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to wear them. There are very few like it is a misfortune to have to ask. Artists John Foster, to whom almost all art, es- who have not attained the vision of eternal pecially all classical art, was essentially and ideal beauty have no right to an ideal immoral because it nourished the pride of liberty, and we have no right to try their life : art that appeals merely to curiosity work by an ideal standard till we have or to the extreme sense of beauty is always tried ourselves. Every one must apply as thought safe and respectable ; when we he can the principle that all art is lawful speak of immoral art we mean art that for a man which can be produced or endeals with sensual impulses, or rouses re- joyed within the limits of a safe and wholebellion against the order of society; per- some life. When we know that Etty lived haps too there are many who object to the quietly and soberly with his sister, and was first because it results in the second. And grateful to her for finding him respectable even on this point public opinion is rather models, we know that he had succeeded emphatic than clear. It would be hard to for himself in finding a true relation befind a popular definition of literary immo- tween morality and art. Yet we should rality which would not condemn the epi- think hardly of a man who collected exsode of Paolo and Francesca ; it is almost clusively what Etty produced exclusively. as if Dante had come to curse them, and An idle man might get all the pleasure lo! he blessed them altogether : they are from Etty's pictures that they can give, and always together, and they always love ; that is not a safe pleasure for an idle man, there are more who could learn to look to but the pictures themselves were the work such a hell with yearning than choose to of honest labor- and qui laborat orat, enter the purgatory of Gerontius. The The safeguard that the artist has in the Laureate may seem as unimpeachable on very necessity of working we may bring this score as Dante, yet it is hard not to from our own work, and then we shall be think Aylmer's Field an immoral poem. most likely to find it anew in strenuous The wrath of man worketh not the right- sympathy with his. To the pure all things eousness of God, and the only outcome of are pure : it is recorded of one of the best Aylmer's Field is the wrath of man. We public men of America that even the ballet have an evil action represented in an evil always filled him with religious rapture. spirit ; if we are not to condemn this, how It is fortunate to possess such a temper, are we to condemn such a poem as “ The it would be silly and dangerous to aim at Leper, "à priori, merely because Mr. Swin- it: individuals must be guided by their own burne follows Luther's maxim, pecca forti- desire for virtue, and by the consent of ter? In truth, the question within what virtuous and cultivated men. It is suglimits it is safe to pursue “ art for art," is gestive to observe that the limits of their hardly one that could be asked in an ideal toleration vary according to the medium state of things. Then art would be con- in which the artist works. In music there tinually enriched by life, and life illuminat- are hardly any limits at all; we can hardly ed by art. It never occurred to Shake- imagine such a thing as a melody immoral speare, or Titian, or Leonardo, that the in itself, though there are melodies which choice of Hercules lay between life and do not seem profaned when fitted to imart: art in its supreme epochs has always moral words. Plastic art has less liberty, been nourished and exalted by the chas- yet even here almost everything is pertened or unchastened pride of life. When mitted short of the direct instigation of the we speak of choosing art for art, we ac- senses to rebellion; it is impossible to draw knowledge that the pride of life does not the line earlier when we have once sancneed any longer to be mortified, because tioned the representation of the nude. Afit is dead. When life and art are parted, ter all, Eye Gate does not lead far into
the town of Mansoul. It is only when we “Stratus humi palmes viduas desiderat ulmos.”
