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project to give the nation a copper currency, instead of the tallies with which the smaller exchanges were often conducted. The master-pieces of literature upon which Swift's fame must ever rest, go with the same directness to the popular comprebension. The humour, so profound, is aiso so obvious. The irony, so subtle, is also so unmistakeable. Every one of common education wlio reads the “ Tale of a Tub) can understand it without a key. The whole scheme of the book is to reduce the gravest questions which have agitated the world to something like burlesque. But it is not burlesque. Underlying the mockery there are stern realities which set men thinking. His wit, it is said, lost Swist a bishopric; but he had his consolations. In his latter years, he looked some time upon his first great work, and then, shutting the book, exclaimed, “ Good God! what a genius I had when I wrote that!” A genius indeed; but how fatal a possession! What miseries of disappointed ambition, and then what horrors of crushing misanthropy, it brought with it!
The circumstantiality with which Swift always invests his ludicrous inventions, is preserved, without the least slip, throughout the “Tale of a Tub.” The history of the three brothers, Peter, Martin, and Jack-the representatives of Popery, the Anglican Church, and Calvinism-is introduced with a grave anachronism, which mystifies the reader, and takes him from the days of Leo X., Luther, and Calvin, into the town life of the days when Jonathan Swist awed and delighted the club at Button's. We give the pas. sage, with slight omissions, not only as an illustration of the author's peculiar talent, but as an addition to the pictures of social life which the more gentle humorists have sketched.
" Being now arrived at the proper age for producing themselves, they came up to town, and fall in love with the ladies, but especially three, who about that time were in chief reputation; the duchess d'Argent, midame de Grands Titres, and the countess d'Or gueil. Oa their first appearance our three adventurers met with a very bad reception ; and 500:1 with great sagacity guessing ont the reason, they quick'y began to improve in the good qualities of the town. They wrote, and rallied, and rhymed, and cung, and said, and said nothing: they drank, and fought, and slept, and swore, and took snuff : they went to new plays on the first night, haunted the chocolate-louses, beat the watch, and lay on bulks; they biked hackney-coachmen and ran in debt with shopkeepers ; they kiled bainifs, kicked fiddlers down stairs, eat at Locket's, loitered at Wil's; they talked of the drawing-rocm, and never came there ; dined with lords they never saw ; whispered a duchess, and spoke never a word; exposed the scraw's cf their laundress for billets-doux cf quality ; came over just from court, and were never seen in it; attended the levee sus d.o; got a list of peers by heart in one company, and with great familiarity retailed them in another, Above all, they constantly attended those committees of senators who are silent in the house and loud in the coffee-house; where they nightly adjourn to chew the cud of poje tics, and are encompassed with a ring cf disciples, who lie in wait to catch up their droppings. The three brothers had acquired forty other qualifications of the like stamp, tog tedious to recount, and by consequence were justly reckoned the most accomplished per sons in the town."
