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both address and appearance, Waldegrave, who hated hard work, set up for a man of gallantry and pleasure, and, a few years before his death from small-pox in 1763 (when he was aged only fortyeight), married Walpole's niece, the handsomest woman in England. Waldegrave, though he was prime minister for five days only (8-12 June 1757), had a close insight into the course of affairs during the period of which he writes (1754-8). The real interest of his Memoirs consists in the carefully weighed characters which he draws of the chief actors, and in the strong contrast between these portraits and the sinister silhouettes of the too clever and far from scrupulous Hervey. Thus, in his portrait of George II, Waldegrave insists, as upon the two really salient features in the likeness, on the king's passion for business and his keen knowledge (surpassing that of any of his ministers) of foreign affairs1.

Among the Tapers and Tadpoles of the broad-bottom administration,' we are fortunate in possessing a three-quarter length portrait of so typical a fortune-hunter as George Bubb Dodington, who, by a long course of 'disagreeable compliances' and grotesque contortions, raised himself to £5000 a year and a peerage as baron Melcombe. He died at Hammersmith, aged seventy, on 28 July 1762. In the days of his splendour, he sought to become a patron of letters and was accepted as such by Young, Thomson and Fielding, but spurned by Johnson. A diligent student of Tacitus, he compiled a large quantity of political papers and memoranda, which he left to a distant cousin, Henry Penruddocke Wyndham, on condition that those alone should be published which did honour to his memory. Wyndham published the Diary in 1784, persuading himself, with judicious sophistry, that the phrase in the will formed no barrier to such a proceeding.

The Diary presents, perhaps, the most curious illustration in existence of the servile place-hunters of the age, with its unctuous professions of virtuous sentiment and disgust at venality, which serve only to heighten the general effect. It must be said, in Bubb's honour, that he united with Chesterfield and Walpole in trying to save Byng. His Diary, though carelessly compiled, contains some curious historical information, especially as to the prince and princess of Wales, during the period which it covers, from 1748 to 1760. In his cynical self-complacency, he becomes almost a humourous artist. But, from a literary point of view, his is a dry light, which few readers of the present day will be specially interested to rekindle.

1 Lord Walpole edited Lord Waldegrave's Memoirs in 1821.

CHAPTER X

WRITERS OF BURLESQUE AND TRANSLATORS

As the seventeenth century drew to its close, there came into being a strange underworld of letters, an inferno inhabited by lettered vagabonds, who matched, in scholarship and scurrility, the heroes of Petronius. Beggar students, tavern keepers, idlers. from the inns of court, adventurers who had trailed a pike in Holland, flocked thither with spruce young squires who 'knew the true manage of the hat,' and loungers fresh from the universities. Thus, in the coffeehouses, there grew up a new public, for whose amusement a new literature was invented. The old days of dignity and leisure were passed. The wits of the town wrote, not to please themselves, but to flatter the taste of their patrons, and many of them succeeded so well as to echo in prose or verse the precise accent of the tavern. A familiarity of speech and thought distinguished them all. They were ribald, they were agile, they were fearless. They insolently attacked their great contemporaries. They had, indeed, as little respect for high personages in life or letters as for the English tongue, which they maltreated with lighthearted ribaldry. The slang which they used-and they were all masters in this kind-was not the curious slang of metaphor, such as is enshrined in the pages of Cotgrave's Dictionary; rather, it was composed of the catchwords which seemed worth a smile when they were heard in the coffeehouse, but which instantly lost their savour when they were put in print, and which today defy the researches of the archaeologist. As they aimed, one and all, at the same mark-popularity--they exhibit in their works no subtle differences. The vanity of individual expression was not for them. They admitted that the booksellers, who paid the piper, had a perfect right to call the tune, and they sang and danced in loyal obedience to the fashion of the moment. They wrote the slippered doggerel, the easy prose, the flippant plays, that were asked of them, and their names might be transposed on many title-pages without any violation of justice or probability.

In spirit and ambition, they were true cockneys. They readily shook off the influences and associations of their childhood. Though Tom Brown went to Christ Church from Shifnal, though Ned Ward was a loyal son of Oxfordshire, though Peter Motteux first saw the light at Rouen, London was their paradise. They saw through her eyes, they spoke with her tongue. Most intimately at home in Will's or Ned Ward's, they dragged their muse, as they would still have called her, down to the level of sawdust and spilled wine. Before all things, and at all times, they were anti-heroic. Their jests never sparkled more brightly than when they were aimed at authority. No poets, living or dead, were sacred in their careless eyes. It seemed to them a legitimate enterprise to ridicule Vergil, or to trick Homer out in the motley garments of the age. Aeneas and Ulysses, esteemed heroes by many generations of men, were for them no better than those who frequented Grub street or took their pleasure in the Mall. And they found in travesty or burlesque an admirable field for the exercise of their untidy talent.