come to the literature that the conflict beBut the gleaning of the vintage still is comes serious, and that honest artists wish sweet; only when a man has renounced to handle matters which honest men of the rewards of life for art, he has not es. the world wish to suppress. This points caped its obligations; if any were mad to a distinction which is not without pracenough to lose his soul for art, he would tical value. Literature is the most comfind he had lost art too. We cannot ex- plex form of art, the form which touches pect an ideal answer to a question which reality at most points, and therefore the
mind passes most easily from literature matter who treats them, no matter how back to life. And therefore what is dan- they may be purified by severe accuracy gerous in life is dangerous in literature, and ästhetic isolation of treatment, still, though it may be innocent in other forms dangerous subjects will be always dangerof art which in themselves are more in- ous, that art if permitted to exist at all tense. The first impression of a great pic- should be rigidly and consistently suborture or a great symphony is more vivid dinate to edification, and that if a few suthan the first impression of a great poem; preme works should be allowed to subsist it is at the same time more definite and unmutilated, all production that fell short more completely determined by the inten- of supreme perfection should be carefully tion of the artist. A great picture, a great limited to drawing-room charades and nursymphony are in one way infinitely com- sery novellettes, and Sunday picture-books, plex, but both take their key-note from a just to keep children of all ages out of missingle movement of the subject. Few sub- chief. At any rate, this view has the jects are too unsatisfactory to present at merit of being thorough and intelligible; least one noble aspect, to strike at least it is infinitely more respectable than the one noble chord. In literature it is diffi- common view, if it is to be called a view, cult to isolate the æsthetic side of a subject which emancipates art from rational and so completely, because literature tells by ideal restrictions to subject it to restrictions the result of a great many incomplete sug- which are shifting and arbitrary, which algestions which the reader has to work out lows it to call evil good and good evil, so for himself, so that there is no security that long as it does not violate the conventionhe will be able to keep entirely within the alities of the day, and thinks it is quite suffiintention of the writer. And the writer, ciently stimulating if it can be got to show too, finds it harder to subordinate the in- the world, or at any rate the little piece of tellectual and the emotional sides of his it the public likes to look at, all couleur de subject to the aesthetical; and morality is rose. certainly justified in proscribing anything Only it is to be remembered that if we that can make familiarity with those sides sacrifice art to morality we must sacrifice of an immoral subject less unwelcome and other things too. Comfort and liberty and disgusting. Still it is possible to maintain intelligence, to say nothing of such trifles a certain ideal abstractness of treatment as wealth and luxury, have their temptaeven in literature which has its use. Every tions as well as art, and Plato and Savoone feels the difference between the diseased narola would gladly have sacrificed them insolent pruriency with which Byron keeps all. The sacrifice might be rewarded if flaunting the sin in our faces in all the it could be made: Rousseau thought it loves of Don Juan, and the sad gracious would be well to return to barbarism to esnaïveté of Mallory, as he sets forth the pas- cape from the inevitable injustices of civision of Lancelot and Guinevere. Some lizations; perhaps it might be well to return indeed might think that it was better to to the Thebaid to escape from its temptalet us rest upon the nobleness of Lancelot tions. But as we are too weak for the than to try to save morality by demonstra- Thebaid we do well to endure the temptating the superiority of Arthur. Demonstra- tions of the world lest we should regret them, tion involves discussion, and discussion and among these the temptation of art might leave us sceptical as to whether is not the deadliest because it is the sweetGuinevere's second thoughts were really est. Even Plato thought that virtue should best. There certainly are instances which be tested by pleasure as well as by pain, show beyond question that abstractness and therefore he directed that the citizens and simplicity of treatment are a better of his ideal city should be proved by seesafeguard than the best didactic intention. ing how they bore themselves when drunk Madame Bovary, not seductive in inten- with wine-surely it would have been bettion, is undeniably more deterrent in result ter to make them drunk with beauty. than the episode of Paolo and Francesca ; Of course Plato wished to make them but no one would dream of calling it more drunk with beauty too. He thought conmoral.
crete beauty was the fountain which could Of course it is possible to maintain that quench the ascetic's thirst. But all this all these distinctions are superfluous, that while he was thinking of the beauty not Plato and Savonarola were right; that, no of art but of life. He did not underrate,
New SERIES.-VOL. XVI., No. 6
perhaps he overrated, the moral value of venient observation that human virtue is aesthetic culture; but this high estimate of never quite perfect, that for the most part it æsthetic was quite compatible with a very is grossly and glaringly imperfect; for virlow estimate of art, which he regarded tue may be all but perfect, and yet be dull, simply as providing instruments for a series because it is painful, obscure, and, humanof æsthetic exercises to be regulated in ac- ly speaking, fruitless. Professor Jowett is cordance with superior regulations, so that quite right in pointing out that a servant a poet had no more right to set up on his girl who spends her wages on a peevish, own account, and develop his products slatternly mother, and a lazy dissipated for their own sake, than if he were a mak- brother, is the heir of many beatitudes, but er of flesh-gloves or dumb-bells. Conse- it does not follow that she is a “ Beautiful quently he had no occasion to discuss the Soul:” fine feelings go the way of fine artistic value of morality, though if he had phrases with those who have to do and done so he would hardly have been tempted suffer overmuch. to indulge in an estimate of its ästhetic And the aspects of morality which have value so one-sided as to be extravagant. the highest æsthetic value are very far from One reason of this one-sidedness was that having the highest artistic value, for literary Greek morality, before the rise of Stoicism, art at any rate. The best that can be obtreated the mass of human actions as indif- tained from them is a lyrical or semi-lyrical ferent; to be left to nature or at best regu- allusion, that may light up a lower theme. lated by external conventionalities : conse- To try to idealize a great deed is only quently the notion of virtue was not lowered painting the lily; to try to idealize a great by the dulness of duty, it was always identi purpose is to drift into a labyrinth of mere fied with the rapturous ecstasy which ac- intellectualism. From this point of view it companies great deeds, which are always is instructive to compare the “ Idyls of the exceptions even in the life that is fullest of King” with the “ Antigone" of Sophocles, them, or with the calm diffused satisfaction and to notice what proportion the emowhich radiates over the whole of a fortu- tional and artistic interest bears in each to nate and praiseworthy life. Aristotle could the moral and intellectual interest. But if still hold that virtue was virtuous in that it can be answered without a theory, an its works were wrought toŨ kaoù éveka, ideal problem is better for literature than “ for the sake of the Beautiful.” Epicte- an ideal character: Wallenstein is lower tus was not far from the view of Christian æsthetically than Tell; artistically King asceticism, that good works done from a Alfred is less valuable than Richard motive savoring so much of self-satisfaction III. The closing scene of the life of the were hardly virtuous at all.
