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poem was written. Dryden represents Shadwell as a son of Flecknoe, chosen by the latter to succeed him on the throne of dullness.
3. Augustus, named by Julius Cæsar as his successor, came into power at the age of eighteen, and became “master of all things” (his own words) at thirty-two. 15 ff. Dryden's lines are in the language of satire, not that of truth. Shadwell was by no means so contemptible a writer as Dryden asserts - his plays, in fact, compare favorably with most of Dryden's. 25. goodly fabric. Shadwell was very fat. 29. Here again Dryden uses the unfair language of satire. Thomas Heywood and James Shirley were late Elizabethan dramatists who did not deserve such characterization. 33. Norwich drugget, rough cloth.
36. Shadwell imitated Ben Jonson in distinguishing his characters by particular “humours," that is, whims or idiosyncrasies. 42. tympany, inflation or distention; hence, figuratively here, bombast. 43. tun, a large barrel. 44. kilderkin, a small barrel. 48. If this line had been fact, the question arises why Dryden wrote so extended and vicious a reply to Shadwell. 50. Flecknoe was Irish, but Shadwell was not. 52. An iambic foot of poetry consists of an unaccented syllable followed by an accented. Satire was usually written in iambics, as is Mac Flecknoe. 56. Alluding to Shadwell's fondness for puns, which, however, was shared by virtually all the comic writers of his day. 57–58. Shadwell was a skillful musician. 60. Bruce and Longville were characters in Shadwell's plays. 64-65. The young prophet was, of course, Shadwell; his father was Flecknoe.
Under Milton's Picture. The poet of Greece was Homer; the poet of Italy, Dante.
JOHN BUNYAN. The student unacquainted with Bunyan and his greatest work, from which our selection is taken, should look them up in some history of literature. The Pilgrim's Progress is one of the world's great allegories, a form of story in which characters are personifications of abstract qualities and characteristics. Christian and Faithful, on a journey from the City of Destruction to the Celestial City, stopped at the town of Vanity, where a fair was being held. Their behavior there led to their trial and condemnation, as set forth in the selection.
88. an act of Pharaoh. See Exodus I, 22. 91. an act of Nebuchadnezzar. See Daniel III, 6. 95. an act of Darius. See
Daniel VI, 4-9. Bunyan was not a well-educated man; but he knew his Bible, and drew most of his inspiration from it. 136. Now I saw, i.e., in a vision. The story of the whole book is given “after the similitude of a dream.” Faithful's end is taken, of course, from that of Elijah. See 2 Kings II, 11.
SWIFT. - The Battle of the Books is one of a number of writings arising from a controversy whether ancient or modern writers are superior. The ancient and modern books in St. James's library are engaged in fight, when their attention is attracted (see lines 105–8) by the dispute of the spider and the bee. This appeared to Æsop very "parallel and adapt” (line 126) to the larger dispute, as he proceeded to demonstrate.
17. expatiating is used here in its etymological sense, "walking about.” 29. toils, snares. 42. droll, be humorous. 58. true spirit of controversy. Cf. Sir Thomas Browne on the subject, Charity, 60 ff. 99. whether, which. 115 ff. These lines refer to Dryden's modernizing of Æsop's Fables. 116. tore; old form of the participle. 154-6. The period of the Restoration and the early part of the eighteenth century is notable for satire. Swift himself is undoubtedly the greatest satirist in the language.
Argument against Abolishing Christianity (somewhat abridged in our text) is a specimen of Swift's keenest sarcasm and irony, and every line must be read from this point of view. No one, of course, had proposed to abolish Christianity; but “all parties seem so unanimously determined upon the point, as we cannot but allow from their actions, their discourses, and their writings” (lines 13–15). The essay is in reality a discourse on the manifest irreligion of the people.
6. the Union, of England and Scotland, confirmed in 1707. 49. broke (old form for “broken”), tortured on the rack. 59. deorum, etc. “Offences to the gods are the gods' concern.” From the Annals of Tacitus, I, 73. 70. the allies; i.e., those of England in the War of the Spanish Succession, terminated in 1713 by the Treaty of Utrecht. 86. a perfect, cavil. In reading such phrases as this it must be remembered that Swift is making only a fine pretense of seriousness. 99. rendezvouses, meeting-places; rendezvous (French) means, "assemble yourselves.”
136. different to is the usual British form for the American “different from.” It should be noted that the expression “different
than,” though frequently heard, is neither British, nor American, nor Irish.
153. daggled-tail, untidy, ill-kept. The more common word is “draggle-tailed.” 173. Asgill, Toland, and Tindal were religious writers of Swift's day whose views were particularly obnoxious to him.
DEFOE. - The Education of Women shows very advanced thinking for the author's day. 4. parts, accomplishments. 48. The meaning of this sentence is clearer if we supply the word “
even ” before if. 92. essay is used in its original (etymological) sense of “trial.”
Author's Preface. Robinson Crusoe is the first of Defoe's adventure stories, which entitle him in the opinion of many to be called the founder of the modern novel. The pretense of editing the story of a man's life was widely accepted as fact.
Crusoe's Situation. - 4. merchandise, business. 14. battle. Dunkirk was taken from the Spaniards by the French in 1658.
Crusoe's Landing.–3. coup de grâce (French), a deadly stroke. 79. to let him blood. See note on Robin Hood's Death and Burial, 10.
How Crusoe Baked Bread. - 18. whelming - upon, turning over upon so as to cover. 22. mere is used in its old positive sense, stead of its modern negative sense. It means, virtually, “first class.”
