Page images
PDF
EPUB

stream that reflects a mouldering English heads of the best class.ruin on one side of the picture; and The large picture of the Pembroke so precise is the touch, so true, so Family by Vandyke is unrivalled in firm the pencilling, so classical the its kind. It is a history of the time. outline, that they give one the idea It throws us nearly two centuries of sculptured cattle, biting the short, back to men and manners that no green turf, and seem an enchanted longer exist. The members of a herd! They appear stamped on the Noble House ('tis a hundred and canvas to remain there for ever, or as sixty years since) are brought togeif nothing could root them from the ther in propria per sonâ, and appear in spot. Truth with beauty suggests the all the varieties of age, character, feeling of immortality: No Dutch and costume. There are the old picture ever suggests this feeling. Lord and Lady Pembroke who The objects are real, it is true ; but “keep their state” somewhat above not being beautiful or impressive, the the other groups—the one a lively mind feels no wish to mould them old gentleman, who seems as if he into a permanent reality, to bind them could once have whispered a flatterfondly on the heart, or lock them in ing tale in a fair lady's ear, his helpthe imagination as in a sacred recess, mate looking a little fat and sulky safe from the envious canker of time. by his side, probably calculating the No one ever felt a longing, a sickness expence of the picture, and not well of the heart, to see a Dutch land- understanding the event of it-there scape twice; but those of Claude, are the daughters, pretty, wellafter an absence of years, have this dressed, elegant girls, but someeffect, and produce a kind of calen- what insipid, sentimental, and vature. The reason of the difference cant—then there are the two eldest is, that in mere literal copies from sons, that might be said to have nature, where the objects are not in- walked out of Mr. Burke's descripteresting in themselves, the only at- tion of the age of chivalry, the one traction is to see the felicity of the a perfect courtier, a carpet knight, execution; and having once witnessed smooth-faced, handsome, almost efthis, we are satisfied. But there is feminate, that seems to have moved nothing to stir the fancy, to keep all his life to “ the mood of lutes alive the yearnings of passion. We and soft recorders,” decked in silks remember one other picture (and but and embroidery, like the tender one) in Lord Radnor's Collection, flower issuing from its glossy folds ; that was of an ideal character. It the other the gallant soldier, shrewd, was a female head by Guido, with bold, hardy, with spurred heel, and streaming hair, and streaming eyes tawny buskins, ready to “mount on looking upwards-full of sentiment barbed steeds, and witch the world and beauty.

with noble horsemanship."- down to There is but one fine picture at the untutored, carroty-headed boy, Wilton-house, the Family Vandyke, the Goose-Gibbie of the piece, who and a noble Gallery of antique mar appears to have been just dragged bles, which we should pronounce to from the farm-yard to sit for his picbe invaluable to the lover of art or the ture, and stares about him in aş student of history or human nature. great a heat and fright as if he had Roman Emperors or Proconsuls, the dropped from the clouds—all in this poets, orators, and almost all the admirable, living composition is in great men of antiquity, are here its place, in keeping, and bears the «« ranged in a row," and palpably em- stamp of the age, and of the master's bodied either in genuine or tradi- hand. Even the oak-pannels have tional busts. Some of these indicate an elaborate, antiquated look, and the an almost preternatural capacity and furniture has an aspect of cumbrous, inspired awfulness of look, particu- conscious dignity. It should not be larly some of the earlier sages and omitted that it was here (in the house fabulists of Greece, which we ap- or the adjoining magnificent grounds) prehend to be ideal representations; that Sir Philip Sidney wrote his ARwhile other more modern and better CADJA; and the story of Musidorus authenticated ones of celebrated and Philoclea, of Mopsa and Dorcas, Romans are distinguished by the is quaintly traced on oval pamels in strength and simplicity of common the principal drawing-room.

