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of Leo X. a period memorable for letters as synchronizing with the great revival of learning in western Italy. In Roscoe's interesting life of that extraordinary man and patron of literature, we read of a MS. copy of five books of Tacitus having been purchased for 500 zechins, by the Pope, from Angelo Acromboldo, who procured them from the Abbey of Corvey in Westphalia. He committed them to the editorial supervision of the renowned Beroaldi, for the security of whose services as collaborator, the pontiff instituted a penalty of 200 ducats, confisca tion of the spurious copies, and, in addition to this, excommunication against any person who should attempt to pirate the edition within ten years. But notwithstanding these severe prohibitions, it appears, the edition was reprinted at Milan, and in the same year; the unfortunate bibliopole had, however, to hand over the counterfeit copies and the cash-the substantial part of the penalty-but he found the wrath of the offended party appeased by the salvo, and the mercy of the Pope spared him the infliction of the residue of his sentence !
Geoffrey Chaucer, the great parent of our vernacular verse, whose "well of English undefiled" was
The first writer we shall quote as having made literature a profitable profession, is Ariosto. Although at the time he completed his "Orlando Furioso," he was obliged himself to incur the expense of its publication, the publishers declining to embark in the enter prise in consequence of the depreciating opinion expressed as to its merits by Cardinal Hippolyto, to whom the work had been inscribed, which was to the effect, that he wondered where he had contrived to pick up such a mass of absurdities;" yet the world soon amply avenged the poet upon the critic, by recording a very different estimate of it, and fortune was not behindhand in the bestowal of her favors. Under the immediate auspices of the wealthy Duke of Ferrara, was his condition not only placed beyond the influence of want, but he was at length enabled to erect for himself a noble mansion, in lieu of his former humble domicile; and although it did not occur till the evening of his life, he yet was destined to receive the honor of the laurel-crown, at the installation of which, it is stated he himself enacted the part of herald, proclaiming his own honors before the assembled multitude.
"Made firste to distylle and rayne The gold dew dropys of speche and elo
Into our tunge,”—
thus enriching it with the foreign spoils, the more euphonious cadences of sunny Italy, and weeding it of the ruder relics of Gothic idiom,-was, as far as can be ascertained, by no means a "poor poet," as concerns the things of this life. Not only had he sufficient means to obtain a liberal education at Cambridge, but throughout almost the whole of life he enjoyed "honorable ease," retaining for many years the lucrative office of Comptroller of Customs; and also, at successive intervals, was commissioned on an embassy to Rome and Genoa. His good fortune would probably have accompanied him to the end of his days, since he was a remarkable favorite at the court of the Plantagenets, had he not forfeited its esteem, by his adherence to the Wickliffe tenets then so unsavory in that quarter. His immediate successor, Lydgate, although far from being considered as his compeer, either in the grasp of his intellect or the exuberant richness and versatility of his poetic imagery, yet appears to have been no less a favorite with the indolently rich.
Of the immortal Spenser, it is sufficient for our purpose to relate the anecdote of his first interview with his amiable patron, Sir Philip Sydney, who, on his reciting the ninth canto of the first book of his "Faerie Queene," became so entranced with the fascination of his verse, that he interrupted him, by calling to his steward to give him £50, but no sooner had he completed another canto, than he doubled the amount; his astonished steward, however, being no less surprised than his master, though for a very different cause, thought it his duty to delay the execution of so sudden and lavish a bounty; when upon the poet's reading one stanza more, his munificent patron quadrupled the amount, making it £200, strenuously insisting that his servant should instantly pay him the money, and beg him to leave the house, for he feared, if he continued
to practise the incantations of his genius, he would be in danger of parting with his whole estate. The kindhearted Sydney long continued to befriend him, by appointing him to embassies, and other tokens of esteem and beneficence. He held a fine estate in Ireland for ten or twelve years, and the dark shades which settled about his latter days, were, it seems, superinduced by political intrigue, rather than any neglect of his merits as an author.
And what shall we say of the bard of Avon, whose magnificent genius has delighted the human race, and whose unrivalled skill in the delicate analysis of human thought and feeling, has by universal consent been rewarded with the epithet of being almost divine? From the obscurity of the lowliest origin, his career was early marked by the lustre of his intellectual strength; during a period of nearly twenty years, we find him patiently occupying himself with the laborious drudgery of the stage,--now modestly correcting the dramatic essays of those scarce worthy to "tend his humble bidding,"-now enacting the productions of his own pen at the Globe; till at length, idolized by the world, he is seen returning with his golden sheaves to the hallowed spot of his nativity, with a competency more than sufficient to ensure for him as smooth an autumn of life, as the bosom of his favorite Avon. It is not a little singular, that we know less of the actual private his tory of this great man, than almost any whose lives have been deemed worthy of record. It is enough, how ever, for our purpose to know, that if it was not attended with great affluence, his career did not suffer from the cares of penury or want. On the contrary, Gibbon mentions that the personal estate of Shakspeare, at his decease, was estimated at £300 per annum; and although it is contended by Malone, that it could not have much exceeded £200, in either case he may not be said to have died poor.
