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daughters. Lewis Theobald revised and published it in 1728. As the original manuscript has never seen the light, it is impossible to say how much of the play as we have it is Theobald's composition. Pope evidently assumed it to be mainly his. At all events, in his Treatise on Bathos he holds him responsible for the line
None but itself can be its parallel, denouncing it as a masterpiece of absurdity, and supposing it copied from a Smithfield showman who wrote in large letters over the picture of an elephant which adorned his booth,
The greatest elephant in the world except himself. Now, if any part of this drama be old, it is probable that this passage belongs to the original portion. At all events, the idea was not Theobald's. It is classic; it goes as far back as Seneca's “ Hercules Furiens," i. 84:
Quæris Alcidæ parem!
Nemo est nisi ipse. (“Do you need a parallel to Alcides? It can be nobody but himself.") The peculiar audacity of the conceit commended it to the seventeenth-century intellect, which continually reproduced it. Thus, Massinger, in “The Duke of Milan" (1623), makes Sforza say of his wife that she has no equal, her goodness disdains comparison,
And but herself admits no parallel.
Act iv., Sc. 3. Again, as a correspondent of Notes and Queries points out (fifth series, i. 489), there is in the British Museum a broadside, undated, but marked by the collector “ July, 1658,” which in the form of an anagram makes a bitter attack on the notorious John Lilburne. The tenth and eleventh lines run as follows:
Rogues most compleat, but punyes unto him,
None but himself himself can parallel. The eleventh line, word for word, is quoted by Dodd in his “Epigramma. tists,” p. 533, as an inscription placed under the portrait of Colonel Strangeways, a member of Charles II.'s privy council. Here it was used in a complimentary sense. A similar compliment is paid in prose by the anonymous author of '“ Votivæ Angliæ" (Utrecht, 1624): “I cannot speak of her without prayse, nor prayse her without admiration ; sith shee can be immytated by none, nor parraleld by anie but herselfe.” Analogues more or less remote may be found elsewhere. Under a portrait of Joseph Hall, dated 1650, and forming the frontispiece to “Susurrium cum Deo," are the lines,
This Picture represents the Forme where dwells
A Mind which nothing but that Mind excels. Indeed, are not the famous lines of Milton identical in spirit, even to the bull, if bull you choose to call it ?
Adam the goodliest man of men since born
His sons; the fairest of her daughters Eve. John Andrews, the learned Bishop of Aleria, who did so much for the early printers and their art, used to affix elaborate epistles to the works brought out by his protégés. That on Livy is particularly elaborate (Beloe's Anecdotes, ii. 283). Livy he thinks to be Herculem merito historiarum. Livy, says he, growing enthusiastic, not only excelled other writers, but also even far surpassed himself; sed seipsum quoque longe antecellit. He is not only his own parallel, but his alacrity is such that he leaves himself behind in the race, and runs away from his own shadow, or his own spirit from his own body.
Paris vaut bien une messe (Fr., “ Paris is well worth a mass”). This phrase is attributed to Henry IV. as his reason for becoming a Catholic. But it is also attributed to Sully as an answer made to Henry IV. when the latter asked him, “Why do you not go to mass like myself?” “Sire," answered the Protestant courtier, “the crown is well worth a mass,” implying that apostasy was too great a price to be paid for anything short of the crown. Fournier, in his “ Esprit en l'Histoire," subscribes to the latter story, holding that the expression in the mouth of Henry would have been highly imprudent. “If it had occurred to him when he resolved to abjure his religion in order to make his entrance to Paris and to the throne smoother, he was too shrewd to give it utterance.”
Parody (from the Greek trapwdia, literally, a song sung besides, a burlesque imitation), a very common form of literary drolling, consisting of an imitation of the serious manner of another applied to a low, ludicrous, or triling theme.
