Wherever there is any fighting it is not to be doubted that the English hurra will be heard—and an apparition had been seen in the smoke of battle, which had sorely puzzled the wisest of the soothsayers of Egypt to explain. It was of a being apparently human, but dressed as if to represent Mars and Neptune at the same time, charging along the tops of houses, with the jolly cocked-hat of a captain of a British man-of-war on the point of his sword, and a variety of exclamations in his mouth, more complimentary to the enemy's speed than his courage. The muftis, we have said, were sorely puzzled, and at last set it down as an infallible truth that he must be none other than Old Harry, whereas there was not a sailor in the fleet that did not know that it was none other than Old Charley. And this identical Old Charley, in a style of communication almost as rapid as his military evolutions, had indited the following epistle to the author of the volumes before us:—
"Headquarters of the Army of Lebanon.—Djouni, Sept. 1840.
"My dear Edward—I have hoisted my broad pendant on Mount Lebanon, and mean to advance against the Egyptians with a considerable force under my command; you may be of use here; therefore go to Sir John M'Donald, and ask him to get leave for you to join me without delay.
"Your affectionate father, CHARLES NAPIER."
And the dutiful son, who seems to have no inconsiderable portion of the paternal penchant for broken heads and other similar divertisements, in three weeks from the receipt of the letter found himself on board the Hydra, and rapidly approaching the classic shores of Sidon, Tyre, Ptolemais; the scenes of scriptural records and deeds of chivalry—Palestine—the Holy Land. But the broad pendant in the mean time had been pulled down on Mount Lebanon, and once more fluttered to the sea breezes on board the Powerful. Sir Charles Smith had assumed the command of the land forces, and whether from ill-humour at finding half the work done during his absence by the amphibious commodore, or from some other cause, his reception of the author was, at first, far from cordial. Instead of being useful, as he had hoped, he found the sturdy old general blind to the value of his accession; and when the Powerful sailed he found himself without quarters appointed him, or even an invitation to join the officers' mess. But with the usual good-luck of people who bear disappointments well, all turned out for the best, as will be seen by the following extract:
"I had, on board the Powerful, a few days before, formed the acquaintance of a young Syrian of the name of Assaade el Khyat, who, brought up at one of our universities, was at heart a true Englishman, spoke fluently our own and several other European and Eastern languages, and whom I found, on the whole, a sensible, well-informed young man, and a most agreeable companion. As I was sitting alone, after a solitary dinner, (in the miserable hotel at Beyrout,) musing in a brown study over a bottle of red Cyprus wine, my new acquaintance was ushered into the apartment; I made no secret to him of my extremely uncomfortable position, when he, with great kindness and liberality, overcoming the usual prejudices of his country, offered me an asylum in his own family, which offer I most gladly accepted, and was accordingly the next morning comfortably installed in my new quarters, whereof I will endeavour to give the reader a slight description.
"The house of which I had just so unexpectedly become an inmate, was situated in one of the most retired and out of the way parts of the town, (and it was not before considerable time had elapsed, and then with difficulty, that I became acquainted with the labyrinth of narrow lanes, alleys, and dark passages which it was requisite to thread in order to arrive at this desired haven,) the property of a young man of the name of Giorgio Habbit Jummal—brother-in-law of my friend Assaade, to whom one of his sisters was married, and whom, as he spoke Italian with fluency and ease, I at once engaged as my dragoman or interpreter.
