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tainted with the vices of the times. His bro- | due acknowledgment of his learning, and that ther-in-law, actually fearing his virtue might he was, to his last breath, true as steel to the be visited as a libel on the court, seriously ad- principles of the times when he began his vised him to keep a mistress in his own de- career. Sir William Scraggs, the fierce vofence; "for he understood, from very great luptuary and outrageous politician, is softened men, that he was ill looked upon for want of to us by the single engaging touch, that “in doing so; because he seemed continually to his house every day was a holyday.” And reprehend them;" which notable advice was Jeffries himself, as exhibited here, seems to concluded by an offer, “ that, if his lordship have had something of real human warmth pleased, he would help him to one." His lord within him, which redeems him from utter ship's regard to virtue, as well as his usual hatred. The following is a summary of his caution, which told him, “there was no spy character. like a female,” made him regard this proffer “ His friendship and conversation lay much with a scorn, which utterly puzzled his adviser. among the good fellows and humourists; and He was, however, tremulously alive to ridicule. his delights were, accordingly, drinking, laughAware of this infirmity, Jeffries and the Earling, singing, kissing, and all the extravagancies of Sunderland took advantage of a harmless of the boule. He had a set of banterers, for visit he made to see a rhinoceros, to circulate the most part, near him; as, in old time, great a report that he had ridden on the animal. meu kept fools to make them merry. And This threw him into a state of rage and vexa- these fellows, abusing one another and their tion truly surprising; he turned on his ques- betters, were a regale to him. And no friendtioners with unexampled fury, was seriously ship or dearness could be so great, in private, angry with Sir Dudley North for not contra. which he would not use ill, and to an extravadicting it with sufficient gravity, and sent for gant degree, in public. No one, that had any him that he might add his testimony lo his expectations from him, was safe from his own solemn denial. His biographer, who ac- public contempt and derision, which some of tually performs the duty of coufidante, as de- his minions at the bar bitterly felt. Those scribed in The Critic, to laugh, weep, or go mad above, or that could hurt or benefit him, and with the principal, is also in a towering pas- none else, mighl depend on fair quarters at sion at the charge. He calls it,“ an impudent his hands. When he was in temper, and matters buffoon lie, which Satan himself would not indifferent came before kim, he became his seat of have owned for his legitimate issue;", and is justice better than any other I ever saw in his place. provoked beyond measure, that "the noble He took a pleasure in mortifying fraudulent Earl, with Jeffries, and others of that crew, attorneys, and would deal forth his severities made merry, and never blushed at the lie of with a sort of majesty. He had extraordinary iheir own making; but valued themselves natural abilities, but little acquired, beyond upon it, as a very good jest.” He was afflicted what practice in affairs had supplied. He by no other " great calumny," notwithstanding talked fluently, and with spirit; and his weakthe watchfulness of his foes. One of his last ness was that he could not reprehend without public acts was to stop the bloody proceedings scolding; and in such Billingsgate language, of Jeffries in the West, which he did by his as should not come out of the mouth of any influence with the king. He did not long sur- man. He called it giving a lick with the rough vive the profligate prince, whom he sometimes side of his tongue. It was ordinary to hear him was able to guide and to soften. He walked say, Go, 'you are a filthy, lousy, nitty rascal; with in the coronation of James the Second, when much more of like elegance. Scarce a day imperfectly recovered from a fever; and, after passed that he did not chide some one, or other, a gradual decline of some months, expired at of the bar, when he sat in the Chancery; and his house at Wroxton, really hurried to the it was commonly a lecture of a quarter of an grave by the political broils and vexations at hour long. And they used to say, This is yours ; tendant on the Great Seal. “That pestiferous my turn will be to-morrow. He seemed to lay lump of metal,” as our author terms it, was nothing of his business to heart, nor care what given to Jeffries, whom it did not save from an he did, or left undone; and spent, in the Chanend more disastrous and fearful.
