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of those humorous effusions have been transferred to this volume. In 1837 Mr. Bentley established his " Miscellany," and secured the services of his friend Barham, who, up to this time was unknown to the general public, though he had been for nearly twenty years a successful writer The "Ingoldsby Legends” now appeared in rapid succession, and proved so popular that their author soon became one of the recognized wits of the day. A large number of these unique and excellent productions enrich the present collection. “ As respects these poems,” says Mr. Barham's biographer, "remarkable as they have been pronounced for the wit and humor which they display, their distinguishing attractions lies in the almost unparalleled flow and felicity of the versification. Popular phrases, sentences the most prosaic, even the cramped technicalities of legal diction, and snatches from well-nigh every language, are wrought in with an apparent absence of all art and effort that surprises, pleases, and convulses the reader at every turn. The author triumphs with a master hand over every variety of stanza, howover complicated or exacting; not a word seems out of place, not an expression forced; syllables the most intractable, and the only partners fitted for them throughout the range of language are coupled together as naturally as those kindred spirits which poets tell us were created pairs, and dispersed in space to seek out their particular mates. A harmony pervades the whole, a perfect modulation of numbers, never, perhaps, surpassed, and rarely equaled in compositions of their class. This was the forte of Thomas Ingoldsby; a harsh line or untrue rhyme grated on his ear like the Shandean hinge.” These observations are just. As a rhymer, Mr. Barham has but one equal in English literature--Byron.
Mr. Barham died at London on the 17th of June, 1845, in the fifty-seventh year of his age. He was an extremely amiable, benevolent character. It does not appear that his love of the humorous was ever allowed to interfere with the performance of his duties as a clergyman. Without being a great preacher, he was a faithful and kindly pastor, never so much in his element as when ministering to the distresses, or healing the differences of his parishioners. Unlike his friend, Sydney Smith, he was singularly fond of the drama, and for many years was a member of the Garrick Club. lle was one of the few English writers of humorous verse, all of whose writings may be read aloud by a father to his family, and in whose wit there was no admixture of gall. See pp. 41, 44, 125, 129, 136, 146, 156, 164, 282, 287, 417, 418, 419, 568, 569.
• BENTLEY'S MISCELLANY”-A London Monthly Magazine,
founded about twenty years ago by Mr. Bentley, the publisher. Charles
Dickens, and the author of the Ingoldsby Legends were among the first contributors. See p. 576.
BLACKWOOD'S MAGAZINE-First appeared in April, 1817.
Founded by William Blackwood, a shrewd Edinburgh bookseller. Its literary ability and fierce political partisanship, soon placed it furamost in the ranks of Tory periodicals. Perhaps no magazine has ever achieved such celebrity, or numbered such a host of ill wirivus contributors. John Wilson, the world-famous “ Christopher Neiti," was the virtual, though not nominal editor, Blackwood himself nataining that title. It would be a long task to enumerate all, who, from the days of Sir Walter Scott and the Ettrick Shepherd, to thos of Bulwer and Charles Mackay, have appeared in its columns. Maginn, Lockhart, Gillies, Moir, Landor, Wordsworth, Coleridge, Lamb, Bowles, Barry Cornwall, Gleig, Hamilton, Aird, Sym, De Quincey, Allan Cunningham, Mrs. Hemans, Jerrold, Croly, War: ren, Ingolelsby (Barham), Elizabeth Barrett Browning, Milues, and many others, of scarcely less note, found in Blackwood scope for their productions, whether of prose or verse. In its early days much of personality and sarcasm marked its pages, savage on-laughts on Ligh Hunt, and "the Cockney School of Literature," alterating with attacks on the Edinburgh Review, the Quarterly, and all Whigs and Whig productions whatever. The celebrated Nortes Animsiance, a series of papers containing probably more learning, wit, eloquence, eccentricity, humor, and personality than have ever appeard elsewhere, formed part of the individuality of Blackwood. They were written by Wilson, Maginn, Lockhart, and Hogg, the two first named (and especially Wilson), having the pre-eminence. To the New York edition of this work, by Dr. Shelton Mackenzie (wiose notes contain a perfect mine of information), we refer the reader for further particulars relative to Blackwood. See pp. 410, 412, 414, 587, 588.
