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foible at court. Sir Philip Sidney (1554–86) disapproved of Lyly's extravagances, yet his writings are largely tinged with the current artificiality. Richard Hooker, remote from courts, and deeply serious, wrote his Ecclesiastical Polity (1594–1600) in grave and stately language. Lord Bacon's business life is everywhere reflected in the style and method of his writings.
The present authorised version of the Bible belongs to this period (1611). It is an excellent specimen of simple English, though slightly archaic for its time; and being universally read, it has contributed greatly to the stability and uniformity of the English tongue.
Among the smaller streams running parallel with the main currents were abundant translations of Greek and Roman literature, antiquarian chronicles and the beginnings of historical writing, romantic tales and stories of travel and adventure, and pamphlets on religious reform and on literary criticism. Towards the end of the century, history and geography and philosophy were attempted in the form of verse.
COMMONWEALTH, RESTORATION, AND REVOLUTION
(1649–1700). The connection between political events and the world of letters is very clearly seen in the history of English literature during the last half of the seventeenth century. At first, while the party strife was hot between the Cavaliers and the Puritans, there was produced a vast mass of merely controversial writing, which reflected in its bitterness the keenness of the struggle with material weapons. When the civil war was over, the stirring of men's hearts, and especially the religious seriousness and stern morality of the Puritans, exerted on literature a quickening and deepening influence. At the Restoration this influence was temporarily obscured. But it still lived on in the pages of important writers, with a far-reaching influence for good.
The poetry of this period is a transition between the ease, naturalness, and lively imagination of the Elizabethan writers, and the cold artificial style of the eighteenth century. The greatest poet, the Puritan John Milton (1608-74), possesses in high degree the best qualities of both schools. His chief work, Paradise Lost, the finest epic in the English language, is a marvel of sublimity of thought and expression. It reflects the intense earnestness and high-mindedness of the author, deepened and confirmed by the troublous times through which he had lived. Abraham Cowley (1618-67), by his Davidēis, recalls the religious poems of Herbert, Quarles, and others; a series that reaches its highest form in Milton. His other original poems class him among the metaphysical' poets (pp. 299-303). But the frigid puzzling conceits of this school were soon despised by greater minds. John Dryden (1631-1700) is the type and introducer of a new school of poetry, owing much to French influence. This dates from the Restoration. Its distinguishing marks are more artificial accuracy of workmanship, and the choice of subjects, in which the intellect, rather than the feelings, is interested. Dryden is characterised by his power of terse and brilliant reasoning in harmonious verse, and wins his chief triumphs in the domain of satire. Earlier satirists are completely outstripped: Bishop Hall and Dr Donne, and Samuel Butler (1612-80), the author of Hudibras (1663), a masterpiece of witty satire, directed against the Puritans. The license and frivolity of the Court of the Restoration were reflected but too clearly in the writings of the period, especially in the drama. Comedy was cultivated with greater success than tragedy, but though distinguished by light and sparkling wit, was never free
from the grossness of the times. William Wycherley (1640-1715) was the chief writer of comedies. Among other poets may be noticed Edmund Waller (1605–87), a most polished versifier; Andrew Marvell (1620-78), John Milton's secretary, a satirist and writer of charming pastorals; Sir John Denham (1615-68), author of Cooper's Hill (1643), one of the best of our descriptive poems; and Robert Herrick (1591-1674), who wrote lyrics.
The prose form is marked by great variety. At first there are long and loose sentences, sonorous and rhetorical, but, with a little attention, not difficult to follow; as in Jeremy Taylor and Milton. Taylor, though his life and activity belong to this period (1613-67), is characterised by many Elizabethan marks; and he has been designated "The Shakspeare of English prose.' Milton, a Puritan in religion, and a republican in statecraft, wrote prose possessing equally Elizabethan majesty, strength, and splendour. Cowley, especially in the Vision, is not untinged with the same great spirit; while he also shews a marked advance towards modern form. Sir William Temple (1628-99), a trained diplomatist and statesman, introduced superior orderliness and clearness. Dryden, with all his hurry, has left on his prose the distinctive marks of his powerful mind; it is 'familiar, clear, vigorous, and full of epigrammatic point.'
