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Perð se tu non vuoi de' nostri graffi,
Poi l'addentar con più di cento raffi,
Inferno, c. xxi.
Marvellous darkness shadow'd o'er the place.
In the Venetians' arsenal as boils
Behind me I beheld a devil black,
Cary's Dante, c. xxi. Fraught as his imagination was ings, and with outstretched hooks with gloomy ideas, with images tearing bis flesh till he dived again of borror, it is the fidelity of his beneath the liquid fire! It is the descriptions, the minute reality of reality of the scene, the images famihis pictures, which gives them their liar yet magnified in horror, which terrible power. He knew well what constitutes its power : we stand by; it is that penetrates the soul. His our flesh creeps as it would at witimages of horror in the infernal re- nessing an auto-da-fè of Castile, or on gions were all founded on those fami- beholding a victim perishing under liar to every one in the upper world; the knout in Russia. it was from the caldron of boiling Michael Angelo was, in one sense, pitch in the arsenal of Venice that he the painter of the Old Testament, as took his idea of one of the pits of his bold and aspiring genius arrived Malebolge. But what a picture does rather at delineating the events of he there exhibit! The writhing sin- warfare, passion, or suffering, chroner plunged headlong into the boiling nicled in the records of the Jews, than waves, rising to the surface, and a the scenes of love, affection, and behundred demons, mocking his suffer- nevolence, depicted in the gospels. But his mind was not formed merely chapel of the Cru der the roof on the events recorded in antiquity: of that august edin. · The Holy it is no world doubtful of the immor- Family" in the Palazzo Pitti at Flotality of the soul which he depicts. rence, and the “ Three Fates " in the He is rather the personification in same collection, give an idea of his painting of the soul of Dante. His powers in oil-painting: thus he carimagination was evidently fraught ried to the highest perfection, at the with the conceptions of the Inferno. same time, the rival arts of architecThe expression of mind beams forth ture, sculpture, fresco and oil painting. * in all his works. Vehement passion, He may truly be called the founder of stern resolve, undaunted valour, saint- Italian painting, as Homer was of the ed devotion, infant innocence, alter- ancient epic, and Dante of the great nately occupied his pencil. It is hard style in modern poetry. None but a to say in which he was greatest. In colossal mind could have done such all his works we see marks of the ge- things. Raphael took lessons from nius of antiquity meeting the might of him in painting, and professed through modern times: the imagery of mytho- life the most unbounded respect for logy blended with the aspirations of his great preceptor. None have atChristianity. We see it in the dome tempted to approach him in architecof St Peter's, we see it in the statue ture; the cupola of St Peter's stands of Moses. Grecian sculpture was the alone in the world. realization in form of the conceptions But notwithstanding all this, Michael of Homer; Italian painting the repre- Angelo had some defects. He created sentation on canvass of the revelations the great style in painting, a style of the gospel, which Dante clothed in which has made modern Italy as imthe garb of poetry. Future ages should mortal as the arms of the legions did ever strive to equal, but can never the ancient. But the very grandeur hope to excel them.
of his conceptions, the vigour of his Never did artist work with more drawing, his incomparable command persevering vigour than Michael An- of bone and muscle, his lofty expresgelo. He himself said that he la- sion and impassioned mind, made him boured harder for fame, than ever neglect, and perhaps despise, the poor artist did for bread. Born lesser details of his art. Ardent in of a noble family, the heir to con- the pursuit of expression, he often siderable possessions, he took to the overlooked execution. When he arts from his earliest years from en- painted the Last Judgment or the Fall thusiastic passion and conscious power. of the Titans in fresco, on the ceiling During a long life of ninety years, he and walls of the Sistine Chapel, he was prosecuted them with the ardent zeal incomparable; but that gigantic style of youth. He was consumed by the was unsuitable for lesser pictures or thirst for fame, the desire of great rooms of ordinary proportions. By achievements, the invariable mark of the study of his masterpieces, subseheroic minds; and which, as it is al- quent painters have often been led together beyond the reach of the great astray; they have aimed at force of bulk of mankind, so is the feeling of expression to the neglect of delicacy all others which to them is most in- in execution. This defect is, in an escomprehensible. Nor was that noble pecial manner, conspicuous in Sir enthusiasm without its reward. It Joshua Reynolds, who worshipped was his extraordinary good fortune to Michael Angelo with the most debe called to form, at the same time, voted fervour; and through him it has the Last Judgment on the wall of the descended to Lawrence, and nearly Sistine Chapel, the glorious dome of the whole modern school of England. St Peter's, and the group of Notre When we see Sir Joshua's noble glass Dame de Pitié, which now adorns the window in Magdalen College, Ox
* The finest design ever conceived by Michael Angelo was a cartoon representing warriors bathing, and some buckling on their armour at the sound of the trumpet, which summoned them to their standards in the war between Pisa and Florence. It perished, however, in the troubles of the latter city; but an engraved copy remains of part, which justifies the eulogiums bestowed upon it.
