The Italian satirist Trajan Boccalini, born at Loretto in 1556, was also one upon whom Court favour shone. He was surrounded by a host of friends and admirers, and was appointed Governor of the States of the Church. He was one of the wittiest and most versatile of authors, and would have risen to positions of greater dignity, if only his pen had been a little less active and his satire less severe. He wrote a book entitled Ragguagli di Parnasso (1612), which was most successful. In this work he represents Apollo as judge of Parnassus, who cites before him kings, authors, warriors, statesmen, and other mighty personages, minutely examines their faults and crimes, and passes judgment upon them. Inasmuch as these people whom Apollo condemned were his contemporaries, it may be imagined that the book created no small stir, and aroused the wrath of the victims of his satire. Boccalini was compelled to leave Rome and seek safety in Venice. He also wrote a bitter satire upon the Spanish misrule in Italy, entitled Pietra del paragone politico (1615). In this book he showed that the power of the King of Spain in Italy was not so great as men imagined, and that it would be easy to remove the Spanish yoke from their necks. In Venice he imagined himself safe; but his powerful foes hired assassins to "remove" the obnoxious author. He was seized one day by four strong men, cast upon a couch, and beaten to death with bags filled with sand. The elegance of his style, his witticisms and fine Satire, have earned for Boccalini the title of the Italian Lucian.
To scoff at the powerful Jesuits was not always a safe pastime, as Pierre Billard discovered, who, on account of his work entitled La Bte sept ttes, was sent to the Bastille, and subsequently to the prisons of Saint-Lazare and Saint-Victor. The Society objected to be compared to the Seven-headed Beast, and were powerful enough to ruin their bold assailant, who died at Charenton in 1726.
Another Italian satirist, Pietro Aretino, acquired great fame, but not of a creditable kind. Born at Arezzo in 1492, he followed the trade of a bookbinder; but not confining his labour to the external adornment of books, he acquired some knowledge of letters. He began his career by writing a satirical sonnet against indulgences, and was compelled to fly from his native place and wander through Italy. At Rome he found a temporary resting-place, where he was employed by Popes Leo X. and Clement VII. Then he wrote sixteen gross sonnets on the sixteen obscene pictures of Giulio Romano [Footnote: These were published under the title of La corona de i cazzi, cio, sonetti lussuriosi del Pietro Aretino. Stamp. senza Luogo ne anno, in-16. The engravings in this edition, the work of Marc Antonio of Bolgna, were no less scandalous than the sonnets, and the engraver was ordered to be arrested by Pope Clement VII., and only escaped punishment by flight.], which were so intolerable that he was again forced to fly and seek an asylum at Milan under the protection of the "black band" led by the famous Captain Giovanni de Medici. On the death of this leader he repaired to Venice, where he lived by his pen. He began a series of satires on princes and leading men, and earned the title of flagellum principum. Aretino adopted the iniquitous plan of demanding gifts from those he proposed to attack, in order that by these bribes they might appease the libeller and avert his onslaught. Others employed him to libel their enemies. Thus the satirist throve and waxed rich and prosperous. His book entitled Capricium was a rude and obscene collection of satires on great men. His prolific pen poured forth Dialogues, Sonnets, Comedies, and mingled with a mass of discreditable and licentious works we find several books on morality and theology. These he wrote, not from any sense of piety and devotion, but simply for gain, while his immoral life was a strange contrast to his teaching. He published a Paraphrase on the seven Penitential Psalms (Venice, 1534), and a work entitled De humanitate sive incarnatione Christi (Venice, 1535), calling himself Aretino the divine, and by favour of Pope Julius III. he nearly obtained a Cardinal's hat. Concerning his Paraphrase a French poet wrote:—
"Si ce livre unit le destin De David et de l'Artin, Dans leur merveilleuse science, Lecteur n'en sois pas empch Qui paraphrase le pch Paraphrase la pnitence."
Utterly venal and unscrupulous, we find him at one time enjoying the patronage of Francis I. of France, and then abusing that monarch and basking in the favour of the Emperor Charles V., who paid him more lavishly. His death took place at Venice in 1557. Some say that he, the flagellum of princes, was beaten to death by command of the princes of Italy; others narrate that he who laughed at others all his life died through laughter. His risible faculties being on one occasion so violently excited by certain obscene jests, he fell from his seat, and struck his head with such violence against the ground that he died.
The town of Zrich was startled in the fifteenth century by finding itself the object of the keen satire of one of its canons, Felix Hemmerlin, who wrote a book entitled Clarissimi viri jurumque Doctoris Felicis Malleoli Hemmerlini variae oblectationis Opuscula et Tractatus (Basileae, 1494, folio). The clergy, both regular and secular, were also subjected to his criticism. The book is divided into two parts; the first is a dialogue de Nobilitate et Rusticitate, and the second is a treatise against the mendicant friars, monks, Beghards, and Bguines. The town of Zrich was very indignant at this bold attack, and deprived the poor author of his benefices and of his liberty.
Italian air seems to have favoured satire, but Italian susceptibility was somewhat fatal to the satirists. Giovanni Cinelli, born in 1625, taught medicine at Florence and was illustrious for his literary productions. He allied himself with Antonio Magliabecchi, who afforded him opportunities of research in the library of the Grand Duke. He began the great work entitled Bibliotheca volans, the fourth section of which brought grievous trouble upon its author. It was all caused by an unfortunate note which attacked the doctor of the Grand Duke. This doctor was highly indignant, and reported Cinelli to the Tribunal. The book was publicly burnt by the hangman, and Cinelli was confined in prison ninety-*three days and then driven into exile. His misfortunes roused his anger, and he published at his retreat at Venice a bitter satire on men of all ranks entitled Giusticazione di Giovanni Cinelli (1683), exciting much hostility against him. He died at the age of seventy years in the Castle of San Lorenzo, A.D. 1705, and his Bibliotheca volans was continued and completed by Sancassani under the fictitious name of Philoponis.
Nicholas Francus, an Italian poet of the sixteenth century, was a graceful writer and very skilled in the Latin, Greek, and Etruscan languages, but incurred a grievous fate on account of his severe satire on Pope Pius IV. The stern persecutor of Carranza, the powerful Archbishop of Toledo, was not a person to be attacked with impunity. The cause of the poet's resentment against the Pope was the prohibition of a certain work, entitled Priapeia, which Francus had commenced, describing the feasts of Priapus. Pius IV. refused to allow the poet to complete his book, and ordered that which he had already written to be burned. This was too much for the equanimity of the poet, whose eye was with fine frenzy rolling, and he began to assail the Pope with all manner of abuse. For some time the punishment for his rash writing was postponed, on account of the protection of a powerful Cardinal; but on the death of Pius IV. Francus sharpened his pen afresh, and sorely wounded the memory of his deceased foe. In one of his satires the words of St. John's Gospel, verbum caro factum est, were inserted; and the charge of profanity was brought against him. At length Pius V. condemned him to death. Some historians narrate that the poor poet was hung on a beam attached to the famous statue of the Gladiator in front of the Palace of the Orsini, called the Pasquin, to which the deriders and enemies of the Pope were accustomed to affix their epigrams and pamphlets. These were called Pasquinades, from the curious method adopted for their publication. Others declare that he suffered punishment in a funereal chamber draped with black; while another authority declares that the poet, the victim of his own satires, was hung on a fork-shaped gibbet, not on account of his abuse of Pius IV., but through the hatred of Pius V., which some personal quarrel had excited. This conjecture is, however, probably false.
Francus was a true poet, endowed with a vivid imagination and with a delicate and subtle wit. He scorned the coarse invective in which the satirists of his day used to delight. He had many enemies on account of his plain-spoken words and keen criticisms. The problem which perplexed the Patriarch Job—the happiness of prosperous vice, the misery of persecuted virtue—tormented his mind and called forth his embittered words. He inveighed against the reprobates and fools, the crowds of monsignors who were as vain of their effeminacy as the Scipios of their deeds of valour; he combated abuses, and with indignant pen heaped scorn upon the fashionable vices of the age. The Pope and his Cardinals, stung by his shafts of satire, cruelly avenged themselves upon the unhappy poet, and, as we have said, doomed him to death in the year 1569. His Dialogues were printed in Venice by Zuliani in 1593, under the title Dialoghi piacevolissimi di Nicolo Franco da Benevento; and there is a French translation, made by Gabriel Chapins, published at Lyons in 1579, entitled Dix plaisans Dialogues du sieur Nicolo Franco.
Lorenzo Valla, born at Rome in 1406, was one of the greatest scholars of his age, and contributed more than any other man to the revival of the love of Latin literature in the fifteenth century. His works are voluminous. He translated into Latin Herodotus (Paris, 1510), Thucydides (Lyons, 1543), The Iliad (Venice, 1502), Fables of Aesop (Venice, 1519); and wrote Elegantiae Sermonis Latini, a history of Ferdinand Aragon (Paris, 1521), and many other works, which are the monuments of his learning and industry. But Valla raised against him many enemies by the severity of his satire on almost all the learned men of his time. He spared no one, and least of all the clerics, who sought his destruction. A friend advised him that, unless he was weary of life, he ought to avoid heaping his satirical abuse on the Roman priests and bishops. He published a work on the pretended Donation of Constantine to the Papal See, and for this and other writings pronounced heretical by the Inquisition he was cast into prison, and would have suffered death by fire had not his powerful friend Alphonso V., King of Aragon, rescued him from the merciless Holy Office. Valla was compelled publicly to renounce his heretical opinions, and then, within the walls of a monastery, his hands having been bound, he was beaten with rods. It is unnecessary to follow the fortunes of Valla further. He was engaged in a long controversy with the learned men of his time, especially with the facetious Poggio, whose wit was keener though his language was not so forcible. Erasmus in his Second Epistle defends Valla in his attacks upon the clergy, and asks, "Did he speak falsely, because he spoke the truth too severely?" Valla died at Naples in 1465. The following epigram testifies to the correctness of his Latinity and the severity of his criticisms:—
Nunc postquam manes defunctus Valla petivit, Non audet Pluto verba latina loqui. Jupiter hunc coeli dignatus honore fuisset, Censorem lingua sed timet esse suae.
