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hnson applied to the poets of this stamp the term 'metacal,' because their work was beyond or outside nature; y copied neither nature nor life.' Instead of interpreting us nature and the facts of human life in such a way as to cir our emotions, they analysed phenomena in the spirit of philosophers. But a yet more notable distinction of this school than its philosophising, shallow or deep, is what may be called its fantasticality, its quaint wit, elaborate ingenuity, farfetched allusiveness; and it might better be called the Ingenious or Fantastic School. Various and out of the way information and learning is a necessary qualification for membership.... Eminence is attained by using such stores in the way to be least expected. The thing to be illustrated becomes of secondary importance by the side of the illustration. The more unlikely and surprising and preposterous this is, the greater the success1.'

In the Spectator2, Addison exemplifies what he describes as 'mixed wit' from the poems of Cowley, whom Johnson pronounces to have been almost the last of that race and undoubtedly the best,' and of whom Clarendon declared that he had 'made a flight beyond all men'

'Cowley, observing the cold regard of his mistress's eyes, and at the same time their power of producing love in him, considers them as burning glasses made of ice; and finding himself able to live in the greatest extremities of love, concludes the torrid zone to be habitable. When his mistress has read his letter written in juice of lemon by holding it to the fire, he desires her to read it over a second time by love's flames. When she weeps, he wishes it were inward heat that distilled those drops from the limbec. When she is absent, he is beyond eighty, that is, thirty degrees nearer the pole than when she is with him. His am

Shakespeare, 1564-1616; Marino, 1569-1625; Donne, 1573-1631; Ben Jonson, 1573-1637; Waller, 1605-1687; Milton, 1608-1674; Suckling, 1609-1641; Cleveland, 1613—1658; Denham, 1615-1668; Cowley, 1618-1667; Dryden, 1631-1700; Pope, 1688-1744.

1 Ward's English Poets, Hales's Introd. to Donne, Vol. 1. p. 558. 2 No. 62.

3 Life of Cowley, P. 17.

4 Autobiography, Vol. 1. p. 30.

bitious love is a fire that naturally mounts upwards; his happ lvlove is the beams of heaven, and his unhappy love flames opte hell. When it does not let him sleep, it is a flame that sends e up no smoke: when it is opposed to counsel and advice, it is a fire that rages the more by the wind's blowing upon it. Upon the dying of a tree in which he had cut his loves, he observes that his written flames had burnt up and withered the tree. When he resolves to give over his passion, he tells us that one burnt like him for ever dreads the fire. His heart is an Ætna, that instead of Vulcan's shop incloses Cupid's forge in it. His endeavouring to drown his love in wine, is throwing oil upon the fire. He would insinuate to his mistress, that the fire of love like that of the sun, (which produces so many living creatures), should not only warm, but beget. Love in another place cooks pleasure at his fire. Sometimes the poet's heart is frozen in every breast, and sometimes scorched in every eye. Sometimes he is drowned in tears, and burnt in love, like a ship set on fire in the middle of the sea.'

And all this playing with fire and flame for the sake of a fair creature who never existed outside of Cowley's imagination,-a mere poetical 'Mrs Harris'!

But Cowley shall speak for himself. This is how he sings ' of Anacreon, continuing a lover in his old age':—

'Love was with thy life entwined,
Close as heat with fire is join'd;

A powerful brand prescribed the date
Of thine, like Meleager's fate.

Th' antiperistasis of age

More enflam'd thy amorous rage.'

Let us take an example from Donne. "To the following comparison,' says Johnson1, 'of a man that travels and his wife that stays at home, with a pair of compasses, it may be doubted whether absurdity or ingenuity has the better claim :— .

'Our two souls, therefore, which are one,

Though I must go, endure not yet

A breach, but an expansion,

Like gold to airy thinness beat.

1 Life of Cowley, p. 17.

If they be two, they are two so

As stiff twin compasses are two;
Thy soul, the fix'd foot, makes no show
To move, but doth if th' other do.
And, though it in the centre sit,

Yet, when the other far doth roam,
It leans and hearkens after it,

And grows erect as that comes home.
Such wilt thou be to me, who must
Like th' other foot obliquely run.
Thy firmness makes my circle just,

And makes me end where I begun.'

Carew gives us a tasteless conceit in his epitaph on Sir Thomas Wentworth's daughter :

And here the precious dust is laid,
Whose purely tempered clay was made
So fine that it the guest betrayed.
Else the soul grew so fast within,
It broke the outward shell of sin,
And so was hatched a cherubin!'

