Imágenes de páginas
PDF
EPUB

nate in that general weakness in the are on the banks of the Duna and Lake untaught mind, which seeks in strange Peypus. practices a remedy for fancied future In another letter I shall give some or actual present evils. The most en- particulars of the ancient Religion of lighted nations are nevertheless full of the people of the Baltic provinces, and prejudices. There are as many in the compare it with Scandinavian MytholRue St. Denis and the Marais, as there ogy. I am, Sir, &c. COUNT DE BRAK.

BIOGRAPHY.

Lond. Mag.

ROBERT BLOOMFIELD.

within his reach, and whatever news.

papers he could obtain : even at that “ON the 19th August died at Shef- e

early age he wrote a small poem, which ford, in Bedfordshire, in his 57th

he sent for insertion to the Editor of year, Robert Bloomfield, Author of the the London Magazine, and had the " Farmer's Boy," &c. &c. His con- pleasure of seeing it in print. He next stitution, naturally weak, had of late turned his attention to poetry during years become alarmingly impaired; the hours of relaxation from toil, and every fresh attack left him still weaker; composed many pieces; even in the the last, it was feared, had he survived, midst of his occupation : be had also a would have fixed him in a state of men- to

ben, taste for music, playing very decently tal aberration, to which himself and o

on the violin ; his imagination, howevdearest friends must have preferred his er, was heated with the fine descripdeath !" Such is the brief announce

tions which he had read in the Poets of ment of the departure of one of those celebrity, particularly Thomson ; and, Heaven-gifted minds, not of every day disengaged from the bustle and care of growth; of a Poet, whose unpresuming a city, he planned and executed his but undisputed claims raised him sud- 66 Farmer's Boy," a work, which, as a denly from obscurity to same, froin the descriptive poem, possesses original pressure of penury to comparative

live genius and a happy facility in compowealth, and from mechanical toil to

to

Sition.
sition. Robert" married about this

Robert literary ease. Robert Bloomfield was tir

time, and entered into trade. His poborn in 1766, in the county of Suffolk.

• em fell into the hands of Mr. Lofft,who Ile was one of six children of a tailor revised it

revised it, and prepared it for the press, in middling circumstances, who was

stances, who was bestowed on the author his protection, not enabled to give him more than a printed it at his own expense, and wrote common education, for the acquirement the prefa

of the preface. On its first appearance of which he was indebted to his mother, it was hi

fi it was highly approved of, and passed who kept a school, and gave him all the

ll through many editions in a very short the instruction which she was able to time

le to time; it fully established the claim of bestow. He learned to read as soon the author to the title of Poet, and as he could speak, and his mother hav- stamped his name with the honour of ing lost her husband, remarried when genius. Of all Bloomfield's published Bloomfield was not more than seven works, no volume has alone so much years old. At the age of eleven he was

interest as his “ Wild Flowers," which obliged to accept the menial office of a

was dedicated to his only son, Charles. farmer's boy, to attend the workmen in

e workmen in The Poet's last production is entitled

The the field. In the intervals of bis la- « Hazlewood Hall," a Village Drama, bours, that native genius, which sooner in Three Acts : and the Preface is daor later bursts the bonds of slavery, led ted from the place of his dissolution, so him to peruse such books as came recently

ame recently as the 12th of April last.

TABLE-TALK.--OLD AGE OF ARTISTS.

(New Mon.)

MR. NOLLEKENS

head differed from another's only as it NIED the other day at the age of was a better or worse subject for mo

