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have also indulged their lust for painting. spectator sees the whole scene vividly as Sport with us is a kind of cult. Every any historic penetration could present it. kind of hunting has a poetic phase, and Every detail is accurate, costume, accessothe pastime should, and does, in many ries, and architecture ; every figure is in persons lead to the growth of a love of its right place and costume. I delight in Nature, yet in sporting pictures it is conning such a tableau over, and am grateastounding how rarely there was at first ful to the painter for a most useful piece anything but the baldest record of some of illustrative information, yet I look in details about the shape of a horse or other vain for the divine breath which animates animal when stretched in a position like a the living world. When the fact is of no butterfly, in a naturalist's case, pinned out historic or dramatic interest, with men to show his points. Landseer appealed to doing what amounts to nothing, or otherthis love of the chase more capably with wise the intention is to excite the latent Art ; he had a strong, if a sinister, poetic brute in man, it is ingenious and curious, strain in him, which at times reached but not edifying, either as Ait or as ingreat heights, but the productions of his formation. When no play is going on the most in favor were of scenes dwelling figures are only dead pawns off the board. upon the butcher-like side of the pursuit. Constable is thought by many French Hounds tearing poor deer to their death, painters to have been a compatriot ; so enand terriers digging their teeth into rab- tirely, since he was honored by their predbits or hares, or stags standing in such a ecessors in 1820, have they followed him,
a good shot” for a sports- not in spirit, but in manner. He had not man-for a whole generation these were a mind of the greatest range ; his was an regarded by the rich as the noblest pro- instrument with no high notes, but it was ductions of the English school, and I think in direct resonance to Nature's lightest they did much to lower the conception of touch. His French followers, as all folthe purpose of painting and design ; per- lowers do, find their admirers waiting. haps, too, they led to the very sudden They accept given patterns to copy more rush of prejudice for Continental Art as proudly than our painters of name do. A found in Rosa Bonheur, who had not any theme once found acceptable is repeated spark of the English painter's poetry, who like a lesson. A moonlight under clouds, could not draw form so well, but who with the herding of sheep or cattle, was never descended to the vulgarity which first etched divinely in two or three forms frequently marred our animal painters' by our own Palmer. Then it was too new conceptions.
to be understood. Now it is welcomed as The tide, once having set in, flows on is a thrice-told tale by the dull. I have with a constantly increasing rush, so that often read that among French landscape now I am not exaggerating in saying that painters there are charms in the realism of Englishunen are being driven from the pos- this painter, or in the sentiment of another ; sibility of continuing this profession. If but I find the first too self-asserting. the judgment is right which says that There are none of Nature's surprises. She foreigners are our superiors, then our race has been tained and trained to serve the must bear a stigma of incompetence in school ; and the second bears reminiscence one point, which is a great reversal of the of previous favorite effects. Troyon is a judgment on its first efforts.
manufacturer of metallically cver-colored What is this French Art with which in foliage to give effect to some white the matter of design Europe is now to be patched cows. Israels is a man with one Caesarized! I have no lack of interest and good undertaker's stock in trade, without admiration for it on its own ground in its any eye for the world but what is funereal. highest examples. It is an expression, as In any case, there is no painting in the all Art should be, of the nature of the sense that the work of Titian, Rembrandt, race. We see the same spirit in its litera- De Hoogh, Reynolds, and Turner is paintture and on the stage. The situation is ing ; there is no joy of thankfulness in the object of aspiration. Figure-painting spirit, and no subtilty and profundity of is used as the means of representing a dra- variety in the handling and the treatment matic situation ; every point is made the of ocular impressions. There is not an most of for the case. A fact in history is example of what truly constitutes the artis. chosen, it may be by a master mind; the tic stamp, the presence of human expression and tenderness, which makes the spec- to Paris and lose all the character of the tator forget everything but a thrill of divine common race by their training in delove passing through him in tacitly ac- nationalizing mannerism. The Chinese knowledging a new appeal to his heart. soldier, after the storming of the Tekoa When you have looked your best at forts by the English, gave as his reason Gerôme's gladiators, do you feel that you for the hasty fight of the defenders, “No have singled out one of the victims to won- two people stand in one place ; you come, der abont, as Byron did of the Dying we go. However righteous and valiant Gladiator, as to his distant home and loved
an army may be, there is no resistance ones? The merit of French work com- possible after betrayal. mends itself greatly to the literary mind, The ideals of Art are best shown by and so all our Press praise it to the skies. example. Men write about the matter too The detail of Meissonier's work they can much without showing what they really peer into and estimate ; it is too perfect mean, and so they darken counsel with for human eyes. You need a magnifying words, like the celebrated critic Ruskin reglass to see its fullest beauty, but the fers to, who, praising a landscape with strongest lens will bring you no nearer to quadrupeds in it, to justify their particular the true artist's limitations. In other shape said they were not exactly sheep, cases the French advocates take palpable nor cows, nor horses, but animals, as they dabs, all of one shape and size, with un- should be. I have ventured to refer to disguised paint as a sign of masterliness in the Duke of Marlborough's article because the school