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will bite and sting you to death. Tygers, lions, leopards, panthers, wolves, and all the monstrous generations of Africa, may be seen masquerading in the forms of men; and 'tis not hard for an observing mind to see their natural complexions through the borsowed vizard.”* Dryden conceived the idea, of extending to religious communities the supposed resemblance between man and the lower animals. Under the name of a “ milk-white Hind, immortal and unchanged,” he described the unity, simplicity, and innocence of the church, to which he had become a convert; and under that of a Panther, fierce and inexorable towards those of a different persuasion, he bodied forth the church of England, obstinate in defending its pale from encroachment, by the penal statutes and the test act. + There wanted not critics to tell him, that he had mistaken the character of either communion. I The inferior sects are described under the emblem of various animals, fierce and disgusting in proportion to their more remote affinity to the church of Rome. And in a dialogue between the two principal characters, the leading arguments of the controversy between the churches, at least what the poet chose to consider as such, are formally discussed.
* Turkish Spy, Vol. viji. p. 19. + Perhaps the poet recollected the attributes ascribed to the panther by one of the fatl.ers : " Pantheræ, ut Dious Basilius ait, cum immani sint ac crudeli odio in homines a natura incense, in nominum simulacra furibundæ irruunt, nec aliter hominum etigiem, quain homines ipsos dilacerani.”-GBANATEUS Concion. de i'emporë, Tom. i. p. 492.
" Only by the way, before we bring D. against D. to the stake, I would fain know how Mr Bayes, that so well understood the nature of beasts, came to pirch upon the Hind and the Panther, to signify the church of Ruine and the church or England ? Doubiless his reply will be, because the lind is a creature harialess a:d innocent; the panther mischievous and inexorable. Let all this be granted; what is this to the author's absurdity in the choice of his beasis? For the scene of the persecution is Europe, a part of the world which never bred panthers since the creation of the universe. On the other side, grant bis allusion passable, and then he stigmatizes the church of Eng. land in be ulic most cruel and most vuracious crcature ihat ranges all the Lybian deserts ;-a character, which shows him to have a strange wist before his eyes when he reads ecclesiastical history. And then, says hie,
The panther, sure the noblest next the hind,
Which is annther blunder, cujus contrarium verum est : For if beauty, strength, and courage, advance the value of the several parts of the creation, without question the panther is far to be preterred before the hind, a poor, silis, timorous, ill-shap:d, bobtailexi creature, of which a score will bärdly purchase the skin of a true panther. Had he looked a little farther, Ludolpins would have furnished him with a zebra, the most beautiful of all the four-footed creatures in the world, to have coped with his panther for spots, and with his hind for gentleness and mildness; of which one was sold singly to the Turkish governor of Suaquena for 2000 Venetian ducats. There had been a beast for him, as pat as a pudding for a friar's mouth. But to couple the hind and the pauther was just like sic magna parvis componere; and, therefore, he had belter have put his hind in a good pasty, or reserved her lor some more proper allusion; for this, though his nimble beast have four feet, will by no means run quatuor pedibus, though she had a whole kengel of hounds at ber licels.”—Thc Rcrolter, u Tragi-comedy,
But Dryden's plan is far from coming within the limits of a fable or parable, strictly so called; for it is strongly objected, that the poet has been unable to avoid confounding the real churches themselves with the Hind and the Panther, under which they are represented. “ The hind,” as Johnson observes, “ at one time is afraid to drink at the common brook, because she be worried ; but, walking home with the panther, talks by the way of the Nicene fathers, and at last declares herself to be the Catholic church.” And the same critic complains, “ that the king is now Cæsar, and now the lion, and that the name Pan is given to the Supreme Being." “ The Hind and Panther transversed, or the City and Country Mouse,” which was written in ridicule of this poem, turns chiefly upon the incongruity of the emblems adopted by Dryden, and the inconsistencies into which his plan had led bim. * This ri
The following justification of their plan is taken from the preface, which is believed to bave been entirely the composition of Montague.
“ The favourers of · The Hind and Panther' will be apt to say in its defence, that the best things are capable of being turned to ridicule; that Ho. mer has been burlesqued, and Virgil travestied, without suffering any thing in their reputation from that buffoonery; and that, in like manner, · The Hind and the Panther" may be an exact poem, though it is the subject of our railJery : But there is this difference, that those authors are wrested from their true sense, and this naturaily falls into ridicule; there is notbing represented here as monstrous and unnatural, which is not equally so in the original.First, as to the general desig!: ; Is it not as easy to imagine two mice bilking coachinen, and supping at the Devil, as to suppose a hind entertaining the panther at a hermit's cell, discussing the greatest mysteries of religion, and telling you her son Rodriguez writ very good Spanish? What can be more improbable and contradictory to the rules and examples of all fables, and to the very design and use of them? They were first begun, and raised to the highest perfection, in the eastern countries, where they wrote in signs, and spoke in parables, and delivered the inost useful precepts in delightful stories; which, for their aptness, were entertaining to the most judicious, and led the vulgar into understanding by surprizing them with their novelty, and fixe ing their attention. All their fables carry a double meaning; the story is one and entire ; the characters the same throughout, not broken or changed, and always conformable to the nature of the creatures they introduce. They never tell you, that the dog, which snapt at shadow, lost his troop of horse ; that would be unintelligible; a piece of flesh is proper for bim to drop, and the reader will apply it to mankind : They would not say, tbat the daw, who was so proud of her borrowed plumes, looked very ridiculous, when Rodriguez came and took away all the book but the 17th, 24th, and 25th chapters, whiclo
dicule, and the criticism on which it is founded, seems, however, to be carried a little too far. If a fable, or parable, is to be entirely and exclusively limited to a detail which may suit the com
she stole from him. But this is his new way of telling a story, and confounding the moral and the fable together.