eighty, and left 240,000 pounds delling, that a bad bust was not made behind him, and the name of one of our into a good one by being stuck upon a best English sculptors. There was a pedestal, or by any painting or varnishgreat scramble among the legatees, a ing, and that by whatever name be was codicil to a will with large bequests un- called, “a man's a man for a' that." signed, and that last triumph of the A sculptor's ideas must, I should guess, dead or dying over those who survive be somewhat rigid and intlexible, like -hopes raised and defeated without a the materials in which he works. Bepossibility of retaliation, or the smallest sides, Nollekens' style was comparativeuse in complaint. The king was at ly hard and edgy. He had as much first said to be left residuary legatee. truth and character, but none of the poThis would have been a fine instance lished graces or transparent soliness of romantic and gratuitous homage to of Chantry. He had more of the Majesty, in a man who all his life-time rough, plain, downright honesty of bis could never be made to comprehend art. It seemed to be his character. the abstract idea of the distinction of Mr. Northcote was once complimentranks or even of persons. He would ing him on his acknowledged superiorgo up to the Duke of York, or Prince ity—“Ay, you made the best busts of of Wales, (in spite of warning), take any body !” “I don't know about them familiarly by the button like com- that,” said the other, his eyes (though mon acquaintance, ask them how their their orbs were quenched) smiling with father did; and express pleasure at a gleam of smothered delight_ I only heariog he was well, saying, “when know I always tried to make them as he was gone, we should never get such like as I could !” another.” He once, when the old I saw this eminent and singular perking was sitting to him for his bust, son one morning in Mr. Northcote's fairly stuck a pair of compasses into his painting-room. He had then been for nose to measure the distance from the some time blind, and liad been obliged upper lip to the forehead, as if he had to lay aside the exercise of his protesbeen measuring a block of marble. His sion; but he still took a pleasure in delate Majesty laughed heartily at this, signing groups, and in giving directions and was amused to find that there was to others for executing them. Tie and a person in the world, ignorant of that Northcote made a remarkable pair. He vast interval which separated him from sat down on a low stool (from being every other man. Nollekens, with all rather fatigued), rested with both hands his loyalty, merely liked the inan, and on a stick, as if he clung to the solid cared nothing about the king (which and tangible, had an habitual twitch in was one of those mixed modes, as Mr. his linbs and motions, as if catching Locke calls them, of which he had no himself in the act of going too far in more idea than if he had been one of chiselling a lip or a dimple in a chin; the cream-coloured horses)handled was bolt-upright, with features hard and him like so much common clay, and square, but finely cut, a hooked nose, had no other notion of the matter, but thin lips, an indented forehead ; and that it was his business to make the the defect in his sight coinpleted his rebest bust of him he possibly could, and semblance to one of his own masterly to set about it in the regular way. busts. He seemed, by time and laThere was something in this plainness bour, to “have wr jught himself to and simplicity that savoured perhaps stone." Northcote stood by his sideof the hardness and dryness of his art, all air and spirit, stooping down to and of his own peculiar severity of speak to him. The painter was in a manner. He conceived that one man's loose moroing-gown, with his back to

the light; his face was like a pale fine —now looking for his snuff-box-now piece of colouring ; and his eye came alluding to some book he has been out and glanced through the twilight of reading-now returning to his favourthe past, like an old eagle looking from ite art. He seems just as if he was by its eyrie in the clouds.

himself or in the company of his own It has be-o remarked that artists, or thoughts, and makes you feel quite at at least academicians, live long. It is home. If it is a member of Parliabut a short while ago that Northcote, ment, or a beautiful woman, or a child, Nollekens, West, Flaxman, Cosway, or a young artist that drops in, it makes and Fuseli were all living at the same no difference; he enters into conversatime, in good health and spirits, with- tion with them in the same unconstrainout any diminution of faculties, all of ed manner, as if they were inmates in them having long passed their grand his family. Sometimes you find him climacteric, and attained to the highest sitting on the floor, like a school-boy at reputation in their several departments. play, turning over a set of old prints ;

and I was pleased to hear him say the NORTHCOTE, THE PAINTER. other day, coming to one of some

men putting off in a boat from a Of all the Academicians, the pain

shipwreck –“ That is the grandest ters, or persons I have ever known, Mr.

and most original thing I ever did !” Northcote is the most to my taste. It This was not egotism, but had all the may be said of him truly,

beauty of truth and sincerity. The " Age cannot wither, nor custom stale print was indeed a noble and spirited His infinite variety.”

