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From a paper on the Fine Art) of old in England, in Blackwood's Magazine.
The sex and character of Elizabeth herself was no weak ingredient in the poetic spirit of the time. Loyalty and gallantry blended in the adoration paid her; and the supremacy which she claimed and exercised over the church, invested her regality with a sacred unction that pertained not to feudal sovereigns. It is scarce too much to say, that the virgin-queen appropriated the Catholic honours of the Virgin Mary. She was as great as Diana of the Ephesiaus. The moon shone but to furnish a type of her bright and stainless maidenhood. To magnify her greatness, the humility of courtly adulation merged in the ecstasies of Platonic love. She was charming by indefeasible right j—aj'ure divino beauty. Her fascinations multiplied with her wrinkles, and her admirers might have anticipated the conceit of Cowley,
* The antipevistoisis of age
It is easy for a Whig, or a Puritan, or any other unimaginative blockhead, to cry out against all this as nauseous flattery, and assert that after all she was rather an unpoeticul personage than otherwise—a coarse-minded old maid, half prude, hall coquette, whose better part was mannish, and all that belonged to her sex a ludicrous exaggeration of its weaknesses. But meanwhile, they overlook the fact, that not the woman Elizabeth, but the Virgin-queen, the royal heroine, i* the theme of admiration. Not the petty virtues, the pretty sensibilities, the cheap charity, the prim decorum, which modern flatterers dwell upon, degrading royalty, while they palaver its possessor, but Britannia's sacred majesty, enshrined in chaste and lofty womanhood. Our ancestors paid their compliments to sex or rank—ours are addressed to the person. There is no flattery where there is no falsehood— no falsehood where there is no deception. Loyalty of old was a passion, and
Jmssion has a truth of its own-i—and as anguage does not always furnish expressions exactly adapted, or native to the feeling, what can the loyal poet do, but take the most precious portion of the currency, and impress it with the mint-mark of his own devoted fancy? Perhaps there never was a more panegyrical rhymer than Spenser, and yet, so fine and ethereal is his incense, that the breath of morning is not more cool and salutary :—
• It fallf me here to write of Chastity
But neither Zeuxis nor Praxiteles was called from the dead to mar her perfections, nor record her negative charms. Poetry was the only art that flourished in the Virgin reign. The pure Gothic, after attaining its full efflorescence under Henry VII., departed, never to return. The Grecian orders were not only absurdly jumbled together, but yet more outrageously conglomerated with the Gothic and Arabesque. "To gild refined gold—to paint the lily," was all the humour of it. A similar inconsistency infected literature. The classic and the romantic (to use those terms, which, though popular, are not logically exact) were interwoven. The Arcadia and the FairyQ ueen are glorious offences, which "make defect perfection." Perhaps, Shakspeare's "small Latin and less Greek," preserved him from worse anachronisms than any that he has committed. Queen Bess's patronage was of the national breed: she loved no pictures so well as portraits of herself. A»i however, her painters have not flattered her, it may not uncharitably be concluded that they were no great deacons in their craft. It is a much easier thing to assure a homely female, in prose or rhyme, that she is beautiful, than to represent her so upon canvass. Her effigies are, I believe, pretty numerous, varying in ugliness, but none that I have seen even handsome—prettiness, of course, is out of the question. She was fond of finery, but had no taste in dress. Her ruff is downright odious j and the liberal exposure of her neck and bosom anything but alluring. With all her pearls about her, she looks like a pawnbroker's lady bedizened for an Easter ball, with all the unredeemed pledges from her husband's shop. She seems to have patronized that chimera in the ideal or allegorical portrait, at which Reubens and Sir Joshua were so often doomed to toil. She would not allow a shadow in her picture, arguing, like a Chinese, or a chop-logic, that shade is only an accident, and no true property of body. Like Alexander, who
forbade all sculptors' but Lysippus to carve his image, she prohibited all but special cunning limners from drawing her effigy. This was in 1563, anno regni 5, while, though no chicken, she still was not clean past her youth. This order was probably intended to prevent caricatures. At last she quarrelled with her looking-glass as well as her painters, and her maids of honour removed all mirrors from her apartments, as carefully as Ministers exclude opposition papers (we hope not Maga) from the presence of our most gracious sovereign. It is even said, that those fair nettles of India took advantage of her weakness, to dress her head awry, and to apply the rouge to her nose, instead of her cheeks. So may the superannuated eagle be pecked at by daws. But the tale is not probable. After all, it is but the captious inference of witlings and scoHer s, that attributes to mere sexual vanity that superstitious horror