said he, with a smile ; adding pre- gard for religion which he himself sently,“ Will you allow Mr F- to had always evidenced. “No, no-I proceed with what he is reading ?” have gone nearly as far astray as any Of course we nodded, and sat in of them; but God's rod has brought silence, listening. I watched E-m's me back again. I thank God defeatures; they were much wasted- voutly, that he ever afflicted me as but exhibited no traces of pain. His I have been afficted through lifeeye, though rather sunk in the socket, He knows I do!” * * * Some one was full of the calmness and confi- mentioned the prevalence of madence of unwavering hope, and often terialism. He lamented it bitterly; directed upwards with a devout ex- but assured us that several of the pression. A most heavenly serenity most eminent men of the age-naming was diffused over his countenance. them-believed firmly in the imHis lips occasionally moved, as if in materiality and immortality of the the utterance of prayer. When Mr human soul. F-- had closed the book, the first “Do you feel firmly convinced of words uttered by E-- were, “Oh! it-on natural and philosophical the infinite goodness of God!" grounds ?” enquired Dr D

“ Do you feel that your anchor I do; and have, ever since I inis within the veil ?'”enquired F-stituted an enquiry on the subject.

“ Oh!-yes-yes !--My vessel is I think the difficulty is to believe steadily moored—the tide of life the reverse—when it is owned on goes fast away-I am forgetting that all hands, that nothing in Nature's I ever sailed on its sea!” replied changes suggests the idea of annihiE-, closing bis eyes.


I own that doubts have “ The star of faith shines clearest very often crossed my mind on the in the night of expiring nature !” ex- subject—but could never see the claimed F

reason of them !” « The Sunthe Sun of faith, say “But your confidence does not rest rather,” replied E-, in a tone of on the barren grounds of reason," fervent exultation; “ it turns my said I; “ you believe Him who night into day—it warms my soul- brought ' life and immortality' into itrekindles my energies !-Sun-sun the world." of righteousness" -he exclaimed, “ Yes~ Thanks be to God, who faintly. Miss E-kissed him re- giveth us the victory through our peatedly with deep emotion. “Em- Lord Jesus Christ!”” ma, my love!” he whispered,“ hope “Do you never feel a pang of rethou in God! See how he will sup- gret at leaving life ?” I enquired. port thee in death !”-She burst into “ No, no, no !” he replied with tears.—" Will you promise me, love, emphasis; “life and I are grown to read the little Bible I gave you

unfit for each other! My sympathies when I am gone-especially the -my hopes--my joys, are too large New Testament?--Do-do, love.” for it! Why should I, just got into

“ I will-I-" replied Miss the haven, think of risking shipE-, almost choked with her emo- wreck again ?" tions. She could say no more.

“ Dr " he addressed me, “ I He lay still for nearly twenty mifeel more towards you than I can ex- nutes without speaking. His breathpress; your services-services"

ing was evidently accomplished with he grew very pale and faint. I rose great difficulty; and when his eyes and poured out a glass of wine, and occasionally fixed on any of us, we put it to his lips. He drank a few perceived that their expression was tea-spoonfuls, and it revived him. altered. He did not seem to see

“Well!” heexclaimed, in a stronger what he looked at. I noticed his voice than I had before heard him fingers also slowly twitching or speak. “I thank God I leave in scratching the bed-clothes. Still the perfect peace with all mankind ! expression of his features was calm There is but one thing that grieves and tranquil as ever. He was murme—the general neglect of religion muring something in Miss E- 's among men of science.” Dr D ear; a

and she whispered to us, that he said it must afford him great consola- said, "Don't go-I shall want you tion to reflect on the steadfast re- at six." Within about a quarter of



[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

six o'clock, he enquired where Em- of this our dying brother" E ma was, and Dr D- , and Mr F- slowly elevated his left hand, and and inyself. We severally answered, kept it pointing upwards for a few that we sat around him.

moments, when it suddenly dropped, “ I have not scen you for the last and a long deep respiration annountwenty minutes. Shake hands with ced that this great and good man had me!” We did. Emma, my sweet breathed his last! love! put your arm round my neck No one in the room spoke or stir- I am cold, cold.” Her tears fell red for several minutes; and I alfast on his face. “ Don't cry, love most thought I could hear the beat-don't-I am quite happy !-God ings of our hearts. He died within -Godbless you, love !"

a few moments of six o'clock. Yes His lower jaw began to droop a there lay the sad effigy of our delittle.

ceased " guide, philosopher, and Mr F-, moved almost to tears, friend ;"--and yet, why call it sad? rose from his chair, and noiselessly I could detect no trace of sadness in kneeled down beside him.

