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was not without his part in the general expectation." Nothing came of it. The golden shower was as deceptive as a gold-mine, and Butler took up his pen again. The second part appeared, and Dr. Johnson repeats a story of how the Duke of Buckingham was told by Wycherley that Butler deserved well of the royal family, and "that it was a reproach to the court that a person of his loyalty and wit should suffer in obscurity and under the wants he did." The duke was ready with his promises, and offered to let the poet be introduced to him. While he was waiting to receive the poet, "a brace of ladies" passed by the open door, and the duke slipped out, and Butler never saw him. As Colley Cibber said of him,* "Was not his book always in the pocket of his prince? And what did the mighty prowess of his knight-errant amount to? Why the died, with the highest esteem of the court-in a garret!" Cowley was promised by Charles I. and Charles II. the mastership of the Savoy-an old hospital for the reception of professional beggars-but the sinecure was never granted him, and he died in neglect.
Writing for the stage was not very satisfactory, although it was tried by nearly all the writers of the time. Dryden, who probably was paid as much as any one, received, apparently, about £100 a year, and never more than £100 for any one of his plays. The prologues and epilogues would bring him, perhaps, five guineas more. For a time Dryden received from £300 to £400 in return for writing three plays a year-and that is the equivalent of three times as much at the present time-and he had pensions from the king, but the reward was scanty and uncertain for the rest of the dramatic writers. They all had to depend for further support upon such gifts as they might
*In his dedication of his "Ximena " to Steele.
entice from the rich by complimentary addresses, odes, elegies,* dedications, etc. In a word, there was no public. The history of English literature for the next hundred years is an account of the growth of a reading public.
At some other time we shall discuss briefly some of the peculiarities of the stage. Of certain qualities of the poetry mention has been already made, such as the invasion of conceits: the later poets were satisfied with the ingenuity and novelty of the conceits alone; they looked upon the means as an end, just as, possibly, some of our contemporary verse-writers mistake the use of new and rare epithets as all that is required for poetry. The reaction was in favor of simplicity and correctness. It began, as we saw, in Denham and Waller, who are to some extent the English equivalents of Malherbe, but Dryden was the man who left his mark most distinctly upon the movement, until we come to Pope, who brought it to its highest condition.
II. Possibly the most characteristic form of the poetry of this time is the satirical. There was an absence of strong enthusiasm, and in its place there existed political heat, and, above all, an earnest desire for correctness. The wide-spread licentiousness of the age produced the cynicism which would take pleasure in the study of the faults of mankind rather than in imaginative representations of human excellence. Moreover, the new-born intellectual and scientific interest demanded what was thought to be accuracy. It must be remembered, however, that satire was not absolutely new in English verse. There was George Gascoigne's "Steele Glas," 1576, one of the early poems in blank verse, by the way, from which it may be allowable to quote a few lines (p. 78):
* Dryden received 500 guineas for his elegy," Eleonora," on the Countess of Abingdon.
"Now these be past, (my priests) yet shall you pray
I cannot see who best deserves the room.
Stand forth, good Piers, thou plowman by thy name,
Yet so, the sailor saith I do him wrong:
That one contends his pains are without peer,
But since I see no shipman that can live
Behold him, priests, and though he stink of sweat,
and commit various agrarian outrages.
"I say that sooner some of them
Shall scale the walls which lead us up to heaven
The priests are also to pray for sailors—
Which asketh me, when shall our prayers end?”
To this he answers:
"When tinkers make no more holes than they found,
When smiths shoe horses as they would be shod,
When silver sticks not on the teller's fingers,
And when receivers pay as they receive,
"And yet therein I pray you (my good priests)
Because we show all colours in their kind.
O worthy words to end my worthless verse,
Pray for me, priests, I pray you pray for me."
But these pensive lines are very different from the usual somewhat brazen rhetoric of the regular satirical poets of England. The first* of these was Joseph Hall (1574– 1656), afterwards Bishop of Exeter and of Norwich. At the age of twenty-three, and while he was yet a student at Emmanuel College, Cambridge, the author began the publication of his Satires, the first three books appearing in 1597, the last three in 1598, a little more than twenty years after Gascoigne's "Steele Glas."
"I first adventure," is the way he begins:
*The controversy about absolute priority would be sterile. Grosart, in the preface to his edition of Hall's satires, rules out Piers Plowman as a mediæval writer, and mentions, besides Gascoigne, Hake's "Newes out of Powles Church Yard," 1567-69, and Thomas Lodge's "Fig for Momus," What Hall meant was that he was the first classical satirist.
And this he did with the vigor he learned from Juvenal and the "Roman ancients "-"Whose words," he says,
were short, and darksome was their sense.
Who reads one line of their harsh poesies,
Thrice must he take his wind, and breathe him thrice."
Here is an example:
"Thy grandsire's words savoured of thrifty leeks
Or manly garlic.
They naked went, or clad in ruder hide
Or home-spun russet, void of foreign pride.
But thou canst sport in garish gauderie,
To suit a fool's far-fetchéd livery.
A French head joined to neck Italian:
The thighs from Germany, the breast from Spain:
An Englishman in none, a fool in all."
This reminds one of Portia's description of the English lord, "Merchant of Venice," I. i. 79 (1596–7).
He attacks Marlowe, and, in fact, most of his contemporaries :
"Too popular is tragic poesie,
Straining his tiptoes for a farthing fee,
And doth, beside, on rimeless numbers tread :
He also denounces various social errors:
"Who ever gives a pair of velvet shoes
To th' holy rood, or liberally allows
Or graven in the chancel-window glass,
Or in the lasting tomb of plated brass.