cery court, what time he thought fit to spare. The work before us, as we have already in- Many times, on days of causes at his house, timated, is rendered more interesting by the the company have waited five hours in a mornadmirable characters which it contains of the ing, and, after eleven, he hath come out inflamed old lawyers. These are all drawn, not only and staring like one distracted. And that visage with great and most felicitous distinctness, but he put on when he animadverted on such as he are touched in a mild, gentlemanly, and hu- took offence at, which made him a terror to real mane spirit, which it is refreshing to recog- offenders; whom also he terrified with his face nise in these days of acrimony and slander. and voice, as if the thunder of the day of judgment Even those who were most opposed in interest broke over their heads : and nothing ever made
and in prejudice to the author, receive ample men tremble like his vocal inflictions. He · justice from his hands. Hale, whose dislike loved to insult, and was bold without check; to the court rendered him obnoxious to the but that only when his place was uppermost. author, or, which is the same thing, to his bro- To give an instance. A city attorney was pether, is drawn at full length in all his austere litioned against for some abuse; and affidavit majesty. Even Serjeant Maynard, the ac- was made that when he was told of my lord knowledged “anti-restoration lawyer,” whose chancellor, My lord chancellor, said he, I made praise was in all the conventicles, and who him; meaning bis being a means to bring him was a hard rival of "his lordship,” receives early into city business. When this affidavit
was read, Well, said the lord chancellor, then I spirit in a loathsome frame!-But, we forgeten will lay my maker by the heels. And, with that -we are indulging ourselves, whey we ought conceit, one of his best old friends went to jail. to gratify our readers. One of these intemperances was fatal to him. • The Lord Chief Justice Saunders suce There was a scrivener of Wapping brought to ceeded in the room of Pemberton. His chas hearing for relief against a bummery bond ; racter, and his beginning, were equally strange. the contingency of losing all being showed, the He was at first no better than a poor beggar bill was going to be dismissed. But one of boy, if not a parish foundling, without known pathe plaintiff's counsel said that he was a rents or relations. He had found a way to live strange fellow, and sometimes went to church, by obsequiousness (in Clemeni's-Inn, as I resometimes to conventicles; and none could member) and courting the attorney's clerks for tell what to make of him; and it was thought he scraps. The extraordinary observance and was a trimmer. At that the chancellor fired; diligence of the boy made the society willing and, A trimmer ! said he; I have heard much of to do him good. He appeared very ambitious that monster, but never saw one. Come forth, Mr. to learn to write; and one of the attorneys Trimmer, turn you round, and let us see your shape : got a board knocked up at a window on the and, at that rate, talked so long that the poor top of a staircase; and that was his desk, fellow was ready to drop under him; but, at where he sat and wrote after copies of court last the bill was dismissed with costs, and he and other hands the clerks gave him. He made went his way. In the hall, one of his friends himself so expert a writer that he took in busi.. asked him how he came off? Came off, said ness, and earned some pence by hackney he, I am escaped from the terrors of that man's face, writing. And thus, by degrees, he pushed his which I would scarce undergo again to save my life ; faculties, and fell to forms, and, by books that I shall certainly have the frightful impression of it as were lent him, became an exquisite entering long as I live. Afterwards, when the Prince of clerk; and by the same course of improvement Orange came, and all was in confusion, this lord of himself, an able counsel, first in special chancellor, being very obnoxious, disguised pleading, then, at large. And, after he was himself in order to go beyond sea. He was in a called to the bar, had practice, in the King's seaman's garb, and drinking a pot in a cellar. Bench court, equal with any there. As to his This scrivener came into the cellar after some person, he was very corpuleot and beastly; a of his clients : and his eye caught that face, mere lump of morbid flesh. He used to say, which made him start; and the chancellor by his troggs, (such a humorous way of talking seeing himself eyed, feigned a cough, and he affected,) none could say he wanted issue of his turned to the wall with his pot in his hand. body, for he had nine in his back. He was a fetid But Mr. Trimmer went out, and gave notice that mass that offended his neighbours at the bar he was there ; whereupon the mob flowed in, in the sharpest degree. Those, whose ill fore and he was in extreme hazard of his life; but tune it was to stand near him, were confessors, the lord mayor saved him and lost himself. and, in summer-time, almost martyrs. This For the chancellor being hurried with such hateful decay of his carcass came upon him crowd and noise before him, and appearing so by continued sottishness; for, to say nothing of dismally, not only disguised, but disordered; brandy, he was seldom without a pot of ale at and there having been an amity between themn, his nose, or near him. That exercise was all as also a veneration on the lord mayor's part, he used; the rest of his life was sitting at his he had not spirits to sustain the shock, but fell desk, or piping at home; and that home was a down in a swoon; and, in not many hours tailor's house in Butcher-Row, called his after, died. But this Lord Jeffries came to the lodging, and the man's wife was his nurse, or seal without any concern at the weight of duty worse; but by virtue of his money, of which he incumbent upon him; for, at the first, being made little account, though he got a great deal, he merry over a bolile with some of his old soon became master of the family ; and, being friends, one of them told him that he would no changeling, he never removed, but was true find the business heavy. No, said he, l’U make to his friends, and they to him, to the last hour it light. But, to conclude with a strange in- of his life. consistency, he would drink and be merry, “So much for his person and education. As kiss and slaver, with these bon companions for his parts, none had them more lively than over night, as the way of such is, and the he. Wit and repariee, in an affected rusticity, next day fall upon them, ranting and scolding was natural to him. He was ever ready, and with a virulence unsufferable."
