UBC Theses and Dissertations

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UBC Theses and Dissertations

T.L. Peacock's criticism of his literary contemporaries Henderson, Mary Elizabeth Park 1943

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T. L. PEACOCK'S CRITICISM OF HIS LITERARY CONTEMPORARIES "by Mary E. P. Henderson A t h e s i s submitted i n p a r t i a l f u l f i l m e n t of the requirements f o r the degree of Master of Ar t s i n the Department of English-. 4 The U n i v e r s i t y of B r i t i s h Columbia October, 1943. i i T. L. PEACOCK'S CRITICISM OF HIS LITERARY COiTTEMPORARIES Volume 1. i i i TABLE Off CONTENTS Volume 1* Peacock, man and author . . . . . . . 1 The "background of Peacockian c r i t i c i s m 25 Peacock and popular l i t e r a t u r e 55 Volume 2. Peacock versus the Lake Poets . 81 Byron and S h e l l e y i n f a c t and f i c t i o n . . . . . . . .110 Peacock, c r i t i c of Romanticism .134 Botes . .145 Bib l i o g r a p h y . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .154 1 T. L. PEACOCK'S CRITICISM Off HIS LITERARY COETEigQRARIES Peacock, man and author Though Thomas Lore Peacock l i v e d a f u l l l i f e and a long one, dying i n h i s e i g h t y - f i r s t year, d e t a i l s concerning h i s l i f e are s i n g u l a r l y wanting, and even more markedly i n h i s l a t t e r years than i n h i s e a r l y ones. He was, however, an only c h i l d , and was horn i n London i n 1785. As h i s f a t h e r , Samuel Peacock, a London g l a s s merchant, died when Peacock was three years o l d , h i s mother, Sarah Love, was the dominating i n f l u e n c e i n h i s e a r l y l i f e . When Samuel died, mother and son l e f t London to l i v e w i t h her f a t h e r , Thomas Love, at Chertsey. Already, i t may be s a i d , Peacock i s l i v i n g i n t y p i c a l l y Peacockian surroundings. He i s i n the heart of the country - and he loved the country to the end of h i s l i f e . He dwells i n a home w i t h the almost unbelievable name of Gogmoor H a l l , i n d u b i t a b l y the p r o g e n i t o r , along w i t h the Abbey House (where he spent h i s school h o l i d a y s w i t h h i s f r i e n d C h a r l e s ) , of that d e l i c i o u s l i n e of country houses which form the s e t t i n g s of h i s various novels of t a l k . And i f , as i s u s u a l l y thought, Thomas Love, a r e t i r e d naval man, was the model f o r Captain Hawltaught i n Melincourtj, he was a man a f t e r Peacock's own heart - "a f i n e o l d crusted sea-dog, f i l l e d w i t h humorous crotchets and l i q u o r , and w i t h a s a i l o r ' s d i s l i k e of a l l mere theory-spinning, t r u t h - h u n t i n g , Utopia-b u i l d i n g . " Thus e a r l y Peacock developed a l i f e l o n g fondness f o r things s e a f a r i n g . Though a b r i e f personal contact w i t h 2 the navy was more than enough f o r him, he d i d much i n l a t e r l i f e , at the I n d i a House, to promote the cause of steam n a v i -g a t i o n to India. Peacock's mother appears to have "been a remarkable woman. She h e r s e l f wrote some verse and she u n f a i l i n g l y en-couraged her son i n h i s l i t e r a r y endeavours. She had a great i n f l u e n c e on h i s work and he s a i d that he wrote nothing of value a f t e r her death i n 1833. This was not t r u e , although h i s works a f t e r that date were n e i t h e r as numerous nor as v i t a l as those which preceded her death, and they included only one novel, G r y l l Grange, w r i t t e n more than a quarter of a century l a t e r . I t i s a very f a i r t r i b u t e to Mrs. Peacock's c a p a c i t i e s that she was able to appreciate her son's mature 2 • ' ;: works. As C a r l van Doren has a p t l y pointed out, Peacock's sardonic m i r t h i s of a type that r a r e l y appeals to women and was "not of the type approved f o r readers 'of the female sex' during the days of George IV. One can s c a r c e l y imagine that the woman who enjoyed Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey had been educated wholly upon the p r i n c i p l e s i n c u l c a t e d by Mrs. Hannah More." 3 . .- • • :- ' • / ~ - - - -:- •-• We know that Mrs. Peacock encouraged and d i r e c t e d her son's boyhood reading, but e q u a l l y important was her own devotion to h i s t o r i c a l s tudies and e s p e c i a l l y to Gibbon. A great deal i n Peacock's subsequent s t y l e and a t t i t u d e i s made more compre-hensi b l e i f we remember that he was probably nurtured on the great eighteenth century i r o n i s t from h i s tenderest years. With P r i e s t l e y we may w e l l say, " I t i s not given to every one to make acquaintance w i t h Epicureanism and i r o n y at h i s mother's knee." 4 3 • Peacock's formal education l a s t e d t i l l he was twelve years o l d . He attended school at E n g l e f i e l d Green where, i t seems, the teacher, though not a profound s c h o l a r , had the a b i l i t y to i n t e r e s t h i s p u p i l s i n the c l a s s i c s . At school Peacock met Charles Bardwell, w i t h whom he holidayed at Abbey House, according to h i s account i n h i s b r i e f but charming R e c o l l e c t i o n s of Childhood. Charles, he records, was g r e a t l y i n t e r e s t e d i n ghosts and h o r r o r s , but.already Peacock, aged about e i g h t , was the complete s c e p t i c ! "Charles was fond of romances. The 'Idysteries of Udblpho, f and a l l the ghost and'goblin s t o r i e s of the day, were h i s f a m i l i a r reading. I cared l i t t l e about them at that'time? but he amused me by r e l a t i n g t h e i r grimmest passages." 6 L i t t l e i s known of Peacock i n h i s schooldays, except that he was precocious. This same p r e c o c i t y manifested i t s e l f r a t h e r amusingly when, at the age of fourteen, he found h i s way f o r the f i r s t time i n t o p r i n t , i n The Monthly Preceptor (an ephem-e r a l p u b l i c a t i o n designed-to spread education and encourage the young to w r i t e ) , w i t h a p o e t i c , or at l e a s t rhymed, answer to the question 1 Is H i s t o r y or Biography the more improving Study?' Por t h i s Peacock r e c e i v e d a S p e c i a l p r i z e , not because the e d i t o r s thought the poetry m e r i t o r i o u s , but because they saw i n i t an extr a o r d i n a r y e f f o r t of genius c o n s i d e r i n g the extreme youth of the author. I f Peacock's formal educ at i o n ended when he was twelve years o l d , h i s i n f o r m a l , or s e l f - d i r e c t e d , education was main-tained t i l l the day he died. When he wrote h i s p r i z e poem he was i n London, we know, working f o r a f i r m of merchants i n . • ••••'7 : ' • • ' -Throgmorton S t r e e t . I t seems probable that he d i d not stay long i n t h e i r employ, hut remained i n London f o r a few years, f i n a n c i a l l y independent, to pursue h i s studies i n h i s own way, haunting the reading-room of the B r i t i s h Museum. His mother's finances were such that she could allow him a few years of freedom, provided he l i v e d q u i e t l y . Peacock's l i f e i s d i f f i c u l t to t r a c e during these early-years, "but we know from a l e t t e r to Edward Hookham, the son of the b o o k s e l l e r and p u b l i s h e r , that i n the autumn of 1806 he went on a walking tour i n Scotland. In the summer of 1807 occurred h i s f i r s t and abortive l o v e a f f a i r . The g i r l was married to a more promising s u i t o r by her materially-minded parents and she d i e d w i t h i n a year. Peacock wore her h a i r i n a l o c k e t t i l l the end of h i s l i f e , and she i n s p i r e d 'Newark Abbey' and 1 1 dug, beneath the cypress shade' - two of h i s f i n e s t l y r i c s i n s e r i o u s v e i n . A f t e r a b r i e f p e r i o d , i n the winter of 1808-09, of sec-r e t a r i a l work i n the navy, Peacock was g l a d to r e t u r n to f r e e -dom and poetry. He was engaged upon a topographical poem, The Genius of the Thames, which gave him an excuse f o r e x p l o r i n g the r i v e r to i t s source. This apparently i n s p i r e d him to voy-age f a r t h e r a f i e l d , and w i t h i n a short time he p a i d h i s f i r s t v i s i t to Wales. There he found the scenery and surroundings so a t t r a c t i v e that the v i s i t was p r o t r a c t e d f o r s e v e r a l months. His a s s o c i a t i o n s w i t h Wales were of v i t a l importance to Pea-cock, both i n h i s p r i v a t e and i n h i s l i t e r a r y l i f e . At Maentwrog i n Merionethshire he met Jane Gryffydh, whom he married i n a r a t h e r s u r p r i s i n g and impromptu manner more than eight years a f t e r he f i r s t met her. Here, too, he met Jane's f a t h e r , Dr. Gryffydh, the l o c a l parson, whom Peacock described i n a l e t t e r to Hookham as a " l i t t l e dumpy, drunken mountain-8 goat" and who was the f a t h e r of more than one Peacockian parson i n the novels. Welsh scenery afforded Peacock m a t e r i a l f o r a number of e n t h u s i a s t i c l e t t e r s , but, more important, i n s p i r e d some of h i s f i n e s t d e s c r i p t i v e passages i n Headlong H a l l , Crotchet C a s t l e , and The Misfortunes of E l p h i n . The l a s t of these i s h e a v i l y indebted to Wales, not only f o r scenery but f o r such p l o t as i t has, f o r from h i s readings i n Welsh l i t e r a t u r e Peacock drew the three legends which he adapted and fused to make what i s considered by some to be h i s f i n e s t book. Meanwhile, as has been suggested, Peacock was toying w i t h l i t e r a r y composition. He began w i t h poetry, and h i s f i r s t e f f o r t of any importance or i n t e r e s t was 'The Monks of Saint Mark,' w r i t t e n i n 1804 - a bi b u l o u s , r o l l i c k i n g p i e c e , l i t t l e more than doggerel, but g i v i n g us our f i r s t h i n t of the Peacock-to-be. In 1806 appeared Palmyra, a longer poem and a t u r g i d m e d itation on decayed grandeur i n the worst c l a s s i c a l t r a d i t i o n . I t was overloaded w i t h footnotes which, i t seems, were the best p a r t of i t . A second e d i t i o n , r e v i s e d and con-s i d e r a b l y improved, was brought out s i x years l a t e r and earned " " 1 0 the y o u t h f u l commendation of Sh e l l e y . The next production was The Genius of the Thames. I t s c a l i b r e may be gauged by the f a c t that "The A n t i - J a c o b i n [ s i c f o r A n t i - J a c o b i n Review j f i n d i n g i n i t no d i s t u r b i n g touch of. genius, p r a i s e d i t heart-i l y at the expense of i n f i n i t e l y b e t t e r work." More romantic 6 i n tone, i f hardly more happy i n execution, was The Philosophy of Melancholy, the philosophy of which, apparently, i s non-e x i s t e n t , w h i l e the melancholy i s l i t t l e more than l i t e r a r y 12 " " a f f e c t a t i o n . I t contains, however, some f a i r d e s c r i p t i o n s of Welsh scenery. The Genius of the Thames was published i n the summer of 1810, The Philosophy of Melancholy i n the s p r i n g of '13 1812. In the autumn of 1812 Peacock met Shelley. Though Shelley and Peacock met i n 1812, Shelley's j o u r -neyings i n North Wales and I r e l a n d intervened, and the acquaintance d i d not r i p e n i n t o f r i e n d s h i p u n t i l n e arly a year l a t e r , when Peacock went to stay w i t h the S h e l l e y s , who were temporarily s e t t l e d at B r a c k n e l l . I n the winter of 1812-13 Peacock busied himself w r i t i n g a Grammatico-Allegorical Ballady S i r Hornbook, to a i d c h i l d r e n w i t h the elements of grammar. He followed t h i s three years l a t e r w i t h another d i d a c t i c poem f o r c h i l d r e n , t h i s time t r e a t i n g of h i s t o r y i n The Round Table. Among Shelley's B r a c k n e l l companions Peacock was introduced to J.P. Newton, philosopher of vegetarianism and of the Zodiac. Peacock mocked h i s z o d i a c a l t h e o r i e s , but he must ev e n t u a l l y have been impressed, f o r he a c t u a l l y planned a twelve-canto poem embodying Newton's formulae and p o s t u l a t i n g that the world was r u l e d a l t e r n a t e l y by good and e v i l i n f l u e n c e s eman-at i n g from d i f f e r e n t phases of the Zodiac, a poem of which probably only one canto was ever w r i t t e n . This canto was published a f t e r Peacock's death as the fragment, Ahrimanes. In a short time the s a t i r i s t i n Peacock began to come to l i g h t when he returned, i n the winter of 1813-14, to work on 7 two l i t t l e comedies, The D i l e t t a n t i and The Three Doctors, ~ ~ : ' 14 which had probably been begun some years p r e v i o u s l y . These dramas were crude and f a r c i c a l , showing l i t t l e sense of the theatre, and were only important because they embodied some of the personages and speeches that were to appear again i n more d e t a i l and w i t h i n f i n i t e l y greater a r t i s t r y i n Headlong H a l l . A t h i r d drama of Peacock's i s extant - The C i r c l e of Loda, "15 p o s s i b l y wholly w r i t t e n by the spring of 1808. I t i s p u r e l y romantic i n v e i n , d e a l i n g w i t h Horse and I r i s h c h i e f t a i n s of the h e roic age, and i s b e t t e r i n every way than the others. A l l three plays are very short and u n f i t t e d f o r production, and appear never to have been published by Peacock. The s a t i r i s t who had begun to show h i s head i n the com-edies appeared again i n the sp r i n g of 1814 i n the obscure s a t i r i c a l b a l l a d , S i r Proteus, and t h i s time found h i s way i n t o p r i n t . The b a l l a d contained a v i c i o u s attack upon contemporary l e t t e r s , w i t h s p e c i a l emphasis upon the Lake School and the reviewers. I t was s a r c a s t i c a l l y dedicated to Byron, who. was e x t o l l e d f o r a l l the personal and l i t e r a r y q u a l i t i e s that Peacock most despised i n him (an attack which Byron laughed o f f w i t h the Johnsonian quotation, "Are we a l i v e a f t e r a l l t h i s .16 " : . '• ' • " : censure?" ). The v i l l a i n , Johnny Raw - or Southey - i s con-ducted through an almost unleavened mass of s a t i r i c a l t o p i c a l a l l u s i o n to reach at l a s t the cave of O b l i v i o n , the home of f o r g o t t e n m i n s t r e l s where, n a t u r a l l y , he f i n d s h i s f r i e n d s Coleridge and Wordsworth. Such p a r t s of the poem as are de-cipherable today form a s o r t of prelude to Melincourt. There 8 we meet Wordsworth, Coleridge, Southey, and the reviewers again, and i n not very d i f f e r e n t garb. From the time of the B r a c k n e l l v i s i t u n t i l Shelley met h i s death, Peacock and Shelley were f a s t f r i e n d s . When the Shelleys v i s i t e d Scotland i n the autumn of 1813 Peacock was w i t h them. When, i n the winter of 1813-14, Peacock returned to Chertsey, h i s f r i e n d s took a near-by house at Windsor. Peacock was on hand, doubtless w i t h s e n s i b l e but unpopular advice, throughout the p a i n f u l p e r i o d of S h e l l e y 1 s estrange-ment from H a r r i e t and h i s f a l l i n g i n l o v e and eventual f l i g h t from the country w i t h Mary Godwin. And though Peacock was a f i r m supporter of the cause of H a r r i e t , he yet remained Shel-l e y ' s best f r i e n d - one, i t should be remembered, of h i s very few f r i e n d s at t h i s time. S h e l l e y , who had probably r a t i o n a l -i z e d himself i n t o b e l i e v i n g that H a r r i e t was as desirous of the separation as he himself was, f o r a time was angry at Peacock's a t t i t u d e , but yet d i d not scruple to c a l l upon h i s f r i e n d to superintend H a r r i e t ' s money a f f a i r s f o r him. His anger can only have been t r a n s i e n t , however, f o r { i n the w i nter of 1814-15 when Shelley was back i n London, i t i s recorded that he and Peacock were h e l p i n g one another to escape from t h e i r respect-i v e c r e d i t o r s . In the summer of 1815 the two f r i e n d s , accompanied by Mary Godwin and Charles Clairmont, went on a boating t r i p up the Thames as f a r as Lechlade. I t was on t h i s t r i p that Peacock's famous p r e s c r i p t i o n of "three mutton chops, w e l l peppered" cured S h e l l e y at l e a s t temporarily of the i l l s attending h i s vegetable regimen. This e x p e d i t i o n appears again (though minus - a l a s ! - the mutton chops) i n the pages of Crotchet Castle* The f o l l o w i n g winter the p a i r walked, t a l k e d and read Greek together, and paid an occasional v i s i t to London In f a c t , from t h i s time u n t i l S h e l ley made h i s f i n a l departure f o r I t a l y , the d i r e c t personal i n t e r c o u r s e of the two f r i e n d s was i n t e r r u p t e d only by Shelley's second v i s i t to Switzerland, and during t h i s p e r i o d both A l a s t o r and The Revolt of Islam had the b e n e f i t of Peacock's c r i t i c i s m . During h i s sojourns abroad, Shelley had frequent commissions f o r Peacock to perform - now r e n t i n g a house, now n e g o t i a t i n g w i t h p u b l i s h e r s , and sometimes sending packets of the l a t e s t books, or news of the doings of parliament, or c r i t i c i s m s of Shelley's l a t e s t poems. By t h i s time, however, Peacock was i n a measure o b l i g a t e d to Shelley f o r f i n a n c i a l a s s i s t a n c e , and continued s p o r a d i c a l l y to be so u n t i l he found r e g u l a r work i n the I n d i a House, i n the spring of 1819. On Shelley's death, Peacock was appointed j o i n t executor of the w i l l w i t h Byron. He conducted the negot-i a t i o n s between Mrs. S h e l l e y and o l d S i r Timothy i n the s p i r i t of the true f r i e n d and good man of business that he was, '"'19 thoroughly earning thereby the legacy l e f t him by She l l e y . During the f r i e n d s h i p w i t h S h e l l e y , Peacock's»literary output reached i t s peak, i n qua n t i t y and p o s s i b l y i n q u a l i t y , though he was never a p r o l i f i c w r i t e r , f o r he c a r e f u l l y p o l i s h -ed even h i s s l i g h t e s t productions before p r i n t i n g them. A f t e r Shelley's death i n 1822 Peacock's w r i t i n g s appeared l e s s and l e s s f r e q u e n t l y , dying out almost completely a f t e r 1831, u n t i l the coming of the renaissance of h i s o l d age, f o l l o w i n g h i s 10 retirement from the I n d i a House. In 1815 Peacock found h i s r e a l f o r t e and wrote and published Headlong H a l l . Here, draw-ing upon h i s experiences and acquaintances at B r a c k n e l l , he evolved the frame f o r h i s novels of t a l k that was to serve him f a i t h f u l l y f o r the r e s t of h i s l i f e - the a c t i v i t i e s , and es-p e c i a l l y the conversation, of the members of a country-house party. The book was published anonymously. In the spring of 1817, i n three volumes, appeared a second novel, Melincourt, Peacock's longest, most s e r i o u s , and, at l e a s t i n the o p i n i o n of p o s t e r i t y , h i s l e a s t s u c c e s s f u l book. Later i n 1817 Peacock made h i s l a s t attempt to w r i t e poetry on the grand s c a l e , and e a r l y i n 1818 published h i s Rhododaphne, undoubtedly the f i n e s t of the longer poems. I t only j u s t f a l l s short of greatness. The p l o t , f o r Peacock, i s good and the execution d e l i c a t e and admirable. I t was w r i t t e n at the height of the S h e l l e y p e r i o d when Shelley was h e l p i n g Peacock to r e a l i s e more f u l l y the merits of romanticism and h i s (Peacock's) own shortcomings. The poem i s accordingly w r i t t e n w i t h more true romantic f e e l i n g , and at the same time more t r u l y c l a s s i c . a l r e s t r a i n t , than Peacock had ever a t t a i n e d to before. The piece i s Greek throughout and at the same time i s thoroughly romantic. I t was very w e l l r e c e i v e d by the contemporary l i t e r a r y world. C a r l van Doren sums up s u c c i n c t l y * "Byron sent word to Peacock that he should be w i l l i n g to f a t h e r the 'Grecian Enchantress' h i m s e l f ; Poe, never l i g h t of p r a i s e , c a l l e d i t ' b r i m f u l of music'% and Medwin rend-ered i t a degree of commendation which would have been more f l a t t e r i n g but f o r the f a c t that he spoke of i t as 'Rhododendron'." 20 Shelley as w e l l thought h i g h l y of the poem, but despite t h i s 11 wealth of t r i b u t e Peacock at l a s t r e a l i s e d that poetry was not h i s f o r t e , and he turned h i s a t t e n t i o n to i r o n i c prose. Sub-sequently he.confined h i s v e r s i f y i n g to carefree l y r i c s , which he s c a t t e r e d w i t h a l i b e r a l hand throughout h i s novels. As i t happens, the best of these l y r i c s are h i s major c o n t r i b u t i o n to E n g l i s h poetry. Most of these are r o l l i c k i n g d r i n k i n g -songs which, as a group, are e a s i l y h i s best. There are also many songs of sentiment. Best of them a l l , however, and unique i n Peacock's po e t i c career i s 'The war song of Dinas Vawr' Having made up h i s mind, apparently, about h i s p o e t i c c a p a b i l i t i e s , Peacock returned w i t h renewed vigour to the novel, and had completed Nightmare Abbey by the summer of 1818. I t was published that November and, though si n c e considered one of h i s best, a t t r a c t e d l i t t l e a t t e n t i o n . S h e l l e y , i t s p r i n c i p a l ' v i c t i m ' , proved, i t s most e n t h u s i a s t i c c r i t i c ! About t h i s time - probably somewhat e a r l i e r , nearer the time that Rhododaphne was being w r i t t e n , though the p r e c i s e date i s not known - Peacock t r i e d to. w r i t e a t a l e f u s i n g r a t h e r i d e a l -i s e d elements of ancient Greek and medieval l i f e . I t was apparently too much f o r h i s l i m i t e d imaginative and- c o n s t r u c t " i v e a b i l i t i e s , f o r he abandoned i t i n the fragments today known as Galidore. The only e x t e r n a l evidence as to i t s date i s the f a c t that the paper on which i t i s w r i t t e n bears the watermark 21 1816. Between the w r i t i n g and the p u b l i c a t i o n of Nightmare Abbey a new epoch i n Peacock's l i f e began when, a f t e r sub-12 m i t t i n g to competitive examination, he found himself f i l l i n g a comfortable c l e r i c a l post i n the I n d i a House. The appointment f o r a time f i l l e d him w i t h great enthusiasm f o r business, i f we are to take s e r i o u s l y the conclusion of The Four Ages of Poetry (his f i r s t important l i t e r a r y work a f t e r entering I n d i a House) and s i m i l a r sentiments are expressed i n a l e t t e r to Shelley dated about the same time, where s c i e n t i s t s , mathematicians, economists, and s i m i l a r people are lauded to the sk i e s - i n complete c o n t r a s t w i t h Peacock's usual opinion of such men. The appointment also p r e c i p i t a t e d Peacock's marriage, which was a happy one, though Mrs. Peacock was f o r many years an i n v a l i d and died i n 1851. There were four c h i l d r e n - three g i r l s and a boy. The second g i r l died i n e a r l y childhood, and i t was a f t e r her death that Mrs. Peacock's h e a l t h began to g i v e way. In 1849 the e l d e s t daughter, already a widow, married George Meredith, who was s e v e r a l years her j u n i o r , and, a f t e r nine years of q u a r r e l l i n g , deserted him f o r an a r t i s t and died a few years l a t e r . Though Meredith's books, and e s p e c i a l l y h i s Essay on Comedy, owe much to Peacock'syexample, i t i s u n l i k e l y that the admiration was mutual, f o r Meredith had been educated i n Germany and was u n i n t e r e s t e d i n s c h o l a r s h i p w h i l e h i s f a t h e r - i n - l a w was a devoted scholar and detested a l l things German. The Four Ages of Poetry, though probably w r i t t e n during the winter of 1818-19, was not published u n t i l 1820, when i t appeared i n O i l i e r ' s L i t e r a c y M i s c e l l a n y . Though i t provoked Shelley's much b e t t e r known Defence of Poetry, i t i s r e a l l y a 13 .jeu d' e s p r i t , "something "between a piece of c r i t i c i s m and a : 22 •• domestic joke" w i t h i t s shafts d i r e c t e d c h i e f l y against the Lake Poets. Oddly enough, the incomplete Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , w r i t t e n only a few months "before The Pour Ages, contains a defence and a p p r e c i a t i o n of the very people he a t t a c k s , or pretends to attack, i n the l a t e r essay. A year or two passed before another work was forthcoming, but i n 1822, too l a t e f o r Shelley to see i t , Maid Marian, the e a r l i e r of the medieval t a l e s , was published. I t i s l i t t l e more than a s e r i e s of s l a p - s t i c k episodes i n t e r s p e r s e d w i t h a great many i r r e s i s -t i b l e l y r i c s , so i t i s - not s u r p r i s i n g that i t was very soon turned i n t o a comic opera by J.R. Planche', who arranged the l i b r e t t o , and by the musician Bishop. The opera had a twenty-seven night run, an i n d i c a t i o n of considerable p o p u l a r i t y i n those days. Hookham, the p u b l i s h e r , was opposed to the pro-duction of the opera, but Peacock approved, probably r e a l i s i n g the p u b l i c i t y value. The book sales d i d not skyrocket, but Maid Marian has remained a steady f a v o u r i t e s i n c e . Por a number of years a f t e r Maid Marian, Peacock the man of l e t t e r s seems to have confined himself l a r g e l y to c o n t r i b u t i o n s to The Westminster Review, the organ of the P h i l o s o p h i c a l R a d i c a l s . A good p a r t of the a s s o c i a t i o n may have been due to the f a c t that James M i l l , one of the leaders of the R a d i c a l s , worked i n the same department of the I n d i a House as Peacock. Some pa r t s of the U t i l i t a r i a n creed Peacock accepted, other p a r t s he most emphatically d i d not. Hence, during the f i n a n c i a l panic of 1825-26, we f i n d him w r i t i n g h i s Paper Money L y r i c s , w i t h 14 economists as w e l l as contemporary poets as h i s "butts. The scheme of the production i s that of the Rejected Addresses. A number of well-known poets supposedly c o n t r i b u t e verses on the f i n a n c i a l s i t u a t i o n . As the t i t l e suggests, these r a t h e r crude parodies were al s o an attack on paper money, which Peacock could never r e s i s t a t t a c k i n g throughout h i s l i f e . The L y r i c s were not published, presumably out of respect to M i l l , u n t i l 1837, when s e v e r a l appeared i n a minor p e r i o d i c a l and a l l were p r i n t e d i n a l i m i t e d p r i v a t e e d i t i o n . To r e t u r n , however, to the Westminster. Peacock*s best known c o n t r i b u t -ions were two a n n i h i l a t i n g reviews of works of Thomas Moore, f i r s t of h i s Epicurean, i n October 1827, and then again i n 1830 of the f i r s t volume of h i s L e t t e r s and Journals of Lord Byron. In the same year appeared a n o t i c e of The Memoirs, Correspon-dence, and P r i v a t e Papers of Thomas J e f f e r s o n showing the de-cide d eighteenth-century tone of Peacock's p o l i t i c a l views. By t h i s time Peacock had produced another novel - The Misfortunes of E l p h i n , the second and l a s t of h i s medieval t a l e s , p u b lished i n 1829. Crotchet C a s t l e , published two years l a t e r , can be s a i d to mark the end of h i s f i r s t p e r i o d of l i t e r a r y output. Pressure of work at the I n d i a House was probably mainly re s p o n s i b l e f o r the submergence of Peacock as a l i t e r a r y man during the next twenty years. Owing to s e v e r a l deaths among h i s immediate s u p e r i o r s , Peacock i n 1836 became one of the c h i e f o f f i c i a l s i n that very l a r g e concern, and he was a man by nature thorough i n everything. Besides, the death of h i s mother, as he himself t e l l s us, probably d i d have an i n h i b i t i n g 15 e f f e c t on him. At any r a t e , f o r a l l these years he produced nothing - apart from the o s t e n s i b l y autobiographic R e c o l l e c t -ions of Childhood, w r i t t e n when he was about f i f t y and pub-l i s h e d i n Bentley's M i s c e l l a n y - except o c c a s i o n a l , unimpor-tant magazine a r t i c l e s , though the fragmentary Cotswold Chase, Chertsey, and &t. Katherine as w e l l as two t e n t a t i v e but t y p i c a l t i t l e s , Boosabout Abbey and Pottledeep P r i o r y , s u r v i v e to t e s t i f y to h i s continued i n t e r e s t i n the novel. The l i t e r -acy resurgence came at l a s t i n the f i f t i e s when, i n 1852, i n Eraser's Magazine, appeared the f i r s t two of the three f i n e , s c h o l a r l y d i s s e r t a t i o n s on c l a s s i c a l drama known j o i n t l y as Horae Dramaticae. The t h i r d d i d not appear t i l l - 1857. These c l a s s i c a l s t u d i e s were fol l o w e d i n 1858 by a long review of Mxiller and Donaldson's H i s t o r y of Greek L i t e r a t u r e i n the same magazine. A great deal more important, however, are the Memoirs of S h e l l e y , which appeared at i n t e r v a l s i n Eraser's between 1858 and 1862. The.Memoirs are r e a l l y a s e r i e s of r e -views of various L i v e s of Shelley that had been published. The l a r g e s t p a r t , appearing i n 1858, i s a r e p l y to books by Hogg, Trelawney, and Middleton. The next most important p o r t i o n i s that published i n January, 1860, a review of the S h e l l e y Mem-o r i a l s . In March of the same year Peacock published the l e t t e r s he had r e c e i v e d from S h e l l e y from I t a l y , w i t h a b r i e f introduc-t o r y note; and f i n a l l y , i n 1862, a Supplementary Note was added i n r e p l y to Dr. Garnett, who had attacked Peacock's p o s i t i o n and statements concerning Shelley's d e s e r t i o n of H a r r i e t . The l a s t of the novels, G r y l l Grange, was published s e r i a l l y i n 16 1860, also i n Eraser's, "but i t i s more than l i k e l y that the •whole had "been completed "before the f i r s t instalments appeared. Thus the novel was probably w r i t t e n i n the h i a t u s between the two main d i v i s i o n s of the Memoirs. The l a s t piece worthy of mention i s the l i t t l e essay of reminiscence, The Last Pay of Windsor F o r e s t , which was probably w r i t t e n i n 1862 but whic?a remained unpublished during Peacock's l i f e t i m e . I t s mellow urbanity provides a f i t t i n g c o nclusion to that long l i t e r a r y l i f e . -On r e t i r i n g from business about 1856, Peacock s e t t l e d i n the country, at Lower - H a l l i f ord. He s t i l l loved country walks and a, garden. His l a s t ten years were l i v e d very q u i e t l y w i t h h i s o l d books, o l d wine, good dinners and hand-picked v i s i t o r s . An outbreak of f i r e i n the roof of h i s bedroom hastened h i s end, f o r i n h i s l a t t e r years he was possessed by a morbid dread of f i r e . He died on January 23, 1886. Generally speaking, Peacock's w r i t i n g s can be s a i d to f a l l i n t o two s e c t i o n s - that s e c t i o n ^ which i s e a s i l y , or r e l a -t i v e l y e a s i l y , a v a i l a b l e , and that s e c t i o n which i s a l l but 24 ' • •• u n a v a i l a b l e . The e a r l y poetry and the plays I have been un-able to examine, and I have had to depend f o r my i n f o r m a t i o n concerning them on secondary sources, c h i e f l y b i o g r a p h i c a l and c r i t i c a l works of Freeman, van Doren, and J.B. P r i e s t l e y . F o r t u n a t e l y , w i t h the doubtful exception of S i r Proteus (the o b s c u r i t y and sheer bad temper of which i n f i n i t e l y reduce i t s v a l u e ) , these works have l i t t l e bearing on the present study. 17 More to be r e g r e t t e d has been my i n a b i l i t y to see the Paper Money L y r i c s , though the parodies are s a i d to be but s u p e r f i c -25 i a l , and hence would add l i t t l e to tastes and opinions inherent or expressed elsewhere. Of the long poems, Rhododaphne only has proved a v a i l a b l e , and i t i s not without i n t e r e s t as r e v e a l -ing Peacock i n unashamedly romantic c o l o u r s . I t i s Peacock's prose work, however, that i s of f i r s t concern i n connection w i t h h i s c r i t i c a l views, and, h a p p i l y , a l l h i s prose of any importance, w i t h the p a r t i a l exception of the Essay on Pashion-able L i t e r a t u r e , has proved a c c e s s i b l e . The Essay on Pashion-able L i t e r a t u r e , an unpublished manuscript, i s housed i n the B r i t i s h Museum. The essay i s d i v i d e d i n t o two p a r t s , however, the f i r s t p a r t of which i s complete, and the second incomplete, and i n Hotes and Queries of J u l y 1910 A.B. Young has trans-c r i b e d i n f u l l the f i r s t p a r t , and sketched the contents of the fragmentary remainder. When we come to deal w i t h the c r i t i c a l m a t e r i a l by i t s e l f once more two c a t e g o r i e s are d i s t i n g u i s h a b l e - m a t e r i a l con-t a i n i n g d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m and that i n which the c r i t i c i s m i s i m p l i e d r a t h e r than overt. The l a t t e r type preponderates. D i r e c t c r i t i c i s m appears from time to time i n the poetry - as i n S i r Proteus and the Paper Money L y r i c s - where, as we have seen, i t appears to be too t r i v i a l to m e r i t much a t t e n t i o n . The tone of both i s , however, t y p i c a l . Peacock bludgeons h i s butts i n S i r Proteus, and mocks them i n the Paper Money s e r i e s . Fragments of h i s l e t t e r s a l s o provide scraps of Peacock's overt c r i t i c i s m , and probably these p r i v a t e opinions are the most 18 sincere he ever u t t e r e d . He i s speaking i n h i s own person i n the l e t t e r s * , i n the novels, at l e a s t , one can never he sure. The essays, too, few as they are, provide greater or l e s s e r amounts of s t r a i g h t f o r w a r d c r i t i c i s m . There seems no reason to doubt the good f a i t h of the opinions expressed i n the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , but, as already suggested, there are good grounds f o r suspecting that The Four Ages of Poetry i s l a r g e l y meant as an elaborate l i t e r a r y joke. At the same time, there i s s u f f i c i e n t c r i t i c a l t r u t h or speciousness i n i t to have l e d some readers even today to take i t q u i t e s e r i o u s -l y . The l a t e r essays are of l e s s value i n connection w i t h contemporary c r i t i c i s m . The f i r s t essay of the Horae Dramati-cae s e r i e s i s a c r i t i c a l a p p r e c i a t i o n of a l i t tie-known l a t e L a t i n comedy, the second i s a s c h o l a r l y r e c o n s t r u e t i o n of a fragmentary Greek tragedy, and the t h i r d , w h i l e o s t e n s i b l y s i m i l a r i n nature to the f i r s t , i s r e a l l y a j o v i a l d i s c u s s i o n of the a t t i t u d e of poets to wine-bibbing, h i s t o r i c a l l y con-sidered, and i n t h i s connection contains a few well-chosen words on Wordsworth. The Last Day of .Windsor F o r e s t a l s o , i n passing, enshrines a b r i e f a p p r e c i a t i o n of Wordsworth. By no means the most n e g l i g i b l e source of Peacock's d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m i s The 7/estminster Review, where Moore's pretensions are twice razed to the ground. The review of the Epicurean, as f a r as we are concerned, deals only w i t h Moore, but that of The L e t t e r s and Journals of Lord Byron contains as much m a t e r i a l on Byron as on Moore and aims a few u g l y blows at L e i g h Hunt en passant. L a s t l y , the Memoirs of S h e l l e y c o n t a i n a good 19 deal of c r i t i c a l m a t e r i a l . There i s no doubt here of the s i n c e r i t y of t h i s mature view of S h e l l e y , where f r i e n d s h i p has not been allowed to b l i n d the eyes of the author to Shelley's very r e a l weaknesses. The Memoirs also c o n t a i n some very per-t i n e n t remarks on d e s i r a b l e q u a l i t i e s i n biographers and biography. ' Implied l i t e r a r y - and p o l i t i c a l - c r i t i c i s m of Peacock's contemporaries meets us at every t u r n i n the novels, e s p e c i a l l y i n the novels of t a l k . The two medieval t a l e s more or l e s s confine themselves to i r o n i c comparisons of the r e l a t i v e s o c i a l p o s i t i o n s and a t t i t u d e s of the medieval bard and the modern la u r e a t e . Frequent quotations from, and a l l u s i o n s t o , contem-porary l e t t e r s , however, s c a t t e r e d not only through the novels, but throughout a l l the prose works, r e v e a l that Peacock was more a p p r e c i a t i v e of the l i t e r a t u r e of h i s own time than he would always have us b e l i e v e . This fundamentally a p p r e c i a t i v e a t t i t u d e , though never commanding so much a t t e n t i o n as the repeated and o f t e n v i t r i o l i c derogatory c r i t i c i s m , should never be f o r g o t t e n . The l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m i n Headlong H a l l i s not as p l e n t i f u l as i n some of the other novels, and i t i s more general than s p e c i f i c . The nature of reviews, and review-ers i s analysed, however, and some of the minor characters may be meant to suggest such well-known l i t e r a r y p e r s o n a l i t i e s as Coleridge, J e f f r e y , and Thomas Campbell. In Headlong H a l l , then, the c a r i c a t u r i n g i s t e n t a t i v e ; i n Melincourt i t i s q u i t e d e f i n i t e and unmistakable. There G i f f o r d and the aims and methods of the (Quarterly Review are unsparingly t r a v e s t i e d , 20 and Coleridge, Wordsworth, and Southey appear as the transcen-dental Mr. Mystic, and the p o l i t i c a l opportunists Messrs Paperstamp and Peathernest, r e s p e c t i v e l y . The s a t i r e of the Lake School, however, deals more w i t h p o l i t i c a l than w i t h l i t e r a r y a t t i t u d e s , though the two are i n t e r r e l a t e d . In Nightmare Abbey the l i t e r a r y s a t i r e i s much purer, though somewhat complicated. In the two e a r l i e r novels, i n a d d i t i o n to the s p e c i f i c c a r i c a t u r e of people and ideas (the ideas, however, being more important than the people), the types and p l o t s of the novels themselves form a s o r t of i r o n i c running commentary on a type .of l i t e r a t u r e that was very popular to-wards the c l o s e of the eighteenth century; those works advoc-a t i n g e i t h e r a r e t u r n to the p r i m i t i v e l i f e or those proclaim-ing the i n e v i t a b l e progress of mankind, as w e l l as those which ingenuously combined these i r r e c o n c i l a b l e pseudo-philosophies. Headlong H a l l and Me l i n c o u r t , then, s a t i r i s e d p r i m i t i v i s m and progress. Nightmare Abbey, i n the same way, i s a s k i t on the c u l t of the Gothic, and incorporates as w e l l some very pene-t r a t i n g remarks on the Godwinian no v e l - w i th- a- pur p o s e. Nor i s i t l a c k i n g i n p e r s o n a l i t i e s . A b a r e l y - d i s g u i s e d S h e l l e y i s hero, and Byron i s brought on the stage f o r a few. i n c i s i v e pages. Coleridge once more appears, having been promoted from t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t to metaphysician, and h i s Lake f r i e n d s r e c e i v e passing mention. The t a l e s c o n t a i n nothing of import-ance i n the way of l i t e r a r