that indulges in dash. As well it so frankly and typically states his case might the meaningless scribbling of chil- that there could be no hesitation in the dren, done in imitation of the hasty writ- conclusion that he would be glad to have ing of parents, be regarded as a sign of it as freely examined. accomplishment. I know that in writing The true ideal of Art is the outcome of thus broadly there is some injustice done a spirit of love and reverence for Nature. to many modest masters of France. One It must be inexhaustible in its illustration painting by Jules Breton of “Les Mois- of the variety and perfection of life and sopeurs" is really great, poetically and the world. Walt Whitman somewhat artistically. I pass by some others that amusingly speaks of the true poet as being deserve commendation, but then how many part of everything of vital force he meets I avoid to cite that could only be mentioned with in his walks. He is just, for the poet with execration. Yes ! honest eyes, in- must sympathize with all the earth, not deed, there are in France who look with like the passer-by, but as being part of perfect bewilderment
the rage among himself, and he must give what his sur. young men of England to turn from the roundings have taught him, as his own individualism of their predecessors and the eyes show them, and as they affect the exquisite taste for human beauty in English nature which with his fellows he inherits work, to acquire instead the trade of paint- from his ancestors. Every great Art so ing as it is taught in Paris.
But the con- far has been strictly national. It is by mon critics, playing into the hands of honest emulation among different races French and Frenchified picture-dealers, are that progress and culture is obtained, and responsible, who have so cried up the the fact forms a great reason against Croûtes as to take away the fair chance of Cæsarism in thought and invention, any English painter getting a living with Every race is diverse in its nature, and the competition from abroad, unless be in each can only truly express its own. some way will adopt the style. For this There are outside of this line large prinis a fact that is too much ignored, there is ciples common to the aim of all nations. not demand enough in England for Art These are to be studied by the serious as for her own sons ; not now even to keep of universal value, and the want of them the disappointed among foreigners from must be condemned because no great Art taxing the funds of the Benevolent So- has been destitute of them. If Art deals ciety; and many most capable English with the misfortunes and wickednesses of artists are driven from the opportunity of the human race, it must do so to illustrate continuing their profession by the inroad the irrepressibleness of the soul of good of foreigners, among whom Americans fighting against evil, not as though it would not be classed did they not first go gloated over the vice. It may be humorous and jocular in turns to any extent. It is not it must never work for the retarding of the forbidden by any means to represent the onward action-for the taking us back to human figure of either sex, for these are brutedom—under penalty of being a wito the highest developments of creation, but ness against itself when the judgment this must not be done without the stamp comes, showing that it never had claiin to of unquestionable purity of mind. Art indulgence as an ennobling influence in its may be connected with religion or moral. day. So far I would dogmatize, and no ity, but this is not a necessity. Yet in further.– New Review, “the making for righteousness” of destiny
ways will be to some of us as arid as the
sands of Sahara. That the literary epoch now drawing It is, however, fortunate for the poet to a close bas been pre-eminently rich in vexed by these queries that, as far as the the production of English poetry-far poetry of England is concerned, they can richer indeed than any previous epoch, only be answered by guesses. To guess save that which is illumed by the sunlight with Dr. Hake that a great new school of of Shakespeare's name—is an article of poetry, based on that new cosmogony faith with all who nowadays love poetry, which has revolutionized the world, lies and especially with all those who write it in the womb of time, waiting to give voice themselves. But although the critics to the twentieth century, is as easy as to have not attempted to disturb that faith, guess with Carlyle, that the Englishman yet the sourest of them try to make bitter of the future will be compelled to say" ihe poet's cup of pleasure by putting in prose everything that the Englishman forth certain uncomfortable queries of the past would in verse have sung.” “ Will the twentieth century," they ask, But concerning this unknown epoch “ sustain and carry on the poetic glories whose brow is just about to appear above of the nineteenth? Will not the ever- the horizon, there is a second question increasing and ever. widening channels which, to the English poet and lover of through which the intellectual energies of poetry, is of an interest only less intense the country are now being hurried lead than that I have alluded to. Supposing off into other and alien directions those that English poetry will be able to resist forces which have hitherto expressed them- and survive the colossal attacks of science selves through poetic forms! A litera- and the literature of knowledge, what will ture of power as distinguished from a liter- be the relation of England to her colonies ature of knowledge there will always be as a producer of the literature of power, (say they), but will it in the epoch before and especially of poetry, at a time when you continue to take a metrical form ?" perhaps the material leadership of the
The critics know very well how uncom- English speaking race will be challenged, fortable are such questions as these to all if not seized, by the foremost of her those to whom the enjoyment of metre, daughtersIs it likely that the twentieth and especially of rhyme, is deeper than century will sncceed, where the nineteenth any other delight--men who, if they dared centery has failed, in giving the United to confess it, could " travel from Dan to States of America a body of poetry that Beersheba," and, unless the journey were can properly be called American ? enlivened by a few songs, would say “it Those transatlantic poets who have visis all barren.”
