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Dwelling apart from the tide of public may appear almost too homely and commonopinion, they know nothing of its influence place to be admitted under the character of or power, and having established their own poetical; but in their relation to the social opinions, formed for themselves from their affections, and to the principles of happiness personal observation, their sentiments and re- —that happiness which is rational, intellecmarks are characterised by their originality, tual, and moral, they are in themselves and their affections by their depth. They highly poetical, and must often be recurred are in fact, though less polished, less artifi- to with tenderness and interest; at the same cial, and less learned in mere facts than time that they supply the bard with subjects their brethren and sisters of the city, infi- of pathos and pictures of delight. nitely more poetical, because their expres- Perhaps it may better please the fanciful sions convey more meaning, their sentiments reader to turn to themes of a more imaginare more genuine, and their feelings more ary and unsubstantial nature, of which we fresh from the heart.
find an endless variety in the associations In speaking of the intimate knowledge of afforded by rural habits, pursuits, and scenes. individual character which rural life affords We have observed in the former part of this abundant opportunities of obtaining, we work, that scarcely a beast, a bird, a trec, must not omit to mention the sum of happi- a flower, or any other visible object exists, ness derived from this knowledge when it ex- without an ideal as well as a real character; tends amongst our domestics, labourers, and but we have not yet entered upon that redependent poor. The master of a family in gion of poetic thought which is peopled with the country resembles a little feudal lord, and the imaginary beings of heathen superstiif he makes a generous use of his authority, tion, and which to the mind that is deeply may be served as faithfully, and obeyed as impressed with the beautiful imagery of implicitly through love, as any old English classic lore, is perpetually associated with rubaron ever was through sear. The agricul- ral scenery. No sooner are the gates of fantural labourer becomes attached to the soil cy opened for the admission of these ethereal which he cultivates. He feels as if he had beings, than we behold them gliding in upon a property in the fields of his master, and our favorite haunts, now floating upon the this feeling extends not only to the produce sea of air, dancing in the sunbeams, or reof his toil, but, through many links of natural posing upon beds of violets; and then rushconnection, tɔ the interest of his master and ing forth upon the destructive elements, the general good of his family; while on the riding on the crested waves, or directing the other hand, his own wants and afflictions, bolts of death. and those of his wife and children, are made Wandering in our fields and gardens, known through the kind visitations of charity, Flora, with hor ever-blooming cheek and and soothed and relieved, with a familiarity coronet of unfading flowers, becomes our and unison of feeling which goes almost as sweet companion, while with her ambrosial far as almsgiving towards alleviating the pencil
, dipped in the hues of heaven, she distresses of the poor. There can be no dis- lints the velvet leaves of the rose, scatters trust between families that have dwelt to- perfume over the snowy bosom of the lily, gether upon the same soil, in the mutual re- or turns in playful tenderness to meet the lation of master and servant, from genera-, smiles of her wayward and wandering lover, tion to generation. Both parties are inti- the sportive and uncertain Zephyrus. We mately acquainted with the characters they penetrate into the depth of the forest, and have to deal with, and each esteeming the the vestal Huntress flits across our path with other's worth, can look upon their little her attendant nymphs. While seated under peculiarities with kindness, and even with the cool shadow of the leafy trees, or stoopaffection; while the mutual confidence, good ing over the margin of the crystal stream, will, and clear understanding which subsist the Dryads bind their flowing hair. The between them, constitute a sure foundation harvest smiles before us with the glad profor substantial and lasting comfort.
mise of the waning year, and joyfully the yelThese advantages, peculiar to rural life, low grain is gathered in; but we see the
deity of rural plenty, with her unextinguish There is scarcely any human being so able torch and crown of golden ears, wan- selfish as to wish to feed upon joy alone ; dering from field to field, heart-stricken, and and what a privilege it is, separated from alone; too mortal in her sufferings—too those who could rejoice with us, that we can desolate in her divinity. We bail the purple share our happiness with nature! The soarmorning, Aurora rises in her rosy car, driving lark, the bounding deer, and the sportive ing her snowy steeds over the cloud-capped lumb, animated with a joy like ours, become mountains, separating the hills from their our brethren and our sisters; while the misty canopy, and scattering flowers and dew same light buoyant spirit that fills our boover her fresh untroduen pathway through soms, smiles upon us from the shining heathe verdant valleys. We turn to the glori- vens, glows beneath us in the fruitful earth, ous sun as he rises from his couch of golden or whispers around us in the fresh glad gales waves, and ask the inspiration of Apollo for of spring. But, under the pressure of grief, the verse or for the lyre. We sail upon the this synıpathy is most perceptible and most ruffled sea, where the Nereides, sporting availing, because sorrow has a greater tenwith the dolphins, lave their shining hair; Jency than joy to excite the imagination, or where Neptune, striking his trident on the and thus it multiplies its own associations by foaming waters, bids the deep be still. We identifying itself with every thing that wears hear the bellowing of the stormy blast, and the slightest shadow of gloom. call on Æolus to spare us; or we listen to I will not say that the world in general is the thunder as it rolls above our heals, echo more projuctive of images of sadness than ing from shore to shore, and tremble lest the of pleasure; but from the misuse of our own forked lightning should burst forth from the faculties, and the consequent tendency of sovereign hand of Jove.