j r c r i t i c i s m , and when we come to Crotchet C a s t l e we f i n d that our author has mellowed a l i t t l e , p o s s i b l e c a r i c a t u r e s are fewer and much more d i f f i c u l t to 21 i d e n t i f y , and the whole tone of the s a t i r e i s l e s s trenchant than of o l d . There i s the usual metaphysician, Mr. Skionar, who may or may not be Coleridge. There i s an amiable medieval-i s t , a development of Mr. Derrydown i n Melincourt, who, l i k e the e a r l i e r worthy, may or may not represent Scott. The un-pleasant Mr. Eavesdrop, who i s i n the h a b i t of c h a r a c t e r i z i n g h i s acquaintance i n the popular p e r i o d i c a l s , has been tenta-t i v e l y i d e n t i f i e d w i t h H a z l i t t and h i s S p i r i t of the Age. And there- i s , of course, the i n e v i t a b l e reference to Wordsworth and Sou they. G r y l l Grange, mellowest of a l l , can be s a i d to con-t a i n no c a r i c a t u r e s at a l l . I f , as i s sometimes thought, the nominal hero, Falconer, i s Peacock's attempt to p o r t r a y what Shelley might have been had he l i v e d longer, i t i s not a c a r i -cature but a reasonably serious imaginary p o r t r a i t . In G r y l l Grange, too, as i n most of the other books, the characters from time to time touch upon l i t e r a t u r e i n t h e i r conversation, and i n v arying degrees t h e i r opinions may be associated w i t h Pea-cock's own. This, then, i s the complicated nature of Peacockian c r i t i c i s m ; sometimes d i r e c t , sometimes i n d i r e c t (with the i n -d i r e c t running the gamut from the unmistakable to the wholly obscure), and both types complicated by the f a c t that they may be meant to be taken s e r i o u s l y , or as pure f a r c e , or as p r a c t i c a l l y anything i n between. Why, then, do we bother at a l l about what Peacock has to say about the l i t e r a r y world i n which he l i v e d ? Why do we pay a t t e n t i o n to the opinions of H a z l i t t , of Lamb, of Keats, of Coleridge, or of anyone who has ever recorded or had recorded 22 h i s opinions of the men he knew e i t h e r p e r s o n a l l y or through t h e i r w r i t i n g s ? The l e a s t important opinion, whether serious or comic, i l l - c o n s i d e r e d or c a r e f u l l y weighed, adds something to the mental h i s t o r y of the race, i f i t does nothing more than give us a glimpse i n t o the psychology of one man, f o r that man, however e c c e n t r i c , must r e f l e c t some p o r t i o n of h i s times. The more we know about the man, of course, the "better we are able to gauge the r e l i a b i l i t y of h i s opinions, allowing at the same time f o r any i d i o s y n c r a s i e s that may have i n f l u e n c e d h i s judgmentj and the more i n t e l l i g e n t he i s , the more i n t e r e s t i n g and penetrating h i s judgment i s l i k e l y to be. A number of such considerations suggest that the opinions of Peacock, however d i f f i c u l t to assess, should be of value. Peacock was undoubtedly a very i n t e l l i g e n t man - a glance i n t o any one of h i s books w i l l very s h o r t l y persuade a reader of that. He was also a s i n g u l a r l y w e l l - r e a d man and could draw upon a great deal of European as w e l l as c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e f o r purposes of l i t e r a r y comparison. His outlook on l i f e , and consequently on l e t t e r s , was n e i t h e r wholly seriovis nor u t t e r l y f r i v o l o u s - although i t was r e a l l y a good deal more serious than would appear from a s u p e r f i c i a l reading of h i s works. Though he always hoped f o r the best from mankind, experience taught him s c e p t i c i s m , and h i s sense of humour, which was un-u s u a l l y keen, l e d him to laugh equally at excess optimism and undue pessimism. In a d d i t i o n to t h i s , h i s span of l i f e happen-ed to p a r a l l e l the f u l l f l o o d of E n g l i s h romanticism. He was t h i r t e e n years o l d when L y r i c a l B a l l a d s was published, and the 23 "best of Tennyson, Browning, and Arnold had appeared "before he died. In f a c t , the romantic decadence had o f f i c i a l l y set i n w i t h the p u b l i c a t i o n of Swinburne's Poems and Ba l l a d s j u s t as he was dying. But though Peacock l i v e d when he d i d , he was of the romantic era, not i n i t . Not even h i s c l o s e f r i e n d s h i p w i t h Shelley could make of him a thorough-going romantic. This aloofness, as a matter of f a c t , a p p l i e s to every sphere of h i s l i f e , and not j u s t to h i s w r i t i n g . . And though, as we sh a l l - see, he had a number of romantic sympathies, he always gives the impression of standing as a spectator - or perhaps as a r e f e r e e - on the s i d e l i n e s . Then, as he watches from the s i d e l i n e s , he epitomises the i n t e l l e c t u a l l i f e that he sees before him. In t h i s he d i f f e r s from, the t y p i c a l romantic, who pr e f e r s to record h i s own sensations as l i f e b i l l o w s round him. The w r i t i n g s and c r i t i c i s m s of Lamb, f o r instance, are thor-oughly s u b j e c t i v e - and unashamedly so. H a z l i t t at times can be equally s u b j e c t i v e - i n h i s f a m i l i a r essays - though h i s character sketches and l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m c o n t a i n both subject-i v e and o b j e c t i v e elements. Hunt and Coleridge, too, are l a r g e l y s u b j e c t i v e i n t h e i r approach: even De Quincey, under a cloak of s c h o l a r s h i p . In the l a s t a n a l y s i s , Peacock's a t t i t u d e more c l o s e l y resembles that of such despised reviewers as J e f f r e y and G i f f o r d than that of any other notable romantic c r i t i c . Among the V i c t o r i a n s , p o s s i b l y Macaulay and Arnold most c l o s e l y resemble him: Arnold had something of h i s i n t e l -1 e c t u a l background, w h i l e Macaulay had a d i s t i n c t p o l i t i c a l b ias - though not the same bias as Peacock - and they both 24 strove i n a c e r t a i n measure f o r o b j e c t i v i t y . Generally speaking then, though, as van Doren t h i n k s , Peacock may have been an i n t r o v e r t i n p r i v a t e - probably very few of us are not - he d i d not, l i k e the m a j o r i t y of h i s contemporaries, l a y bare to the reading p u b l i c the r e s u l t s of h i s i n t r o v e r t e d s p e c u l a t i o n s , but made of h i s ubiquitous laughter a weapon both of offence and defence. 25 The "background of Peacockian c r i t i c i s m . Measured against the l i t e r a r y men of h i s time, Peacock, though self-educated, was p o s s i b l y the greatest scholax among them. Landor alone - though Peacock chose to consider him a "fro t h y personage" - may have equalled him. I f he d i d not know the middle ages as Scott knew them, nor the eighteenth century as Thackeray d i d , h i s reading, i f l e s s wide, was more minute than that of Coleridge, and he surpassed them a l l i n c l a s s i c a l l o r e . At the same time he was remarkably conversant w i t h French and I t a l i a n l i t e r a t u r e - and he took up Spanish i n h i s o l d age - though he considered German a waste of time. His f a v o u r i t e authors were Homer, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Nonnus, Cicer o , Petronius, V i r g i l , Horace, T a c i t u s , Bojardo, P u l c i , A r i o s t o , R a b e l a i s , V o l t a i r e , B u t l e r , and Wordsworth. This l a s t may seem s u r p r i s i n g but "...Wordsworth, much as Peacock r i d i c u l e d the Lake Poets, yet found few more a p p r e c i a t i v e readers than h i s very s a t i r i s t , who quotes him again and again, and pays him a notable number of times the homage of misquotation." 2 The f a c t that Peacock was not a u n i v e r s i t y man was not without i t s bearing on h i s l i f e . L i k e many a self-educated man, he was never t i r e d of r a i l i n g at the uselessness and incompet-ence of the u n i v e r s i t y product. He loved to triumph over the Oxford or Cambridge scholar i n some pedantic quibble. Whether or not he wanted to attend u n i v e r s i t y , but was f i n a n c i a l l y un-able, we do not know. Probably he had no d e s i r e to go, having imbibed Gibbon on U n i v e r s i t i e s , and, always the i n d i v i d u a l i s t , p r e f e r r i n g to read to s u i t h imself, r a t h e r than some a r b i t r a r y 26 a u t h o r i t y . He had no desi r e thus to ' f i n i s h h i s education'. I f he had gone to u n i v e r s i t y , he might e a s i l y have "become a don and confined himself to c r i t i c a l commentaries on h i s f a v o u r i t e authors. As i t i s , h i s f a v o u r i t e s are so thoroughly a s s i m i l -ated that they l i v e again i n h i s w r i t i n g s , "both i n s t y l e and opinion. He not merely admires and appreciates the works of Aristophanes and Rabelais, f o r instance, but, when the mood seizes or the opportunity demands, he wri t e s Aristophanic or Ra b e l a i s i a n prose - or poetry. In f a c t , i n many v/ays Peacock i s l e s s an o r i g i n a l c reator than a perpetual and splendid p a r o d i s t . * Peacock's undeniable success i n d i r e c t i n g h i s own educ-a t i o n , combined w i t h the complete honesty and str a i g h t f o r w a r d -ness of the true s c h o l a r , r e s u l t e d i n the e a r l y development i n him of some pre j u d i c e s - or at l e a s t objects of d i s l i k e - which l a s t e d h i s whole l i f e through. The u n i v e r s i t y , as has been seen, was prominent among these objects of d i s l i k e , though h i s venom i s d i r e c t e d more at the nature of the u n i v e r s i t i e s i n h i s own time and country than at u n i v e r s i t i e s i n general, of the past or of other c o u n t r i e s - or so a passing reference i n the BBSay on Pashionable L i t e r a t u r e would l e a d us to suppose, where he mentions "The seats of l e a r n i n g (as the u n i v e r s i t i e s are s t i l l c a l l e d according to the proverb 'Once a c a p t a i n always a ' 3 v * ' c a p t a i n ' ) . . , " Again, i n the review of Moore's L e t t e r s and Journals of Lord Byron, s e v e r a l pages are devoted to the quot-a t i o n of passages from the w r i t i n g s of M i l t o n , Locke, Gibbon, Gray, and others, to show that he i s not alone i n condemning a 27 l a t t e r - d a y u n i v e r s i t y education as u s e l e s s , i f not p o s i t i v e l y 4 harmful. In support of h i s argument, however., he c i t e s only u n i v e r s i t y men, and such c r i t i c i s m i s more acceptable, as w e l l as more v a l i d , from them than from an o u t s i d e r . His a t t i t u d e i s not confined, of course, to essay and review. I t appears again and again i n the novels as w e l l . The f o l l o w i n g paragraph from Nightmare Abbey i s t y p i c a l * "When Scythrop grew up, he was sent, as u s u a l , to a p u b l i c school, where a l i t t l e l e a r n i n g was p a i n f u l l y beaten i n t o him, and thence to the U n i v e r s i t y , where i t was care-f u l l y taken out of him? and he was sent home, l i k e a w e l l -threshed ear of corn, w i t h nothing i n h i s head? having . f i n i s h e d h i s education to the h i g h s a t i s f a c t i o n of the master and f e l l o w s of h i s c o l l e g e , who had, i n testimony of t h e i r approbation, presented him w i t h a s i l v e r f i s h -s l i c e , on which h i s name f i g u r e d at the head of a laudatory i n s c r i p t i o n i n some semi-barbarous d i a l e c t of Anglo-Saxonized L a t i n . " 5 Another attack, i n Crotchet C a s t l e , i s worthy of comment. As the boat-party pause i n t h e i r voyage to inspect Oxford, Dr. F o l l i o t t remarks that "the system of d i s s u a s i o n from a l l good l e a r n i n g i s brought here to a p i t c h of p e r f e c t i o n that b a f f l e s the keenest a s p i r a n t . I run over to myself the names of the scholars of Germany, a g l o r i o u s catalogue! but ask f o r those of Oxford - Tifhere are they?" At the same time Dr. F o l l i o t t wins a bet that they w i l l not f i n d a s i n g l e man reading as they wander through the whole u n i v e r s i t y and undisturbed l i b r a r i e s - an i n c i d e n t rendered considerably l e s s damning by the f a c t that the voyagers are v i s i t i n g Oxford i n J u l y ! A p o s s i b l e outgrowth of t h i s scorn f o r u n i v e r s i t i e s was a d i s l i k e f o r popular educat-i o n which Peacock developed i n middle age and manifested c h i e f -l y i n Crotchet C a s t l e and G r y l l Grange. In the former, Dr. 28 F o l l i o t t i s forever f u l m i n a t i n g against the 'Learned F r i e n d ' -Lord Brougham - whose e f f o r t s to popularise science f o r the b e n e f i t of the p r o l e t a r i a t Peacock con s t a n t l y r e f e r s to as 'the march of mind', sponsored by the 'Steam I n t e l l e c t S o c i e t y . 1 Those p r o l e t a r i a n s foolhardy enough to snatch at such educa-t i o n a l opportunity are i n e v i t a b l y involved i n l u d i c r o u s misad-ventures, of course, according to Peacock. His a t t i t u d e seems to be that education, l i k e wine, requires a strong head, i f d i s a s t e r i s to be avoided. In G r y l l Grange the s a t i r e i s d i r e c t e d against competitive examination. An i n c i d e n t i n the drama, "Aristophanes i n London", which i s one of the h i g h l i g h t s of the book, shows such potent f i g h t e r s as Richard Goeur de L i o n and Hannibal - as w e l l as s e v e r a l others - examined and r e j e c t e d as s o l d i e r s by an examining board of nincompoops focussing a l l t h e i r a t t e n t i o n on t r i v i a l i t i e s . The scene ends i n pandemonium when Richard w r a t h f u l l y f l o u r i s h e s h i s b a t t l e -axe and the examiners f l y f o r t h e i r l i v e s . Though Peacock considers competitive examination only from the p o i n t of view of the i n t e l l e c t u a l , h i s fundamental c r i t i c i s m - that such examination i s a t e s t of memory ra t h e r than i n t e l l i g e n c e -remains unrefuted today. As sometimes happens w i t h s c h o l a r s , Peacock was now and again g u i l t y of guarding too j e a l o u s l y the scholar's preroga-t i v e s . He d i d not b e l i e v e i n higher education f o r the lower c l a s s e s , but he f e l t that those who were educated should be educated p r o p e r l y - that i s , that they should be thoroughly grounded i n the c l a s s i c s , at l e a s t . Those who, having had a 29 good education, f a i l to l i r e up to i t , are only despicable: those who pretend to education without a thorough knowledge of the c l a s s i c s are i n t e r l o p e r s who should be ignored. In the l a t t e r category, i t would seem, Peacock put Keats. I t probably seemed presumptuous to Peacock that Keats, w i t h h i s ignorance of Greek and p r i v a t e - s c h o o l background of L a t i n , should make use of c l a s s i c a l themes and scenery f o r h i s poetry. At any r a t e , he denounced Keats because he "could prove by a hundred quotations that- the sleep of Endymion was e t e r n a l , v/hereas i n the modern poem the Latmian shepherd i s f o r ever capering up and down the earth and ocean l i k e the German chaser of shad-ows." Even a f t e r he met Keats he remained unimpressed, f o r thus he wrote to S h e l l e y ; " I f I should l i v e to the age of Methusalem, and have uninterrupted l i t e r a r y l e i s u r e , I should not f i n d time to read Keats 1 Hyperion." Tennyson, l i k e Keats, Peacock could never appreciate. His most famous attack occurs i n G r y l l Grange, where p a r t of Tennyson's d e s c r i p t i o n of Cleo-9 p a t r a , i n 'The Dream of P a i r Women', i s held up to scorn. The s t r i c t u r e s of Dr. Opimian seem h y p e r c r i t i c a l and pedantic, but probably express Peacock's own o p i n i o n , as p a r a l l e l remarks on the appearance of Cleopatra occur i n the Epicurean review. This would suggest that Peacock thought Tennyson, i n t h i s case at l e a s t , too ready to s a c r i f i c e t r u t h to p o e t i c s u i t a b i l i t y . And that the trespass had been committed i n the c l a s s i c f i e l d made i t doubly heinous. A somewhat s i m i l a r c r i t i c a l a t t i t u d e may have been behind the u n f l a t t e r i n g d e s c r i p t i o n of Landor already quoted. The s c h o l a r s h i p of Byron i s also questioned i n 30 the review of Moore's L i f e . Moore had commented on the great amount of reading accomplished by Byron by the autumn of 1807. Peacock thinks it-must have been mere skimming, to judge by 10 various examples of Byron's poor Greek s c h o l a r s h i p . But Peacock never elsewhere reached the peak of s c h o l a s t i c i n s u l t that he a t t a i n e d i n h i s reviews of Moore's work i n the pages of the Westminster, where Moore i s exposed as a l i t e r a r y pan-der, a s o c i a l sycophant, and the merest pretender to scholar-s h i p . • Peacock never l i k e d Moore or h i s work. His f i r s t challenge appears i n the second part of the Essay on Pashion-able L i t e r a t u r e , which, though fragmentary, c o n s i s t s of a long defence of 'Oh r i s t a b e l ' and 'Kubla Khan 1 against Moore's review 11 i n the Edinburgh. Unfavourable comment appears both i n The 12 13 Pour Ages of Poetry and i n G r y l l Grange, while i n the Paper Money L y r i c s Moore i s parodied i n a b a l l a d of Venus and Cupid ' 14 ' headed w i t h a quotation from Anacreon. But a l l t h i s i s as nothing to the attack Peacock launched when he reviewed The Epicurean i n the Westminster Review of October, 1827. He opens by presuming that the book w i l l be popular w i t h the l a d i e s because of i t s l o v e , mystery, p i e t y , and shallow philosophy. Then he proceeds to o u t l i n e the s t o r y , quoting l a v i s h l y and p o i n t i n g out i n c o n s i s t e n c i e s , i m p o s s i b i l i t i e s , and r i d i c u l o u s d e s c r i p t i o n s - not to mention some of Moore's l e s s happy »un-15 ' ' - '" A t t i c c o n c e i t s ' - as he goes along. Peacock also i n d i c a t e s some of Moore's source m a t e r i a l , which included Terrasson's Romance of 'Sethos' and from which, apparently, Moore borrowed l i b e r a l l y and "turned the absurd i n t o the monstrous, and the 31 improbable i n t o the impossible." Towards the end. Peacock accuses Moore of w r i t i n g merely to please h i s readers. The book "commits no s i n on the score of knowledge, which the aud-ience i t i s made f o r i s l i k e l y to detect? i t commits no mater-i a l offence, except against what was thought good t a s t e i n Athens, and against the doctrines and memories of a l l that i s most i l l u s t r i o u s i n the Pagan world! and, i f that be an e r r o r , i t i s a pious one, and the author i s to be the b e t t e r loved f o r i t . " Peacock goes on to scourge Moore's s c h o l a r s h i p , saying that the notes are scraps of authors raked together by dipping i n t o a wide range of books, and meant only f o r d i s p l a y purposes', that h i s Greek i s thoroughly bad, but "the s o r t of 18 •'• thing that passes w i t h the multitude f o r s c h o l a r s h i p . " Pea-cock's c h i e f d i s g u s t , however, was at the misrepresentations of Epicureanism i n the book. Moore had not troubled to possess himself of even the most elementary f a c t s about the Epicurean sect and had p i c t u r e d i t according to the vulgar t r a d i t i o n as seeking only immediate pleasure. Peacock had a p a r t i c u l a r fondness f o r the Epicurean philosophy and goes to some length to epitomise i t and to def end i t against Moore's ignorant d e s c r i p t i o n . He quotes a number of c l a s s i c a l a.uthors i n order to e l u c i d a t e the fundamental g r a v i t y and temperance of the movement. He concludes that Moore has "drawn a p o r t r a i t of every thing that an eminent Epicurean was not, and presents i t to us as a, f a i r specimen of what he was. Hamlet's uncle might ' 19 as f a i r l y have sa,t f o r the p o r t r a i t of Hamlet's f a t h e r . " P a r a l l e l to h i s demand f o r s c h o l a s t i c i n t e g r i t y i s 32 Peacock's demand f o r p o l i t i c a l i n t e g r i t y among M s contempor-a r i e s , and h i s b i t t e r denunciations of those v/ho had, or seemed to have, i t not. Although such statesmen as Burke, Canning, and Brougham are p i l l o r i e d i n Peacock's pages, i t i s w i t h the l i t e r a r y men that we are here concerned, and those whom Peacock c h i e f l y attacked because of t h e i r p o l i t i c s were the members of the Lake School and the reviewers - e s p e c i a l l y those attached to the Quarterly. I t must not be f o r g o t t e n that Peacock was not alone i n h i s o p i n i o n of the Lakers - h i s views were shared by Byron, S h e l l e y , and, indeed, a l l the younger generation of romantic poets and w r i t e r s . To those who had not l i v e d through, or had personal contact w i t h , the Prench Revolution, the be-havior of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey seemed the rankest apostasy, f u l l y deserving a l l the contumely i t received. In Nightmare Abbey and Crotchet C a s t l e , accordingly, the only reference to Wordsworth and Southey deals w i t h t h e i r apparent status as Tory placemen. Coleridge i s d e a l t w i t h r a t h e r more l e n i e n t l y , the i m p l i c a t i o n being that h i s bad name i s due l e s s to h i s own misdeeds than to h i s a s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the other two. In Mel i no our t , however, he sustains h i s f a i r share i n the a l l -out attack on the p o l i t i c s of the Lake School and the A n t i -Jacobins. But t h i s w i l l be d e a l t w i t h i n more d e t a i l l a t e r . The same i n s i s t e n c e on i n t e g r i t y and hatred of time-serving determines Peacock's a t t i t u d e towards contemporary reviewers. Of the Lake Poets he could, i n some respects at l e a s t , approve; f o r the reviewers he never had a good word. Once again h i s fundamental c r i t i c i s m - and he r e f e r r e d to i t 33 again and again - concerned t h e i r mercenary nature. As t h i s , too, w i l l be elaborated l a t e r , I w i l l c i t e only a t y p i c a l ex-t r a c t from the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e . The Quarterly and The Courier newspaper are c i t e d as "the hardy veterans of co r r u p t i o n " ; the c o n t r i b u t o r s of the Quarterly are " a l l , more, or l e s s , kind'slaves of the Government, and, f o r the most p a r t , gentlemen pensioners c l u s t e r i n g round a common centre i n the t e r r i b l e shape of t h e i r paymaster, Mr. G i f f o r d " j and to sum up, " t h i s -publication contains more t a l e n t and l e s s p r i n c i p l e than i t would be easy to b e l i e v e c o e x i s t e n t . " From a l l t h i s i t i s easy to see that i n any c o n s i d e r a t i o n of Peacock as a c r i t i c due allowance must be made f o r the pr e j u d i c e of a 'self-made' man and of a man s a t i s f i e d w i t h nothing l e s s than h i s own high standards of s o c i a l and i n t e l l e c t u a l i n t e g r i t y . To some extent o f f s e t t i n g the element of the s t r a i g h t -laced i n t e l l e c t u a l i n the Peacockian c r i t i c a l background are the a t t i t u d e s which Peacock shared, to a greater or l e s s e r extent, w i t h h i s romantic contemporaries - h i s a t t i t u d e s , that i s , to the past, to nature, and to the problems of s o c i e t y . Peacock had a profound reverence f o r the past - f o r Ancient Greece at any r a t e - but a reverence which diminished r a p i d l y as h i s t o r y g r a d u a l l y merged i n t o modern times. Any-thi n g connected w i t h Greece was almost sacred i n h i s eyes. Pie i s p e r p e t u a l l y harking back to Greece and things Greek through-out h i s w r i t i n g s , e s p e c i a l l y i n G r y l l Grange, where Dr. Opimian had l i t t l e use f o r an idea l e s s than two thousand years o l d . 34 But most of a l l , perhaps, i n the Thessalian fantasy, Ehodo-daphne, and i n the fragmentary Galidore? Peacock d i s p l a y s h i s a f f e c t i o n f o r Ancient Greece. Long, e n t h u s i a s t i c years of study had enabled him to know the highways and byways of Greek h i s t o r y , l i t e r a t u r e , r e l i g i o n , and a r t as he knew those more m a t e r i a l lanes of h i s Ohertsey boyhood. Accordingly, those portions of Rhododaphne which are not devoted to the n a r r a t i v e form a sporadic lament f o r the passing of the s p i r i t of Ancient Greece, f o r man has been deprived of the i n s p i r a t i o n and con-s o l a t i o n a r i s i n g from s p i r i t u a l i n t e r c o u r s e w i t h the g e n i i of nature? -"Great Pan i s dead? The l i f e , the i n t e l l e c t u a l s o u l Of v a l e , and grove, and stream, has f l e d For ever w i t h the creed sublime That nursed the Muse of e a r l i e r time." 21 Qalidore seems to have been Peacock's s o l e attempt to w r i t e a Peacockian Utopia, i n which he hoped to merge a l l that he most admired i n medieval and Greek romance i n a s p i r i t e d attack on modern times, but the p r o j e c t probably proved too much f o r h i s c o n s t r u c t i v e powers - at l e a s t , no other adequate reason i s known f o r the abandonment of the novel. However, one of the fragments deals w i t h a meeting between the mythological heroes of B r i t a i n and Greece. King Arthur and h i s court - how or why we are not t o l d - a r r i v e at the i s l a n d which has been chosen as a temporary r e t r e a t by the denizens of Olympus, u n t i l man-ki n d s h a l l r e g a i n i t s senses and welcome them back to Greece. Bacchus, who meets the strangers on the shore, explains the former r e l a t i o n s between the gods and mankind: 35 "Though we had not much need of mankind} we had a great a f f e c t i o n f o r them, and l i v e d among them oh good terms and i n an interchange of ki n d o f f i c e s . They regaled us with' " the odours of s a c r i f i c e , "built us magnificent temples, and e s p e c i a l l y showed t h e i r p i e t y by singing and dancing, and being always s o c i a l and c h e e r f u l , and f u l l of pleasure and l i f e , which i s the most g r a t i f y i n g appearance that man can present to the gods." 22 But d e t e r i o r a t i o n set i n among mankind, and the s a c r i f i c e s were stopped, the images broken, the temples s p o l i a t e d - the gods were given " f r i g h t f u l and cacophonous names - Beelzebub and Amaimon and Astaroth" - but, worst of a l l , instead of dancing and r e j o i c i n g , men were " e t e r n a l l y s i ghing and groan-i n g , and beating t h e i r b r e a s t s , and dropping t h e i r lower jaws, and turning up the whites of t h e i r eyes, and cursing each other and a l l mankind, and chaunting such dismal staves that ' 23 ' we shut our eyes and ears ..." And so Bacchus gives the Arthurians f a i r warning that, unless they are w i l l i n g to behave l i k e normal, happy human beings, they can e i t h e r leave peace-ably or be fo r c e d to leave. We are not t o l d what t h e i r d e c i s i o n i s , but we can qu i t e e a s i l y guess! Peacock's handling of medieval matter i s more extensive and also more s t i m u l a t i n g than h i s treatment of Ancient Greece - more s t i m u l a t i n g because he i s not bound by the same t i e s of i d o l a t r y . His a t t i t u d e to medieval times can perhaps best be described as one of amused a f f e c t i o n . He deals w i t h the middle ages i n two wayst i n the arguments brought forward by Derrydown and Chainmail and t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e opponents, and i n the more usual method of s a t i r i c or approving personal comment i n the romances, i n The Pour Ages, and very o c c a s i o n a l l y i n the novels of t a l k . In the conversation of Derrydown Peacock deals i n 36 "brief w i t h the l i t e r a r y aspects of the middle ages; i n that of Chainmail he deals i n much greater d e t a i l w i t h s o c i e t y i n medi-eval times. The f a c t that i n h i s novels of t a l k Peacock i s p r i m a r i l y concerned w i t h producing amusing d i s c u s s i o n rather than i n t e l l i g e n t ideas, i n d i c a t e s that we must "be wary of accepting Chainmail's ideas as Peacock's own, "but as Chain-mail's various opponents are treated a good deal l e s s sympa-t h e t i c a l l y than he, i t i s a f a i r i n d i c a t i o n that Peacock's sympathies l i e rather w i t h the past than w i t h the present. To elaborate Chainmail's view of the middle ages would "be super-fluous - i n h i s eyes everything connected w i t h the t w e l f t h century i s admirable, everything connected w i t h l a t e r ages degenerate. We can get much nearer to Peacock's own view of the middle ages by studying Maid Marian and The Misfortunes of E l p h i n . They both deal s a t i r i c a l l y w i t h past and present, but while Maid Marian deals wi th f o l l y and roguery i n a s p i r i t of boisterous merriment the s p i r i t of the l a t t e r i s i n f i n i t e l y d r i e r and more deadly. The s a t i r e i n Maid Marian may be c h i e f -l y on the subject of l e g i t i m a c y - showing the i n f e r i o r i t y of the king and h i s court to the s o c i e t y of outlaws l e d by Robin Hood - but Peacock has made the church the p r i n c i p a l b u t t of h i s R a b e l a i s i a n laughter. The f i r s t mention of R u b y g i l l Abbey sets the tone which Peacock maintains throughout the book i n h i s dealings w i t h the church. This suggestively-named abbey stood near Sherwood Porest " i n a spot which seemed adapted by nature to be the r e t r e a t of monastic m o r t i f i c a t i o n , being on the banks of a f i n e trout-stream, and i n the midst of woodland 37 24 coverts, abounding w i t h e x c e l l e n t game." Prom t h i s point on, the church i s represented as gluttonous, money-grabbing and cowardly. As a f o i l to the regular type of churchman towers F r i a r Michael - s u r e l y a pri n c e among G-oliardic p r i e s t s - who, fond as he i s of good l i v i n g , i s no miser and even l e s s a cow-ard, and who, though he does l i t t l e honour to h i s c l o t h , at l e a s t has the merit (no small merit i n Peacock's eyes) to be honest - not to say merry - about h i s f r a i l t i e s . Church and state," then, are the main objects of Peacock's mockery i n h i s f i r s t romance. Modern times, on the whole, escape l i g h t l y , w i t h a glance each at - paper money, p o l i t i c a l economy, and the picturesque. The treatment of such t y p i c a l medieval a c t i v i t i e s as may-day c e l e b r a t i o n s and Crusades i s more i n t e r e s t i n g . The f i r s t , since i t belonged to the people, he wholly approved oft the second, since i t was a p u r s u i t i n s t i g a t e d by the court, i s displayed as medieval gangsterdom. In f a c t , the t o t a l impres-s i o n that the reader i s l e f t wi th i s that the r u l i n g classes were mere gangsters, the peasantry a l l that was romantic and admirable. In The Pour Ages medieval / l i t e r a t u r e i s d e a l t w i t h , as we would expect, i r o n i c a l l y . Peacock enumerates the d i f f e r -ent aspects of medieval l i f e and says that i n conjunction they f ormed a s t a t e of s o c i e t y " i n which the three s t a p l e ingred-i e n t s of l o v e r , p r i z e - f i g h t e r , and f a n a t i c , that composed the basi s of the character of every true man, were mixed up and d i v e r s i f i e d , i n d i f f e r e n t i n d i v i d u a l s and c l a s s e s , w i t h so many d i s t i n c t i v e e x c e l l e n c i e s , and under such an i n f i n i t e motley v a r i e t y of costume, as gave the range of a most extensive and 38 picturesque f i e l d to the two great constituents of poetry, love and b a t t l e . " In E l p h i n the common people are l e f t out of the p i c t u r e , and the treatment, except f o r the love scenes, i s i r o n i c throughout. Sometimes the medieval scene i t s e l f i s mocked at, but more of t e n some l a t e r p e r i o d from the standpoint of the middle ages. In general, a much l a r g e r number of abuses i s p i l l o r i e d than i n Maid Marian. Gangster r o y a l t y and feudal!. s o c i e t y are attacked as before. The church, too, comes i n f o r i t s share of laughter, though not nearly as much as i n Maid Marian. C h r i s t i a n i t y i t s e l f i s not l e f t unscathed when i t s m i l i t a n t v a r i e t y i s compared w i t h Druid s a c r i f i c e . Modern science, law, and education are a l l s a t i r i s e d under cover of a d i s c u s s i o n of t h e i r medieval equivalents, and of course the most famous s a t i r e i n the book i s against die-hard toryism i n the person of Prin c e Seithenyn. So general i s the s a t i r e that i t i s not always p o s s i b l e to know where Peacock stands, but a passage towards the end of the book seems s i g n i f i c a n t . At the cl o s e of the bardic f e s t i v a l , Peacock has t h i s to say: "This p e n n i l l i o n - s i n g i n g long survived among the Welsh peasantry almost every other v e s t i g e of bardic customs, and may s t i l l be heard among them on the few occasions on which , r a c k - r e n t i n g , t a x - c o l l e c t i n g , common-enclosing,"methodist-preaching, and s i m i l a r developments of the l i g h t of the age, have l e f t them e i t h e r the means or i n c l i n a t i o n of making m e r r y . " 2 7 Besides h i s i n t e r e s t i n medieval times i n general, Pea-cock had a p a r t i c u l a r i n t e r e s t i n Welsh a n t i q u i t i e s - and one that could h a r d l y f a i l to be enhanced and encouraged by h i s Welsh b r i d e . Already i n Headlong H a l l we f i n d Welsh legends making t h e i r appearance, as i n the st o r y of the f i d d l e r who 39 disappeared i n t o one of the sea-shore caves and was never seen again, though the s t r a i n s of h i s v i o l i n could sometimes "be ' ' 28 ' •••• ' ' -heard underground, and i n the sexton's nervous gossip about the r a i s i n g of the d e v i l . I t has been suggested by Herbert Wright, moreover, i n h i s study of Peacock's a s s o c i a t i o n s w i t h Wales, that the stanza, "0 r i c h are the f e a s t s i n the Englishman's h a l l , And the wine sparkles b r i g h t i n the goblets' of Gauls But t h e i r mingled a t t r a c t i o n s I w e l l could withstand, Por the m i l k and the oatcake of He i r i o n ' s dear land." 30 i n the b a l l a d of the Welsh s o l d i e r ' s r e t u r n , sounds l i k e a f a i n t echo from a poem by a seventeenth century Welshman, Huw Llwyd. That Peacock knew of t h i s poet we know, f o r he makes the sexton t a l k of him. This may be the forerunner of the extensive modernization of Welsh song i n which Peacock engages i n E l p h i n . E l p h i n marks the high water mark of Peacock's i n t e r e s t i n things Welsh. In i t he shows himself to have read e x t e n s i v e l y i n Welsh l i t e r a t u r e . Much of t h i s l i t e r a t u r e was obtainable i n t r a n s l a t i o n but, according to Wright, "a c a r e f u l study of the novel demonstrates that at times he must have had 31 , -' ' recourse to the o r i g i n a l s . " Whatever h i s sources f o r the three legends he has fused to make the p l o t of E l p h i n , he has used h i s m a t e r i a l very much to s u i t h i m s e l f , w i t h a freedom very s i m i l a r to that which he condemns i n Keats 1 Greek borrow-ings, though, according to the R e c o l l e c t i o n s of Strachey, "he was proud of the f a c t that Welsh archaeologists t r e a t e d h i s ' ' 32 book as a serious and valuable a d d i t i o n to Welsh h i s t o r y . " In transforming Welsh legend i n t o a s a t i r i c novel Peacock takes good care to avoid the miraculous or the supernatural. The 40 mysterious warning of Gwenhidwy i s the only supernatural element i n the book, and i t i s d e a l t w i t h w i t h a smile. Pea-cock i n h i s most romantic moments never loosened h i s hold on common sense. The numerous l y r i c s s c a t tered through the book are of e s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t , as many of them are adaptations of o l d Welsh songs, handled w i t h varying degrees of freedom. According to a u t h o r i t i e s who have had access to the o r i g i n a l s (both i n Welsh and i n the t r a n s l a t i o n s that Peacock probably used).the merits of Peacock's verses vary i n inverse r a t i o to the closeness of the t r a n s l a t i o n s . Apparently a h i n t or two from the obscurest of. sources was s u f f i c i e n t to suggest to Peacock a l y r i c imbued both w i t h the Welsh s p i r i t and w i t h h i s own. 