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agreeable as imitations which recall the past, because if the past was good, it is agreeable in its imitation as a good thing; but if it was bad, it is agreeable in its imitation as being past." To this gross mechanism he reduces the fine arts; it was perceptible in his attempt to translate the Iliad. In his sight, philosophy is a thing of like kind. “Wisdom is serviceable, because it has in it some kind of protection; if it is desirable in itself, it is because it is pleasant.” Thus there is no dignity in knowledge. It is a pastime or an assistance; good, as a servant or a puppet is a good thing. Money being more serviceable, is worth more. “Not he who is wise is rich, as the Stoics say; but, on the contrary, he who is rich is wise."1 As to religion, it is but “the fear of an invisible power, whether this be a figment, or adopted from history by general consent.”2 Indeed, this was true for a Rochester or a Charles II. ; cowards or bullies, superstitious or blasphemers, they conceived of nothing beyond. Neither is there any natural right. “Before men were bound by contract one with another, each had the right to do what he would against whom he would." Nor any natural friendship. "All association is for the cause of advantage or of glory, that is, for love of one's self, not of one's associates. The origin of great and durable associations is not mutual well-wishing but mutual fear. The desire of injuring is innate in all. Man is to man a wolf. . . . Warfare was the natural condition of men before societies were formed; and this not incidentally, but of all against all: and this war is of its own nature eternal.” 3 Sectarian vio
1 Nemo dat nisi respiciens ad bonum sibi.
Amicitiæ bonæ, nempe utiles. Nam amicitiæ cum ad multa alia, tum ad præsidium conferunt.
Sapientia utile. Nam præsidium in se habet nonnullum. Etiam appetibile est per se, id est jucundum. Item pulchruin, quia acquisitu difficilis.
Non enim qui sapiens est, ut dixere stoici, dives est, sed contra qui dives est sapiens est dicendus est.
Ignoscere veniam petenti pulchrum. Nam indicium fiduciæ sui.
Imitatio jucundum: revocat enim præterita. Præterita autem si bona fuerint, jucunda sunt repræsentata, quia bona; si mala, quia præterita. Jucunda igitur musica, poesis pictura.--Hobbes' Opera Latina, Molesworth, vol. ii. 98-102.
2 Metus potentiarum invisibilium, sive fictæ illæ sint, sive ab historiis acceptæ sint publice, religio est si publice acceptæ non sint, superstitio.-Ibid. iii. 45.
8 Omnis igitur societas vel commodi causa vel gloriæ, hoc est, sui, non sociorum amore contrahitur.-Ibid ii, 161.
Statuendum igitur est, origincm magnarum et diuturnarum societatum non a mutua hom. inum benevolentia, sed a mutuo metu exstitisse. --Thid, ii, 161. Voluntas lædendi omnibus quidem inest in statu naturæ.--Ibid. ü. 162.
lence let loose, the conflict of ambitions, the fall of governments, the overflow of soured imaginations and malevolent passions, had raised up this idea of society and of mankind. One and all, philosophers and people, yearned for monarchy and repose. Hobbes, an inexorable logician, would have it absolute; repression would thus be more stern, peace more lasting. The sovereign should be unopposed. Whatsoever he might do against a subject, under whatever pretext, would not be injustice. He ought to decide upon the canonical books. He was pope, and more than pope. Were he to command it, his subjects should renounce Christ, at least with their mouth; the original contract has given up to him, without any reservation, all responsibility of external actions; at least, according to this view, the sectarian will no longer have the pretext of his conscience in harassing the state. To such extremities had the intense weariness and horror of civil war driven a narrow but logical intellect. Upon the secure den in which he had with every effort imprisoned and confined the evil beast of prey, he laid as a final weight, in order that he might perpetuate the captivity of humanity, the whole philosophy and theory not simply of man, but of the remainder of the universe. He reduced judgment to the "combination of two terms,” ideas to conditions of the brain, sensations to motions of the body, general laws to simple words, all substance to corporeality, all science to the knowledge of sensible bodies, the human being to a body capable of motion given or received; so that man, recognizing himself and nature only under this despised form, and degraded in his conception of himself and of the world, might bow beneath the burden of a necessary authority, and submit in the end to the yoke which his rebellious nature rejects, yet is forced to tolerate. Such, in brief, is the aim which this spectacle of the English Restoration suggests. Men de served then this treatment, because they gave birth to this phi losophy; they were represented on the stage as they had proved themselves to be in theory and in manners.
Status hominum naturalis antequam in societatem coiretur bellum fuerit; neque hoc sim. pliciter, sed bellum omnium in omnes.-Hobbes' Opera Latina, Molesworth, ii. 166.
Bellum sua natura sempiternum.-See 166, l. 16.
i Corpus et substantia idem significant, et proinde vox composita substantia incorporea est insignificans æque ac si quis diceret corpus incorporeum. --Ibid. iii. 281.
Quidquid imaginamur finitum est. Nulla ergo est idea neque conceptus qui oriri potest a voce hac, infinitum.-Ibid. iii. 20.
Recidit itaque ratiocinatio omnis ad duas operationes animi, additionem et substractionem. -Ibid. i. 3.
Nomina signa sunt non rerum sed cogitationem.-Ibid. i. 15.
Sensio igitur in sentiente nihil aliud esse potest præter motum partium aliquarum intus in sentiente existentium, quæ partes motæ organorum quibus sentimus partes sunt.
Ibid. i. 317.
