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being instituted. In literature, as in religion, there is a strong tendency to party spirit-a wish to make a faction and appoint a leader-a setting up of Paul and Apollos, instead of a catholic admiration of genius apart from personal feelings and prejudices.

To counter-balance the severe remarks, which we have quoted, we must remember that Jonson received the warmest eulogies from his greatest contemporaries; and we therefore give two quotations from Fuller and Dryden, where the comparison is handled with temper and judgment. Fuller, in speaking of the "Wit Combats " between Shakespeare and Jonson at the "Mermaid Tavern," adds: "Which two, I behold like a Spanish great galleon and an English man-of-war. Master Jonson, like the former, was built far higher in learning, solid, but slow in his performances: Shakespeare, with the English man-of-war, lesser in bulk, but lighter in sailing, could turn with all tides, tack about, and take advantage of all winds by the quickness of his wit and invention."

Dryden writes: "As for Jonson, to whose character I am now arrived, if we look upon him while he was himself (for his last plays were but his dotages), I think him the most learned and judicious writer which any theatre ever had. He was a most severe judge of himself as well as others. One cannot say he wanted wit, but rather that he was frugal of it. of it. In his works you find little to retrench or alter. Wit, and language, and humour also in some measure we had before him, but something of art was wanting to the drama before he came. He managed his strength to more advantage than any who preceded him. You seldom find him making love in any of his scenes, or endeavouring to move the passions; his genius was too sullen and saturnine to do it gracefully, especially when he knew he came after those who had performed both to such

a height. Humour was his proper sphere, and in that he delighted most to present mechanical people. He was deeply conversant in the ancients, both Greek and Latin, and he borrowed boldly from them. There is scarce a poet or historian among the Roman authors of those times whom he has not translated in 'Sejanus' or 'Catiline.' But he has done his robberies so openly, that one may see he fears not to be taxed by any law. He invades authors like a monarch, and what would be theft in other poets is only victory in him. With the spoils of these writers, he so represents old Rome to us, in its rites, ceremonies, and customs, that if one of their poets had written either of his tragedies, we had seen less of it than in him. If there was any fault in his language, it was that he weaved it too closely and laboriously, in his comedies especially; perhaps, too, he did a little too much Romanize our language, leaving the words he translated almost as much Latin as he found them, wherein, though he learnedly followed their language, he did not enough comply with the idioms of ours. If I would compare him with Shakespeare, I must acknowledge him the most correct poet, but Shakespeare the greater wit. Shakespeare was the Homer or father of dramatic poets, Jonson was the Virgil, the pattern of elaborate writing. I admire him; but I love Shakespeare."

Clarendon says of him: "Ben Jonson's name can never be forgotten, having by his very good learning, and the severity of his nature and manners, very much reformed the stage, and, indeed the English poetry itself. His natural advantages were judgment to order and govern fancy rather than success of fancy, his production being slow and upon deliberation, yet then abounding with great wit and fancy, and will live accordingly; and surely as he did exceedingly exalt the English language in eloquence, propriety, and masculine expression, so he was

the best judge and fittest to prescribe rules to poetry and poets of any man who had lived with or before him."

We conclude with an extract from "Rosciad :"


"Next, Jonson sat, in ancient learning train'd;
His rigid judgment Fancy's flights restrain❜d,
Correctly prun'd each wild luxuriant thought,
Mark'd out her course, nor spar'd a glorious fault.
The book of Man he read with nicest art,
And ransack'd all the secrets of the heart;
Excited Penetration's utmost force,

And trac'd each passion to its proper source;
Then, strongly marked, in liveliest colours drew,
And brought each foible forth to public view.
The coxcomb felt a lash in every word,
And fools hung out, their brother fools deterr'd;
His comic humour kept the world in awe
And laughter frighten'd folly more than law."


THE lot of Sir William Davenant fell on strange and stirring times. He contributed to found a new literature, witnessed the installation of a new political system, and the birth-convulsions of a new religion. His life spanned that mighty chasm which separates the ancient from the modern of English History: when those principles of thought and action which had cradled the infant kingdoms of Europe, and toned their civilization, retreated angrily before the stormy ingress of a meaner though stronger spirit. But unlike his great contemporary, Milton, his character took no form or colour from the solemn events that were passing around him. If he was prominent in the scene, it was from an inherent buoyancy, rather than from any intellectual superiority; nor from the perusal of his works can we gather that the wreck of old opinions that everywhere met his gaze, affected him with apprehension, or excited him to deeper thought or more vigorous expression. To his private history a more touching interest attaches. Shakespeare was his early friend. He, whose very name to us is an inspiration, listened to his boyish

talk, encouraged his awakening literary tastes. The matchless harmony of his deepest utterances was then newly vibrating on the public ear. Davenant pondered over them, loved them to the last, taught others to love them, but never penetrated the mystery of their influence. Thus he lived to witness the banishment of his idol from the English stage, and was himself an effectual instrument in contributing to such a result.

He was born at Oxford in the parish of St. Martin, towards the close of February, 1605. His father was a vintner in that city, and kept the "Crown Inn” near Carfax, where Shakespeare was accustomed to stay on his annual journeys from London to Warwickshire. His mother, who was a woman of great beauty and sprightliness, contrasting strangely with the severe gravity of her husband, has well-nigh had her fair fame tarnished through the culpable vanity or levity of her son, who among boon companions would sometimes indulge in sly inuendoes. touching Shakespeare's preference for his father's inn. "Where are you running to so fast?" said an Oxford dignitary one day to little Davenant, whom he met in the street, scampering along in breathless haste. "I am going to see Godfather Shakespeare," replied the boy. "Fie! fie!" rejoined the divine, "why are you so superfluous ? Have you not learnt the third commandment?" This unbecoming jest, Davenant himself in after years, with strange indelicacy adopted; and was wont to observe, though an impartial judge will scarcely concur in his estimate of the likelihood of its truth, that "it seemed to him he writ with the very pen that Shakespeare wrote, and was contented enough to be thought his son." Aubrey, too, observes that he "was proud of being thought so, and had often, in his cups, owned the report to be true to Butler the poet." Such unseemly jocularity would have been unworthy of record, had it not been made the ground

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