Raphael Maffei, surnamed Volaterranus, the compiler of the Commentarii urbani (1506), a huge encyclopaedia published in thirty-eight books, composed the following witty stanza on the death of Valla:—
Tandem Valla silet solitus qui parcere nulli est Si quaeris quid agat? nunc quoque mordet humum.
Our list of Italian satirists closes with Ferrante Pallavicino, a witty Canon, born at Plaisance in 1618, who ventured to write satirical poems on the famous nepotist, Pope Urban VIII., and all his family, the Barberini. Some of his poems were entitled Il corriero sualigiato, Il divortio celeste, La baccinata, which were published in a collection of his complete works at Venice in 1655. His selected works were published at Geneva in 1660. He made a playful allusion to the Barberini on the title- page of his work, where there appeared a crucifix surrounded by burning thorns and bees, with the verse of the Psalmist Circumdederunt me sicut apes, et exarserunt sicut ignis in spinis, alluding to the bees which that family bear on their arms. Pallavicino lived in safety for some time at Venice, braving the anger of his enemies. Unfortunately he wished to retire to France, and during his journey passed through the territory of the Pope. He was accompanied by a Frenchman, one Charles Morfu, who pretended great friendship for him, admired his works, and scoffed at the Barberini with jests as keen as the Canon's own satires. But the Frenchman betrayed him to his foes, and poor Pallavicino paid the penalty of his rashness by a cruel death in the Papal Palace at Avignon at the early age of twenty-nine years. His strictures on Urban and his family were well deserved. The Pope heaped riches and favours on his relations. He made three of his nephews cardinals, and the fourth was appointed General of the Papal troops. So odious did the family make themselves by their exactions that on the death of Urban they were forced to leave Rome and take refuge in France. Pallavicino had certainly fitting subjects for his satirical verses.
Franois Gacon, a French poet and satirist of the eighteenth century, suffered imprisonment on account of his poems, entitled Le Pote sans fard, ou Discours satyriques sur toutes sortes de sujets (Paris, 2 vols., in-12). His satire was very biting and not a little scurrilous, and was famous for the quantity rather than the quality of his poetical effusions. We give the following example of his skill, in which he discourses upon the different effects which age produces on wine and women:—
"Une beaut, quand elle avance en ge, A ses amans inspire du dgot; Mais, pour le vin, il a cet avantage, Plus il vieillit, plus il flatte le got."
The literary world of Paris in 1708 was very much disturbed by certain satirical verses which seemed to come from an unknown hand and empty cafs as if with the magic of a bomb. The Caf de la Laurent was the famous resort of the writers of the time, where Rousseau and Lamothe reigned as chiefs of the literary Parnassus amid a throng of poets, politicians, and wits. Some malcontent poet thought fit to disturb the harmony of this brilliant company by publishing some very satirical couplets directed against the frequenters of the caf. This so enraged the company that they deserted the unfortunate caf, and selected another for their rendezvous. But other verses, still more severe, followed them. Jean Baptist Rousseau was suspected as their author; he denied the supposition and accused Saurin; but Rousseau was found to be guilty and was banished from the kingdom for ever, as the author and distributer of "certain impure and satirical verses."
Amongst satirical writers who have suffered hard fates we must mention the illustrious author of Robinson Crusoe, Daniel Defoe. A strong partisan of the Nonconformist cause during the controversial struggle between Church and Dissent in the reign of Queen Anne, he published a pamphlet entitled The Shortest Way with the Dissenters (1702), in which he ironically advised their entire extermination. This pleased certain of the Church Party who had not learned the duty of charity towards the opinions of others, nor the advantages of Religious Liberty. Nor were they singular in this respect, as the Dissenting Party had plainly shown when the power was in their hands. Happily wiser counsels prevail now. When Defoe's jest was discovered, and his opponents found that the book was "writ sarcastic," they caused the unhappy author to be severely punished. Parliament condemned his book to the flames, and its author to the pillory and to prison. On his release he wrote other political pamphlets, which involved him in new troubles; and, disgusted with politics, he turned his versatile talents to other literary work, and produced his immortal book Robinson Crusoe, which has been translated into all languages, and is known and read by every one.
Young's Night Thoughts might not be considered a suitable form of poem for parody, but this M. Durosoi, or Du Rosoi, accomplished in his Les Jours d'Ariste (1770), and was sent to the Bastille for his pains. The cause of his condemnation was that he had published this work without permission, and also perhaps on account of certain political allusions contained in his second work, Le Nouvel Ami des Hommes, published in the same year. But a worse fate awaited Du Rosoi on account of his writings. In the dangerous years of 1791 and 1792 he edited La Gazette de Paris, which procured greater celebrity for him, and brought about his death. When the fatal tenth of August came, the Editor was not to be found in Paris. However, ultimately he was secured and condemned to death by the tribunal extraordinary appointed by the Legislative Assembly to judge the enemies of the new government. He died with great bravery at the hands of the revolutionary assassins, after telling his judges that as a friend of the King he was accounted worthy to die on that day, the Feast of Saint Louis.
All the venom of satirical writers seems to have been collected by that strange author Gaspar Scioppius, who had such a singular lust for powerful invective that he cared not whom he attacked, and made himself abhorred by all. This Attila of authors was born in Germany in 1576, went to Rome, abjured Protestantism, and was raised to high honours by Pope Clement VIII. In return for these favours he wrote several treatises in support of the Papal claims, amongst others Ecclesiasticus, which was directed against James I. of England. Concerning this book Casaubon wrote in his Epistle CLV.: "Know concerning Scioppius that some of his works have been burned not only here at London by the command of our most wise King, but also at Paris by the hand of the hangsman. I have written a letter, which I will send to you, if I am able, against that beast." He poured the vials of his wrath upon the Jesuits, declaring in his Relatio ad reges et principes de stratagematibus Societatis Jesu (1635) that there was no truth to be found in Italy, and that this was owing entirely to the Jesuits, who "keep back the truth in injustice, who, rejecting the cup of Christ, drink the cup of devils full of all abominations." This roused their wrath, and by their designs our author was imprisoned at Venice. There he would have been slain, if he had not enjoyed the protection of a powerful Venetian. He boasted that his writings had had such an effect on two of his literary opponents, Casaubon and Scaliger, as to cause them to die from vexation and disappointment. He made himself so many powerful enemies that towards the end of his life he knew not where to find a secure retreat. This "public pest of letters and society," as the Jesuits delighted to call him, died at Padua in 1649 hated by all, both Catholics and Protestants. He wrote one hundred and four works, of which the most admired is his Elementa philosophiae moralis stoicae (Mayence, 1606).
Adrian Beverland—Cecco d'Ascoli—George Buchanan—Nicodemus Frischlin— Clement Marot—Caspar Weiser—John Williams—Deforges—Thophile—Helot— Matteo Palmieri—La Grange—Pierre Petit—Voltaire—Montgomery—Keats— Joseph Ritson.
The haunters of Parnassus and the wearers of the laurel crown have usually been loved by their fellows, save only when satire has mingled with their song and filled their victims' minds with thoughts of vengeance. In the last chapter we have noticed some examples of satirical writers who have clothed their libellous thoughts in verse, and suffered in consequence. But the woes of poets, caused by those who listened to their song, have not been numerous. Shakespeare classes together "the lunatic, the lover, and the poet" as being "of imagination all compact"; and perchance the poet has shared with the madman the reverence which in some countries is bestowed on the latter.
However, all have not so escaped the destinies of fate. Some think that Ovid incurred the wrath of Augustus Caesar through his verses on the art of loving, and was on that account driven into exile, which he mourned so melodiously and complained of so querulously. In a period less remote we find Adrian Beverland wandering away from the true realm of poetry and taking up his abode in the pesthouse of immorality. He was born at Middlebourg in 1653, and studied letters at the University of Leyden. He began his career by publishing indecent poems. He wrote a very iniquitous book, De Peccato originali, in which he gave a very base explanation of the sin of our first parents; and although considerable licence was allowed to authors in the Netherlands at that time, nevertheless the magistrates and professors of Leyden condemned the book to be burned and its author to banishment. The full title of the work is Hadriani Beverlandi peccatum originale philogic elucubratum, Themidis alumno. Eleutheropoli, in horto Hesperidum, typis Adami, Evae, Terrae filii (1678, in-8). He seems to have followed Henri Cornelius Agrippa in his idea that the sin of our first parents arose from sexual desire. Leonard Ryssenius refuted the work in his Justa detestatio libelli sceleratissimi Hadriani Beverlandi, de Peccato originali (1680). He would doubtless have incurred a harder fate on account of another immoral work, entitled De prostibulis veterum, if one of his relations had not charitably committed it to the flames. Before the sentence of banishment had been pronounced he wrote an apology, professed penitence, and was allowed to remain at Utrecht, where he composed several pamphlets. Being exiled on account of the indecency of his writings, he came to England, where he affected decorum, and his friend and countryman Isaac Vossius, who enjoyed the patronage of Charles II. and was Canon of Windsor, obtained for him a pension charged upon some ecclesiastical fund. Never were ecclesiastical funds applied to a baser use; for although Beverland wrote another book [Footnote: De fornicatione cavend admonitio (Londini, Bateman, 1697, in-8).] with the apparent intention of warning against vice, the argument seemed to inculcate the lusts which he condemned. Having become insane he died, in extreme poverty, in 1712. He imagined that he was pursued by a hundred men who had sworn to kill him.