The drying up of brooks from a failure of their springs suggests to Cleveland's imagination nothing more picturesque than a prosaic metaphor borrowed from an attorney's office ::

'As an obstructed fountain's head

Cuts the entail off from the streams,
And brooks are disinherited.'

Once more, Lovelace, in his verses on 'Ellinda's Glove,' describes the glove as 'a snowy farm with five tenements; he has visited there to pay his daily rents to the white mistress of the farm, who has gone into the meadows to gather flowers and hearts. He then changes his image, and calls the glove an ermine cabinet, whose alabaster lady will soon come home, since any other tenant would eject himself, by finding the rooms too narrow to contain him. The poet, therefore, leaves his rent, five kisses, at the door, observing, with another change of figure, that though the lute is too high for him, yet, like a servant, he is allowed to fiddle with the case1.'

1 Ward's English Poets, Introduction to Lovelace, by E. W. Gosse, Vol. II. pp. 181-2.

At the age of seventeen Dryden wrote an Elegy Upon the Death of Lord Hastings, his old school-fellow at Westminster, and in it he surpassed the most pedantic of the metaphysical writers on their own ground. Of the young nobleman he declares that

'His body was an orb, his sublime soul

Did move on virtue's and on learning's pole:
Whose regular motions better to our view

Than Archimedes' sphere the heavens did show.'

Lord Hastings had died of smallpox. Dryden's description of the malady affords wide scope for the display of his precocious subtlety and erudition. The disease is 'the very filthiness of Pandora's box'; its spots soil the victim,—‘our Venus,' -'one jewel set off with so many a foil.' The eruption resembles rose-buds, 'stuck in the lily-skin about':

'Each little pimple had a tear in it,

To wail the fault its rising did commit;
Which, rebel-like, with its own lord at strife,
Thus made an insurrection 'gainst his life.
Or were these gems sent to adorn his skin,
The cabinet of a richer soul within ?'

These are the extravagances of a clever school-boy who exaggerates the vices of his models,—extravagances from which Dryden gradually set himself free. At length popular taste changed and looked with disfavour upon excesses which had formerly been admired. About the time of the Restoration, the 6 Metaphysical School of poetry disappeared.

It would be unjust, however, to suppose that none of the poetry written during the interval between the death of Elizabeth and the Restoration was characterised by anything better than these conceits,-these 'novel turns of thought, usually false, and resting on some equivocation of language or exceedingly remote analogy1.' Cowley, Denham, and Waller bestowed increased attention upon versification, and handled metre with greater rigour.

In France the influence of Boileau, La Fontaine, Bossu, and

1 Hallam, Literature of Europe, Vol. III. p. 255.

Rapin was making itself felt. French writers recognised the importance of a finished style and sought to obtain correctness of form by imitating the classical authors of antiquity. A similar critical movement occurred in England, and from the time of the Restoration till the end of the seventeenth century it received guidance and stimulus from the French school. Dryden's was the master-mind that helped it forward in our own literature. He discussed questions of criticism in his prose essays and exemplified in his later verse the application of rules of composition to the poetic art. The work of Milton, 'our one first-rate master in the grand style1,' was alien to the spirit of the age, and found no imitators. He had fallen 'on evil days and evil tongues'; his 'Muse dwelt apart.' Dryden was the man of the hour.

The school of poetry which had Dryden for its pioneer found in Pope its most distinguished exponent. It is variously described as the 'Critical school,' because it submitted to the stringent rules imposed by literary criticism; as the 'Correct school,' because it aimed at that conciseness and finish of expression in which 'correctness' was supposed to consist; as the 'French school,' because its characteristic features were thought to be due to French influence; as the 'Classical school,' because it aimed at attaining the first rank in literary style by copying the examples furnished by Greek and Roman writers of the first rank whose works are called 'classics'; or as the 'School of Pope,' because in Pope it reached its climax.

This classical school of poetry, which marked a reaction against the metaphysical school, was destined itself to be overthrown. Owing to its adherence to rigid and frigid conventional rules, it became artificial and cold. Owing to its lack of warm feeling and of interest in nature, it failed to satisfy the cravings with which men turn to poetry for inspiration and support. But it did good service in maintaining that artistic form was necessary to poetic style and in showing that artistic form was attainable.

1 M. Arnold, Mixed Essays, p. 267.

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