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Fletcher's conversation he is utterly devoid ; alike rejoiced in the superior refinement of this defect, indeed, he shared with Ford and an age which pronounced the Moor of Venice others; nor can we assent to some modern dull, and applauded the Adventures of Five critics who held that he was unable to write Hours, the Parson's Wedding of Killigrew, the language of courtiers and gentlemen and the Spanish Friar of Dryden. But, because he consorted only with persons of although set aside, Massinger was not neglow extraction or vulgar manners. One lected by the younger generation of playbrought up in the noble house of the Her- writers. If he was not good to act, he was berts, and well educated also, cannot have good to plunder; new heads might be fitted been wholly ignorant of the manners and to the busts of his plays; his Bondman was conversation of good society.
worked up into a lifeless comedy called the To all appearance Massinger had no Interval, his Fatal Dowry into the Fair Penreason to complain of his audiences; and itent. Nothing, perhaps, more vividly disthat he was a favourite with the public is plays the neglect into which Massinger had proved by his constant employment by fallen than the success of Rowe's tragedy. the purveyors of the stage. Thirty-eight Of all the raids on Massinger this was indramas, including that now printed for the comparably the most audacious, yet of it first time among his collected works, are, in Samuel Jonhson thus wrote: whole or in part, ascribed to him. In public favour, indeed, he stood higher than tragedies on the stage, where it still keeps its
The Fair Penitent is one of the most pleasing Ben Jonson, who wearied audiences by an turns of appearing, and probably will long keep obstinate adherence to humours and indi- them, for there is scarcely any work of any poet vidualities of character, or by ponderous at once so interesting by the fable or so delighttragedies derived from times in which un- ful by the language. The story is domestic, and learned spectators took no interest. Mas- therefore easily received by the imagination, and singer had never cause, like Jonson, to quit assimilated to common life; the diction is ex
the loathed stage,” or to banish the quisitely harmonious and soft, or sprightly, as groundlings in odes as fierce as the specches occasion requires. of Coriolanus to the unwashed mob of Johnson, when he wrote these words, was Rome. Yet after the Restoration we find plainly ignorant of the existence of the Fatal Jonson's plays in some vogue, and Massin- Dowry, and it was reserved for Richard ger's laid aside as stale, "garments out of Cumberland, in some excellent papers in fashion." His present editor thinks that bis Obscrver, to vindicate Massinger and this neglect arose from the greater pruri- expose the felonious Rowe. The author of ency of Fletcher's and Shirley's dramas. Irene was but slenderly qualified to judge But it is not difficult to conceive other and either of the fable “ diction" of perhaps better reasons for Massinger's un- tragedy; but an editor of Shakspeare might popularity. With the Restoration began a have been expected to know something of taste for what has since been designated the true Una as well as of the false Duessa. "genteel comedy,"; with it also began a His ignorance, however, was to a great preference for declamatory rhetoric over the degree shared by persons far better versed proper phrase of passion. The tragedy of than Johnson was in the earlier English Massinger paled its ineffectual fire before drama. The learned George Steevens, and the rant of 'Don Sebastian and the Indian the indefatigable and exact Malone, though Emperor, while such wit and humour as he they occasionally took from Massinger illusowned possessed a somewhat archaic fla- trations of Shakspeare, were each of them vour, and had no chance of competing with unaware of his merit as an author. They the lax and libertine dialogue of Etheridge, used his plays much as Robinson Crusoe Killigrew, and Wycherley, itself an echo of used the wrecked Spanish brig; they brought the ordinary conversation at Whiteball. away from him all that suited their particuProfessor Masson has described him as lar occasions, and kicked aside the doub“the modest and manly Massinger," and loons and pistoles as slight, unmeritable" the epithet “ modest” is not misapplied if dross. we compare his comedies with the five-act
Massinger, as we have already said, died farces of the second Carolinian period. His in March, 1640; and as regards the theatre, comedies were too grave, his tragedies too and the writers for it, this date is signififree from rant, for the fashions that came cant. Within eighteen months from that with Charles from Brussels; and just as the date the play-houses were closed by an old cavaliers, with their loyalty, their“ state Order in Council, and in 1648 they were and ancientry,” disappeared before the car- prohibited by a formal Act of the Puritan pet-knights of Whitehall, so Massinger was Parliament. 'In 1642, indeed, the people laid on the shelf, and Evelyn and Pepys of England were enacting a tragedy, as the