furd, we behe
work of a worthy done, because great efforts are not pupil of Micha selo; we see the made. great style of painting in its proper None will work now without the place, and applied to its appropriate prospect of an immediate return. object. But when we compare his very possibly it is so; but then let us portraits, or imaginary pieces in oil, not hope or wish for immortality. with those of Titian, Velasquez, or “ Present time and future," says Sir Vandyke, the inferiority is manifest. Joshua Reynolds, "are rivals; he who It is not in the design but the finishing; solicits the one must expect to be disnot in the conception but the execu- countenanced by the other." It is not tion. The colours are frequently raw that we want genius ; what we want and harsh; the details or distant is the great and heroic spirit which parts of the piece ill-finished or ne- will devote itself, by strenuous efforts, glected. The bold neglect of Michael to great things, without seeking any Angelo is very apparent. Raphael, reward but their accomplishment. with less original genius than his im- Nor let it be said that great subjects mortal master, had more taste and for the painter's pencil, the poet's much greater delicacy of pencil ; his muse, are not to be found—that they conceptions, less extensive and varied, are exhausted by former efforts, and are more perfect; his finishing is al- nothing remains to us but imitation. ways exquisite. Unity of emotion Nature is inexhaustible; the events was his great object in design ; equal of men are unceasing, their variety is delicacy of finishing in execution. endless. Philosophers were mourning Thence he has attained by universal the monotony of time, historians were consent the highest place in paint deploring the sameness of events, in ing.
the years preceding the French Revo* Nothing," says Sir Joshua Rey- lution—on the eve of the Reign of nolds, " is denied to well-directed Terror, the flames of Moscow, the labour ; nothing is to be attained retreat from Russia. What was the without it.” “Excellence in any de- strife around Troy to the battle of partment,” says Johnson, can now Leipsic?—the contests of Florence be attained only by the labour of a and Pisa to the revolutionary war? lifetime; it is not to be purchased at What ancient naval victory to that of a lesser price." These words should Trafalgar? Rely upon it, subjects for ever be present to the minds of all genius are not wanting; genius itself, who aspire to rival the great of for- steadily and perseveringly directed, is mer days; who feel in their bosoms a the thing required. But genius and spark of the spirit which led Homer, energy alone are not sufficient; COURDante, and Michael Angelo to im- AGE and disinterestedness are needed mortality. In a luxurious age, com- more than all. Courage to withstand fort or station is deemed the chief the assaults of envy, to despise the good of life; in a commercial commu- ridicule of mediocrity-disinterestednity, money becomes the universal ness to trample under foot the seducobject of ambition. Thence our ac- tions of ease, and disregard the attracknowledged deficiency in the fine arts; tions of opulence. An heroic mind is thence our growing weakness in the more wanted in the library or the higher branches of literature. Talent studio, than in the field. It is wealth looks for its reward too soon. Genius and cowardice which extinguish the seeks an immediate recompense ; long light of genius, and dig the grave of protracted exertions are never at- literature as of nations. iempted; great things are not
VOL. LVII. NO. CCCLI.
SETTLED AT LAST ; OR, RED RIVER RECOLLECTIONS.
I HAD left New Orleans with the horse to water. Vergennes, however, fall intention of proceeding without when one could get him off his hobby, stop or delay to my home upon the was a pleasant gentlemanly fellow Red River ; but notwithstanding this enough. determination, my wife and myself It was impossible to spare Richards were unable to resist Richards' press- more than three days, and at six ing invitation to pause for a day or o'clock on the morning of the fourth, two at his house. Upon our yield- we went on board the steamer Alexing to his solicitations, he proceeded andria. I had prevailed on my friend to recruit other guests among our
and his wife, and the whole party, to travelling companions, and soon got come and pass a week or two at my together a pleasant party. My father- house, which was now quite ready for in-law, Monsieur Menou, went on to the reception of guests. The three my plantation, but Julie remained days we had remained with Richards with us, as did also her aunt, Madame had been one continued fête, and conDuras, an agreeable old lady with a sidering the good living, and the heat slight expression of perfidy in her of the weather-the thermometer light blue, French-looking eyes, pos- ranging from 95° to 100°—there were sessed withal of infinite delicacy and few things more agreeable or better finesse—a fervent admirer of the old to be done, than to take a steam up court school of Louis the Fifteenth, in the Red River. The fresh breezes on the chronique scandaleuse of which she the water might save some of us a was as well versed as if she had been touch of fever. On board we went herself a contemporary of that plea- therefore, all in high glee and goodsure-loving monarch. Besides these humour with each other. ladies, there was a young Frenchman We had passed the Atchafalaya, named Vergennes, the third son of and had crossed over to the Francissome Gascon viscount, and a distant ville side, in order to avoid the powercousin of the Menous, who had come ful current occasioned by the influx to America till the scandal occasioned of the Red River into the Mississippi. by certain republican scribblings of A strong wind had sprung up, and in his in one of the newspapers of the the middle of the stream the waves day should have blown over, and till were of a considerable height. The he could revisit his country without Mississippi was full to overflowing, risk of obtaining a lodging gratis in and the mouth of the Red River, as the Conciergerie. He had brought far as the eye could reach, presented with him a head crammed with the appearance of an extensive lake, schemes for the political regeneration with thousands of tree trunks floating of the whole world, and a trunkful upon it. I had left the cabin, and was of French fashions, neither of which, standing on deck with Richards and as I reekoned, were likely to take Vergennes, looking out upon the much with us. He made me laugh broad sheet of water that lay before inwardly twenty times a day by his
We were just turning into the Utopian theories and fancies. Truth Red River when I observed a rowto tell, in matters of politics or of boat pulling across from the direction sound common sense, these French- of Woodville, and which had already men are for the most part mere child- arrived within a hundred yards of us ren, and reach their dying day with without attracting the attention of out ever becoming men. Take them any one on board the steamer. It by their weak points, their unlimited was cutting in and out amongst the vanity or their love of what they call enormous foating trees, with a boldglory, and you may ride them like a ness that, in that part of the rivernear the middle of which we were which the black steward held out to might almost be called insanity. him, made a slight bow to the ladies
* That man must be mad, or in on the quarterdeck, sprang into the love !” cried the captain.