his features—he had left in peace “ Hare faith in our Lord Jesus and joy; he had lived well, and died Christ!” he exclaimed, looking stead

as he had lived. I can now apprefastly into his face.

ciate the force of that prayer of one “ I do!” he answered distinctly, of old—“Let me die the death of the while a faint smile stolo over his righteous, and let my last end be like drooping features.

his!” “ Let us pray !" whispered Mr F-; and we all knelt down in si. There was some talk among bis lence. I was never so overpowered friends of erecting a tablet to his in my life. I thought I should have memory in Westminster Abbey; but been choked with suppressing my it has been dropped. We soon lose emotions. “ O Lord, our heavenly the recollection of departed excelFather !" commenced Mr F-,, in lence, if it require any thing like a low tone,“ receive thou the spirit active exertion.


No .II.

We now return in our ignorance compare those said Visions at Wearto the exposition of the Fine Arts of mouth with Mr West's Death on the old in England.

Pale Horse, and other pieces taken Of ancient English painting our from the same mysterious source in friend Allan gives a rapid and vigor- later times, all of which, whatever ous sketch; scanty enough, indeed, their historical merits, seem to fall but ex nihilo nihil fit. The shallow into the same error of presenting rill was lost in desert sands, and the simultaneously objects which the true fountain of British Art arose in Prophet must have seen in succesthe 18th century. Whatever may be sion. But it is quite impossible to decided as to the authenticity of Os- paint a Vision, far more to convey sian or Taiessin, they certainly were to waking uninspired sense, the not the fathers of modern British power and import of a Prophet's

vision. The best that can be achieved Religious painting of some sort or in that kind is as impotent as the other was introduced by St Bene- black pages in Tristram Shandy to dict Bisiob, the friend and early pre- pourtray primeval darkness. Of ceptor of the venerable Bede, whose St Benedict, however, Mr Cunninghistory you have read in Southey's ham says nothing, but begins his Vindiciæ Ecclesiæ Anglicanæ, or if survey with Henry the Third, a not, pray do. He ornamented the timid and pious king, who foundchurch of Wearmouth with the Vi- ed many Cathedrals, and enriched sions of the Apocalypse. It would them with sculpture and painting, to be curious, if it were possible, to an extent, and with a skill that merited the commendation of Flaxman. antique, read Sir Joshua's Lectures The royal instructions of 1233 are and Hogarth's Analysis, and imbibed curious, and inform us of the cha- the principles of the Italian masters. racter of art at that remote period, So might they learn what to aim atand of the subordinate condition of any fashionable assembly will shew its professors. In Italy, indeed, as them what to shun. well as in England, an artist was As the colouring of a picture may then, and long after, considered as a be at once chaste and rich, so may a mere mechanic. He was commonly dress be splendid, and yet simple. at once a carver of wood, a maker Bad pictures are often both tawdry of figures, a house and heraldry and dingy-so are ill-dressed people. painter, a carpenter, an upholsterer, With regard to all drapery, wheand a mason; and sometimes, over ther stitched, painted, or carved, one and above all this, he was a tailor. rule is absolute--it should never This seems to surprise and offend challenge a separate attention, but Allan; but, for my part, I am so far seem a necessary congenital part of from wondering that artists were the person. Clothes, if we think of tailors in the fourteenth century, then on ourselves, must be uncomthat I regret that tailors are not art- fortable - if in others, indecorous. ists in the nineteenth, and fearlessly The draperies of mere drapery-paintaffirm that no human being is fit to ers remind us of the silks and velbe tailor, mantua-maker, milliner, vets displayed some years ago at corset-maker, coiffeur, or even so Brandenburg-house, or a Sabbathmuch as to dress his own hair, who breaking Cockney in his Sunday has not a taste for the arts of design. toggery-or, to come nearer to the Are not the greatest masters almost point, a lay figure in real clothes. as much celebrated for their drape- Îll-fashioned garments have always ries as for their nudes ? Does not more or less of this fault; you can the tailor, as well as the artist, re- neither wear them, nor see them quire much knowledge of colour, worn, without thinking of them. But much skill of hand, much experience the best and most graceful offend on in human character, an acquaintance the same ground, if, however wellwithi anatomy, a smattering of geo- fashioned, they be very much out of metry, a fine sense of beauty, and the fashion, or anywise unsuitable adroitness at flattery, a nice obser- to the age, rank, or character of the vance of complexions, dexterity in wearer. Sombre habits in a dashing concealing the defects of nature, and woman of fashion have the effect of the talent of displaying and imita- a disguise. It is possible to dress ting her perfections ? Does not a too plain for modesty. comely costume require a variety of Sir Joshua advises that drapery parts, a unity in the whole, a har- should be neither silk, satin, gros de mony of colours, a tone, a fitness, a Naples, velvet, plush, sarsenet, calico, just magnitude, a proportion, a cha- cambric, paduasoy, corduroy, bomracteristic expression, suited to the bazine, huckaback, nor any other faage, country, profession, aspect, bric or manufacture. It should be height, and manner of the wearer: drapery, and nothing else—a wise If Albert Durer drew mathematically, precept, which the tailor cannot foland published a book of proportions low to the letter, but to the spirit for the instruction of his trade-our whereof he will do well to attend. modern costumiers take measure by To prove that I am not singular in algebra, and cut out by diagrams. my views of this subject, it is only If a perfect connoisseur can ascertain necessary to mention that certain the merits and dimensions of a colos- ladies consulted Kent, the universal sus, of which no part is extant but genius, painter, architect, and landthe great toe, Snip can do more- scape-gardener, about their birthhe can make you an impeccable pair day suits; and the wicked wag arof inexpressibles, by simply taking rayed one in a petticoat, decorated the girth of your thumb." It would with columns of the five orders, and contribute marvellously, not only to another in a bronze-coloured satin, the grace of our beaux, but to the with ornaments of gold. health of our belles, if their advisers In sober sadness, and conscious igin affairs of dress had studied the norance, I cannot conceive the mere VOL. XXIX, NO. CLXXVIII.