ited England in my time have as individIf the time is really approaching when uals exercised so great a charm over their the best music to be heard along the high- brother and sister singers that what they, ways of life will be the hum of the manu- the Ainerican poets, wish in this matter facturer's mill, varied occasionally by the we also might wish. At the very mowhistle of the steam-engine, those high- ment when the American politicians have passed what they call and not without and is oftener possessed in spirit with the humor) the International Copyright Act past and feudal, dressed may be in late two prominent American writers come fashions. forward.-Mr. Moncure Conway and Mr. Certainly, anyhow, the United States Walt Whitman-the one asking whether do not so far utter poetry, first-rate literthe long-expected English Variant in ature, or any of the so-called arts, to any America” has at last been evolved, and lofty admiration or advantage—are not the other putting forth what he calls “the dominated or penetrated from actual interrible query-Is there, or can there ever herence or plain bent to the said poetry be, distinctively any such thing as an and arts. Other work, other needs, curAmerican national literature ?”
rent inventions, productions, have occupied According to the author of Leaves of and to-day mainly occupy them. They Grass, the “ Variant,” though at present are very 'cute and imitative and proud expressing his individuality through the can't bear being left too glaringly away medium of “petroleum and pork," is in far behind the other high-class nationsthe future to express that individuality in and so we set up some home 'poets,' poetic art, and to express it so fully as to 'artists,' painters, musicians, literati, and put to share all the poetry of the past; so forth, all our own (thus claimed). which poetry of the past-whether chanted The whole matter has gone on, and exists by Homer, or written by Æschylus, Soph- to day, probably as it should have been, ocles, Shakespeare, Dante, or any other and should be ; as for the present it must -is, it seems, characterized by an " al- be. To all which we conclude and repeat most total lack of first-class power and the terrible. query : American national simple natural health."
It will be seen literature—is there distinctively any such from the following extract that he does thing, or can there ever be ?” not tell us in so many words that the new poetry is to be built on the nietrical sys- It is a useless and a presumptuous thing tem of Leaves of Grass, but allows us to for a mere Englishman to attempt to exenjoy our own happy inferences on this tract a meaning from the utterances of any head.
one of those Bunsby- Apollos in whom the
transatlantic Delphi has always been so “Ensemble is the tap-root of national rich. It is only the native-born Captain
America is becoming already Cuttle that is expected to expound them. a huge world of peoples, rounded and This is fortunate for me. The word “naorbic climates, idiocrasies and geographies tion,” for instance, as used here, may
- forty-four nations curiously and irresisti- very likely have a Delphic meaning which bly blent and aggregated in ONE NATION, is as much above mere human etymology with one imperial language, and one uni- as the verbiage surrounding it is above tary set of social and legal standards over mere human grammar. Still I will not all, and (I predict) a yet-to-be National deny that the growing complexities of soLiterature. (In my mind this last, if it ciety may render it almost imperative that ever comes, is to prove grander and more some words should grow into a signifiimportant for the commonwealth than its cance both wider and looser than their politics and material wealth and trade, etymologies warrant. But is it convenvast and indispensable as these are.) ient to allow the word nation to slip away
“The great current points are perhaps from its etymological anchorage ? Of simple, after all: first, that the highest course the word is connected, not with developments of the New World and De- populus but with natus, and in the old mocracy, and probably the best society of world of Europe it is, or used to be, held the civilized world all over, are to be only that no people can properly be called a reached and spinally nourished (in my nation in whose descent there is not somenotion) by a new evolutionary sense and thing at least of homogeneity. This is treatment; and, secondly, that the evo- why, as even the school books of the Old lution principle, which is the greatest law World affirm, or used to affirm, the Rothrough nature, and of course in these mans are not called the Roman nation but States, has now reached us markedly for the Roman people, Compared with a and in our literature. Modern verse gen population built up of representatives of erally lacks quite altogether the modern, forty-four nations, as the above ex
tracts declare the Americans to be, the journalist, who, after affirming that GalRomans themselves were about as homo- veston in Texas with a population of fifty geneous as the Greeks.