gentlemen's cabin, and thence into the “It is Ralph Doughby!" exclaimed first state-room that stood open. Richards. "Captain, it is Mister “ An entrée en scène quite à la Doughby. Pray, stop the ship and Doughby,” said Richards laughing. let him come on board."
" Quite so," replied I. Doughby it was. The mad fellow Ralph Doughby, Esquire of New was standing bolt upright, and hardly Feliciana, La., was an old acquainttaking the trouble to bend to one ance of Richards and myself, and an side or the other in conformity with excellent specimen of a warm-hearted, the movements of the boat, which was impetuous, breakneck Kentuckian, dancing about on the waves and be- with a share of earthquake in his comtween the tree-trunks, while the six position that might be deemed large, Degto rowers were washed over and even in Kentucky. He had come to over by the spray.
Louisiana some eight years previously, “ Here's your famous Red River!” a voyage of a thousand miles or more shouted the harebrained Doughby. down the Cumberland River, the Ohio, * A fine country for wild-ducks and and Mississippi, in a flat boat with grese, and alligators too. Hurra, half a dozen negroes, some casks of boys!"
flour, hams, and Indian corn, and a few ** For God's sake, Mr Doughby !" horses, and had settled at Woodville screamed and implored the ladies, as on a couple of thousand acres of good the Kentuckian dashed his boat slap land, bought at five dollars an acre, to up to the side of the steamer, without be paid in five years. His industry waiting till the speed of the vessel was and energy had caused him to thrive, slackened, and hastily caught a rope and he was now as well established a which was thrown to him. Just at planter as any on the Mississippi ; that moment a wave as high as a man his six negroes had amounted to forty, rose between the steamer and the his wilderness had become a respectable boat and separated them, and Dough- plantation, his cotton was sought by still maintaining his hold on the after, and he had not only paid for his rope, he was dragged out of his skiff acres but had already a large sum in and tossed like a feather against the the Planters' Bank. His frank open steamer's side, where he hung half in character had made him friends on all and half out of the water.
hands, and there was not a more po" Haul in, boys-baul me in, lads pular man in Louisiana than Major -or your d-d paddles will do it ! ” Ralph Doughby.
* Poll him in!” shouted we all, During the stay I made at Richards' * pull him in for God's sake!" house previously to my marriage,
* Ay, pull in!” cried Doughby, Doughby had passed a day there in and giving a spring upwards he caught company with one Mr Lambton and bold of the railing of the deck, threw his daughter, Yankees—the latte himself over it with a bound, and beautiful girl, but cold and formal like stood in all safety amongst the asto- most of her countrywomen. An aunt nished and grinny-visaged Cyclops who of hers, who possessed large plantawere hastening to his assistance. We tions on the Mississippi, had made up hurried down from the quarterdeck, a match between Miss Lambton and breathless with astonishment at this Doughby, and they were then prodesperate and unnecessary piece of ceeding to New York, where the mardaring.
riage was in due time to be solemnized. ** Pshaw !” cried Doughby; “ stew- Richards and myself had observed, ard, a glass of hot; and, captain, see however, that the wild headlong manthat my portmanteau comes on board, ners and character of the Kentuckian, and that my negers get away with joined though they were to great whole skins; and a good morning to goodness of heart and many sterling yoa, gentlemen-in five minutes we qualities, did not appear very pleasing shall meet again."
to the stiff, etiquette-loving fine lady, And so saying, he emptied the glass and it was without any great surprise