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they may thus obliquely reflect some praise on themselves. This is made so adroitly, so delicately, and so concealed, that it is not perceived.
The following are strange inventions, originating in the wilful bad taste of the authors. OTTO VENIUS, the master of Rubens, is the designer of Le Theatre moral de la Vie humaine. In this emblematical history of human life, he has taken his subjects from Horace; but certainly his conceptions are not Horatian. He takes every image in a literal sense. If Horace says, “ Misce stultitiam CONSILIIS BREVEM," behold Venius takes brevis personally, and represents folly as a little short child! of not above three or four years old! In the emblem which answers Horace's “ Raro antecedentem scelestum deseruit PEDE PENA CLAUDO," we find Punishment with a wooden leg.–And for“ PULVIS ET UMBRA SUMUS,” we have a dark burying vault, with dust sprinkled about the floor, and a shadow walking upright between two ranges of urns. For " Virtus est vitium fugere, et sapientia prima stultitia caruisse," most flatly he gives seven or eight Vices pursuing Virtue, and Folly just at the heels of Wisdom. I saw in an English Bible printed in Holland an instance of the same taste: the artist, to illustrate “ Thou seest the mote in thy neighbour's eye, but not the beam in
thine own," has actually placed an immense beam which projects from the eye of the caviller to the ground !
As a contrast to the too obvious taste of VENIUS, may be placed Cesare di Ripa, who is the author of an Italian work, translated into most European languages, the Iconologia; the favourite book of the
age, and the fertile parent of the most absurd offspring which Taste has known. Ripa is as darkly subtile as Venius is obvious; and as farfetched in his conceits as the other is literal. Ripa represents Beauty by a naked lady, with her head in a cloud; because the true idea of beauty is hard to be conceived ! Flattery, by a lady with a flute in her hand, and a stag at her feet, because stags are said to love musie so much, that they suffer themselves to be taken, if you play to them on a flute. Fraud, with two hearts in one hand, and a mask in the other: his collection is too numerous to point out more instances. Ripa also describes how the allegorical figures are to be coloured ; Hope is to have a sky-blue robe, because she always looks towards heaven. Enough of these Capriccios!
In the article Milton, in the preceding volume, I had occasion to give some strictures on the asperity of literary controversy: the specimens I brought forward were drawn from his own and Salmasius's writings. If to some the subject has appeared exceptionable, to me, I confess, it seems useful, and I shall therefore add some other particulars; for this topic has many branches. Of the following specimens the grossness and malignity are extreme; yet they were employed by the first scholars in Europe.
Martin Luther was not destitute of genius, of learning, or of eloquence; but his violence disfigured his works with invectives, and singularities of abuse. The great reformer of superstition had himself all the vulgar ones of his day; he believed that flies were devils; and that he had had a buffeting with Satan, when his left ear felt the prodigious beating. Hear him express himself on the Catholic divines : “ The Papists are all asses, and will always remain asses. Put them in whatever sauce you choose, boiled, roasted, baked, fried, skinned, beat, hashed, they are always the same asses."
Gentle and moderate, compared with a salute to his Holiness.—“ The Pope was born out of the Devil's posteriors. He is full of devils, lies, blasphemies, and idolatries ; he is anti-Christ; the robber of churches; the ravisher of virgins ; the greatest of pimps; the governor of Sodom, &c. If the Turks lay hold of us, then we shall be in the hands of the Devil; but if we remain with the Pope, we shall be in hell. What a pleasing sight would it be to see the Pope and the Cardinals hanging on one gallows, in exact order, like the seals which dangle from the bulls of the Pope! What an excellent council would they hold under the gallows !"
Sometimes, desirous of catching the attention of the vulgar, Luther attempts to enliven his style by the grossest buffooneries : “ Take care, my little Popal my little ass ! go on slowly: the times are slippery: this year is dangerous : if thou fallest, they will exclaim, See! how our little Pope is spoilt !" It was fortunate for the cause of the Reformation that the violence of Luther was softened in a considerable degree at times by the meek Melancthon: he often poured honey on the sting inflicted by the angry bee. Luther was no respecter of kings; he was so fortunate, indeed, as to find among his antagonists a crowned head; a great good fortune for an obscure controversialist, and the very punctum saliens of controversy. Our Henry VIII, wrote his book against the new doctrine : then warm from scholastic studies, Henry presented Leo X. with a work highly creditable to his abilities, and no inferior performance according to the genius of the age. Collier, in his Ecclesiastical History, has analysed the book, and does not ill decribe its spirit: “Henry seems superior to his adversary in the vigour and propriety of his style, in the force of his reasoning, and the learning of his citations. It is true he leans too much upon his character, argues in his garter-robes, and writes as 'twere with his scepter.” But Luther in reply abandons his pen to all kinds of railing and abuse. He addresses Henry VIII. in the following style: “ It is hard to say if folly can be more foolish, or stupidity more stupid, than is the head of Henry. He has not attacked me with the heart of a king, but with the impudence of a knave. This rotten worm of the earth having blasphemed the majesty of my king, I have a just right to bespatter his English majesty with his own dirt and ordure. This Henry has lied.” Some of his original expressions to our Henry VIII, are these : “ Stulta, ridicula, et verissimè Henriciana, et Thomistica sunt hæc—Regem Angliæ Henricum istum plane mentiri, &c.—Hoc agit inquietus Satan, ut nos a Scripturis avocet per sceleratos Henricos, &c."He was repaid with capital and interest by an anonymous reply, said to have been written by Sir Thomas More, who concludes his arguments by leaving Luther in language not necessary to