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own taste and principles. Not so, when he is simply humorous - -a style in which he is thoroughly at home; and which, though it be not the highest, is yet a legitimate type of epigram. His skit “On Play-wright," may be taken as an example (Ep. 100):
Play-wright, by chance, hearing some toys I'd writ,
Five of my jests, then stol'n, past him a Play. But it is upon his monumental inscriptions that Jonson's fame as an Epigrammatist must chiefly rest. These are exquisitely pure and beautiful. If they have a fault it is in the matter of length, which is beyond that of the earlier Greek epitaphs; yet who would wish such perfect pieces to be curtailed ?
In Herrick's “Hesperides” there are a large number of epigrams, specially so designated, which are absolutely worthless, and the majority quite unpresentable. They are of the worst Roman type. One of the least objectionable, but quite after Martial's own heart, is “ Upon Urles”:
Urles had the gout so, that he could not stand;
Now 'tis in 's hand, he gives no alms at all. But, although the pieces which Herrick particularly styles epigrams are thus valueless, he nobly vindicates his claim to be considered one of the very best Epigrammatists, by numberless epigrams to which he does not give that name, apparently because they are free from stinging point. He was well acquainted with the Greek writers, as is shown by the translations and imitations from the Anthology, which are found in his Works, and he sufficiently appreciated them to write much in their manner. As, for example, an epigram on the decay of all things:
All things decay with time: the forest sees
Again, an address
To the Western llind”:
Sweet Western Wind, whose luck it is,
Made rival with the air,
And fan ber wanton hair.
Instead of common showers,
And all beset with flowers.
But it is in epitaphs that Herrick, like Ben Jonson, excels more than in any other kind of epigrammatic poetry, though there is little similarity in the character of their inscriptions. This, for the tomb of a young mother of many children, has all the terseness and the pathos of the purest Greek type:
Let all chaste matrons, when they chance to see
Again, this “Epitaph upon a Virgin ” is singularly touching :
Here a solemn fast we keep,
A different class of writers now demands consideration. The period from the reign of Mary to the Restoration was prolific in Epigrammatists; men who, not content to throw off only occasional epigrams, wrote volumes containing hundreds, under every possible name which that species of poetry could assume. Among these authors are found Heywood the dramatist, and one or two more of note; but the majority are unknown to fame, and their epigrams, having never been reprinted, are very scarce. It is difficult to refer their productions to either a Greek or Roman type. There is an absence of the elegant simplicity of the one, and of the fulsomeness and scurrility of the other.
Sir, can you tell where young Pandurus lives,
Oh blame him not, to make what show he can,
How should be else be thought a Gentleman ?
What are those ever-toirning heavenly spheres,
And they that soonest die have happiest turns.
God of hearts, priihee begone,
But Cato with his beard austere. Although the Epigrammatists who flourished at the period of the Rebellion wrote little on politics, it is evident that they were affected by the events of the times, With scarcely an exception they were on the royal side, and their loyal and poetic temperament made them despise the irreverence and sourness of Puritanism. This gave warmth to their satire, which in the case of some seems to have been contrary to their natural feelings. The poet Drummond may be taken as an instance. No writer of epigrams of that age was so much imbued with the Greek tone and manner, or so successfully caught the ancient spirit. Witness the following invocation to sleep:
How comes it, Sleep, that thou
And yet so greatly did Pym and the other rebels raise his wrath, that he could pen an epigram more cutting in its satire than can perhaps be found in any other author:
When lately Pym descended into hell,
To whom a devil_“This is the Lower House." But the Restoration produced a great change in epigrammatic literature. The revulsion from Puritanism was carried to excess.
Love-sonnets became the fashion; many of them were of an epigrammatic character, and the stricter epigrams took the same tone. The influence of the theme of love on this stylo of literature becomes immediately apparent. The language is softened, the poetry smoother, the sentiments more refined. And whilst, as we have seen, the Epigrammatists had been hitherto, for the most part, a separate class-men who as general poets are unknown-we now find that the great poets are the writers of epigrams, which they polished with as much care as they bestowed upon longer poems. They wrote but few, it is true, but these were of higher character, and from this period, as is well remarked in an admirable article on epigrams in the 233rd No. of the “ Quarterly Review," " it will be found that the greater the poet, the more marked is his addiction to the Greek pattern; while the coarser style, more akin to the Latin, is chiefly met with in the off-hand wit of the mere man of pleasure, who wrote because it was the fashion, and because he had a gift, if indeed that be a gift, which confers the power of being personal, or severe, in as large, if not larger, measure than brilliant and terse.” This applies fully to Waller, Dryden, and others who came after them; but there is one marked exception to the general rule. l'rior ranks among the greater poets, but his epigrams are, with a few exceptions, of the very lowest type. He knew well, and translated some of the Greek epigrams, but he chiefly delighted in taking Martial as his pattern, lowered into more foolish puerility through French sources. False hair and eyes, rouge and enamel, the age of Phillis, and the tropes of Lysander, form the staple of his epigrams. He wrote some of considerable elegance, it must