of encroaching age, from which the wisest are not always free. It may be, that they shrink from the reflection of their wrinkles, not as from the despoilers of beauty, but as from the vaunt-couriers of dissolution. In rosy youth, while yet the brow is alabaster-veined with Heaven's own tint, and the dark tresses turn golden in the sun, the lapse of time is imperceptible as the throbbing of a heart at ease. "So like, so very like, is day to day,"—one primrose scarce more like another. Whoever saw their first grey hairs, or marked the crow-feet at the angle of their eyes, without a sigh or a tear, a momentous self-abasement, a sudden sinking of the soul, a thought that youth is flown for ever? None but the blessed few that, having dedicated their spring of life.to Heaven, behold in the shedding of their vernal blossoms, a promise that the season of immortal fruit is near. It is a frailty, almost an instance of humanity, to aim at concealing that from others, of which ourselves are painfully conscious. The herculean Johnson keenly resented the least allusion to the shortness of his sight. So entirely is man a social animal, so dependent are all his feelings for their very existence upon communication and sympathy, that the "fee griefs," which none but ourselves are privy to, are forgotten as soon as they are removed from the senses. The artifices to which so many have recourse to conceal their declining years, are often intended more to soothe themselves, than to impose on others. This aversion to growing old is specially natural and excusable in the celibate and the
childless. The borrowed curls, the pencilled eyebrows,
* The steely-prison'd shape,
the various cosmetic secrets, well-known to the middle ages, not only of the softer sex, are not unseemly in a spinster, so long as they succeed in making her look young. They are intolerable in a mother of any age. But we, my dear CHristo
})her, resigned and benevolent old bacheors as we are, can well appreciate the vanity of the aged heart, that sees not its youth renewed in any growing dearer self. Nothing denotes the advances of life, at once so surely and so pleasantly as children springing up around a good man's table. Perhaps our famous Queen, in her latter days, though full of honours as of years, would gladly have changed places with the wife of any yeoman that had a child to receive her last blessing, whose few acres were not to pass away to the hungry expecting son of a hated rival. Her virginity was not like that of Jephthah's daughter, a freewill offering to the Lord. Pride, and policy, and disappointment, and, it may be, hopeless, self-condemned affection, conspired to perpetuate it. Probably it was well for England that no offspring of hers inherited her throne. By some strange ordinance of nature, it generally happens that these wonderful clever women produce idiots or madmen.— Witness Semiramis, Agrippina, Catherine de Medicis, Mary de Medicis, Catherine of Russia, and Lady Wortley Montague. One miniature of Elizabeth I have seen, which, though not beautiful, is profoundly interesting: it presents her as she was in the days of her danger and captivity, when the same wily policy, keeping its path, even while it seemed to swerve, was needful to preserve her life, that afterwards kept her firm on a throne. Who was the artist that produced it? I know not; but it bears the strongest marks of authenticity, if to be exactly what a learned spirit would fancy Elizabeth — young, a prisoner, and in peril—be evidence of true portraiture. There is pride, not aping humility, but wearing it as a well-beseeming habit;— there is passion, strongly controlled by the will, but not extinct, neither dead nor sleeping, but watchful and silent; brows sternly sustaining a weight of care, after which a crown could be but light; a manly intellect, allied with fe. male craft;—but nonsense! it will be said; no colours whatever could represent all this, and that, too, in little, for the picture was among Bone's enamels.
Well, then, it suggested it all. Perhaps the finest Madonna ever painted would be no more than a meek, pious, pretty woman, and an innocent child, if we knew not whom it was meant for.
THE HAUNTED HOUSE.
Some banquet-hall deserted,
Si-Est thou yon grey gleaming ball,
Soft and low:
Pale, yet sweet.
There still meet!
Dark and dread,
Thus been shed?
tfew Monthly Magazine.
A snapper up of unconsidered trifles.
In 1760. a Mr. Cross was prompter ai Drury Lane Theatre, and a Mr. Saunders the principal machinist. Saunders
laboured under an idea that he was qualified for a turf-man, and, like most who are afflicted with that disorder, suffered severely. The animals he kept, instead of being safe running horses lor him, generally made him a safe stalkinghorse for others. Upon one occasion he came to the theatre m great ill-humour, having just received the account of a race which he had lost. Cross was busily engaged in writing, and cross at the interruption he met with from Saunders's repeated exclamations against his jockey; he at length looked up, and said impatiently, " His fault—his fault— how was it his fault?" "Why,'' said Saunders, "the d — d rascal ran my horse against a wagon." "Umph!" replied Cross, "I never knew a norse of yours that was fit to run against any thing else!''