An early poet who suffered death on account of his writings was Cecco d'Ascoli, Professor of Astrology at the famous University of Bologna in 1322. His poems have been collected and published under the title Opere Poetiche del' illustro poeta Cecco d'Ascoli, cio, l'acerba. In Venetia, per Philippum Petri et Socios, anno 1478, in-4. The printer of this work, Philippus Condam Petri (Philippo de Piero Veneto) is one of the earliest and most famous of Venetian printers, and produced several of the incunabula which we now prize so highly. The absurdities of Cecco contained in his poems merited for their author a place in a lunatic asylum, rather than on a funeral pile. He was, however, burnt alive at Bologna in 1327. He believed in the influence of evil spirits, who, under certain constellations, had power over the affairs of men; that our Saviour, Jesus Christ, was born under a certain constellation which obliged Him to poverty; whereas Antichrist would come into the world under a certain planet which would make him enormously wealthy. He continued to proclaim these amazing delusions at Bologna, and was condemned by the Inquisition. The poet escaped punishment by submission and repentance. But two years later he announced to the Duke of Calabria, who asked him to cast the horoscope of his wife and daughter, that they would betake themselves to an infamous course of life. This prophecy was too much for the Duke. Cecco was again summoned to appear before the Inquisitors, who condemned him to the stake. At his execution a large crowd assembled to see whether his familiar genii would arrest the progress of the flames. The poet's real name was Franois de Stabili, Cecco being a diminutive form of Francesco. There are many editions of his work. The "lunatic" and the "poet" were certainly in his case not far removed.
A very different man was the illustrious author and historian of Scotland, George Buchanan, who was born in 1506. After studying in Paris, he returned to Scotland, and became tutor of the Earl of Murray, the natural son of James V. The Franciscan monks were not very popular at this period, and at the suggestion of the King Buchanan wrote a satirical poem entitled Silva Franciscanorum, in which he censured the degenerate followers of St. Francis, and harassed them in many ways. This poem so enraged the monks that they seized him and imprisoned him in one of their monasteries. One night, while his guards slept, he contrived to escape by a window, and underwent great perils. He published two other severe satirical poems on the Franciscans, entitled Fratres Fraterrimi and Franciscanus. It is scarcely necessary to follow his fortunes further, as Buchanan's history is well known. After teaching at Paris, Bordeaux, and at Coimbre in Portugal, he returned to Scotland, and was entrusted by Mary, Queen of Scots, with the education of her son. Buchanan then embraced Protestantism, opposed the Queen in the troubles which followed, and received from Parliament the charge of the future Solomon of the North, James VI. of Scotland and I. of England. He devoted his later life to historical studies, and produced his famous History of Scotland in twelve books, De Maria Regina ejusque conspiratione, in which he attacked the reputation of the Queen, and De jure regni apud Scotos, a book remarkable for the liberalism of the ideas which were therein expressed. His royal pupil did not treat Buchanan's History with due respect; he caused it to be proclaimed at the Merkat Cross, and ordered every one to bring his copy "to be perused and purged of the offensive and extraordinary matters." In the reign of Charles II. the University of Oxford ordered Buchanan's De jure regni, together with certain other works, to be publicly burnt on account of certain obnoxious propositions deducible from them; such as "Wicked kings and tyrants ought to be put to death." He published a paraphrase of the Psalms of David in verse, which has been much praised. The Jesuits were not very friendly critics of our author, for they asserted that Buchanan showed in his life little of the piety of David, and stated that during thirty years he did not deliver a single sermon, even on Sundays. "But who is ignorant," observes M. Klotz, "of the lust of these men for calumny?"
Another poet had occasion to adopt the same mode of escape which Buchanan successfully accomplished, but with less happy results. This was Nicodemus Frischlin, a German poet and philosopher, born in the duchy of Wrtemberg in 1547. At an early age he showed great talents; honours clustered thickly on his brow. At the age of twenty years he was made Professor of Belles-Lettres at Tubingen; he received from the Emperor Rudolph the poetic crown with the title of chevalier, and was made Count Palatin as a reward for his three panegyrics composed in honour of the emperors of the House of Austria. Certainly Fortune smiled upon her favourite, but Envy raised up many enemies, who were eager to find occasion against the successful poet. He afforded them a pretext in his work De laudibus vitae rusticae, which, in spite of its innocent title, grievously offended the nobles, who were already embittered against him on account of his arrogance and turbulence, and his keen and unsparing satire. So bitter was their hostility that the poet was compelled to leave Tubingen, and became a wandering philosopher, sometimes teaching in schools, always pouring forth poems, elegies, satires, tragedies, comedies, and epics. Being eager to publish some of his works and not having sufficient means, he applied to the Duke of Wrtemberg for a subsidy, at the same time furiously attacking his old opponents. This so exasperated the chief men of the Court, that they persuaded the Duke to recall Frischlin; but instead of finding a welcome from his old patron, he was cast into prison, in order that he might unlearn his presumption, and acquire the useful knowledge that modesty is the chief ornament of a learned man. But Frischlin did not agree with another poet's assertion:—
"Stone walls do not a prison make, Nor iron bars a cage."
Having raged and stormed, and tried in vain to obtain release, he resolved to escape. From his prison window he let himself down by a rope made out of his bed-clothes, but unfortunately the rope broke and the poor poet fell upon the hard rocks beneath his chamber window and was injured fatally. Frischlin was considered one of the best Latin poets of post- classical times; but his genius was marred by his immoderate and bitter temper, which caused him to imagine that the gentle banter and jocular remarks of his acquaintances were insults to be repaid by angry invective and bitter sarcasm, with which his writings abound.
Clement Marot was one of the most famous of early French poets, and the creator of the school of nave poetry in which La Fontaine afterwards so remarkably excelled. His poetical version of the Psalms was read and sung in many lands; and in spite of prohibition copies could not be printed so fast as they were eagerly bought. They were at one time as popular in the Court of Henry II. of France as they were amongst the Calvinists of Geneva and Holland. In 1521 we find him fighting in the Duke of Alenon's army, when he was wounded at the battle of Pavia. Then his verses caused their author suffering, and he was imprisoned on the charge of holding heretical opinions. His epistles in poetry written to the King contain a record of his life, his fear of imprisonment, his flight, his arrest by his enemies of the Sorbonne, his release by order of the King, and his protestations of orthodoxy. But he seems to have adopted the principles of the Reformation, and France was no safe place for him. In Geneva and Piedmont he found resting-places, and died in 1544. His translation of the Psalms into harmonious verse, which was sung both by the peasants and the learned, was the cause of his persecution by the doctors of the Sorbonne. He complains bitterly to the Lyons printer, Dolet, that many obscene and unworthy poems were ascribed to him and printed amongst his works of which he was not the author. As an example of his verse I quote the beginning of Psalm cxli.:—
"Vers l'Eternel des oppressez le pere Je m'en iray, luy monstrant l'impropere Que l'on me faict, luy ferai ma priere A haulte voix, qu'il ne jette en arriere Mes piteux cris, car en lui seul j'espere."
It is not often that a poet loses his head for a single couplet, but this seems to have been the fate of Caspar Weiser, Professor of Lund in Sweden. At first he showed great loyalty to his country, and wrote a panegyric on the coronation of Charles XI., King of Sweden. But a short time afterwards he appears to have changed his political opinions, for when the city was captured by the Danes in 1676, Weiser met the conqueror, and greeted him with the words:—
Perge Triumphator reliquas submittere terras, Sic redit ad Dominum, quod fuit ante, suum.
This verse was fatal to him. The Swedish monarch recovered his lost territory; the Danes were expelled, and the poor poet was accused of treason and beheaded.
The same hard fate befell John Williams in 1619, who was hanged, drawn, and quartered, on account of two poems, Balaam's Ass and Speculum Regis, the MSS. of which he foolishly sent secretly in a box to King James. The monarch was always fearful of assassination, and as one of the poems foretold his speedy decease, the prophet incurred the King's wrath and suffered death for his pains.
A single poem was fatal to Deforges, entitled Vers sur l'arrestation du Prtendant d'Angleterre, en 1749. It commences with the following lines:—
"Peuple, jadis si fier, aujourd'hui si servile, Des princes malheureux, tu n'es donc plus l'asyle?"
He happened to be present at the Opera House in Paris when the young Pretender was arrested, and being indignant at this breach of hospitality, and believing that the honour of the nation had been compromised, he wrote these bitter verses. His punishment was severe. He was arrested and conducted to the gloomy fortress of Mont-Saint-Michel, where he remained for three long years shut up in the cage. The floor of this terrible prison, which was enveloped in perpetual darkness, was only eight square feet. The poor poet bore his sufferings patiently, and was befriended by M. de Broglie, Abb of Saint-Michel, who obtained permission for him to leave his cage and be imprisoned in the Abbey; nor did he fail to take precautions lest the poor poet should lose his eyesight on passing from the darkness of the dungeon to the light of day. The good Abb finally procured liberty for his captive, who became secretary to M. de Broglie's brother, and subsequently, on the death of Madame de Pompadour, commissioner of war. Terrible were the sufferings which the unhappy Deforges endured on account of his luckless poem.