design. The circumstance from which Indeed, it is not possible he should be. it was taken happened to Sir Harry Encome tedious, since, even if he repeat glefield and his crew. He told Norththe same thing, it appears quite new cote the story, sat for his own head, from his manner, that breathes new life and brought the men from Wapping to into it, and from his eye, that is as sit for theirs; and these he had arrangfresh as the morning. How you hate ed into a formal composition, till one any one who tells the same story or an- Jeffrey, a conceited but clever artist of ticipates a remark of his-it seems so that day, called in upon him, and said, coarse and vulgar, so dry and inuni- "Oh! that common-place thing will mate! There is something like injus- never do, it is like West; you should tice in this preference-but no! it is a throw them into an action something tribute to the spirit that is in the man. like this." - Accordingly, the head of Mr Northcote's manner is completely the boat was reared up like a sea-horse extempore. It is just the reverse of riding the waves, and the elements put Mr. Canning's oratory. All his thoughts into commotion, and when the painter come upon him unawares, and for this looked at it the last thing as he went out reason they surprise and delight you, of his room in the dusk of the evening, because they have evidently the same he said that “it frightened him." He effect upon his mind. There is the retained the expression in the faces of same unconsciousness in his conversa. the men nearly as they sat to him. It tion that has been pointed out in Shak- is very fine, and truly English; and bespeare's dialogues ; or you are startled ing natural, it was easily made into with one observation after another, as history. There is a portrait of a young when the mist gradually withdraws gentleman striving to get into the boat, from a landscape and unfolds objects while the crew are pushing him off one by one. His figure is small, shad- with their oars; but at last he prevailed owy, emaciated ; but you think only with them by his perseverance and enof his face, which is fine and expres- treaties to take him in. They had onsive. His body is out of the question. ly time to throw a bag of buiscuit into It is impossible to convey an adequate the boat before the ship went down ; idea of the naïvéte, and unaffected, but which they divided into a biscuit a day delightful ease of the way in which he for each man, dipping them into water goes on-now touching upon a picture which they collected by holding up

their handkerchiefs in the rain and an essence of refinement : the most resqueezing it into a bottle. They were fined become more so than ever. Hear out sixteen days in the Atlantic, and him talk of Pope's Epistle to Jervas got ashore at some place in Spain, and repeat the lines where the great difficulty was to pre- « Yet should the Graces all thy figures vent them from eating too much at place, once, so as to recover gradually. Sir And breathe an air divine on every face; Harry Englefield observed that he suf- Yet should the Muses bid my numbers roll

Strong as their charms, and gentle as their fered more afterwards than at the time

soul, -that he had horrid dreams of falling With Zeuxis' Helen thy Bridgewater vie, down precipices for a long time after — And these be sung till Granville's Myra die : that in the boat they told merry sto. Alas ! how litle from the grave we claim ; ries, and kept up one another's spirits

Thou but preservist a face, and la name." as well as they could, and on some Or let him speak of Boccacio and his complaint being made of their distress- story of Isabella and her pot of basil, ed situation, the young gentleman who in which she kept her lover's bead and had been admitted into their crew re- watered it with her tears, “ and how it marked, “ Nay, we are not so badly grew, and it grew, and it grew," and off neither, we are not come to eating you see his own eyes glisten, and the one another yet !”—Thus, whateve leaves of the basil-tree tremble to his er is the subject of discourse, the faltering accents ! scene is revived in his mind, and every circumstance brought before you

FUSELI, THE PAINTER. without affectation or effort, just as it Mr. Fuseli's conversation is more happened. It might be called picture- striking and extravagant, but less pleastalking. He has always some pat al- ing and natural than Mr. Northcote's. lusion or anecdote. A young engraver He deals in paradoxes and caricatures. came into his room the other day, with He talks allegories and personifications, a print which he had put into the as he paints them. You are sensible crown of his hat, in order to crumple of effort without any repose-no careit, and he said it had been nearly blown less peasantry--no traits of character away several times in passing along the or touches from nature-every thing street. "You put me in mind,” said is laboured or overdone. His ideas Northcote, “ of a bird-catcher at Plye are gnarled, hard, and distorted, like mouth, who used to put the birds he his features—his theories stalking and had caught into his bat to bring them straddle-legged, like his gait-his prohome, and one day meeting my father jects aspiring and gigantic, like his gesin the road, he pulled off his hat to tures_his performance uncouth and make him a low bow, and all the birds dwarfish, like his person. His pictures flew away !” Sometimes Mr. North- are also like himself, with eye-balls of cote gets to the top of a ladder to paint stone stuck in rims of tin, and muscles a palm-tree or to finish a sky in one of twisted together like ropes or wires. his pictures, and in this situation he Yet Fuseli is undoubtedly a man of listens very attentively to any thing you genius, and capable of the most wild tell him. I was once mentioning some and grotesque combinations of fancy. strange inconsistencies of our modern It is a pity that he ever applied himself poets; and on coming to one that ex- to painting, which must always be receeded the rest, he descended the steps duced to the test of the senses. He is of the ladder one by one, laid his pallet a little like Dante or Ariosto, perhaps : and brushes deliberately on the ground, but no more like Michael Angelo, Raand coming up to me, said—“ You phael, or Correggio, than I am. Nadon't say so, it's the very thing I should ture, he complains, puts him out. Yet have supposed of them : yet these are he can laugh at artists who 6 paint lathe men that speak against Pope and dies with iron lap-dogs :" and he deDryden.” Never any sarcasms were scribes the great masters of old in words so fine, so cutting, so careless as his. or lines full of truth, and glancing from The grossest things from his lips seem a pen or tongue of fire. I conceive

