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scenes of gallantry and song, Sancho exclaims, Oh, what delicate wooden spoons shall I carve! what crumbs and cream shall I devour !-forgetting, in his milk and fruits, the pullets and geese at Camacho's wedding.
“ This intuitive perception of the hidden analogies of things, or, as it may be called, this instinct of imagina. tion, is what stamps the character of genius on the productions of art more than any other circumstance; for it works unconsciously, like nature, and receives its impressions from a kind of inspiration. There is more of this unconscious power in Cervantes than in any other author, except Shakspeare. Something of the same kind extends itself to all the subordinate parts and characters of the work. Thus we find the curate confidentially informing Don Quixote, that if he could get the ear of the government, he has something of considerable importance to propose for the good of the state; and the knight afterwards meets with a young gentleman, who is a candidate for poetical honours, with a mad lover, a forsaken damsel, &c.-all delineated with the same inimitable force, freedom, and fancy. The whole work breathes that air of romance, -that aspiration after imaginary good, that longing after something more than we possess, that, in all places, and in all conditions of life,
still prompts the eternal sigh, For which we wish to live, or dare to die !'
“ The characters in Don Quixote are strictly individuals; that is, they do not belong to, but form a class of themselves. In other words, the actions and manners of the chief dramatis personæ do not arise out of the actions and manners of those around them, or the condition of life in which they are placed, but out of the peculiar dispositions of the persons themselves, operated upon by certain impulses of imagination and
accident; yet these impulses are so true to nature, and their operation so truly described, that we not only re. cognise the fidelity of the representation, but recognise it with all the advantages of novelty superadded. They are unlike any thing we have actually seen,--may be said to be purely ideal,- and yet familiarise themselves more readily with our imagination, and are retained more strongly in memory than perhaps any others; they are never lost in the crowd. One test of the truth of this ideal painting, is the number of allusions which Don Quixote has furnished to the whole of civilized Europe; that is to say, of appropriate cases and striking illustrations of the universal principles of our nature. The common incidents and descriptions of human life are, however, quite familiar and natural ; and we have nearly the same insight given us here, into the characters of innkeepers, bar-maids, ostlers, and puppet-show men, as in Fielding himself. There is a much greater mixture, however, of sentiment with naïveté, of the pathetic with the quaint and humorous, than there ever is in Fielding. We might instance the story of the country man, whom Don Quixote and Sancho met in their search after Dulcinea, driving his mules to plough at break of day, and singing the ancient ballad of Roncesvalles !' The episodes which are introduced are ex, cellent, but have upon the whole been overrated. Compared with the serious tales in Boccacio they are trifling. That of Marcella, the fair shepherdess, is the best. We will only add, that Don Quixote is an entirely original work in its kind, and that the author has the highest honour which can belong to one, that of being the founder of a new style of writing.
“There is another Spanish novel, Gusman d'Al. farache, nearly of the same age as Don Quixote, and of great genius, though it can hardly be ranked as a novel or a work of imagination. It is a series of strange adventures, rather drily told, but accompanied by the most severe and sarcastic commentary. The satire, the wit, the eloquence, and reasoning, are of the most powerful kind; but they are didactic rather than dramatic. They would suit a sermon or a pasquinade better than a romance. Still there are in this extraordinary book occasional sketches of character, and humorous descriptions, to which it would be difficult to produce any thing superior. This work, which is hardly known in this country except by name, has the credit, without any reason, of being the original of Gil Blas. There is only one incident the same, that of the supper at the inn. In all other respects, these two works are the very reverse of each other, both in their excellencies and defects.
“Gil Blas is, next to Don Quixote, more generally read and admired than any other novel, and, in one sense, deservedly so: for it is at the head of its class, though that class is very different from and inferior to the other. There is very little individual character in Gil Blas. The author is a describer of manners, and not of character. He does not take the elements of human nature, and work them up into new combinations (which is the excellence of Don Quixote); nor trace the peculiar and striking combinations of folly and knavery as they are to be found in real life (like Fielding); but he takes off, as it were, the general habitual impression which circumstances make on certain conditions 'of life, and moulds all his characters accordingly. All the persons whom he introduces, carry about with them the badge of their profession; and you see little more of them than their costume. He describes men as belonging to certain classes in society,--the highest, generally, and the lowest, and such as are found in great cities,-not as they are in themselves, or with the individual differences which are always to be found in nature. His hero, in particular, has no character but that of the accidental
circumstances in which he is placed. His priests are only described as priests : his valets, his players, his women, his courtiers, and his sharpers, are all the same. Nothing can well exceed the monotony of the work in this respect ;-at the same time that nothing can exceed the truth and precision with which the general manners of these different characters are preserved, nor the felicity of the particular traits by which their leading-foibles are brought out to notice. Thus, the Archbishop of Grenada will remain an everlasting memento of the weakness of human vanity; and the account of Gil Blas' legacy, of the uncertainty of human expectations. This novel is as deficient in the fable as in the characters. It is not a regularly-constructed story, but a series of adventures told with equal gayety and good sense, and in the most graceful style possible.
“ It has been usual to class our own great novelists as imitators of one or other of these two writers. Fielding, no doubt, is more like Don Quixote than Gil Blas; Smollett is more like Gil Blas than Don Quixote: but there is not much resemblance in either case. Sterne's Tristram Shandy is a more direct instance of imitation. Richardson can scarcely be called an imitator of any one; or, if he is, it is of the sentimental refinement of Marivaux, or the verbose gallantry of the writers of the seventeenth century.
" There is very little to warrant the common idea, that Fielding was an imitator of Cervantes,-except his own declaration of such an intention in the title-page of Joseph Andrews,—the romantic turn of the character of Parson Adams (the only romantic character in his works),--and the proverbial humour of Partridge, which is kept up only for a few pages. Fielding's novels are, in general, thoroughly his own; and they are thoroughly English. What they are most remarkable for, is nei. ther sentiment, nor imagination, nor wit, nor hamour,
though there is a great deal of this last quality ; but profound knowledge of human nature at least of Eng. lish nature, and masterly pictures of the characters of men as he saw them existing. This quality distinguishes all his works, and is shown almost equally in all of them. As a painter of real life, he was equal to Hogarth ; as a mere observer of human nature, he was little inferior to Shakspeare, though without any of the genius and poetical qualities of his mind. His humour is less rich and laughable than Smollett's ;-his wit as often misses as hits ;-he has none of the fine pathos of Richardson or Sterne :-but he has brought together a greater variety of characters in common life,-marked with more distinct peculiarities, and without an atom of caricature, than any other novel-writer whatever. The extreme subtilty of observation on the springs of human conduct in ordinary characters, is only equalled by the ingenuity of contrivance in bringing those springs into play in such a manner as to lay open their smallest irregularity. The detection is always complete, and made with the certainty and skill of a philosophical experiment, and the ease and simplicity of a casual observation. The truth of the imitation is indeed so great, that it has been argued that Fielding must have had his materials ready-made to his hands, and was merely a transcriber of local manners and individual habits. For this conjecture, however, there seems to be no foundation. His representations, it is true, are local and individual ; but they are not the less profound and natural. The feeling of the general principles of the human nature operating in particular circumstances, is always intense, and uppermost in his mind : and he makes use of inci. dent and situation only to bring out character.
“It is perhaps scarcely necessary to give any illustration of these remarks. Tom Jones is full of them. The moral of this book has been objected to, and not altoge