Thophile was condemned to be burned at Paris on account of his book Le Parnasse des Potes Satyriques, ou Recueil de vers piquans et gaillards de notre temps (1625, in-8), but he contrived to effect his escape. He was ultimately captured in Picardy, and put in a dungeon. He was banished from the kingdom by order of the Parliament. In his old age he found an asylum in the house of the Duke of Montmorency. The poet's real surname was Viaud. The following impromptu is attributed to Thophile, who was asked by a foolish person whether all poets were fools:—
"Oui, je l'avoue avec vous, Que tous les potes sont fous; Mais sachant ce que vous tes, Tous les fous ne sont pas potes."
His poems are a mere collection of impieties and obscenities, published with the greatest impudence, and well deserved their destruction. On one occasion he travelled to Holland with Balzac, and used this opportunity for bringing out an infamous charge against him, which he had most probably invented. His book, the cause of all his woes, was burnt with the poet's effigy in 1623.
Many authors have ruined themselves by writing scandalous works, offensive to the moral feelings of not very scrupulous ages. Several chapters might be written on this not very savoury subject. We may mention Hlot's L'Escole des Filles, par dialogues (Paris, 1672, in-12). Hlot was the son of a lieutenant in the King's Swiss Guard. As he succeeded in making his escape from prison, he was hung in effigy, and his books were burnt. Chauveau, the celebrated engraver, who designed a beautiful engraving for Hlot, not knowing for what purpose it was intended, also incurred great risks, but fortunately he escaped with no greater penalty than the breaking of the plate on which he had engraved the design. The printer suffered with the author. Some think that Hlot was burnt at Paris with his books.
The Muses have often lured men from other and safer delights, and tempted them to wander in dangerous paths. Matteo Palmieri was a celebrated Italian historian, born at Florence in 1405; he was a man of much learning, endowed with great powers of energy and perseverance; he was entrusted with several important embassies, and achieved fame as an historian by his vast work Chronicon Gnrale, in which he set himself the appalling task of writing the history of the world from the creation to his own time. The first part of this work, consisting of extracts from the writings of Eusebius and Prosper, remains unpublished. The rest first saw the light in 1475, and subsequent editions appeared at Venice in 1483, and at Basle in 1529 and 1536. He wrote also four books on the Pisan War. Would that he had confined himself to his histories! Unfortunately he wrote a poem, which was never published, entitled Citta Divina, representing the soul released from the chains of the body, and freed from earthly stain, wandering through various places, and at last resting amid the company of the blessed in heaven. Our souls are angels who in the revolt of Lucifer were unwilling to attach themselves either to God or to the rebel hosts of heaven. So, as a punishment, God made them dwell in mortal bodies in a state of probation. This work was considered tainted with the Manichaean heresy, and was condemned to the flames, and some assert that Palmieri shared the fate of his book. This, however, is doubtful.
Very fatal to himself were the odes and philippics of M. La Grange, written in 1720, and published in Paris in 1795, in-12, with the title Les Philippiques, Odes, par M. de la Grange-Chancel, Seigneur d'Antoniat en Prigord, avec notes historiques, critiques, et littraires. In these poems he attacked with malignant fury the Duke of Orleans, Regent of France, and was obliged to fly for safety to Avignon. There he was betrayed by a false friend, who persuaded him to walk into French territory, and delivered him into the hands of a band of soldiers prepared for his capture. The poet was conducted to the Isle of Ste. Marguerite, and confined in a dungeon. The governor of the castle was enchanted by his talents and gaiety, and gave him great liberty. But Le Grange's pen was still restless. He must needs make a bitter epigram upon his kind benefactor, which so aroused the governor's ire that the poet was sent back to his dungeon cell. A piteous ode addressed to the Regent imploring pardon secured for him a less rigorous confinement. He succeeded in effecting his escape; then wandered through many lands; and at last, on the death of the Regent in 1723, ventured to return to France, where he lived many years and wrote much poetry and several plays, dying in 1758. It has never been ascertained what was the cause of his animosity to the Regent; certainly his verses glow with fiery invective and abuse. He speaks of him as un monstre farouche. The following example will perhaps be sufficient to be quoted:—
"Il ouvrit peine les paupires, Que, tel qu'il se montre aujourd'hui, Il fut indign des barrires Qu'il vit entre le trne et lui. Dans ses dtestables ides De l'art des Circs, des Mdes, Il fit ses uniques plaisirs; Il crut cette voie infernale Digne de remplir l'intervalle Qui s'opposait ses dsirs."
Voltaire suffered one year's imprisonment in the Bastille on account of a satirical poem on Louis XIV., and in confinement wrote an epic poem, La Henriade. Some other storms raised by his works, such as his Lettres Philosophiques and his Eptre Uranie, he weathered by flight, or by unscrupulously denying their authorship. The rest of his works, contained in seventy volumes, do not concern our present purpose.
Our English poet James Montgomery began life as a poor shop-boy. At an early age he began to write verses, and became editor of a Sheffield newspaper. The troubles of the French Revolution then broke out, and fired the extreme Radical spirit of the poetical editor. His writings attracted the attention of the Government, and he was sent to prison, where he wrote several poems—Ode to the Evening Star, Pleasures of Imprisonment, and Verses to a Robin Redbreast.
As late as the middle of the seventeenth century a young unfortunate poet, in spite of the interest of powerful friends, was hung and burnt at Paris. This was young Pierre Petit, the author of La B—— cleste, chansons et autres Posies libres. His productions were certainly infamous and scandalous, but that was no reason why the poet should have been hanged. Moreover the poems existed only in MS.; subsequently they were published in a Recueil de Posies. The manner of the discovery of the poems is curious, and serves as a warning to incautious bards. Leaving his chamber one day, he opened the window, and unfortunately a strong gust of wind carried several pages of MS. which were lying on his table into the street. A priest who happened to be passing the house examined one or two of the drifting poems, and, discovering that they were impious, denounced Petit to the authorities. His rooms furnished a large supply of similar work, and, as we have said, the poet paid the penalty for his rashness at the gallows.
Although the methods of later critics are less severe than their inquisitorial predecessors, they have not been without their victims, and books maltreated by them have sometimes "done to death" their authors.
A century ago furious invective was the fashion, and the tender mercies of the reviewers were cruel. Poor Keats died of criticism, if Shelley's story be true. On the appearance of Endymion the review in Blackwood told the young poet "to go back to his gallipots," and that it was a wiser and better thing to be a starved apothecary than a starved poet. Such vulgar abuse was certainly not criticism. Shelley wrote that "the savage criticism on Keats' Endymion which appeared in the Quarterly Review produced the most violent effects on his susceptible mind; the agitation thus originated ended in the rupture of a blood-vessel in the lungs; a rapid consumption ensued, and the succeeding acknowledgments from more candid critics of the true greatness of his powers were ineffectual to heal the wound thus wantonly inflicted. It may be well said, that these wretched men know not what they do. They scatter their insults and their slanders without heed as to whether the poisonous shafts light on a heart made callous by many blows, or one like Keats', composed of more penetrable stuff." And then addressing the reviewer he says: "Miserable man! you, one of the meanest, have wantonly defaced one of the noblest specimens of the workmanship of God. Nor shall it be your excuse that, murderer as you are, you have spoken daggers, but used none."
Joseph Ritson, the antiquary, who, though not a poet, was a great writer on poetry and our early English songs and ballads, complained bitterly of the ignorant reviewers, and described himself as brought to an end in ill- health and low spirits—certain to be insulted by a base and prostitute gang of lurking assassins who stab in the dark, and whose poisoned daggers he had already experienced. Ritson himself was a fairly venomous critic, and the "Ritsonian" style has become proverbial. Nowadays authors do not usually die of criticism, not even susceptible poets. Critics can still be severe enough, but they are just and generous, and never descend to that scurrilous personal abuse of authors which inflicted such severe wounds a century ago, and sometimes caused to flow the very heart's blood of their victims.
DRAMA AND ROMANCE.
Sir John Yorke and Catholic Plays—Abraham Cowley—Antoine Danchet—Claude Crbillon—Nogaret—Franois de Salignac Fnlon.
Of the misfortunes of dramatists and romance-writers I have little to record, but it would not be safe to conclude that this subject always furnished a secure field for literary activity. However, the successes of the writers of fiction and plays in our own times might console the Muse for any indignities which her followers have suffered in the past.
In our own country the early inventors of dramatic performances— Mysteries, Moralities, and Interludes—lived securely, their names being unknown. When penal laws were in force against Roman Catholics, plays inculcating their doctrines and worship were often secretly performed in the houses of Catholic gentry. The anonymous author was indeed safe, but Sir John Yorke and his lady were fined one thousand pounds apiece and imprisoned in the Tower on account of a play performed in their house at Christmas, 1614, containing "many foul passages to the vilifying of our religion and exacting of popery."
Abraham Cowley was driven into retirement by his unfortunate play Cutter of Coleman Street, which was an improved edition of his unfinished comedy entitled The Guardian, acted at Cambridge before the Court at the beginning of the Civil War. After the Restoration he produced the revised version under the name of Cutter of Coleman Street, the principal character being a merry person who bore that cognomen. Some of the aspirants to royal favour persuaded the King that the play was a satire directed against him and his Court, and the poor poet, condemned by the enemies of the Muses, calumniated and deprived of all hopes of preferment, retired in disgust to a country retreat among the hills of Surrey. The disfavour of the Court was also increased by his Ode to Brutus, wherein he had extolled the genius of his hero, and praised liberty in language too enthusiastic for the Court of Charles II. The spirit of melancholy claimed Cowley for her own. Disappointment and disgust clouded his heart; ill-health followed, and soon the poor poet breathed his last. As is not unusual, the learned and the great mourned over and praised the dead poet whom when alive they had so cruelly neglected.