issue proved, more solemn and severe than | val of six years has elapsed between the any representation of the stage, and six first two volumes and those before us. He years later the gloom of Puritanism was left off in 1862 with the fall of Essex, predominant; plays savoured of the man bringing down Bacon's letters and life to of sin"; and the sons of Belial, as the April, 1601; in the new volumes he begins players were held to be, their occupation with whatever is to be found of Bacon's being gone, were either lurking in garrets words and doings in the last years of Elizor fighting under the banners of Rupert and abeth, and goes on through his strangely Newcastle at Newbury or Marston Moor. slow rise under James, till at length at the It is some tribute to Massinger's genius that end of 1613 he became Attorney-General. his play of the City Madam was, in this This is leisurely editing, especially as the dreary interim, printed for the first time. fruits of these twelve years of Bacon's life, To Andrew Pennycuicke, an actor of some though rich and abundant, hardly make repute, we are indebted for its publication; their show in this portion of the edition of and his dedication of it to the Countess of his works. But the delay is made up for Oxford, a distant relative of the Pembroke by our having the work done once for all as family, is not without significance. It con- well as, with our present means, it can be nects the story or the traditions of the poet's done; and about that— about Mr. Spedboyhood with this reprint of one of his best ding's care, sagacity, patience, and complete dramas. The opinions of modern critics command of his subject — there can be no will be found abridged in Colonel Cunning- doubt. His manner of dealing with it is a ham's Introductory Notice. Of tuese Mr. model of intelligent and instructive editing Hallam's is, in our opinion, the most just, of remains and fragments, often in an equal and Hazlitt's the most unfair. Hazlitt, degree of the highest interest and of the however, was perhaps set against Massin- most provoking perplexity; and he has ger by his hatred of Gifford, his editor. shown, as Mr. Carlyle has often done, that Admirable as this critic's judgments fru- the most minute criticism of texts and laquently are, they are occasionally tinged borious sifting of evidences are not a hinby his personal feelings; and the spirit derance — but, on the contrary, are the which prompted him to underrate Juvenal natural support and may be made the most because his foe had translated Juvenal's effective ally-to the large, reasonable, satires, probably led him to deny to the au- and animated views of character and history thor of the Great Duke of Milan, and the which are suggested by that ripening and New Way to Pay Old Debts, the justice he widening experience which we sometimes has rendered to writers far inferior to Philip call common sense and sometimes historical Massinger.
Bacon's activity and prominence in public life increased, after an interval of waiting, with the accession of James. These
volumes contain, as almost their most imFrom The Saturday Review, SPEDDING'S LIFE AND LETTERS OF LORD of his Parliamentary speeches, together
portant portion, abundant notes and reports with minutes, opinions, and papers of ad
vice addressed to the King on the chief subMR. SPEDDING has given us another in-jects of State before the country and the stalment of his edition of Lord Bacon's Government. Private letters occasionally letters and occasional writings, and of his remind us that the great philosophical own elaborate commentary on them and on works were going on, and give us glimpses Lord Bacon's personal history. Mr. Sped- of their progress; but they are fewer than ding is fully alive to the responsibility of we could wish, and are almost lost in the having to do justice to one of the greatest crowd of records of his public business. names in the history of mankind; and he He was knighted, gregariously, in a very properly will not be hurried, but takes troop” of three hundred, in 1603; he behis time to push his investigations to the came Solicitor-General in_1607, and at utmost, and to make up his mind on their length Attorney in 1613. In each case he effect. His volumes are not very bulky rose after more than one disappointment, ones, and a great part of their contents has notwithstanding apparently his strong claims been printed before, and calls only for the and powerful friends; and the delay was last touches of exact editing; but an inter- certainly not for want of pressing his claims • The Letters and the Life of Francis Bacon. Ed. useful, and so eager to rise was kept down
on his friends. Why a man so able, so ited by James Spedding. Vols. III. and IV. London: Longmans & Co.°1868.
