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their source, indicate from what small springs they arise, branching out into sundry little streams, until they become united into a changeless current. A trivial occurrence, a slight association of ideas, may communicate to the mind a direction which will materially affect, or perhaps eventually form, the character. There are times and seasons, which, when a person, in a certain mood, or under the influence of peculiar feelings, is thrown into a particular situation, will decide his destiny, although, under different circumstances, they would not have stimulated enquiry or exertion. The youth, who wanders at eventide in autumn, when nature reposes in mysterious stillness, save the rustling of the wind through the trees, and when the sun pours his mitigated radiance over a living and rejoicing world, may dream himself into a poet. The genius of the painter may be awakened, by intense admiration, when he first catches a view of the finest productions of the pencil, or formed by continually gazing upon them; as the boy who carried the materials for Raphael's fresco work in the Vatican, "became an artist before he produced a specimen of his talents, and at eighteen years of age seized the pencil, and astonished his employers;" or it may be called into action by the delight, caused by a striking assemblage of natural objects. The perusal of the Arabian Nights' Entertainments, may, either on the spot or at a distant period, entice to the study of Arabic or Persic, or the Adventures of Don Quixote, to the acquisition of the language in which its immortal author wrote. The heart clings with pertinacious affection to that which has excited emotions of pleasure, or which is nearly connected with them. Even the ancient tree, at whose grassy root any exquisite sensations have been experienced, becomes a green spot in the memory, to which, in the progress of life, man looks with oft reverted eye; and the scene of his early years is often so associated with happiness, as finally to call the wanderer home. It is true, there are mighty events, there are hurricanes of feeling, which may suddenly deracinate, and sweep away the germs of character, not yet become rigid, and in whose place a totally new set of ideas may spring up; but these irruptions are rare.
As then the character is, in a great measure, formed, or, at least, influenced by the situation, habits, and associations of youth, which is subject to a thousand gradations of thought and feeling, a person should, in order to compile a complete and philosophical memoir of his own life, begin early, and finish late. Its value would, by this means, be enhanced, both with respect to its practical utility, and the scientific view it would exhibit of the operations of mind. The lives of most men offer little that is worthy of preservation, except these mental changes. It is the lot of few to be cast into situations, or involved in ad
ventures, which excite the interest or sympathy of their fellow men. Thousands are born, and die, without performing an action, which would attract the attention, or dazzle the imagination; but there is scarcely an individual, a minute and faithful history of whose mind, from youth to grey hairs, might not be rendered useful: such a history would be more difficult, and less entertaining, than one of a life of peril and enterprize, and vicissitude. Both, however, are sufficiently arduous, and, considering the sacrifice of vanity, and the candour and impartiality required for such an undertaking, it is not surprising that so few have been found to strip off the covering with which self-love has invested them, and step, naked, into the arena.
Our author lived in a country, and at a period, well calculated for the developement and encouragement of the combustible elements of character; when the irregularities of human passions were only partially repressed by the law, and the angular projections of human character were not worn down by the influence of correct manners. The sanctuary afforded an asylum for the contemner of civil regulations; revenge might shelter himself under a Cardinal's mantle, and murder find a place of refuge behind the throne of the Roman Pontiff. The resurrection of the fine arts, at the same time, gave a strong impulse to genius, by the splendour of spectacles, the force of example, and the certainty of fame and reward. The chief inducement of our author, to write the memoirs of his life, was to render a service to the profession, of which he was so great an ornament. The business of a goldsmith and jeweller was not then what it now is, a mere mechanical employment; it required invention, taste, and correctness of drawing: all the powers of genius were called into exertion to design and ornament the clasp of a lady's girdle, the seal of a Cardinal, or the button of the pontifical cope. The attention and encouragement bestowed on such labours, by rank and affluence, may appear extraordinary at this day, but we must say, we regard, with peculiar pleasure, genius, stooping from its loftier station, to introduce its elegancies into daily life, and deck the insignia of office, and the ornaments of common use, with shapes of loveliness and beauty. In rendering grace and energy of form, and majesty of manner, more familiar to us, it sharpens our perception of the sublimities of art. Forms of noble sacrifice, and tender devotion-of persevering enterprise, and determined fortitude, become palpable to, and are made indwellers of the soul, and are associated with all we think, and wish, and act.
Benvenuto Cellini was born on All-saints' Day, in the year 1500; and, notwithstanding the passionate desire which his father, an architect and engineer, and one of the court musicians, had, that his son should become the first flute-player in the
world, he was, to his great delight, released from musical thraldom at the age of thirteen, and allowed to learn the business of a goldsmith. He devoted himself with such diligence to the art of design, that, in little more than two years, he rivalled the most skilful journeymen in the trade, not omitting, at the same time, through complaisance to his father, to practise, occasionally, on the flute, on which he became an admirable performer. At the age of eighteen, he was banished from Florence, for six months, for his participation in a fray, in which his younger brother had got involved; and after following his profession successively at Pisa, where he remained one year, and at Rome, where he remained two years, he again visited his native city. Having studied, with great delight and success, the works of Michael Angelo, his reputation, as a jeweller and goldsmith, increased to such a degree, as to excite the jealousy of some of his former masters. The impatient and violent spirit of our author, which had already partially displayed itself, was called into full action, in an adventure which occurred between him and these persons. They insulted him; he attacked some dozen of them, armed with all manner of weapons, and, "rushing among them, like a mad bull, he threw down four or five, and fell to the ground along with them; now aiming his dagger at one, and now at another," without, however, doing any material injury. This adventure gave rise to a tremendous edict against him, and again banished him from Florence: he bent his steps, a second time, to Rome, where he met with extraordinary encouragement and success. His exquisite performance on the flute attracted the attention of Pope Clement the Seventh, who offered to take him into his service, as well for his excellence in his profession, as for his musical acquirements. Our author doubted whether he should accept this proposal; but, his father appearing to him in a dream, denouncing his malediction if he did not, filial piety prevailed, and he entered into the service of the Pope, in the double capacity of goldsmith and musician. At this time, Benvenuto had a dispute with the Bishop of Salamanca, a lordly Spanish Prelate, who wished, without paying the price, to avail himself of the labours of genius. In this contest, the bold and uncompromising character of Cellini triumphed over the violence and power of the reverend dignitary and his suite, and he came out of it with honour and success.
