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daughter Biddy. The letters of the father are principally of a political character, referring, in terms of bitter irony, to the baseness of the royal family of Bourbons, lately restored to the throne of France. Bob, the epicure and dandy, writes of dinners and tailors and fashionable life. Biddy relates the history of a romantic love-affair, in which she was the second actor, the first part being performed by a linen-draper's shopman disguised as the King of Prussia. “Nothing can be more animated, brilliant, and humorous than the description of the motley life and the giddy whirl of amusement in Paris at that memorable moment; and the whole is seasoned with such a multitude of personal and political allusions, that the Fudge Family will probably ever retain its popularity as both a social and political sketch of a most interesting moment in modern European history.”
McFingall is the title of an American satire written by John Trumbull. Both as to style and matter it is an imitation of Hudibras, although infinitely inferior to it in humor. It is the story of a New England squire of the Tory party and his controversy with a patriot American. At one time well known and, to some degree, popular, the poem is now seldom seen and almost forgotten.
Nothing to Wear, “an Episode of City Life,” is a brilliant little satire by an American author, William Allen Butler, written in 1857. With the following extract from this poem, we bring our chapter on satirical poetry to a close:
Miss Flora McFlimsey, of Madison Square,
Has made three separate journeys to Paris ;
That she and her friend, Mrs. Harris,
Or wrap round her shoulders, or fit round her waist,
I find there exists the greatest distress
From this unsupplied destitution of dress; Whose unfortunate victims are filling the air With the pitiful wail of “Nothing to wear!”
Oh ladies, dear ladies, the next sunny day
Have hunted their victims to gloom and despair;
Grope through the dark dens, climb the rickety stair
Jony SKELTON: See Warton's History of English Poetry; Ritson's Bibliographia Portica; Taine's English Literature; Campbell's Specimens of the British Poets.
SURREY AND Wyatt: Hallam’s Literary History ; Chalmers's Collection of the Poets ; Warton's English Poetry; Nott's Lives of Surrey and Wyatt ; The Aldine Edition of the Poems of Surrey and Wyatt.
SAMUEL BUTLER: Johnson's Life of Butler, in Lives of the Poets ; Hazlitt's Comic Writers ; Leigh Hunt's Wit and Wisdom. Zachary Grey's edition of Hudibras (1744) is remarkable for its curious notes.
Jonathan Swift: Johnson's Lives of the Poets ; Thackeray's English Humorists ; Hazlitt's Comic Writers ; Taine's English Literature ; Forster's Life of Dean Swift.
Joseph Hall: Warton's History of English Poetry; Chalmers's Collection of the Poets.
ALEXANDER BARCLAY: Warton's English Poetry; Ellis's Specimens of Early English Poetry.
For other authors, see reference-lists at close of other chapters.
Works relating to the great satirists, Horace, Juvenal, Rabelais, Swift, and Voltaire.
For Horace and Juvenal, see Ancient Classics for English Readers. See, also, Theodore Martin's translation of Horace (1860), and Gifford's translation of Juvenal (1802).
For Rabelais, see Walter Besant's French Humorists ; also, Rabelais in Foreign Classics for English Readers.
For Voltaire, see Life, by John Morley or by James Parton. See, also, Foreign Classics for English Readers.
Definitions-Chaucer's Descriptions of Nature—Spenser's Allegorical
Landscapes-Drayton's Polyolbion-Denham's Cooper's Hill-Pope's Windsor Forest-Milton's L'Allegro and Il Penseroso-Goldsmith's Traveller and The Deserted Village—Thomson's Seasons-Shenstone's Schoolmistress-Cowper's Task—The Literary Revolution of the Eighteenth Century-Nature, as Described by the more Modern Poets-Byron-Scott-Shelley-Alastor, or the Spirit of SolitudeKeats—To Autumn-Wordsworth-Resolution and IndependenceWilliam Cullen Bryant as a Descriptive Poet-Jhn G. Whittier-Mogg Megone-Snow-Bound-Rural Poems--Gay's Rural SportsBloomfield's Farmer's Boy.
DESCRIPTIVE poetry has reference to the appreciation and delineation of certain phases of natural beauty. As English artists have excelled in the painting of landscapes, so, also, English poets have excelled the poets of all other countries in describing the beauties of the natural world. But although description is a prominent and an excellent feature in almost all of our poetry, there are but few purely descriptive poems, written merely as such, in the language.
Chaucer was the first of our poets who sang of nature's beauties, of the sights and sounds of the spring-time, of the songs of birds, of the gay livery of the flowers, of the pleasant murmuring of flowing streams. His landscapes are nearly all of the conventional kind, popular in that age among the French and the Italians. There is a peculiar sameness in his descriptions, and yet a wonderful and agreeable variety. He delights in picturing to our imagi. nation the May morning: the fresh young grass springing up after a shower, a garden, a smoothly-mown lawn, the greenwood,“ the smale foules” making melody, the clear, flowing brook, the meadows covered with flowers; these are the elements which enter into nearly all of his poetical descriptions. He never speaks of nature in her wilder aspects; the towering mountain, the rushing torrent, the roaring waterfall, the thunder-storm-all these are unknown to his poetry. He does not even attempt to paint the clouds: he seldom refers to the sky. And yet, notwithstanding the narrowness of his range, there is an exquisite freshness and beauty and truth in all of his descriptions. “The delightful and simple familiarity of the poet with the meadows, brooks, and birds—and his love of them -has the effect of making every common aspect of nature new; the May morning is transfigured by his enjoyment of it; the grass of the field is seen as those in Paradise beheld it; the dew lies on our heart as we go forth with the poet in the dawning, and the wind blows past our ear like the music of an old song heard in the days of childhood. Half this power lies in the sweet simplicity of the words and the pleasant flowing of the metre.” The opening lines of the prologue to the Canterbury Tales is a fair example of Chaucer's descriptions of nature.
Whanne that April with his shoures sote
Read the first hundred and fifty lines of the Romaunt of the Rose, and you will have a good idea of the French conventional landscape. It is May,