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die," and then repeatedly, in a faint voice, "Thy Kingdom come, Thy will be done." At the very end he lost his speech, and "as his soul ascended and his last breath departed from him he closed his eyes, and then disposed his hands and body into such a posture as required not the least alteration by those that came to shroud him." It was a strange chance that preserved his spectral monument almost uninjured when St. Paul's was burned down in the Great Fire, and no other monument in the cathedral escaped. Among all his fantasies none remains in the imagination more despotically than this last fanciful game of dying. Donne, however, remained in all respects a fantastic to the last, as we may see in that hymn which he wrote eight days before the end, tricked out with queer geography, and so anciently egoistic amid its worship, as in the verse :

Whilst my physicians by their love are grown
Cosmographers, and I their map, who lie
Flat on this bed, that by them may be shown
That this is my south-west discovery,
Per fretum febris, by these straits to die.

Donne was the poet-geographer of himself, his mistresses, and his God. Other poets of his time dived deeper and soared to greater altitudes, but none travelled so far, so curiously, and in such out-of-the-way places, now hurrying like a nervous fugitive, and now in the exultation of the first man in a new-found land.

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HORACE WALPOLE was a dainty rogue in porcelain who walked badly. In his best days, as he records in one of his letters, it was said of him that he "tripped like a pewit. "If I do not flatter myself," he wrote when he was just under sixty, my march at present is more like a dabchick's." A lady has left a description of him entering a room, "knees bent, and feet on tiptoe as if afraid of a wet floor." When his feet were not swollen with the gout, they were so slender, he said, that he "could dance a minuet on a silver penny." He was ridiculously lean, and his hands were crooked with his unmerited disease. An invalid, a caricature of the birds, and not particularly well dressed in spite of his lavender suit and partridge silk stockings, he has nevertheless contrived to leave in his letters an impression of almost perfect grace and dandyism. He had all the airs of a beau. He affected coolness, disdain, amateurishness, triviality. He was a china figure of insolence. He lived on the mantelpiece, and regarded everything that happened on the floor as a rather low joke that could not be helped. He warmed into humanity in his friendships and in his defence of the house of Walpole; but if he descended from his mantelpiece, it was more likely to be in order to feed a squirrel than to save an empire. His most common image of the world was a puppet-show. He saw kings, prime ministers, and men of genius alike about the size of dolls. When George II. died, he wrote a brief note to Thomas Brand: "Dear Brand-You love laughing; there is a king dead; can you help coming to town?" That represents his measure of things. Those who love laughing will laugh all the more when they discover that, a week earlier, Walpole had written a letter, rotund, fulsome, and in the language

of the bended knee, begging Lord Bute to be allowed to kiss the Prince of Wales's hand. His attitude to the Court he described to George Montagu as “mixing extreme politeness with extreme indifference." His politeness, like his indifference, was but play at the expense of a solemn world. "I wrote to Lord Bute," he informed Montague; "thrust all the unexpecteds, want of ambition, disinterestedness, etc., that I could amass, gilded with as much duty, affection, zeal, etc., as possible." He frankly professed relief that he had not after all to go to Court and act out the extravagant compliments he had written. "Was ever so agreeable a man as King George the Second," he wrote, "to die the very day it was necessary to save me from ridicule ?" "For my part," he adds later in the same spirit, “my man Harry will always be a favourite; he tells me all the amusing news; he first told me of the late Prince of Wales's death, and to-day of the King's." It is not that Walpole was a republican of the school of Plutarch. He was merely a toy republican who enjoyed being insolent at the expense of kings, and behind their backs. He was scarcely capable of open rudeness in the fashion of Beau Brummell's "Who's your fat friend?" His ridicule was never a public display; it was a secret treasured for his friends. He was the greatest private entertainer of the eighteenth century, and he ridiculed the great, as people say, for the love of diversion. “I always write the thoughts of the moment," he told the dearest of his friends, Conway, "and even laugh to divert the person I am writing to, without any ill will on the subjects I mention." His letters are for the most part those of a good-natured man.