'The War Song of Dinas Vawr', probably the best known of a l l Peacock's l y r i c s , i s , however, e n t i r e l y h i s own work. S t i l l , i t catches the s p i r i t of ingenuous barbarism so com-p l e t e l y t h a t , according to van Doren,"in Bentley's M i s c e l l a n y f o r June 1837, a v a r i a n t v e r s i o n of i t was gravely c i t e d as a genuine war-song of one of the North American t r i b e s ..." We can not c l o s e any c o n s i d e r a t i o n of Peacock as a n t i -quarian without mentioning h i s connection, or, r a t h e r , l a c k of connection, w i t h Scott. I t so happens that some of the matter i n Maid Marian s u p e r f i c i a l l y p a r a l l e l s i n c i d e n t s i n Ivanhoe. Evidence i n l e t t e r s to Shelley and i n Peacock's d i a r y shows that the greater p a r t of Maid Marian was w r i t t e n i n 1818, though the book was not f i n i s h e d and published t i l l 1822. Since Ivanhoe, dealing w i t h the same p e r i o d , had appeared i n the i n t e r i m , Peacock added a p r e f a t o r y note to h i s book 41 explaining that a l l hut the three f i n a l chapters had "been w r i t t e n i n the autumn of 1818. He d i d not want the p u b l i c to think that he was e i t h e r copying or parodying S i r Walter Scott. Despite t h i s d i s c l a i m e r , the s i m i l a r i t i e s between the two books are i n t e r e s t i n g . Most of the s i m i l a r i t i e s , however, are due to common sources'•- Robin Hood's Garland, Ritson's Robin Hood, and Munday and C h e t t l e ' s two p l a y s , The Downfall and The Death, of Robert, E a r l of Huntingdon (which l a s t Peacock may have known •'" • • '36 e i t h e r i n the o r i g i n a l or i n Ritson's a b s t r a c t s ) . Van Doren has summed up the d i f f e r e n c e between the two studies of medi-eval England once for- a l l : "The magnitude of Ivanhoe, the greatness of i t s i s s u e s , the i n t e n s i t y of i t s c o n f l i c t s , the near approach to tragedy, the wide f a m i l i a r i t y w i t h medieval manners, have no counterpart i n the i d y l l of Sherwood Porest. Maid Marian, a mere burst of j o v i a l laughter, sweetened w i t h s i n g i n g , and spiced w i t h w i t , took i t s o r i g i n i n the mood of a man laughing at the nineteenth century from the standpoint of the t w e l f t h . " 37 So much f o r Peacock's r e l a t i o n s wi t h "the past. We must now consider h i s p o i n t s of contact w i t h h i s contemporaries i n h i s a t t i t u d e to nature. Prom h i s boyhood Peacock was attached to country l i f e and n a t u r a l scenery - a t a s t e which developed, i n o l d age, i n t o a vigorous •prejudice against the noise and ''38:' smoke of c i t i e s . His f a v o u r i t e y o u t h f u l p u r s u i t s were s o l i t a r y and h i s f a v o u r i t e r e c r e a t i o n h i s wanderings through the more scenic parts of Scotland, England, and Wales. Wordsworth him-s e l f could not boast a more romantic youth. He was most en-t h u s i a s t i c a,bout walking, boating, and exploring. W r i t i n g to Hooker from Scotland i n 1806, Peacock affords us our f i r s t glimpse of h i s romantic tendencies. In t h i s l e t t e r we have 42 the engaging spectacle of the man who was to become one of the most ast r i n g e n t c r i t i c s of romanticism, and who f o r many a year was the implacable enemy of the Scot and things S c o t t i s h , waxing e n t h u s i a s t i c over the beauties of the Borders, and doing them no more than j u s t i c e s "Is not the Esk a most d e l i g h t f u l stream? Did you see that enchanting Spot where the North and South Esk u n i t e ? Did" you t h i n k of the l i n e s of S i r Walter Scott, 'His wandering f e e t ... And c l a s s i c Hawthorhden?' Did you v i s i t the' banks of the sweet s i l v e r Teviot, and that" most l o v e l y of r i v e r s , the i n d e s c r i b a b l y f a s c i n a t i n g Tweed? Did you s i t by moonlight i n the r u i n s of Melrose? Did you stand at ' t w i l i g h t i n that romantic wood which overhangs the Teviot on the s i g h t of Roxburgh C a s t l e ? " 39 Peacock had admiration, too, f o r the Lake D i s t r i c t . Chief t r i b u t e i s p a i d i n Melincourt, which has the mountains of West-moreland f o r a s e t t i n g , and which contains, among other things, a p r o t e s t against the mounting t o u r i s t - t r a d e i n that region w i t h i t s r e s u l t that "innocence, and h e a l t h , and s i m p l i c i t y of l i f e and manners, are banished from t h e i r l a s t retirement, and nowhere more lamentably so than i n the romantic scenery of the northern l a k e s , where every wonder of nature i s made an a r t i c l e of trade, where the c a t a r a c t s are locked up, and the echoes are s o l d ..." But more than any other Peacock admired the scenery of Wales and described i t again and again i n h i s w r i t -ings. The best p a r t of The Philosophy of Melancholy i s the d e s c r i p t i o n of the Welsh scene. Wales gave him the background f o r Headlong H a l l and Wales i s the scene of one of the C a l i d o r e fragments. The Misfortunes of E l p h i n i s wholly Welsh except f o r i t s i m p l i e d c r i t i c i s m of the nineteenth century. L e t t e r s w r i t t e n during h i s Welsh v i s i t s c o n t ain the embryos of many of 43 the f i n e s t d e s c r i p t i v e passages i n h i s f i c t i o n . Tremadoc i s one of the f i r s t names to occur i n these l e t t e r s , and the scene which so enchants the three philosophers i n Headlong H a l l was one which Peacock was himself p r i v i l e g e d to see only a short " '41 •"• time "before the "building of the embankment was completed. And i t i s not unreasonable to suppose that the Tremadoc embankment aroused h i s i n t e r e s t i n embankments i n general and l e d him to make a study of the inundation of Gwaelod, which he has woven so memorably i n t o the opening chapters of E l p h i n . Also i n E l p h i n , of course, the adventures of T a l i e s i n a f f o r d consider-able opportunity f o r the e n t h u s i a s t i c d e s c r i p t i o n of the w i l d and romantic scenery. The Welsh scenes i n Crotchet Castle are probably drawn almost i n t h e i r e n t i r e t y from Peacock's own experience. The scene i s Merionethshire, where he met Jane Gryffydh. He was so enchanted by Maentwrog that he decided to stay f o r a time and wrote to London f o r h i s books and belong-ings to be sent on to him, j u s t as i n the book Chainmail com-missions Fitzchrome to b r i n g books from London, And w h i l e awaiting the books, Peacock, l i k e Chainmail, spent h i s time i n d e t a i l e d e x p l o r a t i o n of the surrounding countryside. ( i t i s not l i k e l y that Peacock's f i r s t rencontre w i t h Jane occurred i n q u i t e such romantic circumstances as that of Chainmail w i t h Susannah Touchandgo, but there i s some ground f o r b e l i e f that Susannah may be a p a r t i a l p o r t r a i t of Jane.) I t h i n k i t may s a f e l y be s a i d that i f Peacock ever f e l t s i n c e re passion f o r anything or anybody i t was f o r the scenery and, to a l e s s e r extent, the people of ITorth Wales. That passion i s epitomised 44 i n a s i n g l e sentences "His {"chainmail' s ] ramblings brought him at l ength i n t o the i n t e r i o r of Merionethshire, the land of a l l '42 that i s b e a u t i f u l i n nature, and a l l that i s l o v e l y i n woman." The l e s s w i l d aspects of nature also had t h e i r a t t r a c -t i o n s f o r Peacoclc, witness the whole operatic backdrop of Maid Marian," that d e l i g h t f u l f o r e s t i d y l l , and the ap p r e c i a t i v e d e s c r i p t i o n of the surroundings of Crotchet Castle - a des-c r i p t i o n so t y p i c a l of Peacock that I quote i n f u l l s "In one of those b e a u t i f u l v a l l i e s , through which the Thames (not yet p o l l u t e d by the t i d e , the scouring of c i t i e s , or even the minor defilement of the sandy streams of Surrey,) r o l l s a c l e a r f l o o d through flowery meadows, under the shade of o l d beech woods, and the smooth mossy greensward of the chalk h i l l s (which pour i n t o i t t h e i r t r i b u t a r y r i v u l e t s , as pure and p e l l u c i d as the f o u n t a i n of Bandusium, or the w e l l s of Scamander, by which" the wives and daughters of the Trojans washed t h e i r splendid garments i n the days of peace, before the coming of the Greeks)j i n one of those b e a u t i f u l v a l l i e s , on a bold round-surfaced lawn, spotted w i t h j u n i p e r , that opened i t s e l f i n the bosom of an o l d wood, which rose w i t h a steep, but not p r e c i p i t o u s ascent, from the r i v e r to the summit of the h i l l , stood the c a s t e l l a t e d v i l l a of a r e t i r e d c i t i z e n . " 43 llor can we f o r g e t the d e l i g h t f u l voyage up the Thames which i s described i n Crotchet C a s t l e . The prose of Peacock's o l d age, too, i s f u l l of quiet love f o r the p l a c i d E n g l i s h countryside, i n G r y l l Grange, and most p a r t i c u l a r l y i n The Last Day of Y/indsor Forest which, i n many ways, i s an o l d man's r e c a p i t u -l a t i o n of the s p i r i t of Maid Marian - e s p e c i a l l y the conclud-ing pages, which r e c a l l a r e a l Robin Hood of Peacock's youth, who helped himself l i b e r a l l y to the r o y a l deer i n the f o r e s t under the cover of a f a u l t y act of Parliament. As we might expect, Peacock loved gardens too. He st a t e s h i s p o s i t i o n w i t h rather an a i r of f i n a l i t y i n Headlong H a l l , where he engineers 45 an a e s t h e t i c c l a s h "between the Humphrey Hep ton school of thought on the subject of landscape gardening and that of S i r Uvedale P r i c e . P r i c e , whose opinions are voiced i n the book by S i r P a t r i c k 0'Prism, obviously has Peacock's support i n h i s contention that n a t u r a l scenery i s more picturesque than the a r t i f i c i a l c r e a t i o n s of landscape gardeners. Milestone, a c a r i c a t u r e of Repton, opposes 0'Prism on t h i s p o i n t , Peacock obviously having i n mind the good-natured controversy e a r r i e d on between Repton and P r i c e on that subject. Milestone, how-ever, i s much l e s s sympathetically t r e a t e d than 0'Prism, and h i s p l a n f o r Lord L i t t l e b r a i h ' s park, which p a r a l l e l s Repton 1s published p l a n f o r Tatton Park, i s u l t i m a t e l y rendered thor-oughly l u d i c r o u s i n the l i g h t of the ingenuous comments of Miss Tenorina Chromatic and the a s i n i n e admiration of Squire Head-long. Payne Knight * s par t i n t h i s controversy concerning the picturesque i s also a l l u d e d to i n footnotes, i n such a way that we h a r d l y know whether or not Peacock approves of him. I t would seem u n l i k e l y , i n the l i g h t of the acrimonious dispute c a r r i e d on between him and P r i c e on the d i s t i n c t i o n between the Picturesque and the B e a u t i f u l . But elsewhere - i n the Essay on Pashionable L i t e r a t u r e - Peacock commends Knight's book. The 45 * P r i n c i p l e of Taste, as admirable. But a c t u a l l y what Peacock i s doing i s l e a d i n g up to and focussing a t t e n t i o n on a p e c u l i a r l y f o o l i s h remark made i n the Edinburgh Review when i t t r i e d to sum up and say the l a s t word on the Picturesque and B e a u t i f u l controversy. This i s Peacock's climax: "'Allow me,' s a i d Mr. G a l l . 'I d i s t i n g u i s h the picturesque and the b e a u t i f u l , and I add to them, i n the l a y i n g out of 46 "grounds? a t h i r d and d i s t i n c t character, which I c a l l unexp ec t ednes s .' 'Pray s i r , ' s a i d Mr. Milestone, 'by what name do you d i s t i n g u i s h t h i s character, when a person walks round the grounds f o r the second time?'" 46 But though Peacock s t r i v e s f o r surface w i t , h i s underlying sympathy f o r the ' n a t u r a l ' garden i s made reasonably c l e a r . S i r Walter Raleigh, w i t h h i s usual p e r s p i c a c i t y , has summed up once f o r a l l Peacock's a t t i t u d e to the country l i f e : " L i f e i n the woods - l i f e i n a cottage w i t h a garden - Peacock i s almost 47 passionate about these." I t must be noteworthy from the foregoing that i t i s the p i c t o r i a l aspect of nature that i s c h i e f l y stressed by Peacock. His a t t i t u d e seems to be much c l o s e r to that which i s u s u a l l y designated 'pre-romantic' than i t i s to romanticism proper, where the emphasis i s l a i d more on man's p h y s i c a l and s p i r i t u a l r e l a t i o n s h i p s w i t h nature, as i n the poetry pre-eminently of Wordsworth and Coleridge. This d i f f e r e n c e i n a t t i t u d e may have i t s bearing on the f a c t that Peacock, whenever he mentions them, gives much more u n q u a l i f i e d approval to 'pre-romantic' poets than to t h e i r successors. In a, , l i t e r a r y d i s c u s s i o n i n G r y l l Grange, Burns i s h i g h l y commended f o r h i s t r u t h to nature, w h i l e i n The Pour Ages Peacock has t h i s to say* "Thom-son and Cowper looked at the trees and h i l l s which so many ingenious gentlemen had rhymed about so long without looking at them at a l l , and the e f f e c t of the operation on poetry was ' 49 l i k e the discovery of a new world." This a t t i t u d e may, l a s t l y , e xplain the f a c t that Peacock, whatever he found to c r i t i c i s e i n Byron, never c r i t i c i s e d h i s handling of nature; f o r Byron's 47 treatment of nature i s "basically the same as Peacock's own, i f rather more dramatic and exuberant. And now we must consider Peacock's a t t i t u d e to s o c i a l problems, and a s c e r t a i n , i f p o s s i b l e , where he agrees w i t h , and where he disagrees w i t h , h i s l i t e r a r y contemporaries i n t h i s connection. I t seems f a i r l y c l e a r that Shelley d i d a great deal to shape and d i r e c t Peacock's p o l i t i c a l and social, "viewso That Peacock had u n t h i n k i n g l y accepted a p o s i t i o n of smug and complacent conservatism before he met Shelley i s i n d i e a t e d by the f o l l o w i n g e x t r a c t from a l e t t e r of Shelley's w r i t t e n i n August 1812 to Thomas-Hookham. Hookham had sent Shelley Peacock's Palmyra and Genius of the Thames and Shelley commented on them: "The poems abound w i t h a genius, an information, the power and extent of which I admire, i n p r o p o r t i o n as I lament the object of t h e i r a p p l i c a t i o n . Mr. Peacock conceives that commerce i s p r o s p e r i t y ; that the g l o r y of the B r i t i s h F l a g , i s the happiness of the B r i t i s h people; that George I I I , so f a r from having been a w a r r i o r and a Tyrant, has been a P a t r i o t . " 50 Then Shelley and Peacock became acquainted, and Shelley presum-ably set to work to convert Peacock to, more acceptable p o l i t i -c a l views. The Ahrimanes fragment must have been w r i t t e n i n the e a r l y stages of the f r i e n d s h i p , and i t speaks volumes. The contagious enthusiasm of Shelley i s unmistakable i n the intense i n t e r e s t shown i n the ' g u i l t l e s s v i c t i m s ' of s o c i e t y . Contrast the tone of the f o l l o w i n g footnote to Ahrimanes w i t h that of the sentiments i n the e a r l i e r poems noted above by Shelley: " I t i s p o s s i b l e to s a c r i f i c e v i c t i m s - human v i c t i m s -without c u t t i n g t h e i r throats or shedding a drop of t h e i r blood;, and that, too, under the name and w i t h the specious form of j u s t i c e . I t i s p o s s i b l e to d i s p l a y the sword of 48 " s t r i f e and "be a very e f f e c t i v e member of the church m i l i -tant without the v i s i b l e employment of temporal" weapons. I f a man can be robbed of h i s l i b e r t y and h i s property f o r the calm e x p o s i t i o n of h i s opinions on speculative subjects, i t i s of l i t t l e consequence whether the instrument of oppression be a Grand I n q u i s i t i o n or an Attorney General." 51 But Peacock could not long remain on t h i s pinnacle of s o c i a l enthusiasm. Prom t h i s p o i n t h i s r a d i c a l i s m slowly diminished, and eventually turned, i n h i s o l d age, i n t o conservatism, though a more reasoned conservatism than that of h i s youth. Fundamentally h i s r a d i c a l s a l l i e s were i n t e l l e c t u a l exercises rather than i n d i c a t i o n s of genuine philanthropy, and hence he had l e s s compunction about shedding h i s r a d i c a l arguments one by one than Shelley might have had, had he grown o l d w i t h Peacock. The s a t i r e of h i s mature work i s d i r e c t e d more against the f o l l i e s of the upper and r u l i n g c l a s s e s than i n support of the underprivi1eged. I t i s dangerous to t r y and deduce Peacock's s o c i a l views from the novels, but some suggestions may be made. There i s l i t t l e s o c i a l s i g n i f i c a n c e i n Headlong H a l l . The main arguments are nothing more than a,n accumulation and o p p o s i t i o n of most of.- the current c l i c h e s of the p r e v i o u s l y popular t h e o r i e s of p r i m i t i v i s m and of progress. If anything, p r i m i t i v i s m i s p r e f e r r e d to a l l the modern mani-f e s t a t i o n s of mechanical progress. Melincourt contains more r e a l d i s c u s s i o n of s o c i a l problems than a l l the r e s t of Pea-cock' s works put together. The nominal hero, F o r e s t e r , ex-pounds many of the views held by Shelley, and Fax, i n whose company he indulges i n most of h i s arguments concerning s o c i e t y and who i s s u p e r f i c i a l l y to be i d e n t i f i e d w i t h Mai thus though 49 many of h i s views not d i r e c t l y concerned w i t h 'population 1 are s u f f i c i e n t l y r a t i o n a l to he considered as approximating Pea-cock's own - Pax i s made to agree w i t h Porester on many heads, though he sometimes modifies the more extreme opinions. E s s e n t i a l l y , Porester seems to b e l i e v e that the present a r i s -tocracy should' remain the a r i s t o c r a c y , but should take a much more serious view of t h e i r r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s towards the lower c l a s s e s . The i d e a l s o c i e t y would be a feud a l one, each man having- s u f f i c i e n t ground to a f f o r d him a decent l i v i n g , and each community l o v i n g l y tended by i t s l i e g e l o r d . Pax t a c i t l y agrees w i t h Porester's 'back to the land' argument, but would have an i n t e l l e c t u a l r a t h e r than a f e u d a l a r i s t o c r a c y . Wealth allows a, capable man t r a n q u i l i t y and l e i s u r e i n which to exer-c i s e h i s i n t e l l e c t f o r the b e n e f i t of s o c i e t y . This would eventually r e s u l t i n the wider d i f f u s i o n of moral and p o l i t i c a l t r u t h , and consequently i n the improvement of s o c i e t y . Pax's views are fundamentally P l a t o n i c , without the m i l i t a r y c l a s s , and, as such, are very l i k e those which, as f a r as we can a s c e r t a i n , are Peacock's own. Mghtmare Abbey has no p o l i t i c a l s i g n i f i c a n c e , but the medieval t a l e s are f u l l of i t . Maid Marian, as we have already seen, concentrates on the problem of l e g i t i m a c y , or of might being, i n p r a c t i c e i f not i n theory, r i g h t . E l p h i n includes a number of v a r i a t i o n s on the same theme, but i s c h i e f l y notable f o r i t s opening attack on die-hard Toryism, embodied i n the person of that g l o r i o u s drunkard Prince Seithenyn, whose pompously i d i o t i c excuses f o r neglect-ing h i s duti e s as Lord High Commissioner of the Embankment 50 incorporate a number of arguments propounded by Canning i n Parliament i n o p p o s i t i o n to reform. Most c r i t i c s i n t e r p r e t t h i s attack on Canning as a manifestation of r a d i c a l i s m -i n c l u d i n g Saintsbury, who does so against the g r a i n , and salves h i s conscience at the end by q u a i n t l y suggesting that the raging ocean which inundated Gwaelod might be meant, as w e l l , to t y p i f y the d i s a s t e r that f o l l o w s i n the wake of r a d i c a l extremism. I t seems to me that such an attack on Canning might have been made by any man - given Peacock's genius and p r e d i l -e c t i o n f o r parody - whose p o l i t i c a l sympathies l a y anywhere between m i l d conservatism and r a d i c a l i s m . E l p h i n , then, may s t i l l be i n d i c a t i v e of r a d i c a l sympathies, but i t i s d i f f i c u l t to be c e r t a i n . In Crotchet C a s t l e a change of camp seems to be obvious. The m i l i t a n t conservatism of Dr. P o l l i o t t , expressed mainly through h i s attacks on popular education, seems to per-vade the whole book. But again i t i s unsafe to i d e n t i f y Pea-cock too c l o s e l y w i t h the opinions of any one of h i s characters. Besides, Brougham, the champion of the maligned 'Steam I n t e l -l e c t S o c i e t y ' , had r e c e n t l y deserted the reform party, and i t i s not unreasonable to suppose that the unhappy peer was p i l l o r i e d as much f o r t h i s d e s e r t i o n as f o r h i s popular edu-' ' 53 ' ' ' ' ' c a t i o n a c t i v i t i e s . We should be doubly c a x e f u l , moreover, i n claiming Pea,cock f o r the conservatives when he wrote Crotchet C a s t l e , i n the l i g h t of h i s review of the Memoirs, Correspon-dence, and P r i v a t e Papers of Thomas J e f f e r s o n i n the Westmin-ste r Review, w r i t t e n only a few months before Crotchet Castle and i n d i s p u t a b l y l i b e r a l i n tone. There Peacock showed how 51 ' Jef f e r s o n had supported the p o l i c y of votes f o r a l l and f r e e -dom of speech and press - c a l l e d i n England the "doctrines of anarchy and confusion" - and during h i s term of o f f i c e had accomplished without d i s a s t e r a l l those things which E n g l i s h p o l i t i c i a n s had screamed could only l e a d to "the d i s s o l u t i o n of the s o c i a l 'order," these being the a b o l i t i o n of i n t e r n a l taxes, the s u b s t a n t i a l r e d u c t i o n of the n a t i o n a l debt, the pre s e r v a t i o n of peace, the encouragement of domestic industry, and so on. He notes that the J e f f e r s o n a d m i n i s t r a t i o n was perhaps the f i r s t instance i n h i s t o r y of a group of l e g i s l a t o r s honestly abiding by t h e i r p a r t y p l a t f o r m and doing t h e i r best f o r t h e i r country. He notes, too, Jefferson's i n s i s t e n c e on freedom of the press, despite the b i t t e r n e s s of press attacks on him. The review closes on a note of eulogy unique i n Pea-cock's w r i t i n g s , J e f f e r s o n being commended f o r h i s good sense, h i s c a r e f u l and comprehensive i n v e s t i g a t i o n , sound and d i s -passionate d e c i s i o n , k i n d l y f e e l i n g , enlarged philanthropy and spotless i n t e g r i t y , and h e l d up as an example of "such a ra r e combination of an enthusiasm almost c h i v a l r o u s f o r the l i b e r t y and happiness of mankind, w i t h a calm p h i l o s o p h i c a l judgment, r e s t r a i n i n g i t s p u r s u i t s w i t h i n the l i m i t s of the .attainable; such a p i c t u r e of p o l i t i c a l s i n c e r i t y , presenting always the same character i n appearance as i n r e a l i t y , i n p u b l i c as i n p r i v a t e l i f e , as w i l l not e a s i l y f i n d a p a r a l l e l (at l e a s t on t h i s s i d e of the A t l a n t i c ) i n the records of any i n d i v i d u a l who • " 54 has had so l a r g e a share i n the government of nations." I f Peacock, l i k e C a r l y l e , had been given to hero-worship, i t i s 52 reasonable to b e l i e v e that J e f f e r s o n would have been h i s Hero-Statesman. Two things stand out i n t h i s eulogy of Jef f e r s o n -the s t r e s s l a i d on h i s commons ense or r a t i o n a l behaviour, and h i s i n t e g r i t y - and these o f f e r clues to Peacock 8 s own rather -i n d e f i n a b l e p o l i t i c s . In almost every case where a p o l i c y bore the hall-marks" of common sense i t had Peacock's support, whe-ther i t emanated from the conservative, or the l i b e r a l , or the p h i l o s o p h i c a l r a d i c a l camp; and p o l i t i c a l i n t e g r i t y , as has. already been suggested arid as w i l l be more and more c l e a r when we study i n d e t a i l h i s c r i t i c i s m s of the Lake Poets, was a l l but a f e t i s h w i t h him* There i s no means of t r a c i n g Peacock's p o l i t i c a l development between Crotchet C a s t l e and G r y l l Granges but there i s no mistaking the conservative tone of h i s l a s t book. I t i s not, of course, a book of conservative polemic -i n f a c t , p o l i t i c a l a l l u s i o n h a r dly enters the book at a l l - but s i g n i f i c a n t i s the omission of any reference to the lower-classes except where seven young yeoman farmers are required f o r purposes of p l o t . I:t i s indeed an o l d man's book, f u l l of good t a l k , good food, good wine, and everywhere reminiscence of the 'good o l d days'. I t i s d i f f i c u l t to determine the p a r t played by the I n d i a House i n Peacock's p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l outlook, but i t i s not u n j u s t i f i a b l e to b e l i e v e that h i s very comfortable and often-r a i s e d s a l a r y , combined w i t h the increased r e s p o n s i b i l i t y that followed each promotion, had some e f f e c t , whether he was aware of i t or not, i n g i v i n g h i s mind a conservative bent. I t may be argued that the same r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s i n I n d i a House f a i l e d 53 to have any such e f f e c t on James and John Stuart M i l l , "but the M i l l s had a devotion f o r p o l i t i c a l economy and u t i l i t a r i a n theories that Peacock probably never had f o r anything - w i t h the p o s s i b l e exception of h i s i d e a l conception of Ancient Greece. A s s o c i a t i o n w i t h the U t i l i t a r i a n s seems, too, to have had some l i t t l e ; e f f e c t on Peacock f o r , though he mocks repeat-, edly the genus p o l i t i c a l economist i n h i s novels, i n the review of Moore's Epicurean the p r i n c i p l e of general u t i l i t y i s i n -cluded i n h i e o u t l i n e of the nature of true Epicureanism. F i n a l l y , Peacock's a t t i t u d e to s o c i a l progress was never the o p t i m i s t i c one of - r a d i c a l i s m . His nature was too s c e p t i c a l f o r that. In Headlong H a l l the p e r f e c t i b i l i a n has, on the whole, the worst of the t u s s l e w i t h the d e t e r i o r a t i o n i s t . In Melincourt both Fax and F o r e s t e r , though hoping f o r the best, are f o r c e d to concede that at present the f o r c e s of e v i l are stronger than those of good. The medieval t a l e s show that though various s u p e r f i c i a l changes have been made along mech-a n i c a l l i n e s , human nature i s much the same as ever, and the l i v i n g c o n d i t i o n s have c e r t a i n l y not improved. One of the ma,ny lessons i n Crotchet C a s t l e i s that, no matter how ardent a t h e o r i s t a man may be, h i s theories w i l l be s a c r i f i c e d f o r the sake of a good dinner any day. F i n a l l y , "Aristophanes i n Lon-don" i n G r y l l Grange hinges on the c a l l i n g up of the s p i r i t of Gr y l l u s to comment on a number of features of the London of the mid-nineteenth century which were looked upon p o p u l a r l y as f i n e examples of progress. The comments of G r y l l u s are not f l a t t e r -ing - only the meals have maintained the standards set by the 54 ancients. Summing up Peacock's contacts w i t h hiB contemporaries i n h i s a t t i t u d e s to the past, to nature, and to p o l i t i c s and s o c i a l progress, i t may he s a i d that he shared - a l b e i t un-w i l l i n g l y - h i s reverence f o r Greece w i t h Keats and Landor, and h i s i n t e r e s t i n the middle ages w i t h such pre-romantics as Gray, l&acpherson, and Percy, and such romantics as Coleridge, Keats, and Scott, though h i s i r o n i c contrast of past and pres-ent puts him i n a c l a s s apart from a l l of these; h i s a t t i t u d e to nature was almost wholly confined to an admiration of the picturesque, which l i n k s him more c l o s e l y to the eighteenth than to the nineteenth century romantics, w i t h the p o s s i b l e exception of Byron; w h i l e h i s s o c i a l and p o l i t i c a l outlook, though e c l e c t i c , more resembles that of second-generation romanticism than i t does that of the f i r s t generation, f o r he accepted many of Shelley's arguments, never showed the p o l i t i -c a l t i m i d i t y (which he chose to i n t e r p r e t as treachery i n s p i r e d by mereenary motives) of Wordsworth and h i s f r i e n d s a f t e r t h e i r disappointment i n the outcome of the French Revolution, and . never remotely approximated the die-hard toryism of Wordsworth i n h i s l a t t e r years, though h i s cautious and s c e p t i c a l mind could never b e l i e v e , w i t h Shelley, i n the u l t i m a t e e v o l u t i o n of a new heaven s,nd a new earth - the v i s i o n of Prometheus Unbound was not f o r him. 55 Peacock and popular l i t e r a t u r e Before the Peacockian c r i t i c i s m s of the major romantics axe considered i t w i l l be as w e l l to t r a c e , as b r i e f l y as po s s i b l e , Peacock's opinion of the various phases of 'popular' l i t e r a t u r e - poetry, press, reviews (and reviewers), and the fashions of f i c t i o n . In the l a s t category I have decided to include S i r Walter Scott's work, not because i t i s i n any degree minor, but because i t a t t a i n e d a p o p u l a r i t y beyond that of any other major w r i t e r of h i s age, w i t h Byron only providing anything l i k e competition. Of the popular poetry of the time Peacock has l i t t l e to say, but that l i t t l e makes h i s opinion q u i t e c l e a r . W r i t i n g to Hookham i n 1809 he asks, "What i s the l a s t act of f o l l y of P r a t t , Mason, Miss Seward, Hayley, or any other of P h i l l i p s ' I formidable host of i n a n i t y ? " In the same l e t t e r he i n d i c a t e s approval of Joanna B a i l l i e and of Campbell. Miss B a i l l i e i s never mentioned again i n h i s w r i t i n g s , but Campbell d i d not long r e t a i n h i s favour. Some c r i t i c s . h a v e t e n t a t i v e l y iden-t i f i e d him w i t h MacLaurel i n Headlong H a l l - he who "followed the trade of poetry, but o c c a s i o n a l l y indulged ... i n the "." 2 • composition of bad c r i t i c i s m . " The i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s so dub-ious as to do l i t t l e harm to Campbell's r e p u t a t i o n , but there i s no doubt about Peacock's change of heart i n The Pour Ages of Poetry, where Campbell i s bracketed i n common calumny w i t h Moore and Southey. A passage i n a l e t t e r to Shelley (December 4, 1820) w r i t t e n about the same time, and i n the same tone, as 56 The Four Ages of Poetry throws.further l i g h t on Peacock's view of the minor poetry of the dayv "Considering p o e t i c a l r e p u t a t i o n as a p r i z e to be "obtained by a c e r t a i n species of e x e r t i o n , and that the s o r t of" thing which obtains the p r i z e i s the d r i v e l l i n g doggerel published under the name of 'Barry Cornwall, 1 I think but one conclusion p o s s i b l e - that to a r a t i o n a l ambition p o e t i c a l , r e p u t a t i o n i s not only not to be desired, but most earnestly to be deprecated." 3 Scott's poetry alone, i n the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , i s conceded to be both popular and m e r i t o r i o u s . Of the press, as of popular poetry, Peacock has l i t t l e , but s u f f i c i e n t , to say. We have already seen how, i n the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e s The Courier was l i n k e d w i t h The q u a r t e r l y Review as a hardy veteran of c o r r u p t i o n . So much f o r the newspaper devoted to party p o l i t i c s . Years l a t e r , i n G r y l l Grange, Dr. Opimian i s made to c h a r a c t e r i z e the popular press of the eighteen-f i f t i e s i n terms that are as f r e s h and i n c i s i v e today as they were almost a hundred years ago: "For, l e t us see, what i s the epitome of a newspaper? In the f i r s t p l a c e , specimens of a l l the deadly s i n s , and i n f i n i t e v a r i e t i e s of v i o l e n c e and fraud) a great quantity of t a l k , c a l l e d by courtesy l e g i s l a t i v e wisdom, of which the r e s u l t i s 'an incoherent and undigested mass of law, shot down, as from a r u b b i s h - c a r t , on the heads of the people?* [Jeremy Bentham ] lawyers barking at each other i n that p e c u l i a r s t y l e of h y l a c t i c d e l i v e r y which i s c a l l e d f o r e n s i c eloquence, and of which the f i r s t and most d i s -t i n g u i s h e d p r a c t i t i o n e r was Cerberus; bear-garden meetings of mismanaged companies, i n which d i r e c t o r s and share-holders abuse each other i n choice terms, not a l l to be found even i n R a b e l a i s ; burstings of bank bubbles, which, l i k e a touch of harlequin's wand, s t r i p o f f t h e i r masks and dominoes from 'highly respectable' gentlemen, and leave them i n t h e i r true f i g u r e s of cheats and pickpockets; s o c i e t i e s of a l l s o r t s , f o r teaching everybody everything, meddling w i t h everybody's business, and mending everybody's morals; mountebank advertisements promising the beauty of Helen i n a b o t t l e of cosmetic, and the age of Old Parr i n a box of p i l l s ; f o l l y a l l a l i v e i n things c a l l e d reunions; announcements that some exceedingly s t u p i d f e l l o w has been 57 " ' e n t e r t a i n i n g ' a s e l e c t company! matters, however"multi-form, m u l t i f a r i o u s , and multitudinous, a l l brought i n t o f a m i l y l i k e n e s s "by the v a r n i s h of f a l s e pretension w i t h which they are a l l o v e r l a i d . " 4 Of reviews and reviewers Peacock has spoken at much greater length, and w i t h a c e r t a i n - though never boring -amount of tautology. The pernicious h a b i t s of the reviews were a p e r e n n i a l source of i r r i t a t i o n to Peacock, but h i s major c r i t i c i s m s of them occur i n h i s e a r l y w r i t i n g s , i n Headlong H a l l , i n M elincourt, and i n the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e . The most d i r e c t and most serious of these attacks i s that i n the Essay. There Peacock compares the reviews of the moment wi t h those of t h i r t y years before and f i n d s them l e s s l i b e r a l , more d i v i d e d i n t o p e t t y f a c t i o n s , and much more s u p e r f i c i a l i n l e a r n i n g . The pre-eminence of The Edinburgh and The Quarterly Reviews,, he p o i n t s out, i s not due to t h e i r l i t e r a r y q u a l i t y , but to the hope of the p u b l i c to l e a r n something of the prob-able f u t u r e moves of the Whigs and Tories. The s t a r contribu-tors of each magazine are hardly known beyond the c i r c u l a t i o n of that magazine, and members of each e x c l u s i v e l i t t l e group puff themselves up w i t h mutual admiration. Because of the close connection of the reviews w i t h p o l i t i c a l p a r t i e s , the success of a new work depends to a very considerable extent on the i n t e r e s t the p u b l i s h e r has w i t h the p e r i o d i c a l press, and on the p o l i t i c a l colour of the work i t s e l f - "Corruption must be stamped upon a work before i t can be admitted to fashionable " 5 . •' simulation." Peacock's treatment of reviews and reviewers i n the novels i s r a t h e r more picturesque and dramatic, beginning i n Headlong H a l l . Among Squire Headlong's guests appear "two 58 very profound c r i t i c s , Mr. G a l l and Mr. Treacle, who followed the trade of reviewers, hut o c c a s i o n a l l y indulged themselves i n the composition of had poetry." Treacle i s u n i d e n t i f i a b l e , and i s probably a c a r i c a t u r e of reviewers i n general. G a l l i s u s u a l l y taken to represent J e f f r e y , though the only p o s i t i v e clue to i d e n t i f i c a t i o n i s a remark made by G a l l concerning which the reader i s advised i n a footnote to r e f e r to "Knight on Taste, and the Edinburgh Review, Ho. XIV." Otherwise, the f a c t that G a l l i s something of a poet would seem to i n d i c a t e that G i f f o r d i s the object of the s a t i r e . However, i t i s the general nature of t h e . p e r i o d i c a l reviews, and not p a r t i c u l a r reviewers, that i s the subject of the a f t e r - d i n n e r d i s c u s s i o n i n which Peacock, through Escot, d e l i v e r s h i s opinion. He begins the attack by remarking that the understanding of l i t e r ary people " i s f o r the most part exalted, as you express i t , not so much by the love of t r u t h and v i r t u e , as by arrogance and s e l f - s u f f i c i e n c y ! and there i s , perhaps, l e s s d i s i n t e r e s t -edness , l e s s l i b e r a l i t y , l e s s general benevolence, and more envy, hatred, and uncharitableness among them, than among any 8 other d e s c r i p t i o n of men." The reviewers n a t u r a l l y take the remark as applying to themselves, but Escot assures them that can h a r d l y be, si n c e he never reads t h e i r review. He explains that he looks on p e r i o d i c a l c r i t i c i s m i n general as "a species of shop where panegyric and defamation are s o l d , wholesale, r e t a i l , and f o r exportation" and that he has no wish to en-courage such a.mischievous trade. The passage of arms concludes thus! 59 "Mr. Nightshade. - You are, perhaps, s i r , an enemy to l i t e r a t u r e i n general? "Mr. Escot. - I f I were, s i r , I should be a b e t t e r f r i e n d to p e r i o d i c a l c r i t i c s . "Squire Headlong. - BuzI "Mr. Treacle. - May I simply take the l i b e r t y to i n q u i r e i n t o the b a s i s of your objection? ' • "Mr. Escot. - I conceive that p e r i o d i c a l c r i t i c i s m ' dissem-inates s u p e r f i c i a l knowledge, and i t s perpetual adjunct, v a n i t y ) that i t checks i n the y o u t h f u l mind the h a b i t of th i n k i n g f o r i t s e l f } that i t d e l i v e r s p a r t i a l opinions, and thereby misleads the judgment! that i t i s never con-ducted w i t h a view to the general i n t e r e s t s of l i t e r a t u r e , but to serve the i n t e r e s t e d ends of i n d i v i d u a l s , and the miserable purposes of party." 10 By f a r the most famous of Peacock's attacks on the reviews occurs, of course, i n Melincourt. There the h i s t o r y of Desmond i s made the v e h i c l e f o r an exposure of what Peacock suggests are G-ifford's c r i t i c a l methods. Desmond has w r i t t e n a book on morals which i s , of course, r e j e c t e d by a l l the p u b l i s h e r s . One p u b l i s h e r , however, suggests t h a t , although the m a t e r i a l i s useless i n book shape, part of i t may prove of use to the ed i t o r of the Legitimate Review, Mr. Vamp. Hastening to Vamp's lodgings, Desmond f i n d s the great man lounging over and pen-c i l l i n g a l a r g e quarto, w h i l e around him on the t a b l e are "a number of books and pamphlets, and fragments of both c u r i o u s l y cut up ... together w i t h a l a r g e pot of paste and an enormous p a i r of s c i s s o r s . " Vamp receives Desmond i n a high and mighty manner and explains that morals are i n very l i t t l e demand among h i s readers, though they make "a very p r e t t y seasoning f o r our p o l i t i c s , i n cases where they might otherwise be rather ' •' 12 unpalatable and hard of d i g e s t i o n . " Vamp then i n d i c a t e s a number of books, of which the purpose of a l l , he says, i s to prove the existence of a great deal of p o l i t i c a l c o r r u p t i o n , 60 and to convince the p u b l i c that such c o r r u p t i o n ought to he extinguished! "Now, we are anxious to do away the e f f e c t of a l l these incendiary clamours. As,to the existence of c o r r u p t i o n ( i t i s a v i l l a i n o u s word, by the bye - we c a l l i t persuas-i o n i n a t a n g i b l e shape)* as to the existence, then,' of persuasion i n a t a n g i b l e shape, we do not wish" to"deny"it; on the contrary, we have no h e s i t a t i o n i n a f f i r m i n g that i t i s as notorious as the sun at noondays but as"to the i n f e r e n c e . t h a t i t ought to be extinguished - that i s the^ " p o i n t against which we d i r e c t the f u l l f i r e of our c r i t i c a l a r t i l l e r y ? we maintain that i t ought to e x i s t ; and here i s the leading a r t i c l e of our next number, i n which we "con- " found i n one mass a l l these obnoxious p u b l i c a t i o n s , p u t t i n g the weakest at the head of the l i s t , that i f any of our readers should f e e l i n c l i n e d to judge f o r themselves ( I must do them the c r e d i t to say I do hot suspect many of them of such a democratical p r o p e n s i t y ) , they may be ' stopped i n l i m i n e , by f i n d i n g very l i t t l e temptation to p r o c e e d . " 1 3 This paragon among a r t i c l e s , w r i t t e n by a man w i t h a very p r o f i t a b l e sinecure, Vamp wants Desmond to * season' w i t h mor-a l s . Owing to a shortage i n m o r a l i s t s an attempt had been made to s u b s t i t u t e theology f o r morals, but t h i s only the o l d women (who, however, are the best and most numerous customers of the Legitimate Review) f i n d acceptable. Morals, therefore, must be had, or a l l the eloquence of c o r r u p t i o n w i l l soon be of l i t t l e a v a i l . Desmond, n a t u r a l l y , w i l l not stoop to such l i t e r a r y p r o s t i t u t i o n , whereupon Vamp c a l l s him a Jacobin, f l i e s i n t o a temper, and h u s t i e s him out. And a s i m i l a r re-ception meets Desmond when he v i s i t s other e d i t o r s . This i s Vamp's great scene, though he appears again i n the diehard chorus at Mainchance V i l l a , , where he i s provided w i t h scraps of personal comedy such as the f o l l o w i n g : "Mr. Vamp. - Moral philosophy I Every man who t a l k s of moral philosophy i s a t h i e f and a r a s c a l , and w i l l never make any scruple of seducing h i s neighbour's w i f e , or s t e a l i n g h i s 61 "neighbour's property. "Mr. Forester. - You can prove that a s s e r t i o n of course. "Mr.