never at a loss; and none came so pear as he But the richest portion of these volumes is to be a match for Serjeant Maynard. His the character of the Lord Chief Justice Saun- great dexterity was in the art of special pleadders, the author of the Reports which Mr. Sering, and he would lay snares that often caught jeant Williams has rendered popular by clus- his superiors, who were not aware of his traps. tering about them the products of his learned And he was so fond of success for his clients industry. He has a better immortality in the that, rather than fail, he would set the court memoir. What a picture is exhibited of the hard with a trick; for which he met sometimes stoutest industry, joined with the most luxu- with a reprimand, which he would wittily ward rious spirit of enjoyment-of the most intense off, so that no one was much offended with acquaintance with nice technicalities and the him. But Hales could not bear his irregularity most bounteous humour-of more distressing of life; and for that, and suspicion of his infirmities and scarcely less wit than those of tricks, used to bear hard upon him in the court. Falstaff! What a singular being is here- But no ill usage from the bench was too hard what a laborious, acute, happy and affectionate for his bold of business, being such as scarce
any could do but himself. With all this, he the court accordingly, which is frequently done had a goodness of nature and disposition in so in like cases.” great a degree that he may be deservedly styled Although we have been able to give but a a philanthrope. He was a very Silenus to the few of the choice peculiarities of these volumes, boys, as, in this place, I may term the students our readers will be able to gather, from our ex of the law, to make them merry whenever they tracts, that the profession of the law was a had a mind to it. He had nothing of rigid or very different thing in the reign of Charles the austere in him. If any, near him at the bar, Second, from what it is in the present era. grumbled at his stench, he ever converted the There was something in it more robust and complaint into content and laughing with the hearty than there is now. Lawyers treated on abundance of his wit. As to his ordinary the dryest subjects, in a “full and heightened dealing, he was as honest as the driven snow style,” which now would receive merited ridiwas white; and why not, having no regard for cule, because it is natural no longer. When money, nor desire to be rich ? And, for good Lord Coke “wanders in the wilderness of the nature and condescension, there was not his fel- laws of the foresı"-or stops to " recreate him. low. I have seen him, for hours and half hours self with a view of Dido's deer"-or looks on together, before the court sat, stand at the bar, his own fourth Institute, as “the high and with an audience of students over against him, honourable building of the jurisdiction of the putting of cases, and debating so as suited courts”—we feel that he uses the language of their capacities, and encouraging their industry. metaphor, merely because he thinks in it. And so in the Temple, he seldom moved with Modern improvement has introduced a division out a parcel of youihs hanging about him, and of labour among the faculties. The regions of be merry and jesting with them.
