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spirit in a loathsome frame !-But, we forget; -we are indulging ourselves, when we ought to gratify our readers.
The Lord Chief Justice Saunders succeeded in the room of Pemberton. His character, and his beginning, were equally strange. He was at first no better than a poor beggar boy, if not a parish foundling, without known parents or relations. He had found a way to live by obsequiousness (in Clement's-Inn, as I remember) and courting the attorney's clerks for scraps. The extraordinary observance and
was read, Well, said the lord chancellor, then I will lay my maker by the heels. And, with that conceit, one of his best old friends went to jail. One of these intemperances was fatal to him. There was a scrivener of Wapping brought to hearing for relief against a bummery bond; the contingency of losing all being showed, the bill was going to be dismissed. But one of the plaintiff's counsel said that he was a strange fellow, and sometimes went to church, sometimes to conventicles; and none could tell what to make of him; and it was thought he 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 that monster, but never saw one. Come forth, Mr. Trimmer, turn you round, and let us see your shape: and, at that rate, talked so long that the poor fellow was ready to drop under him; but, at last the bill was dismissed with costs, and he went his way. In the hall, one of his friends asked him how he came off! Came off, said, he, I am escaped from the terrors of that man's face, which I would scurce undergo again to save my life; I shall certainly have the frightful impression of it as long as I live. Afterwards, when the Prince of Orange came, and all was in confusion, this lord chancellor, being very obnoxious, disguised himself in order to go beyond sea. He was in a seaman's garb, and drinking a pot in a cellar. This scrivener came into the cellar after some of his clients and his eye caught that face, which made him start; and the chancellor seeing himself eyed, feigned a cough, and turned to the wall with his pot in his hand. But Mr. Trimmer went out, and gave notice that he was there; whereupon the mob flowed in, and he was in extreme hazard of his life; but the lord mayor saved him and lost himself. For the chancellor being hurried with such crowd and noise before him, and appearing so dismally, not only disguised, but disordered; and there having been an amity between them, as also a veneration on the lord mayor's part, he had not spirits to sustain the shock, but fell down in a swoon; and, in not many hours after, died. But this Lord Jeffries came to the seal without any concern at the weight of duty incumbent upon him; for, at the first, being merry over a bottle with some of his old friends, one of them told him that he would find the business heavy. No, said he, I'll make it light. But, to conclude with a strange inconsistency, he would drink and be merry, kiss and slaver, with these bon companions over night, as the way of such is, and the next day fall upon them, ranting and scolding with a virulence unsufferable."
But the richest portion of these volumes is the character of the Lord Chief Justice Saunders, the author of the Reports which Mr. Serjeant Williams has rendered popular by clustering about them the products of his learned industry. He has a better immortality in the memoir. What a picture is exhibited of the stoutest industry, joined with the most luxurious spirit of enjoyment-of the most intense acquaintance with nice technicalities and the most bounteous humour-of more distressing infirmities and scarcely less wit than those of Falstaff! What a singular being is herewhat a laborious, acute, happy and affectionate
to do him good. He appeared very ambitious
"So much for his person and education. As for his parts, none had them more lively than he. Wit and repartee, in an affected rusticity, was natural to him. He was ever ready, and never at a loss; and none came so near as he to be a match for Serjeant Maynard. great dexterity was in the art of special pleacing, and he would lay snares that often caught his superiors, who were not aware of his traps. And he was so fond of success for his clients that, rather than fail, he would set the court hard with a trick; for which he met sometimes with a reprimand, which he would wittily ward off, so that no one was much offended with him. But Hales could not bear his irregularity of life; and for that, and suspicion of his tricks, used to bear hard upon him in the court. But no ill usage from the bench was too hard for his hold 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 a philanthrope. He was a very Silenus to the boys, as, in this place, I may term the students of the law, to make them merry whenever they had a mind to it. He had nothing of rigid or austere in him. If any, near him at the bar, grumbled at his stench, he ever converted the complaint into content and laughing with the abundance of his wit. As to his ordinary dealing, he was as honest as the driven snow was white; and why not, having no regard for money, nor desire to be rich! And, for good nature and condescension, there was not his fellow. I have seen him, for hours and half hours together, before the court sat, stand at the bar, with an audience of students over against him, putting of cases, and debating so as suited their capacities, and encouraging their industry. And so in the Temple, he seldom moved without a parcel of youths hanging about him, and he merry and jesting with them.