beneath inferior men by those whom he was
so ready to serve; what made the shrewd is that this was only one side, and the secpeople with whom he had to do — Eliza- ondary and subordinate side, of Bacon's beth, the Cecils, James - so long persist- character and working. He threw himself ently distrust or undervalue the first intel- as eagerly into the practice of the Bar, and lect of the age, united with boundless in- into the problems of a treacherous and bedustry and zeal in their cause, and give wildering common law, as if all be thought him so tardily and reluctantly the advance- of was to fit himself for work in the King's ment which he so earnestly, craved, is a Bench or the Star Chamber, with an occaquestion which Lord Macaulay has only sional turn in the great State prosecutions partially answered, and on which we do not in Westiginster Hall. He spoke, moved, see that Mr. Spedding has thrown much brought in Bills, or opposed them, in the new light. Whether it was that he was too House of Commons, as if he felt already great or not great enough; too great to be the coming greatness of that assembly, and endured or encouraged by those who dis- the height and importance in government liked rivals more than enemies; or not of those who should succeed in becoming great enough, as to character and all that its leaders. He was ready for any employmakes the man himself, in proportion to ment, he was indefatigable, strenuous, and the richness and magnificence of his intel- patient under the hardest tasks and most lectual gifts — made of less account, in the ungracious taskmasters, as if really his first eyes of those who judged of men as accu- object in life was to be Solicitor, Attorney, rately as they judged of abilities, by a kind and perhaps at last Chancellor. For this of sixpoyvxia which sometimes attends great he was content to be “Queen Elizabeth's powers, a too great pliancy and soft- watch-candle," as my good old mistress," ness and smoothness of spirit, a too great he says, was wont to call me, because it fearfulness of offending and haste to please, pleased her to say that I did continually a want of that stoutness and high temper burn (and yet she suffered me to waste which makes itself felt and claims respect as almost to nothing).”. For this he pressed the due of a manly nature and not of gifts; his services with unstinted devotion on those whether he was thought a man who could who had public employment and place to be much used without much reward, or one give-on Cecil, on King James. "Yet all too clever and too visibly set on his own this intense activity, all this resolute and promotion to be safely engaged with very pertinacious ambition, of which these volfar; whether they were afraid of his re- umes of Mr. Spedding present a picture sources and dexterity, or were not sure of which seems at first to exclude any competbis principles - are questions which Mr. ing interests, all those feverish aspirations Spedding's work does not seem to give us and struggles of an anxious and eventful any fresh means of settling.
public career, were for the sake of someNo man of equal eminence ever lived so thing else. These things did not contain completely two different lives at the same their own ends; they were the means to time as Bacon. These volumes mainly ends of a perfectly different nature. All contain the records of his public life, and this was in fact mere “pot-boiling.” The to read these records we might suppose romance of the idealist, the dreams and that we were only reading about one of the longings of the philanthropist, were behind busiest of the political actors of that busy all this hard coarse drudgery of the man of age. We might read them without even a business. Bacon was a public man; he suspicion that the man whom they show us threw himself so keenly into public life, he was all the time intent and equally busy fought, toiled, we are afraid we must add, about the most deep-reaching and ambi- sinned in it, that he might gain a station in tious of philosophical revolutions. Here is which he might reform philosophy. To the lawyer, the Government official, the carry out his great schemes, he wanted member of Parliament, the councillor of leisure, he wanted power, he wanted high State, the ready and accomplished orator, rank in society; above all he wanted in the crafty and not very scrupulous adviser abundance the command of money, the of power, keenly alive to the tempers and ability to incur great expense, the means of questions of the time, full of large and securing co-operation on all sides, for supcomprehensive scheines of policy, full porting a widely diversified and prolonged equally of the minute details of legal busi- system of experiments as venturesome and ness; but in everything appearing as if he as endless as those of the alchemists. To were as much absorbed by public affairs as gain this, political life promised him the Cecil or Coke, and as if he could have fairest chance; and behind all his hard neither time nor strength to give to the political work lay the real desire of his soul. thoughts of anything else. Yet the truth | Never forgotten, never far out of sight, its thoughts attended him even in the thickest phy and intellectual progress into a popular press of business; and whenever a lull form and inviting the co-operation of mankind. came in it, whenever for a while he was not His old idea of finding a better method of wanted, or work was for some reason slack, studying the laws of nature, having no doubt he turned with all his powers to his great undergone in the endeavour to realize it many designs for changing the face of the world modifications, had at last taken the shape of for man. This must never be forgotten called Experientia Literata, and was to contain
