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which he submitted to the stroke of justice, with the courage of a Rinaldo or an Olindo.
The ancient heroines of romance were content with banishing a presumptuous lover from their presence. Perhaps the extravagance of Chastelard's feelings was such, that he might have considered exile from Scotland as the severest of punishments. Mary certainly exercised her dispensing power with more lenity, on some other occasions.
The establishment of a buffoon, or king's jester, which operated so forcibly on Sterne's imagination, as to make him adopt the name of Yorick, furnished an additional motive for the exertions of ludicrous writers, in that age, To jest was the ambition of the best company; and when the progress of civilization is duly weighed, between the period to which I have confined
observations, and the time of Charles II. of this country, it will appear that the value set upon sheer wit, as it was then called, was hardly less inconsistent with strict judgment, than was the merriment of the cap and bells with the grave discussions of the furred doctors, or learned ladies of the old French court.
Ludicrous writers, from whom Sterne probably took general ideas, or particular pasa sages. Rabelais-Beroalde-D'Aubignè Bouchet-Bruscambille --Scarron-Swift Gabriel John
may probably find themselves introduced, in this chapter, to some very strange acquaintances, and may experience a sensation like that which accompanies the first entrance into a gallery of ancient portraits; where the buff and old iron, the black skull-caps, wide ruffs and farthingales, however richly bedecked, conceal, for a while, the expression and the charms of the best features. With a little
patience, it will appear that wit, like beauty, can break through the most unpromising disguise.
From Rabelais, Sterne seems to have caught the design of writing a general satire on the abuse of speculative opinions. The dreams of Rabelais's commentators have indeed discovered a very different intention in his book, but we have his own authority for rejecting their surmises as groundless. In the dedication of part of his work to Cardinal Chastillon, he mentions the political allusions imputed to him, and disclaims them expressly. He declares, that he wrote for the recreation of persons languishing in sickness, or under the pressure of grief and anxiety, and that his joyous prescription had succeeded with many patients. Que plusieurs gens, langoureux, malades, ou autre ment fachez et desolez, avoient à la lecture d'icelles trompè leur ennui, temps joyeusement passé, et reçue allegresse et consolation nouvelle. And he adds, seulement avois egard et intention par escrit donner se peu de soul. ågement que pouvois ès affligez et malades absens. The religious disputes, which then agitated Europe, were subjects of ridicule too tempting to be withstood, especially as Rabelais was protected by the Chastillon family; this, with his abuse of the monks, excited such a clamour against him, that Francis 1. felt a curiosity to hear his book read, and as our author informs us, found nothing improper in it.*
The birth and education of Pantagruel evidently gave rise to those of Martinus Scriblerus, and both were fresh in Sterne's memory, when he composed the first chapters of Tristram Shandy.
It must be acknowledged, that the application of the satire is more clear in Rabelais, than in his imitators. Rabelais attacked boldly the scholastic mode of education, in that part of his work; and shewed the superiority of a natural method of instruction, more accommodated to the feelings and ca
* Et n'avoit trouvé passage aulcun suspect.