Although we have been able to give but a few of the choice peculiarities of these volumes, our readers will be able to gather, from our extracts, that the profession of the law was a very different thing in the reign of Charles the Second, from what it is in the present era. There was something in it more robust and hearty than there is now. Lawyers treated on the dryest subjects, in a "full and heightened style," which now would receive merited ridicule, because it is natural no longer. When Lord Coke "wanders in the wilderness of the laws of the forest"-or stops to "recreate himself with a view of Dido's deer"-or looks on his own fourth Institute, as "the high and honourable building of the jurisdiction of the courts"-we feel that he uses the language of metaphor, merely because he thinks in it. Modern improvement has introduced a division of labour among the faculties. The regions of imagination and of reality are separated by stricter and more definite limits, than in the days of old. Our poems and orations are more wild and extravagant, and our ordinary duties more dry and laborious. Men have learned to refine on their own feelings-to analyze all their sensations-to class all their powers, feelings, and fantasies, as in a museum; and to mark and label them so that they may never be applied, except to appropriate uses. The imagination is only cultivated as a kind of exotic luxury. No one unconsciously writes in a picturesque style, or suffers the colour of his thoughts to suffuse itself over his disquisitions, without caring for the effect on the reader. The rich conceit is either suppressed, or carefully reserved to adorn some
Our ancestors permitted the wall-flower, when it would, to spread out its sweets from the massive battlement, without thinking there was any thing extraordinary in its growth, or desiring to transplant it to a garden, where it would add little fragrance to the perfume of other flowers.
"It will be readily conceived that this man was never cut out to be a presbyter, or any thing that is severe and crabbed. In no time did he lean to faction, but did his business without offence to any. He put off officious talk of government or politics, with jests, and so made his wit a catholicon, or shield, to cover all his weak places and infirmities. When the court fell into a steady course of using the law against all kinds of offenders, this man was taken into the king's business; and had the part of drawing and perusal of almost all indictments and informations that were then to be prosecuted, with the pleadings thereon if any were special; and he had the settling of the large pleadings in the quo warranto against 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, and at the bar; but once after he was in the king's business, he dined with his lordship, and no more. And there he showed another qualification he had acquired, and that was to play jigs upon a harpsichord; having taught himself with the opportunity of an old virginal of 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 thein. 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 precedentsbe trusted to men of doubtful principles, or amidst the remotest grandeur of our history. such as any thing might tempt 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 stains and colourings of a humanizing ansant, and, withal, 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 sustain it, and without number, have precluded the necessity ne 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 Bouncing of the judgment, declared it to be helps as he can procure, and despairs of re
ducing the ever-increasing multitude of decisions to any fixed and intelligible principles. Thus his labours are not directed to a visible goal-nor cheered by the venerableness of old time-nor crowned with that certainty of conclusion, which is the best reward of scientific researches. The lot of a superficial student of a dry science, is, of all conditions, the most harassing and fruitless. The evil must
increase until it shall work its own cureuntil accumulated reports shall lose their authority or the legislature shall be compelled, by the vastness of the mischief, to undertake the tremendous task of revising and condensing the whole statute law, and fixing the construction of the unwritten maxims within some tolerable boundaries.
REVIEW OF THE DRAMATIC LITERATURE OF THE AGE OF ELIZABETH.
IF Mr. Hazlitt has not generally met with impartial justice from his contemporaries, we must say that he has himself partly to blame. Some of the attacks of which he has been the object, have, no doubt, been purely brutal and malignant; but others have, in a great measure, arisen from feelings of which he has himself set the example. His seeming carelessness of that public opinion which he would influence -his love of startling paradoxes-and his intrusion of political virulence, at seasons when the mind is prepared only for the delicate investigations of taste, have naturally provoked a good deal of asperity, and prevented the due appreciation of his powers. We shall strive, however, to divest ourselves of all prepossessions, and calmly to estimate those talents and feelings which he has here brought to the contemplation of such beauty and grandeur, as none of the low passions of this “ignorant present time" should ever be permitted to overcloud.
and separates it, in a moment, from all that would encumber or deface it. At the same time, he exhibits to us those hidden sources of beauty, not like an anatomist, but like a lover: he does not coolly dissect the form to show the springs whence the blood flows all eloquent, and the divine expression is kindled; but makes us feel it in the sparkling or softened eye, the wreathed smile, and the tender bloom. In a word, he at once analyzes and describes, so that our enjoyments of loveliness are not chilled, but brightened, by our acquaintance with their inward sources. The knowledge communicated in his lectures, breaks no sweet enchantment, nor chills one feeling of youthful joy. His criticisms, while they extend our insight into the causes of poetical excellence, teach us, at the same time, more keenly to enjoy, and more fondly to revere it.