STEELE. Prospectus. 38 ff. White's, noted as a gambling house. Will's, the resort of literary men. When Steele was young, Dryden was the most famous man frequenting Will's. (See Macaulay's account of it in this volume, page 329.) Grecian, resort of lawyers. St. James's, resort of Whig politicians.
48. plain Spanish, a simple wine. 49. Kidney, a well-known waiter; with a pun, perhaps, on “kidney” in the sense of “temperament,' disposition." 56. casting a figure, making a calculation based on the positions of the planets; alluding to the practice of astrology.
Mr. Bickerstaff Visits a Friend. Steele conducted The Tatler under the name of “Isaac Bickerstaff.” 6. want, lack. monitor, adviser. 31. It was formerly the custom to speak of unmarried women as “mistress.” 37. Teraminta, a fanciful name, represent- ing no person in particular. 97. baby, doll. 98. gossiping, christening. 117. full-bottomed periwigs, wigs full and large at the bottom. 119. open-breasted, with waistcoat unbuttoned 147. Don Belianis, Guy, the Seven Champions, Bevis, popular figures
in romance. 153. Hickerthrift, hero of fairy tales. 155. The most famous exploit of St. George was his slaying the dragon (the devil) and his rescue from it of the maiden (the church).
The Editor's Troubles. - 10. a paper office. Fifteen years after this number of The Tatler there were published two large volumes of original letters received but not printed by the editor. 17. Templebar separated the City of London proper from Westminster, the section occupied by the court and the aristocracy. 18. the liberties, the City. 21. Wapping and Rotherhithe, the shipping section of the city. 29. news from Flanders, news of the War of the Spanish Succession. 36. Ad Aulam, “To the Court”; Ad Academiam, “To the Learned”; Ad Populum, “To the Populace”; Ad Clerum, “To the Clergy." 52. groat, fourpence. 58. conceits, witty expressions. 81. my aunt Margery. In number 151 of The Tatler was told how Mrs. Margery Bickerstaff, great aunt of Isaac, was tricked by her family into remaining single, in order that they might inherit her fortune. 83. Maud the milkmaid. In number 75 it was told that Sir Walter Bickerstaff, an ancestor of Isaac, had married a milkmaid. 106. suddenly, soon.
ADDISON. The Campaign was written by request of the government to celebrate the victory of Marlborough at the battle of Blenheim (War of the Spanish Succession). 2. joined was pronounced in the early part of the eighteenth century so that it was a perfect rhyme for find.
Frozen Words. - 5. Sir John Mandeville, reputed author of a volume of travels. See page 21, and note. 8. Ferdinand Mendez Pinto, a Portuguese of the sixteenth century. He was soldier and sailor, merchant and doctor, missionary and ambassador; was taken prisoner thirteen times, and sold into slavery seventeen. His Peregrination is at times inaccurate; but present opinion is that he did not wilfully misrepresent things by his “unbounded imagination.” 17–18. Addison is, of course, speaking ironically. 30. Hudibras, a poem by Samuel Butler, satirizing the Puritans. It was immensely popular during the latter part of the seventeenth century.
92. Wapping. See note on Steele, The Editor's Troubles, 21.
112. posthumous, after death. 135. kit, a kind of stringed instrument. 141. tuer le temps (French), to pass the time.
Mr. Spectator. - 2. black, dark. 33. nonage, minority. 35. parts, abilities.
88. Whigs and Tories, the chief political parties. Addison was a Whig. 111. spoken to. In parliamentary language, one speaks to a question, resolution, or subject under consideration. 131. The club was, of course, a fiction. Most of the numbers of The Spectator were written by Addison, a somewhat smaller number by Steele, and a few by others. The “Club" that figures in the papers was made up of a country squire (Sir Roger de Coverley), a retired soldier, a lawyer, a merchant, a gentleman of leisure, and a clergyman. 134. Little Britain, a street.
Vision of Mirzah. — 1. at Grand Cairo. See page 179, line 53. Addison's discovery of manuscripts, both for this story and for Frozen Words, is, of course, part of the fiction. The stories are his
11. Bagdat, for Bagdad, a section of Turkey in Asia. 30. Genius, a spirit. 62. threescore and ten, the Biblical allotment of years to man. See Psalms XC, 10. 66. According to the Bible, men lived much longer in the early days of the world than now. Methuselah, the oldest man, is said to have lived 969 years. See Genesis V,
27. 95. bubbles, worthless things to the gaining of which some men devote their whole lives.
POPE. — 2. Pierian spring. See note on Lycidas, 15. the rhyme, see note on Addison's Marlborough, 2.
THOMSON was one of the first poets to break away from the influence of Pope; shown here in his use of blank verse instead of rhymed ets, and in his theme (line 3) — scenes and objects of nature.
Spring. — 20–21. Aries, the Ram; and Taurus, the Bull, signs of the Zodiac. See note on Chaucer's Prologue, 8. 37. glebe, soil.
JOHNSON. Chesterfield aspired to a reputation as a patron of literature. He was famed for his elegant manners; and at the time of Johnson's call upon him (17 ff.), he was not prepossessed with the manners of the uncourtly scholar. 13. Le vainqueur, etc. (French), “the conqueror of the conqueror of the earth.”
30. shepherd in Virgil; in the poet's eighth Eclogue. 32 ff. The remainder of the letter is a specimen of the finest satire in the language. In his dictionary, probably remembering Chesterfield, Johnson defined patron as commonly a wretch who supports with insolence, and is paid with flattery." 37. solitary. Johnson's wife had died three