BROUGHAM, LORD—The well-known member of the English
House of Peers. It seems, from some jocularities attributed to his lordship, that he adds to his many other claims to distinction that of being a man of wit. See p. 580.
BRYANT, WILLIAM CULLEN—The most celebrated of American
poets. Editor of the “New York Evening Post." Born 1794. See
BURNS, ROBERT-Born 1750, died 1796. The best loved, most
national, most independent, truest, and greatest of Scottish poets, of whom to say more here were an impertinence. See pp. 25, 243, 246, 247, 551, 552, 553.
BUTLER, SAMUEL-Born in 1612; the son of a substantial farmer
in Worcestershire, England. Very little is known of the earlier portion of his life, as he had reached the age of fifty before he was so much as heard of by his cotemporaries. He appears to have received a good education at the cathedral school of his native county, and to have filled various situations, as clerk in the service of Thomas Jeffries of Earl's Croombe, secretary to the Countess of Kent, and general man of business to Sir Samuel Luke, of Cople Hoo, Bedfordshire, who, it is said, served as the model for his hero, Hudibras. The first part of this singular poem was published at the close of 1662, and met with extraordinary success. Its wit, its quaint sense and learning, its passages of sarcastic reflection on all manner of topics, and above all, its unsparing ridicule of men and things on the Puritan side, combined to render it a general favorite. The reception of Part II., which appeared a year subsequent, was equally flattering. Yet its author seems to have fallen into the greatest poverty and obscurity, from which he never was enabled to emerge. It appears to have been his strange fate to flash all at once into notoriety, which lasted precisely two years, to fill the court and town during that time with continuous langhter, interrningled with inquiries who and what he was, and then for seventeen long years to plod on unknown and unregarded, still hearing his Hudibras quoted, and still preparing more of it, or matter similar, with no result. He died, in almost absolute destitution, in 1980, and was buried at a friend's expense, in the church-yard of St. Paul's, Covent Garden. See pp. 199, 527, 528, 529, 530, 531, 532, 533.
BYROM-A noted English Jacobite. Born 1691. See p. 545.
BYRON, GEORGE GORDON NOEL-Born 1788, died in Greece,
1824. Respecting his celebrated Satire on the poet Rogers, which appears in this collection, we read the following in a London periodical:-" The satire on Rogers, by Lord Byron, is not surpassed for cool malignity, dexterous portraiture, and happy imagery, in the whole compass of the English language. It is said, and by those well informed, that Rogers used to bore Byron while in Italy, by his incessant minute dilettantism, and by visits at hours when Byron did not care to see him. One of many wild freaks to repel his unseasonable visits was to set his big dog at him. To a mind like Byron's, here was sufficient provocation for a satire. The subject, too, was irresistible. Other inducements were not wanting. No man indulged himself more in sarcastic remarks on his cotemporaries than Mr. Rogers. He indulged his wit at any sacrifice. He spared no one, and Byron, consequently did not escape. Sarcastic sayings travel on electric wings—and one of Rogers's personal and amusing allusions to Byron reached the ears of the poetic pilgrim at Ravenna Few characters can bear the microscopic scrutiny of wit. Byron suffered. Fewer characters can bear its microscopic scrutiny when quickened by anger, and Rogers suffered still more severely.
“This, the greatest of modern satirical portraits in verse, was written before their final meeting at Bologna. Rogers was not aware that any saying of his had ever reached the ear of Byron, and Byron never published the verses on Rogers. They met like the handsome women described by Cibber, who, though they wished one another at the devil, are ‘My dear,' and 'My dear,' whenever they meet. One doubtless considered his saying as something to be forgotten, and the other his verses as something not to be remembered. These verses are not included in Byron's works, and are very little known." See pp. 33, 34, 311, 567, 568.
