Page:Satires and profanities -microform- (1884).djvu/109

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SATIRES AND PROFANITIES.

in the style of some of the best Latin and modem French writers! As for Punch, he makes a joke worthy of his present lively condition (were it not for Mr. C. H. Bennett, one would say that there was no blood at all left in Mr. Punch when the great Leech dropped off), suggesting that the author should take the appropriate name of Swine-born. But the mass of our present critics are so far beneath contempt that we will waste no more time upon them.

I have just one remark to make, however, before saying a few words on the general issue raised by this particular process. A large number of highly respectable elderly personages in gowns, for the most part belonging to the priesthood of our very dear National Church, and who by themselves and by good Bumbledom in general are accounted the real clerisy of England, have devoted all, or nearly all, the years of their maturity to what is termed the classical instruction of ingenuous youth. The ingenuous youth thus magnificently instructed comprise young men of the highest rank, with the most money and leisure and the reddest blood in the nation. Is it not rather ludicrous to see the said begowned elderly personages all wringing their hands and smiting their breasts, weeping and lamenting in sore astonishment and perplexity and terror, when one of these young men dares to give sign that he has actually in some degree assimilated such classical instruction, instead of merely gulping it down hastily and then vomiting it all crude at the examinations?

As to the general questions, I will start by avowing frankly my conviction, that, in the present state of England, every thoughtful man who loves literature should rejoice in the advent of any really able book which outrages propriety and shocks Bumbledom, should rejoice in its advent simply and exactly because it does outrage propriety and shock Bumbledom, even if this book be nauseous to his own taste and bad in his own judgment. For the condition of our literature in these days is disgraceful to a nation of men: Bumble