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In Russia, a younger nation than ours, the fables of Kriloff had a considerable sale at the beginning of this century, but they had a political meaning.



Defoe-Irony-Ode to the Pillory—The “Comical Pil

grim”—The “Scandalous Club”-Humorous Periodicals -Heraclitus Ridens—The London Spy-The British Apollo.

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EFOE was born in 1663, and was the

son of a butcher in St. Giles'. He first distinguised himself by writing in 1699 a poetical satire entitled “ The True Born Englishman,” in honour of King William and the Dutch, and in derision of the nobility of this country, who did not much appreciate the foreign court. The poem abounded with rough and rude sarcasm. After giving an uncomplimentary description of the English, he proceeds to trace their descent“ These are the heroes that despise the Dutch

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Aud rail at new-come foreigners so much,
Forgetting that themselves are all derived
From the most scoundrel race that ever lired;
A horrid race of rambling thieves and drones
Who ransacked kingdoms and dispeopled towns;
The Pict and painted Briton, treacherous Scot,
By hunger, theft

, and rapine hither brought;
Norwegian pirates, buccaneering Danes,
Whose red-haired offspring everywhere remains;
Who joined with Norman-French compound the breed
From whence your true-born Englishmen proceed.

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Dutch, Walloons, Flemings, Irishmen, and Scots,
Vaudois, and Valtolins and Huguenots,
In good Queen Bess's charitable reign,
Supplied us with three hundred thousand men;
Religion-God we thank ! sent them hither,
Priests, protestants, the devil, and all together."

The first part concludes with a view of the low origin of some of our nobles.

“Innumerable city knights we know
From Bluecoat hospitals and Bridewell flow,
Draymen and porters fill the City chair,
And footboys magisterial purple wear.
Fate has but very small distinction set
Betwixt the counter and the coronet.
Tarpaulin lords, pages of high renown
Rise up by poor men's valour, not their own;
Great families of yesterday we show
And lords, whose parents were the Lord knows who.”

So much keen and clever invective levelled at the higher classes of course had its reward in a wide circulation; but we are surprised to hear that the King noticed it with favour; the author was honoured with a personal interview, and became a still stronger partizan of the court. Defoe called the “True Born Englishman,

“ A contradiction In speech an irony, in fact a fiction;" and we may observe that he was particularly fond of an indirect and covert style of writing. He thought that he could thus use his weapons to most advantage, but his disguise was seen through by his enemies as well as by his friends. Irony—the stating the reverse of what is meant, whether good or bad—is often resorted to by those treading on dangerous ground, and admits of two very different interpretations. It is especially ambiguous in writing, and should be used with caution. Defoe's “Shortest Way with the Dissenters” was first attributed to a High Churchman, but soon was recognised as the work of a Dissenter. He explained that he intended the opposite of what he had said, and was merely deprecating measures being taken against his brethren ; but his enemies considered that his real object was to exasperate them against the Government. Even if taken ironically, it hardly seemed venial to call furiously for the extermination of heretics, or to raise such lamentation as, “Alas! for the Church of England! What with popery on one hand, and schismatics on the other, how has she been crucified between two thieves !” Experience had not then taught that it was better to let such effusions pass for what they were worth, and Defoe was sentenced to stand in the pillory, and suffer fine and imprisionment. He does not seem to have been in such low spirits as we might have expected dnring his incarceration, for he employed part of his time in composing his “Hymn to the Pillory,” “ Hail hieroglyphic state machine, Contrived to punish fancy in: Men that are men in thee can feel no pain, And all thy insignificants disdain.”

Hymn to the Pillory.


He continues in a strong course of invective against certain persons whom he thinks really worthy of being thus punished, and proceeds— “But justice is inverted when

Those engines of the law,
Instead of pinching vicious men

Keep honest ones in awe:
Thy business is, as all men know,
To punish villains, not to make men so.
“ Whenever then thou art prepared
To prompt that vice thou shouldst reward,
And by the terrors of thy grisly face,
Make men turn rogues to shun disgrace ;
The end of thy creation is destroyed
Justice expires of course, and law's made void.
6 Thon like the devil dost appear
Blacker than really thou art far,
A wild chimeric notion of reproach
Too little for a crime, for none too much,
Let none the indignity resent,
For crime is all the shame of punisbment.
Thou bugbear of the law stand up and speak
Thy long misconstrued silence break,
Tell us who 'tis upon thy ridge stands there
So full of fault, and yet so void of fear,
And from the paper on his hat,
Let all mankind be told for what."

These lines refer to his own condemnation, and the piece concludes,

Tell them the men who placed him here
Are friends unto the times,
But at a loss to find his guile

They can't commit his crimes.” Defoe seems to have thoroughly imbibed the ascetic spirit of his brethren. He was fond of denouncing social as well as political vanities. The “Comical Pilgrim” contains a considerable amount of coarse humour, and in one

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