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MANY-indeed most of the literary ornaments of Elizabeth's reign, florished under James also; but the poets, when they fell off, left no worthy successors. From the commencement of this reign, Johnson dates the rise of what he calls (with dubious propriety) the metaphysical poets, who, abandoning all simplicity of language-the genuine expression of nature and of passion, sought only laboured and meretricious ornaments of diction -unnatural conceits, antitheses, and tasteless jingle of words.

The prose style was disgraced by equal absurdities. An abominable fashion began of writing half Latin, half English; and our books were as much interlarded with Latin as Persic books are with Arabic. Of this wretched style, bishop Andrews, and Burton, in his

Anatomy of Melancholy, are remarkable examples; particularly the former. Even the great Bacon, the soundness of whose judgment would naturally have rejected all uncouth ornaments, was so far influenced by the prevalent taste, as to admit too frequently the heterogeneous mixture. This is particularly observable when he addresses any piece to the pedant James, in compliment to whom much of this barbarous taste might probably have been adopted. But a more general cause is, that the revival of letters was yet too recent for men to divest themselves of that silly and boyish vanity, which seeks all opportunities of displaying the learning it has acquired. This pedantic style is ridiculed by Shakespeare in his Holofernes (Love's Labour Lost); and sir Philip Sidney has another such a pedagogue in a masque, at the end of his works.

The increase of polemical divinity, too, lent its aid to promote this corruption of language. The subjects of contest, which chiefly interested the theological champions, were the calvinistic ones of election, predestination, &c. &c. These fell in exactly with the ruling passion of the monarch, who shone more con

spicuously as a divine than as a king. But such discussions had one consequence not quite so well suited to his taste. The preachers, from their frequent examination of theological topics, had acquired an habitually prying and busy spirit; and they could not rest, till they had examined into the grounds of the unconscious prerogative claimed by the sovereign. This transgression of the boundaries of their own province occasioned, however, in August, 1622, the "Directions, by royal authority, concerning Preachers and Preaching;" and which were especially levelled at the Puritans and lecturers, and excited great clamour.

Many corruptions also probably crept in by means of the catholic books so industriously disseminated. The Englishmen who wrote them, having lived abroad and spoken other languages, seem frequently to have forgotten their native idioms: for the strange phrases which occasionally occur are very curious, and sometimes very ludicrous.

In addition to those imperfections of style which arose from exotic admixtures-the writers of this period often neglected to observe the rules of grammar; and paid no attention whatever to elegance and to harmony of pe

riod. Though sound is insignificant when compared to sense; yet where they can be rendered compatible, it were idle fastidiousness to disdain the help of the former in augmenting general effect. The language of conversation, and the epistolary and familiar style, were in a far better taste than the formal compositions of authors.

Generally speaking, the best studies of this reign were those of classical literature, which the learning and example of James, no doubt, contributed greatly to render fashionable. Casaubon, the eminent scholar, was invited from France, and granted a pension of 3001. a year, besides church preferments. Antonio de Dominis, archbishop of Spalatro also distinguished for his classical learning, resided for some time in this country; but as his remuneration was incommensurate with his ambition, he withdrew again to the conti


If we except Sidney's Arcadia, it may be affirmed that prose allegory began in this reign; and I believe that " The Isle of Man," by Barnard, is one of the first specimens. The book was lately reprinted at Bristol. John Bunyan carried this sort of writing to the very point

of perfection. Long after, bishop Patrick wrote, A Pilgrim, but remarkable only for dullness; and the catholics have, A Pilgrim to Loretto, which is also bad, though it has beautiful passages of description. With the exception of these allegories, there is very little original prose fictitious narrative before the time of Charles II.

Translations were uncommonly numerous. I believe, that there was not a single good book published, at this period, in any part of Europe, which was not speedily made English. In general, these versions were well done; with respect to the romances, very badly, as before noticed.

Voyagers and travellers were likewise abundant, and assisted to augment our literary


But the brightest star in this galaxy of worthies, was the lord Verulam. His intellectual labours did more to enlighten his fellow men, and to fix them in a state of general improvement, than those of all others combined. Succeeding philosophers have had little else to do than to walk in his steps; or at least, to proceed towards those various objects


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