Bacon, Francis, Lord Verulam, and Viscount St. Alban’s (1561–1626). — Philosopher and statesman, was the youngest son of Sir Nicholas Bacon, Lord Keeper, by his second wife, a daughter of Sir Anthony Cooke, whose sister married William Cecil, Lord Burghley, the great minister of Queen Elizabeth. He was born at York House in the Strand on Jan. 22, 1561, and in his 13th year was sent with his elder brother Anthony to Trinity College, Cambridge. Here he first met the Queen, who was impressed by his precocious intellect, and was accustomed to call him “the young Lord Keeper.” Here also he became dissatisfied with the Aristotelian philosophy as being unfruitful and leading only to resultless disputation. In 1576 he entered Gray’s Inn, and in the same year joined the embassy of Sir Amyas Paulet to France, where he remained until 1579. The death of his father in that year, before he had completed an intended provision for him, gave an adverse turn to his fortunes, and rendered it necessary that he should decide upon a profession. He accordingly returned to Gray’s Inn, and, after an unsuccessful attempt to induce Burghley to give him a post at court, and thus enable him to devote himself to a life of learning, he gave himself seriously to the study of law, and was called to the Bar in 1582. He did not, however, desert philosophy, and published a Latin tract, Temporis Partus Maximus (the Greatest Birth of Time), the first rough draft of his own system. Two years later, in 1584, he entered the House of Commons as member for Melcombe, sitting subsequently for Taunton (1586), Liverpool (1589), Middlesex (1593), and Southampton (1597). In the Parliament of 1586 he took a prominent part in urging the execution of Mary Queen of Scots. About this time he seems again to have approached his powerful uncle, the result of which may possibly be traced in his rapid progress at the Bar, and in his receiving, in 1589, the reversion to the Clerkship of the Star Chamber, a valuable appointment, into the enjoyment of which, however, he did not enter until 1608. About 1591 he formed a friendship with the Earl of Essex, from whom he received many tokens of kindness ill requited. In 1593 the offices of Attorney-general, and subsequently of Solicitor-general became vacant, and Essex used his influence on Bacon’s behalf, but unsuccessfully, the former being given to Coke, the famous lawyer. These disappointments may have been owing to a speech made by Bacon on a question of subsidies. To console him for them Essex presented him with a property at Twickenham, which he subsequently sold for £1800, equivalent to a much larger sum now. In 1596 he was made a Queen’s Counsel, but missed the appointment of Master of the Rolls, and in the next year (1597), he published the first edition of his Essays, ten in number, combined with Sacred Meditations and the Colours of Good and Evil. By 1601 Essex had lost the Queen’s favour, and had raised his rebellion, and Bacon was one of those appointed to investigate the charges against him, and examine witnesses, in connection with which he showed an ungrateful and indecent eagerness in pressing the case against his former friend and benefactor, who was executed on Feb. 25, 1601. This act Bacon endeavoured to justify in A Declaration of the Practices and Treasons, etc., of . . . the Earl of Essex, etc. His circumstances had for some time been bad, and he had been arrested for debt: he had, however, received a gift of a fine of £1200 on one of Essex’s accomplices. The accession of James VI. in 1603 gave a favourable turn to his fortunes: he was knighted, and endeavoured to set himself right with the new powers by writing his Apologie (defence) of his proceedings in the case of Essex, who had favoured the succession of James. In the first Parliament of the new king he sat for St. Alban’s, and was appointed a Commissioner for Union with Scotland. In 1605 he published The Advancement of Learning, dedicated, with fulsome flattery, to the king. The following year he married Alice Barnham, the daughter of a London merchant, and in 1607 he was made Solicitor–General, and wrote Cogita et Visa, a first sketch of the Novum Organum, followed in 1609 by The Wisdom of the Ancients. Meanwhile (in 1608), he had entered upon the Clerkship of the Star Chamber, and was in the enjoyment of a large income; but old debts and present extravagance kept him embarrassed, and he endeavoured to obtain further promotion and wealth by supporting the king in his arbitrary policy. In 1613 he became Attorney–General, and in this capacity prosecuted Somerset in 1616. The year 1618 saw him Lord Keeper, and the next Lord Chancellor and Baron Verulam, a title which, in 1621, he exchanged for that of Viscount St. Albans. Meanwhile he had written the New Atlantis, a political romance, and in 1620 he presented to the king the Novum Organum, on which he had been engaged for 30 years, and which ultimately formed the main part of the Instauratio Magna. In his great office Bacon showed a failure of character in striking contrast with the majesty of his intellect. He was corrupt alike politically and judicially, and now the hour of retribution arrived. In 1621 a Parliamentary Committee on the administration of the law charged him with corruption under 23 counts; and so clear was the evidence that he made no attempt at defence. To the lords, who sent a committee to inquire whether the confession was really his, he replied, “My lords, it is my act, my hand, and my heart; I beseech your lordships to be merciful to a broken reed.” He was sentenced to a fine of £40,000, remitted by the king, to be committed to the Tower during the king’s pleasure (which was that he should be released in a few days), and to be incapable of holding office or sitting in parliament. He narrowly escaped being deprived of his titles. Thenceforth he devoted himself to study and writing. In 1622 appeared his History of Henry VII., and the 3rd part of the Instauratio; in 1623, History of Life and Death, the De Augmentis Scientarum, a Latin translation of the Advancement, and in 1625 the 3rd edition of the Essays, now 58 in number. He also published Apophthegms, and a translation of some of the Psalms. His life was now approaching its close. In March, 1626, he came to London, and shortly after, when driving on a snowy day, the idea struck him of making an experiment as to the antiseptic properties of snow, in consequence of which he caught a chill, which ended in his death on 9th April 1626. He left debts to the amount of £22,000. At the time of his death he was engaged upon Sylva Sylvarum. The intellect of Bacon was one of the most powerful and searching ever possessed by man, and his developments of the inductive philosophy revolutionised the future thought of the human race. The most popular of his works is the Essays, which convey profound and condensed thought in a style that is at once clear and rich. His moral character was singularly mixed and complex, and bears no comparison with his intellect. It exhibits a singular coldness and lack of enthusiasm, and indeed a bluntness of moral perception and an absence of attractiveness rarely combined with such extraordinary mental endowments. All that was possible to be done in defence of his character and public conduct has been done by his accomplished biographer and editor, Mr. Spedding (q.v.). Singular, though of course futile, attempts, supported sometimes with much ingenuity, have been made to claim for Bacon the authorship of Shakespeare’s plays, and have indeed been extended so as to include those of Marlowe, and even the Essays of Montaigne.
Summary. — Born London 1561, ed. Trinity College, Cambridge, dissatisfied with Aristotelean philosophy, entered Gray’s Inn 1576, in France 1576–79, called to Bar 1582, enters Parliament 1584, became friend of Essex 1591, who presents him with estate 1593, published 1st ed. of Essays 1597, prosecutes Essex 1601, published Advancement of Learning 1605, Solicitor–Gen. 1607, published Wisdom of the Ancients 1609, Attorney–Gen. 1613, prosecuted Somerset 1616, Lord Keeper 1618, Lord Chancellor with title of Verulam 1619, Visc. St. Albans 1621, published Novum Organum 1620, charged with corruption, and retires from public life 1621, published Henry VII. and 3rd part of Instauratio 1622, died 1626.
The standard edition of Bacon’s works is that of Spedding, Ellis, and Heath (14 vols. 1857–74), including Life and Letters by Spedding. See also Macaulay’s Essays; Dean Church in Men of Letters Series; Dr. Abbott’s Life (1885), etc. For philosophy Fowler’s Novum Organum (1878).
Bacon, Roger (1214?-1294). — Philosopher, studied at Oxford and Paris. His scientific acquirements, regarded in that age as savouring of witchcraft, and doubtless also his protests against the ignorance and immorality of the clergy, excited the jealousy and hatred of the Franciscans, and he was in consequence imprisoned at Paris for ten years. Clement IV., who had been a sympathiser, desired on his accession to see his works, and in response Bacon sent him Opus Majus, a treatise on the sciences (grammar, logic, mathematics, physics, and philosophy), followed by Opus Secundum and Opus Tertium. Clement, however, was near death when they arrived. Bacon was comparatively free from persecution for the next ten years. But in 1278 he was again imprisoned for upwards of ten years. At the intercession of some English noblemen he was at last released, and spent his remaining years at Oxford. He possessed one of the most commanding intellects of his own, or perhaps of any, age, and, notwithstanding all the disadvantages and discouragements to which he was subjected, made many discoveries, and came near to many more. There is still preserved at Oxford a rectified calendar in which he approximates closely to the truth. He received the sobriquet of the “Doctor Mirabilis.”
Bage, Robert (1728–1801). — Novelist, born in Derbyshire, was the son of a paper-maker. It was not until he was 53 that he took to literature; but in the 15 years following he produced 6 novels, of which Sir Walter Scott says that “strong mind, playful fancy, and extensive knowledge are everywhere apparent.” B., though brought up as a Quaker, imbibed the principles of the French Revolution. He was an amiable and benevolent man, and highly esteemed. Hermsprong; or, Man as He is Not (1796) is considered the best of his novels, of which it was the last. The names of the others are Mount Kenneth (1781), Barham Downs (1784), The Fair Syrian (1787), James Wallace (1788), and Man as He is (1792).
Bagehot, Walter (1826–1877). — Economist, son of a banker, born at Langport, Somerset, ed. at University College, London, and called to the Bar, but did not practise, and joined his father in business. He wrote for various periodicals, and from 1860 was editor of The Economist. He was the author of The English Constitution (1867), a standard work which was translated into several languages; Physics and Politics (1872), and Lombard Street (1873), a valuable financial work. A collection of essays, biographical and economic, was published after his death.
Bailey, Philip James (1816–1902). — Poet, son of a journalist, born at Nottingham, and ed. there and at Glasgow, of which he was made an LL.D. in 1891. His life was a singularly uneventful one. He lived at Nottingham, Jersey, Ilfracombe, London, and again at Nottingham, where he died He travelled a good deal on the Continent. He was by profession a barrister, but never practised, and devoted his whole energies to poetry. His first poem, Festus (1839), is, for the daring of its theme and the imaginative power and moral altitude which it displays, one of the most notable of the century; as the work of one little past boyhood it is a prodigy of intellectual precocity. Along with its great qualities it has many faults in execution, and its final place in literature remains to be determined. It was published anonymously, and had great success, but has fallen into unmerited, but perhaps temporary, neglect. Among its greatest admirers was Tennyson. The subsequent poems of B., The Angel World (1850), The Mystic (1855), The Age (1858), and The Universal Hymn (1867), were failures, and the author adopted the unfortunate expedient of endeavouring to buoy them up by incorporating large extracts in the later editions of Festus, with the effect only of sinking the latter, which ultimately extended to over 40,000 lines. B. was a man of strikingly handsome appearance, and gentle and amiable character.
Baillie, Joanna (1762–1851). — Dramatist and poetess, daughter of the minister of Bothwell, afterwards Professor of Divinity at Glasgow. Her mother was a sister of the great anatomists, William and John Hunter, and her brother was the celebrated physician, Matthew B., of London. She received a thorough education at Glasgow, and at an early age went to London, where the remainder of her long, happy, and honoured, though uneventful, life was passed. In 1798, when she was 36, the first vol. of her Plays on the Passions appeared, and was received with much favour, other two vols. followed in 1802 and 1812, and she also produced Miscellaneous Plays in 1804, and 3 vols. of Dramatic Poetry in 1836. In all her works there are many passages of true and impressive poetry, but the idea underlying her Plays on the Passions, that, namely, of exhibiting the principal character as acting under the exclusive influence of one passion, is artificial and untrue to nature.
Baillie, Lady Grizel (1665–1746). — Poetess, daughter of Sir Patrick Home or Hume, afterwards Earl of Marchmont, was married to George Baillie of Jerviswoode. In her childhood she showed remarkable courage and address in the services she rendered to her father and his friend, Robert Baillie of Jerviswoode, the eminent Scottish patriot, when under persecution. She left many pieces both prose and verse in MS., some of which were published The best known is the beautiful song, Were na my heart licht I wad die.
Baillie, Robert (1599–1662). — Historical writer, son of B. of Jerviston, ed. at Glasgow, he entered the Church of Scotland and became minister of Kilwinning in Ayrshire. His abilities soon made him a leading man. He was a member of the historic Assembly of 1638, when Presbyterianism was re-established in Scotland, and also of the Westminster Assembly, 1643. In 1651 he was made Professor of Divinity in Glasgow, and 10 years later Principal. His Letters and Journals, edited for the Bannatyne Club by D. Laing (q.v.), are of the greatest value for the interesting light they throw on a period of great importance in Scottish history. He was one of the wisest and most temperate churchmen of his time.
Bain, Alexander (1818–1903). — Philosopher, born at Aberdeen, and graduated at Marischal College there, became in 1860 Professor of Logic in his university, and wrote a number of works on philosophy and psychology, including The Senses and the Intellect (1855), The Emotions and the Will, Mental and Moral Science (1868), Logic (1870), and Education as a Science (1879). In 1881 he was elected Lord Rector of Aberdeen University.
Baker, Sir Richard (1568–1645). — Historian and religious writer, studied law, was knighted in 1603, and was High Sheriff of Oxfordshire 1620. B. was the author of The Chronicle of the Kings of England (1643), which was for long held as a great authority among the country gentlemen. It has, however, many errors. B. fell on evil days, was thrown into the Fleet for debt incurred by others, for which he had made himself responsible, and died there. It was during his durance that the Chronicle and some religious treatises were composed. The Chronicle was continued by Edward Phillips, Milton’s nephew, who became a strong Royalist.
Baker, Sir Samuel White (1821–1893). — Traveller, born in London, and after being a planter in Ceylon, and superintending the construction of a railway between the Danube and the Black Sea, went with his wife, a Hungarian lady, in search of the sources of the Nile, and discovered the great lake, Albert Nyanza. B. was knighted in 1866, and was for 4 years Governor–General of the Equatorial Nile Basin. His books, which are all on travel and sport, are well written and include Albert Nyanza (1866), Nile Tributaries of Abyssinia (1867).
Bale, John (1495–1563). — Historian and controversialist, born at Cove, Suffolk, and ed. as a Carmelite friar, but becoming a Protestant, engaged in violent controversy with the Roman Catholics. After undergoing persecution and flying to Flanders, he was brought back by Edward VI. and made Bishop of Ossory. On the death of Edward he was again persecuted, and had to escape from Ireland to Holland, but returned on the accession of Elizabeth, who made him a Prebendary of Canterbury. His chief work is a Latin Account of the Lives of Eminent Writers of Great Britain. Besides this he wrote some dramas on scriptural subjects, and an account of the trial and death of Sir John Oldcastle. He wrote in all 22 plays, of which only 5 have come down, the names of certain of which give some idea of their nature, e.g., The Three Leaves of Nature, Moses and Christ, and The Temptacyon of Our Lord.
Ballantine, James (1808–1877). — Artist and author, born in Edinburgh, began life as a house painter. He studied art, and became one of the first to revive the art of glass-painting, on which subject he wrote a treatise. He was the author of The Gaberlunzie’s Wallet (1843), Miller of Deanhaugh (1845), Poems (1856), 100 Songs with Music (1865), and a Life of David Roberts, R.A. (1866).
Ballantyne, Robert Michael (1825–1894). — Writer of tales for boys, born in Edinburgh, was a connection of the well-known printers. As a youth he spent some years in the service of the Hudson’s Bay Co., and was then a member of Constable’s printing firm. In 1856 he took to literature as a profession, and published about 80 tales, which, abounding in interesting adventure and information, and characterised by a thoroughly healthy tone, had great popularity. Among them are The Young Fur Traders (1856), The Coral Island, Fighting the Flames, Martin Rattler, The World of Ice, The Dog Crusoe, Erling the Bold, and Black Ivory. B. was also an accomplished water-colour artist, and in all respects lived up to the ideals he sought to instil into his readers. He died at Rome.
Bancroft, George (1800–1891). — American historian, born at Worcester, Massachusetts, and after grad. at Harvard, studied in Germany, where he became acquainted and corresponded with Goethe, Hegel, and other leaders of German thought. Returning to America he began his History of the United States (1834–74). The work covers the period from the discovery of the Continent to the conclusion of the Revolutionary War in 1782. His other great work is The History of the Formation of the Constitution of the United States (1882). B. filled various political offices, and was in 1846 Minister Plenipotentiary to England, and in 1867 Minister to Prussia. His writing is clear and vigorous, and his facts generally accurate, but he is a good deal of a partisan.
Banim, John (1798–1842). — Novelist, began life as a miniature painter, but was led by the success of his first book, Tales of the O’Hara Family, to devote himself to literature. The object which he set before himself was to become to Ireland what Scott has been to Scotland, and the influence of his model is distinctly traceable in his writings. His strength lies in the delineation of the characters of the Irish lower classes, and the impulses, often misguided and criminal, by which they are influenced, and in this he has shown remarkable power. The first series of the O’Hara Tales appeared in 1825, the second in 1826. Other works are The Croppy (1828), The Denounced (1830), The Smuggler (1831), The Mayor of Windgap, and his last, Father Connell. Most of these deal with the darker and more painful phases of life, but the feeling shown in the last-named is brighter and tenderer. B. latterly suffered from illness and consequent poverty, which were alleviated by a pension from Government. He also wrote some poems, including The Celt’s Paradise, and one or two plays. In the O’Hara Tales, he was assisted by his brother, MICHAEL BANIM (1796–1874), and there is difficulty in allocating their respective contributions. After the death of John, Michael wrote Clough Fionn (1852), and The Town of the Cascades (1864).
Bannatyne, Richard (died 1605). — Secretary to John Knox, compiled Memorials of Transactions in Scotland from 1569 to 1573.
