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motives to cunfirm them in upright-ers through sympathy, and it seems au pess; because they cultivate in them. if we were about to emit from our selves sense, that is common, practical chests a roar to equal their own. reason. A little fiction, a few portraits, What though art has degenerated the least amount of amusement, will even amongst Frenchmen, epigramma suffice to adorn it. This substantial tists, the bepowdered abbés of the eigh food only needs a very simple seasoning. teenth century, it is art still. Beauty is It is not the novelty of the dishes, nor gone, elegance remains. These pretty dainty cookery, but solidity and whole- arch faces, these slender waspish waists, someness, which they seek. For this these delicate arms buried in a nest of reason Essays are Johnson's national lace, these careless wanderings amongst food. It is because they are insipid thickets and warbling fountains, these and dull for Frenchmen that they suit gallant dreams in a lofty chamber fes. the taste of an Englishman. We un- tooned with garlands, all this refined derstand now why they take for a fa- and coquettish society is still charming. vorite the respectable, the tiresome The artist, then as always, gathers the Dr. Samuel Johnson.
flower of things, and cares not for tho rest.
But what was Hogarth's aim ? who X.
ever saw such a painter ? Is he a
painter ? Others make us wish to see I would fain bring together all these what they represent ; he makes us wish features, see these figures; only colors not to see it. and forms complete an idea ; in order Is there any thing more agreeable to to know, we must see. Let us go to paint than a drunken debauch by night? the picture-gallery. Hogarth, the na- the jolly, careless faces; the rich light, tional painter, the friend of Fielding, drowned in shadows which flicker over the contemporary of Johnson, the exact rumpled garments and weighed-down imitator of manners, will show us the bodies. With Hogarth, on the other outward, as these authors have shown hand, what figures ! Wickedness, us the inward.
stupidity, all the vile poison of the We enter these great galleries of art. vilest human passions, drops and distils Painting is a noble thing! It embel- from them. One is shaking on his legs lishes all, even vice. On the four walls, as he stands, sick, whilst a hiccup half under transparent and brilliant glass, opens his besching lips; another howls the torsos rise, flesh palpitates, the hoarsely, like a wretched cur; another, blood's warm current circulates under with bald and broken head, patched up the veined skin, speaking likenesses in places, falls forward on his chest, stand out in the light ; it seems that the with the smile of a sick idiot. We ugly, the vulgar, the odious, have dis- turn over the leaves of Hogarth's works appeared from the world. I no more and the train of odious or bestial faces criticise characters; I have done with appears to be inexhaustible ; features moral rules. I am no longer tempted distorted or deformed, foreheads lumpy to approve or to hate. A man here is or puffed out with perspiring fesh, but a smudge of color, at most a handful hideous grins distended by ferocious of muscles ; I know no longer if he be laughter : one has had his nose bitten a murderer.
off; the next, one-eyed, square-headed, Life, the happy, complete, overflowing spotted over with bleeding warts, whose display, the expansion of natural and red face looks redde under the dazzling corporal powers; this from all sides white wig, smokes slently, full of ran floods and rejoices our eyes. Our limbs cor and spleen ; another, an old man instinctively move by contagious imita- with a crutch, scarlet and bloated, his tion of movenients and forms. Before chin falling on his breast, gazes with the these lions of Rubens, whose deep fixed and starting eyes of a crab. Ho growls rise like thunder to the mouth garth shows the beast in man,and worse, of the cave, before these colossal writh- a mad and murderous, a feeble or en ing torsos, these snouts which grope raged beast. Look at this murderei about skulls, he animal within us quiv- standing over the body of his butchered mistress, with squinting eyes, dis- ceremony would be superfluous. AT torted mouth, grinding his teeth at the the bottom of every cage where he im thought of the blood which stains and prisons a vice, he writes its name and denounces him; or this ruined gambler, adds the condemnation pronounced by who has torn off his wig and kerchief, Scripture; he displays that vice in its and is crying on his knees, with closed ugliness, buries it in its filth, drags it teeth, and fist raised against heaven. to its punishment, so that there is no Look again at this madhouse : the dirty conscience so perverted as not to re'e idiot, with muddy face, filthy hair, ognize it, none so hardened as not to stained claws, who thinks he is playing be horrified at it. on the violin, and has a sheet of music Let us look well, these are lessons for a cap; the religious madman, who which bear fruit. This one is against writhes convulsively on his straw, with gin: on a step, in the open street, lies clasped hands, feeling the claws of the à drunken woman, half naked, with devil in his bowels; the naked and hanging breasts, scrofulous legs; she aaggard raving lunatic whom they are smiles idiotically, and her child, which chaining up, and who is tearing out his she lets fall on the pavement, breaks Aesh with his nails. Detestable Yahoos its skull. Underneath, a pale skeleton, who presume to usurp the blessed light with closed eyes, sinks down with a of heaven, in what brain can you have glass in his hand. Round about, dissiarisen, and why did a painter sully our pation and frenzy drive the tattered eyes with your picture ?