Antoine Danchet was one of the most famous of French dramatic writers, although his poetry was not of a very high order and lacked energy and colour. He was born at Riom, in Auvergne, in 1671; he distinguished himself at the college of the Oratorian fathers, and soon came to Paris to become a teacher of youths and to finish his studies at the Jesuit College. At a very early age he manifested a great love of poetry, and when he used to recite the whole of Horace he was rewarded by a wealthy patron with a present of thirty louis d'ors. He bore so noble a character and had such a reputation for learning that a certain noble lady on her death-bed entrusted him with the charge of her two sons, giving him a pension of two hundred livres, on the condition that he should never leave them. Soon after her death he was ordered to write some verses for a ballet produced at Court; this led him to acquire a taste for the theatre, and he produced in 1700 an opera entitled Hsione, which met with a great success. The relations of his pupils were aroused. It was scandalous that a teacher of youths should write plays. All the arguments that superstition could suggest were used against him. He must relinquish his charge; he must refund the pension which he had received from the mistaken mother. But Danchet saw no reason why he should conform to their demands, and refused to relinquish his charge. They urged him still more vehemently, but met with the same response. They at length refused to pay him the pension, and withdrew his pupils from his care. A troublesome law- suit followed, but at length the poet emerged triumphant from the troubles in which his love of the drama had involved him. He produced also the tragedies of Cyrus, Tyndarides, Hraclides, and Nittis, but these did not meet with the success of his earlier work. He was a devoted son to his mother, depriving himself of even the necessaries of life in order to support her. He showed himself a kind and generous friend to all, and always took a keen interest in young men. One of these brought him an elegy written to his mistress and bewailing her misfortunes. The verses began with Maison qui renfermes l'objet de mon amour. "Is not that word maison rather feeble?" observed Danchet; "would not palais, beau lieu ... be better?" "Yes," replied the poet, "but it is a maison de force, a prison!" A complete edition of his works was published after his death in 1751.
The younger Crbillon (Claude Prosper Jolyot) was confined in the Bastille on account of his satirical romance Tanzai et Nadarn (1734, 2 vols., in-12). His father, Prosper Crbillon, was a very famous French dramatic poet, and discarded the profession of the law for the sake of the Muses. Idomeneus, Atreus Electra, Rhadamistus, and the Triumvirate were some of his works. The son possessed much of his father's genius, and his wit and gaiety rendered him a pleasant companion. At one time he was a great favourite amongst the lite of Parisian society. But his satirical and licentious romances brought him into trouble, and the above-mentioned work conducted him to the Bastille, wherein so many authors have been incarcerated. He died in 1777.
The name is not known of a young man who came to Paris with a marvellous play which he felt sure would electrify the world and cover its author with glory. Unhappily, he met with a cold reception by a stern critic, who, with merciless severity, pointed out the glaring errors in his beloved work. The poor author, overcome with vexation, returned home with a broken heart, burnt his tragedy, and died of grief.
M. Nogaret is not the only author who has been unfortunate in the selection of a subject for a romance. He wrote a book entitled La Capucinade (1765), and the heroes of his story are the Capuchin monks, whom he treated somewhat severely. This work and his Mmoires de Bachaumont conducted the author to the Bastille.
Few are ignorant of that most charming, graceful, and immortal work Tlmache. Not only has it been studied and admired by every Frenchman, but it has been translated into German, English, Spanish, Flemish, and Italian. But in spite of the great popularity which the work has enjoyed, perhaps few are acquainted with the troubles which this poetic drama and romance brought upon its honoured author. Franois de Salignac de la Mothe Fnlon, born in the castle of his ancestors at Fnlon in 1651, was a man of rare piety, virtue, and learning, who deservedly attained to the highest ecclesiastical honours, and was consecrated Archbishop of Cambray. He had previously been appointed by Louis XIV. tutor to the Dauphin, and his wit and grace made him a great favourite at the Court, and even Madame de Maintenon for a time smiled upon the noble churchman, whose face was so remarkable for its expressiveness that, according to the Court chronicler Saint Simon, "it required an effort to cease looking at him." His Fables and Dialogues of the Dead were written for his royal pupil. It is well known that the Archbishop sympathised strongly with Madame Guyon and the French mystics, that he did not approve of some of the extravagant expressions of that ardent enthusiast, but vindicated the pure mysticism in his famous work Maximes des Saints. This work involved him in controversy with Bossuet, and through the influence of Louis XIV. a bull was wrung from Pope Innocent XII. condemning the book, and declaring that twenty-three propositions extracted from it were "rash, scandalous, and offensive to pious ears, pernicious and erroneous." The Pope was very reluctant to pass this sentence of condemnation, and was induced to do so through fear of Louis, and not because he considered the book to be false. With his usual gentleness, Fnlon accepted the sentence without a word of protest; he read the brief in his own cathedral, declaring that the decision of his superiors was to him an echo of the Divine Will. Fnlon had aroused the hatred of Madame de Maintenon by opposing her marriage with the King, which took place privately in 1685, and she did not allow any opportunity to escape of injuring and persecuting the Archbishop. At this juncture, through the treachery of a servant, Tlmache was published. At first it was received with high favour at Court. It inculcated the truth that virtue is the glory of princes and the happiness of nations, and while describing the adventures of the son of Ulysses its author strove to establish the true system of state-craft, and his work is imbued with a sense of beauty and refinement which renders it a most pleasurable book to read. But Madame de Maintenon was grievously offended by its success, and by the praise which even Louis bestowed upon it. She easily persuaded him that the work was a carefully executed satire directed against the ministers of the Court, and that even the King himself was not spared. Malignant tongues asserted that Madame de Montespan, the King's former mistress, might be recognised under the guise of Calypso, Mademoiselle de Fontanges in Eucharis, the Duchess of Bourgogne in Antiope, Louvois in Prothsilas, King James in Idomne, and Louis himself in Ssostris. This aroused that monarch's indignation. Fnlon was banished from Court, and retired to Cambray, where he spent the remaining years of his life, honoured by all, and beloved by his many friends. Strangers came to listen to his words of piety and wisdom. He performed his episcopal duties with a care and diligence worthy of the earliest and purest ages of the Church, and in this quiet seclusion contented himself in doing good to his fellow-creatures, in spite of the opposition of the King, the censures of the Pope, and the vehement attacks of his controversial foes Bossuet and the Jansenists. In addition to his fatal book he wrote Dmonstration de l'existence de Dieu, Rfutation du Systme de Malebranche, and several other works.
The Jansenist Abb Barral, in his Dictionnaire Historique, Littraire, et Critique, des Hommes Clbres, thus speaks of our author and his work: "He composed for the instruction of the Dukes of Burgundy, Anjou, and Berri several works; amongst others, the Telemachus—a singular book, which partakes at once of the character of a romance and of a poem, and which substitutes a prosaic cadence for versification. But several luscious pictures would not lead us to suspect that this book issued from the pen of a sacred minister for the education of a prince; and what we are told by a famous poet is not improbable, that Fnlon did not compose it at Court, but that it is the fruits of his retreat in his diocese. And indeed the amours of Calypso and Eucharis should not be the first lessons that a minister ought to give to his scholars; and, besides, the fine moral maxims which the author attributes to the Pagan divinities are not well placed in their mouth. Is not this rendering homage to the demons of the great truths which we receive from the Gospel, and to despoil Jesus Christ to render respectable the annihilated gods of paganism? This prelate was a wretched divine, more familiar with the light of profane authors, than with that of the fathers of the Church." The Jansenists were most worthy men, but in their opinion of their adversary Fnlon they were doubtless mistaken.
BOOKSELLERS AND PUBLISHERS.
The Printers of Nicholas de Lyra and Caesar Baronius—John Fust—Richard Grafton—Jacob van Liesvelt—John Lufftius—Robert Stephens (Estienne)— Henry Stephens—Simon Ockley—Floyer Sydenham—Edmund Castell—Page—John Lilburne—Etienne Dolet—John Morin—Christian Wechel—Andrew Wechel— Jacques Froull—Godonesche—William Anderton.
Authors have not been the only beings who have suffered by their writings, but frequently they have involved the printers and sellers of their works in their unfortunate ruin. The risks which adventurous publishers run in our own enlightened age are not so great as those incurred a few centuries ago. Indeed Mr. Walter Besant assures us that now our publishers have no risks, not even financial! They are not required to produce the huge folios and heavy quartos which our ancestors delighted in, and poured forth with such amazing rapidity, unless there is a good subscribers' list and all the copies are taken.
The misfortunes of booksellers caused by voluminous authors might form a special subject of inquiry, and we commend it to the attentions of some other Book-lover. We should hear the groans of two eminent printers who were ruined by the amazing industry of one author, Nicholas de Lyra. He himself died long before printing was invented, in the year 1340, but he left behind him his great work, Biblia sacra cum interpretationibus et postillis, which became the source of trouble to the printers, Schweynheym and Pannartz, of Subiaco and Rome. They were persuaded or ordered by the Pope or his cardinals to print his prodigious commentary on the Bible; when a few volumes had been printed they desired most earnestly to be relieved of their burden, and petitioned the Pope to be saved from the bankruptcy which this mighty undertaking entailed. They possessed a lasting memento of this author in the shape of eleven hundred ponderous tomes, which were destined to remain upon their shelves till fire or moths or other enemies of books had done their work. These volumes began to be printed in 1471, and contain the earliest specimens of Greek type.