The age of Shakspeare was no less ennobled by his surpassing genius, than by the many master-spirits which contributed to its lustre; some of whom, like their great prototype, rose from the humblest origin. Such was Davies, the poet, who ultimately attained the highest civil distinction, by being appointed
to the supreme seat in the judiciary of the realm. And thou, “O rare Ben Jonson," didst receive good and honest pay for thy dramatic performances, which thou didst cause to appear with the regularity of the solar year; and but for thy incurable love of good old sack, and thy sneak.ng predilection for the convivialities of the coffee-house, thou mightest have lived all thy days, if not in affluence, at least in ease; for didst not thou receive many a golden guinea for thy pen's labor, and, in addition, 100 marks from King James, which thy wit metamorphosed into as many guineas per annum, from the private purse of his unfortunate successor? But we pause not for thy reply-the thing speaks for itself. We are all familiar with the frailties of this favorite dramatist, and it is needless to descant upon them afresh.
Phineas Fletcher, the poet, who lived in the early part of the seventeenth century, seems to have passed his days unruffled by the vexations and difficulties so commonly thought to be the sure concomitants of a life devoted to the Muses. He was well paid, and earned no mean amount of fame, having been styled by some of his critics,
the Spenser of his age." His brother, Giles Fletcher, a writer of more than equal merit perhaps, was in a like condition. Abraham Cowley was also patronized, by having received several appointments, including the mastership of the Savoy, a post of considerable emolument; and even Milton was indebted for his commission in the Government department of foreign affairs, to the acknowledgment of his splendid talents alone, notwithstanding his avowed adherence to republican doctrines, so inimical to his individual interests and preferment. Dryden, moreover, might have been rich, one would have supposed, had he husbanded the ample resources accruing from his workings; for he received £1300 for his "Virgil," and nearly £300 for his "Fables," in addition to which, he enjoyed an annuity from Government of £200 sterling, and which was only intermitted, in consequence of the Revolution. He wrote on one occasion, it is true, ten thousand lines for £300, but he was partly his own enemy, being characterized as saturnine and reserved in his deportment, notwithstanding his muse is the
most chastened, terse, and rich, in the language. His spouse might have been partly to blame in the matter, perhaps, for we find she was not particularly endowed with the attributes which contribute to connubial felicity. In the case of Matthew Prior, we have a striking instance of the supremacy of mind over circumstances. His first step to honorable preferment occurred at his uncle's house, where the Earl of Dorset chanced to be in dispute with some others, respecting a passage in Horace, when one of the party affirmed, "that there was a youngster present, who could set them all right in a minute." Prior, although a mere boy, explained away the difficulty so readily, and so modestly withal, that the Earl at once and for ever became his friend, He took him under his patronage, sent him to Cambridge, and procured for him an excellent appointment, which he held for many years; and which, together with his poems, published by subscription, yielded him a large amount of money, thus enabling him not only to pass the last years of his life in "independent ease," but (alas for human frailty!), he was actually vain enough to bequeath £500 at his demise, for the erection of a monument to his own memory in Westminster Abbey.
In reply to some observations made to Sterne, to the effect that he wielded his pen in order to obtain nummum in loculo, he declared he wrote not to be fed, but to be famous. His "Tristram Shandy," however, was no evidence of this fact, for he succeeded in securing no niggard share of emolument as well as praise.
Lintot, the liberal publisher of Pope, disbursed the large sum of between £5000 and £6000, for the copyright of his "Homer" and other works; and Gay received from the publication of his Poems, by subscription, £1000, which were printed in 1720. And a few years after, he got all together from his "Beggar's Opera," the extraordinary sum of £1600 sterling. He also held several offices under the gift of Government, and notwithstanding he was a notoriously bad economist, by the especial care which his patroness, the Duchess of Queensborough, took of him, he left at his death over £3000. Addison, who rose from a mere pot-house boy, was no less well provided for; he enjoyed
the snug little annuity of £300 for some years, and at a subsequent date, 1717, the office of Secretary of State; but being inadequate to the onerous duties of that post, he retired from it with a pension of £1500. We remember, also, to have read somewhere, of one Berkenhead, in the time of the Protectorate, who was a writer of all work, and who finally worked himself so successfully into notice, that he was at length made one of the Masters of Requests, with the magnificent salary of £3000 per annum. Congreve, also, seems to have been of the number of fortunate incumbents; he had, from Lord Halifax, £1200 sine. cure; and Steele was another instance of Government patronage. One Sir John Hill, a satirical scribe of the eighteenth century, made £1500 a year by his pen for a considerable time.