- Vamp. - Prove i ' t l The e d i t o r of the Legitimate Review required to prove an a s s e r t i o n ! " 14 But the main s a t i r e on the reviews i n the Mainchance V i l l a episode i s not on i n d i v i d u a l s , but on the Quarterly. Nearly a l l the arguments r a i s e d by Any side A n t i j a c k and h i s f r i e n d s i n support of extreme conservatism are drawn from the pages of the Quarterly , and i n no way misrepresent the views of that magazine. Each borrowing i s c a r e f u l l y a s t e r i s k e d by Peacock, and i n the footnotes the reader i s r e f e r r e d d i r e c t l y to the source. L i t t l e new i s added to these two condemnations of the reviewing trade i n Peacock's subsequent w r i t i n g s . Mr. H i l a r y i n Nightmare Abbey merely echoes Escot when he says that "the c r i t i c does h i s utmost to b l i g h t genius i n i t s infancy; that which r i s e s i n s p i t e of him he w i l l not see; and then he com-p l a i n s of the d e c l i n e of l i t e r a t u r e . " Dr. F o l l i o t t , i n Crot-chet C a s t l e , very f o r c e f u l l y sums up the whole s i t u a t i o n : "... these gentlemen [of the Edinburgh j ... have p r a c t i s e d as much dishonesty as, i n any other department than l i t -e rature, would have brought the p r a c t i t i o n e r under the cognisance of the p o l i c e . In p o l i t i c s , they have run w i t h the hare and hunted w i t h the hound. I n c r i t i c i s m they have, knowingly and uriblushingly, given f a l s e characters, both f o r good and f o r e v i l : s t i c k i n g at no a r t of misrep-r e s e n t a t i o n , to c l e a r out of the f i e l d of l i t e r a t u r e a l l who stood i n the way of the i n t e r e s t s of t h e i r own c l i q u e . They have never allowed t h e i r own profound ignorance of any thing (Greek, f o r instance) to throw even an a i r of h e s i t - " a t i o n i n t o t h e i r o r a c u l a r d e c i s i o n on the matter. They set an example of p r o f l i g a t e contempt f o r t r u t h , of which the success was i n p r o p o r t i o n to the e f f r o n t e r y ; and when t h e i r p r o s p e r i t y had f i l l e d the market w i t h competitors, they c r i e d out against t h e i r own r e f l e c t e d s i n , as i f they had never committed i t , or were e n t i t l e d to a monopoly of i t . The l a t t e r , I r a t h e r t h i n k , was what they wanted." 17 F o l l i o t t , s cholar and bon v i v a n t , has much of Peacock i n him. 62 F a i r l y conclusive proof of Peacock's own views on the subject, however, i s o f f e r e d by S i r Edward Strachey i n h i s Reco3.1ections of Thomas Love Peacock. He records that Peacock scoffed im-p a r t i a l l y at the two great party reviews, and "once he s a i d to my f a t h e r , as they passed a man w i t h a package of Edinburgh Reviews, 'There goes a l o t of l i e s and bad grammar,' w i t h as much pleasure as i f he had been the e d i t o r of the Legitimate 18 Review ..." About the fads and f a n c i e s of contemporary f i c t i o n Pea-cock shows much l e s s a s p e r i t y than about any other branch of popular l i t e r a t u r e . But he was not indisposed to l i t e r a r y parody on a considerable s c a l e , as when i n Headlong H a l l and, to a l e s s e r extent, i n Melincourt he q u i e t l y makes fun of the r i v a l t heories of p r i m i t i v i s m and progress, and i n Nightmare Abbey he indulges i n a s k i t on the Gothic novel. Also i n Nightmare Abbey he introduces a conversation which ne a t l y evaluates the novel of purpose - that type of novel w r i t t e n e i t h e r i n or opposed to the Godwinian t r a d i t i o n , and, i n Crotchet C a s t l e , there i s an even more s u c c i n c t resume of the nature of the novel of s o c i e t y scandal. Sharing the p o p u l a r i t y of such novels, but q u i t e apart from them i n nature and i n merit, are the novels of Scott, about whom Peacock has quite a l o t to say. At one time or another, i n f a c t , Peacock comments on the d i f f e r e n t tendencies i n popular f i c t i o n over h a l f a century. The doctrines of p r i m i t i v i s m and of progress had played an important p a r t i n e a r l y Romanticism, and although by ' -19 Peacock's time they had to some extent died down, Shelley's 63 devotion to many of these ideas probably kept them i n the f r o n t of Peacock's mind. In Headlong H a l l , accordingly, Peacock introduces a f e r v i d p e r f e c t i b i l i t a r i a n ( p r o g r e s s i v i s t ) , Poster, and an equally f e r v i d d e t e r i o r a t i o n i s t ( p r i m i t i v i s t ) , Escot, and i n the course of t h e i r s p i r i t e d discussions they bring forward nearly a l l the stock arguments common i n the f i c t i o n of the second h a l f of the eighteenth century i n support of one side or the other, and wherever opportunity presents Peacock gives the argument a l i t t l e push or t w i s t to reduce i t to ab-s u r d i t y . Escot's b e l i e f i n the i n e v i t a b l e d e t e r i o r a t i o n of the race incorporates the f o l l o w i n g p o i n t s : science merely produces a r t i f i c i a l wants i n mankind, r e s u l t i n g i n c o r r u p t i o n , luxury, and s e l f i s h n e s s , which i n due course w i l l r e s u l t i n the exter-mination of mankind - science only aggravates human wants without a l l e v i a t i n g them - machinery outruns man's a b i l i t y to c o n t r o l i t , does away wi t h i n d i v i d u a l i t y and benevolence, and has a bad e f f e c t on physique - the eating of meat has hastened the degeneration of mankind and i s the source of many of h i s v i c e s (compare the peaceful nature of the v e g e t a r i a n Hindoo) -the men of the past were p h y s i c a l g i a n t s compared w i t h us - we may be more i n t e l l i g e n t , but that does not mean we are more happy than p r i m i t i v e man, who could be happy i n one spot while c i v i l i s e d man i s always r e s t l e s s - the savage l i v e s a calm, p h i l o s o p h i c a l l i f e except when h i s n a t u r a l appetites rouse him to a c t i o n - the savage i s not actuated by s e l f - l o v e to the same extent as i s c i v i l i s e d man - the simple l i f e i s the most d e s i r -able - the degeneracy of man i s accelerated by the blindness of 64 man to h i s degeneracy f o r , deluded i n t o complacency by a l l the t a l k of p e r f e c t i b i l i t y he hears, he f a i l s to recognise that amelioration can only be brought about by a t o t a l and r a d i c a l change of the whole scheme of human l i f e . Gn behalf of per-f e c t i b i l i t y , on the other hand, Poster has t h i s to say? science w i t h i t s great s t r i d e s i n commerce and communication i n d i c a t e s the advance of c i v i l i s a t i o n towards u n l i m i t e d p e r f e c t i o n -i n d u s t r y i s not yet f r e e of e v i l , but i t s b e n e f i t s g r e a t l y out-weigh i t s defects - the many a c t i v i t i e s of commerce give l i f e and employment to many people - progress may be observed even among the poorest people, f o r the peasant of today i s more en-li g h t e n e d and i n t e l l i g e n t than the peasant of centuries ago -the use of animal food does not s e r i o u s l y r e t a r d man's perfec-t i b i l i t y ( s i m i l a r l y , though wine checks moral and i n t e l l e c t u a l progress, many great men have found i t e x a l t i n g ) and the Hin-doos can not be compared w i t h the Greeks i n mental power - can the simple savage know the f e l i c i t y of a Hewton or a Milton? -men are v i r t u o u s i n p r o p o r t i o n as they are enlightened, and hence each generation increases i n v i r t u e as i n knowledge - the great progress being made i n mathematics and philosophy w i l l soon l e a d to the d e m o n s t r a b i l i t y of c l e a r and i n d i s p u t a b l e moral p r i n c i p l e s - the prevalence of d e t e r i o r a t i o n theories has a numbing e f f e c t on every phase of l i f e . I t would seem from t h i s that Peacock wanted a drawn b a t t l e between h i s two d i s -putants, but at one p o i n t Escot gathers together a few very reasonable arguments to support h i s p o s i t i o n , and these Poster can not, or i s not allowed to answer. Escot' s summing-up i s 65 as f o l l o w s : "Be that as i t may, I th i n k you must at l e a s t assent to the f o l l o w i n g p o s i t i o n s : that the many are s a c r i f i c e d to the few; that ninety-nine i n a hundred are occupied i n a per-p e t u a l struggle f o r the pr e s e r v a t i o n of a p e r i l o u s and precarious existence, while the remaining one wallows i n a l l the redundancies of luxury that can be wrung from t h e i r labours and p r i v a t i o n s ; that luxury and l i b e r t y are" i n -compatible}, and that every new want you invent f o r c i v i l - " i z e d man i s a new instrument of t o r t u r e f o r him who cannot indulge i t . " 2 1 This seems to i n d i c a t e that Peacock, i f anything, tended to favour the p r i m i t i v i s t i c argument - but on the whole h i s a t t i t u d e i s one of a f f e c t i o n a t e amusement. He was, of course, not the f i r s t to mock the t h e o r i s t s of h i s youth: he was, i n f a c t , p o s s i b l y the l a s t . Some of the better-known of h i s pre-decessors were E l i z a b e t h Hamilton, Charles Lucas, Amelia Opie, Mrs. Jane West, George Y/alker and Izaac D ' I s r a e l i . The two last-named, whose most famous books are The Vagabond and Vaurien: or Sketches of the Times E x h i b i t i n g Views of the Phi l o s o p h i e s , R e l i g i o n s , P o l i t i c s , L i t e r a t u r e , and Manners of the Age, may have played some part i n shaping Peacock's method of n o v e l - w r i t i n g , f o r they both embodied opinion i n f i c t i o n and s a t i r i s e d l i v i n g Englishmen. A l l these w r i t e r s were w r i t -ing at about the t u r n of the century. Some of the thinkers of that era, whose ideas i n a popularised form appear i n the mouths of Peacock's characters, were Burke, Adam Perguson, Godwin, Mackintosh, and P r i e s t l e y - who a l l i n some way or another b e l i e v e d i n progress, while those who tended instead to support d e t e r i o r a t i o n (or p r i m i t i v i s m ) included Rousseau, Mary wbllstonecraf t , Monboddo (who only b e l i e v e d p a r t i a l l y i n de-t e r i o r a t i o n ) , and Richard Payne Knight, whose epic Progress of 66 C i v i l Society was so roundly parodied "by Canning, G i f f o r d and IT ere i n the pages of the Anti-Jacobin. Peacock had not f i n i s h e d w i t h p r i m i t i v i s m when he had w r i t t e n Headlong H a l l . He took another t i l t at i t i n Melin-court. But t h i s time, i n s t e a d of aiming h i s shafts at a v a r i e t y of popularised p h i l o s o p h i e s , he confines h i s a t t e n t i o n almost wholly to Lord Honboddo, and p a r t i c u l a r l y to that small but much-discussed p o r t i o n of Monboddo dealing w i t h the human-i t y of the orang-utan. Monboddo's p r e c i s e p o s i t i o n on the question of d e t e r i o r a t i o n or progress i s even now rat h e r hard to determine, but i t seems that he found only the p h y s i c a l f i t n e s s of the savage admirable. Prom savagery man gr a d u a l l y progressed (according to Monboddo) t i l l he reached h i s highest s t a t e of p e r f e c t i o n i n the p a s t o r a l l i f e of Ancient Greece. A f t e r t h a t , though h i s mind tended to become f i n e r and f i n e r , h i s p h y s i c a l c o n d i t i o n became worse and worse - the u l t i m a t e r e s u l t of which, Monboddo thought, would be man's metamorphosis in t o a thing of the s p i r i t only. Such i n o u t l i n e i s Monboddo's philosophy, and obviously i t contains elements both of progress and of d e t e r i o r a t i o n . I n c i d e n t a l to t h i s major t h e s i s was the notorious d i s q u i s i t i o n on the orang-utan. Here again the p h i l o -s o p h i c a l p o s i t i o n i s not wholly c l e a r . At times Monboddo seems to t h i n k of the orang as representing the c o n d i t i o n of p r i m i -t i v e man, whi l e at other times he thinks of i t as representing a more advanced stage. However, he does p o s t u l a t e that men and orangs are of the same species, since they d i f f e r from other animals i n t h e i r c a p a c i t y f o r mental development. Implied, i f 67 not a c t u a l l y formulated, i s the beginning of the e v o l u t i o n theory put forward by Erasmus Darwin twenty years l a t e r . A l l things considered, we would probably place Monboddo among the p r o g r e s s i v i s t s ? but the f a c t remains that ( i f we can judge as t y p i c a l the r e a c t i o n of Dr. Johnson) he was dismissed rather summarily as a p r i m i t i v i s t i n h i s own time. I t seems to be a f a i r l y w e l l e s t a b l i s h e d f a c t that Monboddo was one of Peacock's f a v o u r i t e authors - e s p e c i a l l y i n h i s youth - and t h i s i s not u n l i k e l y i n view of the f a c t that Monboddo was as e c s t a t i c about the p a r a d i s a l q u a l i t i e s of Ancient Greece as ever Peacock was, but we must suppose that he thought Monboddo's d i g r e s s i o n concerning h i s f a v o u r i t e branch of the ape f a m i l y a very good joke indeed, f o r i t i s only r e l a t i v e l y r e c e n t l y that the ex-periments of Kohler and other p s y c h o l o g i s t s have shown us that Monboddo - though he erred on the side of e n t h u s i a s t i c credul-i t y when, learned judge as he was, he most u n j u d i c i a l l y accep-ted as s t r i c t l y t rue a l l the t r a v e l l e r s ' t a l e s he read of or heard - came a great deal nearer to r e a l i s i n g the t r u t h than h i s amused contemporaries and t h e i r immediate p o s t e r i t y would ever have b e l i e v e d . Oddly enough, many of Monboddo's most outre d o c t r i n e s were incorporated also - and apparently inde-pendently - i n the w r i t i n g s of Rousseau, where they a t t r a c t e d no n o t o r i e t y whatever. At any r a t e , i n Melincourt, Porester i s introduced as a p r i m i t i v i s t i c philosopher f u l l of Monboddo's doctrines (combined w i t h the nature-philosophy of Wordsworth), with a c i v i l i s e d orang-utan, S i r Oran Haut-ton, f o r a f r i e n d and companion. The p o s s i b i l i t i e s of c i v i l i s i n g an orang-utan 68 are amply substantiated by copious footnotes c i t i n g appropriate passages from Monboddo and, to a l e s s e r extent, Buff on and Rousseau, and S i r Or an i s presented as a p e r f e c t gentleman (a good deal more p e r f e c t than the r e s t of the gentlemen i n the book), l a c k i n g only the a b i l i t y to speak to be completely human. This admirable ape i s bought a baronetcy, accepted by s o c i e t y , and eventually i s e l e c t e d by a pocket borough to parliament ( i n one of the most e f f e c t i v e s a t i r e s on parliamen-ta r y c o r r u p t i o n i n E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e ) . As u s u a l , while pro-v i d i n g a running commentary on the extremes of p r i m i t i v i s m , Peacock manages to s a t i r i s e a whole host of r e a l e v i l s . The doctrines of P o r e s t e r do not cover much new ground - we have met most of them before i n the conversation of Escot. Again there i s s t r e s s on the diminished s t a t u r e of man since p r i m i t i v e times, f o r the i n t e l l e c t u a l are nourished at the expense of the p h y s i c a l f a c u l t i e s (pure Monboddo), again an emphasis on moder-a t i o n i n the eating of animal food and d r i n k i n g wine - though Porester i s not such a b i g o t on t h i s score as was Escot. Again we f i n d a r e t r o s p e c t i v e fondness f o r c l a s s i c times as the Golden Age (Monboddo again) to which i s added the p e s s i m i s t i c view that peasants and mountain-dwellers form our l a s t and f a s t - d i s i n t e g r a t i n g l i n k w i t h that d e s i r a b l e past (a touch of Wordsworthian p r i m i t i v i s m ) . The luxury of the r u l i n g c l i s once more attacked, and Porester b e l i e v e s , w i t h Wordsworth, that retirement from the world i s the only course open to the v i r t u o u s . And so Porester t a l k s on and on, i n d u l g i n g i n the longest and l e a s t i n t e r e s t i n g - because serious - speeches 69 Peacock ever wrote. Por though Peacock makes fun of the ape-man, he i s much more i n c l i n e d to agree w i t h the more moderate po s i t i o n s of Monboddo (and even of Wordsworth), and Forester i s provided w i t h no r e a l l y competent adversary. The p r i m i t i v i s t i c leanings we suspected i n Headlong H a l l are made a l i t t l e more p l a i n . In the l a t e r novels p r i m i t i v i s m , as such, i s l e f t alone but the whole tone of them suggests that Peacock had more sym-pathy w i t h the past than w i t h the f u t u r e . In any one of them b r i e f outbursts against modern s c i e n t i f i c progress may be found. One of the most amusing occurs i n G r y l l Grangev "He [Dr. Opimian] quoted Homer, Aeschylus, A r i s t o t l e , P l u -t a r c h , Athenaeus, Horace, P e r s i u s , and P l i n y , to show that a l l which i s p r a c t i c a l l y worth knowing on the subject of e l e c t r i c i t y had been known to the ancients. The e l e c t r i c telegraph he held to be a nuisance, as disarranging chron-ology, and g i v i n g only the heads of a chapter, of which the d e t a i l s l o s t t h e i r i n t e r e s t before they a r r i v e d , the heads of another chapter having intervened to destroy i t . Then, what an amount of misery i t i n f l i c t e d , when, merely saying there had been a g r e a t b a t t l e , and that thousands had been wounded or k i l l e d , i t maintained an agony of suspense i n a l l who had f r i e n d s on the f i e l d , t i l l the ordinary chan-nels of i n t e l l i g e n c e brought the names of the" sufferer'si' Ho S i c i l i a n t y r a n t had invented such an engine of c r u e l t y ? C l o s e l y r e l a t e d to - r e a l l y a s u b s i d i a r y p a r t of - the s a t i r i c a l f i c t i o n on progre s s i v i s m was the s a t i r i c a l l i t e r a t u r e that concentrated e s p e c i a l l y on Godwin's dangerous t h e o r i e s , which had been spread abroad not only by Godwin himself i n h i s P o l i t i c a l J u s t i c e and even more i n h i s Caleb W i l l i a m s , but which f o r many years continued to be embodied i n f i c t i o n a l form by h i s supporters. Many people avoided Godwin!an theories when they saw what was happening i n France, many more were shocked by h i s denunciation of marriage, others saw flaws i n , or merely d i s l i k e d , h i s philosophy. Wordsworth, who had been f o r a time 70 Godwin's d i s c i p l e but i n due course reacted, was one of the e a r l i e s t (though Coleridge was ahead of him) to attack him, and was probably the f i r s t to portray a hero l e d astray by Godwin-ian f a l l a c i e s , i n The Borderers. Peacock's s a t i r i c predeces-sors above mentioned were not long i n f o l l o w i n g i n the f o o t -steps of Wordsworth. In books running the gamut from f a r c e to tragedy young men and women good and bad go or are l e d astray w i t h r e s u l t s sometimes laughable and sometimes lamentable - and a l l because of the p e r n i c i o u s use of reason (generally most pate n t l y reduced to mere r a t i o n a l i s a t i o n ) . I t i s c l e a r that t h i s sub-species of l i t e r a t u r e had comic p o s s i b i l i t i e s that could not be overlooked by Peacock. The usual s a t i r i c a l method was f o r the author to analyse step by step the sham motives w i t h which the Godwinian character f o o l e d himself and h i s associates every time h i s behaviour f a i l e d to come up to usual e t h i c a l standards. So i n t o the mouth of Mr. Flosky (Coleridge) i n Nightmare Abbey, on the occasion of the a r r i v a l of a packet of popular l i t e r a t u r e , Peacock puts a few apt comments I "'Devilman [anagram of Godwin's Mandeville "1 , a novel.' Hm. Hatred - revenge - misanthropy - and quotations from the B i b l e . Hm. This i s the morbid anatomy of black b i l e . -'Paul Jones, a poem.' Hm. I see how i t i s . Paul Jones, an amiable enthusiast - disappointed i n h i s a f f e c t i o n s -turns p i r a t e from ennui and magnanimity - cuts various masculine t h r o a t s , wins various feminine hearts - i s hanged at the yard-armJ The catastrophe i s very awkward, and very u n p o e t i c a l . " 27 Later F l o s k y explains the r i s e of t h i s type of f i c t i o n . The supernatural having been exhausted, popular w r i t e r s proceeded to concentrate on the worst passions of human nature " t r i c k e d out i n a masquerade dress of heroism and disappointed 71 28 | -benevolence." To draw a character along these l i n e s i t i s only-necessary to f l y i n the face of experience and compound to-gether the most heterogeneous elements of character, having a s i n g l e v i r t u e more than redeem a l l s o r t s of manifest v i c e s . And Flosky concludes w i t h a h y p o t h e t i c a l example of such char-act er- dr awi ng: "... i f a man knocks me down, and takes my purse and watch by main f o r c e , I t u r n him to account, and set him f o r t h i n a tragedy as a dashing young f e l l o w , d i s i n h e r i t e d f o r h i s romantic generosity, and f u l l of a most amiable hatred of-the world i n general, and h i s own country i n p a r t i c u l a r , and of a most enlightened and c h i v a l r o u s a f f e c t i o n f o r himself; then, w i t h the a d d i t i o n of a w i l d g i r l to f a l l i n love w i t h him, and,a s e r i e s of adventures i n which they break a l l the Ten Commandments i n succession (always, you w i l l observe, f o r some sublime motive, which must be care-f u l l y analysed i n i t s progress), I have as amiable a p a i r " of t r a g i c characters as ever issued from that hew region of the b e l l e s l e t t r e s , which I have c a l l e d the Morbid Anatomy -of Black B i l e , and which i s g r e a t l y to be admired and r e j o i c e d a t , as a f f o r d i n g a f i n e scope f o r the e x h i b i t i o n of mental power." 29 Another phase of contemporary l e t t e r s , and one which had a twofold e f f e c t on Peacock, was the c u l t of the Gothic. In i t s most extreme aspects he found much to r i d i c u l e , but w i t h i t s romantic f e e l i n g f o r w i l d scenery and f o r the past he was e n t i r e l y i n sympathy. His s a t i r e of the c u l t occurs almost e n t i r e l y i n Melincourt and i n Nightmare Abbey, while c r i t i c a l pronouncements are made or i m p l i e d i n the Essay on Pashionable L i t e r a t u r e and i n G r y l l Grange. That Peacock was a t t r a c t e d i n his youth by Gothic l i t e r a t u r e i s made p l a i n by the f a c t that among the f i r s t batch of books he ordered to solace h i s navy service were Lewis' Romantic Tales, The Romance of the Porest, 30 The Ring and the W e l l , and Adelmorn the Outlaw. We have no 72 f u r t h e r record of h i s development along t h i s l i n e u n t i l the w r i t i n g of Melincourt. Here Peacock seems to be standing at the cross-roads. C e r t a i n features of the book - the s e t t i n g , i n w i l d and picturesque Cumberland, the restored Gothic a r c h i -tecture of Melincourt C a s t l e , and the attempted and f i n a l l y s u ccessful abduction (and, of course, the eventual rescue) of An the l i s , - are not unrelated to the r e g u l a r features of the Gothic romance, and are treated quite s e r i o u s l y . But here and there we can catch Peacock indulging i n a l i t t l e chuckle at the a f f e c t e d a t t i t u d e s of story-book men and women. Thus he com-ments upon Miss Danaretta Contantina Pinmoney and her mother as they approach Melincourt: "The i v i e d battlements and frowning towers of Melincourt C a s t l e , as they burst at once upon the s i g h t , very much' astonished the e l d e r and d e l i g h t e d the younger lady; f o r the l a t t e r had c u l t i v a t e d a great deal of t h e o r e t i c a l romance"-i n t a s t e , not i n f e e l i n g - an important d i s t i n c t i o n - which enabled her to be most l i b e r a l l y sentimental i n words, without at a l l i n f l u e n c i n g her a c t i o n s ; to t a l k of heroic a f f e c t i o n and s e l f - s a c r i f i c i n g enthusiasm, without i n c u r -r i n g the l e a s t danger of forming a d i s i n t e r e s t e d attach-ment, or of e r r i n g i n any way whatever on the score of p r a c t i c a l generosity."" 31 The p o r t r a i t of Derrydown, the m e d i e v a l i s t , i s more chuckling -"32 at the same a t t i t u d e when i t i s taken r a t h e r more s e r i o u s l y : '"The s p i r i t of the age of c h i v a l r y ! ' s o l i l o q u i s e d Mr. Derrydown; 'I t h i n k I am at home there. I w i l l be a knight of the round t a b l e . I w i l l be S i r Laneelot, or S i r Gawaine, or S i r Tristram. Kb: I w i l l be a troubadour - a l o v e - l o r n m i n s t r e l . I w i l l w r i t e the most i r r e s i s t i b l e b a l l a d s i n p r a i s e of the b e a u t i f u l A n t h e l i a . She s h a l l be my lady of the l a k e . We w i l l s a i l about Ulleswater i n our pinnace, and sing duets about M e r l i n , and King Arthur, and F a i r y l a n d . 1 " And then there i s a f i n a l chuckle concerning Forester's protrac-ted search f o r A n t h e l i a , when he explains that "they could sometimes make but l i t t l e progress i n a day, being o f t e n 73 compelled to turn aside from the w i l d e r t r a c k s , i n search of a town or v i l l a g e , f o r the purposes of refreshment or r e s t s -there "being t h i s remarkable d i f f e r e n c e between the lovers of the days of c h i v a l r y and those of modern times, that the former could pass a week or two i n a desert or a f o r e s t , without meat, drink, or s h e l t e r - a very u s e f u l a r t f o r a l l t r a v e l l e r s , whether l o v e r s or not, which these degenerate days have un-f o r t u n a t e l y l o s t . " By the time he came to w r i t e Nightmare Abbey Peacock had apparently made up h i s mind about Gothic l i t -erature. He t e l l s S h e l ley that h i s book i s designed as a counterblast to the 'black b i l e ' of Childe Harold, and else-where, " I thought I had f u l l y explained to you the object of Nightmare Abbey, which was merely to b r i n g to a s o r t of p h i l o -s o p h i c a l focus a few of the m o r b i d i t i e s of modern l i t e r a t u r e , and to l e t i n a l i t t l e daylight- on i t s a t r a b i l a r i o u s complex-'34 '" . . . . io n . " He does throw l i g h t , on Byron's poetry, and on the youth of Shelley as w e l l , but besides that the whole machinery of Nightmare Abbey i s mock-Gothic. The d e s c r i p t i o n of the abbey, i n the opening sentence, "a venerable family-mansion, i n a hi g h l y picturesque s t a t e of s e m i - d i l a p i d a t i o n , p l e a s a n t l y s i t -uated on a s t r i p of dry land between the sea and the fens ..." i s s u f f i c i e n t i n d i c a t i o n of what i s to f o l l o w . One can hardly imagine a l e s s picturesque s i t u a t i o n than the L i n c o l n fens f o r the scene of a Gothic romance. I t i s a note of bathos that i s only equalled i n s u b l i m i t y by the l a s t sentence, when Scythrop, disappointed i n love by both the l a d i e s , i n s t e a d of shooting himself as he has threatened to do, c a l l s f o r some Madeira. 74 A f t e r the f i r s t chapter, when Mr. Glowry i s introduced as 'a very consolate widower' - though otherwise a thorough pessimist - and Scythrop as a normal p u b l i c school and u n i v e r s i t y man, the s t o r y f o r a time becomes l e s s obviously s a t i r i c . Scythrop's devotion to romance and metaphysics, h i s b u i l d i n g of the secret room i n the tower, and h i s love f o r Marionetta are almost con-v i n c i n g . But when S t e l l a a r r i v e s on the scene the a c t i o n pas-ses i n t o the realm of burlesque, which becomes w i l d e r and wild e r t i l l i t explodes i n the exposure scene. Purer s a t i r e i s reverted to i n the i n c i d e n t of the turning back of the clock-hands, and then i t a l l f i z z l e s out i n a g l a s s of Madeira. Be-sides s a t i r i s i n g the hero of romance i n Scythrop's adventures, Peacock t r a v e s t i e s i n passing a number of contemporary i n t e l -l e c t u a l extravagances. These include the complete pessimism of Mr. Glowry, the transcendentalism of Mr. Plosky, the Ahrimanic theories of Mr. Toobad, the Byronism of Mr. Cypress, and the mermaid-fixation of Mr. A s t e r i a s and h i s hopeful son. In a d d i t i o n to a l l t h i s Mr. Plosky serves up an acute a n a l y s i s of the progress of s e n s a t i o n a l l i t e r a t u r e ; "Tea," he informs h i s audience,"has shattered our nerves; l a t e dinners make us slaves of i n d i g e s t i o n ? the French Revolution has made us shrink from the name of philosophy, and has destroyed, i n the more r e f i n e d part of the community (of which number I am one), a l l enthus-.. 35 iasm f o r p o l i t i c a l l i b e r t y . " Those, then, who d i d not want serious l i t e r a t u r e , had to have more and more sensational f i c -t i o n w r i t t e n f o r them, u n t i l t h e i r p alates became completely depraved, " t i l l even the d e v i l h i m s e l f , though magnified to the s i z e of Mount Athos, became too base, common, and popular f o r i t s s u r f e i t e d appetite." About the same time, Peacock was c r i t i c i s i n g , i n h i s Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , the f l o o d of ephemeral l i t e r a t u r e that was pouring from the press, and e s p e c i a l l y the Minerva Press, summing i t up as "completely ex-purgated of a l l the higher q u a l i t i e s of mind," In G r y l l Grange, however, the tone i s quite d i f f e r e n t . Medievalism and the supernatural are accepted w i t h urbanity. Falconer r e l a t e s at some l e n g t h the 'Legend of Saint Catharine', which i s purely medieval i n tone, and Dr. Opimian, d i s c u s s i n g constancy i n love, t e l l s the s t o r y of Inez de Castro, which might w e l l have been developed i n t o a Minerva-press bo ok-of-the-day. At one point the whole house-party gathers together to t e l l ghost s t o r i e s , and though some of them are hardly s e n s a t i o n a l , Miss I l e x , that s e n s i b l e and amiable s p i n s t e r , t e l l s of the deep impression produced on her. by Lewis' famous p l a y , The Castle Spectre. And l a s t l y there are Falconer's comments on the ex-plained supernatural: the novels of Brockden Brown "carry the p r i n c i p l e of t e r r o r to i t s utmost l i m i t s . What can be more ap p a l l i n g than h i s Wieland? I t i s one of the few t a l e s i n which the f i n a l explanation of the apparently supernatural does not • • " ' 38 destroy or d i m i n i s h the o r i g i n a l e f f e c t . " These are not the accents of d i s a p p r o v a l . The novel of s o c i e t y scandal was popular during the eighteen-twenties, and so i n Crotchet C a s t l e the i n t e l l i g e n t and w i t t y Lady C l a r i n d a recounts her experiences i n s t a r t i n g to w r i t e one: 76 " . . . I wrote a chapter or two, and sent them as a specimen to Mr. P u f f a l l , the b o o k s e l l e r , t e l l i n g him they were to be a p a r t of the fashionable something or other, and he "" o f f e r e d me, I w i l l not say how much, to f i n i s h i t i n three volumes, and l e t him pay a l l the "newspapers f o r recommend" ing i t as the work of a lady of q u a l i t y , who had made very f r e e w i t h the characters of her acquaintance .... So you w i l l see, some morning, that my novel i s 'the most popular production of the day.' This i s Mr. P u f f a l l ' s f a v o u r i t e phrase. -He makes the newspapers say i t of' "everything he" publishes. But 'the day",' you know, i s a very convenient phrase! i t allows of three hundred and s i x t y - f i v e 'most popular productions' i n a year. And i n leap-year one more." 39 Last, but f a r from l e a s t , i n any d i s c u s s i o n of the pop-u l a r f i c t i o n of the romantic era must come the Waverley Hovels and n o v e l i s t . Scott alone, of the major romantics, i s accorded r e l a t i v e l y generous treatment by Peacock. He cuts a poor f i g -ure, i t i s true, i n S i r Proteus, and i s laughed at i n The Pour Ages of Poetry, where he i s accused of digging up the poachers and c a t t l e - s t e a l e r s of the ancient border, and i n the Paper Money L y r i c s , i n which he i s made to e x p l a i n that border war-far e i s s t i l l c a r r i e d on by h i s countrymen, i n the shape of dishonest business dealings. In Crotchet C a s t i e there i s a rather bewildering debate about the merits of the 'northern enchanter' - bew i l d e r i n g because both the leaders of the argu-ment, Lady C l a r i n d a and Dr. P o l l i o t t , at c e r t a i n times i n the course of the book seem to have been accorded the honour of being Peacock's own mouthpiece, and i t i s d i f f i c u l t to decide here which o p i n i o n i s h i s own, i f e i t h e r . Lady C l a r i n d a i s a l l i n favour of S c o t t , f i n d i n g him i n t e r e s t i n g and informative. In P o l l i o t t ' s o p inion Scott's h i s t o r i c a l novel resembles a pantomime: "There i s the same v a r i e t y of character, the same d i v e r s i t y 77 "of s t o r y , the same copiousness of i n c i d e n t , the same re-" search i n t o costume, the "same d i s p l a y of h e r a l d r y , f a l c o n r y m i n s t r e l s y , scenery, monkery, witchery, d e v i l r y , robbery, poachery, p i r a c y , f i s h e r y , g i p s y - a s t r o l o g y , deiaohology, a r c h i t e c t u r e , f o r t i f i c a t i o n , castramejitation, navigation"; the same running base of love and b a t t l e . The main d i f f e r -ence i s , that the one set of amusing f i c t i o n s i s t o l d i n music and a c t i o n ; the other i n a l l the worst d i a l e c t s of the E n g l i s h language." 42 Then the d i s c u s s i o n becomes more general. Chainmail accuses Scott of making the past seem worse than i t a c t u a l l y was. F o l l i o t t p o i n t s out that the p u b l i c must have misrepresentation since the t r u t h i s so d u l l , and MacQuedy j o i n s issue w i t h Chainmail by averring that Scott whitewashed the past. Then the b a t t l e i s r e a l l y on, and we s t i l l do not know what Peacock himself thought. In the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , how-ever, where occurs h i s only other d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m of Scott, h i s opinion i s made q u i t e c l e a r , and there i s no reason what-ever to doubt h i s s i n e e r i t y . Discussing the ephemerality of most popular l i t e r a t u r e , Peacock makes an exception of Scott's work, saying that though i n poetry he appears to have been de-posed by Byron, he has r i s e n w i t h redoubled might as a n o v e l i s t becoming, perhaps, "the most u n i v e r s a l l y s u c c e s s f u l i n h i s own day of any w r i t e r that ever l i v e d . " He can please, Peacock goes on to say, every rank and c l a s s of man, so that, "On the a r r i v a l of 'Rob Roy', as formerly on that of 'Marmion', the scholar l a y s aside h i s P l a t o , the statesman suspends h i s c a l c u -l a t i o n s , the young lady deserts her hoop, the c r i t i c smiles as he trims h i s lajnp, thanking God f o r h i s good fortune, and the weary a r t i s a n r e s i g n s h i s sleep f o r the refreshment of the 44 magic page." Elsewhere i n the same essay Peacock notes that, 78 though. Scott's success has been a t t r i b u t e d l a r g e l y to h i s keep-ing c l e a r of opinion, f a r from teaching nothing, he i s f u l l of valuable information; "He i s a p a i n t e r of manners. He i s the h i s t o r i a n of a" p e c u l i a r and remote c l a s s of our countrymen who w i t h i n a few years have completely passed away. He o f f e r s materials to the philosopher i n d e p i c t i n g w i t h the t r u t h of l i f e the features of human nature i n a p e c u l i a r s t a t e of s o c i e t y , before comparatively l i t t l e known." 45 In Peacock's novels Scott plays l i t t l e or no p a r t . Derrydown i n Melincourt- has been v a r i o u s l y i n t e r p r e t e d as 'Monk' Lewis • "46 . " ' ' "-and as Scott, e.nd though the p o r t r a i t can be claimed as a s t r i k i n g resemblance of n e i t h e r , i t perhaps comes nearer Scott than i t does Lewis. Derrydown's laborious education, however, during which he "had consumed a great quantity of midnight o i l over ponderous tomes of ancient and modern l e a r n i n g , p a r t i c u -l a r l y of moral, p o l i t i c a l , and metaphysical philosophy, ancient and modern,'1, could not l e s s resemble the e c l e c t i c reading i n -dulged i n by S c o t t , according to the t h i r d chapter of Waverley, which was i n a l l p r o b a b i l i t y Peacock's only clue to Scott's early reading. But Derrydown's u l t i m a t e devotion to b a l l a d poetry, and the f a c t that he t r a v e l s up and down the country (though i n a rather more s t y l i s h and s t r i k i n g manner than Scott explored h i s borders) i n search of a l l manner of popular l o r e , i s not without k i n s h i p w i t h c e r t a i n phases of Scott's career. But as f a r as any d i r e c t resemblance i s concerned, the p o r t r a i t of Derrydown might as w e l l be a 'pure a n t i c i p a t e d c o g n i t i o n ' (to borrow a transcendental phrase Peacock was fond of mocking) of Vachel Lindsay. The f a c t that Derrydown i s a zealous admir-er of o l d E n g l i s h ( i . e . Elizabethan) l i t e r a t u r e and of the age 79 of c h i v a l r y lends a l i t t l e support to the i d e n t i f i c a t i o n w i t h Scott. Also, he thinks of A n t h e l i a as h i s 'lady of the lak e ' . 