Volltext: A history of caricature and grotesque in literature and art

and Art. 
ariltocracy, and their extravagance 1n drels and living, the neglect of 
jullice, the ill-management of the wars, the Weight of taxation, and all 
the other evils which then afflicted the ftate. This poem marks a period 
in our focial hiftory, and led the way to that larger work of the fame 
character, which came about thirty years later, the well-known " Vifions 
of Piers Ploughman,"i? one of the molt remarkable fatires, as well as one 
of the molt remarkable poems, in the Englilh language. 
We will do no more than glance at the further progrefs of political 
fatire which had now taken a permanent footing in Englifh literature. 
We fee lefs of it during the reign of Edward lII., the greater part of 
which was"occupied with foreign wars and triumphs, but there appeared 
towards the clofe of his reign, a very remarkable fatire, which I have 
printed in my " Political Poems and Songs." It is written in Latin, and 
contifts of a pretended prophecy in verfe by an infpired monk named 
John of Bridlington, with a mock commentary in profe-in fact, a parody 
on the commentaries in which the fcholaftics of that age difplayed their 
learning, but in this cafe the commentary contains a bold though to us 
rather obfcure criticifm on the whole policy of Edward's reign. The reign 
of Richard II. was convulfed by the great ftruggle for religious reform, 
by the infurreetions of the lower orders, and by the ambition and feuds of 
the nobles, and produced a vaft quantity of political and religious fatire, 
both in profe and verfe, but efpecially the latter. We mutt not overlook 
our great poet Chaucer, as one of the powerful fatirittsof this period. 
Political long next makes itfelf heard loudly in the wars of the Rofes. 
It was the laft ftruggle of feudalifm in England, and the character of the 
fong had fallen back to its earlier characterillics, in which all patriotic 
feelings were abandoned to make place for perfonal hatred. 
' "The Vision and the Creed of Piers Ploughman  with Notes and a Glossary 
by Thomas Wright. 2 vols. IZm0- London, 1841.. Secondgand revised edition, 
2 vols. nmo. London, 1856. A,


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