our own minds, we are more apt to look for Fanciful as these associations are, (almost such amongst the objects around us; and too fanciful to afford us any real enjoyment) thus in our daily observation, passing over they unquestionably supply the poet with what is lovely, and genial, and benign, we images of beauty not to be found in real fix our minds upon the desolating floods, the lise; and they have also an important claim anticipated storm, the early blight, the canupon our consideration, from the place they kered blossom, the faded leaf, the broken occupy both in ancient and modern litera- bough, or the premature decay of autumn ture; as well as from the effect which this fruit. This, however, is no fault of nature's, system of imperfect and dangerous theology bul our own; nor does it prove anything produced, in promoting the refinements of against the argument, that, whether happy art, and softening the habits and feelings of or miserable, we may find a responding a barbarous people.
voice in nature, to echo back our gladness, It is pleasant to turn from such visionary and to answer to our sighs; that every feelsources of gratification to those which are ing of which we are capable, in its purest more tangible and true-to the smypathy and least vitiated state, may meet with similiwhich every feeling mind believes it possi- tude, and companionship, and association in ble to experience in nature. There is no the natural world; and above all, that he state of feeling to which we may not find who desires to rise out of the low cares of something in the elements, or in the natural artificial life, whose soul aspires above the world, so nearly corresponding, as to give us gross elements of mere bodily existence, and the idea of companionship in our joys and whose highest ambition is to render that sorrows. True, it would be more congenial soul, purified rather than polluted, may find to our wishes, could we find this companion- in nature a congenial, faithful, and untiring
to the woods, and the winds, and the blue skies, than by quoting a passage from the writings has not believed for a moment there was of one, who possessed the enviable art of more sympathy in them than in the heart of combining science with sublimity, and philo
sophy with poetic feeling.
“ Nature,” says Sir Humphry Davy, scenes being rendered poetically beautiful never deceives us; the rocks, the moun- by the pencil of an able artist; yet there are tains, the streams, always speak the same lines of demarcation beyond which even language; a shower of snow may hide the genius dare not venture, and which cannot verdant woods in spring, a thunder storm be transgressed without the most glaring may render the blue limpid streams foul and violation of good taste. It is where the asturbulent; but these effects are rare and sociations are such as are not only vulgar in transient-in a few hours, or at least days, themselves, but totally destitute of any claim all the sources of beauty are renovated. upon the feelings or affections of the mind. And nature affords no continued trains of Nor is it in the representation of scenes the misfortunes and miseries, such as depend most gross and degraded (though such do upon the constitution of humanity, no hopes little credit to the taste of the painter); yet for ever blighted in the bud, no beings full in them the violent passions which agitate of life, beauty, and promise, taken from us our nature are frequently most powerfully in the prime of youth. Her fruits are all and strikingly exhibited. Look, for exambalmy, bright, and sweet; she attords none ple, upon a representation of the lowest stage of those blighted ones so common in the life of intoxication, and surely the pencil of the of man, and so like the fabled apples of the painter can pourtray no subject more loathDead Sea, fresh and beautiful to the sight, some and repulsive; yet even here the asso. but when tasted, full of bitterness and ashes." ciations are not necessarily such as are alto
gether debarred from connection with refined intellectual speculations. In contemplating
such a picture, we think immediately of the THE POETRY OF PAINTING. high capabilities of man, and of the danger
ous profanation and abuse of his natural In turning our attention to the poetry of powers, of the spotless infancy of the being painting, we enter upon a subject which before us, the love that watched over his forms the first connecting link between the youth, the hopes that were centered in his physical and the intellectual world. So far manhood, and that now lie grovelling beas painting is a faithful representation of ex- neath him in his fall. This class of subjects ternal nature, it belongs to the sphere of the then is not entirely beyond the limits of the senses; but as it holds intimate connection field of poetry, though it certainly requires with some of the noblest efforts and affec- some stretch of fancy to prove them to be tions of the human mind, it is scarcely infe- within it; yet there is another class so derior to the art of poetry itsell, in the value it cidedly and irrevocably excluded, that it derives from the diffusion of poetic feeling, may not be uninteresting to mark the differthrough the countless varieties of style and ence between them, and of these a single incharacter, in which it is exhibited to man- stance will be sufficient. kind.
