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indulgence in literary censorship. Even when not acrid and caustic, they take the form of comment and rejoinder. The pen is an instrument that cuts two ways and, in the hands of a master, may be made the agent of literary compliment or criticism.
4. Social. This fourth and final form of satire may be said to be the most characteristic and most abundant, found in all literatures and often combining, in one generic expression, all other forms possible to language. This was pre-eminently the Roman or classical form, as seen in the pages of Lucilius who, as a satirist of men and manners, of social and common life, is justly regarded as the first Latin satirist, if not, indeed, the first of literary history. It was, however, in Juvenal and his school that this unique species reached its culmination, not surpassed since in the virulence of its spirit, as it has never been more signally demanded by the social character of the age. Had this old Roman censor dealt out his teachings in the modified and courteous manner of the Horatian poems, his mission would have been but half fulfilled and flagrant evils would have passed unnoticed and unrebuked. Rabelais and Erasmus, Vaugelin and Regnier followed along this line. Cervantes, in his “Don Quixote,” reached the acme of this social criticism on the ludicrous side and effected, by goodnatured innuendo, what others might have reached by calumny and mockery. Dryden and Butler, Pope and Marvell, combined this special form with
the political and literary forms, while it is reserved for the English essayists and novelists, from the days of De Foe on to Thomas Carlyle, to give us the best examples of social satire. Swift, in his “Gulliver's Travels"; Addison and Steele, in the “Spectator" and "Tatler" ; Johnson, in the "Rambler" and "Rasselas" ; Lamb, in his “Essays of Elia"; Macaulay, in his numerous miscellanies; Hood, in his “Whims and Oddities"; Douglas Jerrold, in his essays; and De Quincey, in such papers as “French and English Manners," "The Juggernaut of Social Life” and, “Murder Considered as One of the Fine Arts,” all exhibit, more or less fully, this satirical treatment of men and manners. Prominent over all essayists, in this regard, is the dark-visaged, reflective and cynical Carlyle, the self-appointed censor of his age ; living and dying in sadness of spirit, in that he was a herald of truth to a generation deaf to his message.
It is, however, within the sphere of English Fiction, that English authors have done their best work in the line of social satire. In De Foe, Goldsmith, Richardson, Fielding, Bulwer, Reade, Trollope, Dickens, Charlotte Brontë, George Eliot, Hawthorne and Howells, and, above all, in Mr. Thackeray, satire of the social order has come to its maximum of excellence, and we scarcely hope for better illustrations of its forms. Not theology, nor politics, nor letters, but human life itself, in its every day dress and bearing; man himself, as he figures at home, in the street, in the shop and in society, is
the most unique province of satire, as it is, also, its most prolific occasion and incentive.
We call attention to the need of satire in all ages, and its special need at present. Its ethical origin, as we have seen, in the follies and frailties natural to the race, will ensure its necessity so long as human nature is what it is. In the guise of malicious and bitter mockery, as in Poe and Swinburne, it has no place in any age or nation, however provocative of it the existing evils may be. In the guise, however, of the ludicrous and the laughable, as seen in the pages of Lamb and Holmes and the popular humorists of the day, it has an appropriate sphere among us and may be made an adjutant of the truth itself. Such are the whims, the high conceits, the puerile extremes and senseless exhibitions of modern life, that the opportunity for ridicule is far too patent to be lost, so that he who is able to utilize his gifts in that direction has, thereby, a call to such a ministry. All forms of presumption, theological, religious, political, literary, social and individual, need positive rebuke, and, if removable in no other manner, must be actually laughed off the stage, or scorned off amid the plaudit of the populace. No man can read the doctrinal, civil and literary discussions of the day, or keep his eye open to the ridiculous rôle so constantly played in what is called, society, and not make an effort, at least, to ventilate his personal protest and contempt in some accepted species of satirical address.
If we turn to that kind of satire which is an indignant and a well-deserved rebuke of outrageous wrongs in church and state and letters and life, what limit can be fixed, in such an age as this, to the number or the boldness of the invectives that should be discharged. In this respect, Wendell Phillips, Charles Sumner, and the Earl of Beaconsfield have done invaluable service in the province of statecraft. Mr. Carlyle, despite his bad temper, has done a similar service in the sphere of literature and common life, particularly against all shams and abuses, manfully contending for the reign of righteousness and order and personal candor. Are we not needing in modern American life worthy successors of these prophets of truth? Are we not needing, in politics, some modern Beranger or Swift, and, in society, a Juvenal himself, to castigate prevailing errors and vices and frauds and bring in, once again, the era of reform? Is there not ample room, indeed, for another “Dunciad," in the pages of which the presumptuous versifiers and writers of the day, shall be pilloried for all time? Even in theology itself, the senseless controversies between the Hind and the Panther, the Bear and the Wolf, the Fox and the Ape continue, and entice the pen of the ready writer to record his deserved dissent. So long as, in the regions of doctrinal dispute, men are pleased to exalt creeds and forms and external rites of the church to the plane of vital piety; so long as literature finds a ready reading in proportion to its lack of sterling mental fibre; so long as patriotism has so largely succumbed to partisanship, and the very name of justice is travestied in municipal and national councils; so long, moreover, as society is seeking to outdo all its former follies and to put hollow courtesy in the place of character, it is, certainly, more than fitting that some Savonarola or Molière should arise whose satirical skill may be equal to his moral courage, and in the name of God and truth, brand evil things with evil names and seek to rectify the wrong.
Nothing can be said against the need and wholesomeness of satire as an element of style, wielded by a hand able to wield it, and, in its most pronounced expressions, tempered with a due amount of Christian charity. In a country as democratic and spacious as our own; with its rapidly increasing population and diversities of interest, there is special danger lest the use of satire be taken, in the main, out of the control of those best fitted to wield it, and be given over, as a matter of expediency, to a less competent constituency. This, in fact, is the very process now at work among us, and the modern American Press is fast becoming the only accredited censor of wrongs and abuses, follies and blunders. Such a monopoly of satire by the public press is attended with manifest dangers in the line of a one-sided, superficial, and, often, malicious criticism of men and customs. Such a procedure goes far to despoil satire of that dignified bearing that it has borne in all nations,