33ut Derrydown i s merely a f i r s t sketch of Mr. Chainmail i n Crotchet C a s t l e , and Chainmail has even l e s s of Scott i n him than has Derrydown. The only p o s s i b l e connection that can he made i s i n the statement, "He i s fond of o l d poetry, and i s 48 • something of a poet himself." I f Chainmail i s modelled on any-one, he i s modelled on Peacock hims e l f , f o r he shares many a medieval t a s t e w i t h h i s author, and h i s wooing of Susannah Touchandgo i n the mountains of Wales i s st r o n g l y reminiscent of Peacock's own wooing of Jane Gryffydh. Considering as a whole the popular l i t e r a t u r e around him, then, Peacock does not seem to have "been very favourably impres-sed - and i f we remember h i s somewhat arrogant i n t e l l e c t u a l i t y we cannot be s u r p r i s e d . "The minor poetry annoyed him - made him ashamed - w i t h i t s t i n k l i n g v a c u i t y ; the press was much as i t i s today - sometimes an organ of party, more o f t e n a purveyor of cheap sensationalism and charlatanism f o r the masses. These two aspects of the l i t e r a t u r e around him d i d not r e a l l y a f f e c t him a great d e a l , but the nature of the reviews came very near home - f o r was he not, on occasion, himself a reviewer? - and the p e t t i n e s s , the pre t e n s i o n , the l a c k of r e a l knowledge coupled w i t h h o s t i l i t y to genius ( e s p e c i a l l y i f i n the opposite p o l i t i c a l camp) and, f i n a l l y , the barely-concealed f u n c t i o n as party s a t e l l i t e of disseminating party propaganda aroused i n Peacock a l l the wrath of outraged honesty and sc h o l a r s h i p . The numerous vagaries of contemporary f i c t i o n , however, do not seem - 80' ' to have aroused any of h i s p r e j u d i c e s , and so h i s a t t i t u d e i s one of good-humoured mockery. He had probably enjoyed a good deal of second or t h i r d - r a t e f i c t i o n i n h i s youth and, when he eventually r e a l i s e d i t s f a u l t s , could not b r i n g himself to render i t completely despicable. And a f t e r a l l , i t was l a r g e l y harmless - which was much morse than he could say of the reviews - and so, i n some of the most d e l i c a t e s a t i r e he ever produced, he chuckles at i t s most r i d i c u l o u s aspects - the serious single-mindedness of the philosophers of progress and of d i s -i n t e g r a t i o n (and of course the obvious flaws i n t h e i r t h e o r i s -ing) - a l l the l u d i c r o u s machinery of mystery and t e r r o r i n the Gothic - the warped pseudo-psychology of the Godwinian and anti-Godwinian c u l t . Then Scott - most popvilar, perhaps, of them a l l - he could not neglect. I t would never do to p r a i s e him whole-heartedly, so he i s laughed at because of h i s nation-a l i t y , h i s ancestry, and h i s devotion to a n t i q u i t y . I t i s suggested, too - not without j u s t i c e - that the medieval novels are not as good as the novels of contemporary, or approximately contemporary, S c o t t i s h l i f e . But at l a s t Peacock has to admit that S c o t t i s a great and t r u t h f u l d e l i n e a t o r of men and man-ners, and one w i t h u n i v e r s a l appeal. -T. L> PEACOCK'S CRITICISM OP HIS LITERARY CONTEMPORARIES Volume 2. 81 Peacock versus the Lake Poets One of the most h i t t e r and abiding animosities of Pea-cock's l i f e was that which he entertained towards Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey as a p o e t i c school. As i n d i v i d u a l poets, he found much to admire i n them - e s p e c i a l l y i n Words-worth and Coleridge - but h i s approval he seems to mention only i n passing, or he tucks i t away i n some or other footnote, while h i s disapproval he proclaims aloud, again and again, so that the impression of the casual reader must be that no good had or could ever come out of the Lake School. Only i n h i s o l d age, i n G r y l l Grange, does he i n some measure p u b l i c l y recant the judgment passed on them i n a l l h i s e a r l i e r novels and h i s Pour Ages of Poetry, and by that time he himself had done, though not to the same extreme extent, what he so vehemently decried i n Wordsworth and' the r e s t - turned conservative. Peacock's c r i t i c i s m of the Lake Poets, l i k e most of h i s c r i t i -cism, i s now d i r e c t , now i n d i r e c t , and both the d i r e c t and the i n d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m s i n c l u d e favourable and h o s t i l e m a t e r i a l . The d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m w i l l be considered f i r s t , the i n d i r e c t l a s t , as there i s a good deal more of i t . The Pour Ages of Poetry, as we have already seen, was w r i t t e n by Peacock w i t h h i s tongue i n h i s cheek: (whoever doubts t h i s need only r e f e r to i t s Ciceronian p e r o r a t i o n w i t h i t s extravagant eulogy of mathematicians, astronomers, meta-physicians, p o l i t i c i a n s , and p o l i t i c a l economists - indeed, of the whole race of i n t e l l e c t u a l s and would-be i n t e l l e c t u a l s that 82 Peacock s a t i r i s e s so c o n s i s t e n t l y and so comprehensively i n h i s novels). I t i s not too f a r - f e t c h e d a conjecture, I think, to suppose that Peacock may very w e l l have constructed h i s whole c r i t i c a l f a b r i c of i r o n , golden, s i l v e r and brazen ages of poetry merely to give him a b a s i s f o r an attack on the Lake poets. The c o n s i d e r a t i o n of the Lake School, as a group and i n d i v i d u a l l y , takes up a preponderant p a r t of the whole essay, and h i s d i v i s i o n of previous work i n poetry i n t o the four d i f f e r e n t categories does not always bear close examination. The general theme i s of the decadence of poetry, which i s traced f i r s t i n Greece and Rome and subsequently i n England. In c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e the times before Homer c o n s t i t u t e the age of i r o n , the Homeric age i s the age of gold, the V i r g i l i a n i s the age of s i l v e r , w h i l e Honnus completes the c y c l e w i t h h i s age of brass. The corresponding ages i n E n g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e are, of course, the medieval, c h i v a l r i c age of i r o n , the Elizabethan age of g o l d , the Augustan age of s i l v e r , and, i n -e v i t a b l y , the Romantic age of brass. One of the c h i e f s t r i c -tures upon the brazen poets i s that they merely re-present, i n a s t u p i d , ignorant, long-winded way, the materials of the i r o n age - b a r b a r i c customs and s u p e r s t i t i o n s . Hence i t i s con-cluded that poets are barbarians among c i v i l i s e d people, appealing to a more and more vulgar and r e s t r i c t e d audience, searching f o r t h e i r m a t e r i a l s . i n myth and mystery, while the true i n t e l l e c t u a l s of the age (the mathematicians, s c i e n t i s t s , and economists, remember J) work only w i t h f a c t s and logic*, and so poetry i s on the .point of t o t a l e x t i n c t i o n . Against t h i s "background the Lake Poets are introduced and accused of b r i n g -ing the age of brass 'prematurely to i t s dotage'. Peacock notes w i t h favour the f a c t that Thomson and Cowper had reopened people's eyes to the beauties of nature, but he goes on to say that t h e i r success turned the heads of those who followed them, e,nd that these f r e n z i e d f o l l o w e r s seemed to have evolved a poetic creed something l i k e t h i s : " ' P o e t i c a l genius i s the f i n e s t of a l l t h i n g s , and we f e e l ' that we have more of i t ' t h a n any one ever had. The way to b r i n g i t to p e r f e c t i o n i s to c u l t i v a t e p o e t i c a l impressions e x c l u s i v e l y . P o e t i c a l impressions can be received only ' among "natural scenes: f o r a l l that i s a r t i f i c i a l i s a n t i -p o e t i c a l . Society i s ' a r t i f i c i a l " , therefore we w i l l " l i v e out of s o c i e t y . The" mountains are n a t u r a l , therefore" we w i l l l i v e i n the mountains. There we' s h a l l be shining models of p u r i t y and v i r t u e , passing the whole day' i n the • innocent and amiable occupation of going up"and down h i l l , r e c e i v i n g p o e t i c a l impressions, and communicating them i n immortal verse to admiring generations.'" 1 We cannot but admire t h i s w i t t y c a r i c a t u r e of the theory and p r a c t i c e of L y r i c a l B a l l a d s . But Peacock cannot leave w e l l alone, and goes on to elaborate h i s opinion of the Lake School w i t h remarks more i n d i c a t i v e of i l l - f e e l i n g than of w i t . He mentions t h e i r 'most extraordinary p o e t i c a l impressions' - they, or Wordsworth and Coleridge at l e a s t , had had the i n s i g h t and courage to break away from the moribund t r a d i t i o n that Peacock had clung to i n h i s e a r l y poems. He sneers i n h i s usual way at t h e i r 'models of p u b l i c v i r t u e , too splendid to need i l l u s -t r a t i o n ' (and one could wish that at times he might have found that v i r t u e without need of i l l u s t r a t i o n i n some of h i s other w r i t i n g s ) . He r e f e r s t o , wi thout elaborating on, t h e i r new p r i n c i p l e of v e r s i f i c a t i o n - and we should remember Words-worth' s remarks ( i n the Preface to the second e d i t i o n of the 84 L y r i c a l B a l l a d s ) on the poetic d i c t i o n Peacock himself had cherished not so many years before. Up to t h i s p o i n t he might j u s t have been a spokesman f o r the l i t e r a r y conservatives, but now he shuts h i s eyes and h i t s out w i l d l y . He accuses the Lake poets of ignorance of h i s t o r y , s o c i e t y , and human nature - than which, nothing could be f a r t h e r from the t r u t h - of c u l t i v a t i n g phantasy at the expense of memory and reason, and, f i n a l l y , of converting nature i n t o a 'sort of f a i r y - l a n d , which they peo-pled w i t h mysticisms and chimaeras.' These l a s t accusations, t o t a l l y unsupported by any examples, are so nebulous as to be quite i n e f f e c t i v e . His loathed reviewers could hardly have made a more prejudic e d or l e s s substantiated c r i t i c i s m . One might be f o r g i v e n f o r suspecting that he had never read any of the Lake poetry, but was depending on hearsay. No such excuse, however, can be made f o r him. In f a c t , already before t h i s he had shown, both d i r e c t l y and i n d i r e c t l y i n h i s w r i t i n g s , that he could and d i d appreciate much i n the work of the Lake men. We can only suppose that Peacock was s t i l l a l i t t l e chagrined at h i s own f a i l u r e to s e t the world a f i r e w i t h h i s poetry, and that, as b a i t i n g the Lakers was s t i l l a popular amusement, he was not u n w i l l i n g to j o i n i n . The s e t t i n g of lifeline our t , i n Cumberland, n a t u r a l l y gave Peacock another chance to c r i t i c i s e the Lake Poets. Indeed, many of the most memorable parts of the book are indictments of them i n d i v i d u a l l y , but a few words are also s a i d of them as a group. Pax and Por e s t e r , i n the course of one of t h e i r i n -terminable d i s c u s s i o n s , r a i s e the subject of the connection, 85 i f i t e x i s t s , "between mcmntain-dwellers and the s p i r i t of l i b e r t y . F o r e s t e r , presumably v o i c i n g enlightened opinion, i f not the opinion of Peacock himself, i s quite convinced, despite a l l the arguments tha,t Pax may adduce, that l i f e i n mountainous country i s conducive to images of energy and l i b e r t y , though he laments the f a c t that the mountains of Cumberland can boa,st no names of true greatness and unshaken devotion to general l i b e r t y . Instead, "We have seen a l i t t l e horde of poets, who brought h i t h e r from the vales of the south the harps which they had con-secrated to Truth and L i b e r t y , to acquire new energy i n the mountain winds! and how those harps are attuned to the p r a i s e of lu x u r i o u s power, to the s t r a i n s of c o u r t l y syco-phancy, and to the hymns of exploded s u p e r s t i t i o n . But l e t not the innocent mountains bear the burden of t h e i r transgressions. 1 1 2 So much f o r Peacock's opinion of the Lake Poets as a group. We w i l l now glance at the pronouncements he made on them i n d i v i d u a l l y throughout h i s l i f e . The e a r l i e s t of these occurs i n 1808, during h i s b r i e f naval career, when we are * somewhat s t a r t l e d to f i n d the f o l l o w i n g passage i n a l e t t e r to Hookhaml f. "Is another volume of Miss B a i l l i e ' s tragedies forthcoming? Has G-ifford Undertaken to e d i t Beaumont & Fl e t c h e r ? ... What i s Walter Sc o t t about? Is anything new expected from the pen of the incomparable Southey? How i s poor Campbell? His i y r e breathed the very soul of poetry: must i t remain unstrung f o r ever? ... Is Wordsworth sleeping i n peace on h i s bed of mud i n the profun d i t y of the Bathos, or w i l l he again wake to dole out a l y r i c a l b a l l a d ? His l a s t work [Poems i n Two Volumes(?)] to a l l appearance has damned him i r r e c o v e r a b l y v " 3 As these questions are man i f e s t l y asked i n a l l seriousness, a,nd as Southey had severed h i s connections w i t h h i s e a r l y r a d i c a l -ism f u l l y t en years before, i t i s apparent that Peacock had not 86 yet been awakened to the p o l i t i c a l (and hence p o e t i c a l ) short-comings of the laureate-to-be. Notable, too, i s the f a c t that the c r i t i c i s m of Wordsworth i s confined to h i s poetry, and no mention i s made of h i s p o l i t i c s . Very d i f f e r e n t i s the tone of the next reference to Southey, i n Nightmare Abbey, where, i n a footnote of unique a c e r b i t y , he i s compared and condemned wi t h BurkeI "Our'immaculate laureate (who gives us to understand that, i f . h e had not been p u r i f i e d by holy.matrimony i n t o a m y s t i c a l type, he would have died a v i r g i n ) i s another" sublime gentleman of the same genus: he very much aston-ished some persons when he s o l d h i s b i r t h r i g h t f o r a pot of sack; but not even h i s Sosia had a g r a i n of respect f o r him, though, doubtless, he thinks h i s name very t e r r i b l e to the enemy, when he f l o u r i s h e s h i s c r i t i c o p o e t i c o p o l i t i -c a l tomahawk, and sets up h i s Indian y e l l f o r the blood of h i s o l d f r i e n d s : but, at best, he i s a mere p o l i t i c a l scarecrow, a man of straw, r i d i c u l o u s to a l l who know of what ma t e r i a l s he i s made; and to none more so, than to those who have s t u f f e d him, and set him up, as the Priapus of the garden of the golden apples of c o r r u p t i o n . " 4 In The Pour Ages of Poetry, however, Peacock almost wholly ne-g l e c t s p e r s o n a l i t y f o r l i t e r a r y c r i t i c i s m : "Mr Southey wades through ponderous volumes o f " t r a v e l s and o l d c h r o n i c l e s , from which he c a r e f u l l y s e l e c t s a l l that i s f a l s e , u s e l e s s , and absurd, as being e s s e n t i a l l y p o e t i -c a l ; and when he has a commonplace' book f u l l of monstros-i t i e s , s t r i n g s them i n t o an epic. Mr Wordsworth picks up v i l l a g e legends from o l d women and sextons; and Mr Coler-idge, to the v a l u a b l e information acquired from s i m i l a r sources, superadds the dreams of crazy theologians and the mysticisms of German metaphysics, and favours the world w i t h v i s i o n s i n Verse, i n which the quadruple elements of sexton, o l d woman, Jeremy Taylor, and Emiaanuel Kant are harmonised i n t o a d e l i c i o u s p o e t i c a l compound." 5 This c r i t i c i s m i s j u s t s u f f i c i e n t l y c l o s e to the t r u t h to h i t home and to provide amusement, but once again Peacock goes too f a r when he begins to elaborate. Wordsworth i s described as a barbarian, a morbid dreamer, a man unable to "describe a scene 87 under h i s own eyes without p u t t i n g i n t o i t the shadow of a Danish hoy or the l i v i n g ghost of Lucy Gray, or some s i m i l a r p h a n t a s t i c a l p a r t u r i t i o n of the moods of h i s own mind," And. continuing h i s i n t e r r u p t e d t r a i n of thought about Coleridge* "These d i s j o i n t e d r e l i c s of t r a d i t i o n and fragments of second-hand observation, being woven i n t o a t i s s u e of verse, constructed on what Mr Coleridge c a l l s a new p r i n -c i p l e (that i s , no p r i n c i p l e at a l l ) , compose a modern-antique compound of f r i p p e r y and barbarism, i n which the p u l i n g s e n t i m e n t a l i t y of the present time i s grafted' oh the misrepresented ruggedness of the past i n t o a heterogeneous congeries of unamalgamating manners, s u f f i c i e n t to'impose" on the common readers of poetry, over whose understandings the poet of t h i s c l a s s possesses that commanding advantage, which, i n a l l circumstances and conditions of l i f e , a man' who knows something, however l i t t l e , always possesses over one who knows nothing." 7 This wordy nonsense would have been l e s s extraneous i f i t had come from the mouth of Mr. Mystic of Cimmerian Lodge rather than from the pen of h i s c r e a t o r . And yet, only s h o r t l y before, i n the fragmentary second p a r t of the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r -ature, Peacock had defended ' C h r i s t a b e l 1 against the attacks of the Edinburgh reviewers. His i n t e n t i o n may have been more to attack the attackers than to defend Coleridge, but he appears . to have shown a keen a p p r e c i a t i o n of the merits of the piece, c a l l i n g i t 'a most b e a u t i f u l l i t t l e poem.' By the time he reached o l d age, however, Peacock's disapproval had gone. Re-peatedly i n G r y l l Grange and i n the l a s t essays he quotes Wordsworth w i t h approval, u s u a l l y to e x p l a i n or elaborate h i s own s t a t e of mind, or the mind of the character who speaks f o r him. More complete a s s i m i l a t i o n of a man's poetry would not seem to be p o s s i b l e . And i n the t h i r d paper of the Horae Dram-aticae he sums up Wordsworth i n h i s c h a r a c t e r i s t i c manners 88 "Wordsworth's own genius i s i n no respect Bacchic* i t i s " neither epic, nor dramatic, nor dithyrambic. He has deep thought and deep f e e l i n g , g r a c e f u l imaginings, great pathos, and l i t t l e passion." 8 And i n G r y l l Grange somewhat belated j u s t i c e i s meted out to the leaders of the Lake School when Miss I l e x , the voice of maturity and'common sense, says: "Truth to Hature i s e s s e n t i a l to poetry. Pew may perceive an inaccuracy: but to those who do, i t causes a great diminution, i f not a t o t a l d e s t r u c t i o n , of pleasure i n '. p e r u s a l . Shakespeare never makes a flower"blossom out of season. Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey are true to Nature i n t h i s and i n a l l other r e s p e c t s i even i n t h e i r w i l d e s t imaginings." 9 Turning to the i n d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m , we f i n d the Lake t r i o introduced i n no very f l a t t e r i n g colours i n S i r Proteus. Pass-ing on to the novels, i t i s j u s t p o s s i b l e that Mr. Panscope i n Headlong H a l l i s meant to be Coleridge. In h i s general out-l i n e s he may w e l l be a f i r s t sketch of Messrs Mystic, Plosky, and Skionar. The p o i n t on which he i s c h i e f l y s a t i r i s e d i s h i s encyclopedic l e a r n i n g - though there i s a h i n t of the meta-ph y s i c i a n and Kantian t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t that i s to f i g u r e so l a r g e l y i n the l a t e r books. He has a smattering of everything and r e a l knowledge of nothing, and hence, when dis c u s s i n g abstract matters, lapses repeatedly i n t o nonsense u n t i l , a f t e r a s p a r k l i n g passage of arms wi t h Escot, h i s pretensions to knowledge are exploded. But Panscope shows no l a c k of worldly wisdom (consider h i s s k i l f u l handling of the f a t h e r of the g i r l he wishes to marry), i n which he very l i t t l e resembles Coler-idge, though he does have an e x c e l l e n t notion of h i s own a b i l -i t i e s , a t r a i t which Peacock a t t r i b u t e s to Coleridge more than once i n the unequivocal p o r t r a i t s . In t h i s book Wordsworth 89 appears i n no guise whatever, while one amiable a l l u s i o n i s made to Southey's Curse of Kehama. In Melinoourt appear Peacock's most d e t a i l e d and most devastating treatments of the Lake Poets. Southey i s the f i r s t to be introduced, w i t h the two v i l l a i n s of the piece (the v i l l -a i n s , at l e a s t , of the romance, i f not of the p o l i t i c s of the s t o r y ) , Lord Anophel Achthar and h i s t u t o r , the Reverend Mr. Grovelgrub. He i s given the name of Peathernest, and i t i s explained that he had r e c e n t l y been given a place by the Mar-quis, Achthar's f a t h e r , ' i n exchange f o r h i s conscience' - h i s f r i e n d s were of the opinion that he had struck a very good bargain - and i n consequence of h i s promotion the poet had "burned h i s o l d Odes to Truth and L i b e r t y , and had published a volume of Panegyrical Addresses 'to a l l the crowned heads i n ~ ' 10 Europe,' w i t h the motto, 'Whatever i s at court, i s r i g h t . 1 " This may seem qu i t e s u f f i c i e n t l y damning as i t stands, but i t i s the merest prelude to the complete p o r t r a i t of Peathernest, or, ra,ther, Peathernest's views. He i s no so oner introduced to us than he i s thoroughly embarrassed by a question by.Achthar as to the nature of the s p i r i t of the age of c h i v a l r y : "Since h i s p r o f i t a b l e metamorphosis i n t o an ami-du p r i n c e , he had never dreamed of such a question. I t burst upon him l i k e the spectre of h i s y o u t h f u l i n t e g r i t y , and he mumbled a h a l f - i n t e l l i g i b l e r e p l y about t r u t h and l i b e r t y - d i s i n -t e r e s t e d benevolence - s e l f - o b i i v i o n - heroic devotion to love and honour - p r o t e c t i o n of the f e e b l e , and subversion of tyranny." 11 Lord Anophel's comment, that i t a l l sounds very J a c o b i n i c a l , discountenances the unhappy poet even more, but he hastens to e x t r i c a t e himself from h i s dilemma by pouring f o r t h a f l o o d of 90 transcendental jargon which he had learned from h i s f r i e n d Mystic. A touch of the genuine Southey i s introduced when we are t o l d that Feathernest i s an e n t h u s i a s t i c admirer of o l d En g l i s h l i t e r a t u r e , e s p e c i a l l y of the e c c l e s i a s t i c a l w r i t e r s and the t r a n s l a t i o n of the B i b l e . An argument soon develops w i t h Derrydown, the b a l l a d enthusiast, as to whether Paradise Lost or Chevy Chase i s the b e t t e r poem. An even more heated d i s c u s s i o n a r i s e s over the r e l a t i v e merits of Chapman's Homer and Jeremy Taylor's Holy L i v i n g . To Peathernest's a s s e r t i o n that Chapman wrote mere doggerel, Derrydown r e p l i e s that taste and j u s t i c e are not to' be expected i n a combination poet and c r i t i c , " i n which duplex capacity he had f i r s t deluged the world w i t h t o r r e n t s of execrable verses, and then w r i t t e n anonymous c r i t i c i s m s to prove them d i v i n e . " Derrydown con-cludes a c i d l y by remarking that, though no man can combine the q u a l i t i e s of Homer and A r i s t o t l e , yet i t i s very p o s s i b l e to be both Dennis and C o l l e y Cibber. In r e p l y , Peathernest contents himself w i t h a point-blank d e n i a l that he wrote c r i t i c i s m s of h i s own poetry. That k i n d o f f i c e was performed f o r him by h i s -f r i e n d s , Mystic and Vamp. This only provokes a f r e s h outburst: "'Yes,' s a i d Mr. Derrydown, 'on the " T i c k l e me, Mr. Hayley" p r i n c i p l e ; by which a miserable cabal of doggerel rhyme-st e r s and worn-out paragraph-mongers of bankrupt gazettes r i n g the e t e r n a l changes of panegyric on each other, and on everything e l s e that i s e i t h e r r i c h enough to buy t h e i r p r a i s e , or v i l e enough to deserve i t " 14 Peathernest, having no r e p l y , can only wish that h i s enemy had w r i t t e n a book, and that h i s might be the p r i v i l e g e of c r i t i -c i s i n g i t i n the Legitimate Review. Prom time to time Lord Anophel takes pleasure i n embarrassing h i s f a t h e r ' s minion, and 91 lie i n t e r r u p t s Peathernest i n a eulogy of wine to comment that he was not always so fond of the grape. Peathernest waves away the reference to h i s y o u t h f u l errors explaining that he drank water against h i s w i l l , since no one o f f e r e d him wine. Achthar f u r t h e r p o i n t s out that water seemed to i n s p i r e him to Odes on Truth and L i b e r t y . Again Peathernest has h i s answer: ""Ah, no more of t h a t , an' thou l o v e s t me.' Mow that I can get i t f o r a song, I take my pipe of wine a years' and what i s the e f f e c t ? Not c o l d phlegmatic lamentations over the s u f f e r i n g s of the poor, but high-flown, j o v i a l , r e e l i n g dithyrambics 'to a l l the crowned heads i n Europe.' I had then a vague no t i o n that a l l " was wrong." Persuasion'has since appeared to me i n a t a n g i b l e shape, and convinced me that a l l i s r i g h t , e s p e c i a l l y at court. Then I saw d a r k l y through a g l a s s - o f water. Kbw I see c l e a r l y through a g l a s s of wine ..." 15 Mr. Porester at t h i s p o i n t intimates that he i s one who admired the Truth and L i b e r t y Odes and who deplores the r o y a l l y r i c s . Peathernest h o t l y assumes that any man i s at l i b e r t y to change hi s opinions. P o r e s t e r agrees, i f he changes from d i s i n t e r e s t -ed motives. But i f a man i n the p u b l i c eye goes over from corrupt motives, the moral damage done to s o c i e t y i s widespread. His behavior a f f e c t s the r e p u t a t i o n of h i s f r i e n d s and of h i s whole p r o f e s s i o n u n t i l the p u b l i c i s no longer able to d i s t i n -guish a true man from a f a l s e . Peathernest waits p a t i e n t l y throughout t h i s t i r a d e and then r e p l i e s that he i s used to such language. His place at court quite o f f s e t s i t . I t i s an axiom of party p o l i t i c s that those without government p o s i t i o n s cry out against the government t i l l the government chooses to s i l e n c e them w i t h a sinecure. Envy, not p u b l i c s p i r i t , prompts them t i l l they get a place: " I t i s p r e t t y and p o l i t i c to make a v i r t u e of necessity! but 92 "when there i s an end of the n e c e s s i t y r am very w i l l i n g " that there should he an end of the v i r t u e . I f you c o u l d " l i v e on r o o t s , s a i d Diogenes to A r i s t i p p u s , you would have nothing to do w i t h kings. - I f you could l i v e on kings, r e p l i e d A r i s t i p p u s , you would have nothing to do with" roots. - Every man f o r h i m s e l f , s i r , and God f o r us a l l . " 16 Shortly afterwards Peathernest i s allowed h i s only r e a l measure of self-defence i n the hook - he points out that Porester may he able to a f f o r d a conscience, and i f so he should be duly t h a n k f u l , but poets l i k e everyone else must l i v e , and i n order to l i v e must f i n d a market f o r t h e i r poems. Conscience w i l l not feed and c l o t h e them. Porester can only r e p l y that i f such i s the case, poets should announce themselves as merchants, instead of pretending to independence i n theory while p r a c t i s -ing the most abject v e n a l i t y and sycophancy. At t h i s Peather-nest r e v e r t s to h i s Peacockian s e l f , exclaims that no one expects theory and p r a c t i c e to c o i n c i d e , and continues t "Truth and l i b e r t y , s i r , are p r e t t y words, very p r e t t y words - a few years ago they were the gods of the day -'they superseded i n poetry the agency of mythology and magics they were the only passports i n t o the p o e t i c a l marketJ I acted a c c o r d i n g l y the p a r t of a prudent mans I took my' s t a t i o n , became my own c r i e r , and v o c i f e r a t e d Truth and L i b e r t y , t i l l the noise I made brought people about' me, to b i d f o r me: and to the highest bidder I knocked myself down, at l e s s than I am worth c e r t a i n l y ; but when an a r t i c l e i s not l i k e l y to keep, i t i s by no means prudent to postpone the s a l e . " 17 Porester, presumably v o i c i n g the opinion of Peacock, maintains his view that a man, i f he has no p r i v a t e means, should support himself i n some everyday manner and w r i t e , i f he so d e s i r e s , i n his spare time. A s i n g l e volume so produeed would outweigh i n merit hundreds of sycophantic outpourings. The s e r v i l e l i t e r -ary a t t i t u d e appears to be to blame f o r the g l u t of bad books on the market. And so the one-sided argument c l o s e s . And so, too, Peathernest "blusters h i s way through the "book. At Main-chance V i l l a , the home of h i s f r i e n d Mr. Paperstamp (Words-worth) , he appears f o r the l a s t time, one of that group of r e a c t i o n a r i e s dedicated to the t o t a l and f i n a l e x t i n g u i s h i n g of the l i g h t of human understanding. In h i s cups he i s made to d e l i v e r a s e l f - l a u d a t o r y speech proving himself to "be a model of t a s t e , genius, consistency and p u b l i c v i r t u e . In the sub-sequent round-table d i s c u s s i o n on the exting u i s h i n g of human understanding he i s applauded by Canning (Mr. Any side A n t i jack) and compared w i t h the sublime Burke as an honest man who has changed h i s opinions. At i n t e r v a l s he professes himself nos-t a l g i c f o r the "happy ignorance of former ages I when the people were d o l t s , and knew themselves to be so." He ends on a t y p i c a l note, " S i r , I am a wise and a good man: mark that, " 19 s i r ? ay, and an honourable man." Saintsbury, i n h i s preface to Melincourt, i s at some pains to defend Southey against t h i s attack, which, he consid-ers, condemns Peacock "by the laws of a r t no l e s s than by those of e t h i c s J" Saintsbury, as u s u a l , i s taking things too ser-i o u s l y . He p o i n t s out what everyone knows, that Southey, f a r from f e a t h e r i n g h i s nest, eked out a simple existence by means of c o n t i n u a l l i t e r a r y drudgery. I t i s too much to suppose that Peacock was not aware of t h i s . Despite the a c e r b i t y of the p o r t r a i t , Peacock has no i n t e n t i o n of p i l l o r y i n g the laureate h i m s e l f . His wish i s to scourge c e r t a i n a t t i t u d e s and p r a c t i c e s which might be a t t r i b u t a b l e to Southey, but which are common to many others as w e l l . These c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s by no 94 means representing the whole Southey (and some of them are warped i n the borrowing), are moulded i n t o an e n t i r e l y d i f f e r -ent e n t i t y . Next to appear on the Melincourt scene i s Coleridge, or Holey Mystic of Cimmerian Lodge. As a p o r t r a i t of Coleridge the man, of course, i t i s u t t e r l y unrecognisable, but as a c a r i c a t u r e of a t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t , w i t h Coleridge's transcen-dental a t t i t u d e s f o r b a s i c m a t e r i a l , i t i s e x q u i s i t e . Mystic's part i n the book i s confined to one chapter, but that chapter i s i n s p i r e d . One evening as F o r e s t e r , Fax, and S i r Oran are wandering, i n t h e i r search f o r the abducted A n t h e l i a , through some r a t h e r bleak country and are beginning to worry about f i n d i n g lodging f o r the n i g h t , they meet a gentleman whom Fax immediately recognises as "the p o e t i c o p o l i t i c a l , rhapsodico-p r o s a i c a l , deisidaemoniacoparadoxographical, pseudolatreiolog-i c a l , transcendental meteorosophist, Moley Mystic." Mystic i s no sooner thus introduced to us than we are plunged i n t o a complicated d i s c u s s i o n on the d e r i v a t i o n of h i s C h r i s t i a n name. Mystic h i m s e l f , of course, had formulated a very obscure Kant-ian d e r i v a t i o n , but h i s f r i e n d s chose to i n t e r p r e t i t as "a c o r r u p t i o n of Mole-eye, i t being the opinion of some n a t u r a l -i s t s that the mole has eyes, which i t can withdraw or p r o j e c t at pleasure, implying a f a c u l t y of w i l f u l b lindness, most hap-p i l y c h a r a c t e r i s t i c of a transcendental metaphysician." Mystic i n v i t e s h i s acquaintances to be h i s guests f o r the night, and i s e s p e c i a l l y anxious to show o f f to them h i s home and f i n e garden, "which he had l a i d out according to the topography of 95 the human mind*" But before these wonders can be demonstrated, host and guests have to cross a l a k e , c a l l e d by Mystic the Ocean of D e c e i t f u l Form, i n order to get to the I s l a n d of Pure I n t e l l i g e n c e , whereon Cimmerian Lodge i s s i t u a t e d . The voyage i s not without hazard. Upon q u i t t i n g the shore the party i s shrouded i n fog of the utmost density, amid which the only c o n s o l a t i o n of the t r a v e l l e r s i s Mystic's assurance "that he could not miss h i s way i n a s t a t e of the atmosphere so consen-taneous to h i s p e c u l i a r mode of v i s i o n , " f o r repeated exper-ience had proved to him that he only l o s t h i s way i n d a y l i g h t , and t h i s d i f f i c u l t y he had overcome by keeping h i s eyes close shut whenever the sun shone. Then f o l l o w s a passage which contains the very.essence of Peacock's c r i t i c i s m of Coleridge the metaphysician: "He [ M y s t i c ] immediately added that he would take the' opportunity of making a remark p e r f e c t l y i n p o i n t : 'that experience was a Cyclops, w i t h h i s eye i n the back of h i s head'| and when Mr. Pax remarked that he d i d not see the connection, Mr. Mystic s a i d he was very g l a d to hear i t ; f o r he should be s o r r y i f anyone but himself could see' the connection of h i s ideas, as he arranged h i s thoughts on a new p r i n c i p l e . " 23 > Mystic lands P o r e s t e r and h i s : f r i e n d s i n a bed of weeds and mud, but they a l l manage to scramble up the bank to the -house. The house proves to have as much fog i n s i d e as outside, except f o r the k i t c h e n , which i s somewhat l i g h t e d by a l a r g e f i r e . Mystic then produces a ' s y n t h e t i c a l torch' and leads h i s v i s i t o r s out to admire the garden, the beauties of which, he e x p l a i n s , are u t t e r l y destroyed by d a y l i g h t and sunshine. Bearing h i s t o r c h , which 'shed around i t the rays of transcendental i l l u m i n a t i o n , ' Mystic leads the way, t a l k i n g a l l the time and p o i n t i n g out 96 images of ' s i n g u l a r l y nubilous beauty'. The v i s i t o r s , however, axe quite unable to see anything but the very f a i n t glimmer of the to r c h . In due course Mystic informs them that they are now i n a 'Spontaneity f r e e from Time or Space, and at the point of Absolute L i m i t a t i o n ' , which Fax h o p e f u l l y .interprets as meaning they can go no f a r t h e r . He i s soon d i s i l l u s i o n e d when Mystic points out, i n s t e a d , that they are i n the midst of a maze from which only he can e x t r i c a t e them, 'and he must take the l i b e r t y to t e l l them that the categories of modality were connected i n t o the i d e a of 'absolute necessity.' They f i n a l l y get back to the house, where dinner i s ready, and served, at t h e i r request, i n the k i t c h e n . They had h a l f feared a tran-scendental dinner, but get a thoroughly good one, complete w i t h e x c e l l e n t wine. A f t e r dinner Mystic t a l k s transcendentalism f o r hours wi thout i n t e r r u p t i o n . Tea and coffee having been brought i n , he begins again: " ' I d i v i d e my day,' s a i d Mr. Mystic, 'on a new p r i n c i p l e : I am always p o e t i c a l at brea k f a s t , moral at luncheon, metaphysical at dinner, and p o l i t i c a l at tea. How you' s h a l l know my opinion of the hopes of the world. - [And here Peacock l i f t s h i s m a t e r i a l unashamedly from the Lay Sermon of Coleridge ] General discontent s h a l l be the basi s of p u b l i c resignation.' The ma t e r i a l s of p o l i t i c a l gloom w i l l b u i l d the ste a d f a s t frame of hope. The main poin t i s to get r i d of a n a l y t i c a l reason, which i s experimental and p r a c t i c a l , and l i v e only by f a i t h , which i s s y n t h e t i c a l and o r a c u l a r . The c o n t r a d i c t o r y i n t e r e s t s of ten m i l l i o n s may n e u t r a l i s e each other. But the s p i r i t of A n t i c h r i s t i s abroad: - the people readl - nay, they think!! The people read and t h i n k 1 ! I The p u b l i c , the p u b l i c i n gener-a l , the swinish multitude, the many-headed monster, actu-a l l y reads and th i n k s ! 1 ! ! H o r r i b l e i n thought, but i n f a c t most h o r r i b l e ! Science c l a s s i f i e s f l o wers. Can i t make them bloom where i t has placed them i n i t s c l a s s i f i c a t i o n J Ho. Therefore flowers ought not to be c l a s s i f i e d . This i s transcendental l o g i c . Hal i n that c y l i n d r i c a l mirror I see three shadowy forms:- dimly I see them through the smoked g l a s s of my spectacles. "Who a r t thou? - MYSTERY! -97 »'I h a i l thee! Who a r t thou? - JARGON - I love thee! Who a r t thou? - SUPERSTITION! - I worship thee! H a i l , transcendental TRIAD! 