colourist, or even the designer, who more gorgeous tints than ever lay works for the eye alone,–whose de- on mortal palette ! signs contain neither poetry nor sense, To proceed. When the arts were and communicate neither knowledge reviving in Italy, England, occupied nor power,-as anywise superior to with foreign and domestic wars, a tailor. His craft may, or may not, oppressed in her trade, exhausted in be the more difficult of the two; but her treasury, devoted to ruin, exSnip's is undoubtedly the more use- pense, and senseless ostentation, proful. As for the sensual pleasure fited not by the example. Italy exwhich colour is capable of affording, ported Bulls and Legates a Ceitere, Titian himself was a fool to the but kept the painters at home; yet, waved and watered, glossy, light- in the age of Chaucer, a great artist catching, ever-varying hues of the would not have been neglected. The silken bales, for which hungry Spi- third Edward was magnificent; his talfields too often receives the wages unfortunate grandson was profuse. of starvation. Every vagrant Auto- John of Gaunt was the patron of lycus,“ each wandering merchant Chaucer, but whether as poet or bent beneath his load,”—exposes to painter, does not appear. Richard the covetous eyes of the village lass II. noticed Gower.* What “ art

* In Thames, when it was flowing,

As I by boat came rowing ;
So as Fortune her time set,
My liege lord perchance I met,
And so befell, as I came nigh,
Out of my boat, when he me sigh-i.e. saw,
He had me come into his barge;
But when I was with him at large,
Amongst other things he said,
He hath this charge upon me laid,
Some new thing I should book,
That he himself might on it look.

Confessio Amantis. The earlier copies of this strange poem contain many flattering notices of Richard, which the old bard thought proper afterwards to expunge when that unhappy prince had lost the popularity to which he “enfeofked himself,” and for which he forfeited authority and respect.

Poets, vain men, in their mood,

Travel with the multitude. Yet it was not much to Gower's credit, after receiving such condescension from his hapless sovereign, to hail the accession of the usurper Bolingbroke, in vile Leonine, or rather Assinine verses. The author who beshrives an established sovereign, has at least custom to plead for his folly ; but he that hastens to salute the parhelion of revolution, runs the risk of being derided as a false prophet, and despised as a sycophant. Poets, it seems, could be as base in the fourteenth century as in the nineteenth. Nay, I will fearlessly aver, that the moral character of fine literature was never so high or so pure as at present.

Gower has of late found a sturdy patron in Sharon Turner, who seems inclined to set him on a level at least with Chaucer. Sharon is a sensible man, a patient investigator of the past. English history is much indebted to his labours ; but he is not quite free from that amiable partiality which we all are apt to feel for what is peculiarly our own. Well did Elia observe, one cannot make a pet of a book that every body reads. But a book that nobody has read but one's self, and perhaps half a dozen of one's particular friends, becomes part of one's personality—“bone of my bone.” Sir William Jones equalled Ferdusi to Homer, and thought the Sacontala worthy of Euripides, Racine, or Shakspeare. Probably Dr Bowring thinks the Russian anthology superior to the Greek.

