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Abstract topics of wit or learning do the face of folly and fashion with intelnot furnish a connecting link: but the ligence and graceful smiles. Those painter, the sculptor, come in close con- portraits, however, that were most adtact with the persons of the Great. mired at the time, do not retain their
The lady of quality, the courtier, and their preeminence now: the thought 2 the artist, meet and shake hands on this remains upon the brow, while the co? common ground ; the latter exercises a lour has faded from the cheek, or the
sort of natural jurisdiction and dicta- dress grown obsolete ; and after all, torial power over the pretensions of the Sir Joshua's best pictures are those of first to external beauty and accom- his worst sitters—his Children. They
plishment, which produces a mild sense suited best with his unfinished style; 15 and tone of equality; and the opulent and are like the infancy of the art it
i sitter pays the taker of flattering like self, happy, bold, and careless. Sir rennesses handsomely for his trouble, Joshua: formed the circle of his private
which does not lessen the sympathy friends from the élite of his sitters; and between them. There is even a satis. Vandyke was, it appears, on the same faction in paying down a high price for footing with his. When any of those a picture-it seems as if one's head noble or distinguished persons whom was worth something !--During the he has immortalized with his pencil, first sitting, Sir Joshua did little but chat were sitting to him, he used to ask with the new candidate for the fame them to dinner, and afterwards it was of portraiture, try an attitude,or remark their custom to return to the picture an expression. His object was ta gain again, so that it is said that many of time, by not being in haste to commit his finest portraits were done in this himself, until he was master of the sub- manner, ere the colours were yet dry, ject before him. No one ever dropped in the course of a single day. Oh! in but the friends and acquaintance of ephemeral works to last for ever! the sitter-it was a rule with Sir Josh- Vandyke married a daughter of Earl ua that from the moment the latter en Cowper, of whom there is a very beautered, he was at home—the room be- tiful picture. She was the Enone, longed to him—but what secret whis- and he his own Paris. A painter of the perings would there be among these, name of Astley married a Lady what confidential, inaudible communi- who sat to him for her picture. He cations ! It must be a refreshing mo- was a wretched hand, but a fine person ment, when the cake and wine had of a man, and a great coxcomb; and been handed round, and the artist be- on his strutting up and down before the gan again. He, as it were, by this act portrait when it was done with a proof hospitality assumed a new character, digious air of satisfaction, she observed, and acquired a double claim to confi- “ If he was so pleased with the copy, dence and respect. In the mean time, he might have the original.” This the sitter would perhaps glance his eye Astley was a person of magnificent round the room, and see a Titian or a habits and a sumptuous taste in living ; Vandyke hanging in one corner, with a and is the same of whom the anecdote transient feeling of scepticism whether is recorded, that when some English he should make such a picture. Ilow students walking out near Rome were the ladies of quality and fashion must compelled by the heat to strip off their bless themselves from being made to coats, Astley displayed a waistcoat look like Dr. Johnson and Goldsmith ! with a huge waterfall streaming down How proud the first of these would be, the back of it, which was a piece of how happy the last, to fill the same one of his own canvasses that he had arm-chair where the Burnburys and the converted to this purpose. Sir Joshua Hornecks had sat! How superior the fell in love with one of his fair sitters, painter would feel to them all! By a young and beautiful girl, who ran out 16 happy alchemy of mind," he brought one day in a great panic and confusion, out all their good qualities and reconcil- bid her face in her companion's lap ed their defects, gave an air of studious who was reading in an outer room, and ease to his learned friends, or lighted up said, “ Sir Joshua bad made her an of
fer !” This circumstance, perhaps, de- ly and innocent female, which is writserves mentioning the more, because ten very much as if he had himself forthere is a general idea that Sir Joshua merly painted this object, and sacrifiReynolds was a confirmed old bache- ced at this formidable shrine. There is lor. Goldsmith conceived a fruitless no doubt that the perception of beauty attachment to the same person, and ad- becomes more exquisite (" till the sense dressed some compassionate letters to aches at it") by being studied and reher. Alas! it is the fate of genius to fined upon as an object of art- it is at admire and to celebrate beauty, not to the same time fortunately neutralized enjoy it! It is a fate, perhaps not with by this means, or the painter would out its compensations
run mad. It is converted into an ab“ Had Petrarch gain'd his Laura for a wife,
straction, an ideal thing, into someWould he have written Sonnets all his life?"
