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PERIOD VI.

FROM THE RESTORATION TO SWIFT'S DEATH,

1660-1745

LESSON 34.

Brief Historical Sketch.-House of Stuart restored in the person of Charles II., 1660. Twenty-eight of the Regicides arraigned, and thirteen executed. Tea introduced, 1662. Royal Society chartered, same year. First newspaper, the Public Intelligencer, 1663. Star Chamber, monopolies, and Court of High Commission not restored, Sole right of Parliament to grant supplies to the Crown not disputed. Secret treaty made with France, by which Charles II. became a pensioner of Louis XIV. Great Plague in London, 1665-6. Great Fire, 1666/ Titus Oates' affair, the "Popish Plot,” 1678. Habeas Corpus act passed, 1679. Rye.. House Plot, 1682. Accession of Jas. II., 1685. Revocation of Edict of Nantes, 1685. Invasion of England and of Scotland by Monmouth and Argyle, same year. Jeffreys' bloody assizes follow. Quarrel of the king with the two Universities and Declaration of Indulgence, 1687. Trial of the seven bishops for petitioning to be excused from ordering the Declaration to be read in the churches, 1688. Revolution, by which Wm. of Orange and Mary came to the English throne made vacant by the flight of James, 1688. Grand Alliance of England, Austria, Spain, and the Netherlands against France formed by William, 1689. Irish subdued, 1690. White paper manufactured in England, same year. The Ministry becomes what it is now, the executive committee of the majority of the House of Commons. Bank of England established, 1694.V National Debt, 1697, £5,000,000. Second Grand Alliance of England, Holland, Hanover, and Austria, joined afterward by Prussia, the German Empire, and Portugal, is formed by William, and begins, 1702, the War of the Spanish Succession. „Marlborough in command of the allied forces. Anne comes to the throne, 1702. National Debt, 1703, £14,000,000. England and Scotland united, 1707. About 1709 first

daily newspaper established. Impeachment of Dr. Sacheverell, 1709–10. Marlborough and the Whig party fall, and Oxford and Bolingbroke come into power, 1710. Crown, during the reigns of Wm. III. and Anne, becomes less personal and more official. Veto on bills practically given up, last exercised, 1707. War of the Spanish Succession closed by the treaty of Utrecht, 1713. National Debt, 1714, £54,000,000 (now £800,000,000). George I., founder of the House of Hanover, comes to the throne, 1714. Invasion by the Pretender, son of Jas. II., 1715. Bolingbroke and Oxford impeached, 1715. South Sea Company established 1711, fails 1720. Sir Robt. Walpole Prime Minister, 1721-42. A great Peace Minister, removed the duties from more than 100 articles of export and from 30 of import. George II. comes to the throne, 1727. Methodism founded, at first within the Church, 1727-9. Separation of Methodism from the Church, 1738. Five great hospitals established, 1719–45.

LESSON 35.

a

POETRY. CHANGE OF STYLE. — “ We have seen the natural style, as distinguished from the artificial, in the Elizabethan poets. Style became not only natural but artistic when it was used by a great genius like Shakespeare or Spenser, for a first rate poet creates rules of art; his work itself is art. But when the art of poetry is making, its rules are not laid down, and the second rate poets, inspired only by their feelings, will write in a natural style unrestrained by rules; that is, they will put their feelings into verse without caring much for the form in which they do it. As long as they live in the midst of a youthful national life, and feel an ardent sympathy with it, their style will be fresh and impassioned, and give pleasure because of the strong feeling that inspires it. But it will also be extravagant and unrestrained in its use of images and words because of its want of art. This is the history of the style of the poets of the middle period of Elizabeth's reign.

Afterwards the national life grew chill, and the feelings of the poets also chilled. Then the want of art in the style made itself felt. The far-fetched images, the hazarded meanings,

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the over-fanciful way of putting thoughts, the sensational ex. pression of feeling in which the Elizabethan poets indulged not only appeared in all their ugliness, when they were inspired by no warm feeling, but were indulged in far more than before. Men tried to produce by extravagant use of words the same results that living feeling had produced, and the more they failed, the more extravagant and fantastic they became, till at last their poetry ceased to have clear meaning. This is the history of the style of the poets from the later days of Elizabeth till the Civil War.

