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death to vanish in a dark eternity. Demon forms which are truly American, it may be said that are gathering around him. Horror-struck, the they give a more correct and comprehensive idea Pilgrim lets fall his staff, and turns in despair to of our glorious scenery, than do the productions the long-neglected and forgotten Cross. Veiled of any other American artist. Iu looking upon in melancholy night, behind a peak of the moun- bis better pictures of American scenery we fortain, it is lost to his view forever.
get the pent up city, and our hearts flutter with The above pictures are in the possession of the a joy allied to that which we may suppose ani
mates the woodland bird, when listening in its We did think of describing at length all the solitude to the hum of the wilderness. Perpetimaginative productions of our great master in ual freedom, perpetual and unalloyed happiness, landscape, but upon further reflection we have seem to breathe from every object which he porconcluded merely to record their titles, by way trays, and as the eye wanders along the mounof giving our readers an idea of the versatility tain declivities, or mounts still farther up on the of Cole's genius. They are as follows:—The chariot-looking clouds, as we peer into the transDeparture and Return, which is a poetical repre- lucent waters of his lakes and streams, or witness sentation of the Feudal Times, The Cross in the the solemn grandeur and gloom of his forests, we Wilderness, Il Penseroso, L'Allegro, The Past cannot but wonder at the marvellous power of and Present, The Architect's Dream, Dream of Ar-genius. The style of our artist is bold and mascadia, The Erpulsion of Adam and Eve, and terly. While he did not condescend to delineate Prometheus Bound. As the last mentioned pic-every leaf and sprig which may be found in nature is owned in England, and is unquestionably ture, yet he gave you the spirit of the scene. To one of the wildest and most splendid efforts of do this is the province of genius, and an attainthe painter's pencil, we cannot refrain from a ment beyond the reach of mere talent. The brief description. The scene represented is productions of Cole appeal to the intellect more among the snow-covered peaks of a savage than to the heart, and we should imagine that mountain land, and to the loftiest peak of all, is Milton was his favorite poet. He loved the unchained the being who gives the picture a name. common efforts in nature, and was coostantly givImmediately in the foreground, is a pile of rocks ing birth to new ideas. He had a passion for and broken trees, which give a fine effect to the the wild and tempestuous, and possessed an imdistant landscape, while, just above this fore-agination of the highest order. He was also a ground, is a solitary vulture slowly ascending to lover of the beautiful and occasionally executed the upper air, to feast upon its victim. The idea a picture full of quiet summer-like sentiment: of leaving the devouring scene to the imagina- but his joy was to depict the scenery of our tion, could only have been conceived by the mountain land, when clothed in the rich garnimind of the most accomplished artist. The ture of autumn. He was the originator of a time represented is early morning-and the cold new style, and is now a most worthy member of blue ocean of the sky is studded with one bril- that famous brotherhood of immortals whom we liant star, which represents Jupiter, by whose remember by the names of Lorraine, Poussin, order Prometheus was chained to the everlasting Rosa, Wilson and Gainsborough. rock.
The name of Cole is one which his countryThis is one of the most truly sublime pictures men should not willingly let die. A man of fine, We have ever seen, and possesses all the quali- exalted genius, by his pencil he has accomplished ties which constitute an epic production. The much good, not only to his chosen art, by beunity of the design is admirable, -one figure, one coming oue of its masters, but eminently so in a prominent mountain, a cleudless sky, one lonely moral point of view. And this reminds us of siar, one representative of the feathery tribes, the influences, which may be exerted by the landand one cluster of rocks for the foreground, -scape painter. That these are of importance no and it is also completely covered with an atmos- one can deny. Is not painting as well the exphere which gives every object before us a dreamy pression of thought as writing ? With his penappearance. In point of execution we cannot cil, if he is a wise and good man, the artist may possibly find a fault with this glorious picture, portray, to every eye that rests upon his canvass, and we do not believe that the idea of the poet the loveliness of virtue and religion, or the dewas ever better illustrated by any landscape formity and wretchedness of a vicious life. He
may warn the worldling of his folly and impendWith regard to the actual views and other less ing doom, and encourage the Christian in his ambitious productions of Cole, we can only say pilgrimage to heaven. He may delineate the that the entire number might be estimated at marvellous beauty of nature, so as to lead the about one hundred. The majority of them are mind upward to its Creator, or proclaim the ravillustrative of European scenery, but of those ages of time, that we may take heed to our ways
and prepare ourselves for a safe departure from with great independence, and to have denied the this world, into that beyond the Valley of the immortality of song to such as were unworthy of Shadow of Death. A goodly portion of all these it. Hence it was not uncommon for the leaders things have been accomplished by Thomas Cole. to place them near their own persons when going As yet, he is the only landscape painter in this into battle: that the Scalds might be eye-witnesees country who has attempted imaginative paint of the prowess which they were expected to ing, and the success which has followed him in commemorate. Thus the warlike temper of the his career, even in a pecuniary point of view, af- nation and the heroic spirit of the bards stimufords great encouragement to our younger paint-lated each other, and united to swell the tide of ers in this department of the art. He has set a war, upon which the Gothic conquerors rede noble example, which ought to be extensively fol- triumphantly over the armies of the Roman lowed. Observe, we do not mean by this that his Empire. subjects ought to be imitated. Far from it; be- The Anglo-Saxons, and perhaps their predecause they are not stamped with as decided a