uten Sonnets all his life thing intermediate between nature and This distinguished beauty is still living,
art, hovering between a living substance and handsomer than Sir Joshua's pic
and a senseless shadow. The bealth ture of her when a girl; and inveighs
and spirit that but now breathed from against the freedom of Lord Byron's
a speaking face, the next moment pen with all the charming prudery of
breathe with almost equal effect from a the last age.*
dull piece of canvass, and thus distract The relation between the portrait
nit. attention: the eye sparkles, the lips are painter and his amiable sitters is one of
moist there too ; and if we can fancy established custom ; but it is also one
the picture alive, the face in its turn of metaphysical nicety, and is a run
fades into a picture, a mere object of ning double entendre. The fixing an
sight. We take rapturous possession inquisitive gaze on beauty, the hejuht with one sense, the eye; but the artist's ening a momentary grace, the dwelling
pencil acts as a non-conductor to the on the heaven of an eye, the lusing
grosser desires. Besides, the sense of one's-self in the dimple of a chin, is a
duty, of propriety interferes.
It is not dangerous employment. The painter
the question at issue: we have other may chance to slide into the lover--the work on our hands, and enough to do. lover can hardly turn painter. The
Love is the product of ease and idleeye indeed grows critical, the hand is
ness: but the painter has an an sious, busy; but are the senses unmoved ?
di feverish, never-ending task, to rival the We are employed to transfer living
beauty, to which he dare not aspire evcharms to an inanimate surface ; but
en in theught, or in a dream of bliss. they may sink into the heart by the
Paints and brushes are not “ amorous way, and the nerveless hand be unable toys of light-winged Cupid ;" a rising to carry its luscious burtben any furth- sigh evaporates in the aroma of some er. St. Preux wonders at the rash
ñ fine oil-colour or varnish, a kindling mortal who had dared to trace the fea
blush is transfixed in a bed of vermiltures of his Julia : and accuses him of lion on the pallette. A blue vein insensibility without reason. Perhaps
meandering in a white wrist invites the he too had an enthusiasm and pleasures
hand to touch it: but it is better to of his own! Mr. Burke, in his Sub
proceed, and not to spoil the picture. lime and Beautiful, has left a descrip
The ambiguity becomes more striking tion of what he terms the most beauti
in painting from the naked figure. If ful object in nature, the neck of a love
the wonder occasioned by the object is
greater, so is the despair of rivalling * Sir Joshua may be thought to have what we see. The sense of responsistudied the composition of his feinale por. bility increases with the hope of creattraits very coolly. There is a picture of ing an artificial splendour to match the his remaining of a Mrs. Symmons, who ap
- real one.
alors pears to have been a delicate beauty, pale,
The display of opexrected
The display of unexpected with a very little colour in her cheeks: but charms foils our vanity. The painting then to set of this want of complexion, she A Diana and Nymphs is like plungis painted in a snow-white satin dress, there ing into a cold bath of desire : to make is a white marble pillar near her, a white a statue of a Venus transforms the clourd over her head, and by her side stands ne white lily
sculptor himself to stone. The snoy on the lap of beauty freezes the soul. shower of rain has fallen. Or from The heedless unsuspected license of Norwood's ridgy heights, survey the foreign manners gives the artist abroad snake-like Thames, or its smoke-crownan advantage over ours at home. Sir ed capital ; Joshua Reynolds painted only the head “Think of its crimes, its cares, its pain,
of Iphigene from a beautiful woman of Then shield us in the woods again.” in quality : Canova had innocent girls to No one thinks of disturbing a land
sit to him for his Graces. I have but scape-painter at his task : he seems a one other word to add on this part of kind of magician, the privileged genius the subject: if having to paint a delic of the place. Wherever a Claude, a cate and modest female is a temptation Wilson has introduced his own porto gallantry, on the other hand the trait in the foreground of a picture, we sitting to a lady for one's picture is a look at it with interest (however ill it still more trying situation, and amounts may be done, feeling that it is the por(almost of itself) to a declaration of love! trait of one who was quite happy at the