In burlesque, Scarron was their openly acknowledged master. They did not make any attempt to belittle the debt which they owed to Le Virgile Travesti. They announced their obligation not merely in their style, but in their titles, and, if this antic form of poetry took some years in crossing the Channel, it flourished with amazing energy after its passage. The success of Scarron himself is a curiosity of literary history. The form was no new thing, when Scarron made it his own. The reverse process, the exaltation of paltry subjects by august treatment, such as was afterwards employed by John Philips1 in his Splendid Shilling, was not unknown to the ancients. The trick of putting the gods and heroes of Greece and Rome into dressing-gowns had been practised in Spain and Italy before Scarron published, in 1648, the first book of his famous Virgile. But, for France, and, so, for England, Scarron was a real inventor. The artifice seemed simple enough when it was discovered. It depended for its triumph upon nothing else than an obvious contrast. To represent whatever had seemed sacred to the tradition of the race as trivial and ludicrous was not a difficult enterprise, while the anachronism which persuaded Vergil to speak of oil-paintings and to quote Corneille was assured of a laugh. The example of Scarron was quickly followed. Furetière, Dufresnoy, d'Assoucy hastened to prove themselves possessed of this new humour. Ovid, curled and barbered, was sent to pay his addresses to the ladies of the court with M. de Boufflers. Not even Lucan

As to John Philips, cf. ante, p. 182.

or Juvenal escaped the outrage of parody. And the style of the burlesques matched the irreverence of their thought. It was familiar to baseness; it flowed with the ease and swiftness of a turbid stream. In brief, as Boileau said, Parnassus spoke the language of the market, and Apollo, travestied, became a Tabarin.

The enthusiasm which Scarron's experiment aroused made an easy conquest of courtier and scholar alike. From the capital, it spread to the provinces, and, though none of his imitators is worth remembrance, Scarron deserves his meed of praise. He did an ill thing supremely well. In facility and suppleness, his Virgile has never been surpassed. His humour, such as it is, is tireless and inexhaustible. Moreover, if he be happy in his raillery, his work, as French admirers have said, is not without some value as a piece of criticism. He touches with a light hand the weakness of the lachrymose hero. He turns the light of the prevailing 'good sense' upon Vergil's many simplicities, for which few will thank him; and, even in the very act of burlesque, he pays his victim the compliment of a scrupulously close adherence to his text.

The fashion was already overpast in France, when Charles Cotton made his first experiment in English burlesque. In 1664, was published under the title Scarronides, or Virgil Travestie, a mock-poem on the first book of the Aeneid. To this, Cotton added the fourth book six years later, and, presently, put some of Lucian's dialogues into 'English fustian,' with the title Burlesque upon Burlesque: or the Scoffer Scoff"d. Of these experiments in the new craft, no more can be said than that they were better than the base imitations which speedily followed. Cotton, at any rate, was a man of letters, with a sense of style and variety, and if he stooped to play the tune which the tavern-haunters demanded, he played it with some skill and energy. He uses the artifices which they all use. He mixes ancient and modern inextricably. He measures the distance which Aeneas rowed by a familiar standard, "twixt Parson's Dock and Billingsgate.' As to Dido's temple, 'I cannot liken any to it,' says he, 'unless 't be Pancras, if you know it.' The humour is forced and barren; but those French critics are in the wrong, who declare that Cotton was content merely to translate Scarron. If his theory of burlesque was Scarron's, the application of it was all his own.

Cotton's success did not long remain unchallenged. Within a year, one Monsey of Pembroke hall, Cambridge, gave to the world his own Scarronides, a mock-poem, being the second and seventh books of Vergil's Aeneid, which he dedicated, by what, no doubt,

E. L. IX. CH. X.

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he thought a great stroke of humour, to ‘Lady Ann Dido, Countess of Carthage.' It is a work without character, scrupulously fashioned according to the pattern of the hour; and a reference to James Hind proves that this author also has learned the lesson of anachronism. Then John Phillips, a true habitant of Grub street, paraphrased, in his Maronides, the fifth and sixth books of the Aeneid. In a preface, he attempts a timid defence of his temerity. 'I leave the world to determine,' says he, 'whether it be not reason that he that has caused us so often to cry when we were Boys, ought not to make us laugh as much now we are men.' As Phillips travestied him, Vergil does not make us laugh, and the justification fails. The experiment, in truth, differed little from the others, save that its author, for the moment a zealous royalist, put the puritans in hell. There they all lie, Haselrigge and Pym, Hugh Peters, the chief of English rogues, Bradshaw,

in a Squarr

Of burning Canvas, lin'd with Tarr,

and Cromwell himself,

that Devil of a Devil,

Whose Noddle was the Mint of Evil.

The licence which John Phillips allowed himself in his treatment of Vergil was vastly increased by the author of The Irish Hudibras, or Fingallian Prince, who boldly adapted the sixth book of the Aeneid to his own time, and turned it to a high encomium of William III, 'this present Monarch, England's timely Redeemer, whom Heaven long preserve.'

Nor was Vergil the only one of the poets attacked in England with wanton insolence. In 1664, James Scudamore's Homer à la Mode, A Mock Poem upon the first and second Books of Homer's Iliads, came upon the town. The version is free from the brutality which disgraced many of its rivals, and gives promise of better things. The promise remained unfulfilled, for the author, who was bred at Christ Church, had but just taken his degree when he was drowned in the Wye, 'to the great reluctancy of all those who were acquainted with his pregnant parts.' The author of Homerides: or Homer's First Book Moderniz'd, who, some fifty years later, essayed Scudamore's task over again, need not awaken our curiosity. He showed a spark of self-knowledge when he called himself Sir Iliad Doggerell, and a complete ignorance of literary fitness, when he regretted that Pope did not give Homer 'the English air as well as tongue.' Ovid, better suited to the methods of burlesque, did but tempt the makers of travesties to a wilder extravagance.

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