[ocr errors]

It is on this account that we found up à toy-shop! Who would paint fault with Fonthill last year, and a miniature-picture to hang it at the must still do so, because it exhibits top of the Monument? This huge no picture of remarkable eminence, pile (capable of better things) is cut that can be ranked as an heir-loom of up into a parcel of little rooms, and the imagination,– which cannot be those little rooms are stuck full of spoken of but our thoughts take wing little pictures, and bijouterie. Mr. and stretch themselves towards it, - Beckford may talk of his diamond the very name of which is music to Berchem, and so on : this is but the the instructed ear. We would not language of a petit-maître in art; give a rush to see any Collection that but the author of VATHEK (with his does not contain some single picture leave) is not a petit-maítre. His at least, that haunts us with an un- genius, as a writer, “ hath a devil :" easy sense of joy for twenty miles of his taste in pictures is the quintroad, that may cheer us at intervals essence and rectified spirit of stillfor twenty years of life to come. life. He seems not to be susceptible Without some such thoughts as these of the poetry of painting, or else to riveted in the brain, the lover and set himself against it. It is obviousdisciple of art would truly be " of ly a first principle with him to exall men the most miserable:" but clude whatever has feeling or imagiwith them hovering round him, and nation—to polish the surface, and ever and anon shining with their glad suppress the soul of art--to proscribe, lustre into his sleepless soul, he has by a sweeping clause, or at one fell nothing to fear from fate, or fortune. swoop, everything approaching to We look, and lo! here is one at our grace, or beauty, or grandeur-to side, facing us, though far-distant. crush the sense of pleasure or of It is the Young Man's Head, in the power in embryo—and to reduce all Louvre, by Titian, that is not un nature and all art, as far as possible, like Jeronymo della Porretta in Sir to the texture and level of a china Charles Grandison. What a look is dish—smooth, glittering, cold, and there of calm, unalterable self-pos- unfeeling! We do not object so session

much to the predilection for Teniers, Above all pain, all passion, and all pride; Gerard Douw, or Ostadewe like to that draws the evil out of human na see natural objects naturally painted ture, that as we look at it transfers - but we unequivocally hate the afthe same sentiments to our own fectedly mean, the elaborately little, breasts, and makes us feel as if no the ostentatiously perverse and disthing mean or little could ever dis- torted, Polemberg's walls of amber, turb us again! This is high art, the Mieris's groups of steel, Vanderneer's rest is mechanical. But there is no- ivory flesh ;- yet these are the chief thing like this at Fonthill (oh! no), delights of the late proprietor of but every thing which is the very re- Fonthill-abbey! Is it that his soul

As this, however, is an old is “ a volcano burnt out," and that opinion of ours, and may be a preju- he likes his senses to repose and dice, we shall endeavour to support be gratified with Persian carpets and it by facts. There is not then a sin- enamelled pictures? Or are there gle Titian in all this boasted and ex not traces of the same infirmity of pensive collection there is not a feeling even in the high-souled Raphael-there is not a Rubens (ex- Vathek, who compliments the comcept one small sketch)—there is not plexion of the two pages of Faka Guido nor a Vandykéthere is not reddin as being equal to "the pora Rembrandt, there is not a Nicolo celain of Franguestari ?” Alas! Poussin, nor a fine Claude. The Who would have thought that the two Altieri Claudes, which might Caliph Vathek would have dwindled have redeemed Fonthill, Mr. Beck- down into an Emperor of China and ford sold. What shall we say to a King of Japan? But so it is.-. collection, which uniformly and deli Stourhead, the seat of Sir Richard berately rejects every great work Colt Hoare, did not answer our exand every great name in art, to make pectations. But Stourton, the vilroom for rarities and curiosities of sage where it stands, made up for our mechanical skill? It was hardly ne- disappointment. After passing the cessary to build a cathedral to set park-gate, which is a beautiful and

verse.