Barbauld, Anna Letitia (1743–1825). — Poetess, etc., daughter of Dr. John Aikin (q.v.), was born at Kibworth–Hencourt, Leicestershire. Her father kept an academy for boys, whose education she shared, and thus became acquainted with the classics. In 1773 she published a collection of miscellaneous poems, which was well received, and in the following year she married the Rev. R. Barbauld, a French Protestant and dissenting minister, who also conducted a school near Palgrave in Suffolk. Into this enterprise Mrs. B. threw herself with great energy, and, mainly owing to her talents and reputation, it proved a success and was afterwards carried on at Hampstead and Newington Green. Meantime, she continued her literary occupations, and brought out various devotional works, including her Hymns in Prose for Children. These were followed by Evenings at Home, Selections from the English Essayists, The Letters of Samuel Richardson, with a life prefixed, and a selection from the British novelists with introductory essay.
Barbour, John (1316?-1395). — Poet. Of B.’s youth nothing is certainly known, but it is believed that he was born near Aberdeen, and studied at Oxford and Paris. He entered the Church, and rose to ecclesiastical preferment and Royal favour. He is known to have been Archdeacon of Aberdeen in 1357, when, and again in 1364, he went with some young scholars to Oxford, and he also held various civil offices in connection with the exchequer and the King’s household. His principal poem, The Bruce, was in progress in 1376. It consists of 14,000 octosyllabic lines, and celebrates the praises of Robert the Bruce and James Douglas, the flowers of Scottish chivalry. This poem is almost the sole authority on the history it deals with, but is much more than a rhyming chronicle; it contains many fine descriptive passages, and sings the praises of freedom. Its style is somewhat bald and severe. Other poems ascribed to B. are The Legend of Troy, and Legends of the Saints, probably translations. B. devoted a perpetual annuity of 20 shillings, bestowed upon him by the King, to provide for a mass to be sung for himself and his parents, and this was duly done in the church of St. Machar until the Reformation.
The Bruce, edited by C. Innes for Spalding Club (1856), and for Early Engl. Text Soc. by W.W. Skeat, 1870–77; and for Scott. Text Soc. (1894); The Wallace and The Bruce re-studied, J.T.T. Brown, 1900; G. Neilson in Chambers’ Cyc. Eng. Lit. (1903).
Barclay, Alexander (1475?-1552). — Poet, probably of Scottish birth, was a priest in England. He is remembered for his satirical poem, The Ship of Fools (1509), partly a translation, which is of interest as throwing light on the manners and customs of the times to which it refers. He also translated Sallust’s Bellum Jugurthinum, and the Mirrour of Good Manners, from the Italian of Mancini, and wrote five Eclogues. His style is stiff and his verse uninspired.
Barclay, John (1582–1621). — Satirist, son of a Scotsman, who was Professor of Law at Pont-à-Mousson, Lorraine, came with his father to England about 1603. He wrote several works in English and Latin, among which are Euphormionis Satyricon, against the Jesuits, and Argenis, a political romance, resembling in certain respects the Arcadia of Sidney, and the Utopia of More.
Barclay, Robert (1648–1690). — Apologist of the Quakers, son of Col. David B. of Ury, ed. at the Scots College in Paris, of which his uncle was Rector, made such progress in study as to gain the admiration of his teachers, specially of his uncle, who offered to make him his heir if he would remain in France, and join the Roman Catholic Church. This he refused to do, and, returning to Scotland, he in 1667 adopted the principles of the Quakers as his father had already done. Soon afterwards he began to write in defence of his sect, by published in 1670 Truth cleared of Calumnies, and a Catechism and Confession of Faith (1673). His great work, however, is his Apology for the Quakers, published in Latin in 1676, and translated into English in 1678. It is a weighty and learned work, written in a dignified style, and was eagerly read. It, however, failed to arrest the persecution to which the Quakers were exposed, and B. himself, on returning from the Continent, where he had gone with Foxe and Penn, was imprisoned, but soon regained his liberty, and was in the enjoyment of Court favour. He was one of the twelve Quakers who acquired East New Jersey, of which he was appointed nominal Governor. His latter years were spent at his estate of Ury, where he died The essential view which B. maintained was, that Christians are illuminated by an inner light superseding even the Scriptures as the guide of life. His works have often been reprinted.
Barham, Richard Harris (1788–1845). — Novelist and humorous poet, son of a country gentleman, was born at Canterbury, ed. at St. Paul’s School and Oxford, entered the church, held various incumbencies, and was Divinity Lecturer, and minor canon of St. Paul’s. It is not, however, as a churchman that he is remembered, but as the author of the Ingoldsby Legends, a series of comic and serio-comic pieces in verse, sparkling with wit, and full of striking and often grotesque turns of expression, which appeared first in Bentley’s Miscellany. He also wrote, in Blackwood’s Magazine, a novel, My Cousin Nicholas.
Barlow, Joel (1754–1812). — Poet, born at Reading, Connecticut, served for a time as an army chaplain, and thereafter betook himself to law, and finally to commerce and diplomacy, in the former of which he made a fortune. He was much less successful as a poet than as a man of affairs. His writings include Vision of Columbus (1787), afterwards expanded into the Columbiad (1807), The Conspiracy of Kings (1792), and The Hasty Pudding (1796), a mock-heroic poem, his best work. These are generally pompous and dull. In 1811 he was app. ambassador to France, and met his death in Poland while journeying to meet Napoleon.
Barnard, Lady Anne (Lindsay) (1750–1825). — Poet, eldest daughter of the 5th Earl of Balcarres, married Andrew Barnard, afterwards Colonial Secretary at Cape Town. On the died of her husband in 1807 she settled in London. Her exquisite ballad of Auld Robin Gray was written in 1771, and published anonymously. She confessed the authorship to Sir Walter Scott in 1823.
Barnes, Barnabe (1569?-1609). — Poet, son of Dr. Richard B. Bishop, of Durham, was born in Yorkshire, and studied at Oxford. He wrote Parthenophil, a collection of sonnets, madrigals, elegies, and odes, A Divine Centurie of Spirituall Sonnets, and The Devil’s Charter, a tragedy. When at his best he showed a true poetic vein.
Barnes, William (1801–1886). — Poet and philologist, son of a farmer, born at Rushay, Dorset. After being a solicitor’s clerk and a schoolmaster, he entered the Church, in which he served various cures. He first contributed to a newspaper, Poems in Dorset Dialect, separately published in 1844. Hwomely Rhymes followed in 1858, and a collected edition of his poems appeared in 1879. His philological works include Philological Grammar (1854), Se Gefylsta, an Anglo–Saxon Delectus (1849). Tiw, or a View of Roots (1862), and a Glossary of Dorset Dialect (1863). B.’s poems are characterised by a singular sweetness and tenderness of feeling, deep insight into humble country life and character, and an exquisite feeling for local scenery.
Barnfield, Richard (1574–1627). — Poet, e.s. of Richard B., gentleman, was born at Norbury, Shropshire, and ed. at Oxford. In 1594 he published The Affectionate Shepherd, a collection of variations in graceful verse of the 2nd Eclogue of Virgil. His next work was Cynthia, with certain Sonnets and the Legend of Cassandra in 1595; and in 1598 there appeared a third vol., The Encomion of Lady Pecunia, etc., in which are two songs (“If music and sweet poetrie agree,” and “As it fell upon a day”) also included in The Passionate Pilgrim, an unauthorised collection, and which were long attributed to Shakespeare. From this time, 1599, B. produced nothing else, and seems to have retired to the life of a country gentleman at Stone in Staffordshire, in the church of which he was buried in 1627. He was for long neglected; but his poetry is clear, sweet, and musical. His gift indeed is sufficiently attested by work of his having passed for that of Shakespeare.
Barrow, Isaac (1630–1677). — Divine, scholar, and mathematician, son of a linen-draper in London, was ed. at Charterhouse, Felsted, Peterhouse, and Trinity College, Cambridge, where his uncle and namesake, afterwards Bishop of St. Asaph, was a Fellow. As a boy he was turbulent and pugnacious, but soon took to hard study, distinguishing himself in classics and mathematics. Intending originally to enter the Church, he was led to think of the medical profession, and engaged in scientific studies, but soon reverted to his first views. In 1655 he became candidate for the Greek Professorship at Cambridge, but was unsuccessful, and travelled for four years on the Continent as far as Turkey. On his return he took orders, and, in 1660, obtained the Greek Chair at Cambridge, and in 1662 the Gresham Professorship of Geometry, which he resigned on being appointed first Lucasian Professor of Mathematics in the same university. During his tenure of this chair he published two mathematical works of great learning and elegance, the first on Geometry and the second on Optics. In 1669 he resigned in favour of his pupil, Isaac Newton, who was long considered his only superior among English mathematicians. About this time also he composed his Expositions of the Creed, The Lord’s Prayer, Decalogue, and Sacraments. He was made a D.D. by royal mandate in 1670, and two years later Master of Trinity College, where he founded the library. Besides the works above mentioned, he wrote other important treatises on mathematics, but in literature his place is chiefly supported by his sermons, which are masterpieces of argumentative eloquence, while his treatise on the Pope’s Supremacy is regarded as one of the most perfect specimens of controversy in existence. B.’s character as a man was in all respects worthy of his great talents, though he had a strong vein of eccentricity. He died unmarried in London at the early age of 47. B.’s theological works were edited by Napier, with memoir by Whewell (9 vols., 1839).
Barton, Bernard (1784–1849). — Poet, born of Quaker parentage, passed nearly all his life at Woodbridge, for the most part as a clerk in a bank. He became the friend of Southey, Lamb, and other men of letters. His chief works are The Convict’s Appeal (1818), a protest against the severity of the criminal code of the time, and Household Verses (1845), which came under the notice of Sir R. Peel, through whom he obtained a pension of £100. With the exception of some hymns his works are now nearly forgotten, but he was a most amiable and estimable man — simple and sympathetic. His daughter Lucy, who married Edward Fitzgerald, the translator of Omar Khayyam, published a selection of his poems and letters, to which her husband prefixed a biographical introduction.
Baynes, Thomas Spencer (1823–1887). — Philosopher, son of a Baptist minister, born at Wellington, Somerset, intended to study for Baptist ministry, and was at a theological seminary at Bath with that view, but being strongly attracted to philosophical studies, left it and went to Edinburgh, when he became the favourite pupil of Sir W. Hamilton (q.v.), of whose philosophical system he continued an adherent. After working as ed. of a newspaper in Edinburgh, and after an interval of rest rendered necessary by a breakdown in health, he resumed journalistic work in 1858 as assistant ed. of the Daily News. In 1864 he was appointed Prof. of Logic and English Literature at St. Andrews, in which capacity his mind was drawn to the study of Shakespeare, and he contributed to the Edinburgh Review and Fraser’s Magazine valuable papers (chiefly relating to his vocabulary and the extent of his learning) afterwards collected as Shakespeare Studies. In 1873 he was appointed to superintend the ninth ed. of the Encyclopædia Britannica, in which, after 1880, he was assisted by W. Robertson Smith (q.v.).
Baxter, Richard (1615–1691). — Divine scholar and controversialist, was born of poor, but genteel, parents at Rowton in Shropshire, and although he became so eminent for learning, was not ed. at any university. Circumstances led to his turning his attention to a career at court under the patronage of the Master of the Revels, but a short experience of this sufficed; and giving himself to the Christian ministry, he was ordained in 1638, and, after being master of a school at Dudley, exercised his ministry successively at Bridgnorth and Kidderminster. His learning and capacity for business made him the leader of the Presbyterian party. He was one of the greatest preachers of his own day, and consistently endeavoured to exert a moderating influence, with the result that he became the object of attack by extremists of opposing views. Though siding with the Parliament in the Civil War, he opposed the execution of the King and the assumption of supreme power by Cromwell. During the war he served with the army as a chaplain. On the return of Charles II., B. was made one of his chaplains, and was offered the see of Hereford, which he declined, and his subsequent request to be allowed to return to Kidderminster was refused. He subsequently suffered persecution at the hands of Judge Jeffreys. After the Revolution he had a few years of peace and quiet. His literary activity was marvellous in spite of ill-health and outward disturbance. He is said to have written 168 works, the best known of which are The Saints’ Everlasting Rest (1650), and Call to the Unconverted (1657), manuals of practical religion; and, among his controversial writings, Methodus Theologiæ (1681), and Catholic Theology (1675), in which his theological standpoint — a compromise between Arminianism and Calvinism — is set forth. Dr. Isaac Barrow says that “his practical writings were never mended, and his controversial seldom confuted,” and Dean Stanley calls him “the chief English Protestant schoolman.” B. left an autobiography, Reliquiæ Baxterianæ, which was a favourite book with both Johnson and Coleridge. Other works by him are The Life of Faith (1670), Reasons of the Christian Religion (1672), and Christian Directory (1675). Practical Works in 23 vols. (1830) edited with memoirs by W. Orme, also Lives by A.B. Grosart (1879), Dean Boyle (1883), and J.H. Davies (1886).
Bayly, Ada Ellen (died 1903). — Novelist, wrote several stories under the name of “Edna Lyall,” which were very popular. They include Autobiography of a Slander, Donovan, Hope the Hermit, In the Golden Days, To Right the Wrong, We Two, and Won by Waiting.
Bayly, Thomas Haynes (1797–1839). — Miscellaneous writer, son of a wealthy lawyer in Bath. Originally intended for the law, he changed his mind and thought of entering the Church, but abandoned this idea also, and gave himself to writing for the stage and the periodical press. He is chiefly known for his songs, of which he wrote hundreds, which, set to the music of Bishop and other eminent composers, found universal acceptance. Some were set to his own music. He also wrote several novels and a number of farces, etc. Although making a large income from his writings, in addition to that of his wife, he fell into embarrassed circumstances. Among the best known of his songs are I’d be a Butterfly, Oh, no, we never mention Her, and She wore a Wreath of Roses. He may be regarded as, excepting Moore, the most popular song writer of his time.
Beaconsfield, Benjamin Disraeli, 1st Earl of (1804–1881). — Statesman and novelist, was the son of Isaac D. (q.v.). Belonging to a Jewish family settled first in Spain, whence in the 15th century they migrated to Italy, he was born in London in 1804 and privately ed. His father destined him for the law, and he was articled to a solicitor. The law was, however, uncongenial, and he had already begun to write. After some journalistic work, he brought himself into general notice by the publication, in 1827, of his first novel, Vivian Grey, which created a sensation by its brilliance, audacity, and slightly veiled portraits of living celebrities. After producing a Vindication of the British Constitution, and some political pamphlets, he followed up his first success by a series of novels, The Young Duke (1831), Contarini Fleming (1832), Alroy (1833), Venetia and Henrietta Temple (1837). During the same period he had also written The Revolutionary Epic and three burlesques, Ixion, The Infernal Marriage, and Popanilla. These works had gained for him a brilliant, if not universally admitted, place in literature. But his ambition was by no means confined to literary achievement; he aimed also at fame as a man of action. After various unsuccessful attempts to enter Parliament, in which he stood, first as a Radical, and then as a Tory, he was in 1837 returned for Maidstone, having for his colleague Mr. Wyndham Lewis, whose widow he afterwards married. For some years after entering on his political career, D. ceased to write, and devoted his energies to parliamentary work. His first speech was a total failure, being received with shouts of laughter, but with characteristic courage and perseverance he pursued his course, gradually rose to a commanding position in parliament and in the country, became leader of his party, was thrice Chancellor of the Exchequer, 1852, 1858–59, and 1866–68, in which last year he became Prime Minister, which office he again held from 1874 till 1880. To return to his literary career, in 1844 he had published Coningsby, followed by Sybil (1845), and Tancred (1847), and in 1848 he wrote a life of Lord G. Bentinck, his predecessor in the leadership of the Protectionist party. His last novels were Lothair (1870), and Endymion (1880). He was raised to the peerage as Earl of Beaconsfield in 1876, and was a Knight of the Garter. In his later years he was the intimate friend as well as the trusted minister of Queen Victoria. The career of D. is one of the most remarkable in English history. With no family or political influence, and with some personal characteristics, and the then current prejudices in regard to his race to contend with, he rose by sheer force of will and intellect to the highest honours attainable in this country. His most marked qualities were an almost infinite patience and perseverance, indomitable courage, a certain spaciousness of mind, and depth of penetration, and an absolute confidence in his own abilities, aided by great powers of debate rising occasionally to eloquence. Though the object, first of a kind of contemptuous dislike, then of an intense opposition, he rose to be universally regarded as, at all events, a great political force, and by a large part of the nation as a great statesman. As a writer he is generally interesting, and his books teem with striking thoughts, shrewd maxims, and brilliant phrases which stick in the memory. On the other hand he is often artificial, extravagant, and turgid, and his ultimate literary position is difficult to forecast.
Lives by Froude (1890), Hitchman (1885), see also Dictionary of Nat. Biog. etc.
Beattie, James (1735–1803). — Poet and philosophical writer, son of a shopkeeper and small farmer at Laurencekirk, Kincardineshire, and ed. at Aberdeen; he was, in 1760, appointed Professor of Moral Philosophy there. In the following year he published a vol. of poems, which attracted attention. The two works, however, which brought him most fame were: (1) his Essay on Truth (1770), intended as an answer to Hume, which had great immediate success, and led to an introduction to the King, a pension of £200, and the degree of LL.D. from Oxford; and (2) his poem of The Minstrel, of which the first book was published in 1771 and the second in 1774, and which constitutes his true title to remembrance. It contains much beautiful descriptive writing. The Essay on Truth and his other philosophical works are now forgotten. B. underwent much domestic sorrow in the death of his wife and two promising sons, which broke down his own health and spirits.