Landscape-painting is free from these time, and how glad we should be to tormenting dilemmas and embarrass- change places with him. ments. It is as full of the feeling of Mr. Burke has brought in a fine epipastoral simplicity and ease, as por- sode in one of his later works in allutrait-painting is of personal vanity and sion to Sir Joshua's portrait of Lord egotism. Away then with these in- Keppel, and of some other friends, cumbrances to the true liberty of painted in their better days. The porthought—the sitter's chair, the bag-wig trait is indeed a fine one, worthy of the and sword, the drapery, the lay-figure artist and the critic, and perhaps reand let us to some retired spot in the calls Lord Keppel's memory oftener country, take out our portfolio, plant than any other circumstance at present our easel, and begin. We are all at does. Portrait-painting is, in truth, a once shrouded from observation- sort of cement of friendship, and a clue
“The world forgetting, by the world forgot!” to history. Mr. C****r, of the Admi* We enjoy the cool shade, with solitude rally, the other day blundered upon and silence; or hear the dashing water- some observations relating to this sub
ject, and made the House stare by as" Or stock-dove plain amid the forest deep, serting that portrait-painting was histo
That drowsy rustles to the sighing gale.” ry or history portrait, as it happened, It seems almost a shame to do any but went on to add, “ That those genthing, we are so well content without tlemen who had seen the ancient porit ; but the eye is restless, and we must traits lately exhibited at Pall-mall, must have something to show when we get have been satisfied that they were home. We set to work, and failure, or strictly historical ;" which showed success, prompts us to go on. We that he knew nothing at all of the mattake up the pencil, or lay it down again ter, and merely talked by rote. There as we please. We muse or paint, as was nothing historical in the generality objects strike our senses or our reflec- of those portraits, except that they tion. The perfect labour we feel turns were portraits of people mentioned in labour to a luxury. We try to imitate history, there was no more of the spirit the grey colour of a rock or of the bark of history in them, which is passive or of a tree : the breeze wafted from its actire, than in their dresses. broad foliage gives us fresh spirits to I was going to observe, that I think proceed, we dip our pencil in the sky, the reviving the recollection of our famor ask the white clouds sailing over its ily and friends in our absence may be a bosom to sit for their pictures. We frequent and strong inducement to sitare in no hurry, and have the day be- ting for our pictures, but that I believe fore us. Or else, escaping from the the love of posthumous fame, or of conclose-embowered scene, we catch fad- tinuing our memories after we are dead, ing distances on airy downs, and seize has very little to do with it. And one on golden sunsets with the fleecy flocks reason I should give for that opinion is glittering in the evening ray, after a this, that we are not naturally very
prone to dwell with pleasure on any Yet I own I should like some part of thing that may happen in relation to us me, as the hair or even nails, to be preafter we are dead, because we are not served entire, or I should have no ob fond of thinking of death at all. We jection to lie like Whitfield in a state shrink equally from the contemplation of petrifaction. This smacks of the boof that fatal event or from any specula- dily reality at least-acts like a deception on its consequences. The surviv- tion to the spectator, and breaks the ing ourselves in our pictures is but a fall from this “ warm, kneaded motion poor consolation—it is rather adding to a clod”– from that to nothing-to mockery to calamity. The perpetuat- the person himself. I suspect that the ing our names in the wide page of his- idea of posthumous fame, which has so tory or to a remote posterity is a vague unwelcome a condition annexed to it, calculation, that takes out the immediate loses its general relish as we advance in sting to mortality-whereas, we our life, and that it is only when we are selves may hope to last (by a fortunate young, that we pamper our imaginaextension of the term of human life) al- tions with this bait, with a sort of impumost as long as an ordinary portrait; nity. The reversion of immortality is and the wounds of lacerated friendship then so distinct, that we may talk of it it heals must be still green, and our without much fear of entering upon posashes scarcely cold. I think therefore session : death is itself a fable-a that the looking forward to this mode sound that dies upon our lips ; and the of keeping alive the memory of what only certainty seems the only impossiwe were by lifeless hues and discolour- bility. Fame, at that romantic period, ed features, is not among the most ap- is the first thing in our mouths, and proved consolations of human life, or death the last in our thoughts. favourite dalliances of the imagination.