cessors, the Britons, were descendants of these national character, as the productions of all paint- fierce barbarians: the Danes were a later swarm ers should be. Excepting his actual views of from the same great northern hive: and even the American scenery, the paintings of Cole might Normans were but the remote progeny of kinhave been produced had he never set foot upon dred-tribes who had possessed themselves of a our soil. Let our young artists aspire to some part of Gaul some centuries before the memothing above a mere copy of nature, or even rable invasion of England. In the bistory and a picture of the fancy; let them paint the traditions of them all, antiquarians trace the visions of their imagination. No other country presence and agency of the old bards; modified, ever offered such advantages as our own. Let at one time, by local circumstances—at another our young painters use their pencils to illustrate by revolutions in the political or social condition the thousand scenes, strange, wild, and beautiful, of the people; and changing their pame and of our early history. Let them aim high, and character with the vicissitudes of language and ! their achievements will be distinguished. Let manners. It is related of the great Alfred, that them remember that theirs is a noble destiny. in the year 878 he entered the Danish camp
in What though ancient wisdom and modern poe- the disguise of a minstrel, accompanied by obe try have told us that “art is long and time is trusty friend who officiated as barp-bearer. Sefleeting !"—let them toil and persevere with na-cure of hospitable treatment in his assumed ebarture as their guide, and they will assuredly have acter, he had leisure to survey all their military their reward.
arrangements, and to plan the attack, which resulted in the overthrow of the invaders. Sinty years afterwards the Danish king Aulaff (er Olave) tried the same experiment upon the Saron, Athelstan, but with different success. He got
out of the camp in safety: but was observed to ENGLISH BALLADS.
bury the money which he had received ; which
circumstance excited suspicion and led to a disThe earliest poets of Europe were the Scalds, covery of the stratagem. Whether these tales or bards of the Scandinavian tribes. Their name be received with implicit credit or not, it is sair is explained to mean “Smoothers (or Polishers) of to presume that they must have accorded with Language;" though some derive it from “skal,” the manners of the age in which they gained a word which often occurs in their poems. Com- currency and belief. And, thus considered, they ing from the East, with Odin and his followers, prove not only that the Danes and Saxon te when those wild hordes overran the countries tained their hereditary regard for the masters of which lie along the shores of the Baltic, they song, but that, even in time of war and amid boscelebrated in verse the great wants in the history tile armies, their profession entitled them to great of their people, and the martial renown of their and peculiar privileges. kings and heroes. They were held in the high- Among the Normans the combined arts of pir est esteem and reverence-were honored with etry and music (acts always combined in their the companionship of monarchs and warriors— infancy, and separated only in a very advanced and looked up to by the inferior classes with su- state of society) were cultivated to a much higher perstitious veneration. It was their province to degree of excellence than among their conteripreserve
of glorious deeds of arms, poraries. Their minstrels preceded by mort and to transmit to posterity the fame of the illus- than half a century the famous Troubadours of trious brave. Unlike the laureates of later days. Provence, who exerted so large an influence over they are said to have exercised their high calling the poetry of France, Italy and Spain. And
one of the most romantic incidents connected memories of former days, and loved the native with the Norman Conquest is to be found in the tongue which preserved them. To all these the conduct of Taillefer, a minstrel, at the battle of Saxon harper or gleeman was still a welcome Hastings. Having obtained the permission of guest, and oftentimes a favored officer in the serWilliam he advanced to the combat, in front of vice of the great. In process of time the vigor of the Norman army, rousing the hearts of his coun- the old language prevailed over its more polished trymen by chanting ballads in praise of Charle- but weaker antagonist: and, enriched by addimagne, and of the gallant peers who fell at Ron- tions, not only from the modern dialects of Eucesvalles : till at last inflamed by the ardor with rope, but from the classic originals of Greece which he sought to inspire others, he rushed for- and Rome, it has become the nervous, varied ward into the thickest ranks of the Britons and, and comprehensive English of the present day. fighting desperately, was slain. *
But while “the pure well of English undefiled" During the first ages after the Norman Con- has been certainly replenished and refreshed by quest, the language of the conquerors was the the tributes thus poured into it, we have to laonly one spoken and written at Court. In the ment, on the other hand, the loss of the early Norman French, therefore, the minstrels, who ballads and romances, the diction of which was aspired to please noble ladies and knights, com- rendered by these changes obsolete and uncouth. posed their romances : and hence the productions Ritson, a critic of unsurpassed erudition and of Englishmen, at that period, are very difficult acuteness, gives it as his opinion, that not more to be distinguished from those of their contem- than two ballads have descended to us of a higher poraries in France. Another cause has con- antiquity than the age of Elizabeth : though Dr. tribated to this confusion. We refer to the com- Percy and other eminent scholars have received mon usufruct, which all the romances of Europe a much larger number as genuine productions of then enjoyed, in the heroes of chivalry and their the preceding reigns. However, this may be, it adventures. So that an English poem about is obvious, that almost all of the ballads now exKing Arthur or Charlemagne, Roland or Sir tant are either modernized versions of the older Lancelot, would have been nearly, or quite, the poems, translated as it were (time after time) same thing in subject matter, dialect and style, as from a dead into a living dialect, or acknowledged if it had been produced on the other side of the imitations of them, which have attempted only channel.
