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The closed upper wings represent a graceful Annunciation; the lower ones, as we have said, the donors and their patrons,
But now the wings are opened, and behold we are caught up into Paradise, and we seem to hear the words, In the midst of the elders stood a Lamb as it had been slain,' 'I looked, and lo, a Lamb stood on the Mount Zion.' The Immaculate Lamb stands on an altar in the midst, with His streaming wounds. Around the altar are the emblems of His passion, and in the foreground is the Fountain of Life. Around the Lamb kneel angels in adoration; and then, mindful that the hundred and forty and four thousand who are with the Lamb, are
not confusedly mingled together,' but are sealed in the'r separate tribes, with that wonderfully minute acquaintance which, as it has been remarked, mediæval preachers not only possessed themselves, but pre-supposed in their hearers, and which one observes in the more devout mediæval painters-almost exactly as related in the Apocalypse ; a band of Jewish martyrs advances on the left, and Christian martyrs on the right, of the picture, yet so arranged that none are on the left of the Lamb. Above are forests such as one might imagine in the celestial country, with the lovely bulwarks and domes of the heavenly city rising in their midst; and out of these forests come the procession of priests on the left, and of virgins on the right, all trooping to adore the Lamb that is in the midst of the throne. One can recognise them individually, as most of them bear the symbols of the r martyrdom. All this scene forms the lower half of the central picture, but the lower wings (two panels on each side), extend the view of the great multitude which' no man can number.' On the right is the procession of hermits, led by S. Paul and S. Anthony, and of pilgrims headed by S. Christopher ; while on the left comes the procession of soldiers under S. Sebastian, and that of judges of right, who have long since found the tribunal of mercy.'
The colouring of the whole is very beautiful, and, thanks to the Van Eycks' method, has lasted well. The countenances all turned one way, all looking towards the Immaculate Lamb, are remarkable for a grave purposeful expression, as of those who have fought the good fight, finished their course, kept the faith. And as if to recall how the very ground of Paradise is paved with love for the daughters of Jerusalem,' the painter has gemmed the pastures of the blessed' with all sorts of flowers, each with its mystical meaning.
• And martyrdom hath roses,
Upon that heavenly ground,
For virgin souls abound ;' while the violets are emblematic of the holy widows of the Church, Or we may take a similar idea
• The Lily white that bloometh there is Purity,
A crown Imperial — and this flower is holy Love.' The upper half of the picture is hardly as remarkable as the lower ; but as that represented Christ as the Mystical Lamb, this shows Him no longer seen through a glass darkly,' but with open face,' as the Incarnate God. He s'ts richly robed, holding the emblems of dominion, and crowned with the tiara. I know that this has by some critics been considered a representation of the Eternal Father, and even they have to acknowledge that He has the features of the Son. But the best authorities are satisfied that it is meant to represent the Second Person of the Blessed Trinity as God Incarnate. For first, this accords better with the teaching of the whole picture; and secondly, Van Eyck seems to have been far too reverent and scripturally-minded to have given in to such a fashion ; while even the least reverent painters of that age would never have represented the blessed Virgin and S. John Baptist seated one on each side of the First Person of the Blessed Trinity, on equal terms, as is the case here; though he might not incorrectly represent His Blessed Mother and the forerunner seated with Him in glory, who has promised, 'To him that overcometh will I give to sit with Me on My throne.'
The upper wings represent S. Cecilia playing the organ to a choir of eight angels. At the extremities were two narrow panels, representing Adam and Eve, the least pleasant figures of the whole picture, but needed to show the connection between the first Paradise and the second.
Alas! that this description only refers to the Adoration as it was when it was the glory of Ghent. Its after history is soon told. It was first broken up into panels during the French possession of Belgium. The clergy hid eight panels, but the arch-spoiler, Buonaparte, carried off four to Paris : they were restored in 1815. But some of the panels have since been sold, and now only the central portions remain at Ghent in a side chapel ; the wings are at Berlin, and the panels of Adam and Eve are at Brussels. There is a copy of the whole work in Spain, and the Arundel Society has reproduced all the panels in their chromo-lithographs.
Die wandelnde Glocke is comically imitated in verse by Hawthorn,
who is given with Nightingale, who is really literal; Aschputtel has been confused by small dictionaries, which do not give fidget as the secondary meaning of fackeln. Rafela, Esther, Schattenlos, Vyvyan, Carduus, Marsh Mallow, verse. Ignoramus, Stanza, Sea Breeze, Pipes, are prose; Vyvyan's prose verse is best next to Nightingale's. The others had better correct theirs by Nightingale's.