spectres one against another. A wretch It is because his eyes were English, who has hung himself sways to and fro and because the senses in England are in a garret. Gravediggers are putting barbarous. Let us leave our repug.
a naked woman into a coffin. A starvenance behind us, and look at things as ling is gnawing a bare bone side by side Englishmen do, not from without but with a dog. By his side little girls are from within. The whole current of drinking with one another, and a young public thought tends here towards ob- woman is making her suckling swallow servation of the soul, and painting is gin. A madman pitchforks his child, dragged along with literature in the and raises it aloft; he dances and same course. Forget then the forms, laughs, and the mother sees it. they are but lines; the body is here Another picture and lesson, this time only to translate the mind.* This against cruelty, A young murderer has twisted nose, these pimples on a vinous been hung, and is being dissected. He cheek, these stupefied gestures of a is there, on a table, and the lecturer drowsy brute, these wrinkled features, calmly points out with his wand the these degraded forms, only make the places where the students are to work. character, the trade, the whim, the At his sign the dissectors cut the flesh habit stand out more clearly. The and pull. One is at the feet; the artist shows us no longer limbs and second man of science, a sardonic old heads, but debauchery, drunkenness, butcher, seizes a knife with a hand that brutality, hatred, despair, all the dis- looks as if it would do its duty, and eases and deformities of these too thrusts the other hand into the entrails, harsh and unbending wills, the mad which, lower down, are being taken menagerie of all the passions. Not out to be put into a bucket. The last that he lets them loose ; this rude, dog- medical student takes out the eye, and matic, and Christian citizen handles the distorted mouth seems to howl under more vigorously than any of his breth- his hand. Meanwhile a dog seizes the ren the heavy club of morality. He is heart, which is trailing on the grourd; a beef-eating policeman charged with thigh bones and skuil boil by way of instructing and correcting drunken pu- concert, in a copper ; and the doctors kilists. From such a man to such men around coolly exchange surgical jokes * When a character is strongly marked in
on the subject which, piecemeal, is passe living face, it may be considered as an in- ing
away under their scalpois. dex to the mind, to express which with any
Frenchmen will say that such lessons gree of justness in painting, requires the utmost efforts of a great master. --Analysis of are good for barbarians, and that they Beauty.
only half - like these official or laj
preachers, De Foe, Hogarth, Smollett, rect, agreeable, sensible, colorless, and Richardson, Johnson, and the rest. 1 narrow-mindec history. This spirit reply that moralists are useful, and common to Es gland and France, imthat these have changed a state of pressed its for: on an infinite diversity barbarism into one of civilization. of literary works, so that in its univer
. sal manifest ascendency we cannot but recognize the presence of one of those
internal forces which bend and goverp CHAPTER VII.
the course of human genius.
In no branch was it displayed more The Poets.
manifestly than in poetry, and at no time
did it appear more claarly than in the I.
reign of Queen Anne. The poets have
just attained to the art which they had WHEN we take in at one view the before dimly discerned.