to clothe the substance of the ancient poesy in But the exclusive preference of the Court and the familiar phraseology of the eighteenth cennobility for their hereditary language was not at tury. Both of these processes, while they have all shared by the middle and lower classes of the added to the smoothness and elegance of the conquered Saxons-nor by the relics of their verse, have detracted not a little from its boldaristocracy, who cherished in retirement the ness, energy and fire: as will readily appear to
the reader of taste, who will take the pains to * This occurrence is almost literally described in the
compare the few genuine reliques which have exquisite “ Troubadour" of Hortense Beauharnais, and
come down to us, with the paraphrases and imiseems certainly to have suggested it. The noble author
tations already alluded to. Be was born too late. She was far better fitted to grace
We cannot choose a better illustration of these the age of ebivalry, as it appears to us in poeni and ro. remarks than that which is to be found in the bance, than to be lost in the theatrical parade and vulgar two versions of “Chevy Chase” now extant: Dagnificence of the Court of Napoleon. We subjoin the last verse of the ballad referred to, and the translation by cribed an earlier date than the reign of Eliza
although even to the elder of the two is not as
beth, while the later one was so old, in the time "Ce troubadour, pour prix de sa vaillance, of Addison, as to have been mistaken by him for
Trouva bientôt le irepas en chemin; li expira sous le fer d'un lance,
its more venerable predecessor. His admirable Nommant sa belle, et chantant son refrain.
critique upon this ballad, in Nos. 70 and 74 of
the Spectator, is familiar to every English reader, Mon cæor a mon amie
as well as the eulogium of the gallant Sir Philip Mourir gairent pour la gloire et l'amour, Sidney, there quoted, which obviously referred C'est le devoir d'un vaillant troubadour !" to the old ballad—“I never heard the old song Alas! upon the bloody field
of Peirce and Douglas, that I found not my heart He fell beneath the foeman's glaive :
moved more than with a trumpet; and yet it is But still, reclining on bis shield,
sung but by some blinde crowder, with no rougher Expiring, song the exulling stave:
voice than rude style; which beeing so evil apMy life it is my country's right, My beart is in my larly's bower;
parelled in the dust and cobweb of that uncivill For love and fame to fall in fight, age, what would it work, trimmed in the
gorgeBecomes the valiant Troubadour.
ous eloquence of Pindare!” We fully agree, by
Sir Walter Scott.
Mon bras a ma patrie
way, with the illustrious critic in his dissent, more reason to lament, that it did not enjoy the from this objection of Sir Philip to the rude style good fortune of Addison's acquaintance : whose and evil apparel which (in his eyes) disfigured keen appreciation of the merits of the paraphrase the beauty of the poem. It would have been no sufficiently indicates what would have been his gainer by being travestied in the fashionable ele- admiration of the original. gance and quaintness of Sydney's contempora- The following quotations from the two ballada ries ; nor even by assuming the classic attire and will serve to exhibit the contrasts in style and the lyric fervors of the Grecian bard. We have language, already suggested :Old Version.
While the English are busily engaged in “ the noble heart, purposes to spare the lives of their bryttlynge off the deare,” and while the Percy respective followers, and to decide the quarre! is in the act of expressing his chagrin at the non- between Percy and himself by single combat. appearance of Douglas, according to the chal- To this Percy eagerly consents: but their purlenge sent and accepted, the Scottish army is pose is defeated by the resolute spirit of an Eagseen approaching—“twenty hundrith spearmen lish squire, named Wytharynton or Withoringbold :” and the “fifteen hundrith archares” of ton, whose refusal to stand idly by, as a specta merry England make ready to receive them. tor, brings on a general engagement. Douglas, with the courage and humanity of a
The battle was commenced, as usual, by the other. A fierce conflict ensues between them; English archers; whose cloth-yard shafts told followed by a short breathing time, and what fatally upon their enemy, at a distance too great Addison aptly terms “a generous parley." Their for the employment of other weapons. But the discourse is unhappily cut short by an English intrepid advance of the Scottish spearmen soon arrow, which stretches Douglas dead upon the placed them foot to foot with their adversaries ; field : and his loss is speedily revenged by the who now threw aside bows and arrows and fall of his gallant foe, beneath the spear of Sir fought no less valiantly, sword in hand. And Hugh Montgomery. now also the heroic leaders encountered each Old Version.
The Ynglysbbe men let thear bowes be,
And pulde owt brandes”, that wer bright; It was a bevy sight to se
Bryght swordes on basuites 60 lyght.
They closed full fast on every side
Noe slacknes there was found;
Lay gasping on the ground.