1" 24 The i n e v i t a b l e a n t i c l i m a x comes when Mystic, on r e t i r i n g to bed, i g n i t e s w i t h h i s taper the accumulated gas i n h i s room and i s p r e c i p i t a t e d by the explosion to the foo t of the s t a i r s . A l -though S i r Oran extinguishes the f i r e i n very short space, Mystic gloomily i n t e r p r e t s the accident as an e v i l omen - a symbol of an approaching p e r i o d of p u b l i c l i g h t - a notion which so d i s t r e s s e s , him that he w r i t e s to Canning i n warning and i n d i r e c t l y causes the assemblage of l u d i c r o u s placemen whom we l a t e r meet at Mainchance. V i l l a . Mainchance V i l l a i s the abode of Wordsworth i n Melincourt. Once again, as i n the cases of Southey and Coleridge, the por-t r a i t i s so f a r - f e t c h e d as to be recognisable only by e x t e r n a l , instead of i n t e r n a l , evidence. L i k e Coleridge, too, Wordsworth has here one great chapter,, but he by no means dominates the scene as does Coleridg»e. In f a c t , he i s hardly more than an adequate host at Mainchance V i l l a , except when he- becomes some-what uproarious i n h i s cups.' Among h i s Tory f r i e n d s he has l i t t l e i n d i v i d u a l i t y , w h i l e Coleridge, segregated from mankind on h i s i s l a n d , i s unique. The f i r s t h i n t , i n Melincourt, that we are i n due course going to meet Wordsworth, i s the mention of two servants, o l d Peter Gray and o l d Harry P e l l , who, we are solemnly t o l d , are r e l a t e d d i s t a n t l y to l i t t l e Lucy and l i t t l e A l i c e , r e s p e c t i v e l y . Later on, i n the course of h i s e l e c t i o n speech, Mr. S a r c a s t i c a l l u d e s to Harry G i l l , whose voice was as the voice of three. I t i s not long before the poet himself puts 98 i n an appearance, p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n Mr. Forester's chess dance, of a l l things I He i s " b r i e f l y described as being " c h i e f l y re-markable f o r an a f f e c t e d i n f a n t i n e l i s p i n h i s speech, and f o r ' 2 5 "" always wearing waistcoats of a d u f f e l gray." The i n t r o d u c t i o n having been performed, we see no more of him t i l l F orester and h i s search-party happen one night upon the Paperstamp - f o r under t h i s suggestive name Wordsworth masquerades - mansion, Mainchance V i l l a . Paperstamp i s not i n evidence when the wanderers a r r i v e , being c l o s e t e d , Mr. Derrydown explains, w i t h h i s die-hard f r i e n d s , Messrs Feathernest, Vamp, K i l l t h e d e a d , and A n t i j a c k , i n the hope of f i n d i n g some means of t o t a l l y and f i n a l l y e x t i n g u i s h i n g the l i g h t of the human understanding. While w a i t i n g u n t i l t h e i r host should be f r e e , the v i s i t o r s inspect a p i c t u r e of Mother Goose characters hanging on the w a l l , and Derrydown explains the s p e c i a l p a r t i a l i t y of Paper-stamp and h i s f r i e n d s f o r the f i g u r e of l i t t l e Jack Horner, who so • capably attended to h i s own wants, and was "therefore i n double favour w i t h Mr. Paperstamp, f o r h i s excellence as a pa/ttern of moral and p o l i t i c a l wisdom, * and f o r the beauty of the poetry i n which h i s great a,chievement of e x t r a c t i n g a plum from the Christmas p i e i s celebrated." Papers tamp and h i s f r i e n d s , of course, i n t e r p r e t the p i e as representing the p u b l i c purse, i n which they are a l l very eager to have t h e i r f i n g e r s , i n the hope of procuring a plum. Paperstamp i s also attached to another nursery character, Jack the G i a n t k i l l e r , i n whose coat of darkness he would smother a l l gleams of i n t e l l e c t u a l 27 • " l i g h t . When Paperstamp does appear, he i s c o r d i a l only w i t h an 99 e f f o r t towards F o r e s t e r , whose opinions he p a r t i c u l a r l y d i s -l i k e s since they were once h i s own, hut r e f l e c t i o n s on h i s guest's s u b s t a n t i a l property and on the m u t a b i l i t y of govern-mental p a r t i e s help to so f t e n h i s a t t i t u d e . Soon h i s own ex-c e l l e n t dinner and wine put him i n thoroughly good humour, and he but needs Southey's example to make an aft e r - d i n n e r speech e x t o l l i n g h i s own v i r t u e s , t a l e n t s , and a m i a b i l i t y . In the ensuing d i s c u s s i o n on the extinguishing of the l i g h t of human understanding he plays no great p a r t , except to make i n t e r -j e c t i o n s concerning Jack the G - i a n t k i l l e r ' s COBX of darkness and the church being i n danger. Whenever Fax or Forester shows signs of besting Mr. Anyside A n t i j a c k (Canning) i n argument, Paperstamp and a few of h i s cronies r i s e as one man to t r y and confuse the issue by c r y i n g 'The church i s i n danger!' Not that they are actuated by any r e l i g i o u s motive, of course. A few remarks by Paperstamp l a t e r i n the debate make that quite clears "We s h a l l make out a very good case; but you must not f o r g e t to c a l l the present p u b l i c d i s t r e s s ah awful dispensations a l i t t l e pious cant goes a great way towards turning" the thoughts of men from the dangerous and Ja c o b i n i c a l ' propen-s i t y of lo o k i n g into' moral and p o l i t i c a l causes f o r moral and p o l i t i c a l e f f e c t s . " 28 And there l e t us leave Papers tamp and h i s s e l f - s e e k i n g , obscurantist f r i e n d s . The most ardent Wordsworthian can read Melincourt wi thout offence. Paperstamp i s a purely Aristophanic c r e a t i o n , w i t h nothing of Wordsworth i n him but h i s conservatism and h i s van-i t y , both of which are absurdly exaggerated. The ardent Wordsworthian would be more amused to n o t i c e i n the same book 100 some unmistakable signs of the very r e a l i n f l u e n c e that Words-worth the poet had over the s a t i r i c a l n o v e l i s t . I s h a l l men-t i o n only two of the most outstanding. F o r e s t e r , i n h i s d i s -cussion of the connection between mountains and l i b e r t y , a l l u d e s , w i t h approval, to Wordsworth's sonnet 'Two voices are there'; but, most s t r i k i n g of a l l , i s the opening d e s c r i p t i o n of A n t h e l i a l "The majestic forms and w i l d energies of Nature that sur-rounded her from her infancy impressed t h e i r character on her mind, communicating to i t a l l t h e i r own wildness, and" more than t h e i r own beauty. Far removed from the pageantry of courts and c i t i e s , her i n f a n t a t t e n t i o n was awakened to spectacles more i n t erestihg" and' more impressive a the misty mountain-top, the ash-fringed p r e c i p i c e , the gleaming c a t a r a c t , the deep and shadowy gl e n , and the f a n t a s t i c magnificence of the mountain clouds. The murmur of the woods, the rush" of the winds, and the tumultuous dashing of the t o r r e n t s , were the f i r s t music of her childhood. A f e a r l e s s wanderer among these romantic s o l i t u d e s , the s p i r i t of mountain l i b e r t y d i f f u s e d i t s e l f through the " xvhole tenor of her f e e l i n g s , modelled the symmetry of her' form, and i l l u m i n e d the expressive but feminine b r i l l i a n c y of her features ..." 29 I f t h i s i s not a Wordsworthian poem turned i n t o e x q u i s i t e prose, i t i s undoubtedly the quintessence of Lake School romanticism, and Peacock was i n no mood of mockery when he wrote i t . Coleridge i s the only member of the Lake School to play a part i n Nightmare Abbey - though Southey i s o c c a s i o n a l l y men-tioned - and no i n c o n s i d e r a b l e part i t i s . The Coleridge of Nightmare Abbey, Mr. F l o s k y , has been promoted from an environ-ment of fog and Stygian darkness to one of mere shadows. Flosky, moreover, i s more recognisable as Coleridge i n every way, and i s undoubtedly Peacock's best a l l - r o u n d c a r i c a t u r e of the poet and metaphysician. He i s introduced to us at some length as Mr. dowry's cl o s e f r i e n d and "a very lachrymose and 101 morbid gentleman, of some note i n the l i t e r a r y world, hut i n 30 • h i s own estimation of much more merit than name." He appealed to Mr. Glov/ry e s p e c i a l l y on account of h i s unsurpassed a b i l i t y to portray the miserable, the wretched, and the ghastly. Mystery, was h i s element, he dreamt w i t h h i s eyes open, and saw ghosts at noonday. In h i s youth he had welcomed the French Revolution, but, when i t d i d not develop along the l i n e s he expected, he deduced, l o g i c a l l y , that i t was a l l wrong, and that the overthrow of tyranny and s u p e r s t i t i o n had been a c a l -amity of f i r s t magnitude, and became a staunch supporter of the old order. Everything o l d came to have great charm f o r him. And to q u a l i f y himself f o r h i s self-imposed task of keeping the world i n darkness he became a profound student of Kant, and an enemy of that i g n i s f a t u u s , the sun. Though t h i s i s no very amiable p o r t r a i t , i t i s s i g n i f i c a n t that Peacock from time to time puts his- own opi n i o n of contemporary l e t t e r s i n t o the mouth of Plosky. Very of t e n , of course, p e r f e c t l y s e n s i b l e opinions develop i n t o r i d i c u l o u s s e l f - p r a i s e , but Peacock only does t h i s to maintain the P l o s k i a n character of e,bsurd s e l f -esteem and a tendency to t a l k nonsense. Plosky, i t i s to be remembered, has the honour of analysing the nature'of the Godwinian novel, and h i s remarks i n t h i s connection are much too sane and penetrating f o r the general run of Peacockian t r a n s c e n d e n t a l i s t s . But Plosky n a t u r a l l y i s not allowed to remain long at such a high l e v e l of i n t e l l i g e n c e - very soon he i s taking a part of the c r e d i t f o r the b l i g h t on contemporary l e t t e r s , a b l i g h t being necessary, he transcendentally remarks, 102 to produce a r e a l l y f i n e flower. He also modestly mentions that the best parts of h i s f r i e n d s ' books were e i t h e r vrcitten or suggested by himself. A l i t t l e l a t e r , however, he i s allow-ed to r e i n s t a t e h i s genuine c r i t i c a l a b i l i t i e s w i t h h i s analy-s i s of the d e c l i n e of the Gothic novel, and horror l i t e r a t u r e i n general. But though Flosky lapses from time to time i n t o something l i k e i n s p i r e d common sense, a strong thread of Pea-cockia,n transcendentalism i s everywhere interwoven w i t h h i s speech. At one p o i n t he elaborates h i s p h i l o s o p h i c a l methods. A f i r s t and important p o i n t i s never to have ideas w i t h any v i s i b l e connection. Next, philosophy should concern i t s e l f w i t h the p u r s u i t of t r u t h so a b s t r a c t that i t i s completely un-a t t a i n a b l e . The means, not the end, of transcendentalism i s what matters. In t h i s way the mind may be exercised u n f a i l i n g -l y , without g e t t i n g anywhere - apparently the i d e a l transcen-dental existence. Occasionally PIosky discovers himself on the verge of t a l k i n g sense v/hen he i s supposed to be p h i l o s o p h i s i n g , and he r e c o i l s i n horror. Flosky's supreme scene a r r i v e s when Marionetta comes to ask h i s advice on the reason f o r Scythrop's odd behavior. The i n t e r v i e w opens most auspiciously? "Marionetta. - I must apologise f o r i n t r u d i n g on you, Mr. Flosky; but the i n t e r e s t which I - you - take i n my cousin Scythrop -"Mr. Flosky. - Pardon me, Miss 0 ' C a r r o l l j I do not take any i n t e r e s t i n any person or thing on the face of the earth; which sentiment, i f you analyse i t , you w i l l f i n d to be the quintessence of the most r e f i n e d philanthropy. "Marionetta. - I w i l l take i t f o r granted that i t i s so, Mr. Flosky; I am not conversant w i t h metaphysical s u b t l e t i e s , but -"Mr. Flosky. - S u b t l e t i e s J my dear Miss 0 * C a r r o l l . I am sorry to f i n d you p a r t i c i p a t i n g i n the vulgar error of the reading p u b l i c , to whom an unusual c o l l o c a t i o n of words, i n v o l v i n g a j u x t a p o s i t i o n of a n t i p e r i s t a t i c a l ideas, 103 "immediately suggests the notion of hyperoxysophistical paradoxology. "Marionetta. - Indeed, Mr. Flosky, i t suggests no such notion to me. I have sought you f o r the purpose of obtaining information. "Mr. Flosky (shaking h i s head). - No one ever sought me f o r such a purpose before." 31 And so Mr. Flosky goes o f f at a tangent, no matter how Marion-e t t a t r i e s to open her subject, u n t i l at l a s t she leaves him i n despair, having come to the conclusion that he has no i n f o r -mation to g i v e . As she leaves, Flosky makes a f i n a l e f f o r t at sel f - e x t e n u a t i o n : "My dear Miss 0 ' C a r r o l l , i t would have given me great pleas-ure to have s a i d anything that would have given you pleas-• : . ure; but i f any person l i v i n g could make report of having obtained any information oh any subject from Ferdinando' F l o s k y , my transcendental r e p u t a t i o n would be ruined f o r ever." 32 One of Flosky's tangents i n h i s conversation w i t h Marionetta has become a l l but h i s t o r i c . In i t Peacock w i t t i l y parodies the composition of 'Kubla Khan'. Flosky explains! " I am w r i t i n g a b a l l a d which i s a l l mystery? i t i s 'such s t u f f as dreams are made of,' and i s , indeed, s t u f f made of a dream; f o r l a s t night I f e l l asleep as usual over my book, and had a v i s i o n of pure reason. I composed f i v e ' hundred l i n e s i n my sleep; so that,, having had a dream of a b a l l a d , I am now o f f i c i a ' t i n g as my own Peter Quince, and making a b a l l a d of my dream, and i t s h a l l be c a l l e d Bottom's Dream, because i t has no bottom." 33 Upon t h i s note of i n s p i r e d r a t i o c i n a t i o n we w i l l leave Ferdinando Flosky. The references to Southey throughout Nightmare Abbey are not f l a t t e r i n g . F l o s k y a l l u d e s to him a number of times as h i s f r i e n d , famous both f o r h i s p u r i t y and h i s a b i l i t y - l i k e Flosky - to p a i n t p i c t u r e s of ghosts, g o b l i n s , and skeletons. Among the books that a r r i v e at the Abbey i s a copy of 'The 104 Downing Street Review 1, and Plosky includes i t i n h i s c r i t i c a l comments as he opens the p a r c e l : 1 , 1 The Downing Street Review. 1 Hm. F i r s t a r t i c l e - An Ode to the Red Book, by Roderick Sack-•••••••• • -' 34 but, Esquire. Hm. His own poem reviewed by himself. Hm-m-m. " The name Roderick Sackbut, of course, r e f e r s both to Southey 1s l a s t e p i c , Roderick, the Last of the.Goths., and to the laure-ate's annual b u t t of sack (Peacock could never r e s i s t a joke about the laureate's s a c k - he seemed to think i t such a good one that he repeated i t almost ad nauseam). In the two medieval t a l e s the Lake t r i o are f o r g o t t e n , although the f u n c t i o n s of the m i n s t r e l Harpiton (the name being from the Greek, meaning *a creeping thing') i n Maid- Marian, who i s as ready to undertake any s o r t of d i r t y work as to eulogise h i s master, are compared w i t h those of the modern poet laureate i n r ather suggestive terms. In Maid Marian, however, one chapter i s headed by a quotation from Wordsworth, and i n The Misfortunes of E l p h i n s i m i l a r honour i s accorded Coleridge. Coleridge's l a s t appearance i n the novels, as Mr. Skionar, the transcendental poet, i n Crotchet C a s t l e , i s much l e s s im-portant. Skionar i s l i t t l e more than a l e s s emphatic p o r t r a i t of Plosky. He does not t a l k so much a,s Plosky, he "cer t a i n l y does not t a l k so much nonsense, but he by no means f i l l s the same place i n our a f f e c t i o n s . Peacock has not troubled to make him more than a name and a v o i c e . Lady C l a r i n d a sums him up s u f f i c i e n t l y i n her c h a r a c t e r i z a t i o n of him f o r the b e n e f i t of Captain Fitzchrome - that he i s a great dreamer, though he takes care to dream wi t h one eye open - the eye to h i s own g a i n - but 105 perhaps the company he keeps (the turncoat poets W i l f u l Wontsee and Rumblesack Shantsee) has been the cause of h i s bad reput-a t i o n . Skionar makes only one memorable remark i n the whole-course of the book. When an angry mob threatens Mr. Chainmail and h i s guests at Chainmail H a l l , Skionar o f f e r s to harangue them, adding " I never f a i l e d to convince an audience that the best thing they could do was to go away." His f r i e n d s Wontsee and Shantsee - who are, of course, Wordsworth and Southey - are elaborated a l i t t l e at one p o i n t . We l e a r n that they are "poets of some note, who used to see v i s i o n s of Utopia, and pure r e p u b l i c s beyond the Western deep: but f i n d i n g that these E l Dorados brought them no revenue, they turned t h e i r v i s i o n -seeing f a c u l t y i n t o the more p r o f i t a b l e channel of espying a l l sorts of v i r t u e s i n the h i g h and the mighty, who were able and • ' ' 36• w i l l i n g to pay f o r the discovery." The Lake p o l i t i c s are s t i l l unacceptable, i t seems. But once again a Wordsworth quotation appears - a very apt and b e a u t i f u l one. To suggest the degree to which Susannah Touchandgo had become a part of the Welsh countryside, Peacock quotest "The s t a r s of midnight s h a l l be dear To her; and she s h a l l l e a n her ear In many a se c r e t place Where r i v u l e t s dance t h e i r wayward round, And beauty born of murmuring sound S h a l l pass i n t o her face." This one quotation i s almost enough to o f f s e t a l l the unfavour-able c r i t i c i s m s Peacock ever made of Wordsworth, but we have aiready seen that h i s e a r l i e r heroine, A n t h e l i a Melincourt, was s i m i l a r l y conceived. In G r y l l Grange both Wordsworth and Coleridge are quoted and a l l u d e d to i n the most app r e c i a t i v e 106 manner, and a l l the o l d b i t t e r n e s s seems to have gone. In conclusion, l e t us consider the s p e c i f i c aspects of the Lake Poets and t h e i r poetry, as a group and i n d i v i d u a l l y , that were attacked by Peacock. As a group they are f i r s t of a l l attacked as c u l t u r a l barbarians, w i t h a r a p i d l y diminishing place i n s o c i e t y . Then Peacock goes on to suggest that they are what we should c a l l escapists. - they use myth and mystery f o r poetic m a t e r i a l , they segregate themselves from mankind i n the mountains ( g i v i n g the excuse that the mountains are the l a s t stronghold of v i r t u e ) , and they c u l t i v a t e fantasy at the expense of r e a l i t y . As a r e s u l t of t h i s they are ignorant of human nature and s o c i e t y . Then there are t h e i r f r e a k i s h innov-ations i n the matter and manner of w r i t i n g poetry! When Pea-cock c r i t i c i s e s them as i n d i v i d u a l s he c r i t i c i s e s both t h e i r p o l i t i c s and t h e i r l i t e r a r y performances, without always d i f f e r -e n t i a t i n g s u f f i c i e n t l y between the two quite separate objects of c r i t i c i s m . Concerning Southey he i s s a r c a s t i c shout h i s p o l i t i c a l ' p u r i t y ' , which amounts to turning h i s p o l i t i c a l coat and then l u s t i n g f o r the blood of former f r i e n d s . He despises Southey's apparent sycophancy and acceptance of laureateship -suggesting t h a t , i f Southey should defend himself by saying he needed the money, any such defence would be pure s o p h i s t r y as Southey i s only out to 'feather h i s nest'. He accuses the poet, f i n a l l y , of having been ashamed of h i s past a f t e r he became a Tory and, despite h i s former P a n t i s o c r a t i c dreams, of conspiring with the government to keep the masses i n ignorance. Turning to Southey as a l i t e r a r y man, Peacock implies that he panders to 107 popular t a s t e by producing ghosts and corpses, and that h i s epics are mere p i r a c i e s from the most ludic r o u s passages i n t r a v e l books. I f any of Southey's poetry i s of value, indeed, i t i s c e r t a i n l y not h i s wretched odes to r o y a l t y , but the poetry of l i b e r t y and freedom of h i s youth. Wordsworth fares s i m i l a r l y . He too, Peacock says, i s a Tory s a t e l l i t e , despite h i s l i b e r a l youth. He too desires an ignorant p r o l e t a r i a t and uses pious cant to f u r t h e r h i s nefarious schemes. He admires Jack Horner and h i s plum-seeking as a p o l i t i c a l model, and that and other nursery rhymes as poetic guides - guides which r e s u l t (combined with n a r r a t i v e s gleaned from o l d wives and sextons) i n such l u d i c r o u s c r e a t i o n s as Lucy Gray, A l i c e P e l l , and Harry G i l l , as w e l l as i n the general bathos of the L y r i c a l B a l l a d s . Wordsworth the man, Peacock concludes, a f f e c t s an i n f a n t i l e l i s p and waistcoats of d u f f e l grey, and i s a barbarian, or at l e a s t a morbid dreamer. Coleridge, p o l i t i c a l l y , reacted from r a d i c a l i s m a f t e r the Prench Revolution and developed l i k e h i s f e l l o w s a f e a r of p u b l i c enlightenment - b e l i e v i n g the people should depend on f a i t h alone. Though he i s always awake to h i s own i n t e r e s t s , however, h i s Toryism may have been due to the persuasion of h i s f r i e n d s . As a l i t e r a r y man he gathers poetic m a t e r i a l from sextons, o l d women, Taylor and Kant, and, mixing together such elements combined w i t h p u l i n g s e n t i m e n t a l i t y and h i s t o r i c a l i n a c c u r a c i e s , produces something that imposes only on the man i n the s t r e e t . He i s , too, declares Peacock, a mor-b i d creator of ghosts and skeletons, and he makes b a l l a d s out of h i s dreams. His new p r i n c i p l e of verse i s no p r i n c i p l e at 108 a l l - while as a l e c t u r e r he drives h i s audience away. But most of a l l , perhaps, Peacock attacks the transcendental p h i l -osopher i n Coleridge. He suggests that h i s reading, though wide, i s f a r from deep, and that h i s transcendental t a l k , f a r from being learned, i s the merest jargon designed to bemuse the general p u b l i c (and perhaps even to make a smoke screen f o r the T o r i e s ) . And h i s new p r i n c i p l e of thinking - l i k e h i s new p r i n c i p l e of poetry - i s no t i l i n g more nor l e s s than chaos. A l l t h i s may seem at f i r s t l i k e a very formidable array of c r i t i c -ism, but i t b o i l s down to a common c r i t i c i s m of Lake School p o l i t i c s and p o e t i c methods, the l a t t e r - i n the case of Words-worth" and Coleridge at l e a s t - r e f e r r i n g s o l e l y to the poetic aims and theories set f o r t h i n the Preface to L y r i c a l B a l l a d s . Though time and c a r e f u l i n v e s t i g a t i o n has cleared the Lake Poets of any s u s p i c i o n of apostasy when they q u i t t e d the R a d i c a l f o r the Tory camp, ignorance - perhaps a studied ignorance - of the f a c t s made Peacock and many of h i s contemporaries decry t h e i r p o l i t i c s again and again. Peacock, then, not only de-pl o r e d t h e i r extremism but suspected t h e i r honesty - and that made him see red. We'cannot doubt h i s s i n c e r i t y when he c r i t i -c i s e s the.Lake p o l i t i c s . In h i s c r i t i c i s m of t h e i r poetic methods he i s probably a good deal l e s s s e r i o u s . When he jeers at the sources of the new poetry - t r a v e l extravagances, Kant, sextons, and what not - as w e l l as the 'new p r i n c i p l e ' of v e r s i f i c a t i o n one cannot but wonder how Peacock would have re-acted to E l i o t , Pound, and Hopkins I I t should be remembered that, to one nourished on c l a s s i c a l and Augustan poetry as 109 Peacock had undoubtedly been, the theories Wordsworth elabor-ated i n h i s Preface must have been as a s t o n i s h i n g l y d i f f e r e n t as those made manifest i n our own time i n the poetry of the above-mentioned moderns. And i t should be noted that Peacock's s p e c i f i c c r i t i c i s m s , though exaggerated, are seldom without point. Southey's epics are dead today, and Coleridge himself has admitted, w i t h Peacock, t h a t those poems i n which Words-worth deals w i t h v i l l a g e sextons, o l d women, and so f o r t h , are among "the l e a s t s u c c e s s f u l of a l l h i s poems. And there is_ a tendency i n Wordsworth, when he i s determined to confine him-s e l f to the r u l e s of h i s preface, to o v e r - s i m p l i f y and render h i s w r i t i n g as banal as some c h i l d r e n ' s rhymes. To c a l l Words-worth, however, a morbid dreamer i s m a n i f e s t l y inaccurate - the phrase i s more a p p l i c a b l e to Coleridge, to whom i t i s also applied. The mockery of Coleridge the transcendental!st i s w i l d l y exaggerated, but does not l a c k foundation i n f a c t . The w r i t i n g of 'Kubla Khan' has been turned i n t o pure comedy - and not ill-humoured comedy - while the h i g h - s p i r i t e d d e s c r i p t i o n of the component paxts of Coleridge's 'poetry as a, whole i s not altogether disproved by The Ho ad to Xanadu. E s s e n t i a l l y , then, Peacock found out the same flaws as d i d subsequent - c r i t i c i s m -the d i f f e r e n c e being that subsequent c r i t i c s have not been con-cerned about turning those flaws i n t o r o a r i n g f a r c e or e x c e l l e n t comedy. And as f o r a p p r e c i a t i o n - we need look no f a r t h e r than the Essay on •Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e and G r y l l Grange to know that, t h i s s i de i d o l a t r y , he d e l i g h t e d i n the best of the Lake poetry as much as any man. 110 Byron and Shelley i n f a c t and f i c t i o n In s p i t e of the way he used - or misused - b i o g r a p h i c a l d e t a i l s from the l i v e s of h i s f r i e n d s and contemporaries i n h i s f i c t i o n . Peacock had very d e f i n i t e ideas about the w r i t i n g of bona f i d e biography. These ideas are inherent i n h i s c r i t i c i s m of "Moore's L i f e of Byron and they are explained i n some d e t a i l i n the Memoirs of Shelley. He found Moore, needless to say, a very imperfect biographers "The p r i n c i p a l a t t r a c t i o n of t h i s work i s the l i g h t which i t has been expected to throw on the character of Lord Byron. So f a r , i t has, to us at l e a s t , thrown l i t t l e new l i g h t upon i t , and much of that l i t t l e by no means c a l c u l a t e d to render any e s s e n t i a l s e r v i c e to h i s memory." 1 Peacock then goes on to mention a hab i t of Byron's which was apt to lead astray h i s acquaintances end would-be biographers. This was h i s h a b i t of in d u l g i n g i n half-confidences w i t h a great many people, sometimes obscuring h a l f the circumstances he was communicating, and sometimes making h i s remarks d e l i b e r -a t e l y ambiguous i n order to b e f o o l h i s audience: "Indeed, both i n h i s w r i t i n g s and cpnversation he d e a l t , i n hi s l a t t e r years e s p e c i a l l y , very l a r g e l y i n m y s t i f i c a t i o n ; and s a i d many things which have brought h i s f a i t h f u l rem-i n i s c e n t s i n t o scrapes, by making them rep o r t , what others, knowing he could not have b e l i e v e d , think he could never have asserted: which are very d i f f e r e n t matters. 1 1 2 Moore, according to Peacock, knew Byron s u f f i c i e n t l y w e l l not to be taken i n by t h i s , but Medwin and Leigh Hunt f a r e d l e s s happily. At t h i s p o i n t Peacock pauses f o r a moment to comment on Hunt, who had also published some m a t e r i a l on Byron. Hunt, apparently, as a biographer, i s even more lamentable than Moore, f o r h i s 'querulous egotisms,' 'scaturient v a n i t y , ' I l l 'readiness to v i o l a t e a l l the confidences of p r i v a t e l i f e , ' 'shallow mockeries of p h i l o s o p h i c a l t h i n k i n g , ' 'quaint and s i l l y f i g u r e s of speech,' 'out-of-the-way notions of morals and manners,' and 'eternal reference of everything to s e l f , ' to-gether w i t h 'the i n t r i n s i c nothingness of what the w r i t e r had i t i n h i s power to t e l l ' are a l l noticed and then l e f t to o b l i v i o n . A f t e r that Peacock contents himself w i t h summarising Byron's l i f e and o c c a s i o n a l l y commenting. As a p a r t i n g shot, however, he sums up h i s opinion of Moore as biographer and friends "In the second volume, Mr. Moore w i l l be on more p e r i l o u s ground. To do j u s t i c e to h i s f r i e n d s who are gone, and to please those among the l i v i n g , whose favor he most s t u d i -ously courts i n h i s w r i t i n g s , must be, i n the treatment of that p e r i o d which h i s second volume w i l l embrace, imposs-i b l e . He w i l l endeavour to do both, a f t e r h i s fashion:'and we think we can p r e t t y ac curat el y a n t i c i p a t e the r e s u l t . 1 1 4 As a r e s u l t of t h i s b l i s t e r i n g c r i t i c i s m , The Westminster Re-view d i d not get the opportunity of reviewing the second volume of Moore's work, and we are accordingly deprived of f u r t h e r comments on Byron and on the nature of c r i t i c i s m - Moore's and others' - from Peacock's pen. At the opening of h i s Memoirs of Shelley, however, he has a few more v/ords to say of the eager biographers of the famous, f o r j u s t as soon as the"reading pub-l i c develops a t a s t e f o r gossip about n o t o r i e t i e s , "there w i l l be always found persons to m i n i s t e r to i t ? and among the volun-teers of t h i s service,- those who are best informed and who' most valued the departed w i l l probably not be the foremost ..." Peacock then o u t l i n e s the r e s p o n s i b i l i t i e s of a conscientious biographer. Ho man i s under compulsion to w r i t e the l i f e of 112 another, and i f he does w r i t e , he need not include everything he knows about h i s subject. Anything that w i l l hurt the i n t e r -ests or f e e l i n g s of the l i v i n g should be omitted, and also any-thing which the biographer f e e l s h i s subject would have wished to be omitted and f o r g o t t e n - and " i f such an event be the c a r d i n a l point of a l i f e ? i f to conceal i t or to misrepresent i t would be to render the whole n a r r a t i v e incomplete, incoher-ent, u n s a t i s f a c t o r y a l i k e to the honour of the dead and the f e e l i n g s of the l i v i n g , * then ... i t i s b e t t e r to l e t the whole story slumber i n s i l e n c e . " Peacock wished that Shelley had been allowed to l i v e i n h i s song alone, but as t h i s was not to be, and as he f e l t morally obliged to r i g h t some misapprehen-sions and errors i n the Live s of Medwin and Hogg, he o u t l i n e s h i s own e x c e l l e n t q u a l i f i c a t i o n s as Shelley's biographer, f o r , having l i v e d f o r some years i n great intimacy w i t h Shelley and having had b e t t e r o p p o r t u n i t i e s than most to observe Shelley's genius as w e l l as h i s mode of l i f e and character, having been Shelley's executor, and having continued a f t e r h i s death i n f r i e n d s h i p w i t h h i s widow and f a m i l y , '"Peacock r i g h t l y consider-ed himself w e l l s u i t e d to the task. The Memoirs begin by co r r e c t i n g some of the misleading passages i n the various Lives that Peacock was supposed to be reviewing i n the f i r s t part of his paper, but soon develop i n t o Peacock's own o u t l i n e of the l i f e of She l l e y , f u l l -of anecdote and w i t h digressions on sub-j e c t s i n which Peacock had a s p e c i a l i n t e r e s t . The second part, nominally a review of the Shelley Memorials, spends a good deal of time making c l e a r , to the best of Peacock's 113 knowledge and a b i l i t y , the t r u t h about Shelley's r e l a t i o n s w i t h Mary and H a r r i e t . Peacock deals w i t h t h i s d i f f i c u l t problem wi t h great care, weighing the evidence at h i s d i s p o s a l l i k e the most up r i g h t of judges, and, while doing i n j u s t i c e to none, i s the f i r s t to place H a r r i e t i n the l i g h t she deserves. He de-c l a r e s i t to be h i s most decided c o n v i c t i o n "that her conduct as a wife was as pure, as true, as absolutely f a u l t l e s s , as ." 7 ." ' that of any who f o r such conduct are h e l d most i n honour." And, despite the attacks, of the Shelley-worshippers, no proof has yet been adduced to show that Peacock was wrong i n s t a t i n g that H a r r i e t d i d not agree"to the separation from Shelley. On the subject of Shelley's h a l l u c i n a t i o n s , a l s o , Peacock dwells f o r some time, and h i s conclusions are remarkably sound. He men-tions the imaginary v i s i t i n childhood, the Eton i n c i d e n t , the madhouse scare, the a f f r a y at T a n y r a l l t , the dread of elephan-t i a s i s , Williams's warning, and the cloaked man at Plorence, and suggests i n explanation that on some ba s i s "his [Shelley's] imagination b u i l t a f a b r i c of romance, and when he presented i t as substantive f a c t , and i t was found %o contain more or l e s s of i n c o n s i s t e n c y , he f e l t h i s self-esteem i n t e r e s t e d i n main-t a i n i n g i t by accumulated circumstances, which s e v e r a l l y van-ished under the touch of i n v e s t i g a t i o n . " When a l l the circum-stances have been considered, Peacock's Memoirs of Shelley show a blend of sympathy and discernment that has never been sur-passed i n the extensive annals of Shelley biography and c r i t i c i s m . Outside the realm of pure biography, however, Peacock was 114 not averse to making f r e e w i t h the characters and opinions of h i s acquaintances and f r i e n d s , and to u t i l i s i n g , from time to time, i n c i d e n t s and s i t u a t i o n s that occurred i n the course of t h e i r l i v e s . This l a t t e r group of borrowings from ac t u a l biography i s not very l a r g e , however. I t begins i n Headlong H a l l , i n which the curious assemblage of guests i n v i t e d by Squire Headlong was probably suggested to Peacock by h i s obser-vations of Shelley's associates at B r a c k n e l l . In the Memoirs Peacock describes the company i n some d e t a i l s "At B r a c k n e l l , Shelley was surrounded by a numerous s o c i e t y , a l l i n a great measure of h i s own opinions i n r e l a t i o n to r e l i g i o n and p o l i t i c s , and the l a r g e r p o r t i o n of them i n r e l a t i o n to vegetable d i e t . But they wore t h e i r rue' w i t h a d i f f e r e n c e . Every one of them adopting some of the' ' a r t i c l e s of the f a i t h of t h e i r general church, each had nevertheless some predominant crotchet of h i s or her' own, which l e f t a number of open questions f o r earnest a/n"d not always temperate d i s c u s s i o n . I was sometimes i r r e v e r e n t enough to laugh at the fervour w i t h which opinions u t t e r l y unconducive to any p r a c t i c a l r e s u l t were b a t t l e d f o r "as matters of the highest importance to the well-being of mankind ..." 10 • This i s by no means i d e n t i c a l w i t h the Headlong H a l l company, but we can see that the p o s s i b i l i t i e s were considerable, and Peacock d i d not f a i l to make them m a t e r i a l i s e . Again, the v i s i t of the three philosophers to the Tremadoc embankment, and the model v i l l a g e there, may have been suggested by Shelley's v i s i t s i n 1812 and subsequent years and by h i s grea/fc i n t e r e s t ' ' ' 11 i n the embankment p r o j e c t , as w e l l as by Peacock's own v i s i t and a p p r e c i a t i o n of the scenery there. In Melincourt the episode of the somewhat drunk S i r Oran jumping out of the win-dow i s obviously modelled on an occasion, mentioned by Peacock i n the Memoirs, on which Shelley l e a p t out of the l i b r a r y 115 window i n order to avoid an unwelcome c a l l e r . The love t r i -angle i n Nightmare 'Abbey i s almost c e r t a i n l y based on the Harriet-Shelley-Mary s i t u a t i o n s though elaborated beyond recog-n i t i o n , almost, and given a s o c i a l l y acceptable outcome, and, f i n a l l y , the boat t r i p up the Thames i n Crotchet Oastle was born of that s i m i l a r excursion to Lechlade made by Peacock, Shelley, Mary, and Charles Clairmont. When i t comes to borrowing opinions and personal t r a i t s , Peacock helps himself w i t h an i n f i n i t e l y f r e e r hand. In a very few pages of Nightmare Abbey he manages to incorporate a great, deal of Byron - of Byron's s e l f - d r a m a t i s a t i o n , at l e a s t , i f not the r e a l Byron. He i s given the suggestive l a b e l of Mr. Cypress and introduced to us when he i s on the p o i n t of leaving England - Byron, we r e c a l l , was f r e q u e n t l y leaving England. He has come to se.y goodbye to h i s f r i e n d s at the Abbey, assuring them he w i l l always look back on them "with as much a f f e c t i o n as h i s la.cerated s p i r i t could f e e l f o r anything." A l l h i s remarks are e i t h e r wholly Byronic i n essence or most exact paraphrases of some of the more melancholy and moody passages i n Childe Harold. A f t e r a f a r e w e l l bumper Cypress explains that he wanders because he i s always searching f o r something -"The mind i s r e s t l e s s , and must p e r s i s t i n seeking, though to f i n d i s to be disappointed." A f t e r a l i t t l e general d i s c u s s i o n of f o r e i g n t r a v e l , Scythrop suggests that Cypress., being a man of s o c i a l p o s i t i o n as w e l l as genius, would do b e t t e r to serve h i s own country. Cypress r e p l i e s , " S i r , I have q u a r r e l l e d w i t h my w i f e ; and a man who has q u a r r e l l e d w i t h h i s w i f e i s absolved 116 from a l l duty to h i s country. I have written-an ode to t e l l •" 15 the people as much, and they may take i t as they l i s t . " This manifestly r e f e r s to the separation from Lady Byron, and to the rather unfortunate poem 'Fare thee w e l l J ' which Byron subse-quently wrote. Scythrop then suggests that Brutus would not have neglected h i s country's good because of domestic dissen-t i o n , but Flosky points out that though Cypress ( l i k e Byron) i s a senator (that i s , a member of the House of Lords), the cases are d i f f e r e n t , i n that w h i l e Brutus had hope of p o l i t i c a l good, Cypress has none. The remainder of Cypress's speeches, on h i s views of human nature, are neat paraphrases of passages from the t h i r d and f o u r t h cantoes of Childe Harold. One d e t a i l e d example i s s u f f i c i e n t . Here are the rele v a n t passages i n Childe Harolds "Our l i f e i s a f a l s e natures ' t i s hot i n The harmony of th i n g s , - t h i s hard decree, This uneradicable t a i n t of s i n , This boundless" upas, t h i s a l l - b l a s t i n g t r e e , • Whose root i s earth, whose leave's and branches be' The s k i e s which r a i n t h e i r plagues on men l i k e dew - " [Canto IV, c x x v i j "We wither from our youth, we gasp away" -Sick - s i c k ; unfound the boon, unslaked the t h i r s t , Though to the l a s t , i n verge" of our decay, Some phantom l u r e s , such as we sought at f i r s t -But' a l l too l a t e , - so are we doubly c u r s t . Love, fame, ambition, avarice -" ' t i s the same, Bach i d l e , and a l l i l l , and none the worst -For a,ll are meteors w i t h a d i f f e r e n t name, And Death the sable smoke where vanishes the flame." _ [Canto IV, c x x i v j And here the paraphr ••'"I have no hope f o r myself or f o r others. Our l i f e i s a f a l s e nature; i t i s not i n the harmony of things; i t i s ' an a l l - b l a s t i n g upas, whose root i s earth, and whose leaves are the s k i e s which r a i n t h e i r poison-dews upon mankind. We wither from our youth; we gasp w i t h unslaked t h i r s t f o r un a t t a i n a b l e good; l u r e d from the f i r s t to the l a s t by 117 "phantoms - l o v e , fame, ambition, avarice - a l l i d l e , and a l l i l l - one meteor of many names, that vanishes i n the smolce of death. " 1 6 Thus the core of Byron's romantic melancholy i s plucked out and e x h i b i t e d f o r what i t i s - a shallow thing , and rather s i l l y . The whole outlook of Byron i s summed up very neatly by Mr. H i l a r y , the s o l e exponent of common sense i n the book (and therefore, presumably, the one who most nearly expresses Pea-cock's views): "You t a l k l i k e a R o s i c r u s i a n , who w i l l love nothing but a sylph, who does not b e l i e v e i n the existence of a sylph, and who yet quarrels w i t h the whole universe f o r not ' ' 17 • • '•' • -containing a sylph." "And Peacock takes good care that none of h i s readers w i l l miss the references to Byron. The source of each paraphrase i s c a r e f u l l y given i n the footnotes. The scene closes w i t h a song from Cypress, 'There i s a fever of the s p i r i t ' , which i s a, most admirable parody, not of any s i n g l e poem of Byron's, but of Byronic poetry i n general. Byron was " " 18 d e l i g h t e d w i t h the c a r i c a t u r e . Peacock's u t i l i s a t i o n of the opinions of Shelley i s a, great deal more widespread and occurs '"chiefly i n Headlong H a l l , M elincourt, and Nightmare Abbey. In the f i r s t of these, Shelley's ideas appear both i n the arguments of Escot and i n those of Poster, though Escot probably has more of Shelley's views than has Poster, and Poster represents a younger Shelley than does Escot. S t i l l , i t i s not safe to say that any charac-ter i n the book represents Shelley. Escot and Poster are no more than p e r s o n i f i e d ideas, or homogeneous groups of ideas, and i t l i t t l e matters where they come from or w i t h whom they 118 o r i g i n a t e , when Foster opens h i s case w i t h a panegyric on the progress of science, e s p e c i a l l y i n the f i e l d of communication and t r a n s p o r t a t i o n , he i s speaking i n the tones of Shelley the i d e a l i s t i c young Oxford freshman; when Escot r e p l i e s that a l l t h i s seeming progress i s only enslaving mankind and leading to h i s downfall, he i s v o i c i n g the views of the maturer Shelley of 1811 who could w r i t e to E l i z a b e t h Hitchener of "any populous manufacturing d i s s i p a t e d town," and who was to w r i t e i n due course 'The Masque of Anarchy', Foster s p e c i f i e s progress i n chemistry - another of Shelley's y o u t h f u l enthusiasms, while Escot adduces the growth of luxury which s c i e n t i f i c development i n general produces - the more mature Shelley was an enemy of luxury. Escot's vegetarianism i s obviously a c l o s e l i n k w i t h Shelley, the vegetarian note on Queen Mab being considerably <• " ' '22 drawn on, even to the extent of borrowing a c t u a l phrases. Escot's subsequent point,' that the anatomy of the human stomach and the formation of the teeth place man i n the cl a s s of frug -ivorous animals i s also l i f t e d from the Queen Mab note. In a. l a t e r general argument i t i s again Foster's t u r n to quote Shelley. His remark that "men are vi r t u o u s i n proportion as they are enlightened; and that, as every generation increases i n knowledge, i t also increases i n v i r t u e " i s a borrowing from Shelley's Address to the I r i s h People and the ba s i s of Foster's p e r f e c t i b i l i a n arguments throughout. Escot r e p l i e s that he cannot f i n d that man i s i n c r e a s i n g i n mental powers "Energy - independence - i n d i v i d u a l i t y - d i s i n t e r e s t e d v i r -tue - a c t i v e benevolence - s e l f - o b l i v i o n - u n i v e r s a l p h i l -anthropy - these are the q u a l i t i e s ! d e s i r e to f i n d , and 119 "of which I contend that every succeeding age produces fewer examples." 