Beaumont, Francis (1584–1616), and Fletcher, John (1579–1625). — Poets and dramatists. As they are indissolubly associated in the history of English literature, it is convenient to treat of them in one place. B. was the son of Francis B., a Judge of the Common Pleas, and was born at the family seat, Grace Dieu, Leicestershire. He was ed. at Oxford, but his father dying in 1598, he left without taking his degree. He went to London and entered the Inner Temple in 1600, and soon became acquainted with Ben Jonson, Drayton, and other poets and dramatists. His first work was a translation from Ovid, followed by commendatory verses prefixed to certain plays of Jonson. Soon afterwards his friendship with F. began. They lived in the same house and had practically a community of goods until B.’s marriage in 1613 to Ursula, daughter and co-heiress of Henry Isley of Sundridge in Kent, by whom he had two daughter He died in 1616, and is buried in Westminster Abbey. F. was the youngest son of Richard F., Bishop of London, who accompanied Mary Queen of Scots to the scaffold. He went to Cambridge, but it is not known whether he took a degree, though he had some reputation as a scholar. His earliest play is The Woman Hater (1607). He is said to have died of the plague, and is buried in St. Saviour’s Church, Southwark. The plays attributed to B. and F. number 52 and a masque, and much labour has been bestowed by critics in endeavouring to allocate their individual shares. It is now generally agreed that others collaborated with them to some extent — Massinger, Rowley, Shirley, and even Shakespeare. Of those believed to be the joint work of B. and F. Philaster and The Maid’s Tragedy are considered the masterpieces, and are as dramas unmatched except by Shakespeare. The Two Noble Kinsmen is thought to contain the work of Shakespeare. As regards their respective powers, B. is held to have had the graver, solider, and more stately genius, while F. excelled in brightness, wit, and gaiety. The former was the stronger in judgment, the latter in fancy. The plays contain many very beautiful lyrics, but are often stained by gross indelicacy. The play of Henry VIII. included in Shakespeare’s works, is now held to be largely the work of F. and Massinger. Subjoined is a list of the plays with the authorship according to the latest authorities.
(1) Beaumont. — The Masque. (2) Fletcher. — Woman Hater (1607), Faithful Shepherdess (1609), Bonduca (Boàdicea) (1618–19), Wit without Money (1614?), Valentinian (1618–19), Loyal Subjects (1618), Mad Lover (1618–19), Humorous Lieutenant (1618?), Women Pleased (1620?), Island Princess (1621), Pilgrim (1621), Wild Goose Chase (1621), Woman’s Prize (? published 1647), A Wife for a Month (1624), Chances (late, p. 1647), perhaps Monsieur Thomas (p. 1639), and Sea Voyage (1622). (3) Beaumont and FLETCHER. — Four Plays in One (1608), King and No King (1611), Cupid’s Revenge (1611?), Knight of Burning Pestle (1611), Maid’s Tragedy (1611), Philaster (1611), Coxcomb (1612–13), Wits at Several Weapons (1614), Scornful Lady (1616), doubtfully, Thierry and Theodoret (1616), and Little French Lawyer (1620) perhaps by F. and Massinger, and Laws of Candy (?) perhaps by B. and Massinger. (4) FLETCHER and OTHERS. — Honest Man’s Fortune (1613), F., Mass., and Field; The Captain (1613), and Nice Valour (p. 1647), F. and Middleton (?); Bloody Brothers (1616–17), F., Mid., and Rowley or Fielding and B. Jonson (?); Queen of Corinth (1618–19), F. and Row. or Mass. and Mid.; Barneveld (1619), by F. and Massinger; Knight of Malta (1619), False One (1620), A Very Woman (1621?), Double Marriage (1620), Elder Brother (p. 1637), Lover’s Progress (p. 1647), Custom of the Country (1628), Prophetess (1622), Spanish Curate (1622), by F. and Shakespeare; Henry VIII. (1617), and Two Noble Kinsmen (p. 1634), by F. and Rowley, or Massinger; Maid of the Mill (1625–6), Beggar’s Bush (?) (1622), by F. and Shirley; Noble Gentleman (?) Night Walker (1633?), Lovers Pilgrimage (1623?), Fair Maid of the Inn (1625–26), also with Middleton?
The latest ed. is that of Mr. Bullen (11 vols., 1904), and A.R. Waller (7 vols., published C.U.P., 1909); Dyce (11 vols., 1843–46); Francis Beaumont, G.C. Macaulay (1883); Lyric Poems of B. and F., E. Rhys (1897); Bibliography, A.C. Potter in Harvard Bibliograph. Contributions, 1891.
Beaumont, Sir John (1582–1627?). — Poet, elder brother of Francis B., the dramatist (q.v.). His poems, of which the best known is Bosworth Field, published by his son, 1629. Another, The Crown of Thorns, is lost.
Beckford, William (c. 1760–1844). — Miscellaneous writer, only son of William B., Lord Mayor of London, the associate and supporter of John Wilkes, inherited at the age of 9 an enormous fortune. In these circumstances he grew up wayward and extravagant, showing, however, a strong bent towards literature. His education was entrusted to a private tutor, with whom he travelled extensively on the Continent. At the age of 22 he produced his oriental romance, Vathek (c. 1781), written originally in French and, as he was accustomed to boast, at a single sitting of three days and two nights. There is reason, however, to believe that this was a flight of imagination. It is an impressive work, full of fantastic and magnificent conceptions, rising occasionally to sublimity. His other principal writings are Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters (1780), a satirical work, and Letters from Italy with Sketches of Spain and Portugal (1835), full of brilliant descriptions of scenes and manners. B.’s fame, however, rests nearly as much upon his eccentric extravagances as a builder and collector as upon his literary efforts. In carrying out these he managed to dissipate his fortune of £100,000 a year, only £80,000 of his capital remaining at his death. He sat in parliament for various constituencies, and one of his two daughter became Duchess of Hamilton.
Beddoes, Thomas Lovell (1803–1849). — Dramatic poet and physiologist, son of Dr. Thos. B., an eminent physician, and nephew of Maria Edgeworth. Ed. at the Charterhouse and Oxford, he published in 1821 The Improvisatore, which he afterwards endeavoured to suppress. His next venture was The Bride’s Tragedy (1822), which had considerable success, and won for him the friendship of “Barry Cornwall.” Thereafter he went to Göttingen and studied medicine. He then wandered about practising his profession, and expounding democratic theories which got him into trouble. He died at Bale in mysterious circumstances. For some time before his death he had been engaged upon a drama, Death’s Jest Book, which was published in 1850 with a memoir by his friend, T.F. Kelsall. B. had not the true dramatic instinct, but his poetry is full of thought and richness of diction. Some of his short pieces, e.g.: “If there were dreams to sell,” and “If thou wilt ease thine heart,” are masterpieces of intense feeling exquisitely expressed.
Bede or BÆDA (673–735). — Historian and scholar. B., who is sometimes referred to as “the father of English history,” was in his youth placed under the care of Benedict Biscop, Abbot of Wearmouth, and of Ceolfrith, afterwards Abbot of Jarrow. Ordained deacon in 692 and priest in 703, he spent most of his days at Jarrow, where his fame as a scholar and teacher of Latin, Greek, and Hebrew brought him many disciples. Here likewise he died and was buried, but his bones were, towards the beginning of the 11th century, removed to Durham. The well-deserved title of “Venerable” usually prefixed to his name first appears in 836. He was the most learned Englishman of his age. His industry was marvellous, and its results remain embodied in about 40 books, of which about 25 are commentaries on books of Scripture. The others are lives of saints and martyrs, and his two great works, The Ecclesiastical History of England and the scientific treatise, De Natura Rerum. The former of these gives the fullest and best information we have as to the history of England down to the year 731, and the latter is an encyclopædia of the sciences as then known. In the anxious care with which he sought out and selected reliable information, and referred to authorities he shows the best qualities of the modern historian, and his style is remarkable for “a pleasing artlessness.”
History of Early Engl. Lit., Stopford Brooke (2 vols., 1892), etc.
Beecher, Henry Ward (1813–1887). — Orator and divine, son of Lyman B. and bro. of Harriet Beecher Stowe, was one of the most popular of American preachers and platform orators, a prominent advocate of temperance and of the abolition of slavery. His writings, which had a wide popularity, include Summer in the Soul and Life Thoughts.
Behn, Aphra (Johnston) (1640–1689). — Novelist and dramatist, daughter of a barber named Johnston, but went with a relative whom she called father to Surinam, of which he had been appointed Governor. He, however, died on the passage thither, and her childhood and youth were passed there. She became acquainted with the celebrated slave Oronoko, afterwards the hero of one of her novels. Returning to England in 1658 she married Behn, a Dutch merchant, but was a widow at the age of 26. She then became attached to the Court, and was employed as a political spy at Antwerp. Leaving that city she cultivated the friendship of various playwrights, and produced many plays and novels, also poems and pamphlets. The former are extremely gross, and are now happily little known. She was the first English professional authoress. Among her plays are The Forced Marriage, Abdelazer, The Rover, The Debauchee, etc., and her novels include Oronoko and The Nun. The former of these was the first book to bring home to the country a sense of the horrors of slavery, for which let her have credit.
Bell, Henry Glassford (1805–1874). — Poet and historian, was a member of the Scottish Bar, and became Sheriff of Lanarkshire. He wrote a Life of Mary Queen of Scots (1830), strongly in her defence, and two vols. of poetry, Summer and Winter Hours (1831), and My Old Portfolio, the latter also containing pieces in prose.
Bellenden, or Ballantyne, John (fl. 1533–1587?). — Poet, born towards the close of the 15th century, and ed. at St. Andrews and Paris. At the request of James V. he translated the Historia Gentis Scotorum of Boece. This translation, Chroniklis of Scotland is a very free one, with a good deal of matter not in the original, so that it may be almost considered as a new work. It was published in 1536, and is the earliest existing specimen of Scottish literary prose. He also translated the first five books of Livy. He enjoyed the Royal favour, and was Archdeacon of Moray. He latterly, however, became involved in controversy which led to his going to Rome, where he died, according to one account, about 1550. Another authority, however, states that he was living in 1587.
Bentham, Jeremy (1748–1832). — Writer on jurisprudence and politics, born in London, son of a prosperous attorney, ed. at Westminster and Oxford, was called to the Bar at Lincoln’s Inn, but disliking the law, he made little or no effort to practise, but devoted himself to physical science and the theory of jurisprudence. In 1776 he published anonymously his Fragment on Government, an able criticism of Blackstone’s Commentaries, which brought him under the notice of Lord Shelburne, and in 1780 his Introduction to Principles of Morals and Legislation. Other works were Panopticon, in which he suggested improvements on prison discipline, Discourse on Civil and Penal Legislation (1802), Punishments and Rewards (1811), Parliamentary Reform Catechism (1817), and A Treatise on Judicial Evidence. By the death of his father he inherited a competency on which he was able to live in frugal elegance, not unmixed with eccentricity. B. is the first and perhaps the greatest of the “philosophical radicals,” and his fundamental principle is utilitarianism or “the greatest happiness of the greatest number,” a phrase of which he is generally, though erroneously, regarded as the author. The effect of his writings on legislation and the administration of the law has been almost incalculable. He left his body to be dissected; and his skeleton, clothed in his usual attire, is preserved in University College, London.
Life by Bowring in collected works (J.H. Barton, 11 vols., 1844). Study of Life and Work, Atkinson, 1903.
Bentley, Richard (1662–1742). — Theologian, scholar, and critic, born in Yorkshire of humble parentage, went at the age of 14 to Cambridge, afterwards had charge of a school at Spalding, and then becoming tutor to the son of Dr. Stillingfleet, Dean of St. Paul’s, afterwards Bishop of Worcester (q.v.i), accompanied his pupil to Oxford After taking his degree at both universities, and entering the Church, he laid the foundation of his reputation as perhaps the greatest scholar England has produced by his letter in Mill’s ed. of the Chronicle of John Malelas, and his Dissertation on the Letters of Phalaris (1699), which spread his fame through Europe. After receiving various preferments, including the Boyle lectureship and the Keepership of the Royal Library, he was, in 1700, appointed Master of Trinity, and afterwards was, largely owing to his own pugnacity and rapacity, which were almost equal to his learning, involved in a succession of litigations and controversies. These lasted for 20 years, and led to the temporary loss of his academic preferments and honours. In 1717, however, he was appointed Regius Prof. of Divinity. During the contentions referred to he continued his literary activity without abatement, and published various ed. of the classics, including Horace and Terence. He was much less successful in certain emendations of Milton which he attempted. Having incurred the resentment of Pope he was rewarded by being assigned a niche in The Dunciad! His style is strong and nervous, and sparkles with wit and sarcasm. His classical controversies called forth Swift’s Battle of the Books.
Life by Monk (1833). Life by Sir R. Jebb in English Men of Letters (1882).
Beresford, James (1764–1840). — Miscellaneous writer and clergyman. He made translations and wrote religious books, but was chiefly known as the author of a satirical work, The Miseries of Human Life (1806–7.)
Berkeley, George (1685–1753). — Philosopher, eldest son of William B., a cadet of the noble family of Berkeley, born at Kilcrin near Kilkenny, and ed. at the school of his native place and at Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated and took a Fellowship in 1707. His earliest publication was a mathematical one; but the first which brought him into notice was his Essay towards a New Theory of Vision, published in 1709. Though giving rise to much controversy at the time, its conclusions are now accepted as an established part of the theory of optics. There next appeared in 1710 the Treatise concerning the Principles of Human Knowledge, which was followed in 1713 by Dialogues between Hylas and Philonous, in which he propounded his system of philosophy, the leading principle of which is that the world as represented to our senses depends for its existence on being perceived. Of this theory the Principles gives the exposition and the Dialogues the defence. One of his main objects was to combat the prevailing materialism of the time. A theory so novel was, as might be expected, received with widespread ridicule, though his genius was realised by some of the more elect spirits, such as Dr. S. Clarke. Shortly afterwards B. visited England, and was received into the circle of Addison, Pope, and Steele. He then went to the Continent in various capacities, and on his return was made Lecturer in Divinity and Greek in his university, D.D. in 1721, and Dean of Derry in 1724. In 1725 he formed the project of founding a college in Bermuda for training ministers for the colonies, and missionaries to the Indians, in pursuit of which he gave up his deanery with its income of £1100, and went to America on a salary of £100. Disappointed of promised aid from Government he returned, and was appointed Bishop of Cloyne. Soon afterwards he published Alciphron, or The Minute Philosopher, directed against Shaftesbury, and in 1734–37 The Querist. His last publications were Siris, a treatise on the medicinal virtues of tar-water, and Further Thoughts on Tar-water. He died at Oxford in 1753. His affectionate disposition and genial manners made him much beloved. As a thinker his is the greatest name in English philosophy between Locke and Hume. His style is clear and dignified.
The best ed. of B. is Prof. A.C. Fraser’s, with Life (4 vols., 1871, and new, 1902); there is also a small work by the same (1881).
Berners, Bernes, or Barnes, Juliana (born 1388?). — Writer on heraldry and sports. Nothing of her real history is known, but statements more or less mythical have gathered round her name. The work attributed to her is The Boke of St. Albans (1486). It consists of four treatises on Hawking, Hunting, The Lynage of Coote Armiris, and The Blasynge of Armis. She was said to be the daughter of Sir James B., and to have been Prioress of Sopwell Nunnery, Herts.
Berners, John Bourchier, 2nd Lord (1467–1553). — Translator, born at Sherfield, Herts and ed. at Oxford, held various offices of state, including that of Chancellor of the Exchequer to Henry VIII., and Lieutenant of Calais, where he died He translated, at the King’s desire, Froissart’s Chronicles (1523–25), in such a manner as to make distinct advance in English historical writing, and the Golden Book of Marcus Aurelius (1534); also The History of Arthur of Lytell Brytaine (Brittany), and the romance of Huon of Bordeaux.
Besant, Sir Walter (1836–1901). — Novelist and historian of London, born at Portsmouth and ed. at King’s College, London, and Cambridge, was for a few years a professor at Mauritius, but a breakdown in health compelled him to resign, and he returned to England and took the duties of Secretary to the Palestine Exploration Fund, which he held 1868–85. He published in 1868 Studies in French Poetry. Three years later he began his collaboration with James Rice (q.v.). Among their joint productions are Ready-money Mortiboy (1872), and the Golden Butterfly (1876), both, especially the latter, very successful. This connection was brought to an end by the death of Rice in 1882. Thereafter B. continued to write voluminously at his own hand, his leading novels being All in a Garden Fair, Dorothy Forster (his own favourite), Children of Gibeon, and All Sorts and Conditions of Men. The two latter belonged to a series in which he endeavoured to arouse the public conscience to a sense of the sadness of life among the poorest classes in cities. In this crusade B. had considerable success, the establishment of The People’s Palace in the East of London being one result. In addition to his work in fiction B. wrote largely on the history and topography of London. His plans in this field were left unfinished: among his books on this subject is London in the 18th Century.
Other works among novels are My Little Girl, With Harp and Crown, This Son of Vulcan, The Monks of Thelema, By Celia’s Arbour, and The Chaplain of the Fleet, all with Rice; and The Ivory Gate, Beyond the Dreams of Avarice, The Master Craftsman, The Fourth Generation, etc., alone. London under the Stuarts, London under the Tudors are historical.
Bickerstaffe, Isaac (c. 1735–1812?). — Dramatic writer, in early life a page to Lord Chesterfield when Lord Lieutenant of Ireland, produced between 1756 and 1771 many dramatic pieces, which had considerable popularity, the best known of which are Love in a Village (1762), and The Maid of the Mill. Owing to misconduct he was dismissed from being an officer in the Marines, and had ultimately, in 1772, to fly the country. The remainder of his life seems to have been passed in penury and misery. The date of his death is unknown. He was alive in 1812.