I remember seeing in an exhibition of The poetry of painting is perha;s more paintings at Manchester, a picture of a huge felt, and less understood, than that of any red brick cotton-mill, so well executed, and other subject to which we can apply our 89 appropriately placed, as to look very thoughts; nor is it easy to define what is the handsome in its way; and no doubt that nature of the charm by which we are fasci way was all-sufficient to the owner, who had nated on beholding a picture in perfect ac- a train of sweet and pleasant local associacordance with our taste, especially as this tions with this picture, enjoyed snugly to taste varies so much in different individuals, himself, which if they were not poetical, had and even in the same becomes more select most probably a weightier charm, and one in its gratifications, in proportion as it is which he would not have exchanged for the more cultivated and refined.
lyre of Apollo. The surface of the picture That the poetry of pai iting is not mainly was almost entirely covered with the brick dependent upon the choice of subjects is building, and by its side was the all imporclear, from the most simple and familiar i tant engine-house, with tall spiral chimney
pointing to the sky, but alas ! with no hea- racters-portrait, landscape, and historical venward purpose. It was the picture of a painting. Of these three, portrait painting manufactory, and nothing more-most pro decidedly the least calculated for the disbably the owner wanted nothing more. play of poetical feeling, not only because it There was not, as there might have been, is generały practised under the arbitrary a broken foreground, denoting the rugged will of those who possess neither taste nor course of one of those polluted streams understanding in the fine arts, but because which murmur on (for what can still the there are so sew subjects really worthy in voice of nature ?) with the same melody as themselves, and these few are too frequentin its native woods, before the click of rat- ly beyond the reach of the artist; while the tling machinery broke in upon the harmony rubicund and wealthy citizen, having grown of man's existence. There was no pale girl, sleek upon turtle soup, aster retiring with lois with darkened brow and dejected form, re rosy consort to their Beile Vuc, or Prospect turning to her most unnatural labours, a liv- Cottage, in the suburbs of the town, deems ing and daily sacrifice to the triumphs of it a suitable and gratifying appropriation of national prosperity; there was not even that some portion of his hard-earned wealih, to deep and turbid stream, that dense and per- employ one of the first artists of the day in petually rising fountain of thick smoke, burst- making duplicates of forms, which a fulling, as if with indignation, from the gross sized canvas is scarcely wide enough to conconfines of its narrow birthplace, first dart- tain, and faces, in which the expression of ing upwards in one compact and sable pil-cent. per cent., and the distinctions of white lar, as if from the crater of a volcano, and and brown sauce, are the only visible chathen folding and unfolding its dark volume, racteristics. until, assuming a more ethereal character, While the painter is at work, sacrificing it floats away upon the gale, and ambitious all that is noble in his art to the sad necessiof a higher union, mingles at last with the ty for sordid gain, the gentleman insists upvapours that sail along the purer regions of on a blue coat and bull waist-coat, but above the sky-no, there was nothing in this pic- all, upon a gold headed cane, which necesture but a cotton-mill; and the wealthy sarily mars the picture with a bright yellow owner, with a praiseworthy feeling of grati- spot full in the centre. This however is a tude and respect for the origin of his pros- trifle by comparison, for the buttons help to perity and distinction in the world, had done carry off the glare of the gold, and the artist his best to immortalize the object that was revenges himself by making the land arnot only the most important, but the dearest proximate to the same colour. It is in atto him on earth. Yet notwithstanding this tempting to delineate the august person of was, in the opinion of at least one individual, | the lady, that his skill and his taste are put a picture of great merit, it was unquestion to the severest test. With consternation in ably of that class to which no single poetical his countenance, he eyes the subject before idea could by any possibility be attached. him, and in the first agony of despair, queIt is true that such a building as was here ries within himself whether he cannot really represented, need not be without its intellec- afford to lose the offered reward. He ventual associations. It might give rise to some tures to remonstrate with great delicacy on of the most profound speculations relative to some particular portions of the dress. But trade, commerce, and the wealth of nations; the lady is inexorable. It is a dress for all that I maintain is, that this picture could which she has paid the highest price and not in any way call forth the passions or must look well. Money rules the day, and affections of our nature, or awaken those the painter, covering his palette with double emotions of the soul which constitute the portions of red and yellow, commences with very essence of poetry.