M. Delpierre, who has published a copious work on ancient and modern parody (Paris, 1870), casts about him for a satisfactory definition, and finally falls back upon that of Père Montespan, a writer of the seventeenth century, who held that the essence of parody was the substitution of a new and light for an old and serious subject, and the free use (or misuse) of the expressions of the author parodied. Unlike burlesque,—where the subjects remain and the characters reappear the same, though trivialized and degraded,—in parodies new characters apply old and high-flown expressions and language to a new subject and an altered case. Francis Jeffrey, again, in his review of the “Rejected Addresses," makes a subtle and acute differentiation of the various forms of parody, distinguishing between the mere imitation of externalsmere personal imitation, so to speak—and that higher and rarer art which brings before us the intellectual characteristics of the original. “A vulgar mimic," he says, “repeats a man's cant phrases and known stories with an exact imitation of his voice, look, and gestures; but he is an artist of a far higher description who can make stories or reasonings in his manner, and represent the features and movements of his mind as well as the accidents of his body. It is a rare feat to be able to borrow the diction and manner of a celebrated writer to express sentiments like his own, to write as he would have written on the subject proposed to his imitator,-to think his thoughts, in short, as well as to use his words,-and to make the revival of his style appear a natural consequence of the strong conception of his peculiar ideas." This is all very well. But the result would not be strictly a parody, any more than the irony of Defoe, which every one took literally, was true irony. Parody, like irony, must give a humorous twist to the sentiments imitated; the imitation must be consciously exaggerated; the fun must be apparent on the surface. However great may be the real reverence of the parodist for his author, he cannot free himself from the irreverence of levity. Therefore, though in some sense a parody is a compliment to the author because it is a tribute to the popularity of his work, no author ever really liked to be parodied; and that author's admirers, no matter how acutely they may enjoy the fun, cannot but feel a twinge of conscience as of an unwilling witness to a sacrilege or a desecration.
It is true that no one was more quick to recognize the cleverness and laugh at the fun of “A Tale of Drury Lane" in the “Rejected Addresses" than Sir Walter Scott himself, yet he humorously complained that he did not know he had ever written so badly. It is true also that Crabbe acknowledged that in the versification of "'The Theatre" he had been “done admirably." Yet Crabbe complained that there was a "little undeserved ill-nature" in the prefatory address,—which reminds one of the debauchee who, rising with a matutinal headache, laid the blame upon that last oyster.
Robert Browning openly and avowedly detested parodies. To one who had asked his consent to quote a few lines from two of his popular poems to illustrate some imitations, he wrote,
29, De VERE GARDENS, W., December 28, 1888. SIR,- In reply to your request for leave to publish two of my poems along with “ Parodies" upon them, I am obliged to say that I disapprove of every kind of “Parody" so much that I must beg to be excused from giving any such permission. My publisher will be desired to enforce compliance with my wish, if necessity should arise. Believe me, sir.
ROBERT BROWNING. Dr. Arnold of Rugby told his boys to follow his example and never read parodies, “as they suggested themselves to the mind for ever after in connection with the beautiful pieces which they parodied” (Notes and Queries, seventh series, X. 144).
Parodies and burlesques were both favorite forms of humor with the ancient Greeks. In the public streets, and later in the theatres, the parodist frequently followed the rhapsodist who recited from the Iliad or the Odyssey, or appeared as the farce after the tragedy, to give a comic version of the previous performance. It is not impossible that the “ Battle of the Frogs and Mice,” which is a mock imitation of the Homeric style, and which at one time passed for a genuine Homeric poem, may have been recited by some ancient parodist ; perhaps following, as an after-piece, the “ Battle of the Ships.” If so, it is the only one of these earlier parodies that has come down to us. We can but guess at the nature of the others, for little remains of the numerous authors who are known to have composed them, and it is probable that the performers trusted a good deal to the extempore suggestions of their own Attic wit to give them effect. Of the famous Hipponax, for example, who is sometimes held to be the inventor of epic parody, only a few fragments are extant, and these reveal none of that terrible sarcasm with which he is credited,--the sarcasm which overwhelmed the brother-sculptors of Chios, who had made a too faithful likeness of the ugly and venomous little man, and finally drove them to suicide. Of Hegemon of Thasos, nicknamed “Lentil,” who was the reputed father of dramatic as Hipponax was of epic parody, little more than his name survives. Yet he, too, was a power in his day, and it is related that the Athenians in the theatre sat out the recital of his “Battle of the Giants" in spite of the ill news of a disaster to their arms in Sicily received after its commencement. Just so in the French Revolution the people ran out of the theatres between the acts to see the miserable victims pass on their way to the guillotine, and then quietly resumed their seats and forgot that dark tragedy in the last new vaudeville.