CHAUCER lived in the thirteenth century, dying in 1400. He is
designated the father of English poetry. The obsolete phraseology of his writings, though presenting a barrier to general appreciation and popularity, will never deter those who truly love the "dainties that are bred in a book" from holding him in affection and reverence. His chief work, the “Canterbury Pilgrimage," " well of En. glish undefiled" as it is, was written in the decline of life, when its author had passed his sixtieth year. For catholicity of spirit, love of nature, purity of thought, pathos, humor, subtle and minute discrimination of character and power of expressing it, Chaucer has one superior-Shakspeare. See p. 21.
CHESTERFIELD, LORD–Born in 1794; died 1773. Courtier,
statesman, and man of the world ; famous for many things, but known to literature chiefly by his “ Letters to his Son," which have formed three generations of “gentlemen," and still exert great influence. Chesterfield was a noted wit in his day, but most of his good things have been lost. See p. 546.
CLEVELAND, JOHN-A political writer of Charles the First's time;
anthor of several satirical pieces, now known only to the curious. He died in 1659. See p. 546.
COLERIDGE, SAMUEL TAYLOR-Poet, plagiarist, and opium
eater. Born at Bristol, in 1770. Died near London in 1834. He was a weak man of genius, whose reputation, formerly immense, has declined since he has been better known. But “ Christabel" and the “Ancient Mariner,” will charm many generations of readers yet unborn. Most of the epigrams which appear in his works are adapted from Lessing. See pp 104, 557, 558.
COW PER, WILLIAM—The gentle poet of religious England: born
1731 ; died 1800. Cowper was an elegant humorist, despite the gloominess of his religious belief. It is said, however, that his most comic effusions were written during periods of despondency. See pp. 99, 241, 242.
“CRUIKSHANK'S OMNIBUS"-A monthly Magazine, published
at the period of the artist's greatest celebrity, principally as a vehicle for his pencil. Its editor was Laman Blanchard, a lively essayist, and amiable man, whom anticipations of pecuniary distress subsequently goaded to suicide. See pp. 431, 589.
DEVREAUX, S. H.--An American scholar. Translator of " Yri.
arte's Fables," recently published in Boston. See pp. 239, 241.
ERSKINE, THOMAS-One of the most eminent of English law
yers. Born 1750; died 1823. See p. 559.
FIELDING, HENRY—The great English Humorist; author of
“Tom Jones;" born, 1707; died, 1754. See p. 382.
GAY, JOHN-I poet and satirist of the days of Queen Anne. Born
1688; died, 1732. His wit, gentleness, humor, and animal spirits appear to have rendered him a general favorite. In worldly matters he was not fortunate, losing £20,000 by the South Sea bubble ; nor did his interest, which was by no means inconsiderable, succeed in procuring him a place at court. He wrote fables, pastorals, the burlesque poem of "Trivia," and plays, the most successful and celebrated of which is the “Beggar's Opera.” Of this work there exists a sequel or second part, as full of wit and satire as the original, but much less known. Its performance was suppressed by Walpole, upon whom it was supposed to reflect. See pp. 215, 350, 590.
GRAY, THOMAS-Author of the “ Elegy written in a Country
Church-yard;" Professor of Modern History in the University of Cambridge. Born in London, 1716; died, 1771. Gray was learned in History, Architecture, and Natural History. As a poet, he was remarkable for the labor bestowed on his poems, for his reluctance to publish, and for the small number of his compositions. Carlyle thinks he is the only English poet who wrote less than he ought. See p 97.
HALPIN, -A writer for the press, a resident of New York,
author of "Lyrics by the Letter H," published a year or two since by Derby. See pp. 578. 579.