Cellini, now about twenty-three years of age, was of a genius so happy, that he could, with ease, learn any thing to which he gave his mind. He felt an extreme desire to rival Lantinio, in seal-engraving, and Caradosso, in medalling, both of them eminent masters in their professions. In these branches, as well as in the art of enamelling, he became an excellent artist;-he also
cultivated, with his usual ardour and success, the art of engraving foliages on daggers and swords.
At this period it was, that the Duke de Bourbon laid siege to Rome, on which occasion, our author raised a company of fifty men. Determined, he says, to perform some manly action, he one day repaired to the walls, and
Having," he continues, "taken aim with my piece, where I saw the thickest croud of the enemy, I fixed my eye on a person who seemed to be lifted up by the rest: but the misty weather prevented me from distinguishing whether he was on horseback, or on foot. Then turning suddenly about to Alexander and Cecchino, I bid them fire off their pieces, and shewed them how to escape every shot of the besiegers. Having accordingly fired twice for the enemy's once, I softly approached the walls, and perceived that there was an extraordinary confusion among the assailants, occasioned by our having shot the duke of Bourbon: he was, as I understood afterwards, that chief personage, whom I saw raised by the rest."
Our soldier was equally successful in directing the guns in the castle of St. Angelo, and, with a cannon, charged with certain antique javelins, he killed the Prince of Orange. History, however, has not deigned to record any of the extraordinary feats of our hero, at this memorable siege.
The next event, of any great importance, which happened to Cellini, was in the way of his profession, and this was his being employed to make the button for the pontifical cope, the execution of which gained him great fame, and is spoken of, by Vasari, in terms of high praise. In this piece, God, the Father, was to be represented in half relievo, and there were no less than thirty rival models, made by able designers, who, as the artist says, not being acquainted with the jeweller's business, had placed the large and beautiful diamond in the breast of the father. The Pope, who was a person of genius, took notice of this blunder, and, after he had inspected ten of the models, he threw the rest on the ground, and called for Benvenuto's; "thereupon," says the Artist, with infinite satisfaction," I opened a little round box, when instantly there seemed to flash from it a lustre which dazzled the Pope himself, and he cried out, with a loud voice, Benvenuto, had you been my very self, you could not have designed this with greater propriety." To some of our readers, it may not be unacceptable, to have the Artist's account of the design of this celebrated button.
"I had laid the diamond exactly in the middle of the work, and over it I had represented God the Father sitting in a sort of free, easy attitude, which suited admirably well with the rest of the piece, and did not in the least croud the diamond; his right hand was lifted up,
giving his blessing. Under the diamond I had drawn three little boys, who supported it, with their arms raised aloft. One of these boys, which stood in the middle, was in full, the other two in half, relievo. Round it was a number of figures of boys, placed amongst other glittering jewels. The remainder of God the Father was covered with a cloak, which wantoned in the wind, from whence issued several figures of boys with other striking ornaments most beautiful to behold. This work was made of a white stucco, upon a black stone."
The Pope was so delighted with this specimen of the Artist's talents, that he proposed to employ him to stamp the coins of the Mint. Although he had never been engaged in this business, and had only seen how it was done, he produced, in a surprising short time, a specimen to the Pope, together with the old coins, struck by the eminent Artists employed by Popes Julius and Leo; and, perceiving the one stamped by him gained higher approbation than the rest, took advantage of the time, and petitioned for the place of Stamp Master to the Mint, which was granted to him upon the spot.
Benvenuto was in his twenty-ninth year, when his brother died, of wounds which he had received from a musqueteer in a street rencontre. Our author could find no peace until he had revenged his death, which he at length effected, by stabbing the unfortunate musqueteer; on which occasion, the Pope's countenance was of some assistance to him. Whilst the artist was employed in drawing the design of a magnificent chalice, for the Pope, he, one evening, finding his holiness had forgotten his promises of preferment, took the opportunity of asking him for the place of one of the fraternity del Piombo, then vacant. The scenes, between the Pontiff and his Artist, are wonderfully edifying, and we shall give them in the author's own words.
"The good Pope no longer recollecting the florid harangue he had made upon my finishing the other work, answered me thus; The place you ask, has annexed to it a salary of above eight hundred crowns a year, so that if you were to have it, you would think of nothing after but indulging yourself, and pampering your body; thus you would entirely forget that admirable art, of which you are at present so great a master, and I should be condemned as the cause of it. I instantly replied, that good cats mouse better to fatten themselves, than merely through hunger; and that men of genius exert their abilities always to most purpose when they are in affluent circumstances; insomuch that those princes, who are most munificent to such men, may be considered as encouraging, and, as it were, watering the plants of genius; left to themselves they wither and die away, 'tis encouragement alone that makes them spring up and flourish. I must, however, inform your holiness, that I did not petition for this preferment, expecting to have it granted me; I looked upon myself as happy in getting the poor place