imagination and of reality are separated by " It will be readily conceived that this man stricter and more definite limits, than in the was never cut out to be a presbyter, or any days of old. Our poems and orations are thing that is severe and crabbed. In no time more wild and extravagant, and our ordinary did he lean to faction, but did his business duries more dry and laborious. Men have without offence to any. He put off officious learned to refine on their own feelings—10 talk of government or politics, with jests, and analyze all their sensations—to class all their so made his wit a catholicon, or shield, to cover powers, feelings, and fantasies, as in a museum; all his weak places and infirmities. When the and to mark and label them so that they court fell into a steady course of using the may never be applied, except to appropriate law against all kinds of offenders, this man uses. The imagination is only cultivated as a was taken into the king's business: and had kind of exotic luxury. No one unconsciously the part of drawing and perusal of almost all writes in a picturesque style, or suffers the indictments and informations that were then colour of his thoughts to suffuse itself over to be prosecuted, with the pleadings thereon if his disquisitions, without caring for the effect any were special; and he had the settling of on the reader. The rich conceit is either supthe large pleadings in the quo warranto against pressed, or carefully reserved lo adorn some London. His lordship had no sort of conver- cold oration where it may be duly applauded. sation with him, but in the way of business, Our ancestors permitted the wall-fower, when and at the bar; but once after he was in the it would, to spread out ils sweets from the king's business, he dined with his lordship, and massive battlement, without thinking there no more. And there he showed another quali- was any thing extraordinary in its growth, or fication he had acquired, and that was to play desiring to transplant it to a garden, where it jigs upon a harpsichord; having taught him- would add little fragrance to the perfume of self with the opportunity of an old virginal of other flowers. his landlady's; but in such a manner, not for The study of the law has sunk of late years. defect but figure, as to see him were a jest. Formerly, the path of those by whom it was The king, observing him to be of a free dispo- chosen, though steep and rugged, was clear sition, loyal, friendly, and without greediness and open before them. Destitute of adventior guile, thought of him to be the chief justice tious aids, they were compelled to salutary of the King's Bench at that nice time. And and hopeful toils. They were forced to trace the ministry could not but approve of it. So back every doctrine to the principle which was great a weight was then at stake, as could not its germ, and to search for their precedents be trusted to men of doubtful principles, or amidst the remotest grandeur of our history. such as any thing might lempt to desert them. Patient labour was required of them, but their While he sat in the Court of King's Bench, he reward was certain. In the most barren and gave the rule to the general satisfaction of the difficult parts of their ascent, they found, at lawyers. But his course of life was so differ- least, in the masses which they surmounted, ent from what it had been, his business inces the stairs and colourings of a humanizing ansant, and, witbal, crabbed; and his diet and tiquity to soften and to dignify their labours. exercise changed, that the constitution of his But abridgments, commentaries, and digests body, or head rather, could not sastain it, and without number, have precluded the necessity he fell into an apoplexy and palsy, which of these liberal researches, while the vast numbed his parts; and he never recovered the accumulation of statutes and decisions have strength of them. He out-lived the judgment rendered them almost hopeless. Instead of a in the quo warranto ; but was not present, other difficult mountain to ascend, there is a briary wise than by sending his opinion, by one of labyrinth to penetrate. Wearied out with vain the judges, to be for the king, who, at the pro- attempts, the student accepts such temporary nouncing of the judgment, declared it to be helps as be can procure, and despairs of re
ducing the ever-increasing multitude of deci- | increase until it shall work its own cure sions to any fixed and intelligible principles. until accumulated reports shall lose their auThus his labours are not directed to a visible thority — or the legislature shall be comgoal-oor cheered by the venerableness of pelled, by the vastness of the mischief, to old time-por crowned with that certainty of undertake the tremendous task of revising conclusion, which is the best reward of scien- and condensing the whole statute law, and tific researches. The lot of a superficial stu- fixing the construction of the unwritten dent of a dry science, is, of all conditions, the maxims within some tolerable boundaries. most harassing and fruitless. The evil must
REVIEW OF THE DRAMATIC LITERATURE OF THE
AGE OF ELIZABETH.