any person would be more struck with imagination. His was the crucifix that Mr. Fuseli at first sight, but would wish Abelard prayed to—a lock of Eloisa's to visit Mr. Northcote oftener. There hair--the dagger with which Felton is a bold and startling outline in his stabbed the Duke of Buckingham-the style of talking, but not the delicate first finished sketch of the Jocundafinishing or bland tone that there is in Titian's large colossal profile of Peter the latter. Whatever there is harsh or Aretine-a mummy of an Egyptian repulsive about him is, however, in a king-a feather of a Phoenix-a piece great degree carried off by his animat- of Noah's Ark. Were the articles aued foreign accent and broken English, thentic? What matter ?-his faith in which give character where there is them was true. He was gifted with a none, and soften its asperities where it second-sight in such matters : he beis too abrupt and violent.

lieved whatever was incredible. Fan

cy bore sway in him; and so vivid FLAXMAN, THE SCULPTOR. were his impressions, that they included Flaxman is another living and emi. the substance of things in them. The nent artist, who is distinguished by suc- agreeable and the true with him were cess in his profession, and by a pro- one. He believed in Swedenborgianlonged and active old age. He is dim- ism–he believed in animal magnetism inutive in person, like the others. I -he had conversed with more than know little of him, but that he is an ele- one person of the Trinity-he could gant sculptor, and a profound mystic. talk with his lady at Mantua through This last is a character common to many some fine vehicle of sense, as we speak other artists in our days—Lutherbourg. to a servant down-stairs through a conCosway, Blake, Sharp, Varley, &c. - duit-pipe. Richard Cosway was not who seem to relieve the literalness of the man to flinch from an ideal propotheir professional studies by voluntary sition. Once, at an Academy dinner, excursions into the regions of the pre- when some question was made whethternatural, pass their time between er the story of Lambert's Leap was sleeping and waking, and whose ideas true, he started up, and said it was; are like a stormy night, with the clouds for he was the person that performed driven rapidly across, and the blue sky it:-he once assured me that the kneeand stars gleaming between!

pan of King James I. in the ceiling at

Whitehall was nine feet across (he had COSWAY, THE PAINTER

measured it in concert with Mr. CipriCosway is the last of these I shall ani, who was repairing the figures) mention. At that name I pause, and

he could read in the Book of the Revemust be excused if I consecrate to him

lations without spectacles, and foretold a petit souvenir in my best manner;

the return of Bonaparte from Elbafor he was Fancy's child. What a

and from St. Helena! His wife, the

most lady-like of English women being antiquarianism, and virtù, jumbled al- asked in Paris what sort of a man her together in the richest disorder. dusty, husband was, made answer--" Toujours shadowy, obscure, with much' left to riant, toujours gai.” This was his the imagination, (how different from character. He must have been of the finical, polished, petty, modernised French ext

French extraction. His soul appeared air of some Collections we have seen! to possess the life of a bird; and such and with copies of the old masters,

was the jauntiness of his air and mancracked and darpaged, which he touch' ner, that to see him sit to have his halfed and retouched with his own hand boots laced on, you would fancy, (by and yet swore they were the genuine. the help of a figure) that, instead of a the pure originals. All other collec

little withered elderly gentleman, it tors are fools to him : they go about

was Venus attired by the Graces. His with painful anxiety to find out the re

miniature and whole-length drawings alities :-he said he had them and in were not merely fashionable they a moment made them of the breath of were fashion itself. His imitations of his nostrils and of the fumes of a lively

Michael Angelo were not the thing.

« AnteriorContinuar »