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incomparable Fuller? It is not because he is generally successful in his attempts to be witty that we experience this gratification and delight, for nine of his attempts out of ten are certain to be complete failures; nor can it arise from the trueness of his wit, for commonly it consists of little more than puns, quibbles, and antitheses: it is not certainly from these, but from other causes that our satisfaction originates, from his glorious and enthusiastic intrepidity in his sallies to the land of humour, from his bold and determined quixotism after wit and facetiousness, from his readiness to grasp at any thing which bore the most distant resemblance to them, from his buoyant and eternal spirit of drollery, from his indefatigable and adventurous knight-errantry which would traverse the whole universe for wit, from his peculiar singleness of observation, which could see
." Humour in stones, and puns in every thing."
He absolutely communicates something of his own fervour to his reader : it is almost impossible to read his works without going along with him in his hunt for jokes, and without participating in his satisfaction when he has found them. His quaint facetiousness was communicable to every thing, Graft it on whatever tree he chose, and it would bud out, blossom forth, and luxuriate. Like a fisherman, he threw out his capacious net into the ocean of wit, and rejected nothing that it brought up, however miscellaneous or motley were its contents; pleased, and perhaps thinking that others would be pleased, with their variety. There is besides such an apparent self-satisfaction discernible throughout his works—we can almost fancy we see him chuckling over his forth-coming jests as they successively issue from his brain, preparing us by his triumphant exultation for the stroke which is to follow : or revelling in uncontroled and uncontrolable merriment over the vagaries of which he had discharged his head by communicating them to paper. Such was the disposition of Fuller. The qualities of mind which would in another have produced a buffoon, in him, without losing their power of entertainment, lost all their grosser and more offensive traits, and became, from their very superfetation, less imbued with the rankness of farce. To him the language of jocularity had something of the gravity of earnest : it was his own vernacular idiom, in which every thing which issued from his mind was clothed; it was something so intimately connected with him, that all attempts to strip it off would be useless; something settled and fixed in his intellect, and stamping and marking its whole character. By being therefore more generalized, it had less of marked purport and design, and as it was assumed on all subjects was indecorous on none.-Fuller, we think, would hardly have scrupled to crack a joke upon the four Evangelists; but
certain we are, it would have been without any idea of indecency or intention of irreverence.
This characteristic peculiarity is equally visible in all his productions, from his Holy War to his Worthies, and consequently they are all almost equally entertaining. His Holy War and Church History, particularly the last, are two of the most agreeable works we know; replete, besides their Fullerism, with perspicacious observation, profound thought, deep discernment, and narrative power. There are specimens of historical painting in these works which perhaps have never been excelled, conceived with great energy and executed with happiness.-In his delineation of characters, he exhibits such unrivalled acumen, ability, and penetration, together with such candour and uprightness of judgment, that it is difficult which most to admire, his sagacity or his sincerity. His Pisgah Light of Palestine, which is also in part an historical work, is a happy elucidation of what Fuller always excelled in, sacred story: and no work of his better displays the riches of his mind or the plenitude and fertility of its images. His Worthies is, we believe, more generally perused than any of his productions, and is perhaps the most agreeable ; suffice to say of it, that it is a most fascinating storehouse of gossiping, anecdote, and quaintness; a most delightful medley of interchanged amusement, presenting entertainment as varied as it is inexhaustible. His Good Thoughts in Bad Times, and lesser works, are all equally excellent in their way, full of admirable maxims and reflections, agreeable stories, and ingenious moralizations. It was however in biography that Fuller most excelled.If he was frequently too careless and inaccurate in his facts, it was not from heedlessness as to truth, which no one reverenced more than he did, but because he considered them but as the rind and outward covering of the more important and more delicious stores of thinking and consideration which they inwardly contained; because he thought life too short to be frittered away in fixing dates and examining registers: what he sought was matter convertible to use, to the great work of the improvement of the human mind, not those more minute and jejune creatures of authenticity, which fools toil in seeking after, and madmen die in elucidating. In this he has been followed by a great biographical writer of the last age, with whom he had more points than one in common. Leaving therefore such minor parts of biography for the investigation of others, and seizing only on the principal events, and those distinguishing incidents or anecdotes which mark a character in a moment, and which no one knew better than Fuller to pick out and select, he detailed them with such perspicuity and precision, and commented upon them with such accuracy of discrimination, strength of argument and force of reason, and threw
around them such a luminous and lambent halo of sparkling quaintness, shining upon and playing about the matter of his thoughts, and inspirited them with such omnipresent jocularity and humour, that, of all the biographical writers of his age, he is, in our opinion, infinitely the best. After the perusal of the more polished, but certainly not more agreeable biographers of modern times, we always recur with renewed gusto and avidity to the Lives of our excellent author, as to a feast more substantial, without being less delicious
The work which we have selected as the subject of this review is as well calculated to evince the justice of the foregoing remarks as any of his lucubrations. Perhaps, upon the whole, it is the best of his works; and certainly displays, to better advantage than any, his original and vigorous powers of thinking. It consists of two parts—the Holy and the Profane State: the former proposing examples for imitation; and the latter their opposites, for our abhorrence. Each contains characters of individuals in every department of life, as “ the father,” “ husband,” “ soldier,” and “ divine;" lives of eminent persons, as illustrative of these characters; and general essays. In his conception of character he has followed Bishop Earle * and Sir Thomas Overbury, but his manner of writing is essentially different. This species of composition was very near akin to what has been called the school of metaphysical poetry, sprung up into existence about the same time, and went out of fashion along with it. It was composed of the same materials, and regulated by nearly the same principles. Did our limits allow us, we do not know a more interesting and yet undeveloped subject for speculation than the concurrent and dependant styles of prose and poetry which prevailed from the accession of James I. till after the Restoration, and which were in truth all referable to one original. At present we can only observe that the care of the writers of characters was to crowd together the most motley assemblage of ideas in the smallest possible space; to concentrate, in one series of links, the most multitudinous spangles of conceit; to pour forth all the subject presented in one close intertexture of ideas, which received at once point from their wit and smartness from their brevity. By these means the thoughts are often so much compressed as to produce obscurity, or at least are defrauded of their due quantum of verbal clothing. Their very multitude produces confusion, and we are
* It is somewhat singular that Fuller's Holy and Profane States is not mentioned in the Appendix to Mr. Bliss's admirable edition of Bishop Earle's Characters. We have seen this remark made before in a very elegant and interesting book, entitled Bibliographiana.