his task. Upon the head of the fair sitter is In order to render the poetry of painting a pink turban, interwoven with a massive a subject more tractable in an unskilful and gold chain, surmounting a profusion of flaxen inexperienced hand, it will be necessary to ringlets, in the midst of which twinkle out consider it under its three different cha- | two small blue eyes, faintly shaded by thin
eyelashes of the salest yellow, while cheeks bird found in his woodland rambles, to place that might vie with the deepest peony, and on the maternal bosom, which has so fondly a figure upon which is stretched, almost cherished him, that he believes it have without a foll, a brilliant orange dress of benevolence enough for all the wants and costly silk, make up the rest of the picture. sufferings in the world.
It is upon the same principle, and with It is possible that the same artist may be similar restrictions, that portrait painting is called in to paint the portrait of a poor gengenerally practised in the present day. tleman, who having nothing else to bequeath But let the painter rule his subject, and the to his children, is prevailed upon to leave case will be widely different. He who is them a likeness of the form they have been worthy of his art sees at once what are its accustomed to venerate. The painter finds capabilities. His imagination immediately him in a mean and humble dwelling, dressed places the object before him in some appro- in a manner that too plainly shows his long priate situation. He assigns to it a charac- acquaintance with urgent wants and narrow ler of which it may be wholly unconscious- means. Yet in the noble outline of the face, one to which it was by nature peculiarly the fair and finely moulded forehead, when adapted, though circumstances may have for a moment its wrinkles are smoothed consigned it to a totally different destiny. down, but above all, in the symmetry of the
Perhaps there is no class of pictures in mouth, and the graceful motion of the lips, which the painter's want of taste is more he reads the sad history of that gradual fall frequently displayed, than in the portraits from high station and noble fortune, which of children. We see them standing like has never through the whole of a long life wooden images, holding in one hand an been able to degrade the soul; and in paintorange never meant to be eaten, or flowers ing the portrait of this poor gentleman, he which it is evident they have not gathered ; | makes a picture worthy of a place amongst their hair smoothly combed, their frocks un- the aristocracy of the land. ruffled, and their blue morocco slippers un- Or he may be required to exercise his art sullied by the dust of the earth. In short in painting the likeness of one of the celethey are always clressed in their best to be brated belles of the day. It is possible that painted, and the mother is often as solicitous the arbitrary laws of fashion may have conabout the pink sash, as about the likeness. cealed the beauty of a form that is perfectly The subject is unquestionably one of great Grecian in its contour. The painter casts difficulty, because the beauty of childhood | down the stately and unnatural fabric from consisting chiefly in the light easy move the head, and leaving a few dishevelled ment of the playful limbs, it is almost impos- ringlets to wander over the snowey temples, sible to make a child perfectly natural when binds up the rest of the hair so gracefully at rest, and not sleeping; and it is here that behind, as just to leave visible the noble pilthe skill of the able artist is exercised in lar of the neck, which proudly supports the carrying on our thoughts to what the child whole. It is also possible that the rigid will the next moment be doing. If he does rules of polished society, or early discipline, not place in its hand a bunch of flowers, he or sad experience, may have rendered cold, throws into his picture a vivid atmosphere, constrained, or artificial in its expression, a in which we are sure that flowers are grow- countenance that was originally capable of ing; and by slightly ruffling the fair hair, exhibiting the deepest passions, and the finletting loose the folds of the dress, quicken- est sensibilities of our nature. The artist ing the expression of the eye, and giving a whose eye is quickened to an almost superplayfulness to the almost open lips, an idea natural acuteness of perception, sees all this; of lite ani motion is conveyed, and we are and in painting the portrait of one who is by delu:led into the belief that the very next compulsion a mere fine lady, he invests it moment the child will start off' in sursuit of with the beauty and the pathos of a heroine. the butterfly, and that he will bring home Nor is it in the skillful management of with him a handful of flowers gathered from expression alone that the poetry of this art tie gorgeous carpet of nature, or a wounded consists. Though this is unquestionably