thousand “cannot muster a corporal's Hence to use the word “nation” as de- sqnad of merchants of English-speaking scriptive of such a community is to give origin," declares exultingly that "the day it a meaning which is new and as unschol- of the English-speaking people in the arly as new. Etymologically the people great Southern cities is gone and will of Australasia and especially the people of never return." If this is really so, I New Zealand are, if Mr. Walt Whitinan's wonder what becomes of Mr. Walt Whitdata as to American heterogeneity are to man's “ Ensemble,” and “the tap-root of be accepted, far more like a nation than National Literature,' and what will bethe Americans can
Even in come of Mr. Moncure Conway's "English South Australia such blood as is not An- Variant” ? glo-Saxon is, after all, mainly Teutonic, As a matter of fact, however, notwiththough of course here as throughout the standing the vast immigration from Euroentire Australian continent there is the in- pean countries, it is easy to exaggerate, if evitable leaven of Celtism. In a word, not the heterogeneity of the American the “facts” embodied in the above ex- people, the potentiality for mischief intract, if they are to be accepted, would volved in that beterogeneity. Making form an admirable refutation of the argu- every allowance for even the Irish element in favor of the possibility of the ment, the non-Teutonic and non-ScandiAmerican people ever developing into a navian blood in America will not in the nation. But writers whose quest is not long run be able to disturb the racial symthe truth but the striking must never be metry unless the Anglo-Saxon race should, taken too seriously. To talk about " from some climatic influence as yet undisnation composed of forty-four nations" closed, lose that “prepotency of transseemed both striking and fine, and the mission” which has been its chief characpoet here had neither the knowledge nor teristic, not only from the time of the the sagacity to see how these striking and Norman Conquest, but from the semifine generalizations of his told against his mythical days of llengist and Horsa. argument. It is interesting to observe The motive power of modern life is with what very
eyes another writer cominerce, and commerce between Euro-the writer of some thoughtful sentences peans in the same country will bring misupon the Italian Mafiaites in New Orleans cegenation, and then the indomitable pre—reads the meaning of American betero- potency of transmission which charactergeneity. The “ query” he puts is not, izes our race will, as in the past, trample Will there ever be an American na
obstacle, unless, indeed, tion ?” but “ Will the United States even Humboldt should be right as to the decontinue to form an integral portion of teriorating effect of the climate of the the English-speaking world at all ?” Ar United States upon the Anglo-Saxon type. riving at the conclusion that even so much The failure of commerce to produce mis. homogeneity as the preservation of a com- cegenation in British America is the result mon language would imply is becoming not of natural laws of race, but of the not less but more problematical, he act. artificial disturbance of natural laws of ually suggests, as the only means of saving race. In order to balance one Canada the people of the United States from de- against the other (for entirely mistaken generating into a mere polyglot-amalgam political ends) William Pitt did everyof all the races of Europe, the passing of thing possible to prevent miscegenation. a law prohibiting the permanent settle- llad that miscegenation taken place, no ment of Europeans in America save under one can doubt what would bave been the the condition of their undergoing a suc- effect of Anglo-Saxon prepotency of transcessful exanıination in the English language mission, for the climate of North America during their first two years of residence above the St. Lawrence on the east, and on American soil. In support of his the above the 49th parallel on the west, does ory that the very existence of the Ameri- not exbibit those attenuating qualities can people as a branch of the English- which attracted lumboldt's attention. speaking race is in peril-in growing peril In the United States, however, govern-he quotes some words from a Texan ment influence, so far from working