Again, we have, in Fielding, the English Cervantes, another proof of the liberal patronage of genius, although his germ of authorship came wellnigh being nipped in the bud; for we read that, on the completion of his first admirable satirical novel, "Tom Jones," he offered it impatiently for publication, without success, to a minor publisher for an almost nominal sum, £25; but, fortunately meeting with his friend Thomson, who, perusing the work, pronounced a highly favorable opinion of it, our author set off with a light heart, in company with the poet, to the well known Andrew Millar, to whom he presented his MS. Millar's critic and counsellor in these matters was his wife; and accordingly to her the production was consigned for inspection. The result was successful to poor Fielding, as she advised her husband "on no account to let the work slip his fingers." An interview with the several parties ensued at coffee-house in the Strand, and, after applying the mollifying specific of a couple of bottles of old port, they proceeded to business. Fielding, with no little trepidation, consequent on his recent rebuff in another quarter, at length broke silence, and requested to know what the worthy bibliopole proposed to give for the work. "I am a man," said he, "of few words, and fond of coming to the point; but really, after giving every consideration I am able to your novel, I do not think I can
possibly afford to give you more than £200 for it." "What!" exclaimed the astonished author, scarcely crediting the sound," two hundred pounds?" "Indeed, Mr. Fielding," returned Millar, "indeed I am fully sensible of your talent, but my mind is made up." "Two hundred pounds," continued the delighted novelist, two hundred pounds did you say?" "Upon my word, sir, I mean no disparagement to the writer or his great merit, but my mind, I repeat, is made up, and I cannot give more." Allow me to ask," responded the still incredulous and enraptured scribe, "to ask you-whether-you-are-really-in earnest ?" "Never more so," replied Millar, "in all my life, and I hope you will candidly acquit me of every intention to injure your feelings or depreciate your abilities, when I repeat, that I cannot afford you more than £200 for your novel." "Then, my good sir." cried out poor Fielding, in a delirious rapture, having recovered himself from the surprise of such unlooked-for good fortune, "give me your hand on itthe book is yours; and waiter," continued he, "bring two more bottles of your best port.' But this freak of fortune was not ended yet. He received from the subsequent editions of the work £500 more in gratuity from this noble patron of authors. His "Amelia" produced him £1000, and, it appears, his other works in like proportion. Yet, notwithstanding he was in possession of £1500 by his marriage, in addition to an annuity he enjoyed of £200, such was his extravagant folly and improvidence, that he was frequently in absolute want, and had to borrow of his indulgent publisher, at various times, to an extent of over £2500, which sum, indeed, the latter was generous enough to cancel against him at his death. One of the absurdities he had the vanity to indulge was that of launching an equipage with bright yellow liveries, which, requiring frequently renewing to preserve their brilliancy, of course involved one item of considerable moment to a person of his sphere, and sufficiently evinces his utter disregard of the virtue of economy. The story of Fielding and the tax-gatherer serves also to induce the inference. Poor Fielding had the misfortune to live when taxes were as much in vogue as they are in our own
day; and the patience of the tax-collector had been taxed to the extreme verge of endurance, beyond which he would bear with no further procrastination. In this dilemma he hies away to his banker, i. e. bookseller, for the necessary sum. Scarcely had he obtained it, and turned his steps homeward, when, meeting an old college chum, he soon found himself seated in the nearest coffee-room, and, in the course of the conviviality that ensued, his friend confessed himself in some distress; whereupon the tax-gatherer's money was turned to a new account, being probably half consumed in the tavern score, and the residue appropriated to the relief of his indigent friend. On the following morning, however, when the man of the municipal dues called for the promised cash, instead of receiving it, he had the following laconic expostulation sent to him: Friendship has called for the money and had it; the collector must call again."
