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hostelry at Chinon, warm and well lighted in a blustering winter's night, with a company of jolly topers seated in it round a board; and the professed story, with its Gargantuas, Panurges, and Friar Johns, passing through this only as a mad phantasmagory, or drunken revel. And thus we see how Rabelais was still the old man, and how, even in his mature age, all that he could do was to roll back his later experience of life, so as to bed and smother it in his early recollections.
Of the vigour of the dramatic or creative faculty in Rabelais, the proof lies in the distinctness with which one learns to picture the main characters of his fiction. What can be finer, in its way, than his description of the domestic old giant, Grangousier, as he was quietly spending his time when the news reached him of the invasion of his territories by Picrochole?
Grangousier, good old man, warming his thighs at a good, 'great, clear fire, waiting upon the broiling of some chesnuts, very serious in drawing scratches on the hearth with a stick burnt at one end, wherewith they stirred the fire, telling to his wife and the rest of his family pleasant old stories and tales of former times.' Nor is the portrait of Gargantua less clear to the reader. It is, however, upon the three friends and companions—Pantagruel, Friar John, and Panurge, that Rabelais has taken most pains. The characters of these three stand out as conceptions perfectly and peculiarly Rabelæsian. Pantagruel, the wise, the good, the invincible, the modest, the sad, the speculative, half a Hamlet, half a giant; Friar John, the lusty, the fearless, the jovial, the profane, going through the world like a bull; and Panurge, the witty, the mischievous, the wily, the unprincipled, half a Pistol and half a Mephistopheles, with all the lying and cowardice of the one, and all the clever rascality of the other, yet somehow loveable, after all—where shall we find such another triad? And how they set off each other! Panurge always active, always amusing, never at a loss, sneaking off at the first glimpse of danger, and re-appearing whenever it is past; Friar John, with his hanger ever ready for a foe, and his knife for a joint, often bullying his poor co-mate, yet bearing with him like a brother; and Pantagruel, sometimes standing apart and looking on, at others joining in the sport, but always as a superior nature, occupied with thoughts of his own—there is something almost fearful in such a conjunction. The affection that Pantagruel bears to Panurge, the uniform kindness and consideration with which he treats that strange unearthly being, who seems but one lump of facetiousness and vice, are positively mystic. He sometimes
rebukes Friar John, Panurge of the three characters, Panurge is, beyond question,
the masterpiece. As a poetic impersonation of the principle of evil-we do not hesitate to say it—the character of Panurge, by Rabelais, is a more original and masterly conception than that of Mephistopheles, by Goethe.
And this leads us, finally, to the philosophy of Rabelais. It was a favourite opinion of Coleridge, that the real scope of the great work of Rabelais was not political, but philosophical. Pantagruel,' he said, ' was the Reason; Panurge, the Understanding—the pollarded man, the man with every faculty except the Reason. With virtually this meaning in view, Rabe
' lais, as Coleridge conceived, was led, by the necessity of the times to assume the guise of zanyism-now making a deep thrust; then, to appear unconscious of what he had done, writing a chapter or two of pure buffoonery. This hypothesis, a little altered and softened, would almost seem admissible; so clear is it, above all in the delineation of Pantagruel, that Rabelais, too, had his high thoughts and serious moments. And here, without investigating the matter further, let us quote, in conclusion, one passage, in which, more than in any other in the whole work, (we can say this as conscientious readers,) Rabelais has shown his deeper susceptibilities—a passage which proves, we think, that even he, mass of fat, fun, and filth, as people would fain represent him to have been, was subject to visits of a mystic melancholy that Horace never knew. It is where, in Book iv. chapter 28, Pantagruel, discoursing on immortality, relates what is called a very sad story of the death of the heroes.'
“Epitherses, the father of Æmilian, the rhetorician, sailing from Greece to Italy, in a ship freighted with divers goods and passengers, at night the wind failed them near the Echinades, some islands that lie between the Morea and Tunis; and the vessel was driven near Paxos. When they got thither, some of the passengers being asleep, others awake, the rest eating and drinking, a voice was heard that called aloud, “Thamous! which surprised them all. This same Thamous was their pilot, an Egyptian by birth, but known by name only to some few of the passengers. The voice was heard a second time calling “ Thamous,' in a frighful tone; and none making answer, but all trembling and remaining silent, the voice was heard a third time, more dreadful than before. This caused Thamous to answer, ‘Here am I; what dost thou call me for?' Then the voice, louder than before, bid him publish, when he should come to Palodes, that the great god Pan was dead. All the mariners and passengers having heard this, were amazed and affrighted. ** Now when they had come to Palodes, they had no wind, neither were they in any current. Thamous then getting up on the top of the ship's forecastle, and casting his eyes on the shore, said that he had been commanded to proclaim that the great god Pan was dead. The words were hardly out of his
mouth, when deep groans, great lamentations, and doleful shrieks, not of one person, but of many together, were heard from the land. The news of this was soon spread at Rome; insomuch, that Tiberius, who was then emperor, sent for this Thamous, and having heard him, gave credit to his words. * * For my part, I understand the story of that great Saviour of the faithful who was put to death at Jerusalem. He may be called, in the Greek tongue, Pan, since he is our all. He is Pan, the great shepherd, also, who, as the loving Corydon affirms, hath a tender love, not for his sheep only, but also for their shepherds. At his death, complaints, sighs, tears, and lamentations were spread throughout the whole fabric of the universe—heavens, land, sea, and hell. The time also concurs with this interpretation of mine; for this most mighty Pan, our Saviour, died near Jerusalem, in the reign of Tiberius Cæsar.' Pantagruel having ended this discourse, remained silent and full of contemplation. A little while after, we saw tears flow out of his eyes, as big as ostrich's eggs.