It must seem, at first sight, strange, that powers like these should have failed to excite 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 whichished the influence of Mr. Hazlitt'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." He introduces us almost corporally into the 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; | principles of taste to give singleness to his
The chief of these may, we think, be ascribed primarily to the want of proportion, of
The first of these lectures consists of a general view of the subject, expressed in terms of the deepest veneration and of the most pas sionate eulogy. After eloquently censuring the gross prejudice, that genius and beauty are things of modern discovery, or that in old time a few amazing spirits shone forth amidst general darkness, as the harbingers of brighter days, the author proceeds to combat the notion that Shakspeare was a sort of monster of poetical genius, and all his contemporaries of an order far below him.
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-joice 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 sense of pleasure in intellectual beauty, which is the best charm of his writings, is also his chief deluder. He cannot resist a powerful image, an exquisite quotation, or a pregnant remark, however it may dissipate, or even subvert, the general feeling which his theme should inspire. Thus, on one occasion, in the midst of a violent political invective, he represents the objects of his scorn as "having been beguiled, like Miss Clarissa Harlowe, into a house of ill-fame, and, like her, defending themselves to the last;" as if the reader's whole current of feeling would not be diverted from all political disputes, by the remembrance thus awakened of one of the sublimest scenes of romance ever imbodied by human power. He will never be contented to touch that most strange and curious instrument, the human heart, with a steady aim, but throws his hand rapidly over the chords, mingling strange discord with "most eloquent music." Instead of conducting us onward to a given object, he opens so many delicious prospects by the wayside, and suffers us to gaze at them so long, that we forget the end of our journey. He is perpetually dazzled among the sunbeams of his fancy, and plays with them in elegant fantasy, when he should point them to the spots where they might fall on truth and beauty, and render them visible by a clearer and lovelier radiance than had yet revealed them.
The work before us is not the best verification of these remarks; for it has more of continuity, and less of paradox, than any of his previous writings. With the exception of some strong political allusions in the account of the Sejanus of Ben Jonson, it is entirely free from those expressions of party feeling which respect for an audience, consisting of men of all parties, and men of no party, ought always to restrain. There is also none of that personal bitterness towards Messrs. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey, which disfigured his former lectures. His hostility towards these poets, the associates of his early days, has always, indeed, been mingled with some redeeming feelings which have heightened the regret occasioned by its public disclosure. While he has pursued them with all possible | severity of invective, and acuteness of sarcasm, he has protected their intellectual character with a chivalrous zeal. He has spoken as if "his only hate had sprung from his only love;" and his thoughts of its objects, deep rooted in old affection, could not lose all traces of their "primal sympathy." His bitterest language
"He, indeed, overlooks and commands the admiration of posterity; but he does it from the table land of the age in which he lived. He towered above his fellows in shade and gesture proudly eminent;' but he was but one of a race of giants, the tallest, the strongest, the most graceful and beautiful of them; but it was a common and noble brood. He was not something sacred and aloof from the vulgar herd of men, but shook hands with Nature and the circumstances of the time; and is distinguished from his immediate contemporaries, not in kind, but in degree, and greater variety of excellence. He did not form a class or species by himself, but belonged to a class or species. His age was necessary to him; nor could he have been wrenched from his place in the edifice, of which he was so conspicuous a part, without equal injury to himself and it. Mr. Wordsworth says of Milton, that 'his soul was like a star, and dwelt apart.' This cannot be said with any propriety of Shakspeare, who certainly moved in a constellation of bright luminaries, and drew after him the third part of the heavens.'" Pp. 12, 13.
The author then proceeds to investigate the general causes of that sudden and rich development of poetical feeling which forms his theme. He attributes it chiefly to the mighty impulse given to thought by the Reformationto the disclosure of all the marvellous stores of sacred antiquity, by the translation of the Scriptures-and to the infinite sweetness, breathing from the divine character of the Messiah, with which he seems to imagine that the people were not familiar in darker ages. We are far from insensible to the exquisite beauty with which this last subject is treated; and fully agree with our author, that "there is something in the character of Christ, of more sweetness and majesty, and more likely to work a change in the mind of man, than any to be found in history, whether actual or feigned." But we cannot think that the gentle influences which that character shed upon the
general heart, were weak or partial even before the translation of the Scriptures. The young had received it, not from books, but from the living voice of their parents, made softer in its tones by reverence and love. It had tempered early enthusiasm, and prompted visions of celestial beauty, in the souls even of the most low, before men had been taught to reason on their faith. The instances of the Saviour's compassion-his wondrous and beneficent miracles-his agonies and death, did not lie forgotten during centuries, because the people could not read of them. They were written "on the fleshy tables of the heart," and softened the tenour of humble existence, while superstition, ignorance, and priestcraft held sway in high places.
their view, without disguise or control. All those causes Mr. Hazlitt regards as directed, and their immediate effects as united by the genius of our country, native, unaffected, sturdy, and unyielding. His lecture concludes with a character, equally beautiful and just, of the Genius of our Poetry, with reference to the classical models, as having more of Pan than of Apollo:-"but Pan is a God, Apollo is no more!"