But to return. Swift had for his "Gulliver's Travels" £300, and Smellie for his work on Natural History £1000. Smollett, who wrote his "History of England," comprising thirteen centuries, in about the space of as many months, received for the copyright, together with that of his "Universal History," £2000, and further sums on subsequent occasions. Gibbon obtained but £200 for the first part of his "History of Rome;" but how much, good reader, do you suppose for the remainder ?-£5000. Dr. Robertson also got £600 for his "Scotland," and £4,500 for the copyright of "Charles V." Dr. Hawksworth is said to have even obtained a still larger sum--an enormous one for those days-being £6,000 for his "Collection of Voyages," &c. And then there is Hume, who, from almost nothing, raised himself by his writings to considerable wealth, and high offices, which brought him more; so that he died in the enjoyment of a thousand a year, and left behind him no less than £15,000. Nor do we think Johnson, that great Colossus of English literature, had much to complain of in the long run, for he was not only petted to an abominable degree by society at large, but he received no little of their pecuniary offerings to boot. He wrote his "Rasselas" in a week, to pay the expenses of his mother's
funeral; for it is true he was the son of a very poor bookseller, at Litchfield, whose widow had consequently a meagre inheritance, indeed, as well as her son, which rendered his early struggles somewhat severe, but they were soon mitigated through the ready appreciation of his genius. On subsequent editions of his first literary effort referred to, he further obtained about £125; his "Dictionary" procured for him £1575, and for each number of the "Rambler" which was issued twice a week, he had two guineas. But we need not enter further into detail; he lived for years on a sinecure grant of £300. Boswell got for his amusing Memoirs of the doctor, £1000. Of Goldsmith, we only possess the following particulars. He sold his "Vicar" for £60, while his subsequent "Selections of English Poetry," a labor almost mechanical, yielded him £200. His "Traveller" made assuredly a long journey, for it occupied five years, and after all only produced £100, while again he seems to have netted in one year, from his Dramatic pieces, £1800 Rev. Charles Simeon's Theological Writings yielded to its author £5000, a heavy speculation, being in 21 vols., Svo. And, while we think of it, there have been a host of female writers,--Edgeworth, Porter, Hannah More, Trimmer, Sherwood, Clara Reeve, Hofland, Leslie, and Ann Radcliffe, who all received good copyrights as far as we can ascertain. The last named received £500 for "The Mysteries of Udolpho ;" for " The Italian," £800-immense sums for works of fiction at the time. Again, Allan Ramsay cleared between £400 and £500 by the publication of his Early Poems, and a much larger amount by his pas toral, "The Gentle Shepherd." Even poor erratic Burns netted over £500 by his first volume of Poems, in 1782, and Currie's Memoir brought to his family £1000. Sir John Carr, for four single books of separate Tours he wrote, received £1900; Thomson held a sinecure in the Court of Chancery in consequence of his literary repute. The copyright of his "Seasons" produced him 600 guineas from first to last. Mallet, the poet, was also richly paid for his literary labors; he lived and died in easy circumstances; and so did Glover, Beattie, Wharton, and Hayley. Cowper also enjoyed, during the latter
years of his life, a pension of £300 a year, and his copyrights were liberal, especially those of his later works. Wordsworth, our true vernacular poet, has long enjoyed "peace and plenty." His course seems to have been as unruffled as the limpid waters of his own favorite Rydal; while few, if any, of the brotherhood of poets have received more substantial or more refined compliments from their contemporaries; and we are happy to find he has recently received a grant of £300 a year from the British government, the present amount of whose literary pensions is £4340. So much for the neglect of authors. The author of "Ion" once said of him, "He has supplied the noblest antidote to the freezing effects of the scientific spirit of the age; and, while he has done justice to the poetry of greatness, he has cast a glory around the lowest conditions of humanity, and traced out the subtle links by which they are connected with the highest." Then we might refer to Byron, who originally made it his boast that he wrote for fame and not money; but notwithstanding his first refusal of money from Murray, he finally received from that prince of publishers the munificent sum of £23,540! for the copyrights of his va rious productions. And Moore, the most melodious muse of modern times, whose popularity has been universal, has raised himself to fortune by the aid solely of his pen. He received for several years £500 from the sale of his "Irish Melodies" alone; and he is, we believe, still in receipt of a life an nuity of £300 from his publishers on account of his copyright. A like amount he lately received from the new and elegant collected edition of his works.
The origin of "Lalla Rookh" was an application made to the author by Longmans' to write for them an epic poem, in which there should be no allusion to the ancient classic authors, they being responsible for the highest sum ever given for an epic. The ne gotiator was Mr. Perry, who concluded the business at the agreed sum of three thousand guineas!
Charles Lamb, the inimitable Essayist, was, like Montgomery, in the possession of at least the conveniences of life. The latter has long enjoyed an annuity of £300. Dugald Stuart