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Thomas Gray (1716-1771), with his undying “ Elegy " and his wonderful “ Pindaric Odes.” Then came a Scot named Macpherson, who stirred men's souls with what was really a good poem of his own but which he pretended to be a translation of the ancient Gaelic verse of “ Ossian.” Its popularity enraged Dr. Johnson, who was himself a stout adherent of Pope and who called it an impudent forgery. Forgery perhaps, poem surely, “ Ossian ” was succeeded by another work, likewise a forgery and a poem, the Rowley book of Thomas Chatterton (1752–1770), who pretended that what he had himself written had lain for centuries in the archives of an old family. Bishop Percy, about the same time, published a book of real old English poetry under the title of “ Reliques of Ancient English Poetry” and thus revealed to an astonished nation the fact that some good poetry had been written before Dryden's time. Though George Crabbe (1754–1832) and William Cowper (1731-1800) wrote in couplets, both showed the new influence, the former by his choice and accurate description of homely subjects, the latter both by example and by precept, for he complained that Pope had made poetry a mere mechanic art.
“And every warbler had his tune by heart.” Finally, in 1786, Robert Burns (1759–1798) went up from Mossgiel to Edinburgh; William Blake about the same time wrote his “ Son's of Innocence"; in 1798 Wordsworth and Coleridge published their
Lyrical Ballads ”; and thus, while the French themselves were busy in getting rid of their kings, the French influence in English literature passed away. Perhaps the student will be able to feel what had happened if he will contrast four lines from Pope with four from Burns:
“ Hope springs eternal in the human breast:
That's newly sprung in June;
1700 Thomson born.
1704 Battle of Blen- 1706 Franklin born.
1707 Fielding born.
tor." 1718 “Robinson Crusoe.'
1715 Jacobite rebellion. 1716 Gray born.
1721 Robertson born.
ton born. Georgia Goldsmith born.
1730 Burke born.
1737 Gibbon born. 1745 Battle of Fontes
1740 Boswell born. noy.
1751 Sheridan born. 1746 Battle of Culloden. 1752 Fanny Burney 1758 Fort Duquesne.
born. 1759 Wolfe at Quebec. Chatterton
born. 1754 Crabbe born.
1759 Burns born. 1763 Wedgwood Pot. 1770 Wordsworth teries.
born. 1764 Hargreaves's spini- 1771 Scott born. ning jenny.
1772 Coleridge born. 1765 Watts's steam 1775 Lamb born. engine.
Jane Austen 1771 Great journals
1783 W. Irving born. 1776 U. S. A.
*788 Byron born. 1789 French Revoliu- 1789 Cooper born.
QUESTIONS AND EXERCISES
1. Perhaps arbitrarily we mark the beginning of the eighteenth century as
the beginning of a new era in English literature. When was it ter
minated and what great event marked its termination ? 2. What were the especial aims of the typical writers of this century? 3. What new literary forms may we look for in the eighteenth century ? 4. Name four eighteenth century novelists. 5. Ilow did the historical writing of the eighteenth century differ from
that which had preceded it?
6. Name several important biographical or autobiographical works written
in this century. 7. For what was Lady Mary Wortley Montague famous ? 8. You sometimes hear the phrase “ Chesterfieldian manners.” How did
this phrase originate? 9. What is the character of Thomson's “Seasons”? Does it more thor
oughly represent the point of view of the beginning or the end of
the century? 10. Exclusive of being the author of "Robinson Crusoe,” what is Daniel
Defoe's claim to fame?
Suggested Readings.—Edmund Gosse's “History of Eighteenth Century Literature” is an excellent work for collateral reading. Read “Robinson Crusoe ” again.
JONATHAN SWIFT (1667-1745)
The most agreeable companion, the truest friend, and the greatest genius of his age.”-Addison.
JONATHAN SWIFT, best known to the present generation as the author of " Gulliver's Travels," was born at 7 Hoey's Court, Dublin, November 30, 1667. Though his name is inseparably connected with Ireland and the Irish, he was thoroughly English in descent and character. His Yorkshire lineage is commemorated in the lines:
Jonathan Swift Had the gift By fatherige,
Motherige, And by brotherige, To come from Gotheridge.” On his mother's side he was related to the Poet Herrick, and on his father's to John Dryden. Before he was three he could read any chapter in the Bible. At six he was sent to Kilkenny School, then the best in Ireland. In 1682 he was entered at Trinity College, Dublin. His college career, however, did not harmonize with the brilliant promise of his infancy. At Easter, 1685, we find him passing in Greek and Latin, but being plucked in philosophy and theology. However, through a special dispensation of the authorities he was given his bachelor's degree in 1686. The death of his father and the financial embarrassment of the uncle on whom he had chiefly depended at this time reduced Swift to poverty and deeply impressed upon his mind the misery of dependence.
Probably Swift had looked forward while at Trinity to a clerical career, but the Revolution of 1688 destroyed his hopes of preferment. At this crisis, Sir William Temple, whose wife was in some way related to Swift's mother, offered him a position as his private secretary at a salary of twenty pounds a year. Swift accepted and for the next eleven years, except for one short interval, made his home at Temple's estate of Moor Park, near Farnham, in Surrey. Temple in his day had been a distinguished statesman and though now retired still retained considerable influence. In later years, Swift was in the habit of complaining bitterly of the menial relationship in which he stood to his employer. It is altogether probable that the raw Irish student, whose views regarding the distribution of functions between knives and forks were lamentably unsettled, did and said things