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of Juvenal's birth is in doubt, but he lived, as we know, in the reigns of Nero, Domitian and Hadrian, in the latter part of the first and the opening of the second century of the Christian era. Of the sixteen satires of Juvenal and his well-deserved celebrity in this particular sphere, it is needless here to speak. Martial, the epigrammatist, born in Spain, 43 A. D., but residing at Rome, 66 A. D., is properly included in this historical sketch. Lucian, also, a great classic satirist, born at Samosata, Syria, at the opening of the second century, 130 A. D., and living till its close, is also included.
In his way and time, no author of Greece or Rome wielded a more varied pen. Whether in criticism, biography, poetry or miscellany, he was always satirical. Especially in his romance of “The Two Histories," and in his “Dialogues," such as, “The Sale of Lives;" "Dialogues of the Gods;" “Timon the Misanthrope;" "Dialogues of the Dead," and others, sarcasm and humor are combined as to give pungency and spirit throughout.
Pietists and philosophers were the most frequent targets for the shafts of his ridicule and contempt, or, as Froude expresses it, “the abominations of paganism and the cant of the popular philosophers.” He loved nothing better than to impale upon the point of his satire either some notorious theory or personage of the time, until each one saw it as he saw it. He was the Juvenal of his age and nation, a kind of compound of Swift and Vol
taire, and could not have written otherwise than he did without belying the deepest instincts of his nature and surrendering to inferior authors a sphere for which he had special gifts.
Passing on beyond the fall of the Roman Empire to the closing centuries of the middle ages, two names of special note appear, in the persons of Rabelais and Erasmus. The one, in his “Pantagruel and Gargantua;" and the other, in his “ Colloquia," dealt out stinging invectives against the social corruption and, most especially, the priestly vices of the time. No more pungent diatribes against “spiritual wickedness in high places " can be found in extant literature.
Coming down to the sixteenth century and to what may be termed, the revival of satire in Modern Europe, we see it, as might be expected, to a limited extent in Germany and, in its fullest expression, in France and Spain and England. First appearing in France, in the writings of Vauquelin, 1535-1607; reaching a superb development in Spain, in the great masterpiece of Cervantes, 1587-1616, it comes to its most general and signal expression in England in the seventeenth and eighteenth centuries.
In one form or another, satire may be said to have had a place in all nations and all ages, assuming special prominence at definite literary eras and among particular peoples. In fine, its historical origin is the best evidence of what we may call its philosophical or ethical origin; as this is seen, on
the one hand, in human faults and follies
to correction, and, on the other, in the natural desire to act the part of personal censors of others. As long as the world is what it is in its sins and errors, and man is what he is in his taste for rebuke and ridicule, so long will there be a basis for satire and so long will its history be involved in human history. More than this, it is a species of style and literature as desirable as it is natural; in many instances the exclusive medium of truth; an element of authorship without some measure of which no writer can be said to be completely endowed for his work. Though, in its most telling forms, it is seen to be the natural gist of the author as a man, it yet lies, to some extent, within the sphere of the attainable, and is evoked by the experiences and teachings of surrounding life. All this conceded, however, it is to be added, that satire is a good servant, but an unsafe and often a tyrannical master. No writer can afford to be under its control. In common with wit as a type of literary expression, it must ever be kept within discreet and welldefined limits; under the sway of judgment, sympathy and purity of purpose. Thus guarded and guided, it may be used and ought to be used by every lover of the truth.
I. If we now inquire as to the distinctive Forms of Satire, we may regard them, in the most general sense, as twofold, -That of Ridicule and Humor; and that of Invective and Rebuke,
1. Of these, the first is expressed in what we technically term, the Serio-Comic, or Mock-Heroic. It is undoubtedly the typical form; the higher and the more subdued and less objectionable form. It deals in courteous innuendo; in quaint and epigrammatic allusion; in the ludicrous and laughable; modified, throughout, by the temper of kindliness. It possesses a good degree of what Thackeray calls “humanity,” never hurling its missiles with intent to kill or even to wound. It is a species of pleasantry in disguise, far less severe than it seems to be, and often, as in the case of Falstaff and Pickwick, including itself among the objects of its address.
A brief recital of some of the world's leading satirists will fully illustrate this order, and reveal its prominence in literature. Horace, among the Latins, and Cervantes, of Spain, are notable exponents. In France, the name of Molière is especially prominent. In England and America, we may note a goodly number in the persons of Chaucer, Jonson, Butler, Burns, Addison, Hood, Jerrold, Sidney Smith, Lamb, De Quincey, Dickens, Thackeray, Holmes and Lowell. In the satirical pages of these and kindred authors, there is nothing of what Puttenham calls “ dry mock," nothing bitter and cruel for the sake of inflicting pain and watching the distress of the sufferer. There is, on the contrary, a straightforward, open-hearted, well-tempered censorship of foibles and evils; an attack of the sin rather than the sinner and an
ardent devotion to the best interests of the truth.
2. The Satire of Invective is of quite a different order and object; generally embodied in what is known as irony or sarcasm, a defiant onset upon flagrant forms of error. With reference to this species, it is essential to state, that it may be expressed in phases widely different from one another. There is at times a righteous indignation against the wrong. Rebuke is then administered
. where it is deserved and, yet, discreetly and in deference to personal feeling. Such is the invective of Scripture, as seen in the old prophets; in such an apostle as Paul, and in Christ himself, as he contemplates the character of the Pharisees of his day. It is seen in the language of all religious reformers, such as Knox, Luther and Savonarola; in such dauntless preachers as Latimer and the great court-chaplains of the reign of Louis XIV. In literary history, most distinctively, its characteristic features appear, as in Juvenal; in a succession of satirists on to the days of Beranger of France; in the pages of “Piers Plowman" of England, on through the writings of Pope and Collins and Thomas Carlyle. Far different from such satire as this is that which is malicious and vindictive in its tone, dealt out in deadly forms for the pleasure of the act rather than for the weal of men. This is invective on its baser side, and, though often productive of good, is so indirectly, and in spite of its method. It is full of spleen and venom, and bent