The chief prose subjects are religion, government, and literary criticism. After Jeremy Taylor, the most eminent theologians are Baxter (1615–91), the Puritan author of The Saints' Everlasting Rest; Barrow (1630-77), South (1633–1716), Tillotson (1630-94). The Pilgrim's Progress (1678-84), by John Bunyan (1628-1688), is one of the most popular of English books. It ranks with the Bible in extreme simplicity of style. Milton's religious and political position has been already marked. Thomas Hobbes (1588-1679), the favourite secretary of Bacon, in his Leviathan (1561), held that all power originates with the people, and must be used for their good; but that, when once delegated to a ruler, it cannot be recalled. John Locke (1632-1704), one of the greatest of English philosophers, author of the famous Essay on the Human Understanding (1690), also wrote on Civil Government. He adopted the above views of Hobbes, with the important modifications, that the ruler is responsible to the people, and may be deprived of his power, and that the voice of the people as repre sented by parliament is supreme. History begins to assume better form in the works of Lord Clarendon (1608-74) and Bishop Burnet (1643–1715); Thomas Fuller (1608-61) is one of our first noteworthy biographers. Literary criticism was not only revived and improved, but almost new-created by Dryden. The Royal Society was founded in 1662, and science now begins to claim a place in literature. The Principia of Sir Isaac Newton appeared in 1687.
QUEEN ANNE AND GEORGE I. (1702–1727). From a supposed resemblance, in the wealth of its intellectual products, to the reign of the Roman emperor Augustus, the reign of Queen Anne was, during last century, called the Augustan era of English literature. Later ages, however, have refused to endorse this opinion. The writers of the time were refined and critical, rather than original or inventive. The extension of this refinement to the moral sphere, and the consequent improvement on the moral tone of the Restoration, deserve nothing but praise. To the liberal patronage extended by statesmen to men of letters, in recognition of the value of literary talent in the arena of politics, is owing the party nature of so many of the writings of the period.
In poetry, the critical school introduced at the Restora
tion reaches a higher finish. The subjects are mainly didactic, and the muse is more concerned with the artificial life of the town than with the delights of nature. Of imagination or depth of feeling there is little. Alexander Pope (1688–1744) now stands at the head of the school, with remarkable powers of delicate expression, epigrammatic terseness often bordering on obscurity, and charming smoothness and melody of versification. His contemporaries are all far inferior to him. In the drama, we have the forgotten tragedies of Addison and Rowe, and the witty comedies of Congreve and Farquhar.
The prose of this period is full of good sense and correct taste, but it is not profound. In style it is neat, clear, and easy. The most remarkable feature is the rise of the periodical essay, dealing in a lively and discursive way with the social events and manners of the day. The names indissolubly connected with it are Sir Richard Steele (1671-1729) and Joseph Addison (1672–1719). The essays of the latter are marked by chaste and delicate humour, purity of moral sentiment, and elegant simplicity of style. The most earnest writing of the time is shewn in satire. In this department, Jonathan Swift (1667-1745) is unapproached. A Tale of a Tub (1704), and Gulliver's Travels (1726), display extraordinary satirical power, applied to religious, political, and social questions. Another political writer, Daniel Defoe (1661-1731), is unequalled for his skill in imparting an air of reality to fictitious narrative. Robinson Crusoe (1719) has never been ousted from its position as first favourite in the library of boyhood. Pre-eminent among philosophical writers is Bishop Berkeley (1684– 1753), author of the famous Theory of Vision (1709) and the Principles of Human Knowledge (1710). Lord Bolingbroke (1678–1751) wrote some of the best prose that had yet appeared.