Bird, Robert Montgomery (1803–1854). — Novelist, an American physician, wrote three tragedies, The Gladiator, Oraloosa, and The Broker of Bogota, and several novels, including Calavar, The Infidel, The Hawks of Hawk Hollow, Peter Pilgrim, and Nick of the Woods, in the first two of which he gives graphic and accurate details and descriptions of Mexican history.
Bishop, Samuel (1731–1795). — Poet, born in London, and ed. at Merchant Taylor’s School and Oxford, took orders and became Headmaster of Merchant Taylor’s School. His poems on miscellaneous subjects fill two quarto vols., the best of them are those to his wife and daughter He also published essays.
Black, William (1841–1898). — Novelist. After studying as a landscape painter, he took to journalism in Glasgow. In 1864 he went to London, and soon after published his first novel, James Merle, which made no impression. In the Austro–Prussian War he acted as a war correspondent. Thereafter he began afresh to write fiction, and was more successful; the publication of A Daughter of Heth (1871) at once established his popularity. He reached his highwater-mark in A Princess of Thule (1873). Many other books were added before his death in 1898, among which may be mentioned In Silk Attire (1869), The Strange Adventures of a Phæton (1872), Macleod of Dare (1878), White Wings (1880), Shandon Bells (1882), Yolande (1883), Judith Shakespeare (1884), White Heather (1886), Stand Fast Craig–Royston! (1890), Green Pastures and Piccadilly, Three Feathers, Wild Eelin (1898).
Blackie, John Stuart (1809–1895). — Scholar and man of letters, born in Glasgow, and ed. at the Universities of Aberdeen and Edinburgh, after which he travelled and studied in Germany and Italy. Returning to Scotland he was, in 1834, admitted to the Scottish Bar, but did not practise. His first work was his translation of Faust (1834), which won the approbation of Carlyle. From 1841–52 B. was Prof. of Humanity (Latin) in Aberdeen, and from 1852–82, when he retired, of Greek in Edinburgh. His literary activity was incessant, his works consisting of translations of Æschylus and of the Iliad, various books of poetry, including Lays and Legends of Ancient Greece, and treatises on religious, philosophical, and political subjects, among which may be mentioned Self–Culture (1873), Horæ Hellenicæ, and a life of Burns. He was an enthusiastic champion of Scottish nationality. Possessed of great conversational powers and general versatility, his picturesque eccentricity made him one of the most notable members of Scottish society. It was owing to his efforts that a Chair of Celtic Language and Literature was established in Edinburgh University.
Blacklock, Thomas (1721–1791). — Poet, born near Annan of humble parentage, lost his sight by smallpox when 6 months old. He began to write poetry at the age of 12, and studied for the Church. He was appointed Minister of Kirkcudbright, but was objected to by the parishioners on account of his blindness, and gave up the presentation on receiving an annuity. He then retired to Edinburgh, where he took pupils. He published some miscellaneous poems, which are now forgotten, and is chiefly remembered for having written a letter to Burns, which had the effect of dissuading him from going to the West Indies. He was made D.D. in 1767.
Blackmore, Sir Richard (c. 1650, died 1729). — Poet, one of the Court Physicians to William III. and Anne, wrote several very long and well-intentioned, but dull and tedious, poems, which, though praised by Addison and Johnson, are now utterly forgotten. They include Prince Arthur, Creation, Redemption, Alfred. As may be imagined, they were the subject of derision by the profaner wits of the day. B. was a successful physician and an excellent man.
Blackmore, Richard Doddridge (1825–1900). — Novelist and poet, born at Longworth, Berks, ed. at Tiverton School and Oxford, practised for a short time as a lawyer but, owing to his health, gave this up, and took to market-gardening and literature at Teddington. His first published was Poems by Melanter (1853), followed by Epullia (1855), The Bugle of the Black Sea (1855), etc.; but he soon found that fiction, not poetry, was his true vocation. Beginning with Clara Vaughan in 1864, he produced fifteen novels, all of more than average, and two or three of outstanding merit. Of these much the best in the opinion of the public, though not of the author, is Lorna Doone (1869), the two which rank next to it being The Maid of Sker (1872) (the author’s favourite) and Springhaven (1887). Others are Cradock Nowell (1866), Alice Lorraine (1875), Cripps the Carrier (1876), Mary Anerley (1880), and Christowell (1882). One of the most striking features of B.’s writings is his marvellous eye for, and sympathy with, Nature. He may be said to have done for Devonshire what Scott did for the Highlands. He has been described as “proud, shy, reticent, strong-willed, sweet-tempered, and self-centred.”
Blackstone, Sir William (1723–1780). — Legal Writer, posthumous son of a silk mercer in London, was ed. at Charterhouse School and Oxford, and entered the Middle Temple in 1741. His great work is his Commentaries on the Laws of England, in 4 vols. (1765–1769), which still remains the best general history of the subject. It had an extraordinary success, and is said to have brought the author £14,000. B. was not a man of original mind, nor was he a profound lawyer; but he wrote an excellent style, clear and dignified, which brings his great work within the category of general literature. He had also a turn for neat and polished verse, of which he gave proof in The Lawyer’s Farewell to his Muse.
Blair, Hugh (1718–1800). — Divine, and man of letters, born and ed. at Edinburgh After being minister at Collessie in Fife, he was translated to Edinburgh, where he filled various pulpits, latterly that of the High Church. In 1759 he commenced a series of lectures on composition, and soon after the Chair of Rhetoric and Belles Lettres was founded, to which he was appointed. His Lectures were published on his resignation of the chair in 1783. His chief fame, however, rests upon his Sermons, in 4 vols., which had an extraordinary popularity, and obtained for him a pension of £200. Time has not sustained the opinion of his contemporaries: they have been described as feeble in thought though elegant in style, and even as “a bucket of warm water.” B. was amiable, kind to young authors, and remarkable for a harmless, but rather ridiculous vanity and simplicity.
Blair, Robert (1699–1746). — Poet, born at Edinburgh, where his father was a clergyman, became minister of Athelstaneford, Haddingtonshire. His sole work was The Grave, a poem in blank verse extending to 767 lines of very various merit, in some passages rising to great sublimity, and in others sinking to commonplace. It was illustrated by William Blake (q.v.) B.’s son, Robert, was a very distinguished Scottish judge and Lord President of the Court of Session; and his successor in his ministerial charge was Home, the author of Douglas.
Blake, William (1757–1827). — Poet and painter, born in London, was from earliest youth a seer of visions and a dreamer of dreams, seeing “Ezekiel sitting under a green bough,” and “a tree full of angels at Peckham,” and such he remained to the end of his days. His teeming imagination sought expression both in verse and in drawing, and in his 14th year he was apprenticed to James Basire, an eminent engraver, and thereafter studied at the Royal Academy. Among his chief artistic works were illustrations for Young’s Night Thoughts, Blair’s Grave, “Spiritual Portraits,” and his finest work, “Inventions to the Book of Job,” all distinguished by originality and imagination. In literature his Songs of Innocence appeared in 1789, Songs of Experience in 1794. These books were literally made by Blake and his heaven-provided wife; poems and designs alike being engraved on copper by B. and bound by Mrs. B. In like fashion were produced his mystical books, The Book of Thel (1789), The Marriage of Heaven and Hell (1790), The Gates of Paradise, Visions of the Daughters of Albion, Europe, The Book of Urizen (1794), The Book of Los and The Book of Ahania (1795). His last books were Jerusalem and Milton. His earlier and shorter pieces, e.g. “The Chimney–Sweeper,” “Holy Thursday,” “The Lamb,” “The Sun-flower,” “The Tiger,” etc., have an exquisite simplicity arising from directness and intensity of feeling — sometimes tender, sometimes sublime — always individual. Latterly he lost himself in clouds of mysticism. A truly pious and loving soul, neglected and misunderstood by the world, but appreciated by an elect few, he led a cheerful and contented life of poverty illumined by visions and celestial inspirations.
Blamire, Susanna (1747–1794). — Poetess, was of good Cumberland family, and received the sobriquet of “The Muse of Cumberland.” Her poems, which were not collected until 1842, depict Cumbrian life and manners with truth and vivacity. She also wrote some fine songs in the Scottish dialect, including “Ye shall walk in Silk Attire,” and “What ails this Heart o’ Mine.”
Blessington, Margaret (Power), Countess of (1789–1849). — Married as her second husband the 1st Earl of B., with whom she travelled much on the Continent, where she met Lord Byron, her Conversations with whom she published in 1834. This is the only one of her books which has any value. The others were slight works on Travel, such as The Idler in Italy, annuals, and novels. She became bankrupt and went to Paris, where she lived under the protection of the Count d’Orsay.
Blind Harry or Henry the Minstrel (fl. 1470–1492). — Is spoken of by John Major in his History of Scotland as a wandering minstrel, skilled in the composition of rhymes in the Scottish tongue, who “fabricated” a book about William Wallace, and gained his living by reciting it to his own accompaniment on the harp at the houses of the nobles. Harry claims that it was founded on a Latin Life of Wallace written by Wallace’s chaplain, John Blair, but the chief sources seem to have been traditionary. Harry is often considered inferior to Barbour as a poet, and has little of his moral elevation, but he surpasses him in graphic power, vividness of description, and variety of incident. He occasionally shows the influence of Chaucer, and is said to have known Latin and French.
Blind, Mathilde (1841–1896). — Poetess, born at Mannheim, but settled in London about 1849, and published several books of poetry, The Prophecy of St. Oran (1881), The Heather on Fire (1886), Songs and Sonnets (1893), Birds of Passage (1895), etc. She also translated Strauss’s Old Faith and New, and other works, and wrote Lives of George Eliot and Madame Roland. Her own name was Cohen, but she adopted that of her stepfather, Karl Blind.
Bloomfield, Robert (1766–1823). — Poet, born at Honington in Suffolk, lost his father when he was a year old, and received the rudiments of education from his mother, who kept the village school. While still a boy he went to London, and worked as a shoemaker under an elder brother, enduring extreme poverty. His first and chief poem, The Farmer’s Boy, was composed in a room where half a dozen other men were at work, and the finished lines he carried in his head until there was time to write them down. The manuscript, after passing through various hands, fell into those of Capel Lofft, a Suffolk squire of literary tastes, by whose exertions it was published with illustrations by Bewick in 1800. It had a signal success, 26,000 copies having been sold in three years. The Duke of Grafton obtained for him an appointment in the Seal Office, and when, through ill-health, he was obliged to resign this, allowed him a pension of 1s. a day. Other works were Rural Tales (1804), Wild Flowers (1806), The Banks of the Wye (1811), and May Day with the Muses (1817). An attempt to carry on business as a bookseller failed, his health gave way, his reason was threatened, and he died in great poverty at Shefford in 1823. B.’s poetry is smooth, correct, and characterised by taste and good feeling, but lacks fire and energy. Of amiable and simple character, he was lacking in self-reliance.
Bodenham, John (fl. 1600). — Anthologist, is stated to have been the ed. of some of the Elizabethan anthologies, viz., Politeuphuia (Wits’ Commonwealth) (1597), Wits’ Theater (1598), Belvidere, or the Garden of the Muses (1600), and England’s Helicon (1600). Mr. Bullen says that B. did not himself ed. any of the Elizabethan miscellanies attributed to him by bibliographers: but that he projected their publication, and he befriended the editors.
Boece, or Boethius, Hector (1465?-1536). — Historian, probably born at Dundee, and ed. there and at Paris, where he was a regent or professor, 1492 to 1498. While there he made the acquaintance of Erasmus. Returning to Scotland he co-operated with Elphinstone, Bishop of Aberdeen, in founding the univ. there of which he was the first Principal. His literary fame rests on two works, his Lives of the Bishops of Mortlach and Aberdeen, in which his friend Elphinstone figures prominently, and his History of Scotland to the accession of James III. These works were, of course, composed in Latin, but the History was translated into Scottish prose by John Bellenden, 1530 to 1533, and into English for Hollinshed’s Chronicle. The only predecessor of the work was the compendium of Major, and as it was written in a flowing and pleasing style it became very popular, and led to ecclesiastical preferment and Royal favour. B. shared in the credulity of his age, but the charge of inventing his authorities formerly brought against him has been shown to be, to some extent at any rate, unfounded.
Boker, George Henry (1823–90). — Poet, was in the American Diplomatic Service. Among his dramas, generally tragedies, are Anne Boleyn, The Betrothed, and Francesca da Rimini, and among his books of poetry, Street Lyrics, Königsmark, and The Book of the Dead. His dramas combine poetic merit with adaptability for acting.
Bolingbroke, Henry St. John, 1st Viscount (1678–1751). — Statesman and philosopher, son of Sir Henry St. J., born at Battersea, and ed. at Eton and perhaps Oxford, was during his youth noted chiefly for dissipation, but entering Parliament in 1701 as a supporter of Harley, soon made himself a name by his eloquence and talent. He held office as War and Foreign Sec. successively, became a peer in 1712, intrigued successfully against Harley, and formed an administration during the last days of Queen Anne, with the intention of bringing back the Stuarts, which was frustrated by the Queen’s death. On the arrival of George I. and the accession to power of the Whigs, B. was impeached, and his name erased from the Roll of Peers. He went to France, and became Sec. of State to the Pretender James, who, however, dismissed him in 1716, after which he devoted himself to philosophy and literature. In 1723 he was pardoned and returned to England, and an act was passed in 1725 restoring his forfeited estates, but still excluding him from the House of Lords. He thereupon retired to his house, Dawley, near Uxbridge, where he enjoyed the society of Swift and Pope, on the latter of whom he exerted a strong influence. After some ineffectual efforts to regain a position in political life, he returned to France in 1735, where he remained for 7 years, and wrote most of his chief works.
B. was a man of brilliant and versatile talents, but selfish, insincere, and intriguing, defects of character which led to his political ruin. His writings, once so much admired, reflect his character in their glittering artificiality, and his pretensions to the reputation of a philosopher have long been exploded; the chief of them are Reflections upon Exile, Letters on the Study of History (in which he attacked Christianity), Letters on the Spirit of Patriotism, and Idea of a Patriot King. He left his MSS. to David Mallet (q.v.), who published a complete ed. of his works in 5 vols. (1753–54).
Bonar, Horatius (1808–1889). — Divine and poet, son of James B., Solicitor of Exise for Scotland, born and ed. in Edinburgh, entered the Ministry of the Church of Scotland, and was settled at Kelso. He joined the Free Church at the Disruption in 1843, and in 1867 was translated to Edinburgh In 1853 he was made D.D. of Aberdeen. He was a voluminous and highly popular author, and in addition to many books and tracts wrote a number of hymns, many of which, e.g., “I heard the voice of Jesus say,” are known all over the English-speaking world. A selection of these was published as Hymns of Faith and Hope (3 series). His last vol. of poetry was My Old Letters.
Boorde, or Borde, Andrew (1490?-1549). — Traveller, born near Cuckfield, Sussex, was brought up as a Carthusian, and held ecclesiastical appointments, then practised medicine at various places, including Glasgow, and was employed in various capacities by T. Cromwell. He travelled widely, going as far as Jerusalem, and wrote descriptions of the countries he had visited. His Dyetary is the first English book of domestic medicine. The Boke of the Introduction of Knowledge describes his journeys on the Continent. Other works are The Boke of Berdes (Beards), Handbook of Europe, and Itinerary of England.
Borrow, George (1803–1881). — Philologist and miscellaneous author, and traveller, born at East Dereham, Norfolk, son of a recruiting officer, had a somewhat wandering childhood. He received most of his education in Edinburgh, and showed a peculiar talent for acquiring languages. After being for a short time in the office of a solicitor in Norwich, he travelled widely on the Continent and in the East, acquainting himself with the people and languages of the various countries he visited. He specially attached himself to the Gipsies, with whose language he became so familiar as to published a dictionary of it. His learning was shown by his publishing at St. Petersburg Targum, a work containing translations from 30 languages. B. became a travelling agent of the Bible Society, and his book, The Bible in Spain (1843), giving an account of his remarkable adventures in that country, made his literary reputation. It was followed by Lavengro (1851), and its sequel, Romany Rye (1857), and Wild Wales (1862), which, though works of originality and extreme interest, and now perhaps his most popular books, were received with less public favour. The two first give a highly coloured picture of his own story. He translated the New Testament into Manchu. In his latter years he settled at Oulton Broad, Norfolk, where he died B. was a man of striking appearance and great vigour and originality of character and mind. His writings hold a unique place in English literature.
Boston, Thomas (1677–1732). — Scottish divine, was successively schoolmaster at Glencairn, and minister of Simprin in Berwickshire, and Ettrick in Selkirkshire. In addition to his best-known work, The Fourfold State, one of the religious classics of Scotland, he wrote an original little book, The Crook in the Lot, and a learned treatise on the Hebrew points. He also took a leading part in the Courts of the Church in what was known as the “Marrow Controversy,” regarding the merits of an English work, The Marrow of Modern Divinity, which he defended against the attacks of the “Moderate” party in the Church. B., if unduly introspective, was a man of singular piety and amiability. His autobiography is an interesting record of Scottish life, full of sincerity and tenderness, and not devoid of humorous touches, intentional and otherwise.
Boswell, Sir Alexander (1775–1822). — Antiquary and song writer, son of James B., of Auchinleck, Johnson’s biographer, was interested in old Scottish authors, some of whose works he reprinted at his private press. He wrote some popular Scotch songs, of which Jenny’s Bawbee and Jenny dang the Weaver are the best known. B. died in a duel with Mr. Stuart of Dunearn.