For sixty vast literary region in England, extend- years they were approaching it ; now ing from the restoration of the Stuarts they possess it, handle it; they use and to the French Revolution, we perceive exaggerate it. The style is at the same that all the productions, independently time finished and artificial. Let us open of the English character, bear a classical the first that comes to hand, Parnell impress, and that this impress, special or Philips, Addison or Prior, Gay or to this region, is met with neither in the Tickell, we find a certain turn of mind, preceding nor in the succeeding time. versification, language. Let us pass This dominant form of thought is im- to a second, the same form reappears ; posed on all writers from Waller to we might say that they were imitations Johnson, from Hobbes and Temple to of one another. Let us go on to a Robertson and Hume: there is an art third; the same diction, the same aposto which they all aspire; the work of trophes, the same fashion of arranging a hundred and fifty years, practice and an epithet and rounding a period. Let theory, inventions and imitations, ex- us turn over the whole lot; with little amples and criticism, are employed in individual differences, they seem attaining it. They comprehend only be all cast in the same mould ; one one kind of beauty; they establish only is more epicurean, another more morthe precepts which may produce it; al, another more biting ; but a noble they re-write, translate, and disfigure language, an oratorical pomp, a clason its pattern the great works of other sical correctness, reign throughout; ages; they carry it into all the different the substantive is accompanied by kinds of literature, and succeed or fail its adjective, its knight of honor ; an. in them according as it is adapted to tithesis balances its symmetrical ar them or not. The sway of this style chitecture; the verb, as in Lucan or is so absolute, that it is imposed on the Statius, is displayed, flanked on each greatest, and condenins them to impo- side by a noun decorated by an epithet; tence when they would apply it beyond we would say that it is of a uniform its dumain. The possession of this make, as if fabricated by a machine : siyle is so universal, that it is met we forget what it wishes to mak: with in the weakest authors, and raises known; we are tempted to count th: them to the height of talent when they measure on our fingers; we know be apply it in its domain. * This it is forehand what poetical ornaments ar: which brings to perfection prose, dis- to embellish it. There is a theatric: course, essay, dissertation, narration, dressing, contrasts, allusions, mytholi and all the productions which form gical elegance, Greek or Latin quota part of conversation and eloquence. tions. There is a scholastic solidity, This it is which destroyed the old sententious maxims, philosophic com. drama, debased the new, impoverished monplaces, moral developments, ora and diverted poetry, produced a cor- torical exactness. We might imagine Paul Louis Courier (1772-1825) says,
ourselves to be before a family of lady's maid, in Louis XIV. s time, wrote 'de plants; if the size, color, accessories, ter than the grootage of modern writers.” names diffra, the fandamental tym
does not vary; the stamens are of ed Alcander. For eight years shut up in the same number, similarly inserted a little house in Windsor Forest, ha around similar pistils, above leaves read all the best critics, almost all the arranged on the same plan; a man who English, Latin, and French poets who knows one knows all; there is a com- had a reputation, Homer, the Greek mon organism and structure which in- poets, and a few of the great ones in the volves the uniformity of the rest. If original, Tasso and Ariosto in translawe review the whole family we will tions, with such assiduity, that he doubtless find there some characteris- nearly died from it. He did not search tic plant which dispiays the type in a in them for passions, but style: there clear light, whilst all around it and by was never a more devoted adorer, never degrees it alters, degenerates, and at a more precocious master of form. last loses itself in the surrounding fami- Already his taste showed itself : lies. So here we see classical art find amongst all the English poets his favor. its centre in the neighbors of Pope, and ite was Dryden, the least inspired and above all in Pope himself ; then, after the most classical. He perceived his being half effaced, mingle with foreign career. He states that Mr. Walsh elements until it disappears in the told him there was one way left of poetry which succeeded it. *
excelling. “ We had several great
poets,” he said, “but we never had one II.
great poet that was correct; and he In 1688, at a linen draper's in Lom-aim." * He followed this advice, tried
advised me to make that my study and bard Street, London, was born a little, his hand in translations of Ovid and delicate, and sickly creature, by nature Statius, and in recasting parts of old artificial, constituted beforehand for a Chaucer. He appropriated all the studious existence, having no taste but poetic elegancies and excellences, stored for books, who from his early youth de them up in his memory; he arranged rived his whole pleasure from the con- in his head a complete dictionary of all templation of printed books. He cop happy epithets, all ingenious turns of ied the letters, and thus learned to expression, all sonorous rhythms by write. He passed his infancy with which a poet may exalt, render precise, them, and was a verse-maker as soon illuminate an idea. He was like those as he knew how to speak. At the age little musicians, infant prodigies, who, of twelve he had written a little tragedy brought up at the piano, suddenly acout of the Iliad, and an Ode on Solitude. quire a marvellous touch, roll out From thirteen to fifteen he composed a scales, brilliant shakes, make the oclong epic of four thousand verses, call- taves vault with an agility and accuracy
• The Rev. Whitwell Elwin, in his second which drive off the stage the most fa. volume of the Works of Alexander Pope, at mous performers. At seventeen, becomthe end of his introduction to An Essay on ing acquainted with old Wycherley, who Man, p. 338, says: “M. Taine asserts that from the Restoration to the French Revolu- was sixty-nine, he undertook, at his re. tion, from Waller to Johnson, from Hobbes quest, to correct his poems, and cor. and Ten n'e to Robertson and Hume, all our rected them so well, that the other was literatur oth prose and verse, bears the impress of lessic art. The mode, he says, cul- at once charmed and mortified. Pope minated in the reign of Queen Anne, and Pope, blotted out, added, recast, spoke frank. he considers, was the extreme example of it. ly, and eliminated firmly The author,
Many of the most eminent authors who in spite of himself, admired the cor. dourished between the English Restoration wrote in a style far removed from that which rections secretly, and tried openly to M. Taine calls classical. The verse dif- make light of them, until at last, in fers like the prose, though in a less degree, vanity, wounded at owing so much tu and is not of a uniform make, as if fabricated so yočng a man, and at finding a mas by a machine." Neither is the substance of the prose and verse, from the Restoration to
ter in a scholar, ended by breaking the French Revolution, an invariable common- off an intercourse by which he profited rense mediocrity. ... There is much truth in and suffered too much. For the scholar bis (M. Taine's) view, that there was a grow had at the outset carried the art be ing tendency to cultivate style, and in some ters the art degenerated into the artificial." * R. Carruthen, Life of Alexander Popa T.