VI. When the theatres, which Parliament had closed, were re opened, the change of public taste was soon manifested. Shirley, the last of the grand old school, wrote and lived no longer. Waller, Buckingham, and Dryden were compelled to dish up the plays of Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher, and to adapt them to the modern style. Pepys, who went to see Midsummer Night's Dream, declared that he would never go there again; “for it is the most insipid, ridiculous play that ever I saw in my life."! Comedy was transformed; the fact was, that the public was transformed.
What an audience was that of Shakespeare and Beaumont and Fletcher! What youthful and delightful souls! In this evil-smelling room in which it was necessary to burn juniper, before that miserable half-lighted stage, before decorations worthy of an alehouse, with men playing the women's parts, illusion enchained them. They scarcely troubled themselves about probabilities; they could be carried in an instant over forest and ocean, from clime to clime, across twenty years of time, through ten battles and all the hurry of adventure. They did not care to be always laughing; comedy, after a burst of buffoonery, resumed its serious or tender tone. They came less to be amused than to muse. In these fresh minds, amidst a woof of passions and dreams, there were hidden passions and brilliant dreams whose imprisoned swarm buzzed indistinctly, waiting for the poet to come and lay bare to them the novelty and the splendor of heaven. Landscapes revealed by a lightning flash, the gray mane of a long and overhanging billow, a wet forest nook where the deer raise their startled heads, the sudden smile and purpling cheek of a young girl in love, the sublime and various flight of all delicate sentiments, a cloak of ecstatic and romantic passion over all,—these were the sights and feelings which they came to seek. They raised themselves without any assistance to the summit of the world of ideas; they desired to contemplate extreme generosity, absolute love; they were not astonished at the sight of fairy-land; they entered without an effort into the region of poetical transformation, whose light was necessary to their eyes. They took in at a glance its excesses and its caprices; they needed no preparation; they followed its digressions, its whimsicalities, the crowding of its abundant creations, the sudden prodigality of its high coloring, as a musician follows a symphony. They were in that transient and strained condition in which the imagination, adult and pure, laden with desire, curiosity, force, develops man all at once, and in that man the most exalted and exquisite feelings.
1 Pepys' Diary, ii. Sept. 29, 1662.
The roisterers took the place of these. They were rich, they had tried to deck themselves with the polish of Frenchmen; they added to the stage movable decorations, music, lights, probability, comfort, every external aid; but they wanted heart. Imagine those foppish and half-intoxicated men, who saw in love nothing beyond desire, and in man nothing beyond sensuality; Rochester in the place of Mercutio. What part of his soul could comprehend poesy and fancy? The comedy of romance was altogether beyond his reach; he could only seize the actual world, and of this world but the palpable and gross externals. Give him an exact picture of ordinary life, commonplace and probable occurrences, literal imitations of what he himself was and did; lay the scene in London, in the current year; copy his coarse words, his brutal jokes, his conversation with the orange girls, his rendezvous in the park, his attempts at French dissertation. Let him recognize himself, let him find again the people and the manners he had just left behind him in the tavern or the antechamber; let the theatre and the street reproduce one another. Comedy will give him the same entertainment as real life; he will wallow equally well there in vulgarity and lewdness; to be present there will demand neither imagination nor wit; eyes and memory are the only requisites. This exact imitation will amuse him and instruct him at the same time. Filthy words will make him laugh through sympathy; shameless imagery will divert him by appealing to his recollections. The author, too, will take care to arouse him by his plot, which generally has the deceiving of a father or a husband for its subject. The fine gentlemen agree with the author in siding with the gallant; they follow his fortunes with interest, and fancy that they them- . selves have the same success with the fair. Add to this, women debauched, and willing to be debauched; and it is manifest how these provocations, these manners of prostitutes, that interchange of exchanges and surprises, that carnival of rendezvous and suppers, the impudence of the scenes only stopping short of physical demonstration, those songs with their double meaning, that coarse slang shouted loudly and replied to amidst the tableaux vivants, all that stage-imitation of orgie, must have stirred up the innermost feelings of the habitual practicers of intrigue. And what is more, the theatre gave its sanction to their manners By representing nothing but vice, it authorized their vices. Authors laid it down as a rule, that all women were impudent hussies, and that all men were brutes. Debauchery in their hands became a matter of course, nay more, a matter of good taste; they professit. Rochester and Charles II, could
uit the theatre highly edified; more convinced than they were before that virtue was only a pretense, the pretense of clever rascals who wanted to sell themselves dear.
VII. Dryden, who was amongst the first? to adopt this view of the matter, did not adopt it heartily. A kind of hazy mist, the relic of the former age, still floated over his plays. His wealthy imagination half bound him to the comedy of romance.
At one time he adapted Milton's Paradise, Shakespeare's Tempest, and Troilus and Cressida. Another time he imitated, in Love in a Nunnery, in Marriage à la Mode, in The Mock Astrologer, the imbroglios and surprises of the Spanish stage. Sometimes he displays the sparkling images and lofty metaphors of the older national poets, sometimes the affected figures of speech and caviling wit of Calderon and Lope de Vega. He mingles the tragic and the humorous, the overthrow of thrones and the ordinary description of manners. But in this awkward compromise the poetic spirit of ancient comedy disappears; only the dress and the gilding remain. The new characters are gross and immoral, with the instincts of a lackey beneath the dress of a lord; which is the more shocking, because by it Dryden contradicts his own talents, being at bottom grave and a poet; he follows the fashion, and not his own mind; he plays the libertine with
I His Wild Gallant dates from 1662.