Before the word was written, said the hind,
Our Saviour preached the faith to all mankind. What relation has the bind to our Saviour? or what notion have we of a panther's bible? If you say he means the church, how does the church feed on lawns, or range in the forest ? Let it be always a church, or always the cloven-footed beast, for we cannot bear his shifting the scene every line. If it is absurd in comedies to make a peasant talk in the strain of a bero, or a country wench use the language of the court, how monstrous is it to make a priest of a hind, and a parson of a panther? To bring them in disputing with all the formalities and terms of ihe school? Though as to the arguments themselves, those we confess are suited to the capacity of the beasts; and if we would suppose a hind expressing herself about these matters, she would talk at that rate."
The reader may be curious to see a specimen of the manner in which these iwo applauded wits encountered Dryden's controversial poem, with such eminent success, that a contemporary author has said, “that. The City and Country Mouse' ruined the reputation of the divine, as the · Rehearsal' ruined the reputation of the poet.” The plan is a dialogue between Bayes, and Snith, and Johnson, his old friends in the “ Rehearsal ;" the poet recites to them a new work, in which the Popish and English churches are represented as the city and country mouse, the former spotted, the latter milk-white. The following is a specimen both of the poetry and dialogue : Bayes. [Reads.] With these allurements, Spotted did invite,
From hermit's cell, the female proselyte.
Where souls are starved, and senses gratified ! “Now, would not you think she's going? but, cgad, you're mistaken; yon shall hear a long argument about infallibility before she stir yet:
But here the White, by observation wise,
• Preface to the Second Part of " The Reasons of Mr Bayes changing luis Religion.”
mon actions and properties of the animals, or things introduced in it, we strike out from the class some which have always been held the most beautiful examples of that style of fiction. It is surely as
Who lives in Heaven or Rome, the Lord knows where;
For still we want a guide to find out him." “ Here, you see, I don't trouble myself to keep on the narration, but write White speaks, or Dapple speaks, by the side. But when I get any noble thought, which I envy a mouse should say, I clap it down in my own person, with a poeta loquitur; which, take notice, is a surer sign of a fine thing in my writings, than a hand in the margent anywhere else. Well now, says White,
What need we find him ? we have certain proof
Although we know not him, we cannot stray. « That's true, egad : Well said, White.--You see her adversary has no. thing to say for herself; and, therefore, to confirm the victory, she sball make a simile
Smith. Why, then, I find similes are as good after victory, as after a surprize.
Bayes. Every jot, egad; or rather better. Well, she can do it two ways; either about emission or reception of light, or else about Epsoin waters : But I think the last is most familiar; therefore speak, my pretty one. [Reads.]
As though 'tis controverted in the school,
From this dissention, that they work by neither? “ And, egad, she's in the right on't ; but, mind now, she comes upon her scoop. [Reads ]
All this I did, your arguments to try.
“ And, egad, if they had been never so good, this next line confutes 'em. (Reads.]
Hear, and be dumb, thou wretch! that guide am I. “ There's a surprize for you now !-How sneakingly t'other looks?-Was not that pretty now, to make her ask for a guide first, and tell her she was one? Who could have thought that this little mouse had the Pope, and a whole general council, in her belly --Now Dapple had nothing to say to this; and, therefore, you'll see she grows peevish. [Reads.]
Come leave your cracking tricks; and, as they say,
Use not that bai ber that trims time, delay;Whicb, egad, is new, and my own.
I've eyes as well as you to find the way."
easy to conceive a Hind and Panther discussing points of religion, as that the trees of the forest should assemble together to chuse a king, invite different trees to accept of that dignity, and, finally, make choice of a bramble. Yet no one ever hesitates to pronounce Jotham's Parable of the Trees one of the finest which ever was
Then on they jogged ; and, since an hour of talk
Thither,” says Brindle," thou shalt go, and see
To question his, or trust your private sense. “ Ha! is not that right, Mr Johnson ?-Gad forgive me, he is fast asleep! Oh the damned stupidity of this age! Asleep!- Well, sir, since you're so drowsy, your humble servant.
John. Nay, pray, Mr Bayes ! Faith, I heard you all the while. The white
Bayes. The white mouse ! Ay, ay, I thought how you heard me. Your servant, sir, your servant.
John. Nay, dear Bayes: Faith, I bez thy pardon, I was up late last night. Prithee, lend me a little snuff, and go on.
Bayes. Go on! Pox, I don't know where I was.-Well, I'll begin. Here, mind, now they are both come to town. [Reads.]
But now at Piccadilly they arrive,
And, slipping tirough the palsgrave, bilked poor hack. “ There's the utile which ought to be in all poetry. Many a young Templar will save his shilling by this stratagein of my mice.
Smith. Why, will any young Templar eat out the back of a coach?
Bayes. No, egad! But you'll grant, it is wighty natural for a mouse."--Hlind and Panther Transversed.
Such was the wit, which, bolstered up by the applause of party, was deemed an unanswerable ridicule of Dryden's favourite poem.
*i. e. Dryden himself.