According to “ ancient Gower,” love-making in his time must have been a very serious and erudite business ; for his Confessio Amantis—a conversation between a young lover and the Priest of Venus-seems to be a metrical encyclopædia,-a brief, tedious abstract of the omne scibile,-a compendium of all the ologies then extant. Some of the love-tales, however, are related with much truth and simple pathos. Gower had certainly been in love himself; but whether he found alchymy and logic very servịceable in his courtship, is rather there was, lack'd not encourage- pampered menial; hence, though it ment.” Painting partook of the war. may spring, and grow, and flourish like spirit of the time, and became amid war and tumult, and even surmartial, instead of religious. But a vive under a despotism-under a passion for gilded banners and sur- military aristocracy, it scarce can coats of arms, is not a taste for art. lift its head. It must be loved, hoSt Edward is as good a subject as St noured, esteemed, for its own sakeGeorge ; and the Wiverns of Heral- pot fed, flattered, and despised. The dry are as far removed from la belle knights and barons bold might be Nature, as the Dragons of the Apo- liberal, as the better kind of thieves calypse. In fact, kings and princes generally are, to the minstrels who cannot make artists; they can only lauded their vices, and would have employ and pay them; and mere rewarded the limner who could empageantry is so far from art, that it blazon images of blood or sensuality, hardly implies civilization. Well does as well as the largitores rapine comMilton speak of“ barbaric pearl and monly reward the instruments of gold.” The spirit of art is proud, their pleasures; but they cannot conand brooks not the condition of a fer dignity. Those haughty lords

dubious. The leading idea of his Confessio is this that the suitor, to be worthy of his mistress, should be furnished, not only with every moral and Christian virtue, but with all divine and human learning, with every feat of skill, and every device of wit. Mr Turner has given copious extracts, which will probably satisfy the curious reader. He that wants more of the “moral Gower," will find the whole of his English works in the second volume of Chalmers's collection. His French verses, entitled Petitio Orantis, and his Latin Rhyming Chronicle, have not, to my knowledge, been printed. The Vox Clamantis is a half historical, half allegorical description of Wat Tyler's insurrection, and the disorders consequent thereon. It may contain some curious information, and should be carefully and learnedly edited at the public expense. Gower could not tell his tale of domestic troubles without converting it into a vision. This dozing somnambulistic fashion then in vogue, has of late been revived by poets, who have gone to sleep to dream over what they had read in the Times or the Annual Register,—to be informed, supernaturally, of the contents of the London Gazette extraordinary. It is remarkable, that almost all the allegorical compositions of the middle ages begin with a description of the weather, or the time of the year

custom followed in the “ Induction to the Mirror for Magistrates," and in the prologues to Gawain Douglass's Æneid. The Vox Clamantis accordingly begins with a florid delineation of summer, as Wat Tyler's rebellion broke out in June 1381. The poet innocently goeth forth to pick flowers, falls asleep, and dreams that a huge multitude of men-monsters, in the shape of wolves, apes, swine, &c., advanced towards him—who for their leader chose a jay, called Wat—committed terrible havoc, and drove well-disposed persons_himself among the rest—to the woods and caves. His Wat, whom he sets forth as “ Vox tetra, trux vultus, verissima mortis imago," bears small resemblance to the sighing sentimental Reformer, the Wat Tyler of surreptitious notoriety. The poem proceeds with a satirical description of the vices of the times-not exactly in the manner of the “ Age,” a poem ; or the “ Age Reviewed,” a satire ; or even of the “ Reigning Vice"--and concludes with earnestly exhorting Richard to a radical reform of himself. As a specimen of Gower's Latin versification :

Sylva vetus densa, nulla violata securi,
Absque supercilio, mihi nubis sub tegumento;
Nulla superficies tunc, quia trita fuit,
Perque dies aliquot latitens omnemque tremiscens

Ad strepitum fagi, visa pericla cavens.
These verses would hardly escape flogging at Eton.

Gower seems to have been a man of considerable wealth, which he devoted and bequeathed to pious purposes.

Like most of our early writers, characterised at least as much by the garrulity of age as the simplicity of childhood, “ full of wise saws and modern instances," an endless story-teller, who could conjure a Christian meaning into a heathen fable, and evoke a heavy moral from a light love-tale ; a very honest man--politics excepted-with a fair allowance of honest self-importance; a severe censor of his age, which was indeed a bad one ; and a bold menitor of his king, when that king was too feeble to resent the indignity

« 前へ次へ »