IF Mr. Hazlitt has not generally met with and separates it, in a moment, from all that impartial justice from his contemporaries, we would encumber or deface it. At the same must say that he has himself partly to blame. time, he exhibits to us those hidden sources of Some of the attacks of which he has been the beauty, not like an anatomist, but like a lover: object, have, no doubt, been purely brutal and he does not coolly dissect the form to show the malignant; but others have, in a great measure, springs whence the blood flows all eloquent, arisen from feelings of which he has himself and the divine expression is kindled; but set the example. His seeming carelessness of makes us feel it in the sparkling or softened that public opinion which he would influence eye, the wreathed smile, and the tender bloom. -his love of startling paradoxes—and his in- In a word, he at once analyzes and describes, trusion of political virulence, at seasons when so that our enjoyments of loveliness are not the mind is prepared only for the delicate in- chilled, but brightened, by our acquaintance vestigations of taste, have naturally provoked with their inward sources. The knowledge a good deal of asperity, and prevented the due communicated in his lectures, breaks no sweet appreciation of his powers. We shall strive, enchantment, nor chills one feeling of youthhowever, to divest ourselves of all preposses- ful joy. His criticisms, while they extend our sions, and calmly to estimate those talents and insight into the causes of poetical excellence, feelings which he has here brought to the con- teach us, at the same time, more keenly to templation of such beauty and grandeur, as enjoy, and more fondly to revere it. none of the low passions of this “ignorant It must seem, at first sight, strange, that present time" should ever be permitted to powers like these should have failed to excite overcloud.
universal sympathy. Much, doubtless, of the Those who regard Mr. Hazlitt as an ordinary coldness and misrepresentation cast on them, writer, have little right to accuse him of suf- has arisen from causes at which we have fering antipathies in philosophy or politics to already hinted-from the apparent readiness influence his critical decisions. He possesses of the author to "give up to party what was one excellent quality, at least, for the office meant for mankind”-and from the occasional which he has chosen, in the intense admira- breaking in of personal animosities on that tion and love which he feels for the great au- deep harmony which should attend the reverent thors on whose excellences he chiefly dwells. contemplation of genius. But we apprehend His relish for their beauties is so keen, that that there are other causes which have diminwhile he describes them, the pleasures which ished the influence of Mr. Hazliti's faculties, they impart become almost palpable to the originating in his mind itself; and these we sense; and we seem, scarcely in a figure, to shall endeavour briefly to specify. feast and banquet on their “nectared sweets." The chief of these may, we think, be asHe introduces us almost corporally into the cribed primarily to the want of proportion, of divine presence of the Great of old time- arrangement, and of harmony, in his powers. enables us to hear the living oracles of wisdom His mind resembles the "rich stronde” which drop from their lips—and makes us partakers, Spencer has so nobly described, and to which not only of those joys which they diffused, he has himself likened the age of Elizabeth, but of those which they felt in the inmost re- where treasures of every description lie, withcesses of their souls. He draws aside the out order, in inexhaustible profusion. Noble veil of Time with a hand tremulous with masses of exquisite marble are there, which mingled delight and reverence; and descants, might be fashioned to support a glorious temwith kindling enthusiasm, on all the delicacies ple; and gems of peerless lustre, which would of that picture of genius which he discloses. adorn the holiest shrine. He has no lack of His intense admiration of intellectual beauty the deepest feelings, the profoundest sentiments seems always to sharpen his critical faculties. of humanity, or the loftiest aspirations after He perceives it, by a kind of intuitive power, ideal good. But there are no great leading how deeply soever it may be buried in rubbish; l principles of taste to give singleness to his
aims, nor any central points in his mind, around | has had its dash of the early sweets, which no which his feelings may revolve, and his im- changes of opinion could entirely destroy. Still aginations cluster. There is no sufficient dis- his audiences and his readers had ample tinction between his intellectual and his ima- ground of complaint for the intrusion of perginative faculties. He confounds the truths of sonal feelings, in inquiries which should be imagination with those of fact—the processes sacred from all discordant emotions. We reof argument with those of feeling—the immu- juice to observe, that this blemish is now nities of intellect with those of virtue. Hence effaced; and that full and free course is at last the seeming inconsistency of many of his doc- given to that deep humanity which has ever trines. Hence the want of all continuity in held its current in his productions, sometimes his style. Hence his failure in