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several pages of good advice, ending with, "Serve God, love God, fear God, and God will so bless thee as either heart can wish or thy friends desire." All this good counsel was of course intended by Lyly for his readers as a warning. Euphues, however, does not profit by it, but goes into the idle pleasures of Italian life in company with a young friend named Philantus. His experience now serves to add weight to the warnings of Eubulus, and impresses the lesson still more strongly on the readers. Euphues, “a sadder and a wiser man,” returns to Athens; then follow letters written by Euphues to his friends full of earnest thought on various important matters of life, as the education and training of the young, the avoidance of foolish fashions, the study of the Bible, the spread of Italian infidelity. The aim of the letters is to show the way to an honourable and righteous life, complete in the healthful development of all the faculties of man's soul and mind and body, and consecrated to the service of God.
“Euphues” became one of the most popular books of the day; it was read and talked over by the ladies and gentlemen of Queen Elizabeth's Court, and was held as a kind of text-book of good counsel on a variety of subjects. But this could not have happened if it had not been that the spirit of the book was so much in accordance with the age, and also that its outward form or style corresponded so completely with the prevailing taste. The use of the Italian style, as the outward dress of literature, has been already mentioned as one of the features of the Elizabethan literature. The constant intercourse with Italy, and the general study of Italian literature, had created a fancy for the fashion of playing upon words, and for alliteration, or choosing words beginning with the same letter. Other tricks of this style were the contrasting or balancing of one thing against another, and the comparison of every object with something else. Two or three sentences from one of the letters of Euphues will illustrate this. It is a letter supposed to be written to Eubulus on the death of his daughter : “If I were as able to persuade thee to patience as thou wert desirous to exhort me to piety, or as wise to comfort thee in thine age, as thou to instruct me in my youth, thou shouldst now with less grief endure thy late loss, and with little care lead thy aged life. Thou weepest for the death of thy daughter, and I laugh at the folly of the father, for greater vanity is there in the mind of the mourner, than bitterness in the death of the deceased. She was young and might have lived, but she was mortal and must have died. Wise men have found that by learning which old men should know by experience, that in life there is nothing sweet, and in death nothing sour. Not he that hath grayest hairs, but he that hath greatest goodness liveth longest. Thou shouldst not weep that she hath run fast, but that thou hast gone so slow." Deep sympathy could scarcely express itself with so much ingenuity; and the attempt in writing to pick out words for the sake of their sound, or initial letter, checked the natural expression of real feeling.
The great popularity of Euphues gave the name of Euphuism to this particular style of writing, and it is still known by this name in English literature.
It became fashionable at Court, and no one who wished to be thought a fine gentleman or lady could make the commonest remark in simple language. The suggestion had to be balanced by a contrasting thought, some far-fetched comparison must be sought for, and words chosen to accord with one another in sound or spelling. Although this introduced a great deal of artificial effort into conversation, yet it called forth a certain surface brightness, which Shakespeare has represented in some of his characters; he has also ridiculed the attempts to imitate Euphuism by dull or untutored persons.
The first part of “Euphues” was published in 1579 ;
the next year Lyly added a second part, called “Euphues and his England.” This gave an account of a visit paid by Euphues and his friend Philantus to England. They land at Dover, and travel to Canterbury. Here they stay awhile at the house of a retired courtier, who gives them the benefit of his experience of life. They then pass on to London, and enter into the English life of the time. The second part of “Euphues” has the same earnest spirit in it, and the faults and follies of English society are pointed out, not for the sake of the satire, but for the purpose of reform.
There were other writers, who supplied the new demand for stories, besides Lyly; amongst these were the dramatists Lodge and Greene. The latter wrote many short stories or novels, taken from Italian tales. There was less earnestness of purpose in Greene's novels than in Lyly's, and his own life was sad and ill-governed. He desired at last to save others from making shipwreck of life as he had done, and wrote just before his death a story which he called “A Groat's Worth of Wit Bought with a Million of Repentance.” He gave his own name, Robert, to the hero, and told some parts of his own life ; seeking to warn others of the evils into which he himself had fallen.
RICHARD HOOKER (1558-1600).
The joy which hailed the accession of Queen Elizabeth rose out of the strong religious feeling of the time. It was not only because the persecutions of Mary's reign were over that the English people were filled with gladness at the idea of having a Protestant sovereign on the throne; but they hoped that the English Church, which had been forced back into Romanism, and had persecuted its children, would now be purified, and become again the Church of the English people. This settlement of what was to be for the future the creed and ritual of the English Church was one of the most difficult and important questions of the reign.
There was on the one side a large body of Romanists in the Church, who desired no reform at all. On the other side there were a number of Protestants, who during the persecution had taken refuge in Geneva, and who wished the whole framework of the Church to be taken down and re-modelled, according to the Swiss or Presbyterian form of government. Between these two parties was a third, who looking on the Church as the Church of the English people, and not of one sect or party in the nation, desired to have it settled on a basis wide enough to include the largest possible number of the nation. In accordance with this view, a Commission was appointed by the queen in the first year of her reign, to prepare a book of services such as might be used by persons who, while agreeing on many points, differed on others; and it was hoped that such a Liturgy might be accepted as the “Common” (or general) “Prayer Book” of the whole nation. On this Commission were men belonging to the different religious parties of the time; and at the head was Archbishop Parker, a man sincerely in earnest in his endeavour to make the Church thoroughly national. When the Book of Common Prayer was completed, an Act of Uniformity was passed obliging every clergyman to use this book in the public services of the Church. A second Book of Homilies, or sermons, was also compiled, and this, in addition to the Book of Homilies published in Edward VI.'s reign, was ordered to be read in churches, so as to prevent clergymen of different parties from giving expression to their own private opinions in the pulpit. But although the design was to promote peace and unity in the Church, there was so much activity of thought among the people on religious subjects that discussions respecting the new order of things soon began to arise. The first opposition came from those who disliked the changes made, and desired to return to the alliance with Rome. They regarded the Church as a newlyfounded system, the product of the later times of the Reformation. The chief writer in defence of the Church from attacks on this side is Archbishop Parker. He wrote to show that a new Church had not been established, but that the Church in England was, and ever had been, since the earliest times of British history, the Church of the nation, giving expression to the religion of the nation, and holding itself independent of Rome. And now, in purifying itselt from the errors and corruptions which had crept in from the Romish Church, it was only returning to its original faith and practice.