페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

thing of Scripture in it, and with as little of poetry as Sternhold
and Hopkins.
The Epitaph which Pope wrote was this :-

Near this place lie the bodies of
JOHN HEWET and SARAH DREW,

an industrious young Man
and Virtuous Maiden of this Parish;
Who being at Harvest-Work

(with several others)
Were in one instant killed by Lightning

the last day of July 1718. It would appear that the letter was written jointly by Gay and Pope, as the latter, with very little variation, told the same tale in a letter to Mrs. Mary Blount, dated August 6, 1718, three days before Gay's letter. Pope also told the story in nearly identical language to Lady Mary Wortley Montague on September 1, 1718, sending the poetical inscription as in Gay's letter, and adding the following :

I

Think not, by rig'rous judgment seiz'd,

A pair so faithful could expire ;
Victims so pure Heav'n saw, well pleas’d,

And snatch'd them in celestial fire.

II

Live well, and fear no sudden fate ;

When God calls virtue to the grave,
Alike 'tis justice, soon or late,

Mercy alike to kill or save.
Virtue unmov'd can hear the call,
And face the flash that melts the ball

Pope adds, ‘Of the epitaphs which I made, the critics have chosen the godly one: I like neither ... Upon the whole, I cannot think these people unhappy. The greatest happiness, next to living as they would have done, was to die as they did.'

Thackeray, in his Lectures on the English Humourists (Lecture IV: Prior, Gay, and Pope), came to the conclusion that Gay's

letter was the original, and that the great Mr. Pope admired it so much that he thought proper to steal it’; but it is clear from a letter written to Pope by Lord Bathurst on August 14, 1718 (first published in Elwin and Courthope's Pope's Works, viii. 324), that it was a joint production, for the writer acknowledges the receipt of the story in these words : 'I must now return my thanks to Mr. Gay and you for your melancholy novel you sent me of the two unhappy lovers ; but why unhappy after all ?... I will only say that their names would never have been recorded to posterity but for this accident.'

NOTE 19.-MUSICAL GLASSES. Pages 238, 242. The

power of producing musical sounds from glass basins or drinking-glasses by the application of the moistened finger, and of tuning them so as to obtain concords from two at once, was known as early as the middle of the eighteenth century. Gluck, when in England, played at the Little Theatre in the Haymarket, 1746, a concerto on 26 drinking glasses tuned with spring water. Horace Walpole, writing to Sir. H. Mann (March 28, 1746), says : ' He [Gluck] is to have a benefit, at which he is to play on a set of drinking-glasses, which he modulates with water" (Letters, ii. 184). But it was not until 1761 and 1762 that musical glasses became a craze of 'genteel’ life. Private letters and newspapers teem with references to them at that date. Thus Gray to Mason (December 8, 1761), 'Dear Mason,–Of all loves come to Cambridge out of hand, for here is Mr. Delaval and a charming set of glasses that sing like nightingales ; and we have concerts every other night, and shall stay here this month or two.' See Gray's Letters, ed. Tovey, ii. 246 note ; also Thomas Campbell, A Philosophical Survey of the South of Ireland, in a series of Letters to John Watkinson, M.D., p. 452; and the article on Pockrich in the Dictionary of National Biography. For further information on the scientific side, see Grove's Dictionary of Music, ii. 296 (ed. 1906), s.v. Harmonica.

The same idea had occurred to the Chinese hundreds of years before this time. Musical cups were known to them in the tenth century A.D. They put a greater or less quantity of water in each, and thus produced modulation.

NOTE 20.-CUTTING PAPER. Page 251. As an additional illustration to this once fashionable custom the following poem by Pope is given :

On the Countess of Burlington cutting paper.
Pallas grew vapourish once, and odd,

She would not do the least right thing,
Either for goddess or for god,

Nor work, nor play, nor paint, nor sing.
Jove frown'd, and ‘Use,' he cried, “those eyes

So skilful, and those hands so taper ;
Do something exquisite and wise—’

She bow'd, obey'd him,-and cut paper.
This vexing him who gave her birth,

Thought by all heaven a burning shame ;
What does she next, but bids on earth

Her BURLINGTON do just the same.
PALLAS, you give yourself strange airs ;

But sure you'll find it hard to spoil
The sense and taste of one that bears

The name of Saville and of Boyle.
Alas ! one bad example shown;

How quickly all the sex pursue !
See, madam, see the arts o'erthrown

Between John OVERTON’ and you.