The printers of the works of Prynne, Barthius, Reynaud, and other voluminous writers must have had a sorry experience with their authors; but "once bitten twice shy." Hence some of these worthies found it rather difficult to publish their works, and there were no authors' agents or Societies of Authors to aid their negotiations. Indeed we are told that a printer who was saddled with a large number of unsaleable copies of a heavy piece of literary production adopted the novel expedient of bringing out several editions of the work! This he accomplished by merely adding a new title-page to his old copies, whereby he readily deceived the unwary.
Catherino, in his book entitled L'Art d'Imprimer, quotes the saying of De Fourcey, a Jesuit of Paris, that "one might make a pretty large volume of the catalogue of those who have entirely ruined their booksellers by their books."
But the booksellers and printers whose hard fate I wish principally to record are those who shared with the authors the penalties inflicted on account of their condemned books. Unhappily there have been many such whose fate has been recorded, and probably there are many more who have suffered in obscurity the terrible punishments which the stern censors of former days knew so well how to inflict.
One of the reputed discoverers of the art of printing, John Fust, is said to have been persecuted; he was accused at Paris of multiplying the Scriptures by the aid of the Devil, and was compelled to seek safety in flight.
The booksellers of the historian Caesar Baronius, [Footnote: Cf. page 97.] whose account of the Spanish rule in Sicily so enraged Philip III. of Spain, were condemned to perpetual servitude, and were forced to endure the terrible tortures inflicted on galley slaves.
The early printers of the Bible incurred great risks. Richard Grafton and Edward Whitchurch, together with Miles Coverdale, were entrusted to arrange for the printing of Thomas Mathew's translation. The work was given to the printers in Paris, as the English printers were not very highly esteemed. The book was nearly completed when the Inquisition effectually stopped the further progress of the work by seizing the sheets, and Grafton with his companions were forced to fly. Then Francis Regnault, whose brother's colophon is the admiration of all bibliophiles, undertook the printing of the New Testament, made by Miles Coverdale, which was finished at Paris in 1538. Richard Grafton and Whitchurch contrived to obtain their types from Paris, and the Bible was completed in 1539. Thus they became printers themselves, and as a reward for his labour, when the Roman Catholics again became rulers in high places, Richard Grafton was imprisoned. His printer's mark was a graft, or young tree, growing out of a tun.
The title of the Bible which was begun in Paris and finished in London is as follows:—
The Byble in Englyshe. 1539. Folio.
"The Byble in Englyshe, that is to saye the content of all the Holy Scrypture, bothe of the Olde, and Newe Testament, truly translated after the veryte of the Hebrue and Greke textes, by the dylygent studye of dyuerse excellent learned men, expert in the forsayde tongues. Printed by Rychard Grafton and Edward Whitchurche. Cum priuilegio—solum. 1539."
This Grafton was also a voluminous author, and wrote part of Hall's Chronicles, an abridgment of the Chronicles of England, and a manual of the same.
Whether by accident or intention, a printer of the Bible in the reign of Charles I. omitted the important negative in the Seventh Commandment. He was summoned to appear before the High Commission Court, and fined three thousand pounds. The story is also told of the widow of a German printer who strongly objected to the supremacy of husbands, and desired to revise the text of the passage in the Sacred Scriptures which speaks of the subjection of wives (Genesis iii. 16). The original text is "He shall be thy lord." For Herr (lord) in the German version she substituted Narr, and made the reading, "He shall be thy fool." It is said that she paid the penalty of death for this strange assertion of "woman's rights."
We must not omit the name of another martyr amongst the honourable rank of printers of the Scriptures, Jacob van Liesvelt, who was beheaded on account of his edition of the Bible, entitled Bible en langue hollandaise (Antwerpen, 1542, in-fol.).
John Lufftius, a bookseller and printer of Wrtemburg, incurred many perils when he printed Luther's German edition of the Sacred Scriptures. It is said that the Pope used to write Lufftius' name on paper once every year, and cast it into the fire, uttering terrible imprecations and dire threatenings. But the thunders of Roman pontiffs did not trouble the worthy bookseller, who laughed at their threats, and exclaimed, "I perspired so freely at Rome in the flame, that I must take a larger draught, as it is necessary to extinguish that flame."
The same fatality befell Robert Stephanus, the Parisian printer. His family name was Estienne, but, according to the fashion of the time, he used the Latin form of the word. He edited and published a version of the Sacred Scriptures, showing the Hebrew, Greek, and Latin texts, and adding certain notes which were founded upon the writings of Franois Vatable, Abbot of Bellozane, but also contained some of the scholarly reflections of the learned bookseller. On the title-page the name of the Abbot appears first, before that of Stephanus. But considerable hostility was raised against him by this and other works on the part of the doctors of the Sorbonne. He was compelled to seek safety in flight, and found a secure resting-place in Geneva. His enemies were obliged to content themselves with burning his effigy. This troubled Stephanus quite as little as the Papal censures distressed Lufftius. At the time when his effigy was being burnt, the Parisian printer was in the snowy mountains of the Auvergne, and declared that he never felt so cold in his life.
The printers seem ever to have been on the side of the Protestants. In Germany they produced all the works of the Reformation authors with great accuracy and skill, and often at their own expense; whereas the Roman Catholics could only get their books printed at great cost, and even then the printing was done carelessly and in a slovenly manner, so as to seem the production of illiterate men. And if any printer, more conscientious than the rest, did them more justice, he was jeered at in the market- places and at the fairs of Frankfort for a Papist and a slave of the priests.
This Robert Stephanus (Estienne or Stephens, as the name is usually called) was a member of one of the most illustrious families of learned printers the world has ever seen. The founder of the family was Henry Stephens, born at Paris in 1470, and the last of the race died there in 1674. Thus for nearly two centuries did they confer the greatest advantages on literature, which they enriched quite as much by their learning as by their skill. Their biographies have frequently been written; so there is no occasion to record them. This Robert Stephens, who was exiled on account of his books, was one of the most illustrious scholars of his age. He printed, edited, and published an immense number of works in Hebrew, Greek, and Latin, amongst others the Biblia Latina (1528), Latinae linguae Thesaurus (1531), Dictionarium latino-gallicum (1543), Ecclesiastica Historia Eusebii, Socrates, Theodoreti (1544), Biblia Hebraica (1544 and 1546), and many others. In the Bible of 1555 he introduced the divisions of chapter and verse, which are still used. With regard to the accuracy of his proofs we are told that he was so careful as to hang them up in some place of public resort, and to invite the corrections of the learned scholars who collected there. At Geneva his printing-press continued to pour forth a large number of learned works, and after his death, one of his sons, named Charles, carried on the business.
Another son of Robert Stephens, named Henry, was one of those scholars who have ruined themselves by their love of literature, devoting their lives and their fortunes to the production of volumes on some special branch of study in which only a few learned readers are interested. Hence, while they earn the gratitude of scholars and enrich the world of literature by their knowledge, the sale of their books is limited, and they fail to enrich themselves. The Thesaurus Linguae Graecae cost poor Henry Stephens ten years of labour and nearly all his fortune. This is a very valuable work, and has proved of immense service to subsequent generations of scholars. A second edition was published in London in 1815 in seven folio volumes, and recently another edition has appeared in Paris.
One of his works aroused the indignation of the Parisian authorities. It was entitled Introduction au Trait des Merveilles anciennes avec les modernes, ou Trait prparatif l'Apologie pour Hrodote, par Henri Estienne (1566, in-8). This work was supposed to contain insidious attacks upon the monks and priests and Roman Catholic faith, comparing the fables of Herodotus with the teaching of Catholicism, and holding up the latter to ridicule. At any rate, the book was condemned and its author burnt in effigy. M. Peignot asserts in his Dictionnaire Critique, Littraire, et Bibliographique that it was this Henry Stephens who uttered the bon mot with regard to his never feeling so cold as when his effigy was being burnt and he himself was in the snowy mountains of the Auvergne. Other authorities attribute the saying to his father, as we have already narrated.
Noble martyrs Literature has had, men who have sacrificed ease, comfort, and every earthly advantage for her sake, and who have shared with Henry Stephens the direst straits of poverty brought about by the ardour of their love. Such an one was a learned divine, Simon Ockley, Vicar of Swavesey in 1705, and Professor of Arabic at Cambridge in 1711, who devoted his life to Asiatic researches. This study did not prove remunerative; having been seized for debt, he was confined in Cambridge Castle, and there finished his great work, The History of the Saracens. His martyrdom was lifelong, as he died in destitution, having always (to use his own words) given the possession of wisdom the preference to that of riches. Floyer Sydenham, who died in a debtors' prison in 1788, and incurred his hard fate through devoting his life to a translation of the Dialogues of Plato, was another martyr; from whose ashes arose the Royal Literary Fund, which has prevented many struggling authors from sharing his fate. Seventeen long years of labour, besides a handsome fortune, did Edmund Castell spend on his Lexicon Heptaglotton; but a thankless and ungrateful public refused to relieve him of the copies of this learned work, which ruined his health while it dissipated his fortune. These are only a few names which might be mentioned out of the many. What a noble army of martyrs Literature could boast, if a roll-call were sounded!
