &c.
The scene is Microcosmus, in a grove, and the Queen of Microcosmus is Psyche, or Empress Soul.
The moving spring of the action is no other than the ambition of Lingua, who considers that she has as much right to be esteemed a Sense as any of the Five, who treat her claims with contempt. With the assistance of her page Mendacio, or Liar, she devises means to set the five Senses at loggerheads, and, in the contention, she thinks she shall stand a chance of being heard, and may then take the opportunity of setting her pretensions in a formidable light. The five Senses quarrel about a robe and crown, which Mendacio feigns Mercury had sent “ for the best,” and straightway proceed to determine their respective claims by arms in the field. Common Sense, however, Chief Justice of Microcosmus, interferes, and prevails upon them to submit to his decision. He sits in judgment, contrives to sooth all parties; but Lingua, to whom he assigns the rank of a sense among women alone, is discontented with his award, and contrives, at the dinner of reconciliation given by Gustus or Taste, to make all the Senses drunk; who straightway begin to enact most ridiculous fancies, and are only quieted by Somnus, who lays them all asleep-Lingua, among the rest. Lingua, however, talks in her sleep, and unconsciously discloses her whole contrivance and designs. The five Senses awake in a most amicable humour, are reconciled to each other, and Common Sense pronounces sentence of imprisonment upon Lingua, who is committed to the charge of Gustus, to be kept “under
the custodie of two strong doores; and every day, till she come to eighty yeeres of age, to be well garded by thirty tall watchmen, without whose license she shall by no means wag abroad ; nevertheless to be used lady-like, according to her estate.”
The following contains part of the objurgation between Lingua and Auditus. Lingua thus replies to the tauntings of Auditus, who treats her claims, to be considered a Sense, with contempt.
Ling. If then your confidence esteeme my cause,
Aud. Should they but know thy rash presumption,
Ling. An idle prating dame: know, fond Auditus,
Aud. Lingua, confesse the truth, th’art wont to lye.
Ling. I say so too, therefore I doe not lye,