TO THE ÆOLIAN HARP.
Thy tender string moving, is felt by thee ;-
Can arouse thee to nought but harmony.
Hath not a more sensitive soul than thou;
The blast that shivers the stout oak bough.
Thou bailest the freshness of heaven with song ;
Thou soothest the storm as it raves along.
That holiest temple of all below ;
But a heav'nlier note for the season of woe.
When shall I feel thy enchaotment again ?
Hath awaken'd a mild responsive strain !
To be born of a lay so rude as mine;
How pure are the hues of the wreath they twine!
And fill'd them with music, alas! not its own,
Though admiring, have wrong'd that celestial tone.
Like a chorus of seraphim earthward hieing!
The voices away, one by one, are dying !
Heaven's own harp ! save angel-fingers,
None should dare open thy mystic treasures;
And mine may not mingle with thy blest incasures.
(Lit. Gaz.) GREENWICH HOSPITAL.
“ A tear is a pleasure, d'ye see, in its way." out of his latitude." Mayhap I may DOOR Tom! He is gone, and the be. May be? no-I'm a child to this 1 tongue that could once set the cock. hour ; but one word 's as good as twenpit in a roar, is silent now for ever! He ty, let me go on and spin my yarn updied bravely in the service of his coun- on my own winch. try, and has left a memorial in the Our ship was paid off, and all hands hearts of all who knew him, which were drafted into other men of war, time can never efface. The wailings consequently a separation took place, of distress had only to reach his ear, and we lost sight of each other for when his hand, bis purse, were at the some vears. One day I was walking disposal of the supplicant. Poor Tom! the deck, when the quarter-master of I have shed many a tear to thy memo- the watch informed me there was a ry; nor do I consider it a weakness boat coming alongside with a lieuten. that my eyes are at this moment mois. ant in her; and as our third had applitened by the overflowings of affection. ed to be superseded, I made no doubt ate remembrance. We had embarked that this was the new luff-tackle comin the navy on the same day, and in ing to join 11s. But what was my the same ship,-had endured together pleasure on beholding between the the many tricks to which all green- white lapelles the smiling face of my horns are exposed at their first intro. old friend. A glow of inexpressible duction to the midshipman's birth. We animation warm’d my heart; but perwere watch-mates, and shared the se. haps, thought I, promotion has alter'd crets of each other's heart. Oh,how of. him, I drew back, however he had ten, at the midnight hour, have we gaz- caught sight of me, and the pressure of ed at the full round moon pictured on friendship told me in an instant Tom the bosom of the azure wave, and win was the same honest, generous, openled away the midwatch in painting hearted being I had ever found him. scenes of future glory; or, looking to- In a few days we sailed with the fleet wards our own home-shore, thinking for the Mediterranean, and were preon those we'd left behind. Fancy, de. sent at the glorious battle of the Nile. lusive most where warmest wishes are, Poor Tom and I were stationed on the would lead us on in a romantic dream same deck, and never did mortal disof sweet delight, known only to the play more heroic bravery, more cool young mariner! There are some intrepidity ;-yet there was an inde. feelings of the human mind so exqui- finable expression at times in his look, sitely delicate in their nature, and yet as if some thought lay struggling in his so powerful in their operations, that as breast and could not gain an utterance. soon would the pulse of existence Oh, what a day was that for England ! cease to beat, as those feelings cease to - The nanie of Nelson now has lost actuate the heart of man. The cher. its charm; yet are there some who can ish'd remembrance of “ Auld lang remember its magic influence on the syne” dwells in the breast, and is as seaman's mind 'twas emblazoned on dear when only illuminated by the last the standard of Fame which waved the rays of a declining sun, as when it bright banner of Victory. I look bask'd in its meridian beam, and exult. sometimes at his funeral-car, and call ed in the glorious splendor.-" Hallo! to remembrance the time when a grate(you will say,) where is our Old Sailorful country paid a just tribute to his bound to now?—surely he is getting memory. Well do I recollect the
54 ATHENEUM VOL. 14.