"By a strange coincidence, I, under the roof of Giorgio, for the first time became acquainted with Mr Hunter, the author of the Expedition to Syria, who, placed in similar circumstances with myself, was likewise an inmate of the same house, and of whom, as we were subsequently much known together during our residence in this country, I shall after have occasion to mention: at present I will take the liberty of borrowing from his amusing narrative the following account of the inmates of our new domicile. 'We lived in the house of a respectable Syrian family, that of Habbit Jummal, or interpreted, the esteemed camel-driver. Our landlord, Giorgius, the head of this family, was a young man hardly out of his teens; and having some competency, and being moreover un beau garcon, did not follow either his ancestral, or any other avocation. The harem, or woman's portion of the house, was composed of his mother, a fair widow of forty, and her two daughters, both Eastern beauties of their kind, Sarah and Nasarah (meaning Victory or Victoria;) the first, a laughing black eyed houri, with mischief in every dimple in her pretty face; the other, a more portly damsel, of a melancholy but not less pleasing expression. There were besides these, three younger children with equally poetic names, (Nassif, Iskunder, and Furkha,) and included in the coterie was a good-humoured negress, the general handmaid, whose original cognomen of Saade, was lost in the apposite soubriquet of Snowball.'—Although the greater part of the inhabitants of Beyrout are Christians, generally speaking, of the Greek Church, to which persuasion likewise belonged the family of our host Giorgio; still in this land of bigotry and oppression—to such an extent is carried suspicion and jealousy, and so far have Mahommedan prejudices in this respect been adopted, that all the women (those of the peasantry alone excepted) lead nearly as secluded a life as the Osmanli ladies of Constantinople or Smyrna. On venturing abroad, which they seldom do, unless when the knessi or humaum (church or bath) are the limits of their excursions, they are so closely shrouded in the izar, or long white garment, which, coming over the head and hiding the face, falls in numerous folds to the ground, as to be scarcely recognizable by their nearest friends or relations. To allow, therefore, two unknown and friendless strangers to become familiar inmates of an Eastern family, exposing wives, daughters, and sisters, to their unhallowed gaze, was a favour and mark of confidence on the part of Assaade which we duly appreciated, nor ever abused; it was, however, a privilege to which no other stranger in the place was admitted, and affording, as it did, such opportunities of acquiring the Arabic language, I eagerly embraced it without any feeling of regret at the inhospitality to which I was originally indebted for my admission behind the scenes of Oriental life.
"The bare, gloomy, and massive stone walls of the exterior of our habitation had not prepared us for the comforts we found inside; and as for the first time we followed Giorgio and his brother-in-law up the rude and narrow stone staircase, which appeared to be scarped out of the very thickness of the wall—an open sesame from the former causing a strong iron studded door to fly back on its hinges, disclosed a handsome patis or court paved with black and white marble, along the sides of which were luxuriantly growing, and imparting a cooling freshness to the scene, the perfumed orange-tree, bearing at the same time both fruit and blossoms, and flanked by green myrtles and flowering geraniums; whilst an apartment opening on this garden terrace, and which appeared from the carpets and cushions scattered around the still smoking narghilis, (or water-pipe, in which is smoked the tumbic or Persian tobacco,) and other sundry traces of female industry, to be appropriated as the common sitting-room of the family, was on our entrance precipitately deserted by all its occupants, save one fine-looking matronly lady, whom Giorgio introduced as his mother; and while she was welcoming us with many 'Fāddālls,' and politely repeating, Anna mugsond shoufuk, (be seated, I am delighted to see you,) with innumerable other euphonious phrases, as we afterwards found high-flown Eastern compliments, but which at the time were sadly wasted on our Frankish ignorance, he, following the fair fugitives, soon brought back in each hand the blushing deserters, who have already been introduced to the reader as Mesdemoiselles Sarah and Nasarah. Pipes, narghilis, sherbet, and coffee followed in quick succession; the young negress, Saade, acting as Hebe on the occasion; and the ladies, at first timid as gazelles of the desert, soon, like those pretty creatures when reclaimed from the wilderness, became quite domesticated, acquired confidence, and freely joined in the conversation, which was with volubility carried on through the medium of Giorgio and Assaade; and ere an hour had elapsed, we were all on the friendly and easy footing of old acquaintances; when, taking leave for the time, we hastened to make the necessary arrangements for the conveyance of our goods and chattels to the capital billets we had had the good fortune to stumble on."