Amongst our booksellers we must not omit the name of Page, who suffered with John Stubbs in the market-place at Westminster on account of the latter's work entitled The Discoverie of a Gaping Gulf whereinto England is like to be swallowed by another French marriage, if the Lord forbid not the banes by letting her Majestie see the sin and punishment thereof (1579). Both author and publisher were condemned to the barbarous penalty of having their right hands cut off, as we have already recorded. [Footnote: Cf. page 129.]
"Sturdy John," as the people called John Lilburne of Commonwealth fame, was another purveyor of books who suffered severely at the hands of both Royalists and Roundheads. At the early age of eighteen he began the circulation of the books of Prynne and Bastwick, and for this enormity he was whipped from the Fleet to Westminster, set in the pillory, gagged, fined, and imprisoned. At a later stage in his career we find him imprisoned in the Tower by Cromwell, for his Just Reproof to Haberdashers' Hall, and fined 1,000; and his bitter attack on the Protector, entitled England's New Chains Discovered, caused him to pay another visit to the Tower and to be tried for high treason, of which he was subsequently acquitted. To assail the "powers that be" seemed ever to be the constant occupation of "Sturdy John" Lilburne. From the above example, and from many others which might be mentioned, it is quite evident that Roundheads, when they held the power, could be quite as severe critics of publications obnoxious to them as the Royalists, and troublesome authors fared little better under Puritan regime than they did under the Stuart monarchs.
Another learned French printer was Etienne Dolet, who was burned to death at Paris on account of his books in 1546. He lived and worked at Lyons, and, after the manner of the Stephens, published many of his own writings as well as those of other learned men. He applied his energies to reform the Latin style, and in addition to his theological and linguistical works cultivated the art of poetry. Bayle says that his Latin and French verses "are not amiss." In the opinion of Gruterus they are worthy of a place in the Deliciae Poetarum Gallorum; but the impassioned and scurrilous Scaliger, who hated Dolet, declares that "Dolet may be called the Muse's Canker, or Imposthume; he wildly affects to be absolute in Poetry without the least pretence to wit, and endeavours to make his own base copper pass by mixing with it Virgil's gold. A driveller, who with some scraps of Cicero has tagged together something, which he calls Orations, but which men of learning rather judge to be Latrations. Whilst he sung the fate of that great and good King Francis, his name found its own evil fate, and the Atheist suffered the punishment of the flames, which both he and his verses so richly merited. But the flames could not purify him, but were by him rather made impure. Why should I mention his Epigrams, which are but a common sink or shore of dull, cold, unmeaning trash, full of that thoughtless arrogance that braves the Almighty, and that denies His Being?" The conclusion of this scathing criticism is hardly meet for polite ears. A private wrong had made the censorious Scaliger more bitter than usual. In spite of the protection of Castellan, a learned prelate, Dolet at length suffered in the flames, but whether the charge of Atheism was well grounded has never been clearly ascertained.
Certainly the pious prayer which he uttered, when the faggots were piled around him, would seem to exonerate him from such a charge: "My God, whom I have so often offended, be merciful to me; and I beseech you, O Virgin Mother, and you, divine Stephen, to intercede with God for me a sinner." The Parliament of Paris condemned his works as containing "damnable, pernicious, and heretical doctrines." The Faculty of Theology censured very severely Dolet's translation of one of the Dialogues of Plato, entitled Axiochus, and especially the passage "Aprs la mort, tu ne seras rien," which Dolet rendered, "Aprs la mort, tu ne seras plus rien du tout." The additional words were supposed to convict Dolet of heresy. He certainly disliked the monks, as the following epigram plainly declares:—
Ad Nicolaum Fabricium Valesium De cucullatis.
"Incurvicervicum cucullatorum habet Grex id subinde in ore, se esse mortuum Mundo: tamen edit eximie pecus, bibit Non pessime, stertit sepultum crapula, Operam veneri dat, et voluptatum assecla Est omnium. Idne est mortuum esse mundo? Aliter interpretare. Mortui sunt Hercule Mundo cucullati, quod inors tense sunt onus, Ad rem utiles nullam, nisi ad scelus et vitium."
Amongst the works published and written by Dolet may be mentioned:—
Summaire des faits et gestes de Franois I., tant contre l'Empereur que ses sujets, et autres nations trangres, composs d'abord en latin par Dolet, puis translats en franais par lui-mme. Lyon, Etienne Dolet, 1540, in-4.
Stephani Doleti Carminum, Libri IV. Lugduni, 1538, in-4.
Brief Discours de la rpublique franoyse, dsirant la lecture des livres de l'Ecriture saincte luy estre loisable en sa langue vulgaire. Etienne Dolet, 1544, in-16.
La fontaine de vie, in-16.
Several translations into French of the writings of Erasmus and Melanchthon may also be remembered, and the Geneva Bible, which was printed by Dolet.
One of the few remaining copies of Cymbalum mundi, en franais, contenant quatre Dialogues potiques, antiques, joyeux, et factieux, par Thomas Duclevier (Bonaventure Despriers, Valet de chambre de la Reyne de Navarre) (Paris, Jehan Morin, 1537, in-8) reveals the fact that the printer, Jean Morin, was imprisoned on account of this work. Therein it is recorded that he presented the copy to the Chancellor with the request that he might be released from prison, where he had been placed on account of this work. The reasons given for its condemnation are various. Some state that the author, a friend of Clement Marot, intended to preach by the use of allegories the Reformed religion. Others say that it was directed against the manners and conduct of some members of the Court. Whether Morin's request was granted I know not, nor whether Despriers shared his imprisonment. At any rate, the author died in 1544 from an attack of frenzy.
Another famous printer at Paris in the sixteenth century was Christian Wechel, who published a large number of works. He was persecuted for publishing a book of Erasmus entitled De esu interdicto carnium, and some declare that he fell into grievous poverty, being cursed by God for printing an impious book. Thus one writer says that "in the year 1530 arose this abortive child of hell, who wrote a book against the Divine Justice in favour of infants dying without baptism, and several have wisely observed that the ruin of Christian Wechel and his labours fell out as a punishment for his presses and characters being employed in such an infamous work." However, there is reason to believe that the book was not so "impious," expressing only the pious hope that the souls of such infants might not be lost, and also that no great "curse" fell upon the printer, and that his poverty was apocryphal. At any rate, his son Andrew was a very flourishing printer; but he too was persecuted for his religious opinions, and narrowly escaped destruction in the Massacre of St. Bartholomew. He ran in great danger on that eventful night, and states that he would have been slaughtered but for the kindness of Hubert Languet, who lodged in his house. Andrew Wechel fled to Frankfort, where he continued to ply his trade in safety; and when more favourable times came re-established his presses at Paris. He had the reputation of being one of the most able printers and booksellers of his time.
The Revolutionary period in France was not a safe time for either authors or booksellers. Jacques Froull was condemned to death in 1793 for publishing the lists of names of those who passed sentence on their King, Louis XVI., and doomed him to death. This work was entitled Liste comparative des cinq appels nominaux sur le procs et jugement de Louis XVI., avec les dclarations que les Dputes ont faites chacune des sances (Paris, Froull, 1793, in-8). He gives the names of the deputies who voted on each of the five appeals, until at length the terrible sentence was pronounced, 310 voting for the reprieve and 380 for the execution of their monarch. The deputies were so ashamed of their work that they doomed the recorder of their infamous deed to share the punishment of their sovereign.
We have few instances of the illustrators of books sharing the misfortunes of authors and publishers, but we have met with one such example. Nicolas Godonesche made the engravings for a work by Jean Laurent Boursier, a doctor of the Sorbonne, entitled Explication abrge des principales questions qui ont rapport aux affaires prsentes (1731, in-12), and found that work fatal to him. This book was one of many published by Boursier concerning the unhappy contentions which for a long time agitated the Church of France. Godonesche, who engraved pictures for the work, was sent to the Bastille, and the author banished.
In all ages complaints are heard of the prolific writers who have been seized by the scribbling demon, and made to pour forth page after page which the public decline to read, and bring grief to the publishers. Pasquier's Letters contains the following passage, which applies perhaps quite as forcibly to the present age as to his own time: "I cannot forbear complaining at this time of the calamity of this age which has produced such a plenty of reputed or untimely authors. Any pitiful scribbler will have his first thoughts to come to light; lest, being too long shut up, they should grow musty. Good God! how apposite are these verses of Jodelle:—
"'Et tant ceux d'aujourd'huy me fashent, Qui ds lors que leurs plumes laschent Quelque-trait soit mauvais ou bon, En lumire le vont produire, Pour souvent avec leur renom, Les pauvres Imprimeurs destruire.'"
This has been translated as follows:—
"The scribbling crew would make one's vitals bleed, They write such trash, no mortal e'er will read; Yet they will publish, they must have a name; So Printers starve, to get their authors fame."
One would be curious to see the form of agreement between such prolific authors and their deluded publishers, and to learn by what arts, other than magical, the former ever induced the latter to undertake the publication of such fatal books.