It is not that he was above the foible-it was barely more than that of hatred. He did not trouble greatly about enemies of his own, but he never could forgive the enemies of Sir Robert Walpole. His ridicule of the Duke of Newcastle goes far beyond diversion. It is the baiting of a mean and treacherous animal, whose teeth were "tumbling out,' and whose mouth was "tumbling in." He rejoices in the exposure of the dribbling indignity of the Duke, as when

he describes him going to Court on becoming Prime Minister in 1754:

On Friday this august remnant of the Pelhams went to Court for the first time. At the foot of the stairs he cried and sunk down; the yeomen of the guard were forced to drag him up under the arms. When the closet-door opened, he flung himself at his length at the King's feet, sobbed, and cried, "God bless your Majesty! God preserve your Majesty!" and lay there howling and embracing the King's knees, with one foot so extended that my Lord Coventry, who was luckily in waiting, and begged the standers-by to retire, with, "For God's sake, gentlemen, don't look at a great man in distress!" endeavouring to shut the door, caught his grace's foot, and made him roar with pain.

The caricature of the Duke is equally merciless in the description of George II.'s funeral in the Abbey, in which the "burlesque Duke" is introduced as comic relief into the solemn picture :

He fell into a fit of crying the moment he came into the chapel, and flung himself back in a stall, the Archbishop hovering over him with a smelling-bottle; but in two minutes his curiosity got the better of his hypocrisy, and he ran about the chapel with his glass to spy who was or was not there, spying with one hand and mopping his eyes with the other. Then returned the fear of catching cold; and the Duke of Cumberland, who was sinking with heat, felt himself weighed down, and turning round found it was the Duke of Newcastle standing upon his train to avoid the chill of the marble.


Walpole, indeed, broke through his habit of public decorum in his persecution of the Duke; and he tells how on one occasion at a ball at Bedford House he and Brand and George Selwyn plagued the pitiful old creature, who wriggled, and shuffled, and lisped, and winked, and spied" his way through the company, with a conversation at his expense carried on in stage whispers. There was never a more loyal son than Horace Walpole. He offered up a Prime Minister daily as a sacrifice at Sir Robert's tomb.

At the same time, his aversions were not always assumed as part of a family inheritance. He had by temperament a

small opinion of men and women outside the circle of his affections. It was his first instinct to disparage. He even described his great friend Madame du Deffand, at the first time of meeting her, as "an old blind debauchée of wit." His comments on the men of genius of his time are almost all written in a vein of satirical intolerance. He spoke ill of Sterne and Dr. Johnson, of Fielding and Richardson, of Boswell and Goldsmith. Goldsmith he found "silly"; he was “an idiot with once or twice a fit of parts." Boswell's Tour of the Hebrides was "the story of a mountebank and his zany." Walpole felt doubly justified in disliking Johnson owing to the criticism of Gray in the Lives of the Poets. He would not even, when Johnson died, subscribe to a monument. A circular letter asking for a subscription was sent to him, signed by Burke, Boswell, and Reynolds. "I would not deign to write an answer," Walpole told the Miss Berrys, "but sent down word by my footman, as I would have done to parish officers with a brief, that I would not subscribe." Walpole does not appear in this incident the "sweet-tempered creature" he had earlier claimed to be. His pose is that of a schoolgirl in a cutting mood. At the same time his judgment of Johnson has an element of truth in it. "Though he was good-natured at bottom," he said of him, "he was very ill-natured at top." It has often been said of Walpole that, in his attitude to contemporary men of genius, he was influenced mainly by their position in Society-that he regarded an author who was not a gentleman as being necessarily an inferior author. This is hardly fair. The contemporary of whom he thought most highly was Gray, the son of a money broker. He did not spare Lady Mary Wortley Montagu any more than Richardson. If he found an author offensive, it was more likely to be owing to a fastidious distaste for low life than to an aristocratic distaste for low birth; and to him Bohemianism was the lowest of low life. It was certainly Fielding's Bohemianism that disgusted him. He relates how two of his friends called on Fielding one evening and found him "banqueting with a blind man, a woman, and three Irish

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