The colonel made good use of his opportunity, and, by a diligent perusal of Miss Sarah's eyes, and an attentive study of Miss Nasarah's dimple, managed to acquire a smattering of Arabic in a far shorter time than would have been required in the most assiduous turning over of dictionaries and grammars. But our school-boy days can't last for ever—and, ere a fortnight elapsed, an order arrived from England for the hopeful scholar to be placed on the returns of the Syrian army, and to draw his field allowance, rations, and forage, as assistant adjutant-general of the British force. Dictionaries and eyes, grammars and dimples, were now exchanged for less pleasing pursuits. Fifteen thousand troops were by this time assembled at Beyrout, and rumour kept perpetually blowing the charge against Ibrahim Pasha, who was still encamped at Zachli, with an army much superior to that of the allies. Booted and spurred—with a long sword, saddle, bridle, and all the other paraphernalia so captivating to an ancient fair, as recorded in one of the lays of Old England by some forgotten Macaulay of former times—the colonel is intent on some doughty deed, and already in imagination sees captive Egyptians following his triumphal car. When all of a sudden, the sad news gets spread abroad that the old commodore has concluded a convention with Mehemet Ali, and that all the pomp and circumstance of glorious war is at an end. One only chance remained, and that was, that as all the big-wigs protested with all their might against the convention; and the fleet, in the midst of protestation and repudiations of all sorts and kinds, was forced by a severe gale to up anchor and run for Marmorice Bay, Ibrahim Pasha might perhaps be tempted to protest also in a still more unpleasant manner, and pay a visit to Beyrout in the absence of the navy. The very thoughts of it, however the English auxiliaries may have felt on the subject, gave an attack of fever to the unfortunate inhabitants, who devoutly prayed for a speedy fall of tubbish, (or snow,) by which his dreaded approach might be impeded. "Had such a movement on his part taken place at this critical moment, it is not improbable that it might have proved successful; as amid the variety of religious and conflicting interests, by which the people of Beyrout were influenced, Ibrahim had no doubt many friends in the town; and it is certain that he was moreover regularly made acquainted with every occurrence which took place, through the medium, as was supposed, of French agency and espionage."
Ibrahim, however, had had enough of red coats and blue jackets, and left the people of Beyrout to themselves—an example which was followed by the author, who, being foiled in his expectations of riding down the Egyptians on the noble Arab left to him by the commodore, determined to put that fiery animal (the Arab) to its paces in scouring the country in all directions. It is not often that an assistant adjutant-general sets out on a tour in search of the picturesque; but in this instance the search was completely successful. Rock, ravine, precipice, and dell—running waters and waving woods, come as naturally to his pen as returns of effective force and other professional details; and, whatever the writing of them may be, we are prepared to contend that the reading of them is infinitely pleasanter. But as travellers and poets have of late left few mountains or molehills unsung in Palestine, we prefer extracting a picturesque account of a venerable abbess, who threw the light of Christian goodness over that benighted land about a century ago, and must have impressed the heathens in the neighbourhood with an exalted notion of the virtues of a nunnery:—
"Hendia was a Maronite girl, possessing extraordinary personal charms, who, in 1755, first brought herself into notice by her pretended piety and attention to her religious duties, till at last she was by this simple and credulous people considered almost in the light of a saint or prophetess. When she had thus established a reputation for sanctity, she next thought of becoming the head and chief of an extensive establishment of monks and nuns, to receive whom, with the aid of large contributions raised among her credulous admirers and followers, she erected two spacious stone buildings, which soon became filled with proselytes of both sexes. The patriarch of Lebanon was named the director of this establishment, and for twenty years Hendia reigned with unbounded sway over the little community—performing miracles, uttering prophecies, and giving other tokens of being in the performance of a divine mission; and though it was remarked that many deaths yearly occurred among the nuns, the circumstance was generally attributed to disease incident to the insalubrity of the situation. At last, chance brought to light the cause of this very great mortality, and disclosed all the secret horrors which had so long remained covered by the veil of mystery in this abode of monastic abominations. A traveller, on his way from Damascus to the coast, happened to arrive one fine summer night at a late hour before the convent gates, which he found closed, and not wishing to disturb its inmates, who had apparently retired to rest, he spread his travelling rug under some neighbouring trees, and laid himself down to sleep. His slumbers were, however, shortly disturbed by a number of persons, who, issuing from the convent, appeared to be clandestinely bearing away what seemed to be a heavy bundle. Prompted by curiosity, he cautiously followed the party, who, after going a short distance, deposited their burden, and commenced digging a deep hole, into which having placed and covered with earth what was evidently a dead body, they immediately took their departure. Astonished, and rather dismayed, at an occurrence of so mysterious a nature, the traveller lost no time in mounting his mule, and on arriving at Beyrout made known the extraordinary occurrence to which he had been witness the night before. This account reached the ears of a merchant who happened to have two daughters undergoing their noviciate at El Kourket, and reports had lately reached him of the illness of one of his children; this, together with the numerous deaths which had lately taken place at the convent, coupled with the traveller's narrative, excited in his mind the most serious apprehensions. He gave information on the subject, and laid a complaint before the Grand Prince at Dahr-el-Kamar, and, accompanied by his informant and a troop of horsemen furnished by the Emir, hastened to the spot of the alleged mysterious burial, when to his horror, on opening the newly made grave, he discovered it to contain the corpse of his youngest daughter! Frantic at this sight, he desired instant admission, in order to ascertain the safety of her sister. On this being refused, the gates were forced open, and the unfortunate girl was found closely confined in a dungeon, on the point of death, but retaining still strength enough to disclose horrors which led to an investigation, implicating the patriarch, the abbess, and several priests. This transaction, which happened in 1776, was submitted for the decision of the Papal See; when it appeared that the pretended prophetess had, by means of many ingenious mechanical devices, thus long imposed on public credulity, whilst in the retirement of the cloister the most licentious and profligate occurrences nightly took place; and that when any unfortunate nun gave offence, either by refusing to be sacrificed at the shrine of infamy, or that it became desirable to get rid of her, in order to appropriate for the convent the amount of her property, she was immured in a dungeon, left to perish by a lingering and miserable death, and then privately buried in the night. In consequence of these shocking discoveries, the patriarch was deposed—the priests, his accomplices, were severely punished, and the high priestess of this temple of cruelty and debauchery was immured in confinement, and survived for many years to repent of all the atrocities she had previously committed."
