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deserted by his subjects: he gave his Order this motto, or to this effect (which still remains) Wild-brat was faithful. Sir William Trumbull has told me a story which he heard from one that was present: King Charles I, being with some of his court during his troubles, a discourse arose what sort of dogs deserved pre-eminence, and it being on all hands agreed to belong either to the spaniel or grey-hound, the king gave his opinion on the part of the grey-hound, because (said he) it has all the good-nature of the other without the fawning. A good piece of satire upon his courtiers, with which I will conclude my discourse of dogs. Call me a cynic, or what you please, in revenge for all this impertinence, I will be contented; provided you will but believe me, when I say a bold word for a christian, that, of all dogs, you will find none more faithful than-Your, &c. -Letters and Correspondence.
Or all English poets Shakespeare must be confessed to be the fairest and fullest subject for criticism, and to afford the most numerous, as well as most conspicuous instances, both of beauties and faults of all sorts. But this far exceeds the bounds of a preface, the business of which is only to give an account of the fate of his works, and the disadvantages under which they have been transmitted to us. We shall hereby extenuate many faults which are his, and clear him from the imputation of many which are not a design, which though it can be no guide to future critics to do him justice in one way, will at least be sufficient to prevent their doing him an injustice in the other.
I cannot however but mention some of his principal and characteristic excellencies, for which (notwithstanding his
defects) he is justly and universally elevated above all other dramatic writers. Not that this is the proper place of praising him, but because I would not omit any occasion of doing it.
If ever any author deserved the name of an original, it was Shakespeare. Homer himself drew not his art so immediately from the fountains of nature; it proceeded through Egyptian strainers and channels, and came to him not without some tincture of the learning, or some cast of the models, of those before him. The poetry of Shakespeare was inspiration indeed: he is not so much an imitator, as an instrument, of nature; and 'tis not so just to say that he speaks from her, as that she speaks through him.
His characters are so much nature herself, that 'tis a sort of injury to call them by so distant a name as copies of her. Those of other poets have a constant resemblance, which shews that they received them from one another, and were but multipliers of the same image: each picture like a mockrainbow is but the reflection of a reflection. But every single character in Shakespeare is as much an individual, as those in life itself; it is as impossible to find any two alike; and such as from their relation or affinity in any respect appear most to be twins, will upon comparison be found remarkably distinct. To this life and variety of character, we must add the wonderful preservation of it; which is such throughout his plays, that, had all the speeches been printed without the very names of the persons, I believe one might have applied them with certainty to every speaker.
The power over our passions was never possessed in a more eminent degree, or displayed in so different instances. Yet all along, there is seen no labour, no pains to raise them; ̧ no preparation to guide our guess to the effect, or be perceived to lead toward it: but the heart swells,
and the tears burst out, just at the proper places: we are surprised the moment we weep; and yet upon reflection find the passion so just, that we should be surprised if we had not wept, and wept at that very moment.
How astonishing is it again, that the passions directly opposite to these, laughter and spleen, are no less at his command! that he is not more a master of the great than of the ridiculous in human nature; of our noblest tendernesses, than of our vainest foibles; of our strongest emotions, than of our idlest sensations!
Nor does he only excel in the passions: in the coolness of reflection and reasoning he is full as admirable. His sentiments are not only in general the most pertinent and judicious upon every subject; but by a talent very peculiar, something between penetration and felicity, he hits upon that particular point on which the bent of each argument turns, or the force of each motive depends. This is perfectly amazing, from a man of no education or experience in those great and public scenes of life which are usually the subject of his thoughts: so that he seems to have known the world by intuition, to have looked through human nature at one glance, and to be the only author that gives ground for a very new opinion, that the philosopher and even the man of the world, may be born, as well as the poet.
It must be owned that with all these great excellencies, he has almost as great defects; and that as he has certainly written better, so he has perhaps written worse, than any other. But I think I can in some measure account for these defects, from several causes and accidents; without which it is hard to imagine that so large and so enlightened a mind could. ever have been susceptible of them. That all these contingencies should unite to his disadvantage seems to me almost as singularly unlucky, as that so many various (nay contrary)
talents should meet in one man, was happy and extraordinary. . . .
With all his faults, and with all the irregularity of his drama, one may look upon his works, in comparison of those that are more finished and regular, as upon an ancient majestic piece of Gothic architecture, compared with a neat modern building: the latter is more elegant and glaring, but the former is more strong and more solemn. It must be allowed, that in one of these there are materials enough to make many of the other. It has much the greater variety, and much the nobler apartments; though we are often conducted to them by dark, odd, and uncouth passages. Nor does the whole fail to strike us with greater reverence, though many of the parts are childish, ill-placed, and unequal to its grandeur.-Preface to Tonson Edition of Shakespeare.
LADY MARY WORTLEY MONTAGU.
LADY MARY PIERREPOINT was born, in 1689, at Thoresby, in Nottinghamshire. Her father, the younger brother of the Earl of Kingston, became, in 1715, by creation, Duke of Kingston. As a child, she was much neglected, but her love of books stood her in place of a regular education. She taught herself Latin, and read widely if not well. Ín 1712, she married Mr. Edward Wortley Montagu, who had long been attached to her. He was a man of great ability and cultivation, and in 1716 was appointed Ambassador to the Porte. Lady Mary accompanied him, and her impressions of the country, at that period so little known to English travellers, are recorded in the celebrated series of letters, which constitute her chief claim to literary reputation. While at Pera in 1718 she adopted the Turkish practice of inoculation, until that time unknown in Western Europe, for her own son, and was afterwards the chief means of introducing it into England. In 1719 she returned home with her husband. She was received with the distinction due to her talents and acquirements, and renewed her connexion with the wits of the day, among whom was Pope, whose neighbour she became at Twickenham. In 1739, she again left England, and resided chiefly in the North of Italy. She did not return until her husband's death, in 1761, and in the following year she died.
Lady Mary was at one time the intimate friend of Pope, and it is believed that her kindness induced the poet on some occasions to forget his usual caution in his relations with her and to offer her an affection which she could not return. It is certain that the