The natural style, unregulated by art, had thus become unnatural. When it had reached that point, men began to feel how necessary it was that the style of poetry should be subjected to the rules of art, and two influences partly caused and partly supported this desire. One was the influence of Milton. Milton, first by his genius, which, as I said, creates of itself an artistic style, and secondly by his knowledge and imitation of the great classical models, was able to give the first example in England of a pure, grand, and finished style, and in blankverse and the sonnet wrote for the first time with absolute correctness. Another influence was that of the movement all over Europe towards inquiry into the right way of doing things, and into the truth of things, a movement we shall soon see at work in science, politics, and religion. In poetry it produced a school of criticism which first took form in France, and the influence of Boileau, La Fontaine, and others who were striving after greater finish and neatness of expression told on England now. It is an influence which has been exaggerated. It is absurd to place the creaking lyre 'of Boileau side by side with Dryden's 'long resounding march and energy divine' of verse. Our critical school of poets have no French qualities in them even when they imitate the French.

Further, our own poets had already, before the Restoration, begun the critical work, and the French influence served only

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to give it a greater impulse. We shall see the growth of a colder and more correct spirit of art in Cowley, Denham, and Waller. Vigorous form was given to that spirit by Dryden, and perfection of artifice added to it by Pope. The artificial style succeeded to, and extinguished, the natural.

During the period now under review, the whole of English literary effort, but especially poetical effort, has one aim and is governed by one principle. This is the desire to attain perfection of form, a sense of the beauty of literary composition as such. It was found to be possible to please by your manner as well as by your matter, and having been shown to be possible, it became necessary. No writer who neglected the graces of style could gain acceptance by the public.

If this definition of the literary aim which dominated all writing during the hundred years which followed 1660 be just, it follows from it that the period would be more favorable to prose than to poetry. What in fact came to pass was, that a compromise was effected between poetry and prose, and the leading writers adopted, as the most telling form of utterance, prosaic verse, metre without poetry. It is by courtesy that the versifiers of this century from Dryden to Churchill are styled poets. They wanted inspiration, lofty sentiment, the heroic soul, chivalrous devotion, the inner eye of faith-above all, love and sympathy. They could not mean greatly. But such meaning as they had they labored to express in the neatest, most terse and pointed form which our language is capable of. If not poets, they were literary artists."Mark Pattison.

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CHANGE OF POETIC SUBJECT. — “The subject of the Elizabethan poets was Man as influenced by the Passions, and it was treated from the side of natural feeling. This was fully and splendidly done by Shakespeare. But after a time the subject followed, as we have seen in speaking of the drama, the same career as the style. It was treated in an extravagant and sensational manner, and the representation of the passions tended to become, and did become, unnatural or fantastic. Milton alone redeemed the subject from this vicious

He wrote in a grave and natural manner of the passions of the human heart, and he made strong the religious passions of love of God, sorrow for sin, and others, in English poetry. But with him the subject of man as influenced by the passions died for a time. Dryden, Pope, and their followers turned to another. They left the passions aside, and wrote of the things in which the intellect and the conscience, the social and political instincts in man were interested. In this way the satiric, didactic, philosophical, and party poetry of a new school arose.

excess.

TRANSITION POETS.-There were a few poets, writing partly before and partly after the Restoration, who represent the passage from the fantastic to the more correct style. ABRAHAM COWLEY was one of these. His love poems, The Mistress, 1647, are courtly, witty, and have some of the Elizabethan imagination. His later poems, owing probably to his life in France, were more exact in verse, and more cold in form. The same may be said of EDMUND WALLER, who ‘first made writing in rhyme easily an art.' He also lived a long time in France, and died in 1687. SIR JNO. DENHAM's Cooper's Hill,

. 1643, was a favorite with Dryden for the majesty of its style.' It may rank as one of the first of our descriptive poems, and its didactic reflectiveness and the chill stream of its verse and thought link him closely to Pope. SIR W. DAVENANT'S Gondibert, 1651, a heroic poem, is perhaps the most striking example of this transition. Worthless as poetry, it represents the new interest in political philosophy and in science that was arising, and preludes the intellectual poetry. Its preface discourses of rhyme and the rules of art, and represents the new critical influence which came over with the exiled court from France. The critical school had, therefore, begun even before Dryden's poems were written. The change was less sudden than it seemed.

Satiric poetry, soon to become a greater thing, was made during this transition time into a powerful weapon by two men, each on a different side. ANDREW MARVELL's Satires, after the Restoration, represent the Puritan's wrath with the vices of the court and king, and his shame for the disgrace of Eng

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