Boswell, James (1740–1795). — Biographer, son of Alexander B. of Auchinleck, Ayrshire, one of the judges of the Supreme Courts of Scotland, was ed. at the High School and University of Edinburgh, and practised as an advocate. He travelled much on the Continent and visited Corsica, where he became acquainted with the patriot General Paoli. Fortunately for posterity he was in 1763 introduced to Dr. Johnson, and formed an acquaintance with him which soon ripened into friendship, and had as its ultimate fruit the immortal Life. He was also the author of several works of more or less interest, including an Account of Corsica (1768), and Journal of Tour to the Hebrides (in the company of Johnson) (1786). Vain and foolish in an exceptional degree, and by no means free from more serious faults, B. has yet produced the greatest biography in the language. The Life of Samuel Johnson, LL.D. appeared in 1791, and at once commanded an admiration which has suffered no diminution since. But by this time a cloud had fallen upon the author. He had lost his excellent wife, his health had given way, the intemperance to which he had always been subject had mastered him, and he died four years after the appearance of his great work. B. was called to the English as well as to the Scottish Bar, but his various foibles prevented his reaching any great success, and he had also vainly endeavoured to enter on a political career. The question has often been raised how a man with the characteristics of B. could have produced so unique a work, and has been discussed at length by Macaulay and by Carlyle, the former paradoxically arguing that his supreme folly and meanness themselves formed his greatest qualifications; the latter, with far deeper insight, that beneath these there lay the possession of an eye to discern excellence and a heart to appreciate it, intense powers of accurate observation and a considerable dramatic faculty. His letters to William Temple were discovered at Boulogne, and published 1857.
Boucicault, Dion (1820–90). — Actor and dramatist, born in Dublin and ed. in London, joined Macready while still young, and made his first appearance upon the stage with Benj. Webster at Bristol. Soon afterwards he began to write plays, occasionally in conjunction, of which the first, London Assurance (1841) had an immediate success. He was an excellent actor, especially in pathetic parts. His plays are for the most part adaptations, but are often very ingenious in construction, and have had great popularity. Among the best known are The Colleen Bawn, Arrah-na-Pogue, Faust and Marguerite, and The Shaughraun. B. died in America.
Bowdler, Thomas (1754–1825). — Editor of The Family Shakespeare, born near Bath, son of a gentleman of independent fortune, studied medicine at St. Andrews and at Edinburgh, where he took his degree in 1776, but did not practise, devoting himself instead to the cause of prison reform. In 1818 he published his Family Shakespeare in 10 vols., “in which nothing is added to the original text, but those words and expressions are omitted which cannot with propriety be read aloud in a family.” The work had considerable success, 4 editions having been published before 1824, and others in 1831, 1853, and 1861. It was, however, subjected to some criticism and ridicule, and gave rise to the expression “bowdlerise,” always used in an opprobrious sense. On the other hand, Mr. Swinburne has said, “More nauseous and foolish cant was never chattered than that which would deride the memory or depreciate the merits of B. No man ever did better service to Shakespeare than the man who made it possible to put him into the hands of intelligent and imaginative children.” B. subsequently essayed a similar enterprise in regard to Gibbon, which, however, was not so successful.
Bower, Archibald (1686–1766). — Historian, born at Dundee, and ed. at the Scots College, Douay, became a Jesuit, but afterwards joined the Church of England, and again became a Jesuit. He wrote a History of Rome (1735–44), a History of the Popes (1748–66). These works are ill-proportioned and inaccurate. His whole life appears to have been a very discreditable one.
Bower, or Bowmaker, Walter (died 1449). — Was Abbot of Inchcolm, and continued and enlarged Fordun’s Scotichronicon.
Bowles, William Lisle (1762–1850). — Poet and antiquary, born at King’s Sutton, Northamptonshire, of which his father was vicar, and ed. at Winchester and Oxford, was for the most of his life Vicar of Bremhill, Wilts, and became Prebendary and Canon Residentiary of Salisbury. His first work, published in 1789, was a little vol. containing 14 sonnets, which was received with extraordinary favour, not only by the general public, but by such men as Coleridge and Wordsworth. It may be regarded as the harbinger of the reaction against the school of Pope, in which these poets were soon to bear so great a part. B. published several other poems of much greater length, of which the best are The Spirit of Discovery (1805), and The Missionary of the Andes (1815), and he also enjoyed considerable reputation as an antiquary, his principal work in that department being Hermes Britannicus (1828). In 1807 he published a Life of Pope, in the preface to which he expressed some views on poetry which resulted in a rather fierce controversy with Byron, Campbell, and others. He also wrote a Life of Bishop Ken. B. was an amiable, absent-minded, and rather eccentric man. His poems are characterised by refinement of feeling, tenderness, and pensive thought, but are deficient in power and passion.
Other works are Coombe Ellen and St. Michael’s Mount (1798), The Battle of the Nile (1799), The Sorrows of Switzerland (1801), St. John in Patmos (1833), etc.
Bowring, Sir John (1792–1872). — Linguist, writer, and traveller, was born at Exeter. His talent for acquiring languages enabled him at last to say that he knew 200, and could speak 100. He was appointed editor of the Westminster Review in 1824; travelled in various countries with the view of reporting on their commercial position; was an M.P. 1835–37 and 1841–49, and held various appointments in China. His chief literary work was the translation of the folk-songs of most European nations, and he also wrote original poems and hymns, and works on political and economic subjects. B. was knighted in 1854. He was the literary executor of Jeremy Bentham (q.v.).
Boyd, Andrew Kennedy Hutchison (1825–1899). — Miscellaneous writer, son of Rev. Dr. B. of Glasgow, was originally intended for the English Bar, but entered the Church of Scotland, and was minister latterly at St. Andrews, wrote in Fraser’s Magazine a series of light, chirping articles subsequently collected as the Recreations of a Country Parson, also several books of reminiscences, etc., written in a pleasant chatty style, and some sermons. He was D.D. and LL.D.
Boyd, Zachary (1585–1653). — Divine, belonged to the family of B. of Pinkhill, Ayrshire, was ed. at Glasgow and at Saumur. He translated many parts of Scripture into uncouth verse. Among his works are The Garden of Zion and Zion’s Flowers.
Boyle, the Hon. Robert (1627–1691). — Natural Philosopher and chemist, 7th son of the 1st Earl of Cork, was born at Lismore, Co. Waterford, and ed. at Eton and by private tutors, after which he pursued his studies on the Continent. On his return to England he devoted himself to the study of science, especially natural philosophy and chemistry. He was one of the founders of the Royal Society, and, by his experiments and observations added to existing knowledge, especially in regard to pneumatics. He at the same time devoted much study to theology; so much indeed that he was strongly urged by Lord Clarendon to enter the Church. Thinking, however, that he could serve the cause of religion better as a layman, he declined this advice. As a director of the East India Co. he did much for the propagation of Christianity in the East, and for the dissemination of the Bible. He also founded the “Boyle Lectures” in defence of Christianity. He declined the offer of a peerage. B. was a man of great intellectual acuteness, and remarkable for his conversational powers. Among his writings are Origin of Forms and Qualities, Experiments touching Colour, Hydrostatical Paradoxes, and Observations on Cold; in theology, Seraphic Love. His complete works were published in 5 vols. in 1744.
Bradley, Edward (1827–1889). — Novelist, was a clergyman. He wrote under the name of “Cuthbert Bede” a few novels and tales, Fairy Fables (1858), Glencraggan (1861), Fotheringhay (1885), etc.; but his most popular book was Verdant Green, an Oxford Freshman, which had great vogue.
Bradwardine, Thomas (1290?-1349). — Theologian, was at Oxford, where he became Prof. of Divinity and Chancellor, and afterwards Chaplain to Edward III., whom he attended in his French wars. He was twice elected Archbishop of Canterbury by the monks, and on the second occasion accepted, but died of the plague within 40 days. He wrote on geometry, but his great work was De Causa Dei (on the Cause of God against Pelagius), in which he treated theology mathematically, and which earned for him from the Pope the title of the Profound Doctor.
Braithwaite, or Brathwaite, Richard (1588–1673). — Poet, born near Kendal, and ed. at Oxford, is believed to have served with the Royalist army in the Civil War. He was the author of many works of very unequal merit, of which the best known is Drunken Barnaby’s Four Journeys, which records his pilgrimages through England in rhymed Latin (said by Southey to be the best of modern times), and doggerel English verse. The English Gentleman (1631) and English Gentlewoman are in a much more decorous strain. Other works are The Golden Fleece (1611) (poems), The Poet’s Willow, A Strappado for the Devil (a satire), and Art Asleepe, Husband?
Bramston, James (c. 1694–1744). — Satirist, ed. at Westminster School and Oxford, took orders and was latterly Vicar of Hastings. His poems are The Art of Politics (1729), in imitation of Horace, and The Man of Taste (1733), in imitation of Pope. He also parodied Phillips’s Splendid Shilling in The Crooked Sixpence. His verses have some liveliness.
Bray, Anna Eliza (1790–1883). — Novelist, daughter of Mr. J. Kempe, was married first to C.A. Stothard, son of the famous R.A., and himself an artist, and secondly to the Rev. E.A. Bray. She wrote about a dozen novels, chiefly historical, and The Borders of the Tamar and Tavy (1836), an account of the traditions and superstitions of the neighbourhood of Tavistock in the form of letters to Southey, of whom she was a great friend. This is probably the most valuable of her writings. Among her works are Branded, Good St. Louis and his Times, Trelawney, and White Hoods.
Breton, Nicholas (1545–1626). — Poet and novelist. Little is known of his life. He was the son of William B., a London merchant, was perhaps at Oxford, and was a rather prolific author of considerable versatility and gift. Among his poetical works are A Floorish upon Fancie, Pasquil’s Mad-cappe (1626), The Soul’s Heavenly Exercise, and The Passionate Shepherd. In prose he wrote Wit’s Trenchmour, The Wil of Wit (1599), A Mad World, my Masters, Adventures of Two Excellent Princes, Grimello’s Fortunes (1604), Strange News out of Divers Countries (1622), etc. His mother married E. Gascoigne, the poet (q.v.). His lyrics are pure and fresh, and his romances, though full of conceits, are pleasant reading, remarkably free from grossness.
Brewster, Sir David (1781–1868). — Man of science and writer, born at Jedburgh, originally intended to enter the Church, of which, after a distinguished course at the University of Edinburgh, he became a licentiate. Circumstances, however, led him to devote himself to science, of which he was one of the most brilliant ornaments of his day, especially in the department of optics, in which he made many discoveries. He maintained his habits of investigation and composition to the very end of his long life, during which he received almost every kind of honorary distinction open to a man of science. He also made many important contributions to literature, including a Life of Newton (1831), The Martyrs of Science (1841), More Worlds than One (1854), and Letters on Natural Magic addressed to Sir W. Scott, and he also edited, in addition to various scientific journals, The Edinburgh Encyclopædia (1807–29). He likewise held the offices successively of Principal of the United College of St. Salvator and St. Leonard, St. Andrews (1838), and of the University of Edinburgh (1859). He was knighted in 1831. Of high-strung and nervous temperament, he was somewhat irritable in matters of controversy; but he was repeatedly subjected to serious provocation. He was a man of highly honourable and fervently religious character.
Broke, or Brooke, Arthur (died 1563). — Translator, was the author of The Tragicall Historie of Romeus and Juliett, from which Shakespeare probably took the story of his Romeo and Juliet. Though indirectly translated, through a French version, from the Italian of Bandello, it is so much altered and amplified as almost to rank as an original work. The only fact known regarding him is his death by shipwreck when crossing to France.
Brome, Richard (died 1652?). — Dramatist, the servant and friend of Ben Jonson, produced upwards of 20 plays, some in conjunction with Dekker and others. Among them are A Fault in Friendship, Late Lancashire Witches (with Heywood and Dekker), A Jovial Crew (1652), The Northern Lass (1632), The Antipodes (1646), City Wit (1653), Court Beggar (1653), etc. He had no original genius, but knew stage-craft well.
Bronté, Charlotte (1816–1855). — Novelist, daughter of the Rev. Patrick B., a clergyman of Irish descent and of eccentric habits who embittered the lives of his children by his peculiar theories of education. Brought up in a small parsonage close to the graveyard of a bleak, windswept village on the Yorkshire moors, and left motherless in early childhood, she was “the motherly friend and guardian of her younger sisters,” of whom two, Emily and Anne, shared, but in a less degree, her talents. After various efforts as schoolmistresses and governesses, the sisters took to literature and published a vol. of poems under the names of Currer, Ellis, and Acton Bell, which, however, fell flat. Charlotte then wrote her first novel, The Professor, which did not appear until after her death, and began Jane Eyre, which, appearing in 1847, took the public by storm. It was followed by Shirley in 1849, and Villette in 1852. In 1854 she was married to her father’s curate, the Rev. A. Nicholls, but after a short though happy married life she died in 1855. EMILY B. (1818–1848). — a woman of remarkable force of character, reserved and taciturn, published in 1848 Wuthering Heights, a powerful, but somewhat unpleasing, novel, and some striking poems; and ANNE (1820–1849), was the authoress of The Tenant of Wildfell Hall and Agnes Grey (1848). She had not the intellectual force of her sisters. The novels of Charlotte especially created a strong impression from the first, and the published of Jane Eyre gave rise to much curiosity and speculation as to its authorship. Their strength and originality have retained for them a high place in English fiction which is likely to prove permanent. There is a biography of Charlotte by Mrs. Gaskell (q.v.).
Complete ed. of the works of Charlotte B. have been issued by Mrs. Humphrey Ward (7 vols. 1899–1900), and by Sir W.R. Nicoll, LL.D. (1903). Note on Charlotte Bronté, A.C. Swinburne, 1877. A short Life in Great Writers Series by A. Birrell.
Brooke, Fulke Greville, Lord (1554–1628). — Poet and statesman, born at Beauchamp Court, Warwickshire, and ed. at Shrewsbury and Cambridge, was a Privy Councillor, and held various important offices of state, including that of Chancellor of the Exchequer (1614–21). In the latter year he was created a peer. He was murdered by a servant. His works, which were chiefly published after his death, consist of tragedies and sonnets, and poems on political and moral subjects, including Cælica (109 sonnets). He also wrote a Life of Sir P. Sidney, whose friend he was. His style is grave and sententious. He is buried in the church at Warwick, and the inscription on his tomb, written by himself, is a compendious biography. It runs: “Fulke Greville, servant to Queen Elizabeth, counsellor to King James, friend to Sir Philip Sidney.”
Brooke, Henry (1703–1783). — Novelist and dramatist, born in Ireland, son of a clergyman, studied law, but embraced literature as a career. He wrote poems, dramas, and novels; but the only work which has kept its place is The Fool of Quality (5 vols. 1766–70), which was a favourite book with John Wesley. His now forgotten poem, Universal Beauty (1735) was admired by Pope. His daughter, Charlotte, the only survivor of 22 children, tended him to his last days of decay, and was herself a writer, her principal work being Reliques of Irish Poetry (1789). She died 1793.
Brooks, Charles William Shirley (1816–1874). — Journalist and novelist, born in London, began life in a solicitor’s office. He early, however, took to literature, and contributed to various periodicals. In 1851 he joined the staff of Punch, to which he contributed “Essence of Parliament,” and on the death of Mark Lemon (q.v.) he succeeded him as editor. He published a few novels, including Aspen Court and The Gordian Knot.
Brooks, Maria (Gowan) (1795?-1845). — American poetess, was early married to a merchant, who lost his money, and left her a young widow, after which she wrote highly romantic and impassioned poetry. Her chief work, Zophiël or The Bride of Swen, was finished under the auspices of Southey, who called her “Maria del Occidente,” and regarded her as “the most impassioned and imaginative of all poetesses,” but time has not sustained this verdict.
Broome, William (1689–1745). — Poet and translator, born at Haslington, Cheshire, and ed. at Eton and Cambridge, entered the Church, and held various incumbencies. He translated the Iliad in prose along with others, and was employed by Pope, whom he excelled as a Greek scholar, in translating the Odyssey, of which he Englished the 8th, 11th, 12th, 16th, 18th, and 23rd books, catching the style of his master so exactly as almost to defy identification, and thus annoying him so as to earn a niche in The Dunciad. He published verses of his own of very moderate poetical merit.
Brougham and Vaux, Henry, 1st Lord (1778–1868). — S. of Henry B. of Brougham Hall, Westmoreland, born in Edinburgh, and ed. at the High School and University there, where he distinguished himself chiefly in mathematics. He chose a legal career, and was called to the Scottish Bar in 1800, and to the English Bar in 1808. His chief forensic display was his defence of Queen Caroline in 1822. In 1810 he entered Parliament, where his versatility and eloquence soon raised him to a foremost place. The questions on which he chiefly exerted himself were the slave trade, commercial, legal, and parliamentary reform, and education, and in all of these he rendered signal service. When, in 1830, the Whigs, with whom he had always acted, attained power, B. was made Lord Chancellor; but his arrogance, selfishness, and indiscretion rendered him a dangerous and unreliable colleague, and he was never again admitted to office. He turned fiercely against his former political associates, but continued his efforts on behalf of reform in various directions. He was one of the founders of London University and of the Society for the Diffusion of Useful Knowledge. In literature he has a place as one of the original projectors of and most voluminous contributors to The Edinburgh Review, and as the author of a prodigious number of treatises on science, philosophy, and history, including Dialogues on Instinct, Lives of Statesmen, Philosophers, and Men of Science of the Time of George III., Natural Theology, etc., his last work being an autobiography written in his 84th year, and published 1871. His writings were far too numerous and far too diverse in subject to be of permanent value. His fame now rests chiefly on his services to political and specially to legal reform, and to the diffusion of useful literature, which are his lasting monuments.
