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velvet-soft, her mild and modest eyes have tempered all things round her, till no rude sound invades her sphere ; yet, if need were, she could resist with as graceful composure as she can favour or bestow.
No vehement emotion shall heave that bosom, and the tears shall fall on those cheeks more like dew than rain. Yet are her feelings delicate, profound, her love constant and tender, her resentment calm but firm.
Fair as a maid, fairer as a wife, fairest as a lady mother and ruler of a household, she were better suited to a prince than a poet. Even if no prince could be found worthy of her, I would not wed her to a poet, if he lived in a cottage. For her best graces demand a splendid setting to give them their due lustre, and she should rather enhance than cause her environment.
There are three pictures in the comic kind, which are good. It is genteel comedy, not rich, easily taken in and left, but having the lights and shades well marked. They show a gentle. manlike playfulness. In Catharine and Petruchio, the Gremio is particularly good, and the tear-distained Catharine, whose head shoulder, knee, and foot seem to unite to spell the word Pout, is next best.
The Sisters—a picture quite unlike those I have named-does not please me much, though I should suppose the execution remarkably good. It is not in repose nor in harmony, nor is it rich in suggestion, like the others. It aims to speak, but says little, and is not beautiful enough to fill the heart with its present moment. To me it makes a break in the chain of thought the other pictures had woven.
Scene from Gil Blas—also unlike the other in being perfectly objective, and telling all its thought at once. It is a fine painting.
Mother and Child. A lovely little picture. But there is to my taste an air of got up naiveté and delicacy in it. It seems
selected, arranged by "an intellectual effort.” It did not flow into the artist's mind like the others. But persons of better taste than I like it better than I do!
Jews—full of character. Isaac is too dignified and sad ; gold never rusted the soul of the man that owned that face.
The Landscapes. At these I look with such unalloyed delight, that I have been at moments tempted to wish that the artist had concentrated his powers on this department of art, in so high a degree does he exhibit the attributes of the master; a power of sympathy, which gives each landscape a perfectly individual character. Here the painter is merged in his theme, and these pictures affect us as parts of nature, so absorbed are we in contemplating them, so difficult is it to remember them as pictures. How the clouds float! how the trees live and breathe out their mysterious souls in the peculiar attitude of every leaf. Dear companions of my life, whom yearly I know better, yet into whose heart I can no more penetrate than see your roots, while you live and grow, I feel what you have said to this painter; I can in some degree appreciate the power he has shown in repeating here the gentle oracle.
The soul of the painter is in these landscapes, but not his character. Is not that the highest art ? Nature and the soul combined; the former freed from slight crudities or blemishes, the latter from its merely human aspect.
These landscapes are too truly works of art, their language is too direct, too lyrically perfect, to be translated into this of words, without doing them an injury.
To those, who confound praise with indiscriminate eulogium, and who cannot understand the mind of one, whose highest expression of admiration is a close scrutiny, perhaps the following lines will convey a truer impression, than the foregoing remarks, of the feelings of the writer. They were suggested by a picture painted by Mr. Allston for a gentleman of Boston, which has never yet been publicly exhibited. It is of the same class with his Rosalie and Evening Hymn, pictures which were not particularized in the above record, because they inspired no thought except of their excelling beauty, which draws the heart into itself.
These two sonnets may be interesting, as showing how similar trains of thought were opened in the minds of two observers.
“To-day I have been to see Mr. Allston's new picture of The Bride, and am more convinced than ever of the depth and value of his genius, and of how much food for thought his works contain. The face disappointed me at first by its want of beauty. Then I observed the peculiar expression of the eyes, and that of the lids, which tell such a tale, as well as the strange complex. ion, all heightened by the colour of the background, till the impression became very strong. It is the story of the lamp of love, lighted, even burning with full force in a being that cannot yet comprehend it. The character is domestic, far more so than that of the ideal and suffering Rosalie, of which, nevertheless, it reminds you.
“TO W. ALLSTON, ON SEEING HIS BRIDE.'
“ Weary and slow and faint with heavy toil,
The fainting traveller pursues his way,
TO ALLSTON'S PICTURE, THE BRIDE.'
To see aright the vision which he saw,
Thus might we read aright the lip and brow,
ITS POSITION IN THE PRESENT TIME, AND PROSPECTS FOR THE
SOME thinkers may object to this essay, that we are about to write of that which has, as yet, no existence.
For it does not follow because many books are written by per. sons born in America that there exists an American literature. Books which imitate or represent the thoughts and life of Europe do not constitute an American literature. Before such can exist, an original idea must animate this nation and fresh currents of life must call into life fresh thoughts along its shores.
We have no sympathy with national vanity. We are not anxious to prove that there is as yet much American literatnre. Of those who think and write among us in the methods and of the thoughts of Europe, we are not impatient; if their minds are still best adapted to such food and such action. If their books express life of mind and character in graceful forms, they are good and we like them. We consider them as colonists and useful school. masters to our people in a transition state ; which lasts rather longer than is occupied in passing, bodily, the ocean which separates the new from the old world.
We have been accused of an undue attachment to foreign continental literature, and, it is true, that in childhood, we had well nigh“ forgotten our English,” while constantly reading in other languages. Still, what we loved in the literature of continental Europe was the range and force of ideal manifestation in