Once lived a child, who never would
onsent to go to church, And on Sunday he always found a way To take the path into the field. The mother says: "The bell doth ring, And thus doth summon thee, And if thou dost not hasten thither, It will come and fetch thee.' The child reflects : The bell doth hang High up there in the belfry.' And he turned down the path to the field, As soon as he ran out of school. The bell doth chime no more, The mother has (surely) trifled. But what his horror afterwards ! The hell approaches tottering. It totters on fast, one can scarcely believe it, The poor child in his terror, Runs on and on as in a dream, (For fear) the bell should cover him.
Still he runs on yet more quickly,
Now you be off,' his mother said, 'or else the bell shall make you ;
SPIDER QUESTIONS FOR MAY. Meg wants the annexation of Ireland described. Does she mean under Henry II. or George III. ? Therefore ARACHNE asks for
The conquest of Ireland under Henry II. Give the names of the principal fruits in the different European languages, with the history and derivation of the names.
BOTANICAL SOCIETY. All things considered, the February subjects have been very creditably treated by a considerable number of members. As regards specimens, it is obvious that, in the early spring, those who are resident in our south-western counties enjoy a great advantage over the dwellers in colder neighbourhoods; and this advantage is signally illustrated by the contents of these February packets.
The life of Ray, the naturalist, has been sketched by several members with much ability. One of these (whose initials are F. R.) has given certain particulars, not generally known, of the last hours of this good man, which, although not relating to his reputation as a botanist, seem to merit quotation. It will be seen that Ray, who has been much pitied, as a victim of the “ Black Bartholomew," did not regard himself in that light. The extract from F. R.'s paper will be inserted next month.
Vertumnus has now one or two remarks to make, which he ventures to hope will receive the attention of members of the Society :
1. He considers that all members should be readers of the Monthly Packet, that being his only vehicle of communication with them.
2. There still seems to be a difficulty in understanding that the specimens, &c., of the genus proposed for any given month are not due until the 15th of the month ensuing. Thus, Vertumnus has just received (April 16) a complaint from a member that no specimens of Stellaria are to be found. But Stellaria is not wanted till May 15, before which many species of that genus will be available.
3. Vertumnus thinks it desirable that none but recent specimens should be sent; and he begs that in all cases the date of gathering, as well as the locality, may be given.
4. Vertumnus is in correspondence with the Secretary of the General Post Office with reference to the postage of the monthly parcels. Until the question is settled, whether "book” or “letter” postage is to be charged, it will be safer for members to assume that the latter will be insisted upon. When the united contents of the parcel exceed twelve ounces in weight, they must be divided into two, and stamped accordingly.
5. Genera for May, Orchis and Ophrys, show accurately in what respects they differ. Any other Orchidaceæ may be sent and described. There are no vacancies, though candidates for admission are numerous.
HANDWRITING SOCIETY. The Curfew shows an improvement in writing, but many cop'es say 'the lowing herds wind, whereas Gray certainly wrote .herd winds.' Have they been led astray by a misprint, or have they written from memory? They have at least made no grammatical error, while those who write herd wind' strain the powers of the collective noun very hard. Ignorama is a great mistake ; there is no such feminine; the word is the first person plural of the verb ignoro, and means, know not.'
The voting notes to be criticised in June ; also the names of the successful will be given, and those of the fifty who continue. For the May exercise, write the alphabet, large and small.
Spider stamps received from May, Chloe, Rafela, Chipmunk, Stanza, Sea Breeze, Novice, Vyvyane. Esther has only sent 6d.
Several replies to the Romantic Problem have been received. They will be discussed in our next.
Notices to Correspondents.
QUOTATIONS ASKED FOR. Who is the author of the following lines, quoted in The Life of Prayer, by Rev. W. H. Hutchings ?—
"“There is no God," the foolish saith;
But none“ There is no sorrow;
In bitter need will borrow.
* Eyes which the preacher could not schwol
By wayside graves are raised ;
God he pitiful,
-Mrs. Cuthbert, Market Drayton. The author of a plaintive Christmas carol, beginning
Wake any, watch any,
Here in this dwelling ?
2. End of one verse
*Some of self and some of God.' Another verse
“Less of self and more of God.' Another None of self and all of God.'
-Spear Maiden Wanted particulars of a piece of poetry called, it is believed, The New Tale of a Tub. It describes the adventures of two Anglo-Indians who were surprised at luncheon by a tiger, which they finally captured under a cask turned on end over him, and his tail, having come through the bunghole, was 'made fast' by being tied into a knot. Short-andStout and Tall and-Thin are the heroes' sobriquets —H.
The authority for the saying, ascribed to Napoleon, 'She who rocks the cradle sways the world.-J. B.
QUOTATIONS ANSWERED. Father Francis.
* But while you both tease me together
To neither a word will I say.'
She doeth little kindnesses
Which most leave undone, or despise,
Is low-esteemed in her eyes.
• To feel, although no tongue can prove,
And veileth love, itself is love.'