Broughton, John Cam Hobhouse, 1st Lord (1786–1869). — Eldest son of Sir Benjamin H., born at Redland near Bristol, ed. at Westminster School and at Cambridge, where he became intimate with Byron, and accompanied him in his journeys in the Peninsula, Greece, and Turkey, and acted as his “best man.” In 1816 he was with him after his separation from his wife, and contributed notes to the fourth canto of Childe Harold, which was dedicated to him. On his return he threw himself into politics with great energy as an advanced Radical, and wrote various pamphlets, for one of which he was in 1819 imprisoned in Newgate. In the following year he entered Parliament, sitting for Westminster. After the attainment of power by the Whigs he held various offices, including those of Sec. at War, Chief Sec. for Ireland, and Pres. of the Board of Control. He published Journey through Albania (1813), Historical Illustrations of the Fourth Canto of Childe Harold (1818), and Recollections of a Long Life (1865), for private circulation, and he left in MS. Diaries, Correspondence, and Memoranda, etc., not to be opened till 1900, extracts from which were published by his daughter, Lady Dorchester, also under the title of Recollections from a Long Life (1909).
Brown, Charles Brockden (1771–1810). — Novelist, born in Philadelphia, belonged to a Quaker family, became a lawyer, but exchanged law for literature, and has the distinction of being the first American to adopt a purely literary career. He wrote several novels, including Wieland (1798), Ormond (1799), Arthur Mervyn (1800–1), and his last, Jane Talbot (1801). With a good deal of crudeness and sentimentality he has occasional power, but dwells too much on the horrible and repulsive, the result, perhaps, of the morbidity produced by the ill-health from which he all his life suffered.
Brown, George Douglas (1869–1902). — Novelist, wrote The House with the Green Shutters, which gives a strongly outlined picture of the harder and less genial aspects of Scottish life and character. It may be regarded as a useful supplement and corrective to the more roseate presentations of the kail-yard school of J.M. Barrie and “Ian Maclaren.” It made a considerable impression. The author died almost immediately after its publication. There is an ed. with a memoir by Mr. Andrew Lang.
Brown, Dr. John (1810–1882). — Physician and essayist, son of John B., D.D., a distinguished dissenting minister in Edinburgh. Born at Biggar, he was ed. at the High School and University of Edinburgh, where practically the whole of his uneventful life was spent as a physician, and where he was revered and beloved in no common degree, and he was the cherished friend of many of his most distinguished contemporaries, including Thackeray. He wrote comparatively little; but all he did write is good, some of it perfect, of its kind. His essays, among which are Rab and his Friends, Pet Marjorie, Our Dogs, Minchmoor, and The Enterkine, were collected along with papers on art, and medical history and biography, in Horæ Subsecivæ (Leisure Hours), 3 vols. In the mingling of tenderness and delicate humour he has much in common with Lamb; in his insight into dog-nature he is unique. His later years were clouded with occasional fits of depression.
Brown, Thomas (1778–1820). — Metaphysician, son of the Rev. Samuel B., minister of Kirkinabreck, practised for some time as a physician in Edinburgh, but his tastes and talents lying in the direction of literature and philosophy, he devoted himself to the cultivation of these, and succeeded Dugald Stewart as Professor of Moral Philosophy in the University of Edinburgh, in which position he had remarkable popularity as a lecturer. His main contribution to literature is his Lectures, published after his death. B. was a man of attractive character and considerable talents, but as a philosopher he is now largely superseded. He also wrote poetry, which, though graceful, lacked force, and is now forgotten.
Brown, Thomas Edward (1830–1897). — Poet, born at Douglas, Isle of Man, son of a clergyman, and ed. there and at Oxford, entered the Church and held various scholastic appointments, including a mastership at Clifton. His later years were spent in his native island. He had a true lyrical gift, and much of his poetry was written in Manx dialect. His poems include Fo’c’sle Yarns (1881), The Doctor (1887), The Manx Witch (1889), and Old John (1893). He was also an admirable letter-writer, and 2 vols. of his letters have been published
Brown, Tom (1663–1704). — Satirist, was ed. at Oxford, and there composed the famous epigram on Dr. Fell. He was for a few years schoolmaster at Kingston-on-Thames, but owing to his irregularities lost the appointment, and went to London, where he wrote satires, epigrams, and miscellaneous pieces, generally coarse and scurrilous.
Browne, Charles Farrar (1834–1867). — Humorist (Artemus Ward), born in Maine, U.S., worked as a compositor and reporter, and became a highly popular humorous writer, his books being Artemus Ward his Book, A.W. His Panorama, A.W. among the Mormons, and A.W. in England.
Browne, Isaac Hawkins (1705–1760). — Is remembered as the author of some clever imitations of contemporary poets on the theme of A Pipe of Tobacco, somewhat analogous to the Rejected Addresses of a later day. He also wrote a Latin poem on the immortality of the soul. B., who was a country gentleman and barrister, had great conversational powers. He was a friend of Dr. Johnson.
Browne, Sir Thomas (1605–1682). — Physician and miscellaneous and metaphysical writer, son of a London merchant, was ed. at Winchester and Oxford, after which he studied medicine at various Continental univs., including Leyden, where he grad. He ultimately settled and practised at Norwich. His first and perhaps best known work, Religio Medici (the Religion of a Physician) was published in 1642. Other books are Pseudodoxia Epidemica: Enquiries into Vulgar Errors (1646), Hydriotaphia, or Urn-burial (1658); and The Garden of Cyrus in the same year. After his death were published his Letter to a Friend and Christian Morals. B. is one of the most original writers in the English language. Though by no means free from credulity, and dealing largely with trivial subjects of inquiry, the freshness and ingenuity of his mind invest everything he touches with interest; while on more important subjects his style, if frequently rugged and pedantic, often rises to the highest pitch of grave and stately eloquence. In the Civil War he sided with the King’s party, and was knighted in 1671 on the occasion of a Royal visit to Norwich. In character he was simple, cheerful, and retiring. He has had a profound if indirect influence on succeeding literature, mainly by impressing master-minds such as Lamb, Coleridge, and Carlyle.
There is an ed. of B.’s works by S. Wilkin (4 vols., 1835–6), Religio Medici by Dr. Greenhill, 1881. Life by Gosse in Men of Letters Series, 1903.
Browne, William (1590?-1645?). — Poet, born at Tavistock, ed. at Oxford, after which he entered the Inner Temple. His poems, which are mainly descriptive, are rich and flowing, and true to the phenomena of nature, but deficient in interest. Influenced by Spenser, he in turn had an influence upon such poets as Milton and Keats. His chief works were Britannia’s Pastorals (1613), and The Shepheard’s Pipe (1614).
Browning, Elizabeth Barrett (1806–1861). — Poetess, was the daughter of Edward Barrett Moulton Barrett, who assumed the last name on succeeding to the estates of his grandfather in Jamaica. She was born at Coxhoe Hall, Durham, but spent her youth at Hope End, near Great Malvern. While still a child she showed her gift, and her father published 50 copies of a juvenile epic, on the Battle of Marathon. She was ed. at home, but owed her profound knowledge of Greek and much mental stimulus to her early friendship with the blind scholar, Hugh Stuart Boyd, who was a neighbour. At the age of 15 she met with an injury to her spine which confined her to a recumbent position for several years, and from the effects of which she never fully recovered. In 1826 she published anonymously An Essay on Mind and Other Poems. Shortly afterwards the abolition of slavery, of which he had been a disinterested supporter, considerably reduced Mr. B.’s means: he accordingly disposed of his estate and removed with his family first to Sidmouth and afterwards to London. At the former Miss B. wrote Prometheus Bound (1835). After her removal to London she fell into delicate health, her lungs being threatened. This did not, however, interfere with her literary labours, and she contributed to various periodicals The Romaunt of Margaret, The Romaunt of the Page, The Poet’s Vow, and other pieces. In 1838 appeared The Seraphim and Other Poems (including “Cowper’s Grave.”) Shortly thereafter the death, by drowning, of her favourite brother gave a serious shock to her already fragile health, and for a time she hovered between life and death. Eventually, however, she regained strength, and meanwhile her fame was growing. The published about 1841 of The Cry of the Children gave it a great impulse, and about the same time she contributed some critical papers in prose to R.H. Horne’s New Spirit of the Age. In 1844 she published two vols. of Poems, which comprised “The Drama of Exile,” “Vision of Poets,” and “Lady Geraldine’s Courtship.” In 1845 she met for the first time her future husband, Robert Browning (q.v.). Their courtship and marriage, owing to her delicate health and the extraordinary objections entertained by Mr. B. to the marriage of any of his children, were carried out under somewhat peculiar and romantic circumstances. After a private marriage and a secret departure from her home, she accompanied her husband to Italy, which became her home almost continuously until her death, and with the political aspirations of which she and her husband both thoroughly identified themselves. The union proved one of unalloyed happiness to both, though it was never forgiven by Mr. Barrett. In her new circumstances her strength greatly increased. Her husband and she settled in Florence, and there she wrote Casa Guidi Windows (1851) — by many considered her strongest work — under the inspiration of the Tuscan struggle for liberty. Aurora Leigh, her largest, and perhaps the most popular of her longer poems, appeared in 1856. In 1850 The Sonnets from the Portuguese — the history of her own love-story, thinly disguised by its title — had appeared. In 1860 she issued a collected ed. of her poems under the title, Poems before Congress. Soon thereafter her health underwent a change for the worse; she gradually lost strength, and died on June 29, 1861. She is generally considered the greatest of English poetesses. Her works are full of tender and delicate, but also of strong and deep, thought. Her own sufferings, combined with her moral and intellectual strength, made her the champion of the suffering and oppressed wherever she found them. Her gift was essentially lyrical, though much of her work was not so in form. Her weak points are the lack of compression, an occasional somewhat obtrusive mannerism, and frequent failure both in metre and rhyme. Though not nearly the equal of her husband in force of intellect and the higher qualities of the poet, her works had, as might be expected on a comparison of their respective subjects and styles, a much earlier and wider acceptance with the general public. Mrs. B. was a woman of singular nobility and charm, and though not beautiful, was remarkably attractive. Miss Mitford (q.v.) thus describes her as a young woman: “A slight, delicate figure, with a shower of dark curls falling on each side of a most expressive face; large, tender eyes, richly fringed by dark eyelashes, and a smile like a sunbeam.”
Life by J.H. Ingram (1889); Letters of R. Browning and E.B. Browning (1889). College ed. of her works, see above.
Browning, Robert (1812–1889). — Poet, only son of Robert B., a man of fine intellect and equally fine character, who held a position in the Bank of England, was born in Camberwell. His mother, to whom he was ardently attached, was the daughter of a German shipowner who had settled in Dundee, and was alike intellectually and morally worthy of his affection. The only other member of the family was a younger sister, also highly gifted, who was the sympathetic companion of his later years. In his childhood he was distinguished by his love of poetry and natural history. At 12 he had written a book of poetry which he destroyed when he could not find a publisher. After being at one or two private schools, and showing an insuperable dislike to school life, he was ed. by a tutor, and thereafter studied Greek at University College, London. Through his mother he inherited some musical talent, and composed settings, for various songs. His first published was Pauline, which appeared anonymously in 1833, but attracted little attention. In 1834 he paid his first visit to Italy, in which so much of his future life was to be passed. The publication of Paracelsus in 1835, though the poem had no general popularity, gained the notice of Carlyle, Wordsworth, and other men of letters, and gave him a reputation as a poet of distinguished promise. Two years later his drama of Stratford was performed by his friend Macready and Helen Faucit, and in 1840 the most difficult and obscure of his works, Sordello, appeared; but, except with a select few, did little to increase his reputation. It was followed by Bells and Pomegranates (containing Pippa Passes) (1841), A Blot in the ‘Scutcheon (drama) (1843), Luria and A Soul’s Tragedy (1846). In this year he married Miss Elizabeth Barrett (q.v.), the poetess, a union of ideal happiness. Thereafter his home until his wife’s death in 1861 was in Italy, chiefly at Florence. In 1850 he wrote Christmas Eve and Easter Day, and in 1855 appeared Men and Women. After the death of Mrs. Browning he returned to England, paying, however, frequent visits to Italy. Settling in London he published successively Dramatis Personæ (1864), The Ring and the Book (1868–69), his greatest work, Balaustion’s Adventure, and Prince Hohenstiel–Schwangau (1871), Fifine at the Fair (1872), Red Cotton Night-cap Country (1873), The Inn Album (1875), Pacchiarotto (1876), translation of Agamemnon (1879), La Saisiaz, etc. (1878), Dramatic Idylls (1879 and 1880), Asolando (1889) appeared on the day of his death. To the great majority of readers, probably, B. is best known by some of his short poems, such as, to name a few, “Rabbi Ben Ezra,” “How they brought the good News to Aix,” “Evelyn Hope,” “The Pied Piper of Hammelin,” “A Grammarian’s Funeral,” “A Death in the Desert.” It was long before England recognised that in B. she had received one of the greatest of her poets, and the causes of this lie on the surface. His subjects were often recondite and lay beyond the ken and sympathy of the great bulk of readers; and owing, partly to the subtle links connecting the ideas and partly to his often extremely condensed and rugged expression, the treatment of them was not seldom difficult and obscure. Consequently for long he appealed to a somewhat narrow circle. As time went on, however, and work after work was added, the circle widened, and the marvellous depth and variety of thought and intensity of feeling told with increasing force. Societies began to be formed for the study of the poet’s work. Critics became more and more appreciative, and he at last reaped the harvest of admiration and honour which was his due. Many distinctions came to him. He was made LL.D. of Edinburgh, a life Governor of London University, and had the offer of the Lord Rectorship of Glasgow. He died in the house of his son at Venice, and was buried in Westminster Abbey. The keynote of his teaching is a wise and noble optimism. His poems were collected in 2 vols. in 1896. Some vols. of his correspondence with Mrs. B. were also published
Uniform ed. of Works (17 vols. 1888–90); Furnivall’s Browning Bibliography (1883), Lives by Mrs. Sutherland Orr (1891); Gosse (1890); Dowden (1904), G.K. Chesterton (English Men of Letters), etc.; Poetry of Robert Browning by Stopford Brooke, 1902, etc.
Summary. — Born 1812, published Paracelsus 1835, Sordello 1840, Bells and Pomegranates 1841, married to E.B.B. 1846, lives chiefly in Italy till her died, 1861, when he returned to England and continued to write until his died, published Dramatis Personæ, Ring and Book 1868–9, Asolando 1889, died 1889.
Bruce, James (1730–1794). — Traveller, was born at the family seat of Kinnaird, Perthshire, and ed. at Harrow. After various travels in Europe he set out in 1768 on his expedition to Abyssinia, and in 1770 reached the source of the Blue Nile. He returned to England in 1774, and in 1790 published his Travels in 5 quarto vols. His notorious vanity, the singular adventures he related, and the generally embellished character which he imparted to his narrative excited some degree of scepticism, and he was subjected to a good deal of satire, to which, though much annoyed, he did not reply. It is, however, generally allowed that he had shown great daring, perseverance, and zeal in his explorations, and that he made a real addition to the geographical knowledge of his day.
Bruce, Michael (1746–1767). — Poet, son of a poor weaver at Kinnesswood, Kinross-shire, as a child herded cattle, but received a good education, including 4 sessions at the University of Edinburgh, and for a short time kept a school. His longest poem, Loch Leven, shows the influence of Thomson. His best is his Elegy. His promising career was cut short by consumption in 1767. The authorship of the beautiful Ode to the Cuckoo beginning “Hail, beauteous stranger of the grove” is contested, some authorities claiming it for B. and others for the Rev. John Logan (q.v.), who ed. B.’s works, adding some of his own, and who claimed the Ode as his.
Brunton, Mary (Balfour) (1778–1818). — Novelist, daughter of Col. Balfour of Elwick, and married to the Rev. Dr. Brunton, Prof. of Oriental Languages in the University of Edinburgh, was the authoress of two novels, Self–Control (1811) and Discipline (1814), which were popular in their day.
Bryant, Jacob (1715–1804). — Scholar, ed. at Eton and Cambridge, wrote learnedly, but paradoxically, on mythological and Homeric subjects. His chief works were A New System or Analysis of Ancient Mythology (1774–76), Observations on the Plain of Troy (1795), and Dissertation concerning the Wars of Troy (1796). In the last two he endeavoured to show that the existence of Troy and the Greek expedition were fabulous. Though so sceptical on these points he was an implicit believer in the authenticity of the Rowley authorship of Chatterton’s fabrications. He also wrote on theological subjects.
Bryant, William Cullen (1794–1878). — Poet, was born at Cummington, Massachusetts, the son of a doctor. His ancestors on both sides came over in the Mayflower. His first poem was Thanatopsis (1817), which was greeted as the best poem produced in America up to that time. After being a lawyer for some time he was induced to exchange law for journalism, and acted as ed. of various periodicals. Among his best known poems are Lines to a Water-fowl, The Rivulet, The West Wind, The Forest Hymn, The Fringed Gentian, etc. His muse is tender and graceful, pervaded by a contemplative melancholy, and a love of solitude and the silence of the woods. Though he was brought up to admire Pope, and in his early youth imitated him, he was one of the first American poets to throw off his influence. He had a high sense of duty, was a prominent and patriotic citizen, and enjoyed the esteem and even the reverence of his fellow-countrymen. B. also produced a blank-verse translation of the Iliad and the Odyssey.
Brydges, Sir Samuel Egerton (1762–1837). — Bibliographer and genealogist, ed. at Cambridge, was called to the Bar in 1787. He wrote some novels and poems, now forgotten, but rendered valuable service by his bibliographical publications, Censura Literaria, Titles and Opinions of Old English Books (10 vols. 1805–9), his editions of E. Phillips’s Theatrum Poetarum Anglicanorum (1800) Collin’s Peerage of England (1812), and of many rare Elizabethan authors. He was made a baronet in 1814. He died at Geneva.