treatise in two parts. The first part was to be The strange thing is that it is perfectly pos- an exposition of the art of experimenting ; that sible, in writing his history and the history is, of proceeding in scientific order from one esof the times, to cut off the public man com- periment to another, making the answer to one pletely from the great thinker and planner question suggest the question to be asked next. for buman welfare. What he did in public The second part was to be called Interpretatio seems, in its outward aspect, to have no Nature, and was to explain the method of arrelation to what he was meditating in pri- riving by degrees at azioms or general princivate. A history of Bacon the politician ples in nature; thence by the light of those are might be apparently complete, without a ioms proceeding to new experiments ; and so hint dropped that the same man was all the finally to the discovery of all the secrets of natime revolving the Instauratio and the No- ture’s operation, which would include the comvum Organum. But the one was for the mand over her forces. .: As an exposition other. Mr. Spedding reminds us continu- of the design it was superseded by completer ally, and very justly, that what animated prefaces of later date, and was therefore not inBacon, and doubtless often upheld him, for translation. But as bearing on the history
cluded among the philosophical works selected amid the labours and disgusts of his legal of his own career it has a peculiar value, revealand political career, was the conviction that ing as it does an authentic glimpse of that large only by following it patiently to the end, portion of his life which, though to him as real and accepting all its necessities, could he as the rest, and far more profoundly interesting, seize the magnificent but fleeting chance scarcely shows itself among these records of his which was passing before him — the chance career as a man of business, and is in danger of proffered, as it seemed, to him alone — of being forgotten. And I do not know how I can being the Columbus of a new world, un- better help my readers to conceive the thing, and suspected, unimaginable, waiting in nature to give it due prominence among his purposes for the intellect and powers of man.
and performances, than by inserting a translaDuring all the time comprised in these tion of it in this place.
What we have volumes, Bacon would be found making a to understand and remember is the nature of the figure in any history of England. But enterprise, and the fact that he believed it pracduring all this time the portions of his ticable. He believed that he had by accident
stumbled on a Thought which duly followed out great philosophical work were maturing, and would in the course of generations make man were being brought in varying shapes before the master of all natural forces. The “ Interthe judgment of his friends, and even be- pretation of Nature” was, according to his specfore the public. During this time the Ad-ulation, the “ Kingdom of Man.” To plant this vancement of Learning was published; the thought in men's minds under such conditions Instauratio was growing, and, as it grew, that it should have the best chance of growing was passing about among those with whom and bearing its proper fruit in due season, was he shared his inmost thoughts — Sir Thomas the great aspiration of his life; and though diBodley, Toby Matthews, Bishop Andrews. verted, interrupted, and baffled by a bundred James's accession had at first thrown Bacon impediments — internal and external — by ininto the shade, and we owe to that unem- firmities of body and of mind, by his own busiployed time a fragment in which Bacon ness and other people's, by clients, creditors, and has recorded in the most striking way the sheriffs? officers, by the impracticability (say the ideas and purposes which governed his life.
wise) of the problem itself, owing to a fundaWe will make a few extracts from Mr. fection (as I think) in his own intellectual or
mental misconception of the case, by an imperSpedding's account of it:
ganization, which placed him at a disadvantage
in dealing with many parts of it, he never After this [Bacon's knighthood, July, 1603] doubted that the thing might be done if men I find no more letters for a good while, nor in- would but think so, and that it was his mission deed — until the meeting of Parliament on to make them think so, and to point out the way. March 29, 1603-4 (?) — any further news of his And though many and many a day must have proceedings. I imagine, however, that the in- closed without showing any sensible progress in tervening months were among the busiest and the work, I suppose not a single day went down most exciting that he ever passed. For this is in which he did not remember with a sigh, or a the tiine when I suppose him to have conceived resolution, or a prayer, that the work was still the design of throwing his thoughts on philoso- undone.