The story of the establishment of the liberty of the Press in England is full of interest, and tells the history of several books which involved their authors and publishers in many difficulties. The censors of books did not always occupy an enviable post, and were the objects of many attacks. "Catalogue" Fraser lost his office for daring to license Walker's book on the Eikon Basilike, which asserted that Gauden and not Charles I. was the author. His successor Bohun was deprived of his orffice as licenser and sent to prison for allowing a pamphlet to be printed entitled King William and Queen Mary, Conquerors. The Jacobite printers suffered severely when they were caught, which was not very frequent. In obscure lanes and garrets they plied their secret trade, and deluged the land with seditious books and papers. One William Anderton was tracked to a house near St. James's Street, where he was known as a jeweller. Behind the bed in his room was discovered a door which led to a dark closet, and there were the types and a press, and heaps of Jacobite literature. Anderton was found guilty of treason, and paid the penalty of death for his crime. In 1695 the Press was emancipated from its thraldom, and the office of licenser ceased to exist. Henceforward popular judgment and the general good sense and right feeling of the community constituted the only licensing authority of the Press of England. Occasionally, when a publisher or author makes too free with the good name of an English citizen, the restraint of a prison cell is imposed upon the audacious libeller. Sometimes when a book offends against the public morals, and contains the outpourings of a voluptuous imagination, its author is condemned to lament in confinement over his indecorous pages. The world knows that Vizetelly, the publisher, was imprisoned for translating and publishing some of Zola's novels. Nana and L'Assommoir were indeed fatal books to him, as his imprisonment and the anxiety caused by the prosecution are said to have hastened his death. The right feeling and sound sense of the nation has guided the Press of this country into safe channels, and few books are fatal now on account of their unseemly contents or immoral tendencies.
SOME LITERARY MARTYRS.
Leland—Strutt—Cotgrave—Henry Wharton—Robert Heron—Collins—William Cole—Homeric victims—Joshua Barnes—An example of unrequited toil— Borgarutius—Pays.
We have still a list far too long of literary martyrs whose works have proved fatal to them, and yet whose names have not appeared in the foregoing chapters. These are they who have sacrificed their lives, their health and fortunes, for the sake of their works, and who had no sympathy with the saying of a professional hack writer, "Till fame appears to be worth more than money, I shall always prefer money to fame." For the labours of their lives they have received no compensation at all. Health, eyesight, and even life itself have been devoted to the service of mankind, who have shown themselves somewhat ungrateful recipients of their bounty.
Some of the more illustrious scholars indeed enjoy a posthumous fame,— their names are still honoured; their works are still read and studied by the learned,—but what countless multitudes are those who have sacrificed their all, and yet slumber in nameless graves, the ocean of oblivion having long since washed out the footprints they hoped to leave upon the shifting sands of Time! Of these we have no record; let us enumerate a few of the scholars of an elder age whose books proved fatal to them, and whose sorrows and early deaths were brought on by their devotion to literature.
What antiquary has not been grateful to Leland, the father of English archaeology! He possessed that ardent love for the records of the past which must inspire the heart and the pen of every true antiquary; that accurate learning and indefatigable spirit of research without which the historian, however zealous, must inevitably err; and that sturdy patriotism which led him to prefer the study of the past glories of his own to those of any other people or land. His Cygnea Cantio will live as long as the silvery Thames, whose glories he loved to sing, pursues its beauteous way through the loveliest vales of England. While his royal patron, Henry VIII., lived, all went well; after the death of that monarch his anxieties and troubles began. His pension became smaller, and at length ceased. No one seemed to appreciate his toil. He became melancholy and morose, and the effect of nightly vigils and years of toil began to tell upon his constitution. At length his mind gave way, ere yet the middle stage of life was passed; and although many other famous antiquaries have followed his steps and profited by his writings and his example, English scholars will ever mourn the sad and painful end of unhappy Leland.
Another antiquary was scarcely more fortunate. Strutt, the author of English Sports and Pastimes, whose works every student of the manners and customs of our forefathers has read and delighted in, passed his days in poverty and obscurity, and often received no recompense for the works which are now so valuable. At least he had his early wish gratified,—"I will strive to leave my name behind me in the world, if not in the splendour that some have, at least with some marks of assiduity and study which shall never be wanting in me."
Randle Cotgrave, the compiler of one of the most valuable dictionaries of early English words, lost his eyesight through laboriously studying ancient MSS. in his pursuit of knowledge. The sixteen volumes of MS. preserved in the Lambeth Library of English literature killed their author, Henry Wharton, before he reached his thirtieth year. By the indiscreet exertion of his mind, in protracted and incessant literary labours, poor Robert Heron destroyed his health, and after years of toil spent in producing volumes so numerous and so varied as to stagger one to contemplate, ended his days in Newgate. In his pathetic appeal for help to the Literary Fund, wherein he enumerates the labours of his life, he wrote, "I shudder at the thought of perishing in gaol." And yet that was the fate of Heron, a man of amazing industry and vast learning and ability, a martyr to literature.
He has unhappily many companions, whose names appear upon that mournful roll of luckless authors. There is the unfortunate poet Collins, who was driven insane by the disappointment attending his unremunerative toil, and the want of public appreciation of his verses. William Cole, the writer of fifty volumes in MS. of the Athenae Cantabrigienses, founded upon the same principle as the Athenae Oxonienses of Anthony Wood, lived to see his hopes of fame die, and yet to feel that he could not abandon his self- imposed task, as that would be death to him. Homer, too, has had some victims; and if he has suffered from translation, he has revenged himself on his translators. A learned writer, Joshua Barnes, Professor of Greek at Cambridge, devoted his whole energy to the task, and ended his days in abject poverty, disgusted with the scanty rewards his great industry and scholarship had attained. A more humble translator, a chemist of Reading, published an English version of the Iliad. The fascination of the work drew him away from his business, and caused his ruin. A clergyman died a few years ago who had devoted many years to a learned Biblical Commentary; it was the work of his life, and contained the results of much original research. After his death his effects were sold, and with them the precious MS., the result of so many hours of patient labour; this MS. realised three shillings and sixpence!
Fatal indeed have their works and love of literature proved to be to many a luckless author. No wonder that many of them have vowed, like Borgarutius, that they would write no more nor spend their life-blood for the sake of so fickle a mistress, or so thankless a public. This author was so troubled by the difficulties he encountered in printing his book on Anatomy, that he made the rash vow that he would never publish anything more; but, like many other authors, he broke his word. Poets are especially liable to this change of intention, as La Fontaine observes:—
"O! combien l'homme est inconstant, divers, Foible, lger, tenant mal sa parole, J'avois jur, mme en assez beaux vers, De renouncer tout Conte frivole. Depuis deux jours j'ai fait cette promesse Puis fiez-vous Rimeur qui rpond D'un seul moment. Dieu ne fit la sagesse Pour les cerveaux qui hantent les neuf Soeurs."
In these days of omnivorous readers, the position of authors has decidedly improved. We no longer see the half-starved poets bartering their sonnets for a meal; learned scholars pining in Newgate; nor is "half the pay of a scavenger" [Footnote: A remark of Granger—vide Calamities of Authors, p. 85.] considered sufficient remuneration for recondite treatises. It has been the fashion of authors of all ages to complain bitterly of their own times. Bayle calls it an epidemical disease in the republic of letters, and poets seem especially liable to this complaint. Usually those who are most favoured by fortune bewail their fate with vehemence; while poor and unfortunate authors write cheerfully. To judge from his writings one would imagine that Balzac pined in poverty; whereas he was living in the greatest luxury, surrounded by friends who enjoyed his hospitality. Oftentimes this language of complaint is a sign of the ingratitude of authors towards their age, rather than a testimony of the ingratitude of the age towards authors. Thus did the French poet Pays abuse his fate: "I was born under a certain star, whose malignity cannot be overcome; and I am so persuaded of the power of this malevolent star, that I accuse it of all misfortunes, and I never lay the fault upon anybody." He has courted Fortune in vain. She will have nought to do with his addresses, and it would be just as foolish to afflict oneself because of an eclipse of the sun or moon, as to be grieved on account of the changes which Fortune is pleased to cause. Many other writers speak in the same fretful strain. There is now work in the vast field of literature for all who have the taste, ability, and requisite knowledge; and few authors now find their books fatal to them—except perhaps to their reputation, when they deserve the critics' censures. The writers of novels certainly have no cause to complain of the unkindness of the public and their lack of appreciation, and the vast numbers of novels which are produced every year would have certainly astonished the readers of thirty or forty years ago.
For the production of learned works which appeal only to a few scholars, modern authors have the aid of the Clarendon Press and other institutions which are subsidised by the Universities for the purpose of publishing such works. But in spite of all the advantages which modern authors enjoy, the great demand for literature of all kinds, the justice and fair dealing of publishers, the adequate remuneration which is usually received for their works, the favourable laws of copyright—in spite of all these and other advantages, the lamentable woes of authors have not yet ceased. The leaders of literature can hold their own, and prosper well; but the men who stand in the second, third, or fourth rank in the great literary army, have still cause to bewail the unkindness of the blind goddess who contrives to see sufficiently to avoid all their approaches to her.
For these brave, but often disheartened, toilers that noble institution, the Royal Literary Fund, has accomplished great things. During a period of more than a century it has carried on its beneficent work, relieving poor struggling authors when poverty and sickness have laid them low; and it has proved itself to be a "nursing mother" to the wives and children of literary martyrs who have been quite unable to provide for the wants of their distressed families. We have already alluded to the foundation of the Royal Literary Fund, which arose from the feelings of pity and regret excited by the death of Floyer Sydenham in a debtors' prison. It is unnecessary to record its history, its noble career of unobtrusive usefulness in saving from ruin and ministering consolation to those unhappy authors who have been wounded in the world's warfare, and who, but for the Literary Fund, would have been left to perish on the hard battlefield of life. Since its foundation 115,677 has been spent in 4,332 grants to distressed authors. All book-lovers will, we doubt not, seek to help forward this noble work, and will endeavour to prevent, as far as possible, any more distressing cases of literary martyrdom, which have so often stained the sad pages of our literary history.