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That speaks a God, Creator of the land;
And marks it for his own. The ground not then
Is the first dread-love the first great terror
And yet is love the universal friend :.
He dreads himself-hates love he can't subdue-
But hence, let Nature rise and reign in man!
And his dissociate earth, usurp'd and curst!
We cannot conclude better, than with the following noble passage from the notes.
"A man is supposed to improve by going out into the world, by visiting London. Artificial man does; he extends with his sphere, but alas! that sphere is microscopic. It is formed of minutiæ, and he surrenders his genuine vision to the artist, in order to embrace it in his ken. His bodily senses grow acute, even to barren and inhuman pruriency; while his mental become proportionally obtuse. The reverse is the man of mind. He who is placed in the sphere of nature and of God, might be a mock at Tattersall's and Brookes's, and a sneer at St. James's. He would certainly be swallowed alive by the first Pizarro, that crossed him:-But, when he walks along the river of Amazons; when he rests his eye on the unrivalled Andes; when he measures the long and watered Savannah; or contemplates from a sudden promontory, the distant, vast Pacific-and feels himself a freeman in this vast theatre, and commanding each ready produced fruit of this wilderness, and each progeny of this stream-His exaltation is not less than impe
rial. He is as gentle too as he is great: his emotions of tenderness keep pace with his elevation of sentiment; for he says, 'These were made by a good Being, who, unsought by me, placed me here to enjoy them.' He becomes at once, a child and a king. His mind is in himself; from hence he argues and from hence he acts; and he argues unerringly and acts magisterially: his mind in himself is also in his God; and therefore he loves, and therefore he soars. He knows where he is; his speculations do not outfly his practice; for he thinks he knows nothing but what he proves. The vast pride of discovering experimental philosophy cannot, indeed, be his; for discovery is precluded by incessant knowledge."
ART. XI.-Biographical Memoirs of Extraordinary Painters.
Some works derive a considerable portion of the interest attached to them from the character of the writer; an observation that will, in a certain degree, apply to the publication before us, which was one of the earliest literary efforts of the author of Caliph Vathek. It possesses, however, other claims on our attention, and, though obviously a juvenile production, is by no means deficient in interest, as will appear from the extracts which we shall proceed to lay before our readers.
In a short prefatory advertisement, the editor states himself to be in possession of some particulars relative to the author of these Memoirs," which might interest the curiosity of a respectable class of readers, and even prepossess them in favour of the publication. As, however, an impartial judgment on its merits is wished for, and the editor's availing himself of such an advantage, might suggest the idea of attempting to bias the public opinion, no communication of the sort is allowed. Permission could not be obtained to mention even the particular age at which the author wrote these pieces. It was in vain the editor's partiality for them, induced him to express something more than a hope that their merits with the public might rest little on that circumstance. For he has ever been persuaded that the success of the most admired productions of the ingenium præcox, at least in our own language, has been much more owing to their intrinsic worth than to the period of life at which they were written. His principal motive, could he
have imparted the particular last alluded to, had been only to
There is something rather amusing in the mode in which the editor thus betrays the prohibited secret of the author's youth, and indirectly claims for him the merit of precocious talent.
The work itself consists of five narratives of the lives and adventures of imaginary painters. All these sketches display the same traces of a fervid fancy and satirical wit, which charm the reader in Mr. Beckford's more finished production, The Caliph Vathek. We here perceive the preluding efforts of the powerful mind which invented that impressive tale of oriental scenery and adventures. There is, also, a corresponding perception and developement of the effects of regret, remorse, and unavailing repentance, on the intellectual faculty. But these pieces consist of mere outlines, which shew the ability of the writer to be equal to the production of something more worthy of his own talents, and of the attention of the reader.
The memoirs or narratives are entitled,-Aldrovandus Magnus; Andrew Guelph and Og of Basan, disciples of Aldrovandus Magnus; Sucrewasser of Vienna; Blunderbussiana; and Watersouchy. These stories are almost entirely unconnected with each other, or with real history, though the names of several celebrated painters are introduced as the contemporaries of these imaginary heroes of the brush; and in the last piece Gerard Dow, Mieris, and Madame Merian, are among the personages of the narrative.
The sketch entitled, Andrew Guelph and Og of Basan is the longest, and by much the most interesting, though the others exhibit occasional touches of nature, which manifest the hand of a master. The cool inattention of the father of Aldrovandus, when his friend Hemmelinck, having taken up some of the first attempts at drawing of the young artist, enquires who was their author, is well struck off. Hemmelinck had pulled old Aldrovandus by the sleeve three times before he cared to give him any answer; at last he coolly replied, that they were his son's scratches; and that he believed he would ruin him in paper, were he to live much longer in such an idle way.'"