Here are some extracts from the draught his purpose, in a letter, inviting the sympreface in which he sketched his designs : pathy and co-operation of Casaubon :
Believing that I was born for the service of Atque illud etiam de me recte auguraris, me mankind, and regarding the care of the com- scientias ex latebris in lucem extrahere vehemenmonwealth as a kind of common property which, ter cupere. Neque enim multum interest ea per like the air and water, belongs to everybody, I otium scribi quæ per otium legantur, sed plane set myself to consider in what way mankind vitam et res humanas et medias earum turbas might be best served, and what service I was per contemplationes sanas et veras instructiores myself best titted by nature to perform.
esse volo. Quanta autea in hoc genere aggreNow among all the benefits which could be diar et quam parvis præsidiis, postmodum forconferred upon mankind, I found none so great tasse rescisces. Conjunctionem animoas the discovery of new arts, endowments, and rum et studidrun plus facere ad amicitias judico, commodities for the bettering of man's life. quam civiles necessitates et occasionum officia. It was plain that the good effects wrought by Equidem existimo neminem unquam magis verè founders of cities, &c., extend but over narrow potuisse dicere de sese, quam me ipsum, illud spaces and last but for a short time; whereas quod habet psalmus, multum incola fuit anima the work of the inventor, though a thing of less mea.- iv. 146. pomp and show, is felt everywhere and lasts for But these volumes show us but little of the
But above all, if a man could succeed, inner and meditative life. They scarcely pot in striking out some particular invention, however useful, but in kindling a light in nature do more than give us occasional glimpses - a light which should in its very rising touch of what was going orf, and record the dates and illuminate all the border regions that con- when some remarkable result of it came to fine upon the circle of our present knowledge ; maturity. What they show us is what and so, spreading further and further, should Bacon appeared in the eyes of the statespresently disclose and bring into sight all that is men and the public men of the time, and most hidden and secret in the world — that man of those who watched and judged of these (I thought) would be the benefactor of the hu- great actors. It showed us the means man race, the propagator of man's empire over which he followed in his resolute pursuit the universe, the champion of liberty, the con- of power and rank in the State. These queror and subduer of necessities.
means must be reserved for more careful For myself, I found that I was fitted for noth- consideration in another notice. ing so well as for the study of Truth. Nevertheless, because my birth and education had seasoned me in business of State ; and because I hoped that, if I rose to any place of honour in the State, I should have a larger
From The Saturday Review. command of industry and ability to help me in HELPS'S LIFE OF COLUMBUS.* my work ; for these reasons I applied myself to the arts of civil life, and commended my services,
THERE are few people in the world whom so far as in modesty and honesty I might, to the one has less temptation to censure than Mr. favour of such friends as had any influence. In Helps, and we certainly have no particular which also I had another motive; for I felt that wish to be censorious over this pleasant litthose things I have spoken of — be they great or tle volume. But the announcement which small — reach no further than the condition and appears in its preface tempts us, we own, culture of this mortal life; and I was not with-to a gentle remonstrance. We are told out hopes (the condition of Religion being at that this Life of Columbus is one of a series that time not very prosperous) that if I came to of biographies destined to appear under hold office in the State, I might get something Mr. Helps's superintendence, which are" for done too for the good of men's souls.
the most part taken verbatim from my HisWhen I found, however, that my zeal was mistaken for ambition, and that my life had already Such a project carries on the very face of it
tory of the Spanish Conquest in America." reached the turning point, and my breaking its own condemnation. If literary form or health reminded me how ill I could afford to be so slow, and I reflected, moreover, that in leav- character is a thing which has any real exing undone the good that I could do hy myself istence at all, a history is something essenalone, and applying myself to that which could tially different from a patchwork of lives not be done without the consent and help of oth- and events, any one of which can be deers, I was by no means discharging the duty tached in perfect completeness by that lay on me, I put all these thoughts aside, skill and research of Mr. H. P. Thomas." and (in pursuance of my old determination) be- No amount of addition and rearrangement took myself wholly to this work. — iii. 84. will ever turn pages of a good history into Not quite “wholly”; yet with great de pages of a good biography; the better the termination and governing purpose.
* The Life of Columbus. Chiefly by Arthur Helps. more busy time he yet could thus write of London : Beli & Daldy. 1869.
VOL. XII. 489