24 This i s a s o r t of i n v e r t e d Godwinism, f o r the q u a l i t i e s Escot sees diminishing are p r e c i s e l y those from whose increase the Godwinians expected the improvement of mankind. Escot's attack on the reviewers i n Headlong H a l l i s not so t y p i c a l of Shelley - i n f a c t s Peacock simply takes over the argument f o r a time. Shelley d i d not l i k e the reviewers, hut, where he him™ s e l f was concerned, he e i t h e r ignored them or bore t h e i r attacks w i t h meekness. But when Escot a t t r i b u t e s r a c i a l de-t e r i o r a t i o n i n part to the use of wine, we are reminded of the Q.ueen Mab note again. The d i s c u s s i o n between Poster, Escot, and Jenkison on the o b l i q u i t y of the earth's axis once again leans h e a v i l y on the notes to Queen Mab. Escot b e l i e v e s that t h i s o b l i q u i t y i s the cause of a great deal of p h y s i c a l and moral e v i l . S helley says that the present s t a t e of the c l i -mates of the earth i s due to t h i s o b l i q u i t y and as a r e s u l t r e a l h e a l t h i s out of the reach of c i v i l i s e d man. Poster, of course, looks on the b r i g h t side and i s of the opinion that the procession of the equinoxes " w i l l g r a d u a l l y ameliorate the p h y s i c a l s t a t e of our planet, t i l l the e c l i p t i c s h a l l again coincide w i t h the equator, and the equal d i f f u s i o n of l i g h t and heat over the whole surface of the earth t y p i f y the equal and happy existence of man, who w i l l then have a t t a i n e d the f i n a l step of pure and p e r f e c t i n t e l l i g e n c e . " Poster's remarks are a p r o g r e s s i v i s t ' s summary of Shelley's note, e s p e c i a l l y the f o l l o w i n g passages " I t . i s exceedingly probable, from many considerations, that 120 " t h i s o b l i q u i t y w i l l g r a d u ally diminish, u n t i l the equator coincides w i t h the e c l i p t i c ... There i s no great extrava-gance i n presuming that the progress of the perpendicular-i t y of the poles may "be as r a p i d as the progress of int'elr l e c t ; or that there should he a p e r f e c t identity'"between • the moral and p h y s i c a l improvement of the human species."26 F i n a l l y , Jenkison r e f e r s to La Place to support a middle-of-the-road p o s i t i o n . S helley, too, mentions La Place, though only to set him aside again, because h i s t h e o r i e s do not accord w i t h Shelley's own. This l i t t l e d i s c u s s i o n , a l l the d i f f e r e n t ideas of which are drawn from a s i n g l e short note to Shelley's poem, i s t y p i c a l of what Peacock can do i n elaborating and exaggerating any unusual m a t e r i a l he may come across i n h i s reading. Contemplating the Tremadoc settlement, Escot, while deploring the advance of the machine age, decries c h i l d labour - a subject on which Shelley also f e l t s t r o n g l y . The conclud-ing passage i n which Escot i s unmistakably v o i c i n g the opinions of Shelley i s h i s f i n a l onslaught on marriage. The whole long speech has a s t r o n g l y Godwinian f l a v o u r , but a part of i t at l e a s t merely r e c a p i t u l a t e s i n s l i g h t l y more conservative terms what Shelley has to say of the present s t a t e of marriage on a b a r t e r b a s i s - that i t d r i v e s young men to consort w i t h pros-t i t u t e s who are themselves the innocent v i c t i m s of the corrup-tions of s o c i e t y - i n h i s note on marriage i n Queen Mab. Once again s i m i l a r i t i e s of phrase are observable between the two passages. The ideas produced i n Headlong H a l l are, g e n e r a l l y speak-ing, Shelley's l e s s conventional ones. Porester i n Melincourt i n many ways resembles Escot, e s p e c i a l l y i n h i s p r i m i t i v i s m , but we do not know, though Shelley was assuredly f a m i l i a r w i t h 121 Monboddo, Rousseau, and the r e s t , that he a c t u a l l y "believed i n the p h y s i c a l degeneration of mankind or i n the humanity of the orang-utan. The s o c i a l "beliefs of Forester, apart from these extreme p r i m i t i v i s t i c c r o t c h e t s , are much more moderate and not very i n d i v i d u a l . As we have seen, Forester champions a form of platonism, not u n l i k e Shelley's p o l i t i c s , "but also resembling the views of many other l i b e r a l s then and since. I have found i n Melincourt no more d i r e c t quotations from or paraphrases of Shelley's w r i t i n g s . Some minor d e t a i l s may have been suggested by Shelley, however. Fore s t e r , l i k e Escot and Shelley, was not very much impressed by the blessings of c i v i l i s a t i o n . L i k e Shelley, too, he i s only an occasional wine-drinker - i n gen-e r a l disapproving of the p r a c t i c e . I can f i n d i n Newman White no support of the b e l i e f that Shelley abstained from the use of sugar i n order to discourage West Indian s l a v e r y , but Pea-cock ( l i k e Coleridge) c e r t a i n l y d i d , and he probably took a good opportunity to do a l i t t l e propagandising i n a worthy cause. We l e a r n from S i r Telegraph Paxarett that ' the d i f f u s -i o n of l i b e r t y , and the general happiness of mankind' were Forester's f a v o u r i t e t o p i c s at c o l l e g e , a remark that sounds s u f f i c i e n t l y d e s c r i p t i v e of Shelley. Forester t a l k s , too, of the v e n a l i t y of love and the commercialisation of marriage i n terms not u n l i k e those of Escot, but he also opposes Fax, who advocates the population theories of Malthus and eulogises the " ' 28 •' s i n g l e man or woman. Shelley repeatedly attacked Malthus and by no means i n such reasonable tones as those adopted by For-ester towards h i s f r i e n d . Forester appears, moreover, to be a 122 d i s c i p l e - though somewhat d i s i l l u s i o n e d - of Godwinian bene-volence. Porester, too, l i k e Scythrop a f t e r him, was a pioneer i n the cause of b e t t e r education {that i s , a more l i b e r a l education) f o r women - and we cannot suppose Shelley to have been otherwise when he married the daughter of Mary V/ollstone-c r a f t . Porester, l i k e Escot and Shelley once again, i s a foe of luxury. F i n a l l y , Forester's p o l i t i c a l creed can not be un-' f a m i l i a r to the student of Shelley, f o r i t i s pure Godwins "I am no r e v o l u t i o n i s t . I am ho advocate f o r v i o l e n t and a r b i t r a r y changes i n the s t a t e of s o c i e t y . I care hot i n what pro p o r t i o n property i s d i v i d e d ... provided the r i c h can be made to know that they are but the stewards of the" poor, that they are not to be the monopolisers of s o l i t a r y s p o i l , but the d i s t r i b u t o r s of general possession: that ' they are responsible f o r that d i s t r i b u t i o n to every p r i n - " c i p l e of general j u s t i c e , to every t i e of moral o b l i g a t i o n , to every f e e l i n g of human sympathy; that they are bound to c u l t i v a t e simple h a b i t s i n themselves, and to encourage most such a r t s of industry and peace as are most compatible w i t h the h e a l t h and l i b e r t y of others." 29 This may not be Shelley's creed word f o r word, but there i s a f a m i l y resemblance. Shelley i n h i s maturer years v/as_ very moderate i n h i s demands f o r reform - he r e a l i s e d , f o r instance, that England was not yet ready f o r u n i v e r s a l suffrage, d e s i r -able as that u l t i m a t e l y was. He h o r r i f i e d h i s f a m i l y by s t a t -ing h i s i n t e n t i o n , when he should i n h e r i t the f a m i l y estate, of d i v i d i n g i t equally among a l l the members of the f a m i l y . And h i s a t t i t u d e towards s o c i e t y i n general i s amply t e s t i f i e d to by h i s generosity alone. Scythrop i n Hightmare Abbey i s at the same time the most f a r c i c a l and the most audacious p o r t r a i t of Shelley Peacock ever indulged i n . The crux of the p l o t i s Scythrop's double love a f f a i r , and somehow Peacock avoided offending Shelley by 123 the use he made of i t . For Scythrop'B.frivolous tormentor, Marionetta, i s a l l hut a complete p o r t r a i t of H a r r i e t West-brook, while-the serious and mysterious S t e l l a i s the i n t e l l e c -t u a l , i f not the p h y s i c a l , counterpart of Mary Godwin. But Peacock does not f o l l o w Shelley's amatory adventures so c l o s e l y that he i n f r i n g e s upon conventional m o r a l i t y . He solves Scythrop's thorny problem by making him los e both l a d i e s at once and i n the most amusing circumstances. Scythrop, of cou.rse, despite the f a c t that Pea.cock formulated h i s personal-i t y from a. s e r i e s of the most f l a g r a n t borrowings from r e a l l i f e , i s a p o r t r a i t n e i t h e r of the mature nor of the young Shelley. He i s a t y p i c a l l y Pea,cockian character composed of a number of the most r i d i c u l o u s tra-its displayed by Shelley i n h i s youth. He i s f i r s t introduced to us as a p e r f e c t l y ordin-ary person, a. t y p i c a l Eton-and-Oxford product {in Peacock's o p i n i o n ) , c u l t u r a l l y barbarous but s o c i a l l y p o l i s h e d . So f a r there i s nothing of Shelley about him. But soon he i s involved i n a, f u t i l e love a f f a i r , p a r a l l e l i n g that of Shelley w i t h H a r r i e t Grove, and r e t i r e s d i s g r u n t l e d to the p a t e r n a l mansion, Hightmare Abbey. There h i s f a t h e r t r i e s to comfort him w i t h h i s r e f l e c t i o n s on the mercenary nature of women, to which Scythrop r e p l i e s , Shelley-like*. " ' I em sor r y f o r i t , s i r , ' s a i d Scythrop. 'But how i s i t that t h e i r minds are locked up? The f a u l t i s in" t h e i r a r t i f i c i a l education, which s t u d i o u s l y models them i n t o mere musical d o l l s , to be' set out f o r s a l e i n the great toy-shop of s o c i e t y . ' " 30 Shor t l y the r e a l extravagances of character come to l i g h t . Disappointed love d r i v e s Scythrop to read endless German 124 romances and tragedies, and after that, acting on the advice of Mr... Flosky ( C o l e r i d g e ) , he "begins to pore over transcendental philosophy. In a c t u a l l i f e , Coleridge had a considerable i n -fluence upon Shelley - though more i n poetry than, i n p h i l o s -ophy. In no time Scythrop i s 'troubled w i t h the passion f o r reforming the world' which Shelley confesses to i n h i s preface to Prometheus. Scythrop, however, proposes to regenerate s o c i e t y through the agency of i i l u m i n a t i (and b a n d i t t i ) , over whom, of course, he would be supreme r u l e r . But from these romantic and j u v e n i l e imaginings he somehow develops a, P l a t o n i c and S h e l l e y - l i k e creed*. "Knowledge i s power; i t i s i n the hands of a few, who employ i t to mislead the many, f o r t h e i r own s e l f i s h purposes of aggrandisement and app r o p r i a t i o n , what i f i t were" i n the hands of a few who should employ i t to lead the. many? What i f i t were u n i v e r s a l , and the multitude were enlightened? No. The many must be always i n l e a d i n g - s t r i n g s ! but" l e t ' ' them have wise and honest conductors. A' few to think, * and" many to act; that i s the only b a s i s of p e r f e c t s o c i e t y . " 33 Having come to these conclusions, Scythrop must needs give them to the world, and, as Shelley wrote and published h i s 'Propos-a l s f o r an A s s o c i a t i o n of those P h i l a n t h r o p i s t s who, convinced of the inadequacy of the moral and p o l i t i c a l s t a t e of I r e l a n d to produce b e n e f i t s , which are nevertheless a t t a i n a b l e , are w i l l i n g to u n i t e to accomplish i t s regeneration', so he wrote and f o i s t e d upon the world - w i t h about as much success as Shelley - ' P h i l o s o p h i c a l Gas; or, a P r o j e c t f o r a General I l l u m i n a t i o n of the Human Mind.' Very soon the su s c e p t i b l e Scythrop becomes involved i n a new love a f f a i r . Por Marionetta 0 ' C a r r o l l , who has a l l the p h y s i c a l c h a r a c t e r i s t i c s though she wants a few of the moral ones of H a r r i e t Westbrook, he i s an 125 easy conquest u n t i l S t e l l a , who can o f f e r Scythrop both beauty and i n t e l l e c t u a l companionship, a r r i v e s on the scene. In the book, however, n e i t h e r lady i s aware of her r i v a l u n t i l the denouement, when Scythrop i s confronted w i t h both at once, and when both, h i g h l y d i s s a t i s f i e d w i t h h i s attempts at explanation flounce out of the room and i n short space marry the Honourable Mr. L i s t l e s s and the metaphysical Mr. Plosky. In t h i s pleasant way Peacock e n t i r e l y avoids the p a i n f u l aspects of the H a r r i e t -Shelley-Mary t r i a n g l e , which he so deeply disapproved and l a -mented. Moreover, Scythrop does not desert the f i r s t f o r the subsequent lo v e , but i s suspended e q u i d i s t a n t , l i k e Mahomet's c o f f i n , between Marionetta's earth and S t e l l a ' s heaven. Scyth-rop tends more and more, as he i s developed i n the course of the book, to shed h i s l i k e n e s s to Shelley and to take on a pu r e l y mock-heroic character. In h i s l a s t great scene, when he has vowed to shoot himself at twenty-five minutes p ast s even, but as the f a t a l moment draws near persuades the b u t l e r by f o r c e of arms to put back the cl o c k , u n t i l h i s f a t h e r a r r i v e s and saves the s i t u a t i o n , the whole a c t i o n i s probably of Pea-cock' s i n v e n t i o n . Yet i t i s strangely i n character. Peacock can hardly have known of Shelley's confession i n an e a r l y l e t t e r to Hogg: "Is s u i c i d e wrong? I s l e p t w i t h a loaded p i s t o l and some poison l a s t n i g h t , but d i d not die. 1 1 P a r t - p o r t r a i t s and the ideas of Shelley have no place i n the medieval t a l e s nor i n Crotchet Ca,stie; but i n G r y l l Grange - w r i t t e n about the same time as the Memoirs, which no doubt re v i v e d a l l s o r t s of d e t a i l s about Shelley i n Peacock's mind -126 the hero once again i s given some of the t r a i t s of Shelley. The p o r t r a i t - i f , indeed, i t i s meant to he a p o r t r a i t - i s a pale one, however - even more pale and i n d e f i n a b l e than that i n Melincourt. Falconer, though a man of wide l e a r n i n g and catho-l i c -taste, i s p a r t i a l to the novels of Charles Brockden Brown. Peacock notes i n the Memoirs a s i m i l a r p a r t i a l i t y i n Shelley. Falconer also professes great admiration f o r Cervantes, Lope de Vega, and Calderon - a love shared by Shelley, e s p e c i a l l y concerning Calderon. ' F i n a l l y , Shelley's devotion to types of i d e a l beauty and h i s tendency to l i v e i n the immaterial rather than the m a t e r i a l world - and to confuse the two - are expres-sed i n the Memoirs. I t can hardly be a coincidence that Falconer at one poin t expresses himself thus* "I t h i n k I can c l e a r l y d i s t i n g u i s h devotion to i d e a l beauty from s u p e r s t i t i o u s b e l i e f . I f e e l the necessity of some such devotion to f i l l up the void, which' the 'world,. as i t ' i s , leaves i n my mind. I wish to b e l i e v e i n the' presence' ' of some l o c a l s p i r i t u a l influence*, genius of nymph"; l i n k i n g us by a medium of something l i k e human f e e l i n g , but more' pure and more exalted, to the a l l - p e r v a d i n g , c r e a t i v e , and pr e s e r v a t i v e s p i r i t of the universe ..." 36 How f a r are these p o r t r a i t s that Peacock has drawn f o r us co n s i s t e n t w i t h themselves, or wi t h t h e i r o r i g i n a l s ? There can be l i t t l e doubt about t h e i r consistence w i t h i n themselves. Peacock never drew an i n c o n s i s t e n t p o r t r a i t f o r the very good reason that he never drew r e a l people. He was j u s t f e e l i n g h i s way to the drawing of r e a l f l e s h and blood characters by the time he was f i n i s h i n g G r y l l Grange. The people that t a l k round the i n e v i t a b l e d i n n e r - t a b l e i n h i s novels of t a l k are merely p e r s o n i f i e d ideas, or l o g i c a l sequences of ideas, and nothing more. Consequently, when he creates a character to represent 127 some p a r t i c u l a r crotchet or point of view, he would he a, poor craftsman indeed i f he d i d not keep each character consistent w i t h i t s e l f . -Thus Byron, i s u n f a i l i n g l y represented as the melancholy, wordy poseur, while Shelley as Forester - i f we must consider Forester a p o r t r a i t of him - i s a serious young philosopher and reformer w i t h one or two p r i m i t i v i s t i c crotch-et s , and Shelley as Scythrop behaves throughout i n the t r a d i t -i o n of Gothic romanticism, u n t i l the a n t i c l i m a x at the very end. And how c l o s e l y do these p o r t r a i t s resemble the l i v i n g poets? Cypress: has about as much i n common w i t h Byron as Flosky w i t h Coleridge i n the same book. Byron d i d not, of 1 course, arouse the p o l i t i c a l animosity i n Peacock that the Lake Poets d i d , and so h i s p o r t r a i t i s a l e s s prejudiced one. But we know that Peacock thought he saw r e a l danger i n the more morbid trends of contemporary l i t e r a t u r e , - f o r concerning Nightmare Abbey he w r i t e s - thus to Shelley: ' " I have almost f i n i s h e d 'Nightmare Abbey1.'.'/T think:' it'"' necessary to 'make a stand 1 against the 1 encroachments 1 of black b i l e . The f o u r t h canto of 'Childe Harold' i s r e a l l y too bad. "• 37 The portrait-: in. Nightmare Abbey, then, i s merely designed to laugh out of court the morbid excesses that Byron - and other w r i t e r s - were making the s t u f f of t h e i r poems and books. That was one aspect of Byron that Peacock deplored to a marked ex-tent, and he concentrated h i s c r i t i c i s m on i t accordingly. Again we are only shown a par t of the o r i g i n a l - a part s i g n i f i -cant enough to be recognised ( e s p e c i a l l y as i t was the part that Byron r e g u l a r l y e x h i b i t e d to the p u b l i c ) - but s t i l l only p a r t . The unhappy and warped background that made Byron what 128 he "was i s wholly neglected: hut then Peacock e x c e l l e d as a c a r i c a t u r i s t , and not as a psychologist. Again i t i s the c a r i -c a t u r i s t who predominates i n the drawing of Scythrop, though a few clues to h i s f a n t a s t i c behaviour are dropped, namely d i s -appointment i n love and subsequent immersion i n German l i t e r -ature and philosophy. Scythrop i s a Shelley without purpose and without "genius - otherwise the p o r t r a i t i s as true to l i f e as i t could be w i t h i n the l i m i t s of f r i e n d s h i p and good tast e . There was no harm i n reproducing a number of Shelley's, y o u t h f u l and amusing vagaries, but Peacock obviously could not portray the love a f f a i r s as they a c t u a l l y appeared to him. So whereas Shelley had long outgrown such extravagances, Scythrop i s allow-ed to continue on the somewhat f r e a k i s h plane of imaginative and romantic adolescence. Porester i s hardly a p o r t r a i t at a l l but what there i s of i t i s no longer c a r i c a t u r e , f o r Peacock's mood i s i n t h i s case one of amused a f f e c t i o n . Sut what there i s of S helley i n Melincourt i s j u s t a c o l l e c t i o n of ideas that might have been f a v o u r i t e s of h i s . The too-perfect Porester can never have been intended f o r a f u l l - l e n g t h portra.it of Peacock's f r i e n d . I t i s f u t i l e to attempt to consider h i s con-s i s t e n c y w i t h h i s o r i g i n a l because of t h i s . The same ob j e c t i o n applies w i t h even greater f o r c e to any attempt to weigh Pale on-er of G r y l l Grange i n the scales w i t h Shelley. He has merely a few of Shelley's tastes which seem to have been added as an afterthought. As f o r Headlong H a l l - since Shelley's ideas are d i v i d e d between Escot and Poster, obviously neither i s a por-t r a i t of Shelley - each i s j u s t as obviously a walking argument 129 f o r p r i m i t i v i s m i n the one case, and progressiviem i n the other. What, then, we may ask, was Peacock's r e a l a t t i t u d e to Byron and Shelley? A number of references scattered through the writings, - d i r e c t statements - give us some notion of h i s opinions on Byron. As f a r as Shelley i s concerned, d i r e c t c r i t i c i s m and comment i s to he found only i n the Memoirs. To begin w i t h , here are the relevant comments on Byron. In The Pour Ages of Poetry passing mention i s made of him. Discussing how modern poets make use of b a r b a r i c m a t e r i a l f o r t h e i r poetry Peacock merely says, "Lord Byron c r u i s e s f o r thieves and p i r a t e s on the shores of the Morea and among the Greek i s l a n d s . A l e s s f r i v o l o u s judgment i s expressed i n a l e t t e r to Shelley: "Cain i s very fine*, Sardanapalus I think f i n e r ; Don Juan i s best of a l l . I have read nothing e l s e i n recent l i t e r a t u r e that I think good f o r anything." In the review of Moore's L i f e Peacock has one or two good things to say about Byron though he was r e s e r v i n g the major part of h i s c r i t i c i s m t i l l he should have the opportunity of reviewing the second volume. Unfortunately h i s own s e v e r i t y deprived him of that opportun-i t y . The greater p a r t of the c r i t i c i s m of the f i r s t volume i s c r i t i c i s m of the author, a good deal more i s a mere o u t l i n e of Byron*s l i f e , but o c c a s i o n a l l y h i s comments on some aspect of the l i f e are i l l u m i n a t i n g . "Lord Byron was always 'himself the great sublime he drew.' Whatever f i g u r e s f i l l e d up the middle and back ground of h i s p i c t u r e s , the fore-ground was i n v a r i a b l y consecrated to h i s own." Then, h i s confidences were only 130 half-confidences, meant only to rouse the c u r i o s i t y of the p u b l i c , and many of h i s remarks, both i n conversation and i n w r i t i n g , . were purposely mysterious. "He gave f u l l vent to h i s f e e l i n g s : but he h i n t e d , rather than communicated, the circum-stances of t h e i r o r i g i n s and he mixed up i n h i s h i n t s shadowy se l f - a c c u s a t i o n s of imaginary crimes, on which, of course, the l i b e r a l p u b l i c put the worst p o s s i b l e c o n s t r u c t i o n . " A neat a n a l y s i s that" There are f u r t h e r s e n s i b l e remarks concerning the Mary Chaworth a f f a i r . Moore was of the opinion that i t coloured the whole of Byron's l i f e . Peacock, however, thinks t h a t , i f Byron had married Mary, he would have t i r e d of her as he t i r e d of the others; that, l i k e many another, Byron always wanted the unattainable: "Through l i f e he aimed at what he could not compass. He took the best s u b s t i t u t e which circumstances placed In h i s way, and consoled himself w i t h a handmaid f o r the l o s s of a Helens the l a t t e r being s t i l l longed f o r because she was i n a c c e s s i b l e . " '42 Later i n the review there are some s a r c a s t i c remarks upon the f a c t that Byron ( a f t e r having w r i t t e n h i s 'English Bards and S c o t t i s h Reviewers') and Moore became f r i e n d l y w i t h the review-ers. J e f f r e y , Moore, and Byron, he says, "became three of the best f r i e n d s i n t h i s l i t e r a r y world, to the great advantage of t h e i r r e s p e c t i v e reputations wi th the enlightened and discern-43 ' • ing p u b l i c . " In h i s o l d age, annotating before p u b l i c a t i o n the l e t t e r s he had received from Shelley from I t a l y and abroad, Peacock closes h i s Byron c r i t i c i s m on yet another s a r c a s t i c note. Byron ha,d once mentioned to Medwin a novel w r i t t e n by a f r i e n d of S h e l l e y ' s , founded on h i s bear. His d e s c r i p t i o n was 131 s u f f i c i e n t to i d e n t i f y the hook as Melincourt, hut Peacock strenuously denies any r e l a t i o n s h i p between S i r Oran and any of Byron's pets: "I thought n e i t h e r of Lord Byron's bear nor of Caligua's horse. But Lord Byron was much i n the h a b i t of fancy-44 ing that a l l the world was spinning on h i s p i v o t . " Shelley's work i s treated by Peacock w i t h most a t y p i c a l gentleness. In the f i r s t place. Peacock wishes that h i s w r i t -ings might be t o t a l l y divorced from h i s l i f e . He f e l t that Shelley's poetry, was the best and only necessary v i n d i c a t i o n of h i s existence* "NOT/, I could have wished that, l i k e Wordsworth's Cuckoo, he had been allowed to remain a voice and a mystery: that, l i k e h i s own Skylark, he had been l e f t unseen i n h i s congenial region. Above the smoke and s t i r of t h i s dim spot Which men ca.ll earth, M i l t o n , Comus, i i . 5 , 6 and that he had been only heard i n the splendour of h i s s o n g . " 4 5 Shelley's s p l e n d i d song, however, i s not f l a w l e s s . Peacock never allowed prejudice wholly to obscure the good points of h i s enemies, and h i s f r i e n d s h i p f o r Shelley d i d not b l i n d him e i t h e r to the. f a u l t s of Shelley's character, or to the l e s s e r f a u l t s of h i s poetry. He describes Shelley's love of the grand aspects of nature - a love that must have been very c l o s e to Peacock's own - a love f o r mountains, t o r r e n t s , f o r e s t s , sea, and such r u i n s a.s " s t i l l r e f l e c t e d the greatness of a n t i q u i t y , " and how i n h i s poetry he peopled them w i t h "phantoms of v i r t u e 46 ' and beauty, such as never e x i s t e d on earth." One of h i s f i n e s t examples of such w r i t i n g i s Prometheus Unbound. Peacock then has a, few penetrating remarks to make on the subject of Shel-l e y ' s dramatic w r i t i n g : "He only once descended i n t o the arena of r e a l i t y , and that was i n the tragedy of the Cenci. This i s unquestionably"a work of great dramatic power, but i t i s as. unquestionably not a, work f o r the modern E n g l i s h stage. : I t "would" have been a great work i n the days of lias 'singer .... But'he could not c l i p h i s wings'to the l i t t l e n e s s of the acting " .drama; and though he adhered to h i s purpose of "writing- f o r the stage, a,nd chose Charles I f o r h i s subject, he' d i d not make much progress i n "the task. I f h i s l i f e ' h a d been""""' prolonged,' I s t i l l ' t h i n k he would have accomplished some-thing worthy of the best days of t h e a t r i c a l l i t e r a t u r e . I f the gorgeous scenery of h i s poetry could have' been peopled from a c t u a l l i f e , i f the deep thoughts and strong f e e l i n g s which he was so capable of expressing, had been accommodated to characters such as have been a,nd may be, however exceptional i n the greatness of passion, he would have added h i s own name to those of the masters of the a r t . " 47 The Memoir concludes w i t h an a p p r e c i a t i o n of Shelley w i t h v„rhich none but the extrernest enthusiast can f i n d serious f a u l t : "So perished Percy'Bysshe Shelley, i n the flower of h i s age, and hot perhaps even yet i n the " f u l l flower of" h i s genius; a genius unsurpassed i n the descr i p t i o n ' and imagination of . scenes of beauty and" grandeur*, i n the expression of im-" ' ' * passioned love of i d e a l beauty; i n the i l l u s t r a t i o n of deep f e e l i n g by congenial imagery j and i n the i n f i n i t e v a r i e t y of harmonious v e r s i f i c a t i o n . 'i7hat was, i n my opinion, d e f i c i e n t i n h i s poetry, was, as I have already said," the want of r e a l i t y i n " the characters w i t h which he peopled'his sple n d i d scenes, and to which he addressed or imparted the utterance of h i s impassioned f e e l i n g s . He was advancing," I t h i n k , to the attainment of t h i s r e a l i t y . I t would have giv e n to h i s poetry the only element of t r u t h which i t wanted ..." 48 Peacock i s notably more sympathetic towards Byron a,nd Shelley than he i s towards the older romantics. The l i b e r a l i s m , of the two young poets probably had a great deal to do w i t h i t , and more than that, t h e i r p o l i t i c a l s i n c e r i t y struck a respon-s i v e chord i n Peacock. C r i t i c i s m s - i n the case of Byron at l e a s t - are given, as u s u a l , more p u b l i c i t y than p r a i s e , but r e a l l y Byron i s subjected only to one important c r i t i c i s m - that he overindulges i n morbid s e l f - d r a m a t i s a t i o n . The minor f a u l t s 133 Peacock f i n d s i n him stem i n the main from t h i s fundamental one. I t i s very probably that Peacock knew a great deal l e s s of the r e a l i t y behind the Byronic facade than we do. He seems to have thought the Byronic a t t i t u d e a pose only •- probably designed to _a t t r a c t the p u b l i c - whereas we r e a l i s e i t to have been the almost i n e v i t a b l e outcome of h i s doubly unfortunate h e r e d i t y and environment. But apart from t h i s un-English and unhealthy i n t r o s p e c t i o n , Peacock f i n d s l i t t l e to object to i n Byron, and we can w e l l understand h i s r e l i s h f o r Byron the s a t i r i s t . I t i s more d i f f i c u l t to understand h i s enthusiasm f o r Shelley's poetry - i t s immaterialism and i d e a l i s m would seem, at f i r s t , to have no place whatever i n the Peacockian scheme of things. But Peacock himself d i d not dwell perpetual-l y i n Peacockia. He could take time o f f to i d e a l i s e Greece, and though h i s own i d e a l i s m tended to crumble i n the face of the every-day, m a t e r i a l world, he must have ret a i n e d i n h i s heart enough of the v i s i o n a r y to appreciate and applaud the uncowed and unashamed i d e a l i s m of h i s f r i e n d . And h i s c r i t i c i s m of a want of r e a l i t y i s only too j u s t - the r a r e f i e d atmosphere of Shelley's prophetic poetry has b l i n d e d many and many a reader to the e s s e n t i a l t r u t h , and p r a c t i c a l i t y , that l i e s behind. 134 Peacock? c r i t i c of Romantioism Peacock i s one of the a r i s t o c r a t s of E n g l i s h l e t t e r s . He never had to w r i t e i n order to make a l i v i n g . In h i s youth he was able to l i v e on the modest f a m i l y income, eked out, event-u a l l y , by some few co n t r i b u t i o n s from Shelley and, once he had joined the s t a f f of the India, House, he was i n very comfortable circumstances f o r the r e s t of h i s days. As a r e s u l t of t h i s he wrote to please h i m s e l f , and s a i d h i s say i n defiance of the pleasure or displeasure of the world. He probably had no great wish to become a 'popular' author - at l e a s t , h i s oft-repeated sneers at the 'reading p u b l i c ' suggest that he was no l e s s f a s t i d i o u s about h i s audience than h i s contemporary, Landor. Some remarks made by Peacock i n the London Review on the nature of comic f i c t i o n throw l i g h t on h i s probable a t t i t u d e to h i s own w r i t i n g s I ' "An intense love of truth" may e x i s t without the f a c u l t y of detecting i t ; and a c l e a r apprehension of t r u t h may' co-e x i s t w i t h a determination to pervert i t . The union of both i s r a r e ; and s t i l l more r a r e .is the combination of both w i t h that p e c u l i a r 'composite of n a t u r a l capacity and superinduced h a b i t , ' which c o n s t i t u t e s what i s u s u a l l y denominated comic genius." 2 This suggests that he wrote i n order to promote the cause of t r u t h . His p r e c i s e i d e a of the nature of t r u t h i s nowhere explained, but the novels seem to po i n t to a clo s e i d e n t i f i c a t -i o n of i t w i t h common sense. Por there he i s always promoting the cause of what he sees as common sense against a l l the ex-travagances i n the world around him. And h i s notions of common sense are warped by no adherence to party or patron. His major bias i s against b i a s , and i t i s one we can r e a d i l y f o r g i v e him. We can accept h i s opinions, then, without suspicion. His judg-ments, although not i n v a r i a b l y c o r r e c t , are among the most sincere of h i s age. But i n accepting these judgments, the great majority of which time has proved to be remarkably good, i t i s i n a d v i s a b l e to f o r g e t or f a i l to make some allowance f o r Peacock's own p r e j u d i c e s . Although i t i s h i g h l y improbable that he ever thought himself f a u l t l e s s , he was perhaps rather too prone to judge other men by h i s own h i g h standards. He was f i r s t and foremost an i n t e l l e c t u a l , and one w i t h very d e f i n i t e views on education and the t r a i n i n g of the i n t e l l e c t . I t would almost seem as i f he f a n c i e d he had found the only r e a l way to obtain an education, and that a l l others were wrong - espec-i a l l y i f they included a course at u n i v e r s i t y , or p a i d i n -s u f f i c i e n t a t t e n t i o n to the c l a s s i c s . His i n t e l l e c t u a l i s m , or s c h o l a r s h i p , then, l e d him at times to l a y undue st r e s s on minutiae. Pacts (at l e a s t when used by other people) had to be handled w i t h the utmost exactitude. I t seems to be the case, however, that Peacock u s u a l l y mounted h i s pedantic hobby-horse p a r t i c u l a r l y when he was c r i t i c i s i n g people he d i d not l i k e , and d i d not want to l i k e - Keats, Tennyson, and Moore, f o r instance. As i t happens, the s t r i c t u r e s were l a r g e l y deserved Where Moore was concerned, but h i s a t t i t u d e to Keats and Tenny-son i s much more d i f f i c u l t to extenuate. Peacock, however, was only human, and h i s prejudices against i n d i v i d u a l s and i n s t i -t u t i o n s pale i n t o i n s i g n i f i c a n c e beside those of h i s b e t t e r -known contemporary, - Thomas C a r l y l e l S t i l l , we must not f o r g e t 136 h i s l i f e - l o n g p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r sound scholarship and f o r p o l -i t i c a l and s o c i a l i n t e g r i t y . And i f i t i s a f a u l t , i t i s a f a u l t f a r more v e n i a l than most. Peacock's general and frequently adverse c r i t i c i s m of h i s contemporaries may e a s i l y l e a d us to think of him as the enemy of romanticism, hut t h i s i s f a r from being the case. He was one of the severest c r i t i c s that romantic w r i t e r s , great and smal l , have ever had to face, but he seldom c r i t i c i s e s them on the score of t h e i r - romanticism, unless, l i k e Byron, they were c a r r y i n g c e r t a i n phases of i t to excess, or, l i k e the Lake School, had formulated poetic theories which they themselves p a r t i a l l y r e f u t e d i n the composition of t h e i r best poetry. Apart from t h i s , Peacock attacks h i s contemporaries because of r e a l or apparent flaws i n t h e i r characters. The world tends to take i t f o r granted that- theory and p r a c t i c e s h a l l not be ex-pected, to c o i n c i d e , but many a year passed before Peacock could i n any measure r e c o n c i l e himself to such a s t a t e of a f f a i r s . His most v i o l e n t outcry against i t occurs i n Melincourt, where Mr. S a r c a s t i c , to the pained bewilderment of a l l , preaches . ex a c t l y what he p r a c t i s e s . I t i s not s u r p r i s i n g , then, that i n the same book Peacock should scourge as he does the apparent t e r g i v e r s a t i o n of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and.Southey. Pea-cock's e s s e n t i a l l y r a t i o n a l mind was unable to sympathise w i t h the more emotional r e a c t i o n s of the Lake Poets to the world around them (and p a r t i c u l a r l y to the outcome of the Prench Rev--o l u t i o n ) , and i t i s not impossible that he never made any ser-ious e f f o r t to understand t h e i r p o i n t of view. But the point 137 i s that Peacock never c r i t i c i s e s the r e a l basis of romanticism, the r e t u r n to nature. He sometimes laughs at the romantic i d e a l i s a t i o n of the past, but i t i s a f a u l t w i t h which he has the strongest sympathy, and so h i s laughter concerning i t i s never anything but g e n i a l . In f a c t , Rhododaphne and the f r a g -mentary C a l i d o r e suggest that Peacock i s not above indulging i n a l i t t l e i d e a l i s a t i o n of h i s own where ancient Greece i s con-cerned. The complete prose works, however, r e v e a l a man poised e q u i d i s t a n t between c l a s s i c i s m and romanticism. In each of h i s novels, against a background unashamedly romantic, he t i l t s i n the true Augustan manner at f o l l y and f a s h i o n , men and manners. Sometimes, too, the romantic background forgets i t s e l f and becomes the foreground, e s p e c i a l l y i n the l a t e r novels, Prot-chet C a s t l e and G r y l l Grange. His c h i e f points of contact -with h i s romantic contemporaries were, of course, h i s love of nature i n a l l i t s aspects, from the p a s t o r a l to the w i l d l y picturesque scene (and h i s d e s c r i p t i o n s of some of h i s heroines - such as A n t h e l i a Melincourt and Susannah Touchandgo - suggest that he may also have been s l i g h t l y impregnated w i t h a s o r t of Words-worthian nature-wor s h i p ) , and h i s i n t e r e s t i n the past, con-cerning which he probably knew more about Greece than any of h i s contemporaries, and more about the middle ages than anyone besides Scott. A l l these l i k e s and d i s l i k e s , both i n t e l l e c t u a l and aes-t h e t i c , l e d him to form f a i r l y decided opinions about the major l i t e r a r y men around him. I t i s s i g n i f i c a n t , i n the f i r s t p lace, that he has r e a l i s e d very accurately j u s t who were the 138 great men of l e t t e r s of h i s time. Wordsworth, Coleridge, Shelley, Byron, Scott, Southey, Moore, and the reviewers play the l a r g e s t parts i n h i s c r i t i c i s m . Of these, Southey i s not, perhaps, a major author, and Moore i s d i s t i n c t l y a minor (and, of course, Peacock's extensive c r i t i c i s m of him was intended to prove that, or worse), w h i l e the reviewers, though not i n them-selves of major l i t e r a r y importance, had a profound influence upon the l i t e r a t u r e of the time. This i s quite a good c r i t i c a l record, f o r Peacock had to make up h i s mind ahout these men hefore p o s t e r i t y could make h i s mind up f o r him, and h i s a b i l -i t y to appreciate the best i n them i s i n i t s e l f r a ther remark-able i n the l i g h t of h i s preponderantly c l a s s i c a l background. Looking at h i s c r i t i c i s m of h i s contemporaries as a whole, however, we must be aware of a d i f f e r e n c e between h i s a t t i t u d e to the romantics of the. f i r s t generation and h i s a t t i t u d e to those of the second. His c r i t i c i s m s of the e a r l i e r men - not-ably of Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Southey - are much severer. Of course, they were the pioneers of the movement, c l e a r i n g a way not only f o r themselves, but also f o r Shelley and Byron, and as pioneers they had to bear the h o s t i l i t y of those who s t i l l clung to the worn garment of Augustan t r a d i t i o n , as w e l l as the laughter of the p h i l i s t i n e . Peacock, when L y r i c a l B a l l a d s invaded the l i t e r a r y world, was s t i l l an Augustan, and he apparently found the poems, e& w e l l as the Prefa.ee which Wordsworth subsequently added, as l u d i c r o u s and despicable as d i d the m a j o r i t y of h i s contemporaries. But i n s p i t e of t h i s i n i t i a l bad impression, Peacock came, as the years passed by, 139 to appreciate these once-despised Lake Poets more and more. Wordsworth may have made too much of unfortunate c h i l d r e n or of the aged and i n f i r m , Coleridge may have heen too fond of meta-p h y s i c a l discourse and w r i t i n g dream-poetry, and Southey's epics were too long and f a n t a s t i c , hut, nevertheless, they never f a i l e d to he true to nature - no mean compliment, as t h i s was the t r i b u t e p e r p e t u a l l y i n Augustan mouths i n connection w i t h Shakespeare. And Peacock found, despite himself, that Wordsworth was coming to mean more and more to him, the older he (Peacock) became. His main o b j e c t i o n to the Lake Poets i n t h e i r prime was t h e i r p o l i t i c s . This he should have divorced from h i s estimation of t h e i r w r i t i n g , but he found i t very d i f f i c u l t to do so. He was probably not so very wrong about the e f f e c t s . o f l a u r e a t e s h i p upon a poet, moreover. He i n d i c -ates i n Melincourt that Southey's work when he was a, r a d i c a l was of much greater anesthetic worth than that done a f t e r he became a to r y minion. Peacock was probably a l i t t l e p rejudiced on behalf of r a d i c a l l i t e r a t u r e when he wrote that, but l i t e r -ary h i s t o r y c e r t a i n l y bears out Peacock's p o s i t i o n , that l a u r - . eateship tends to have a d i s i n t e g r a t i n g e f f e c t on a poet's work. The younger romantics had by no means the same b a r r i e r s to con-tend against i n Peacock's c r i t i c a l estimation, f o r t h e i r elders had made a considerahle breach i n the defences before they came along. Besides, Peacock's f r i e n d s h i p wi t h Shelley must have smoothed the way considerably. Shelley's fundamental reason-ableness must have had i t s e f f e c t on Peacock i n the f i e l d of l i t e r a r y a p p r e c i a t i o n as w e l l as i n p o l i t i c s and s o c i a l outlook. 