Emperor Maurice when his children were But even the most picturesque heroism butchered before his face, and he gave up involves sacrifice and suffering, and no sa- the last rather than allow the nurse to sacrifice is without an element that is hardly crifice her own, combines almost every eleattractive ästhetically. The comely corpse ment of ethical and æsthetical nobility. of the young warrior slain in the front of At first it seems dramatic, but what could the battle, in Tyrtæus, is more satisfactory dramatic art add to it? Stage effect perto the æsthetic sense than the soul of Hec- haps, so far as it is due to the actor; all tor flitting to Hades, wailing for the supple that a poet could hope to do on his own, strength of the limbs it left in their young account would be to prepare a character to prime; but morally the advantage is really culminate in such a sacrifice. The value on the side of Homer,—it is better to look of this last is very doubtful. The æsthetifacts in the face. The saints of life wear cal value of Joan of Arc's life lies in the no halo, the heroes of life wear no enchant- historic moments which it would be imposed armor to keep them scathless to the sible to adorn and a profanation to falsify. fatal hour that translates them to Valhalla, It is hardly worth while for literature to do or Elysium, or Avalon. If it were so, life what remains, and supplement pictures of would hardly be better, but it is a paradox concrete heroism with the most delicate to deny that it would be more beautiful; analysis of her feelings when the French .and it would be a paradox to deny that army was beginning to find her a troublemost of the virtue which enables the world some visionary, or when she was being to go on is without any æsthetical value at brow-beaten into recantation in an English all. Nor can we take refuge in the con- dungeon. It might be done fifty ways
but Etty's picture of her at the stake would side, for this is covered up as fast as it is always be worth them all. In the same finished, but perhaps some reflection of the way Delaroche's “ Christian Martyr" is a pattern too much distorted to be valuable greater addition to the “Golden Legend” when the tapestry is finished and fixed; till than Massinger's “Tragedy on Dorothea," then it has its use: those must work very and we need never expect to meet with a earnestly who work the faster for looking poem on Elijah which shall light up the upon the wrong side alone. Of course it history in the way Mendelssohn's music is unsatisfactory to have to think of art and does. Or to come down to a level where life co-existing in this state of jealous cothe æsthetic value of morality is not on the operation that can hardly be distinguished heroic scale, who would not give all the from subdued antagonism; but after all graceful books that can be written on Eu- this is one of the minor discomforts of an génie de Guérin for a portrait of one whose unsettled period in which nothing is satislife within its narrow limits was so beauti- factory, though to healthy tempers much is ful? Or to come lower yet, such astheti- hopeful. To such a temper it would be cal value as the pathos of common life pos- one hopeful sign that we are beginning to sesses is better represented by Frère than recognize that, as it is ruin and madness to by Dickens, because Frère avowedly sacrifice morality to artistic eccentricities, represents its momentary aspects, where- so it is folly and loss to sacrifice the noras Dickens would have been compelled, mal development of art to moral convenif he had not been inclined, to represent tionalities. Though art must always conthe picturesque and pathetic side of pov- tain something which is a snare to morality, erty as something normal and habitual. and morality must always cultivate much The fact is, literature comes too near which is simply an encumbrance to art, we to life to rise above life at its highest, may rest upon the thought that absolute or to keep above life at its lowest ; it is art and absolute morality, though perfectly confined to a middle region where it can distinct, are always harmonious. All are embellish without falsifying.
bound to practise morality, though the And if literature has to turn away from majority can never-carry it to its ideal what is best in life, other forms of art by stage; it is the same with the majority of their greater detachment carry us away those who are called to cultivate art; but from life into fairyland, so that here too it by keeping their eyes on the, unattainable, is impossible to formulate an ideal relation morality will catch some grace, art will be between average art and average morality, preserved from revolt and
excess. By paso that practical enthusiasts can always tience and work we may hope to lift a maintain that what is given to art is taken happier generation to a level when the from morality. Yet there is an ideal reason question between morality and art disapfor their co-existence. Life has been com- pears: at all events we shall be lifted ourpared to a tapestry which is worked on the selves to a world where that question and wrong side ; and after all it is this side which many others are easily answered and need we see in morality; in art we see not the right not be asked.