venerable relic, you descend into either Italian pictures painted in the Stourton by a sharp winding decli- beginning of the last century, or vity, almost like going under-ground, English ones in the beginning of this. between high hedges of laurel trees, It gave us pain to see some of the and with an expanse of woods and latter; and we willingly draw a veil water spread beneath. It is a sort over the humiliation of the art, in the of rural Herculaneum, a subter- age and country that we live in. We ranean retreat. The inn is like a ought, however, to mention a pore modernized guard-house; the village- trait of a youth (the present propriechurch stands on a lawn without any tor of Stourhead) by Sir Joshua inclosure; a row of cottages facing it, Reynolds, which is elegant, brilliant, with their white-washed walls and “ though in ruins ;” and a spirited flaunting honey-suckles, are neatness portrait by Northcote, of a lady talkitself. Everything has an air of ing on her fingers, may perhaps, elegance, and yet tells a tale of other challenge an exception for itself to times. It is a place that might be the above general remarks. held sacred to stillness and solitary We wish our readers to go to musing - The adjoining mansion of Petworth, the seat of Lord EgreStourhead commands an extensive mont, where they will find the coolview of Salisbury Plain, whose undu- est grottos and the finest Vandykes lating swells show the earth in its in the world. There are eight or primeval simplicity, bare, with naked ten of the latter that are not to be breasts, and varied in its appearance surpassed by the art of man, and that only by the shadows of the clouds we have no power either to admire that pass across it. The view with- or praise as they deserve. For simout is pleasing and singular: there plicity, for richness, for truth of nais little within-doors to beguile at- ture, for airiness of execution, notention. There is one master-piece thing ever was or can be finer. We of colouring by Paul Veronese, a will only mention those of the Earl naked child with a dog. The tone

of and Countess of Northumberland, the flesh is perfection itself. On Lord Newport, and Lord Goring, praising this picture (which we al- Lord Strafford, and Lady Carr, and ways do, when we like a thing) we the Duchess of Devonshire. He were told it had been criticized by a who possesses these portraits is rich great judge, Mr. Beckford of Font- indeed, if he has an eye to see and a hill, who had found fault with the heart to feel them. The one of Lord execution as too coarse and muscular. Northumberland in the Tower is not We do not wonder—it is not like his so good, though it is thought better own turnery-ware! We should also by the mob. That is, there is a submention an exquisite Holbein, the ject, something to talk about, but in Head of a Child, and a very pleasing fact, the expression is not that of little landscape by Wilson. Besides grief, or thought, or of dignified rethese, there are some capital pen and signation, but of a man in ill-health. ink drawings (views in Venice), by Vandyke was a mere portrait-painter, Canaletti, and three large copies but he was a perfect one. His forte after Guido of the Venus attired by the was not the romantic or pathetic; he Graces, the Andromeda, and Hero. was “ of the court, courtly." He dias's Daughter. They breathe the had a patent from the hand of nasoul of softness and grace, and re ture to paint lords and ladies in prosmind one of those fair, sylph-like perity and quite at their ease. There forms that sometimes descend upon are some portraits by Sir Joshua the earth with fatal, fascinating Reynolds in this collection, and there looks; and that “ tempt but to be are people who persist in naming tray.” But after the cabinet-pictures him and Vandyke in the same day. of Fonthill

, even a good copy of a The rest of the collection consists Guido is a luxury and a relief to the (for the most part) of stair-case and mind: it is something to inhale the family pictures. But there are some divine airs that play round his figures, admirable statues to be seen here, and we are satisfied if we can but that it would ask a morning's leisure “ trace his footsteps, and his skirts to study properly.

W. H. far-off behold.” The rest of this col [Blenheim in our next, which will lection is, for the most part, trash: conclude this series of articles.]