That these early parodies were all mercilessly personal, and spared neither gods nor men, we may judge from what Aristophanes has taught us of the unbounded license of Greek satire. The prince of humorists was also the prince of Greek parodists. His ever-recurrent burlesques of Euripides, his travesties of the Socratic philosophies, are still redolent of fun after the lapse of a score of centuries. To read Aristophanes—“The Frogs,” for exampleis to take one's fill of parodies, the only drawback being a suspicion that the poet had his favorites as well as his butts.
With the Romans parody was a favorite amusement. Catullus and Virgil seem to have suffered the most, and Joseph Scaliger, in his “Catalecta,” has even preserved a parody on Catullus which is attributed to Virgil. But the latter was paid off in his own coin by the anonymous writer of the “AntiBucolica," mentioned by Donatus, the first of which commenced as follows :
Tityre, si toga calda tibi est, quod tegmine fagi? The remains of Roman as of Greek parody are scanty. Perhaps the world has lost very little. Certainly it has no reason to rejoice in the mass of rubbish which the priests and pedants of the Middle Ages left behind them in the shape of parodies on Horace, Juvenal, and Catullus. Nor can it experience any emotion save disgust for the fools who rushed in even on holy ground and parodied the prayers, litanies, and offices of the Church, as well as the finest passages in the Old Testament and the New. These were common in Europe from the twelfth century to the seventeenth, while over in England stern Puritans and loyal Cavaliers availed themselves largely of Scripture phraseology to give zest to their caustic witticisms, and reviled one another in mock Litanies and Visitations of Sick Parliaments. One of the latest and most offensive instances is found in the “Old England's Te Deum" of Sir Charles Hanbury Williams.
But enough of this. One would gladly exchange the whole lot for a few more such lively skits as the parodies of Ménage, or those which in Joseph Scaliger's day were composed by various learned personages upon a flea that had made its appearance on the fair bosom of Madame Catherine Desroches. The intruder was discovered by Etienne Pasquier, who forth with delivered himself of an impromptu. Then followed a host of parodies, in many forms and many languages, and in imitation of many masters, until Madame Des. roches's flea became as famous as Lesbia's sparrow.
About the middle of the seventeenth century (to be exact, in 1652) appeared the famous-or infamous—“ Virgile Travesti” of the French Scarron. It seems to our modern taste rather a vulgar bit of ribaldry, but it was extrava. gantly admired, and, in spite of Boileau, it created a host of imitators. Over in England, Charles Cotton, the translator of Montaigne, produced a work of the same order, entitled “Scarronides, or Virgil Travestied,” which is now, fortunately, forgotten. Of a far higher order was “The Splendid Shilling" of John Philips, pronounced by Steele to be the finest burlesque poem in the English language. It is not so much a parody of Milton, for it suggests no well-known passage, as an application of the Miltonic style to trivial things. It has undoubted cleverness, yet the humor is of a sort that soon fades. Let us try a few lines and see if they will extort a laugh. Here is the famous description of the dun and the bailiff :
Thus, while my joyless minutes tedious flow,
Of debtor, straight his body, to the touch
Of money, Pallas sets him free. This may be funny, but, as children say, “it's not so awful funny.” Never. theless the great Dr. Johnson enjoyed it.
The great period of parody in England undoubtedly began with the “Rolliad” and the " Anti-Jacobin," and has been continued in such masterpieces of fun as the “Rejected Addresses" of the brothers Smith, the “Bon Gaultier Ballads" of Aytoun and Martin, the prose travesties by Thackeray and Bret Harte, the "Echo Club” of Bayard Taylor, the “Heptalogia” of Swinburne, and various bits of verse by Lewis Carroll, C. S. Calverley, and other humorists.
The story of the “ Rejected Addresses” has been often told. The directors of Drury Lane Theatre had offered a prize for the best poetical address to be read at the opening of their new building in 1812. A casual remark dropped by one Mr. Ward, the secretary to the theatre, that none of the pieces offered had proved acceptable, was the hint on which the brothers Smith set to work. They composed a series of addresses professedly written by the principal authors of the day and rejected by the Drury Lane committee. The book appeared simultaneously with the opening of the theatre, and was an overwhelming success. The parodies on Scott, Crabbe, and Wordsworth were voted especially fine. These are all too long to quote entire. Let us extract the story proper in the Crabbe parody from the long introduction. Here it is entire :
John Richard William Alexander Dwyer
Silence, ye gods! to keep your tongues in awe,
Pat Jennings in the upper gallery sat,
Made a low bow, and touched the ransomed hat!