A musician of the name of Goodall, who belonged to the orchestra of the Theatre Royal, Richmond, in 1767, was fonder of his, or any other man's, bottle than his own bassoon. The natural consequence was, that he frequently failed in his attendances at the theatre. Upon one occasion, after an absence of a week, he returned in the middle of the performances for the evening. A piece was being acted called the "Intriguing Chambermaid," in which there is a character of an old gentleman called Mr. Goodall, who comes on as from a journey, followed by a servant carrying his portmanteau. To him there enters a lady, Mrs. Highman, whose first exclamation is, "Bless my eyes, what do I see? Mr. Goodall returned?" At that precise moment Old Goodall happened to put his head into the orchestra, and fancying himself addressed, called out, "Lord bless you, ma'am, I've been here this half hour."
Old Storace (the father of the celebrated composer) had lost nearly all his teeth at rather an early period of his life. This, to one who was decidedly a bon vivant, was a great annoyance. A dentist of eminence undertook to supply the defect: he drew the few teeth which remained, and fitted the patient with an entire new set, which acted by means of springs, and were removable at pleasure. The operation was so skilfully performed, and the resemblance so good, that Storace flattered himself that no one could discover the deception. Being one day in company with Foster (a performer in the Drury Lane orchestra, and one celebrated among his companions for quaintness and humour), he said, " Now, Foster, I'll surprise you— I'll show you something you never could have guessed." So saying, he took out the ivory teeth, and exclaimed with an air of triumph, "There, what do you think of that?" "Poh! nonsense! surprise me," replied Foster, " I knew perfectly well they were false." "How the devil could you know that?'' said Storrce. "Why," rejoined Foster, " / never knew anything true come out of of your mouth!''—Atherueum.
The King of Prussia, in his correspondence with Voltaire, relates the following anecdote of the Czar Peter, as illustrative of Russian despotism :—" I knew Printz, the great marshal of the court of Prussia, who had been ambassador to the Czar Peter, in the reign of the late king. The commission with which he was charged proving very acceptable, the prince was desirous of giving him conspicuous marks of his satisfaction, and for this purpose a sumptuous banquet was prepared, and to which Printz was invited. They drank brandy, as is customary with the Russians, and they drank it to a brutal excess. The Czar, who wished to give a particular grace to the entertainment, sent for twenty of the Strelitz Guards, who were confined in the prisons of Petersburgh, and for every large bumper which they drank, this hideous monster struck off the head of one of these wretches. As a particular mark of respect, this unnatural prince was desirous of procuring the ambassador the pleasure (as he called it) of trying his skill upon these miserable creatures. The Czar was disposed to be angry at his refusul, and could not help betraying signs of his displeasure." W. G. C.
Poliarchus, the Athenian, according to jElian, when any of the dogs or cocks that he particularly loved, happened to die, was so foolish as to honour them with a public funeral, and buried them with great pomp, accompanied by his friends, whom he invited on the solemn occasion. Afterwards he caused monumental pillars to be erected, on which were engraven their epitaphs.* John Eslah.
THE ENGLISH LANGUAGE.
AscHAM, in the Epistle prefixed to his "Toxophiius," 1571, observes that
* Tho late Duchess of York paid tlie latter honours to her little canine friends, at Oatlands.
"ManyeEnglishewritersusingestraunge wordes as Lattine, Frenche, and Italian, do make al thinges darke and harde. Ones,'' says he, "I communed with a man which reasoned the Englishe tongue to be enriched and encreased thereby, sayinge, Who will not prayse that feast, where a man .shall drincke at a dinner both wyne, ale, and beere? Truly (quoth I) they be al good every one taken by itself alone; but if you put malmesye and sack, redde wyne and white, ale and beere, and al in one pot, you shall make a drinke neither easye to be knowen, nor holsom for the bodye." A. V.
When King James I. first saw the public library at Oxford, and perceived the little chains by which the books were fastened, he expressed his wish that if ever it should be his fate to be a prisoner, this library might be his prison, those books his fellow prisoners, and the chains his fetters. J. E. H.
On a Marine Officer, in the churchyard of Barutick-in-Elmet, Yorkshire.
Here lies, retired from busy scenes,
Now stripp'd of all his warlike show,
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