A CHIT CHAT LETTER

ON MEN AND OTHER THINGS.
From Ned Ward, jun. a Fellow in London, to Anthony Wood, Jun.

a Fellow at Oxford.
DEAR Anthony! thy old friend Ned
Is at his desk, and not a-bed.
'Tis twelve o'clock,—a chilly night,-
My chamber fire is full and bright;
And my sinumbra, like the moon
Upon a summer afternoon,
Smiles with a pale and cloudless ray
In tiny mimicry of day,-
Shedding thin light, assoild from gloom,
O'er the horizon of my room.
"Tis twelve o'clock,—the watchman goes
Lulling the hour into a doze,-
Leading Time by, and through the nose ;
Wrapping his voice in his great coat,
And 'plaining in a woollen note,
Of weather cold, and falling showers,
And cloudy skies (for ever ours !)
And the decay of drowsy hours.
In gusts of wind, down comes the rain,
Swooping like peas upon the pane ;
Loud is the music of the sashes,-
And through the solitary plashes,
Dull hackneys waddle from the play,
A rugged eighteen-penny way,
The driver wriggling on his seat,
With hay bands round his head and feet.

I, slipper footed, sit and send
These nothings to my college friend,
Who now perchance,--a counterpart
To me in idleness of heart,-
Leans at his books, with toasted knees
Against the grate,—and hears the breeze
Ransack the midnight college trees-
Hears bell to bell, from tower to tower,
Sullenly murinur “ the damn'd hour ;
And who (so dreaming thought will be !)
May now be tilting pens with me.

Oh Anthony,-as Brutus said, -
How idle 'tis to be well read !
What stults are men to screw their looks
Into the musty wood of books,-
To

pass their days on dry dry-land,
In studying things at second hand.
Of what avail is learning ?-What?
But to unparadise man's lot!
A book, that apple worse than Eve's,
Comes with its bitter fruit in leaves,
And tempts each college Adamite
To cut his learned tooth, and bite !
What is the scholar's gain, for fooling

His time with a perpetual schooling ? • One of the old dramatists says, “ If there is any thing damned on earth, it is twelve o'clock at night.” Some of our modern Farce writers think the same.

For parting with all kith and kind ?
A dusty, cabineted mind,
A forehead scored like pork, pair
Of legs that stutter every where
Nerves, ever trembling, -as one sees
Bell-wires at public offices,-
A black dress browner than the berries,
And fit but to befriend the cherries;
A gait that offers food for candour,-
Two eyes for Mr. Alexander;
And, to complete this thing inhuman,

The devil a bit of love from woman.
Up! from thy books come-come-be idle !
Up! up !-as saith the sage of Rydal !
The sage alone—10 poor abuse
By adding to the sage, the goose.

Oh Tony! Tony! if thou thus
Strugglest with tragic Æschylus,
If thus thine eye by night-light sees
The page but of Euripides
The leaves of Plato, dry as those
Which Autumn withers as she throws
With her burnt hands on Isis' marge :-
By heavens ! man, thou wilt ne'er enlarge
Experience of the gallant world,
Through which life, when 'tis life, is hurld;
A sense of breathing joy-a heart
To take thy own and others' part.
Leave books and learn a wiser plan,
Read that strange work, thy fellow man!

Awake !-thou art awake in eyes,
Well then, poor fallen spirit, arise !
Shake off this mustiness of nature,
Book thyself in the Regulator-
And hither come to brighter ease
Than slugs in fret-work colleges !
Come to thy friend-oh! come to all
That makes this London magical !

Oxford I know is dear to thee,
(As thou hast often said to me,)
For all its aged imagery, -
Its sainted carvings of old stone,-
Its air so learned and so lone,-
Its fretted windows and calm men,
And antique wealth of

press
Its pleasant Isis, 'sweet to see,
So reeded and so watery !
Its bosky banks, enriching well
With green, old Learning's citadel !
Yet, after all, 'tis solitude
Of stone, of water, and of wood,
Of leaf, of river, and of brook,
Of trencher-hat, and gown, and book :-
Oh! life at Oxford is but death
Allow'd a little,-little breath!

Come up to town !come up to me-
I have a knife and fork for thee,-
A little room,—a sofa bed,-

A platter, and a crumb of bread, * The great oculist. Alexander the Great, in the eyes of men.

and pen,

« PreviousContinue »