prevented from taking notice of each particularly by their cluster and conglomeration, and by the rapidity with which they alternately approach and recede. Thought succeeds thought ; the most recondite metaphors are squeezed into an epithet or an adjective; one point is elbowed out by another, « like pricks upon the fretful porcupine,” till in mental dizziness and distraction we are obliged to bring our perusal of the book to an end. Of this method of writing, Butler's Hudibras is an enlarged specimenthat ever-standing monument of the lavish prodigality of wit. It may at first appear rather surprising that Fuller, fond as he was of pointed quaintness, and with such exuberance of images as he was possessed of, should have deserted this popular style of character-writing, and introduced in the stead of its curt and contracted sharpness, his own more easy, but less ambitious, diffuseness. But this, we think, may easily be accounted for. His intellectual plenitude was too great to submit to the tight braces and bandages of composition; and he had, besides, too much of the gossip about him to be untinctured with the usual appurtenance of the gossip, prolixity. He was also too wise to turn or torture his natural flow of mind into a new fashion, or to apply to it any such Chinese methods of artificial restraint. Thus his characters are written with an expository diffuseness, and seem sometimes rather a commentary upon characters of the foregoing description than others of the same species. If they do not exhibit the same perpetual display of wit and co-acervation of metaphor, they have much more easiness and variety, and much less stiffness and strained obscurity. They have just as much point as is necessary to render them striking, and just as much force of expression as is necessary to energize their diffuseness. They flow on enriched with many an interesting story, and many a profound reflection. Few will, we think, refuse to consider Fuller's method as the most judicious and agreeable, as his thoughts swell out to their full and healthy growth; and his illustrations receive their due modicum of relation, without being obscured by their density, or rendered ricketty by their compression.
We will now proceed to our extracts from the book, which will, we have no doubt, fully justify our character of Fuller. The great difficulty is in the selection, as all the parts of the volume are almost equally good. The first we shall give is the Character of the good Master.
“ The good Master. “ He is the heart in the midst of his household, primum vivens et ultimum moriens, first up and last abed; if not in his person, yet in his providence. In his carriage he aimeth at his own and his servants' good, and to advance both.
“ He overseeth the works of his servants. One said, That the dust that fell from the master's shooes was the best compost to manure ground. The lion, out of state, will not run whilest any one looks on him; but some servants, out of slothfulnesse, will not run except some look upon them, spurred on with their master's eye. Chiefly he is careful exactly to take his servants' reckonings. If their master takes no account of them, they will make small account of him, and care not what they spend who are never brought to an audit.
• He provides them victuals, wholesome, sufficient, and seasonable. He doth not so allay his servants' bread, or debase it so much, as to make that servants' meat which is not man's meat. He alloweth them also convenient rest and recreation, whereas some masters, like a bad conscience, will not suffer them to sleep that have them. He remembers the old law of the Saxon king, Ina: “If a villain work on Sunday by his lord's command, he shall be free.'
“ The wages he contracts for he duly and truly pays to his servants. The same word in the Greek, ios, signifies rust and poison ; and some strong poyson is made of the rust of mettals, but none more venomous than the rust of mony in the rich man's purse unjustly detained from the labourer, which will poison and infect his whole estate.
“ He never threatens his servant, but rather presently corrects him. Indeed conditional threatnings, with promise of pardon on amendment, are good and useful. Absolute threatnings torment more, reform lesse, making servants keep their faults, and forsake their masters: wherefore herein he never passeth his word, but makes present payment, lest the creditour run away from the debtour.
“ In correcting his servant, he becomes not a slave to his own passion; not cruelly making new indentures of the flesh of his apprentice. To this end he never beats him in the height of his passion. Moses being to fetch water out of the rock, and commanded by God only to speak to it with his rod in his hand, heing transported with anger smote it thrice. Thus some masters, which might fetch penitent tears from their servants with a chiding word (onely shaking the rod withal for terrour), in their fury strike many blows which might better be spared. If he perceives his servant incorrigible, so that he cannot wash the black-moore, he washeth his hands of him, and fairly puts him away.
“ He is tender of his servant in sickness and age. If crippled in his service, his house is his hospital : yet how many throw away those dry bones out of which themselves have suckt the marrow! It is as usual to see a young serving-man an old beggar as to see a light horse, first from the great saddle of a nobleman, to come to the hackneycoach, and at last die in drawing a carre. But the good master is not like the cruel hunter in the fable, who beats his old dogge because his toothlesse mouth let go the game; he rather imitates the noble nature of our Prince Henry, who took order for the keeping of an old English mastiffe which had made a lion run away. Good reason, good service in age should be rewarded. Who can, without pity and plea