The five succeeding Lectures contain the opinions of the author on most of the celebrated works produced from the time of the Reformation, until the death of Charles the First. The second comprises the characters of Lyly, Marlow, Heywood, Middleton, and Rowley. The account of Lyly's Endymion is worthy of that sweet but singular work. The address of Eumenides to Endymion, on his awaking from his long sleep, " Behold the twig to which thou laidest down thy head is become a tree," is indeed, as described by our author, "an exquisitely chosen image, and dumb proof of the manner in which he has passed his life from youth to old age,-in a dream, a dream of love!" His description of Marlow's qualities, when he says "there is a lust of power in his writings, a hunger and thirst after unrighteousness, a glow of the imagination unhallowed by any thing but its own energies," is very striking. The characters of Middleton and Rowley in this Lecture, and those of Marston, Chapman, Deckar, and Webster in the third, are sketched with great spirit; and the peculiar beauties of each are dwelt on in a style and with a sentiment congenial with the predominant feeling of the poet. At the close of the Lecture, the observation, that the old dramatic writers have nothing theatrical about them, introduces the following eulogy on that fresh delight which books are ever ready to yield us.
These old feelings of love, however, tended greatly to sweeten and moderate the first excursions of the intellect, when released from its long thraldom. The new opening of the stores of classic lore, of Ancient History, of Italian Poetry, and of Spanish Romance, contributed much, doubtless, to the incitement and the perfection of our national genius. The discovery of the New World, too, opened fresh fields for the imagination to revel in. "Green islands, and golden sands," says our author, "seemed to arise, as by enchantment, out of the bosom of the watery waste, and invite the cupidity, or wing the imagination of the dreaming speculator. Fairy land was realized in new and unknown worlds."- -"Fortunate fields, and groves, and flowerý vales-thrice happy isles," were found floating "like those Hesperian gardens famed of old,"-" beyond Atlantic seas, as dropped from the zenith." Ancient superstitions also still lingered among the people. The romance of human life had not then departed. It was more full of traps and pitfalls; of moving accidents by flood and field: more way-laid by sudden and startling evils, "Here, on Salisbury Plain, where I write it stood on the brink of hope and fear, or stum- this, even here, with a few old authors, I can bled upon fate unawares,-while imagination, manage to get through the summer or the winclose behind it, caught at and clung to the ter months, without ever knowing what it is to shape of danger, or snatched a wild and fear- feel ennui. They sit with me at breakfast, they ful joy from its escape." The martial and walk out with me before dinner. After a long heroic spirit was not dead. It was compara- walk through unfrequented tracts,-after starttively an age of peace, "Like Strength reposing the hare from the fern, or hearing the ing on his own right arm:" but the sound of civil combat might still be heard in the dis. tance, the spear glittered to the eye of me. mory, or the clashing of armour struck on the imagination of the ardent and the young. The people of that day were borderers on the savage state, on the times of war and bigotry,-though themselves in the lap of arts, of luxury, and knowledge. They stood on the shore, and saw the billows rolling after the storm. They heard the tumult, and were still. Another source of imaginative feelings, which Mr. Hazlitt quotes from Mr. Lamb, is found in the distinctions of dress, and all the external symbols of trade, profession, and degree, by which "the surface of society was embossed with hieroglyphics, and poetry existed in act and complement extern." Lastly, our author alJudes to the first enjoyment and uncontrolled range of our old poets through Nature, whose fairest flowers were then uncropped, and to the movements of the soul then laid open to
wing of the raven rustling above my head, or being greeted with the woodman's 'stern goodnight' as he strikes into his narrow homeward path,-I can take mine ease at mine inn' beside the blazing hearth, and shake hands with Signor Orlando Frescobaldo, as the oldest acquaintance I have. Ben Jonson, learned Chapman, Master Webster, and Master Heywood are there; and, seated round, discourse the silent hours away. Shakspeare is there himself, rich in Cibber's Manager's coat. Spenser is hardly returned from a ramble through the woods, or is concealed behind a group of nymphs, fawns, and satyrs. Milton lies on the table as on an altar, never taken up or laid down without reverence. Lyly's Endymion sleeps with the moon that shines in at the window; and a breath of wind stirring at a distance, seems a sigh from the tree under which he grew old. Faustus disputes in one corner of the room with fiendish faces, and reasons of divine astrology. Bella