NOTE 21.—THE FEAR OF Mad Dogs. Pages 286–7. Notwithstanding the ridicule which Goldsmith poured upon those who stood in dread of mad dogs, both in this Elegy and in his paper on the subject in the Public Ledger for August 29, 1760 (afterwards reprinted in the Citizen of the World), people still went in fear of hydrophobia, an example of which appears in George Selwyn's Letters (ed. Roscoe and Clergue, 1899), pp. 274–5:

‘[1790, August 12, Richmond] Now à d'autres choses. I have in my last fright forgot one where there were better grounds for it. The day I wrote to you last, as you know, was at Isleworth.

1 Principal vendor of mezzotints of his day (D.N.B.).

Coming from thence, and when I landed, the first thing I heard was that people with guns were in pursuit of a mad dog, that he had run into the Duke's garden. Mie Mie [Maria Fagniani] came the first naturally into my thoughts ; she is there sometimes by herself reading. My impatience to get home, and uneasiness till I found that she was safe and in her room, n'est pas à concevoir. The dog bit several other dogs, a bluecoat boy, and two children, before he was destroyed. John St. John, who dined with me, had met him in a narrow lane, near Mrs. Boverie's, him and his pursuers. John had for his defence a stick, with a heavy handle. He struck him with this, and for the moment got clear of him; il l'a culbuté. It is really dreadful; for ten days to come we shall be in a terror, not knowing what dogs may have been bitten. Some may now have le cerveau qui commence à se troubler.'

NOTE 22.—THE LEVELLERS. Page 301. Clarendon, in his History of the Rebellion, x. 140, thus speaks of the Agitators, a name given to the agents or delegates of the private soldiers in the Parliamentary army of 1647-9: They entered into new associations, and made many propositions to their officers and to the Parliament to introduce an equality into all conditions, and a parity amongst all men ; from whence they had the appellation of Levellers.'

Goldsmith does not seem to have altogether grasped the aims and intentions of the Levellers. Mr. Alfred Beesley, in his admirable History of Banbury, reprints a pamphlet containing the Levellers' Declaration, which gives a summary of their programme. It is entitled : ‘England's Standard Advanced in Oxfordshire, or a declaration from Mr. Wil. Thomson, and the oppressed People of this Nation now under his conduct in the said County. Dated at their Randez-vous May 6, 1649. Whereunto is added an Agreement of the Free People of England, as the Grounds of their Resolutions. Printed in the Yeer 1649.' In this, the Levellers enumerated the wrongs under which the nation suffered, calling upon all who had any sense of the bonds and miseries of the people to help a miserable nation to break the bands of cruelty, and set the people free'.

On Friday, May 11, the House took into consideration the business of the Levellers' and declared Thomson's adherents, rebels and traitors. On Saturday, May 12, it was reported that * It hath pleased God to bring this great Bubble of the Levellers about Banbury to a sudden breaking, and that Thomson had escaped with a party of about 300. The end of the abortive rising was that Capt. Thomson was taken prisoner and shot together with his brother, whereon the insurrection collapsed. The two Thomsons were shot in Burford churchyard, having refused quarter.

With these documents should be compared the correspondence of the Levellers with Charles II in 1656, through their spokesman, William Howard (printed in Macray's edition of Clarendon's History of the Rebellion, vol. vi, pp. 67 seq.), one sentence of which will serve to show its general purport. It runs: 'What can we do more worthy of Englishmen, as we are by nation, or of Christians, as we are by profession, than every one of us to put our hand to an oar, and try if it be the will of our God that such weak instruments as we may be in any measure helpful to bring it at last into the safe and quiet harbour of justice and righteous

ness!

NOTE 23.-EASTERN TALES. Page 313. A very valuable contribution to the History of the Oriental Tale in England in the Eighteenth Century has been made recently by Miss Martha Pike Conant, Ph.D., of the Columbia Uni. versity, U.S.A. This interesting book may be cordially recommended to all students of Goldsmith, especially of that phase of his work in which he was so deeply interested-possibly in spite of himself—in tales more or less oriental. Miss Conant has dealt with the subject very sympathetically, and her book will interest many readers in England as well as in the United States.

NOTE 24.—PHILAUTOS, PHILALETHES, &c. Page 313. The Catalogues of the Bodleian and other great Libraries teem with such strange compounds as those here glanced at by Goldsmith, and many others like them. Perhaps the most interesting among those enumerated is a work by Eugenius Philalethes (Thomas Vaughan), entitled The Man-Mouse taken in a Trap, and tortur'd to death for gnawing the Margins of Eugenius Philalethes (1650). This book is a reply to Dr. Moore, who is styled in the Dedication 'a simple Bedlam ’, a certain Master

« 이전계속 »