The power which Swift possessed of sustaining, whether in narrative or in argument, the most complete personation of the character he assumes, is one of his remarkable qualities. We all know that Mr. Samuel Gulliver, after his wonderful adventures, “growing weary of the concourse of curious people coming to him at his house at Redriff, made a small purchase of land with a convenient house, near Newark ;” and that he there composed his " Travels into several remote nations of the world,” which were published in 1727. Arbuthnot wrote to Swift after this publication
-“ Lord Scarborough, who is no inventor of stories, told us that he fell in company with a master of a ship, who told him that he was very well acquainted with Gulliver, but that the printer had mistaken; that he lived in Wapping, and not in Rotherhithe.” The “Drapier," who stirred the Irish to madness, is throughout his Letters “a poor, ignorant shopkeeper,” one who has “a pretty good shop of Irish stuffs and silks,” and instead of taking Mr. Wood's bad copper, intends to truck with his neighbours, butchers and bakers, goods for goods. Gulliver is never betrayed into any forgetfulness of his condition of life, and always has some minute circumstance at hand, to bring his marvellous relations within the range of probability. Arbuthnot also wrote to Swist, “ I lent the book to an old gentleman, who went immediately to his map to search for Lilliput." It is in this way that children read Gulliver's adventures with undoubting trust-happy if the melancholy exhibition of Swift's hate to his species be not comprehended by them. The time comes when the man understands the satire, and admires or loathes the satirist. But what vitality in some of the touches; what art, without the slightest exhibition of the artist ! Take one example from the court of Lilliput:
“There is likewise another diversion, which is only shown before the emperor and empress and first minister, upon particular occasions. The emperor lays on the tabie three fine silken threads of six inches long; one is blue, the other red, and the other green. These threads are proposed as prizes for those persons whom the emperor has a mind to distinguish by a peculiar mark of his favour. The ceremony is performed in his majesty's great chamber of state, where the candidates are to undergo a trial of dexterity, very different from the former, and such as I have not observed the least resemblance of in any other country of the new or old world. The emperor holds a stick in his hands, both ends parallel to the horizon, while the cindidates, advancing one by one, sometimes leap over the stick, sometimes creep under it, backward and forward, several times, according as the stick is advanced or depressed. Sometimes the emperor ho!ds one end of tie sticki, and his first minister the other; sometimes the minister has it entirely to himse s. Whoever performs his part with most agi ity, and holds out the longest in leaping and creeping, ia rewuded with the b'ue-coloured siik; the red is given to the next, and the green to the third, which they all wear girt twice round about the middle; and you see few great persons about this court who are not adorned with one of these girdles."
It is no derogation from the merit of Swift, that he might have
learnt the secret of personation from one who had gone before him. In 1719 a book was published, which thus commences : “I was born in the year 1632, in the city of York, of a good family, though not of that county, my father being a foreigner of Bremen, who settled first at Hull. He got a good estate by merchandize, and leaving off his trade, lived afterwards at York; from whence he bad married my mother, whose relatives were named Robin 07, a very good family in that county, and from whom I was called Robinson Kreutznaer; but, by the usual corruption of words in England, we are now called, nay we call ourselves, and write our name, Crusoe.” World-famous name! The author of that took had, in as high a degree as Swift, the power which Mr. Hallam ascribes to Bunyan--the power of representation. “He saw and makes us see, what lie describes."
In his private conversation, Pope indirectly confes;ed to the gross injustice he had committed in “ The Dunciad," in speaking contemptuously of one whose fame will endure as long as his own : “ The first part of Robinson Crusoe is very good. Defoe wrote a vast many things; and none bad, though none excellent, except this. There is something good in all he has written.” * Of the “ vast many things," all of which contain“ something good,” there are works of fiction which are as striking as Robinson Crusoe, although in their reality,-in their naked delineations of actual life, but always with a view to make vice hideous--they can scarcely be recommended for general perusal. Defoe's ruling principle in his broad pictures of the manners of the highest and the lowest ranks, is thus stated by him, in the Preface to his “ Life of Colonel Jack : ” “ The various turns of his fortune, in different scenes of life, make a delightful field for the reader to wander in; a garden where he may gather wholesome and medicinal fruits, none noxious or poisonous ; where he will see virtue and the ways of wisdom everywhere applauded, honoured, encouraged, and rewarded ; vice and extravagance attended with sorrow and every kind of infeli. city; and at last, sin and shame going together, the offender meeting with reproach and contempt, and the crimes with detestation and punishment." This was the principle upon which Hogarth also worked. But as Hogarth’s prints cannot all be hung up in a modern drawing-room, so Defoe's novels of familiar life are not for universal reading-however journalism may now expatiate o'er scenes where fiction dare not tread.
• Spence's “ Anecdotes," p. 196
STATE OF THE FINE ARTS.