ad ed. 1857, ch. i. 33.
yond any of the masters. At sixteen * on a flannel waistcoat ;" * next came a his Pastorals bore witness to a correct sort of fur doublet, for the least thing ness which no one had possessed, not made him shiver; and lastly, a thick even Dryden. When people observed linen shirt, very warm, with fine these choice words, these exquisite sleeves. Over all this he wore a black arrangements of melodious syllables, garment, a tye-wig, a little sword this science of division and rejection, thus equipped, he went and took his this style so fluent and pure, these place at the table of his great friend, graceful images rendered still more the Earl of Oxford. He was so small, graceful by the diction, and all this that he had to be raised on a chair of artificial and many-tinted garland of his own; so bald, that when he had no fluwers which Pope called pastoral, company he covered his head with a hey thought of the first eclogues of velvet cap; so punctilious and exactVirg!. Mr. Walsh declared that it ing, that the footmen evaded going his is not flattery at all to say that Virgil errands, and the Earl had to discharge had written nothing so good at his several“ for their resolute refusal of ige.”+ When later they appeared in a his messages.” At dinner he ate too volume, the public was dazzled. “You much ; like a spoiled child, he would have only displeased the critics," wrote have highly seasoned dishes, and thus Wycherley, "by pleasing them too "would oppress his stomach with re. well.” | The same year the poet of pletion.” “When cordials were offered twenty-one finished his Essay on Criti- him, he got angry, but did not refuse cism, a sort of Ars Poetica : it is the them. Ře had all the appetite and kind of poem a man might write at the whims of an old child, an old invalid, end of his career, when he has handled an old author, an old bachelor. We all modes of writing and has grown are prepared to find him whimsical grey in criticism ; and in this subject, and susceptible. He often, without of which the treatment demands' the saying a word, and without any known experience of a whole literary life, he cause, quitted the house of Lord Oxo was at the first onset as ripe as Boi- ford, and the footmen had to go releau.
peatedly with messages to bring him What will this consummate musician, back. If Lady Mary Wortley, his forwho begins by a treatise on harmony, mer poetical divinity, were unfortunatemake of his incomparable mechanism ly at table, there was no dining in and his science as a teacher? It is peace; they would not fail to contra. well to feel and think before writing ; dict, peck at each other, quarrel; and a full source of living ideas and real one or other would leave the room. He passions is necessary to make a genuine would be sent for and would return, poet, and in him, seen closely, we find but he brought his hobbies back with that every thing, to his very person, is him. He was as crafty and malignant as scanty and artificial ;' he was a dwarf, a nervous abortion, which he was; when four feet high, contorted, hunchbacked, he wanted any thing, he dared not ask thin, valetudinarian, appearing, when for it plainly; with hints and contriv. he arrived at maturity, no longer ca ances of speech he induced people to pable of existing. He could not get mention it, to bring it forward, after up himself, a woman dressed him ; he which he would make use of it. “ Thus wore three pairs of stockings, drawn he teased Lord Orrery till he obtained in one over the other, so slender were
He hardly drank tea withais legs; "when he rose, he was in- out a stratagem. Lady Bolingbroke rested in bodice made of stiff canvas, used to say that he played the polibeing scarce able to hold himself erect tician about cabbages and turnips."" + till they were laced, and he then put The rest of his life is not much more
noble. He wrote libels on the Duke * It is very doubtful whether Pope was not of Chandos, Aaron Hill, Lady Mary older than sixteen when he wrote the Pasto-Wortley, and then lied or equivocated rals. See, on this subject, Pepe's Works, ed. Elwin, London 1871, i. 239. et passim.-Tá. Johnson, Lives of the most eminen Pope's Works, ed. Elvin, i. 233.
lish Poets, 3 vols., ed. Cunningham, 1854. Pope, üi. 96.
Ibid. A. Pope, iii. 90