140 Peacock, then, was 'conditioned' to romanticism, as w e l l as i n sympathy w i t h the p o l i t i c a l i d e a l s of Byron and Shelley when the two younger poets were w r i t i n g and p u b l i s h i n g t h e i r best .; work. The younger men, too, died young. They had hardly any opportunity to react from, or even to modify, t h e i r y outhful p o l i t i c s , and they o f f e r e d , by t h e i r e a r ly deaths, the d e l i g h t -f u l opportunity of speculating upon what they might hare done or become - always a much more agreeable task than contemplat-ing greatness reaching i t s peak and then gradually l o s i n g i t s g r i p . So, f o r a number of reasons, Peacock f i n d s more to c r i t -i c i s e i n the f i r s t generation of romantics, though, as we have seen, apart from t h e i r p o l i t i c s , he has l a r g e l y found f a u l t only w i t h those aspects of the Lakers which the consensus of c r i t i c i s m condemns today. And of Byron and Shelley, too, h i s judgment has been proved very just.' They embody, he_seems to imply, a l l the e s s e n t i a l s of romanticism, but now and again they c a r r y some or other aspect rather too f a r . Scott can hardly be c l a s s e d e i t h e r as f i r s t or second generation roman-t i c i s m - he belongs to both generations, and i n him, as i n the others, Peacock 1ms seen and recorded the best. A l l things considered, I t i s very doubtful i f a w r i t e r of today could p i c k out and evaluate from among a l l h i s l i t e r a r y contemporaries the h a l f dozen or so who a hundred years from now w i l l be consider-ed the greatest l i t e r a r y f i g u r e s of the e a r l i e r twentieth century - i t i s very doubtful i f s,ny man could evaluate h i s l i t e r a r y f e l l o w s more j u s t l y or c l e a r - s i g h t e d l y than d i d Peacock. 141 For M s c r i t i c a l prowess Peacock owes more to pure c l a s s i c a l l i t e r a t u r e than to neo-classicism. In the l i t e r a t u r e of Greece and Rome, which was the u l t i m a t e f o u n t a i n of h i s i n s p i r a t i o n s he found models both of r a t i o n a l and romantic l i t e r a t u r e , w h i c h ; l a i d the basis f o r h i s very c a t h o l i c tastes i n E n g l i s h , French, I t a l i a n , and l a t t e r l y Spanish l e t t e r s . Thus, though he may have had a personal p r e d i l e c t i o n f o r s a t i r -i c comedy, he. was neither unaware nor unappreciative of the many other f i e l d s of l i t e r a t u r e . L i k e a s e n s i b l e man, he was ready to appreciate the best i n every f i e l d and every age and every language. But h i s standards were high, and he would have nothing but the best. The greater part of the very minor l i t -erature of the past had sunk so f a r out of s i g h t that he was not a f f e c t e d by i t s existence, and only c a l l e d i t to mind when i n moods such as that i n which he wrote The Four Ages of Poetry. I t i s very easy to forget- that the l i t e r a t u r e of the past was not a succession of masterpieces, but that i t included a vein-considerable p r o p o r t i o n of rubbish - though not, of course, the huge pr o p o r t i o n r e s u l t i n g from the i n f i n i t e l y greater a v a i l a b i l -i t y of m a t e r i a l and the tremendous r i s e i n l i t e r a c y i n our own time. These modern conditions were j u s t beginning i n Peacock's day. Augustan w r i t e r s had a r e l a t i v e l y homogeneous p u b l i c -the a r i s t o c r a c y and the middle c l a s s i m i t a t i n g a r i s t o c r a t i c t a s t e s . The romantics.had a p u b l i c so heterogeneous that each w r i t e r had more or l e s s to w r i t e f o r some s p e c i a l audience. The spread of education ma.de i t p r a c t i c a l l y impossible f o r one man to appeal to a l l t a s t e s and c l a s s e s a l i k e . The n a t u r a l 142 i n s t i n c t of a great many w r i t e r s , under these circumstances, was to w r i t e f o r the widest p u b l i c p o s s i b l e , which g e n e r a l l y meant w r i t i n g down to r e l a t i v e l y u n i n t e l l i g e n t or uninformed people. That Peacock was aware of t h i s change i n l i t e r a t u r e and the reading p u b l i c , and was d i s t r e s s e d by i t , we know from h i s Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e and h i s c r i t i c i s m s of Moore. That he saw its.dangers, we know from The Pour Ages of Poetry, though h i s reducing the system to absurdity i n h i s u s u a l manner - that i s , p o i n t i n g out that the poet's audience must needs grow smaller and more barbarian t i l l i t u l t i m a t e l y vanishes - tends to obscure h i s a p p r e c i a t i o n of the r e a l e f f e c t of the spread of education on the r e p u b l i c of l e t t e r s . I t i s h a r d l y s u r p r i s i n g that he became such a vehement opponent of the spread of popular education. A l l t h i s has a d i s t i n c t bear-ing on h i s a t t i t u d e to h i s contemporaries. His own f i n a n c i a l independence of h i s reading p u b l i c made him rather unsympathet-i c towards the dependence of a great number of the w r i t e r s around him. He f e l t s t r o n g l y that they should on no account p r o s t i t u t e t h e i r a r t by p l a y i n g to the g a l l e r y . He f e l t that they should, i f necessary (and as he himself d i d ) , make a l i v -i ng by some ordinary trade or p r o f e s s i o n and w r i t e i n t h e i r spare time; but at l e a s t they should be able to c a l l t h e i r souls t h e i r own. This i s fundamental i n Peacock's c r i t i c i s m of the rome.ntic movement. He demanded i n t e l l e c t u a l honesty and l i t e r a r y i n t e g r i t y , Where he knew or suspected i t s absence he could be, a.nd f r e q u e n t l y was, m e r c i l e s s . He wanted great men l i k e Wordsworth, Coleridge, and Byron to concentrate on g i v i n g 143 of t h e i r very best. Their best work he does not h e s i t a t e to commend, but he does not want i t obscured by what he considers f o o l i s h n e s s ~ such as too f a i t h f u l adherence to the poetic theories put forward i n the Preface to the L y r i c a l B a l l a d s . These f a u l t s he deals with i n varying degrees of s e v e r i t y (according to h i s estimation of the dishonesty of the motive) i n the sometimes b i t t e r , but more often s a t i r i c and i r o n i c passages i n h i s w r i t i n g s dealing w i t h the d i f f e r e n t phases and f i g u r e s of romanticism. Had h i s point of view been purely neo-c l a s s i c he could have produced very s i m i l a r c r i t i c i s m , and probably a great deal more of i t . The f a c t that he f u l l y appreciated a very considerable body of the best romantic l i t -erature - and probably a good deal more than he has given us any h i n t of - i n d i c a t e s that i t must have appealed to some sympathetic segment of h i s own mind. That segment we have to some extent explored, and have found i t much more comprehensive than might have been expected. His love of nature and f e e l i n g f o r the past (though he never t r i e d to portray i t as p e r f e c t ) alone would mark him out as a romantic, though much of h i s work might seem at f i r s t s i g h t to d i s q u a l i f y him, or at l e a s t render the c l a s s i f i c a t i o n extremely dubious. But i f one s i n g l e exam-p l e were to be c i t e d to prove h i s c l a i m to be an i n t e g r a l part of romanticism, s u r e l y i t must be h i s i n i m i t a b l e pastiche of Byron, "There i s a f e v e r of the s p i r i t ' . No man without a p h y s i c a l as w e l l as an i n t e l l e c t u a l a p p r e c i a t i o n of the very core of romanticism could have w r i t t e n that. In a d d i t i o n to a l l t h i s , and f u r t h e r complicating c r i t i c a l e f f o r t , Peacock was 144 e s s e n t i a l l y a w i t . He loved to laugh, and exaggeration - not always the kindest exaggeration - i s p r a c t i c a l l y e s s e n t i a l to w i t . Very l i t t l e i n heaven and earth escaped h i s mockery, the . . . . . . . 5 scope of which he sums up i n the words of h i s F r i a r Michael: "The world i s a stage, and l i f e i s a" f a r c e , and'he that laughs most has most p r o f i t of the performance.' "The " ~"" worst thing i s good enough to he laughed at, though"'it" he good f o r nothing else';"and the best t h i n g , though" i t be good f o r something e l s e , i s good f o r nothing b e t t e r . " 145 Chapter I Peacock, man and author p . l 1. P r i e s t l e y , J.B., Thomas Love Peacock, Macmillan, London, 1927, pp.4-5. 2 2. I t appears to he a point of ..honour ' among a l l true' admirers of Peacock to take i t f o r granted, and sometimes to proclaim to the world at l a r g e , that they dine l a t e , that t h e i r numbers are few and s e l e c t , and that he who' would f u l l y savour Thomas Love Peacock must he equipped w i t h no mean i n t e l l e c t . 3. Van Doren,C., The L i f e of Thomas Love Peacock, Dent, London, 1911, p.5. 4. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.5. 3 5. Preeman, A.M., Thomas Love Peacock, a c r i t i c a l study, Kennerley, New York, 1911, p.32. 6. Peacock,T.L., Calidore and M i s c e l l a n e a , Dent, London, 1891, p.29. 7. P r i e s t l e y , op« c i t . , p.7. 5 8. Preeman, op. c i t . , p.87. 9. P r i e s t l e y j op. c i t . , p.13. 10. W r i t i n g to Thomas Hookham i n August 1812, Shelley r e f e r s to the conclusion of Palmyra as "the f i n e s t piece of poetry I ever read." White,N.I., Shelley, Knopf, New York, 1940, v o l . 1 , p.241, 11. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.16. 6 12. I b i d . , p.17. 13. There has been a good deal of c r i t i c a l u n c ertainty as to when She l l e y and Peacock f i r s t met, but White an;d Brett-Smith, the leading a u t h o r i t i e s on Shelley and Pea-cock r e s p e c t i v e l y , agree i n g i v i n g credence to Peacock's own statement i n h i s Memoirs of Shelley, that they" met j u s t before Shelley went to T a n y r a l l t . Shelley l e f t London f o r T a n y r a l l t on November 12, 1812. See White, op. c i t . , v o l . I , pp.242, 637-38''. 7 14^ P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.25. 15. Preeman deduces t h i s date from i n t e r n a l evidence. And wh i l e P r i e s t l e y supports the i d e a that the comedies were begun about t h i s time, but completed 1813-14, Pree-man b e l i e v e s that The D i l e t t a n t i , ' a t l e a s t , was wholly composed about 1809. Preeman, op. c i t . , pp.60 f f . and 130 St, 16. Van Doreh, op. c i t . , p.63. 8 17. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.27. 9 18. There has been considerable d i s c u s s i o n about the a c t u a l amount that Peacock received from Shelley. White sta t e s that by 1817 Peacock was t h e o r e t i c a l l y r e c e i v i n g an allowance of £ 100 (yearly?) though the r e g u l a r i t y of payment was do u b t f u l . 3rett-Smith has only found evid-ence of £ 125, a l l t o l d , being handed over. See White, op. c i t . , v o l . I , pp.541, 742. 19. According to Preeman and P r i e s t l e y , Shelley w i l l e d 146 p.9 Peacock /500 as a "bequest, and ^2,000 vrith which to" pur-chase an annuity. . White seems to make no mention of t h i s . 10 20. Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.106. 11 21. I h i d . , p.112. 13 22. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.53. 23. I h i d . , pp.59 et seq. 16 24. This d i s t i n c t i o n i s even more personal than gener-a l s i n c e , at the moment of w r i t i n g , "both the distance' and the war combine to make the B r i t i s h Museum i n a c c e s s i b l e . 17 25. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p.64. 26. I t may have been included i n the d e f i n i t i v e ten-volume H a l l i f o r d e d i t i o n of Peacock's works, edited by H.F.B. Brett-Smith and C.E. Jones, 1924-34? I have no information on t h i s p o i n t . . . .. . 18 27. See, f o r example,' P a i r c h i l d , H.B"., The Noble Savage, a study i n romantic naturalism, Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, . New York,' 1928, p.496. 24 28. Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.281. Chapter I I s The background of Peacockian c r i t i c i s m p.25 1. Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.21. 2. I b i d . , p.20. 26 " 3. Young,A.B., "T.L. Peacock's 'Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , ' " Notes and Queries, s e r i e s 11. vol.11, J u l y 23, 1910, p.63. 27 4. Peacock,T.L., "Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, w i t h Notices of h i s L i f e , " W e s t m i n s t e r Review, v o l . X I I , April,-1830, pp.284 et seq. 5. I d . , Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1929, p.1357 6. I d . , The Misfortunes of E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1937, p.211. 29 7. C i t e d by Van Doren, op. p i t . , p.17 and by P r i e s t -l e y , op. c i t . , p.10. 8. C i t e d by Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.128. 9. Peacock,T.L., G r y l l Grange, Dent, London, 1891, v o l . I i , pp.55-57. 30 10. I d . , "L e t t e r s and Journals of Lord Byron ...," l o c . c i t . , pp.282 et seq. 11. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.63. 12. Peacock, Calidor e ..., p.65. 13. I d . , G r y l l " Grange, v o l . I I , p. 54. 14. Freeman, op. c i t . , p.280. 15. A t y p i c a l example of such an 'un-Attic conceit' -w i t h Peacock's comment - i s the following? " ' I stood before the Pyramids of Memphis, and saw them towering a l o f t , l i k e the watch-towers of Time, from whose summit when he expires he w i l l look h i s l a s t . ' - p.37. This i s a very i n f e l i c i t o u s c onceit. The peak' of a pyramid must be an uncomfortable dying-bed even f o r Time. 147 p. 30 I f we attempt to make a p i c t u r e of t h i s f i g u r e , we must" imagine the o l d gentleman dying on t i p - t o e , and f i n i s h i n g h i s t e r r e s t r i a l career "by r o l l i n g down the side of the Pyramid i n t o the sand." - Peacock,T.L., "The Epicurean," Westminster Review, v o l . V I I I , no.xvi, October, 1827, p. 356.- " • 16. I h i d . , up,363-64. 31 17. I h i d . , p.379. 18. I b i d . , p.382. 19. • I b i d . , p.376. 33 20. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.5. 34 21. Peacock, T.L., The" Misfortunes of E l p h i n and Rhodo-daphne, Macmillan, London, 1927, p.171. 35 22. I d . , C a l i d o r e ..., p.41. 23. I b i d . , p.42. 57 24. Peacock,T.L., Maid Marian and Crotchet Cas t l e , Macmillan, London and Hew York, 1895, p.3. 38 25, I d . , C a l i d o r e ..., p.60. 26. Even i n h i s o l d age, i n R e c o l l e c t i o n s of Childhood, Peacock was s t i l l laughing at the 'ghostly' brotherhood ' and t h e i r m o r t i f i c a t i o n of the f l e s h - see i b i d . , pp.24-5. 27. Peacock, E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.114. 39 28. This 1eg end i s not t y p i c a l l y Welsh, but i s probab-l y common a l l down the west coast of B r i t a i n . To my c e r t a i n knowledge, the shores of Galloway and the Solway P i r t h are p a r t i c u l a r l y f e r t i l e i n s t o r i e s that are obvious p a r a l l e l s and v a r i a t i o n s of t h i s . 29. Wright,H., "The Associations of T.L. Peacock with' Wales," Essays and Studies, Clarendon Press, Oxford, v o l . X I I , 1926, pp.24-46. •''."' 304 Peacock, Headlong H a l l ' ..., p.112. 31. Wright, l o c . c i t . , p.34.' 52. C i t e d by Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.170. 40 33, See i b i d . , p.175 and Wright, l o c . c i t . , p.43. 34. Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.176. 41 35. P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t . , p. .,57. 36. These sources are agreed upon by most a u t h o r i t i e s - see P r i e s t l e y , op. c i t , , pp.57-58, Van Doren, bp. c i t . , p.160, and a d e t a i l e d d i s c u s s i o n by S i r Henry Bewbolt, "Peacock, Scott, and Robin Hood" i n Essays -by Divers Hands, M i l f o r d , London, new s e r i e s , v o l . I V , 1924, pp.87 et seq,. In .this essay ITewbolt reports a number of s i m i l -a r i t i e s which are not due to the common source m a t e r i a l . He points out that Peacock's Robin, disguised as a f r i a r , says Dominus vobiscum, Scott's pax vobiscum; that both t r e a t of the defence of A r l i n g f o r d Castle against Prince John - Scott d e s c r i b i n g against the background of flaming c a s t l e the t r a g i c death of Ulrica., while Peacock, i n what seems a d e l i b e r a t e parody of the Scott s p i r i t , p i c t u r e s • the emergence of the l i t t l e f a t f r i a r from h i s flaming castle*, that both have i n c i d e n t s dealing w i t h d e s c r i p t i o n of the Holy Land, though Scott's crusader i s genuine, Peacock's bogus; that though h i s t o r i a n s have agreed that Robin Hood probably l i v e d during the r e i g n of Edward I, 148 "both Scott and Peacock put him i n the r e i g n of Coeur de Lion; and f i n a l l y , both Scott and Peacock, describing the r e t u r n of Richard, describe the king i n very s i m i l a r terms. Scott has explained ( i n the Introduction to Ivan-hoe) that he has placed Robin i n Richard's r e i g n the" ' b e t t e r to contrast Saxon and'Norman, but Peacock o f f e r s no explanation o f h i s cbnduct. Newb'olt suggests that he" may have done i t to be able to' u t i l i z e John as a v i l l a i n . The s i r n . i l a r i t y i n " the two d e s c r i p t i o n s of Richard may" have been due in" p a r t to an unconscious" memory-"in Peacock,, since h i s d e s c r i p t i o n appears i n the second-last" chapter, which was w r i t t e n a f t e r the publication'"of'"Ivahhoe." *" Nevertheless, the ad j e c t i v e s used by both w r i t e r s are only ones which'would n a t u r a l l y ' spring to mind in" connect-ion'"with" a sturdy warrior," "and" hardly c a l l " f o r " the pro-found conjecture Newbolt expends upon them. Newbblt ' ' " o f f e r s three p o s s i b l e explanations :o'f these " s i m i l a r i t i e s he has so l a b o r i o u s l y ' tracked down - coincidence,' uncoh-' scious reminiscence" on''the p a r t of Peacock'when" reviewing Maid Marian a f t e r reading Ivahhoe, a,nd second s i g h t or thought transference! The f i r s t he r e j e c t s as un'satis- ' f a c t o r y , the second as u n l i k e l y i n the l i g h t of Peacock's, d i a r y and ..statement, and wit h regard" to the' t h i r d he" ' c i t e s s e v e r a l examples of such a thing r e a l l y happening". • The f r i a r ' s L a t i n , however, i s such a regular feature"of medieval and pseudo-medieval s t o r y that i t i s not' aston-i s h i n g that i t should have occurred to' both," while "the" i n c i d e n t s of the burning c a s t l e and the returned crusad-ers are equally t y p i c a l of romance, and their" treatment' i n Ivanhoe and Maid' Marian, though d i a m e t r i c a l l y " opposite i n s p i r i t , i s only what one -would expect of Scott and Peacock r e s p e c t i v e l y . 37. Van Dor en, pp. c i t . , pp. 158-59. 58. I b i d . , p..6. 39. Preeman, op. c i t . , p. 56.. 40. Peacock, T.L., Melincourt., or S i r Oran Haut-ton, Macmillan, London, 1896, p.196. 41. Preeman, op. c i t . , p.86. 42. Peacock, E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.232. 43. I b i d . , p. 125. 1 : ~ " .  44. Preeman, op. c i t . , p. 134. 45. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.62. 46. Peacock, Headlong H a l l . .., p.26. 47. R a l e i g h , S i r W., On W r i t i n g and W r i t e r s , E. Arnold & Co., London, 1926, p.151. 48. Dr. Opimian, who has so much i n common w i t h Peacock that we may consider him l a r g e l y the spokesman of h i s cr e a t o r , elaborates the po i n t a l i t t l e : "Burns was not a scho l a r , but he was always master of h i s subject. A l l the s c h o l a r s h i p of the world would not have produced Tarn 0' Shan t e n but i n the whole of that poem there i s not a f a l s e image nor a misused word." - Peacock, G r y l l Grange, * v o l . I I , p.55. 49. I d . , C a l i d o r e ..., p.62. 149 p.47 50. C i t e d "by White, op. c i t . , v o l . I , p.241. 48 51. C i t e d hy Freeman, op. c i t . , p.115. The reference •would appear to he to the b o o k s e l l e r , Eaton, whose t r i a l and c o n v i c t i o n f o r p u b l i s h i n g a'free-thought pamphlet " ' were the subject of Shelley's l e t t e r to Lord Ellenbdrough. 50 52. Peacock, Elphin" and Rhododaphne, p p . x i i - x i i i . " 53. This supposition i s borne out by a footnote to " ' Crotchet Castle i n which Peacock quotes a s a t i r i c a l poem of h i s own composition which suggests that Brougham's " advocacy of reform i s no more than empty" a i r . This poem i s e n t i t l e d 'The Pate of a Broom? an A n t i c i p a t i o n ' arid begins thus: "Lo! i n Corruption's lumber-room, The remnants of a wondrous broomj That walking, t a l k i n g , o f t was seen, Making stout promise to sweep clean ..." - Peacock, E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.269. 51 54. Peacock,T.L., "Memoirs, Correspondence, and P r i -vate Papers of Thomas Je f f e r s o n , " Westminster Review, v o l . X I I I , 1830, p.334. Chapter I I I : Peacock and popular l i t e r a t u r e p. 55 1. C i t e d by Freeman, op. c i t . , p.66. 2. Peacock, Headlong H a l l ... , p.22. 56 3. C i t e d by Van Doren, bp. c i t . , p.153. Peacock, G r y l l Grange, v o l . I , pp.64-65. 57 4.' 5. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.63. 58 6. Peacock, Headlong H a l l ... , p.22. 7. I b i d . , p.26; • 8. I b i d . , pp"..34-35. 9. I b i d . , p.35. 59 10. Ibid.,'" p.36. .-11. I d . , M e l i n c o u r t , p.99. 12. Ibid.., p.99. , 60 13. I b i d . , p. 100.' 61 14. I b i d . , pp.284-85. 15. See Ho. 31 of the Quarterly Review." 16. Peacock, Headlong H a l l axxcl Nightmare, Abbey, p.190. 17. I d . , E l p h i n and'Crotchet C a s t l e , pp.163-64. 62 18. Id . , C a l i d o r e p.19. 19., See F a i r c h i l d , bp. c i t . , p.355 and Whitney,L., P r i m i t i v i s m ' a n d the Idea of Progress i n E n g l i s h popular l i t e r a t u r e of the eighteenth century, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1934, passim. 64 20. Spa.ce f o r b i d s any d i s c u s s i o n of the p o s s i b l e sources of a l l these ideas and arguments, but i t d e t a i l e d i n f o r m a t i o n i s desired Whitney, op." c i t . , should be com s u i t e d , as w e l l as the l e s s valuable Noble Savage by F a i r c h i l d . 65 21. Peacock, Headlong H a l l ... ,p.67. 67 22. This d i s c u s s i o n i s based on Lovejoy,A.0., "Mon-boddo and Rousseau," Modern P h i l o l o g y , vol.30, August, 15G p.67 1932, pp.275-296 and Whitney, op. c i t . , passim, since I am unable to r e f e r to the works of Monboddo himself." ' ' 23. Van Doren, White, Preeman, and others a l l accept t h i s . '" 24. Lovejoy, l o c . c i t . , passim. 69 25. Peacock, G r y l l Grange,"vol.I, p.88. 70 26. Allen,B.S., "The Reaction against W i l l i a m Godwin," Modern P h i l o l o g y , vol,XVI, September, 1918, p.231. ' 27. Peacock, Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p.165. 71 28. i l b i a . , p.175. 2 9« I b i d . , pp.176-77. 30^ Preeman, op. b i t . , p.65,' 72 31. Peacock, '• Melincourt. p. 14. 32. I b i d . , p.65. 73 33. I b i d . , p.223.. 34. C i t e d by Van Dor en, op. c i t . , pp. 113-1.4;. 74 ' 35, Peacock, Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, pp. 174-75. . — — -75 36. I b i d . , p.175. 37. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.4.. 38. Peacock, G r y l l Grange, v o l . I I , p.150. 76 39. I d . , E l p h i n and Crotchet Castle^, pp.175-76. 40. I d . , Calidor e '.., ,'p,65.. 41. Preeman, op", c i t . , . p.281. " " :77 42. Peacock, E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.213. 43. Young, l o c . c i t . , p.4. 44.. I b i d . , p.. 5. ' 78 45. I b i d . , p.62. 46. Preeman (op. c i t . , p.147) has suggested Lewis, though he i s not convinced by t h i s I n t e r p r e t a t i o n , Van Dor en -(op. c i t , . , . pllO'l.) supports, the' claims of" Scott. George E l l i s was yet another ant i q u a r i a n of the period, but h i s connection w i t h G I f f o r d and' the Anti-"Jacobin group ren d e r s ' I t extremely improbable that Derrydown ' " '" would have been painted i n such amiable colours, i f E l l i s had'been i n Peacock 1 s mind. 'j; 47. Peacock, Melincourt, pp.63-64." 79 48.. l d i _ , E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.169. Chapter IV s Peacock versus the Lake Poets 1. Peacock, Ca l i d o r e •.. , p.63. I d . , Melincourt," pp.274-75. C i t e d by Preeman, op. c i t . , pp.65-66. Peacock, Headlong. Hall- and Nightmare Abbey, p.207. Id.,'Calidore ,.. , p.65. I b i d . , p.64. I b i d . , pp.65-66. I b i d . , p.132. I d . , G r y l l Grange, v o l . I I , p.53. Id . , M e l i n c o u r t , p.62. I b i d . , p.65. In i n t r o d u c i n g t h i s i n c i d e n t , Peacock probably had p. 83 • 1. 85 2. 3. 86 4. 5. 87 6. 7. : 88 8. 9. 89 10. 11. 90 IS • 151 p.90 i n mind the -two Spectator papers i n which Addison compar-ed Chevy Phase and the Aeneid as examples of epic poetry ~ Spectator;, nos 70 and 74. ' 13. Peacock,"Melincourt, p,135. 1 4 • , l f t i d A , p..136. • 91 15. I h i d . , p-o.122-25. 92 16. I h i d . , p.126. 17. I h i d . , p.127. 93 18. I b i d . , p.286. 19. I b i d . , p.292. '20. Saintsbury,G., Prefaces and Essays, Macmillan, London, 1933, p.249. 94 21. Peacock, Melincourt, p.232. 22. I b i d . , pi232. 95 23. I b i d . , p.234. 97 24. I b i d . , p.238. 98 ' 25. I b i d . , p.212. 26. I b i d . , p.282. 27. Peaco~ck's remarks about Jack the. G i a n t k i l l e r ' would seem to have reference to the Prelude, Book VII,"280-87. As the Prelude was' not published t i l l 1850, .however', and as there i s not the s l i g h t e s t reason to suppose"that Peacock had access to the manuscripts, Peacock's joke ' must be considered a happy coincidence. I t i s p o s s i b l e , of course, that Peacock and Wordsworth both had i n mind the same t h e a t r i c a l performance, or even that the Giant-k i l l e r reference was only i n s e r t e d by Peacock i n h i s ' second (1856) e d i t i o n of Melincourt. This l a s t conjec-ture, however, i s h i g h l y improbable, and I have at present no way of checking i t . 99 28.- Peacock, Melincourt, pp.290-91. 100 29. I b i d . , p.9. 101 30. I d . , Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p. 140. . 103 31. I b i d . , pp.193-94. 32. I b i d . , p.199. 33. I b i d . , p.195. • f 104 34, I b i d . , pp.165-66. 105 35. I d . , E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , p.275. 36. I b i d . , p.169. Chapter V : Byron and Shelley i n f a c t and f i c t i o n p.110 1. Peacock, "Letters and Journals of Lord Byron ...," l o c . c i t . , p.270. 2. I b i d . , ' p.270. 111 3. I b i d . , p.274. 4. I b i d . , p.304. 5. Brett-Smith,H.P.B. (ed.), Peacock's Memoirs of She l l e y w i t h Shelley's L e t t e r s to Peacock, Frowde, London, 1909, pp.1-2. 112 6. I b i d . , p.2. • • 1 1 3 7« r b i d . , pp.49-50. , 8. I b i d . , pp.58-59 9 152 p.114 9. According to White, these people were the Boin-v i l l e s and t h e i r French emigre friends,'along w i t h a numher of p o l i t i c a l and s o c i a l r a d i c a l s . Hogg,' of course, has c h a r a c t e r i s e d them as "two or three sentimental young butchers, an eminently p h i l o s o p h i c a l t i n k e r , and several very u n s o p h i s t i c a t e d medical p r a c t i t i o n e r s , or medical students ..." 10. Brett-Smith, op. c i t . , pp.29-30. 11. For d e t a i l s see Y/hite, o p . c i t . , v o l . 1 , pp.254 et seq. • . ..-115 12. Peacock, Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p.215. 13. I b i d . , p.217. 14. Of. Shelley's preface to ' J u l i a n and Maddalo' where, i n the character of Count Maddalo, he describes "" Byron: "He i s a person of the most consummate"genius',' and capable, i f he would d i r e c t h i s energies to such an end, of becoming the redeemer of h i s degraded country."' - The Complete P o e t i c a l Works of Percy Bysshe Shelley, (ed. T. Hutchinson), Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1935, p.185. 116 15. Peacock, Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p.218. 117 16. I b i d . , 'p;219. 1 7 » I b i d . , p.222'. 18. Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.122. 118 19. See White, op. c i t . , v o l . I , pp.78-79. 20. I b i d . , v o l . I , p.616. 21. I b i d . , vol.11, p.435. 22. 'Premature death,''applied f i r e to c u l i n a r y pur-poses ' and 'the v u l t u r e of disease' a l l appear both i n the Q,ueen Mab note and i n Escot' s arguments. Also, the Prometheus f a b l e 3,s i n t e r p r e t e d i n Shelley i s c l o s e l y f o l l o w e d by Peacock. And though Shelley derived many of h i s arguments from Joseph Ritson's Essay on the Abstin-ence from Animal Food as w e l l as J.P. Newton's Defence of Vegetable Regimen," i t i s Shelley's own words and i n t e r -p r e t a t i o n s that are borrowed, not those of the people he' quotes i n h i s notes. Queen Mab, of course, was published p r i v a t e l y , and copies were only d i s t r i b u t e d by Shelley" himself to those he knew would appreciate them. Peacock i s not a known r e c i p i e n t , but he i s a very probable one. 23. Peacock, Headlong H a l l ... , p.28. 119 24. I b i d . , p.30. 25. I b i d . , p.59. 120 26. The P o e t i c a l Works of Shelley, p.799. 27. See White, op. c i t . , v o l . I I , p.147. 121 28. See, f o r instance, the Preface to the 'Revolt of Islam,' The P o e t i c a l Works of She l l e y , p.34. 122 29. Peacock, Melincourt, p.192. 123 30. Id.,. Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p. 137. 124 31. See White, op. c i t . , v o l . I , pp.278, 455, 509. 32. The I l l u m i n a t i were a group of r e p u b l i c a n f r e e -t h i n k e r s founded i n 1776 by Adam Weishaupt, Professor of Canon Law at In g o l s t a d t , an ex-Jesuit. The chosen t i t l e of t h i s Order or Society was P e r f e c t i b i l i s t s , and i t s members pledged obedience to t h e i r superiors. The order 155 .124,had i t s branches i n most countries of Europe, but i t s t o t a l numbers were always very small. Such l i t e r a r y men as Goethe and Herder were a t t r a c t e d , but i n t e r n a l rupture and the Bavarian government brought about i t s downfall i n 1785. - Encyclopaedia B r i t a n n i c a , 14th ed., vol.12," p.100, 33.. Peacock, Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, p. 146. 125 34." Ingpen,R. (ed. ), The L e t t e r s of Percy Bysshe Shel-l e y , Pitman, London, 1909,'" v o l . I , ' p.30. ' "' 126 35. C.B. Brown, l i k e Shelley, was an e n t h u s i a s t i c ad-mirer of Godwin. He embodied the theories of P o l i t i c a l J u s t i c e i n h i s novels, and h i s most memorable work - and the one which Shelley most admired - Edgar Huntly, ob-v i o u s l y resembles Godwin's Caleb Williams. - Birkhead,E., The Tale of Terror, Constable, London, 1921, pp.197-99, 36. Peacock, G r y l l Grange, v o l . 1 , p.80. 127 37. C i t e d by "Van Doren, op. c i t . , pp.112-13. 129 38. Peacock, Calidor e .... , p.65. 39. C i t e d by Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.21. 40. Peacock, "Letters ejid Journals of Lord Byron," l o c . c i t . , p.270. 130 41. I b i d . , p.270. ' 4 2' 22MJL» p.281. 43. I b i d . , p.288. 131 44. Brett-Smith, op. c i t . , p.211. 45. I b i d . , p.4. 46. Ibid.,.p.71. 132 47. I b i d . , pp.71-72. 48. I b i d . , pp.82-83. Chapter V i i Peacock, c r i t i c of Romanticism .134 1. As, f o r instance, i n a l e t t e r to Shelley, concern-ing Canto IV of Childe Harold*. " I cannot consent to be audito r tanturn of t h i s systematical 'poisoning 1 of the 'mind' of the 'reading public'.." - C i t e d by Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.113. See also the comprehensive c r i t i c i s m of the reading p u b l i c contained i n the f i r s t p a r t of the Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t u r e , t r a n s c r i b e d by Young, l o c • c i t . , pp.4-5, 62-63. 2. C i t e d by Van Doren, op. c i t . , p.206. 144 3. Peacock, Maid Marian ... - , p.125. 154 BIBLIOGRAPHY Primary Sources; 1. Brett-Smith,H.F.B.(ed. ), Peacock's Memoirs of _Shalley with. Shelley's s e t t e r s to Peacock. .Henry Frowde, London, 1909. " "~ 2. Byron",Lord George Gordon, Poetical. Works, Oxford Univer-s i t y Press, 1939. 3. Ingpen,R.(ed.), The L e t t e r s of Percy Bysshe Shelley, Pitman, London, 1909, 2v. 4. Peacock, T.L., C a l i d o r e and Miscellanea (ed. R.C-arnett), Dent, London,. 1891. 5. Peacock, T.L., "The Epicurean," Westminster Review, v o l . V I I I no.xvi, October, 1827, pp.351-384." 6. Peacock,T.L., G r y l l Grange (ed. R.Garnett), Dent, London. 1891, 2v. 7. Peacock, T.L., Headlong H a l l and Nightmare Abbey, Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1929. 8. Peacock,T.L.,"Letters and Journals of Lord Byron, w i t h Notices of h i s L i f e , " Westminster Review, v o l . X I I , no.xxiv, A p r i l , 1830, pp.269-304. 9. Peacock,T.L., Maid Marian and Crotchet C a s t l e , Macmillan & Co., London and New York, 1895. 10. Peacock,T.L., Melincourt, or, S i r Oran Haut-ton, Macmillan & Co. L t d . , London, 1896. . 11• Peacock,T.L.,"Memoirs, Correspondence, and P r i v a t e Papers of Thomas J e f f erson, ... , " 'Westminster Review, v o l . X I I I , 1830, pp.312-335. \ 12. Peacock,T.L., The Misfortunes of E l p h i n and Crotchet C a s t l e , Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1937. 13. Peacock,T.L., The"Misfortunes of E l p h i n and Rhododaphne, Macmillan & Co. L t d . , London, 1927. 14. Shelley,P.B., The Complete P o e t i c a l Works (ed. T.Hutchin-son) , Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1935. 15. Wordsworth,W., The P o e t i c a l Works (ed. T.Hutchinson), Oxford U n i v e r s i t y Press, 1936. 155 16. Young,A.B.,"T.L.Peacock's 'Essay on Fashionable L i t e r a t -ure' ," Notes and. Queries, s e r i e s 11, v o l . I I , July 2, 1910, pp.4-5 and July 23, 1910, pp.62-63. Secondary Sources; 1. Allen,B.S.,"The Reaction against W i l l i a m Godwin," Modern P h i l o l o g y , vol.XVI, September, 1918, pp.225-243. 2. Anonymous,"Illuminati," Encyclopaedia B r i t a n n i c a , 14th ed., vol.12, p.100. 3. Anonymous,"Peacock the A r i s t o c r a t , " Times L i t e r a r y Supple-ment , August 31, 1933, p.572. 4. Birkhead,E., The Tale of Terror, a Study of the Gothic Romance, Constable & Co. L t d . , London, 1921. 5. Chapman, R.W., "Thomas Love Peacock," Saturday Review of L i t e r a t u r e , ' v o l . I , A p r i l 18, 1925, pp.685-86. 6. De S e l i n c o u r t , E . , Oxford .Lectures on Poetry, Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1934. 7. F a i r c h i l d , H . N . , The Noble Savage, a study i n romantic naturalism, Columbia U n i v e r s i t y Press, New York, 1928. 8. Pedden,H.R., "Thomas Love Peacock, " The E n g l i s h N o v e l i s t s (ed. D.Verschoyle), Chatto & Windus, London, 1936, pp.125-138. 9. Freeman, A.M., Thomas Love Peacock, a c r i t i c a l study, M. Kennerley, New York, 1911. . 10. Lovejoy,A.O.,"Monboddo and Rousseau," Modern P h i l o l o g y , vol.30, August, 1932, pp.275-296. 11. Newbolt,Sir H., "Peacock, Scott, and Robin Hood, " Essays' by Divers Hands, new s e r i e s , v o l . I V , Humphrey M i l f o r d , London, 1924, pp.87-118. 12. P r i e s t l e y , J.B., Thomas Love Peacock* Macmillan & Co. L t d . , London, 1927. 13. R a l e i g h , S i r Oh W r i t i n g and Writers (extracts from the note-books edited by G. Gordon), Edward Arnold & Co., London, 1926. 14. Saintsbury, G., Prefaces and Essays, Macmillaji & Co. L t d . , London, 1933. 15. Van Doren,C», The L i f e of Thomas Love Peacock, Dent, London, 1911. 156 16. White, IT. I . , Shelley, A l f r e d A. Knopf, New York, 1940, 2v. 17. Whitney,L., P r i m i t l v i s i n and the Idea of Progress I n "' ' E n g l i s h popular l i t e r a t u r e of the eighteenth century, Johns Hopkins Press, Baltimore, 1934. 18. Wright,H., "The Associations of T.L. Peacock w i t h Wales, " Essays and Studies, v o l . X I I , Clarendon Press, Oxford, 1926, pp.24-46. 

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