Buchanan, George (1506–1582). — Historian and scholar born at Killearn, Stirlingshire, of poor parents, was sent in 1519, with the help of an uncle, to the University of Paris, where he first came in contact with the two great influences of the age, the Renaissance and the Reformation. His uncle having died, he had to leave Paris, and after seeing some military service, returned to Scotland, and in 1524 went to St. Andrews, where he studied under John Major (q.v.). Two years later he found means to return to Paris, where he graduated at the Scots College in 1528, and taught grammar in the College of St. Barbe. Returning to Scotland in 1536 with a great reputation for learning he was made by James V. tutor to one of his illegitimate sons, and incited by him to satirise the vices of the clergy, which he did in two Latin poems, Somnium and Franciscanus. This stirred the wrath of the ecclesiastical powers to such a heat that, the King withholding his protection, he was obliged in 1539 to save himself by flight first to England and then to France, where he remained until 1547 teaching Latin at Bordeaux and Paris. In the latter year he was invited to become a prof. at Coimbra, where he was imprisoned by the Inquisition as a heretic from 1549–51, and wrote the greater part of his magnificent translation of the Psalms into Latin verse, which has never been excelled by any modern. He returned to England in 1552, but soon re-crossed to France and taught in the College of Boncourt. In 1561 he came back to his native country, where he remained for the rest of his life. Hitherto, though a supporter of the new learning and a merciless exposer of the vices of the clergy, he had remained in the ancient faith, but he now openly joined the ranks of the Reformers. He held the Principalship of St. Leonard’s College, St. Andrews, was a supporter of the party of the Regent Moray, produced in 1571 his famous Detectio Mariæ Reginæ, a scathing exposure of the Queen’s relations to Darnley and the circumstances leading up to his death, was tutor, 1570–78, to James VI., whom he brought up with great strictness, and to whom he imparted the learning of which the King was afterwards so vain. His chief remaining works were De Jure Regni apud Scotos (1579), against absolutism, and his History of Scotland, which was published immediately before his death. Though he had borne so great a part in the affairs of his country, and was the first scholar of his age, he died so poor that he left no funds to meet the expenses of his interment. His literary masterpiece is his History, which is remarkable for the power and richness of its style. Its matter, however, gave so much offence that a proclamation was issued calling in all copies of it, as well as of the De Jure Regni, that they might be purged of the “offensive and extraordinary matters” which they contained. B. holds his great and unique place in literature not so much for his own writings as for his strong and lasting influence on subsequent writers.
Buchanan, Robert (1841–1901). — Poet and novelist, born at Caverswall, Staffordshire, the son of a Scottish schoolmaster and socialist, and ed. at Glasgow, was the friend of David Gray (q.v.), and with him went to London in search of fame, but had a long period of discouragement. His first work, a collection of poems, Undertones (1863), had, however, some success, and was followed by Idylls of Inverburn (1865), London Poems (1866), and others, which gave him a growing reputation, and raised high hopes of his future. Thereafter he took up prose fiction and the drama, not always with success, and got into trouble owing to some drastic criticism of his contemporaries, culminating in his famous article on the Fleshly School of Poetry, which appeared in the Contemporary Review (Oct. 1871), and evoked replies from Rossetti (The Stealthy School of Criticism), and Swinburne (Under the Microscope). Among his novels are A Child of Nature (1879), God and the Man (1881), and among his dramas A Nine Days’ Queen, A Madcap Prince, and Alone in London. His latest poems, The Outcast and The Wandering Jew, were directed against certain aspects of Christianity. B. was unfortunate in his latter years; a speculation turned out ruinously; he had to sell his copyrights, and he sustained a paralytic seizure, from the effects of which he died in a few months. He ultimately admitted that his criticism of Rossetti was unjustifiable.
Buckingham, George Villiers, 2nd Duke of (1628–1687). — Dramatist, son of the 1st Duke, who was in 1628 assassinated by Felton. His life was full of adventure and change of fortune. The Restoration gave him back his already twice lost estates, which he again squandered by a life of wild extravagance and profligacy at Court. He was a member of the “Cabal” and intrigued against Clarendon. He wrote pamphlets, lampoons, and plays, but his chief contribution to literature was The Rehearsal, a comedy, in which he satirised the heroic drama of Dryden and others. It is believed that S. Butler had a hand in it. Dryden had his revenge in his picture of B. as Zimri in Absalom and Achitophel.
Buckingham and Normanby, John Sheffield, 1st Duke of (1648–1721). — S. of the 2nd Earl of Mulgrave, served in his youth as a soldier under Prince Rupert and Turenne, and is also said to have made love to the Princess, afterwards Queen, Anne. He was a Privy Councillor under James II., William and Mary, and Anne, with the last of whom he remained a favourite. His magnificent mansion was purchased and pulled down to make way for Buckingham Palace. He wrote An Account of the Revolution, An Essay on Satire, and An Essay on Poetry. He also remodelled Shakespeare’s Julius Cæsar.
Buckingham, James Silk (1786–1855). — Journalist and traveller, wrote many books of travel, both on the Old and New World. He established, and for a year or two ed., The Athenæum, and produced many pamphlets on political and social subjects.
Buckland, Francis Trevelyan (1826–80). — Naturalist, born and ed. at Oxford, where his father was Dean of Christchurch. He studied medicine and was assistant-surgeon in the Life Guards. An enthusiastic lover of natural history, he wrote largely upon it, among his works being Curiosities of Natural History (4 vols. 1857–72), Log Book of a Fisherman and Zoologist (1876), Natural History of British Fishes (1881). He also founded and ed. Land and Water. He was for a time Inspector of Salmon Fisheries, and served on various commissions. Though observant, he was not always strictly scientific in his methods and modes of expression, and he was a strong opponent of Darwin.
Buckle, Henry Thomas (1821–1862). — Historical writer, son of a wealthy shipowner in London, was born at Lee in Kent. Though never at a univ. and little at school, he received a high degree of education privately, and inheriting an ample fortune and a large library, he devoted himself to travel and study, with the view of preparing for a great work which he had projected, The History of Civilisation in England. As an introduction to this he entered upon the consideration of the state of civilisation in various other countries, but this he had scarcely completed when his death took place at Damascus in 1862. The first vol. was published in 1857, and the second in 1861. In these the results of a vast amount of reading are shown; but they are not free from one-sided views and generalisations resting on insufficient data. He has, however, the credit of having contributed a new idea of history and the method of writing it. The completed work was to have extended to 14 vols. B. was one of the greatest chess-players in Europe.
Budgell, Eustace (1686–1737). — Miscellaneous writer, ed. at Oxford, was a cousin of Addison, who took him to Ireland and got him appointed to a lucrative office, which, however, he was foolish enough to throw away by lampooning the Viceroy. He assisted A. in the Spectator, of which he wrote 37 numbers signed X. In these he imitates A.’s style with some success. B., who was vain and vindictive, fell on evil days, lost a fortune in the South Sea Bubble, was accused of forging a will, and committed suicide by throwing himself out of a boat at London Bridge.
Bull, George (1634–1710). — Theologian, born at Wells, ed. at Tiverton and Oxford, took orders, was ordained by an ejected bishop in 1658, and received the living of Suddington near Bristol. He was a strong Royalist, and was privy to a scheme for bringing back the Royal family. After the Restoration he obtained further preferment, and became in 1704 Bishop of St. David’s at an age when his strength had become unequal to any very active discharge of the duties of his see. He has a high place among Anglican theologians, and as a defender of the doctrine of the Trinity was held in high esteem even by Continental Romanist controversialists. Among his works are Harmonia Apostolica (1669–70) in which he endeavoured to reconcile alleged discrepancies between the teaching of St. Paul and St. James on the relation between faith and works, in which he assigned to the latter the higher authority, Defensio Fidei Nicænæ (1685) and Corruptions of the Church of Rome.
Bulwer, E.L., (see Lytton.)
Bunyan, John (1628–1688). — Born at Elstow, near Bedford, the son of a poor tinker, was ed. at a free school, after which he worked at his father’s trade. At 17 he was drafted as a soldier in the Civil War, and served for two years at Newport Pagnell. At 19 he married a pious young woman, whose only dowry appears to have been two books, the Plain Man’s Pathway to Heaven and the Practice of Piety, by which he was influenced towards a religious life. In his autobiographical book, Grace Abounding, B. describes himself as having led an abandoned life in his youth; but there appears to be no evidence that he was, outwardly at any rate, worse than the average of his neighbours: the only serious fault which he specifies is profanity, others being dancing and bell-ringing. The overwhelming power of his imagination led him to contemplate acts of impiety and profanity, and to a vivid realisation of the dangers these involved. In particular he was harassed by a curiosity in regard to the “unpardonable sin,” and a prepossession that he had already committed it. He continually heard voices urging him to “sell Christ,” and was tortured by fearful visions. After severe spiritual conflicts he escaped from this condition, and became an enthusiastic and assured believer. In 1657 he joined the Baptist Church, began to preach, and in 1660 was committed to Bedford Jail, at first for three months, but on his refusing to conform, or to desist from preaching, his confinement was extended with little interval for a period of nearly 12 years, not always, however, very rigorous. He supported his family (wife and four children, including a blind girl) by making tagged laces, and devoted all the time he could spare from this to studying his few books and writing. During this period he wrote among other things, The Holy City and Grace Abounding. Under the Declaration of Indulgence he was released in 1672, and became a licensed preacher. In 1675 the Declaration was cancelled, and he was, under the Conventicle Act, again imprisoned for six months, during which he wrote the first part of The Pilgrim’s Progress, which appeared in 1678, and to which considerable additions were made in subsequent editions. It was followed by the Life and Death of Mr. Badman (1680), The Holy War (1682), and the second part of The Pilgrim’s Progress (1684). B. was now widely known as a popular preacher and author, and exercised a wide influence. In 1688 he set out on a journey to mediate between a father and son, in which he was successful. On the return journey he was drenched with rain, caught a chill and died in London on August 31. He is buried in Bunhill Fields. B. has the distinction of having written, in The Pilgrim’s Progress, probably the most widely read book in the English language, and one which has been translated into more tongues than any book except the Bible. The charm of the work, which makes it the joy of old and young, learned and ignorant, and of readers of all possible schools of thought and theology, lies in the interest of a story in which the intense imagination of the writer makes characters, incidents, and scenes alike live in that of his readers as things actually known and remembered by themselves, in its touches of tenderness and quaint humour, its bursts of heart-moving eloquence, and its pure, nervous, idiomatic English, Macaulay has said, “Every reader knows the straight and narrow path as well as he knows a road on which he has been backwards and forwards a hundred times,” and he adds that “In England during the latter half of the seventeenth century there were only two minds which possessed the imaginative faculty in a very eminent degree. One of these minds produced the Paradise Lost, the other The Pilgrim’s Progress.” B. wrote about 60 books and tracts, of which The Holy War ranks next to The Pilgrim’s Progress in popularity, while Grace Abounding is one of the most interesting pieces of biography in existence.
There are numerous Lives, the most complete being that by Dr. John Brown of Bedford (1885 new 1888): others are Southey’s (1830), on which Macaulay’s Essay is based, Offor (1862), Froude (1880). On The Pilgrim’s Progress, The People of the Pilgrimage, by J. Kerr Bain, D.D.
Burckhardt, John Lewis (1784–1817). — Traveller, born at Lausanne and ed. in Germany, came to England in 1806 and wrote his books of travel in English. He travelled widely in Africa and in Syria, and the adjoining countries, became a great oriental scholar, and, disguising himself, made the pilgrimage to Mecca, and obtained access to places not open to Christians. He wrote accounts of his travels, and a book on Arabic proverbs. He died of dysentery at Cairo when about to start on a new journey into the interior of Africa.
Burke, Edmund (1729–1797). — Statesman, orator, and political philosopher, was the son of an attorney in Dublin, where he was born His father was a Protestant, but his mother, whose maiden name was Nagle, was a Roman Catholic. He received his early ed. at a Quaker school at Ballitore, and in 1743 proceeded to Trinity College, Dublin, where he graduated in 1748. His father wished him to study for the law, and with this object he, in 1750, went to London and entered the Middle Temple. He, however, disliked law and spent more time in literary pursuits than in legal study. In 1756 his first published work appeared, A Vindication of Natural Society, a satire on the views of Bolingbroke, but so close was the imitation of that writer’s style, and so grave the irony, that its point as a satire was largely missed. In the same year he published his famous treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful, which attracted universal attention, and three years later (1759) he projected with Dodsley the publisher The Annual Register, for which he continued to write the yearly Survey of Events until 1788. About the same time he was introduced to W.G. Hamilton (known as Single-speech H.) then about to go to Ireland as Chief Sec., and accompanied him in the capacity of private secretary, in which he remained for three years. In 1765 he became private secretary to the Marquis of Rockingham, the Whig statesman, then Prime Minister, who became his fast friend until his death. At the same time he entered Parliament as member for Wendover, and began his brilliant career as an orator and philosophic statesman. The first great subject in which he interested himself was the controversy with the American colonies, which soon developed into war and ultimate separation, and in 1769 he published, in reply to G. Grenville, his pamphlet on The Present State of the Nation. In the same year he purchased the small estate of Gregories near Beaconsfield. His speeches and writings had now made him famous, and among other effects had brought about the suggestion that he was the author of the Letters of Junius. It was also about this time that he became one of the circle which, including Goldsmith, Garrick, etc., had Johnson for its central luminary. In 1770 appeared Thoughts on the Causes of the Present Discontent, directed against the growth of the Royal power on the one hand, and of faction on the other. In 1774 he was elected member for Bristol, and continued so until 1780, when differences with his constituency on the questions of Irish trade and Catholic emancipation led to his resignation, after which he sat for Malton until his final retirement from public life. Under the administration of Lord North (1770–1782) the American war went on from bad to worse, and it was in part owing to the splendid oratorical efforts of B. that it was at last brought to an end. To this period belong two of his most brilliant performances, his speech on Conciliation with America (1775), and his Letter to the Sheriffs of Bristol (1777). The fall of North led to Rockingham being recalled to power, which, however, he held for a few months only, dying in the end of 1782, during which period B. held the office of Paymaster of the Forces, and was made a Privy Councillor. Thereafter he committed the great error of his political life in supporting Fox in his coalition with North, one of the most flagitious, as it was to those concerned in it, one of the most fatal, political acts in our parliamentary history. Under this unhappy combination he continued to hold during its brief existence the office of Paymaster, and distinguished himself in connection with Fox’s India Bill. The coalition fell in 1783, and was succeeded by the long administration of Pitt, which lasted until 1801. B. was accordingly for the remainder of his political life in opposition. In 1785 he made his great speech on The Nabob of Arcot’s Debts, and in the next year (1786) he moved for papers in regard to the Indian government of Warren Hastings, the consequence of which was the impeachment of that statesman, which, beginning in 1787, lasted until 1794, and of which B. was the leading promoter. Meanwhile, the events in France were in progress which led to the Revolution, and culminated in the death of the King and Queen. By these B. was profoundly moved, and his Reflections on the French Revolution (1790) electrified England, and even Europe. Its success was enormous. The same events and the differences which arose regarding them in the Whig party led to its break up, to the rupture of B’s friendship with Fox, and to his Appeal from the New to the Old Whigs. In 1794 a terrible blow fell upon him in the loss of his son Richard, to whom he was tenderly attached, and in whom he saw signs of promise, which were not patent to others, and which in fact appear to have been non-existent. In the same year the Hastings trial came to an end. B. felt that his work was done and indeed that he was worn out; and he took leave of Parliament. The King, whose favour he had gained by his attitude on the French Revolution, wished to make him Lord Beaconsfield, but the death of his son had deprived such an honour of all its attractions, and the only reward he would accept was a pension of £2500. Even this modest reward for services so transcendent was attacked by the Duke of Bedford, to whom B. made a crushing reply in the Letter to a Noble Lord (1796). His last published was the Letter on a Regicide Peace (1796), called forth by negotiations for peace with France. When it appeared the author was dead.
B. was one of the greatest political thinkers whom England has produced, and all his writings, like his speeches, are characterised by the welding together of knowledge, thought, and feeling. Unlike most orators he is more successful as a writer than as a speaker. He rose too far above the heads of his audience, which the continued splendour of his declamation, his inordinate copiousness, and his excessive vehemence, often passing into fury, at length wearied, and even disgusted: but in his writings are found some of the grandest examples of a fervid and richly elaborated eloquence. Though he was never admitted to the Cabinet, he guided and influenced largely the policy of his party, while by his efforts in the direction of economy and order in administration at home, and on behalf of kindly and just government in India, as well as by his contributions to political philosophy, he laid his country and indeed the world under lasting obligations.
There are Lives by Prior (1824 and 1854); J. Morley (1867), and various ed. of his works have appeared. Select Works by Payne (3 vols. 1874–78).
Summary. — Born 1729, ed. Trinity College, Dublin, enters Middle Temple 1750, published treatise On the Sublime and Beautiful 1756, became friend of Rockingham 1765, enters Parliament and engages in American controversy, published speech on Conciliation with America 1775, Paymaster of Forces and P.C. 1782, joined coalition of Fox and North 1782, leads in prosecution of W. Hastings 1787–94, published Reflections on French Revolution 1790 and breaks with Fox party, published Letter on a Regicide Peace 1796, died 1797.
Burnet, Gilbert (1643–1715). — Theologian and historian, s. of a Royalist and Episcopalian lawyer, who became a judge, and of the sister of Johnston of Warristoun, a leader of the Covenanters, was born in Edinburgh, and ed. at Aberdeen and at Amsterdam, where he studied Hebrew under a Rabbi. Returning to Scotland, he was successively Episcopal minister at Saltoun and Prof. of Divinity in Glasgow (1669), and was then offered, but declined, a Scotch bishopric. His energetic and bustling character led him to take an active part in the controversies of the time, and he endeavoured to bring about a reconciliation between Episcopacy and Presbytery. Going to London he was in some favour with Charles II., from whom he received various preferments. His literary reputation was greatly enhanced by the publication in 1679 of the first vol. of his History of the Reformation of the Church of England, for which he received the thanks of Parliament, and which was completed by other two vols., in 1682 and 1714. On account of a letter of reproof which he ventured to write to the King, he lost favour at Court, and the policy pursued by James II. being very repugnant to him, he betook himself in 1687 to Holland, where he became one of the advisers of the Prince of Orange. Returning to England at the Revolution, he was made Bishop of Salisbury, which office he adorned by liberal views and a zealous discharge of duty. The work by which his fame is chiefly sustained, his History of my Own Times, was, by his direction, not to be published until 6 years after his death. It appeared in 1723. It gives a sketch of the history of the Civil Wars and Commonwealth, and a detailed account of the immediately succeeding period down to 1713. While not free from egotism and some party feeling, it is written with a sincere desire for accuracy and fairness, and it has largely the authority of an eye-witness. The style, if somewhat lacking in dignity, is lively and picturesque. Among his other writings are a History of the Dukes of Hamilton, and an Exposition of the 39 Articles.
