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poor Chatterton', provided he pays for it himself”; and his epitaph was to be “Reader, judge not; if thou art a Christian-believe that he will be judged by a superior Power to that Power alone is he now answerable ”. There is great satiric vigour in the document; in fact, it has a strong resemblance to Hamlet's graveyard humour without imitation, although the writer was not much more than seventeen years old.
I. The lighter social satire, which also prevailed at this time beside the political, had little influence on his productions. It was generally written in some other metre than the heroic couplet-often a long line in dactylic metre, and sometimes in the form of the ode. The best representative of the former was The New Bath Guide (1766) of Christopher Anstey, a tripping, witty, sometimes coarse description of the fashionable crowds that came to the wells and their amusements. It was his style and verse that Goldsmith took as his model in his lighter satires, A Haunch of Venison, and Retaliation. The latter is best represented by the satirical poems of Dr. John Wolcot (1738-1819), who wrote under the name of Peter Pindar. Though he generally rejected the old heroic couplet, and anticipating the new movement in rhythm attempted the greatest variety in verse, the mantle of Churchill really fell upon him. He shared his facility, his personality of invective, his versatility in theme, his disregard for all authority, his coarseness and bohemianism, his flippancy, and his quickness of wit. He began to write not long after the death of Churchill ; but he did not begin his mock-laureateship of the people till about 1785, when, after adventures as a clergyman in Jamaica, and as a medical man in his native Cornwall, he settled in London, and issued his Odes to the Royal Academicians. He took up the rôle of Churchill in personal attack upon George the Third. Yet there was less bitterness in his satire, more of that easy good-humour, which should belong to the true bohemian. He laughed at the simplicity of the king, at his childish wonder over the obvious, at his fondness for truisms, repetitions, and questions, and at other personal peculiarities. He generally chose an anecdote or incident in George's life and told it in varied and tripping verse ; an order that all the cooks in the palace should have their heads shaved because of a parasite found in a royal dish occasioned The Lousiad (1786), a burlesque of heroic poems; the famous inquiry as to how the apples got inside the old wife's apple dumplings, his visit to Whitbread's brewery, and similar topics, kept Wolcot busy making London laugh. Boswell, Whitehead, the laureate, Banks the naturalist, Bruce the traveller, were other favourite themes. He poured out his burlesque odes and lyrics for thirty years, gathering them together into complete editions at intervals. And, though some of his versified anecdotes have remained favourites with provincial reciters, his work has as a whole been forgotten, so flimsy and coarse was most of it.
2. About the time he settled in London he had a serious rival to his claims as the successor of Churchill in The Rolliad. This was a series of Opposition satires that appeared in the newspapers during the years 1784 and 1785. They began with a burlesque criticism of an imaginary epic on Colonel Rolle ; they continued, more in Peter Pindar's style, with Probationary Odes for the Laureateship, and Political Eclogues'; and were all collected under the name of the initiatory effort. Various Whig politicians and wits contributed, such Lord John Townsend, General Burgoyne, General Fitzpatrick, Sir R. Adair, Tickell, and George Ellis, minor poets, and Richardson a comedian. Dr. Laurence directed the crusade, and edited the collection.
I. The success of this undertaking suggested to a small circle of literary supporters of the reactionary government of Pitt the possibility of counteracting by a similar series of satires the revolutionary doctrines and fervour so rife amongst the strongest English thinkers and writers. They started a weekly satirical paper, The Anti-Jacobin, at the
The editor was William Gifford, who had already distinguished himself as a satirist; but the moving
close of 1797.
spirit was George Canning, who had just become undersecretary of state, and who was afterwards to distinguish himself so greatly as a statesman and orator; a third writer was John Hookham Frere, who afterwards translated Aristophanes, and, with his burlesque poem The Monks and The Giants (1817), gave the model to Byron for his best satires. A fourth was George Ellis, the antiquarian, who had contributed to the Whig Rolliad and who published Specimens of the Early English Poets (1790). Lord Morpeth, afterwards Earl of Carlisle, Lord Mornington afterwards Marquis Wellesley, Baron Macdonald, and a few others also contributed; but most of the paper was written by the first four, and three of these had satirical talent, that approached to genius. It is little wonder then that many of the poems promised for a time to outlive their themes.