G. A. SIMcox.
In the first place, let me start by con- bottom, and that the poison flows from the tradicting every book I have ever read, reservoir through this canal to the point of and consequently the authority of almost the fang, and thence into the wound. The every naturalist, as to how snakes bite, rattlesnake's fang is certainly hollow, but and inject their poison. I can only speak the point is solid, and the poison-bag, to for the rattlesnake, it is true; with every use a very homely simile, may be comother venomous reptile, the orthodox ac- pared in its position to a gum-boil; when counts may be correct, but the rattlesnake the animal strikes, the pressure instantly does not send its poison through its fangs. causes a drop of venom to run down outIt is always said that the two fangs which side the tooth into the puncture. I daresay answer somewhat to the human eye- this will be controverted, and I therefore teeth,' are hollow, and perforated at the at once give an authority to be referred to.
Mr. W. R. Morley, chief surveyor of the just after and just before its winter-sleep, North and South, and United States Cen- never bites excepting in self-defence, and tral Railways, running through Colorado does not go out of its way to attack any and New Mexico, is a skilled naturalist one. Unless molested, there is very little who has killed several hundreds of these to fear from this snake; but the misfortune reptiles, has carefully examined them, and is, that you cannot tell when you are gohas made them bite when in a position to ing to molest it, as, in coming down a watch them, and he can speak from more bluff
, or picking your way in a gully, you experience than almost any living man, may, with the best intentions in the world, that the poison is injected in the manner put your foot on a rattlesnake. And then described. This accounts for the fact, that the terrific swiftness of his dart! Not rattlesnake bites are sometimes harmless even the cobra, which I had always conwhen the sufferer is bitten through cloth; sidered rivalled the very lightning in its the poison is absorbed by the material, movements—movements which I will defy and never finds its way into the flesh any Europan eye to follow-is quicker at all.
than the rattlesnake in that one deadly The rattlesnake is supposed, by those act. Yet, to strike, it must be in a close who are likeliest to know, to be extending coil, its head and neck being erect; it its area; all writers have hitherto con- throws itself out about three-fourths of its curred in saying that they were never met length, supporting its weight entirely on with at an elevation of more than six thou- the tail-part. I have, however, known sand feet above the sea-level; but several two persons who have trodden on rattlerecent explorers unite in saying that they snakes and have escaped; a third, as will are now found much higher. The gentle- be seen, was still more remarkably fortuman just cited as an authority, and whose nate. One, a gentleman who has killed surveying-party destroyed hundreds of more than fifty of them, recognised what rattlesnakes last autumn, killed forty or his foot touched without stopping to look, fifty at an elevation of about eight thou- and jumped higher than he had probably sand feet. Formerly, they declare, they ever done before in his life; the other never used to find them so high. The was not so quick, and the reptile struck mountain snakes are more vivid in their him three times with electric quickness, colors than their brethren of the prairies, but his trousers and long boots saved him. and, of the two, are more dreaded on ac- This disposes of a fallacy very generally count of their supposed ferocity.
held, that venomous serpents will not bite Although, as just said, the rattlesnake twice in succession : there were the three is spread almost generally over the North pair of fang-marks quite plainly to be American continent, yet it is, of course, seen on his white trousers. One young more plentiful in some parts than in others, man who was bathing in the river Platte and Texas probably holds an infinitely had a more extraordinary escape still, for, larger proportion of reptiles than any other on emerging from the water, he sat down, state in the Union. The district lying being, of course, completely naked, on a between the Rio Grande and the Nueces— rattlesnake which was basking in the grass. two streams which flow in the same direc. Whether he sat upon the reptile's head, or tion at a distance of some sixty or seventy whether the creature was too astonished miles—is a desert, barren region, literally by his sudden descent, can never be known, swarming with serpents. In summer, you but certain it is, that the affrighted bather may ride for miles through this district, leaped up with a shriek, and escaped unand not go fifty yards without seeing rattle- hurt. snakes. In other parts of Texas, the moc- It is told that this particular serpent has casin is the prevalent snake; while centi- a very offensive odor when irritated, and pedes, scorpions, tarantulas, and the alliga- that Dr. Hamilton Roe owed his life to a tor infest various localities, and are each a knowledge of that fact. The physician terrible scourge.
having opened a box directed to the SuperThe rattlesnake is perhaps the most intendent of the Zoological Gardens, Lonsluggish of all the serpent tribe, for even don, put his hand-most fashly, it seems the puff-adder of the Cape, which has that to me—under the dry moss which apreputation in general, is very active when peared, to see what was there. He touched enraged; but the rattlesnake, excepting something alive, and the smell told him it