producing one in open day, and sometimes beneath the soil single, harmonious, and lasting impression on which it fertilized, though occasionally dashed the hearts of his hearers. He never waits to and thrown back in its course by the obstacles consider whether a sentiment or an image is of prejudice and of passion. in place—so it be in itself striking. The keen The first of these lectures consists of a genesense of pleasure in intellectual beauty, which ral view of the subject, expressed in terms of is the best charm of his writings, is also his the deepest veneration and of the most pas. chief deluder. He cannot resist a powerful sionate eulogy. After eloquently censuring image, an exquisite quotation, or a pregnant the gross prejudice, that genius and beauty are remark, however it may dissipate, or even sub- things of modern discovery, or that in old time vert, the general feeling which his theme should a few amazing spirits shone forth amidst geneinspire. Thus, on one occasion, in the midst ral darkness, as the harbingers of brighter of a violent political invective, he represents days, the author proceeds to combat the notion the objects of his scorn as “having been be that Shakspeare was a sort of monster of poetguiled, like Miss Clarissa Harlowe, into a ical genius, and all his contemporaries of an house of ill-fame, and, like her, defending them- order far below him. selves to the last;" as if the reader's whole "He, indeed, overlooks and commands the current of feeling would not be diverted from admiration of posterity; but he does it from all political disputes, by the remembrance thus the table land of the age in which he lived. awakened of one of the sublimest scenes of He towered above his fellows in shade and romance ever imbodied by human power." He gesture proudly eminent;' but he was but one will never be contented to louch that most of a race of giants, the tallest, the strongest, strange and curious instrument, the human the most graceful and beautiful of them; but heart, with a steady aim, but throws his hand it was a common and noble brood. He was rapidly over the chords, mingling strange dis- not something sacred and aloof from the vulcord with “most eloquent music.” Instead of gar herd of men, but shook hands with Nature conducting us onward to a given object, he and the circumstances of the time; and is disopens so many delicious prospects by the way. tinguished from his immediate contemporaries, side, and suffers us to gaze at them so long, not in kind, but in degree, and greater variety that we forget the end of our journey. He is of excellence. He did not form a class or perpetually dazzled among the sunbeams of species by himself, but belonged to a class or his fancy, and plays with them in elegant fan- species. His age was necessary to him; nor tasy, when he should point them to the spots could he have been wrenched from his place where they might fall on truth and beauty, and in the edifice, of which he was so conspicuous render them visible by a clearer and lovelier a part, without equal injury to himself and it. radiance than had yet revealed them.
Mr. Wordsworth says of Milton, that his soul The work before us is not the best verifica was like a star, and dwelt apart.' This cannot tion of these remarks; for it has more of con- be said with any propriety of Shakspeare, who tinuity, and less of paradox, than any of his certainly moved in a constellation of bright previous writings. With the exception of luminaries, and drew after him ihe third part some strong political allusions in the account of the heavens.'” Pp. 12, 13. of the Sejanus of Ben Jonson, it is entirely The author then proceeds to investigate the free from those expressions of party feeling general causes of that sudden and rich devewhich respect for an audience, consisting of lopment of poetical feeling which forms his men of all parties, and men of no party, ought theme. He attributes it chiefly to the mighty always to restrain. There is also none of that impulse given to thought by the Reforinationpersonal bitterness towards Messrs. Words to the disclosure of all the marvellous stores worth, Coleridge, and Southey, which disfigured of sacred antiquity, by the translation of the his former lectures. His hostility towards Scriptures—and to the infinite sweetness, these poets, the associates of his early days, breaihing from the divine character of the has always, indeed, been mingled with some Messiah, with which he seems to imagine that redeeming feelings which have heightened the the people were not familiar in darker ages. regret occasioned by its public disclosure. We are far from insensible to the exquisite While he has pursued them with all possible beauty with which this last subject is treated; severity of invective, and acuteness of sarcasm, and fully agree with our author, that “there is he has protected their intellectual character something in the character of Christ, of more with a chivalrous zeal. He has spoken as if sweetness and majesty, and more likely to “his only hate had sprung from his only love;" work a change in the mind of man, than any and his thoughts of its objects, deep rooted in to be found in history, whether actual or old affection, could not lose all traces of their feigned.” But we cannot think that the gentle "primal sympathy." His bitterest language l influences which that character shed upon the