2. The periodical started on November 20th. 1797, and appeared every Monday morning thereafter, till its vehemence of attack threatened to detach the more moderate like Wilberforce from the Government, and, at the suggestion of Pitt, who had contributed a few articles and one or two verses, it was stopped early in July 1798. The Anti-Jacobin Review and Magazine, a monthly, at once took its place and ran till 1821; but the old contributors were not on its staff, and it became heavy and dull. The New Anti-Jacobin Review went through three numbers in 1827, and the New Anti-Jacobin through two in 1833.
3. Nothing throws so much light on the varied and wide-spread revolutionism of the time. According to the prospectus, written by Canning, it did not confine itself to politics. It preferred "the country we live in” to France or the world ; "in morals we are equally old-fashioned” and adhere to principle, and not individual tastes; we reverence law; we acknowledge usage; we look even upon prescription without hatred or horror”; it rejected the doctrine " that every man who can divest himself of a moral sense in theory has a right to be with impunity and without disguise a scoundrel in practice”; conscientious atheism and conscientious murder it alike condemns, in short all "Jacobinism”. It intended to show up the misrepresentations of the Morning Chronicles, Morning Posts, Stars, and Couriers. And it indicated that it thought there was Jacobinism in literary style as in everything else. It objected to new experiments in poetry, and began by attacking Southey for his sapphicsunryhmed imitations of Greek verse. The second number contains the famous burlesque “The Friend of Humanity and The Knife grinder." The sympathisers with the Revolution professed to rise above country and love Humanity ; one of them meets a broken-down knifegrinder and asks him to tell his story of the tyranny that reduced him to this state;
“Bleak blows the blast ; your hat has a hole in't,
So have your breeches !”
“Story! God bless you! I have none to tell, sir”, the wanderer replies; he got the holes in a drunken scuffle ; he never meddles with politics, and asks for a sixpence; the friend of humanity becomes indignant;
“I give the sixpence! I will see thee damned first,
Spiritless outcast”, and "kicks the knife-grinder, overturns his wheel, and exit in a transport of Republican enthusiasm and universal philanthropy”. It was a parody of Southey's The Widow,
” telling the story of her vain appeal for pity and her death;
“Worn out with anguish, toil, and cold, and hunger,
Down sunk the wanderer ; sleep had seized her senses ;
God had released her." In the prose introduction, Canning, who was the writer, explains that a Jacobin principle widely spread was natural and eternal warfare of the poor and rich”.
“A human being in the lowest state of penury and distress is a treasure to a reasoner of this cast.” In the first number, Southey had been already attacked for his blank verse "Inscription for the Apartment in Chepstow Castle, where Henry Marten the Regicide was imprisoned thirty years.' “We have not been able to find one good or true poet, of sound principles and sober practice"; "good morals", and “good politics” seemed “inconsistent with the true spirit of poetry”. So the writers will resort to “the Jacobin Muse to illustrate “the principles on which the poetical
as well as the political doctrine of the New School is established,” and give imitations. “The poet in all ages has despised riches and grandeur. The Jacobin poet improves this sentiment into a hatred of the rich and the great." He rejects all patriotism, and expands it “so as to comprehend all mankind". "Our poet points the thunder of his blank verse at the head of the recruiting sergeant, or roars in dithyrambics against the lieutenants of press-gangs”. His muse “is betrayed by her drunken swagger and ruffian tone”. The burlesque here is An Inscription for the door of the cell in Newgate where Mrs. Brownrigg, the 'Prenticecide was confined previous to her Execution. The original runs ;
“Often have these walls Echoed his foot-steps, as with even tread
He paced around his prison"; and ends;
“Blessed hopes awhile From man withheld, even to the latter days,
When Christ shall come, and all things be fulfillid”. The burlesque runs ;
" Often have these cells Echoed her blasphemies, as with shrill voice
She screamed for fresh Geneva", and closes ;
“Harsh laws ! But time shall come, When France shall reign, and laws be all repeal’d”. This shows how indiscriminate was the attack.
Every production and writer that thought of man as idealised or above his existing condition, every aspiration after something nobler, every lament over the state of the world was taken as belonging to the current of revolutionism. Southey had republican ideals, and even for a brief space thought of founding with Coleridge a socialistic community in America; but these poems that are here burlesqued have nothing in them that would not be considered to-day as the natural theme or atmosphere of poetry. So in the closing poem of the series, “The New Morality," by Canning, we have Charles Lamb quoted as a prominent republican, though he had no interest in politics or the Revolution.
“ Coleridge and Southey, Lloyd and Lamb and Co,
Tune all your mystic harps to praise Lepaux”;