God take me presently if I tell you one syllable of a lie in the matter.'
Art. IX. The Age and Christianity. By ROBERT VAUGHAN, D.D.
12mo. pp. xii., 323. London: Jackson and Walford. 1849. It is recorded of an eminent Scottish divine, that having been appointed, during the troublous times succeeding
the Restoration, to preach a synodical sermon, and having dwelt chiefly in his discourse upon spiritual interests and duties, his brethren objected to him that he had not preached to the times;' on which he replied, that when so many were preaching to the times, it might be permitted to one poor brother to say a word or two for eternity. The retort was admirable, as well for its point as for the rebuke it implicitly administered to the somewhat turbulent presbyters who had provoked it, and whose anxiety to be the ultimate power in the state made them often forget that it is only as a minister of the Gospel is faithful towards his flock, in reference to their eternal interests, that he can exercise any really salutary or permanent influence upon those which relate to the present stage of being. At the same time, it is quite possible for a preacher of Christianity to err in the way charged upon the teacher in question. Christianity has to do with the interests of time as well as with those of eternity. Christianity has her mission to society as well as to the church; and she has a work to perform, and a verdict to pronounce, in relation to each of the varying forms which society assumes in its progress. That mighty moral power which, like a consuming fire, is to fuse, and separate, and recombine the elements of social existence, so as to make all things new, and all things good, cannot ignore, cannot stand aloof from, any of the emergent phenomena, or any of the characteristic necessities of the passing age. Its teachers, therefore, have a vocation to speak to the times. They have relations, in virtue of their office, to passing events. They ought to have somewhat to offer to the spirit of the age. Men expect it of them, and are ready to listen when they speak of such themes. Earth has not wholly forgotten its priests, nor will it, unless they forget themselves and their duty. Their advice has still power to reach the great throbbing heart of humanity, if they will but mark how that heart beats, and speak to it such words as betoken sympathy with its wants.
But if, instead of this, they stand afar Off, and look with indifference or contempt on the blind giant, as he grinds in his prisonhouse, let them not be surprised should they find him at length yielding to the impulses of hatred, and nourishing projects of revenge. Or if, while professing to help him, they speak to him in a tongue which is strange to him, and press upon him topics which seem to him to lie far away beyond the horizon of his felt necessities, and will not listen to his doubts and questionings, but rather rebuke them, then let them cease to expect either that he will continue to defer to them, or will refrain from asking counsel of those who, if their pretensions be less authenticated, seem to him at least better to understand his case, and to be better prepared to prescribe for his cure. There is a sense in which the preacher must speak to the times, if he is to say anything really effective for eternity. Unless he speak to men of earthly things, it is in vain to hope that they will attend to him when he speaks to them of heavenly things.
There is a tendency in all men to escape from the rude and urgent realities of the present, and betake themselves to the blander and more accommodating visions of the past, or of the future. One can so easily play the artist with the recollections of the one, or the anticipations of the other, selecting only such images as please, and grouping them in such forms as shall best exclude whatever is painful, or encroaching ! But the stern, material, matter-of-fact present refuses to be so dealt with. It comes like an imperious task-master, whose word must be obeyed, or like an importunate beggar, who will be served. Hence, men try to elude it-to hide themselves from it, though their hiding is ever after the manner of the poor ostrich, which hides itself from its pursuers with its foolish head in a bush, and its body exposed as a target to their darts. But whilst all men feel it good, when they can, to forget the stern realities that press and storm around them, there are but few who can do this. By far the majority are tied to the oar, and must pull lustily and orderly, else shall a worse thing befal them. And even of those who stand exempt from this harder fate, the great mass are so involved in the whirl of present enjoyment, or present occupation, that they have no time to allow their thoughts or feelings to wander forth whither the heart, if left to itself and quietness, would instinctively carry them. The teacher, then, who would speak home to the souls of such men, must be a man who can preach to the times. Whilst in the serenity of his own thinkings he ponders the lessons of the past, and, as a thinker ever will do, gropes forward into the possibilities of the future, he must ever come back from either flight to the busy hive of actual life, and deposit there, for the good of the community, what they shall recognise as profitable for the present necessity. Otherwise, he may chance to be taken for a pedant, or a dreamer, to whom it were a waste of time to listen, and whose place in the throng it might be easy to supply with a better man.
When the valorous and enthusiastic Mrs. Headrigg was exhorting her son Cuddie to steadfastness in the cause of the Covenant, and beseeching him not to sully the marriage garment,' the reply of her more carnal and worldly-minded offspring was, “Awa, awa mither!... ye're bleezing awa about marriage, and the job is how we are to win [escape) hanging.' In somewhat of the same spirit, we fear, is the mass of men prepared to repel the addresses of the preacher. Immersed in pressing cares, supremely concerned about the job' actually in hand, they are apt to turn with impatience from one who has an air of being abstracted from such matters, and who, as they think, comes in amidst the urgent necessities of their every day existence with exhortations and phraseology, which they feel to be utterly foreign to the business in which they are deeply interested. The obvious way to get the better of this is for the preacher, along with the use of a less technical language, 10 show the connexions between religion and the commonest interests of life—to start from a sympathy with the human wants, and fears, and anxieties of the thronging world around him, and by easy stages carry men's minds upwards to higher and holier considerations-to reflect the light of things eternal upon the material interests of time, and to borrow from things temporal a reason and an impulse towards those which are divine. But to do this on any extended scale the preacher must have a large acquaintance with, and a sincere interest in, the prevailing tendencies of his cotemporaries. He must know what the men around him are chiefly thinking of—what winds