View of the State of the Arts from the Revolution of 1688 to the Accession of the House
of Brunsw.ck.- Architecture.-Wren.--Rebuilding of London.-St. Paul's.--Wren's
DURING the period which has passed under review in the pre• ceding chapters of this volume, the Arts were, with one exception,
in a very depressed condition. For a brief space it had seemed as though Art would have taken firm root in this country: it was now a sickly exotic. Charles I., although his taste and influence in art-matters may perhaps have been overrated, did undoubtedly labour strenuously during his troubled reign to add to the splendour of his court by the liberal patronage of art and artists. Partly it may have been done in rivalry, partly in imitation of the monarch who then sat on the throne of France. But whatever was the cause the effect was the same. He attracted to his court either as visitors or residents some of the most famous painters of the day; he obtained at a cost his necessities could ill afford * a collection of paintings far surpassing anything of the kind which this country had hitherto seen ; and, though the evil times on which he had fallen prevented him from carrying his purpose into execution, we know that he sought to unite in one splendid metropolitan palace the utmost attainable magnificence of the combined arts of the architect and the painter. His example found eager
Som: curious particulars illustrating the difficulties experienced by Charles in raising money for the full payment of his commissions and purchases will be found in Mr. Sainsbury's admirably edited “Original Papers relating to Rubens,” (8vo. 1859). It was more than two years after Rubens had finished his paintings for the ceiling of Whitehall before Charles was able to pay the last £ 500 of the £3000 which Rubens was to receive for them-though Gerbier, the king's agent at Brussels, writes urgent letters to the king himself, as well as to his ministers, stating how "Spaniards, French, and other nations talk" of the royal picture lying there "as if for wint of money.” But the royal jewels were also at this time lying “at pawn there," and the parties who had advanced their money on them were threatening the envoy “by public notary” that if they were not redeemed by a certain day "they would put the jewels up to real and public sale for their satisfaction.” (Sainsbury, r. 185 and note). Even more trouble was experienced and caused by the king's inability in provide the purchase money for the famous Mantuan polection. (Ibid., Appendix H.)
imitators among his courtiers. Nobles and wealthy commoners were no longer content as of old, with portraits of themselves, their wives, and their elder sons, but began to compare the merits of Titian and Velasquez, of Raffaelle and Honthorst, of Rubens and Snyders and Vandyck; and to seek for a work by some cunning hand of Italy, Spain, or the Netherlands to decorate their town house or country mansion. The duke of Buckingham and the earl of Arundel were at the head of the courtly connoisseurs. They despatched agents to Italy and the East to seek for works of merit; and urged on by the rival ministers, our envoys at Madrid, Venice, Constantinople, and the Hague were almost as much occupied in negotiating for pictures and statues, as in affairs of state.
The passion for Art penetrated probably but little downwards. Among the higher classes it was a mere fashion. By the Puritans the taste of the king for religious paintings was regarded as idola- . trous : his classic pictures offended their notions of propriety. The Civil War broke up the royal and many private collections. Cromwell indeed saved the royal pictures from being utterly dispersed, and the stately galleries of several of the older nobility yet contain many works purchased for them in the reign of Charles. But the influence was not abiding. Cromwell had little leisure, probably little inclination, to attend to pictures and statues. The period of the Commonwealth was not one in which private indi: viduals would venture to indulge the taste if they possessed it, still less to simulate a taste they did not feel. With the Restoration came a season of lax morals and thoughtless self-indulgent habits, inimical to everything pure and elevated in art, but favourable to the voluptuous and meretricious artist. Verrio and Laguerre grew rich, as their sensual deities and profane virtues sprawled over the ceilings and staircases of the palaces of the king and the nobility; and Lely found ample employment for his pencil in depicting the sleepy-eyed “ Beauties ” of the royal court and harem.
Painting and sculpture were at a low ebb when William and Mary ascended the throne of England. Kneller had succeeded to Lely as the fashionable portrait painter, and he reigned without a rival. Cibber and Gibbons practised as sculptors; but their chisels were almost confined to carving in wood the internal, in stone the external, decorations of buildings. Walpole, says of William: * This prince like most of those in our annals contributed nothing to the advancement of the Arts.” And he adds that “Mary seems to have had little more propensity to the Arts than the king." William was not a man to waste time on what he would consider tri
Anecdotes of Painting," vol. ii. p. 535, Wornum's ed.