His principal works have been repeatedly printed. Clarendon Press ed. of My Own Times by Routh (1823 and 1833).
Burnet, Thomas (1635?-1715). — Theologian and writer on cosmogony, was born at Croft near Darlington, and ed. at Cambridge, and became Master of Charterhouse and Clerk of the Closet to William III. His literary fame rests on his Telluris Theoria Sacra, or Sacred Theory of the Earth, published about 1692, first in Latin and afterwards in English, a work which, in absence of all scientific knowledge of the earth’s structure, was necessarily a mere speculative cosmogony. It is written, however, with much eloquence. Some of the views expressed in another work, Archæolgiæ Philosophicæ, were, however, so unacceptable to contemporary theologians that he had to resign his post at Court.
Burns, Robert (1759–1796). — Poet, was born near Ayr, the son of William Burness or Burns, a small farmer, and a man of considerable force of character and self-culture. His youth was passed in poverty, hardship, and a degree of severe manual labour which left its traces in a premature stoop and weakened constitution. He had little regular schooling, and got much of what education he had from his father, who taught his children reading, writing, arithmetic, geography, and history, and also wrote for them “A Manual of Christian Belief.” With all his ability and character, however, the elder B. was consistently unfortunate, and migrated with his large family from farm to farm without ever being able to improve his circumstances. In 1781 Robert went to Irvine to become a flax-dresser, but, as the result of a New Year carousal of the workmen, including himself, the shop took fire and was burned to the ground. This venture accordingly came to an end. In 1784 the father died, and B. with his brother Gilbert made an ineffectual struggle to keep on the farm; failing in which they removed to Mossgiel, where they maintained an uphill fight for 4 years. Meanwhile, his love affair with Jean Armour had passed through its first stage, and the troubles in connection therewith, combined with the want of success in farming, led him to think of going to Jamaica as bookkeeper on a plantation. From this he was dissuaded by a letter from Dr. Thomas Blacklock (q.v.), and at the suggestion of his brother published his poems. This first ed. was brought out at Kilmarnock in June 1786, and contained much of his best work, including “The Twa Dogs,” “The Address to the Deil,” “Hallowe’en,” “The Cottar’s Saturday Night,” “The Mouse,” “The Daisy,” etc., many of which had been written at Mossgiel. Copies of this ed. are now extremely scarce, and as much as £550 has been paid for one. The success of the work was immediate, the poet’s name rang over all Scotland, and he was induced to go to Edinburgh to superintend the issue of a new ed. There he was received as an equal by the brilliant circle of men of letters which the city then boasted — Dugald Stewart, Robertson, Blair, etc., and was a guest at aristocratic tables, where he bore himself with unaffected dignity. Here also Scott, then a boy of 15, saw him and describes him as of “manners rustic, not clownish. His countenance . . . more massive than it looks in any of the portraits . . . a strong expression of shrewdness in his lineaments; the eye alone indicated the poetical character and temperament. It was large, and of a dark cast, and literally glowed when he spoke with feeling or interest.” The results of this visit outside of its immediate and practical object, included some life-long friendships, among which were those with Lord Glencairn and Mrs. Dunlop. The new ed. brought him £400. About this time the episode of Highland Mary occurred. On his return to Ayrshire he renewed his relations with Jean Armour, whom he ultimately married, took the farm of Ellisland near Dumfries, having meanwhile taken lessons in the duties of an exciseman, as a line to fall back upon should farming again prove unsuccessful. At Ellisland his society was cultivated by the local gentry. And this, together with literature and his duties in the excise, to which he had been appointed in 1789, proved too much of a distraction to admit of success on the farm, which in 1791 he gave up. Meanwhile he was writing at his best, and in 1790 had produced Tam o’ Shanter. About this time he was offered and declined an appointment in London on the staff of the Star newspaper, and refused to become a candidate for a newly-created Chair of Agriculture in the University of Edinburgh, although influential friends offered to support his claims. After giving up his farm he removed to Dumfries. It was at this time that, being requested to furnish words for The Melodies of Scotland, he responded by contributing over 100 songs, on which perhaps his claim to immortality chiefly rests, and which placed him in the front rank of lyric poets. His worldly prospects were now perhaps better than they had ever been; but he was entering upon the last and darkest period of his career. He had become soured, and moreover had alienated many of his best friends by too freely expressing sympathy with the French Revolution, and the then unpopular advocates of reform at home. His health began to give way; he became prematurely old, and fell into fits of despondency; and the habits of intemperance, to which he had always been more or less addicted, grew upon him. He died on July 21, 1797.
The genius of B. is marked by spontaneity, directness, and sincerity, and his variety is marvellous, ranging from the tender intensity of some of his lyrics through the rollicking humour and blazing wit of Tam o’ Shanter to the blistering satire of Holy Willie’s Prayer and The Holy Fair. His life is a tragedy, and his character full of flaws. But he fought at tremendous odds, and as Carlyle in his great Essay says, “Granted the ship comes into harbour with shrouds and tackle damaged, the pilot is blameworthy . . . but to know how blameworthy, tell us first whether his voyage has been round the Globe or only to Ramsgate and the Isle of Dogs.”
The books about Burns, his life and writings, are innumerable. Among the Lives are those by Currie (1800); Allan Cunningham (1834); J.G. Lockhart (1828), on which is based Carlyle’s memorable Essay (which see). Among the famous ed. of the Poems may be mentioned the first (Kilmarnock 1786), Edinburgh (1787), and the Centenary (1896), by W.E. Henley and T.F. Henderson.
Summary. — Born 1759, flax-dresser at Irvine 1781, farms at Mossgiel, has love affair with Jean Armour, published first ed. of poems 1786, visits Edinburgh 1786, goes to Ellisland, became exciseman 1789, published songs, c. 1791, died 1797.
Burton, John Hill (1809–1881). — Historian, was born and ed. at Aberdeen, was in 1831 called to the Bar, but had little practice, and in 1854 was appointed Sec. to the Prison Board of Scotland, and in 1877 a Commissioner of Prisons. He became at an early period of his life a contributor to Blackwood’s Magazine and other periodicals, and in 1846 published a life of Hume, which attracted considerable attention, and was followed by Lives of Lord Lovat and Lord President Forbes. He began his career as an historian by the publication in 1853 of History of Scotland from the Revolution to the Extinction of the last Jacobite Insurrection, to which he added (1867–70) History of Scotland from Agricola’s Invasion to the Revolution, in 7 vols., thus completing a continuous narrative. Subsequently he published a History of the Reign of Queen Anne (1880). Other works of a lighter kind were The Book–Hunter (1862), and The Scot Abroad (1864). B.’s historical works display much research and a spirit of candour and honesty, and have picturesque and spirited passages, but the style is unequal, and frequently lacks dignity. On the whole, however, his is regarded as the most generally trustworthy and valuable history of Scotland at present existing.
Burton, Sir Richard Francis (1821–1890). — Explorer and scholar, son of an officer in the army, was born at Barham House, Herts, and after a somewhat desultory education abroad as well as at home, entered upon a life of travel, adventure, and military and civil service in almost every quarter of the world, including India, Africa, the nearer East, and North and South America, in the course of which he mastered 35 languages. As an official his masterful ways and spirit of adventure frequently brought him into collision with superior powers, by whom he not seldom considered himself ill-used. He was the author of upwards of 50 books on a great variety of subjects, including travels, novels, and translations, among which are Personal Narrative of a Journey to Mecca (1855), First Footprints in East Africa (1856), Lake Regions of Equatorial Africa (1860), The Nile Basin, a translation and life of Camoens, an absolutely literal translation of the Arabian Nights, with notes and commentaries, of which his accomplished wife published an expurgated edition. Lady B., who was the companion of his travels after 1861, also wrote books on Syria, Arabia, and other eastern countries, as well as a life of her husband, a number of whose manuscripts she destroyed.
Burton, Robert (1577–1640). — Miscellaneous writer, born at Lindley, Leicestershire, and ed. at Oxford, took orders, and became Vicar of St. Thomas, Oxford, 1616, and Rector of Segrave, Leicestershire, 1630. Subject to depression of spirits, he wrote as an antidote the singular book which has given him fame. The Anatomy of Melancholy, in which he appears under the name of Democritus Junior, was published in 1621, and had great popularity. In the words of Warton, “The author’s variety of learning, his quotations from rare and curious books, his pedantry sparkling with rude wit and shapeless elegance . . . have rendered it a repertory of amusement and information.” It has also proved a store-house from which later authors have not scrupled to draw without acknowledgment. It was a favourite book of Dr. Johnson. B. was a mathematician and dabbled in astrology. When not under depression he was an amusing companion, “very merry, facete, and juvenile,” and a person of “great honesty, plain dealing, and charity.”
The best ed. is that of Rev. A.R. Shilleto, with introduction by A.H. Bullen (3 vols. 1893).
Bury, Lady Charlotte (1775–1861). — Novelist, daughter of the 5th Duke of Argyll, and married first to Col. J. Campbell, and second to Rev. E.J. Bury, wrote a number of novels — Flirtation, Separation, The Divorced, etc., but is chiefly remembered in connection with a Diary illustrative of the Times of George IV. (1838), a somewhat scandalous work generally, and probably correctly, ascribed to her. She also wrote some poems and two devotional works. She held for some time an appointment in the household of the Princess of Wales.
Bury, Richard De (1281–1345). — S. of Sir Richard Aungerville, born at Bury St. Edmunds, studied at Oxford, and was a Benedictine monk, became tutor to Edward III. when Prince of Wales, and Bishop of Durham, and held many offices of State. He was a patron of learning, and one of the first English collectors of books, and he wrote his work, Philobiblon, in praise of books, and founded a library at Durham.
Butler, Joseph (1692–1752). — Theologian, born at Wantage, son of a Presbyterian linen-draper, was destined for the ministry of that Church, but in 1714 he decided to enter the Church of England, and went to Oxford After holding various other preferments he became rector of the rich living of Stanhope, Bishop of Bristol (1738), and Bishop of Durham (1750), and was said to have refused the Primacy. In 1726 he published Fifteen Sermons, and in 1736 The Analogy of Religion. These two books are among the most powerful and original contributions to ethics and theology which have ever been made. They depend for their effect entirely upon the force of their reasoning, for they have no graces of style. B. was an excellent man, and a diligent and conscientious churchman. Though indifferent to general literature, he had some taste in the fine arts, especially architecture. B.’s works were ed. by W.E. Gladstone (2 vols. 1896), and there are Lives by Bishop W. Fitzgerald, Spooner (1902), and others, see also History of English Thought in 18th Century, by Leslie Stephen.
Butler, Samuel (1612–1680). — Satirist, was the son of a Worcestershire farmer. In early youth he was page to the Countess of Kent, and thereafter clerk to various Puritan justices, some of whom are believed to have suggested characters in Hudibras. After the Restoration he became Sec. to the Lord Pres. of Wales, and about the same time married a Mrs. Herbert, a widow with a jointure, which, however, was lost. In 1663 the first part of Hudibras was published, and the other two in 1664 and 1668 respectively. This work, which is to a certain extent modelled on Don Quixote, stands at the head of the satirical literature of England, and for wit and compressed thought has few rivals in any language. It is directed against the Puritans, and while it holds up to ridicule the extravagancies into which many of the party ran, it entirely fails to do justice to their virtues and their services to liberty, civil and religious. Many of its brilliant couplets have passed into the proverbial commonplaces of the language, and few who use them have any idea of their source. Butler, notwithstanding the popularity of his work, was neglected by the Court, and died in poverty.
Ed. of B.’s works have been issued by Bell (3 vols., 1813), and Johnson (2 vols., 1893).
Butler, Samuel (1825–1902). — Miscellaneous writer, ed. at Shrewsbury and Cambridge, wrote two satirical books, Erewhon (nowhere) (1872), and Erewhon Revisited (1901). He translated the Iliad and Odyssey in prose, and mooted the theory that the latter was written by a woman. Other works were The Fair Haven, Life and Habit, The Way of all Flesh (a novel) (1903), etc., and some sonnets. He also wrote on the Sonnets of Shakespeare.
Byron, George Gordon, 6th Lord Byron (1788–1824). — Poet, was born in London, the son of Captain John B. and of Catherine Gordon, heiress of Gight, Aberdeenshire, his second wife, whom he married for her money and, after squandering it, deserted. He was also the grand-nephew of the 5th, known as the “wicked” Lord B. From his birth he suffered from a malformation of the feet, causing a slight lameness, which was a cause of lifelong misery to him, aggravated by the knowledge that with proper care it might have been cured. After the departure of his father his mother went to Aberdeen, where she lived on a small salvage from her fortune. She was a capricious woman of violent temper, with no fitness for guiding her volcanic son, and altogether the circumstances of his early life explain, if they do not excuse, the spirit of revolt which was his lifelong characteristic. In 1794, on the death of a cousin, he became heir-presumptive to the title and embarrassed estates of the family, to which, on the death of his great-uncle in 1798, he succeeded. In 1801 he was sent to Harrow, where he remained until 1805, when he proceeded to Trinity College, Cambridge, where he read much history and fiction, lived extravagantly, and got into debt. Some early verses which he had published in 1806 were suppressed. They were followed in 1807 by Hours of Idleness, which was savagely attacked in the Edinburgh Review. In reply he sent forth English Bards and Scotch Reviewers (1800), which created considerable stir and shortly went through 5 ed. Meanwhile, he had settled at Newstead Abbey, the family seat, where with some of his cronies he was believed to have indulged in wild and extravagant orgies, the accounts of which, however, were probably greatly exaggerated. In 1809 he left England, and passing through Spain, went to Greece. During his absence, which extended over two years, he wrote the first two cantos of Childe Harold, which were published after his return in 1812, and were received with acclamation. In his own words, “he awoke one morning and found himself famous.” He followed up his success with some short poems, The Corsair, Lara, etc. About the same time began his intimacy with his future biographer, Thomas Moore (q.v.), and about 1815 he married Anne Isabella Milbanke, who had refused him in the previous year, a union which, owing to the total incompatibility of the parties, and serious provocations on the part of B., proved unhappy, and was in 1816 dissolved by a formal deed of separation. The only fruit of it was a daughter, Augusta Ada. After this break-up of his domestic life, followed as it was by the severe censure of society, and by pressure on the part of his creditors, which led to the sale of his library, B. again left England, as it turned out, for ever, and, passing through Belgium and up the Rhine, went to Geneva, afterwards travelling with Shelley through Switzerland, when he wrote the third canto of Childe Harold. He wintered in Venice, where he formed a connection with Jane Clairmont, the daughter of W. Godwin’s second wife (q.v.). In 1817 he was in Rome, whence returning to Venice he wrote the fourth canto of Childe Harold. In the same year he sold his ancestral seat of Newstead, and about the same time published Manfred, Cain, and The Deformed Transformed. The first five cantos of Don Juan were written between 1818 and 1820, during which period he made the acquaintance of the Countess Guiccioli, whom he persuaded to leave her husband. It was about this time that he received a visit from Moore, to whom he confided his MS. autobiography, which Moore, in the exercise of the discretion left to him, burned in 1824. His next move was to Ravenna, where he wrote much, chiefly dramas, including Marino Faliero. In 1821–22 he finished Don Juan at Pisa, and in the same year he joined with Leigh Hunt in starting a short-lived newspaper, The Liberal, in the first number of which appeared The Vision of Judgment. His last Italian home was Genoa, where he was still accompanied by the Countess, and where he lived until 1823, when he offered himself as an ally to the Greek insurgents. In July of that year he started for Greece, spent some months in Cephalonia waiting for the Greeks to form some definite plans. In January, 1824, he landed at Missolonghi, but caught a malarial fever, of which he died on April 19, 1824.
The final position of B. in English literature is probably not yet settled. It is at present undoubtedly lower than it was in his own generation. Yet his energy, passion, and power of vivid and richly-coloured description, together with the interest attaching to his wayward and unhappy career, must always make him loom large in the assembly of English writers. He exercised a marked influence on Continental literature, and his reputation as poet is higher in some foreign countries than in his own.
Among ed. of the works of B. may be mentioned Murray’s (13 vols. 1898–1904). Moore’s Life (1830), Lady Blessington’s Conversations with Lord Byron (1834, new, 1894).
Summary. — Born 1788, spent childhood in Aberdeen, ed. Harrow and Cambridge, published English Bards etc., 1809, Childe Harold first two cantos 1812, married 1815, separated 1816, owing to this and financial difficulties leaves England, meets Shelley, published third canto of Childe Harold 1816, fourth canto 1817, writes Don Juan cantos 1–4 1818–20, lives at various places in Italy 1816–24 with Countess Guiccioli, finished Don Juan 1822, goes to Greece 1823 to assist insurgents, died 1824.
Byron, Henry James (1834–1884). — Dramatist, born at Manchester, entered the Middle Temple, but soon took to writing for the stage, and produced many popular burlesques and extravaganzas. He also wrote for periodicals, and was the first editor of Fun. Among his best dramatic pieces are Cyril’s Success (1868), Our Boys (1875), and The Upper Crust.
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