The story of Andrew Guelph and Og of Basan contains several picturesque descriptions of the face of nature
among the mountains of the Tyrol, and on the classic plains of Italy; but it is in the delineation of the workings of the human mind, and in the excitement of strong passions, that the master-genius of the author is chiefly visible. Og of Basan, who is represented as of a bold and ardent disposition, and as an enthusiastic admirer of the beauties of nature, loiters among the shades, grottos, and ruined temples of Tivoli; where he gives himself up to a passion for a beautiful Italian female, and spending his days in her society, deserts, for a time, his profession; while his friend Andrew was closely employed at Venice, where Og had left him to finish a gallery of paintings, bespoke by the Pococurante family, "to immortalize the mighty deeds of their ancestors." Og, at last, roused from the lethargy of love, quits his fair companion, as the faithless Theseus did Ariadne, while she slept, and repairs to Rome. His unhappy mistress, on waking and discovering her loss,
"Plunged headlong into the tide, and was seen no more. Whilst this new Olympia* added another victim to love, her Bireno was graciously received by the cardinal Grossocavallo, who lodged him in his palace, and presented him to his Holiness, who was pleased to command two altar-pieces, and to name two famous miracles for their subjects; the one, St. Denis bearing his own head, intended as a present to the King of France; and the other, St. Anthony preaching to the fishers, which was to be sent to Frederick the Simple, King of Naples. Og succeeded wonderfully in both performances. The astonishment in the head at finding itself off its own shoulders was expressed to admiration; and the attitude of the blessed St. Denis, as natural as that of any man who ever carried such a burthen. In the second picture, he placed St. Anthony on a rock projecting over the sea, almost surrounded by shoals of every species of fish, whose countenances, all different, were highly expressive of the most profound attention and veneration. Many persons fancied they distinguished the likeness of most of the conclave in these animals; but this is generally believed to be a false observation, as the painter had no pique against any of their Eminences. What, however, gave rise to this idea, was, as I learn from the best authority, some dislike he entertained against Cardinal Hippolito d'Este, on account of his stupid treatment of his beloved poet Ariosto. He was even heard to repeat one day, when this cardinal was advancing towards him, the following line from the Orlando :
After having increased his fame and fortune by the execution of the pictures ordered by the Pope, and other works, Og devoted some time to a survey of the relics of decayed
* Alluding to a story in the tenth canto of the Orlando Furioso.
greatness, which bestow an interesting and awful grandeur on the ancient capital of the world. While viewing the mouldering heaps which reminded him of the fall of empires, he sinks into a profound reverie, which, at length, leads him to reflect on the past scenes of his life, and especially on his desertion of the fair Italian.
"The recollection of Tivoli now stole insensibly into his mind: he grew troubled, and reproached himself a thousand times with having deserted one who had sacrificed all for him. Though he was ignorant of her sad fate, the delicacy of her sensations recurred to his memory with innumerable circumstances, which revived all his former tenderness, and many dreadful suspicions haunted his fancy. If he slept, his dreams represented her in the well-known woods, wailing as in anguish, or on the distant shore of rapid torrents, beckoning him to console her in vain; for the instant he attempted to advance, tempests arose, and whirlwinds of fire snatched her screaming from his sight. Often he imagined himself reclining by her side, in meads of flowers, under a sky of the purest azure, and suddenly she would become ghastly pale, and, frowning on him, drive him to a flood that rolled its black waves between terrifying precipices, and dashing into its current, drag him after her; and then he would wake in horror, crying, 'I drown, I drown! Indeed, he seems to have been selected as an example of divine vengeance."
Og returns to Tivoli, and there learns that his worst forebodings have been verified, in the self-destruction of his forsaken mistress. He retraces his steps to Rome; and, on approaching it, finds a congenial spot for the indulgence of his melancholy and self-condemning reflections in the tomb of Cecilia Metella.
"Throwing himself from his horse, which he left carelessly to drink at a fountain, he sought the interior of the sepulchre. There beneath the covert of a solitary pine, he folded his arms and remained till night in silence, the image of despair. The screeches of noxious birds, which frequented the edifice, roused him from his trance. He started up and quitted the ruins with terror, as if he had been personally guilty of the murder, and, without looking for his horse, turned his steps towards a garden he just distinguished in the twilight. As he had taken no sustenance the whole day, some branches loaded with fruit, that hung over the wall, offered themselves opportunely to allay his hunger. Whilst he was gathering them the moon arose, and discovered, faintly, the desolate scene around. There, a pillar yet erect, with a humble shed beneath, whose roof leaned on its base: Here, a tract of uncultivated ground, strewed with the fragments of superb edifices, long since laid low. There, the remains of fountains and aqueducts, whose hollow arches still echoed the murmurs of rivulets, which forced their feeble course, with difficulty,