We should like to know the colonel's authority for this circumstantial account. It bears at present a startling resemblance to the confession of Maria Monk, and the villanies recorded of the nunnery at Montreal; and we will hope in the mean time, that the devil, even in the shape of a lady abbess, is not quite so black as he is painted. The present abbess of El Kourket is already as black as need be, for we are told she is an Ethiopian negress.
The war carried on in Syria after the decisive battle of Boharsef, seems to have been on the model of those recorded by Major Sturgeon, and to have consisted of marching and counter-marching, without any definite object, except, perhaps, the somewhat Universal-Peace-Society one of getting out of the enemy's way. General Jochmus, we guess from his name, was a Scotch schoolmaster, with a Latin termination—there being no mistaking the Jock—and in his religious tenets we feel sure he was a Quaker. The English officers attached to the staff had immense difficulty in bringing the troops (if they deserve to be called so) to the scratch; and we trust that, in all future commentaries on the Art of War, the method adopted by Commodore Napier, of throwing stones at his gallant army to force them forward, will not be forgotten. The author before us had no sinecure, and after the news of Ibrahim's retreat, galloped hither and thither, like the wild huntsman of a German story, to discover by what route the vanquished lion was growling his way to his den. With a hundred irregular horse, furnished him by Osman Aga, he set out on a foray beyond Jordan; and we do not wonder his two friends, Captain Lane, a Prussian edition of Don Quixote, and Mr Hunter, who has written an excellent account of his expedition to Syria, besides his old Beyrout friend Giorgio, volunteered to accompany him.
"My motley troop, apparently composed of every tribe from the Caspian to the Red Sea, displayed no less variety in arms and accoutrements than in their personal appearance, varying from the sturdy-looking Kourd, mounted on his strong powerful steed, to the swarthy, spare, and sinewy Arab, with his long reed-like spear, his head encircled with the Kefiah, or thick rope of twisted camels' hair; whilst the flowing 'abbage' waved gracefully down the shining flanks of the high-mettled steed of the desert. In short, such an assemblage of cut-throat looking ruffians was probably never before seen; and whilst the Prussian military eye of old Lane glanced down our wide-spread and irregular line, I could see a curl of contempt on his grey mustaches, though his weather-beaten countenance maintained all the gravity of Frederick the Great. The troop appeared to be divided into two distinct parties—one Arab, the other Turkish; and, on directing the two chiefs to call the 'roll' of their respective forces, I found that many were absent without leave, and the party which should have amounted to a hundred cavaliers only mustered between seventy and eighty. However, on the assurance that the rest would speedily follow—as there was no time to spare, after making them a short harangue, in which I promised abundance of nehub (plunder) whenever we came across the enemy, to which they responded by a wild yell of approbation—I gave the signal to move off, which was instantly obeyed, amidst joyous shouts, the brandishing of spears, and promiscuous discharge of fire-arms. Having thus got them under weigh, the next difficulty I experienced was to keep them together. I tried to form a rearguard to bring up the stragglers, but the guard would not remain behind, nor the stragglers keep up with the main body; and I soon, finding that something more persuasive than mere words was requisite to maintain them in order, took the first opportunity of getting a stout cudgel, with which I soundly belaboured all those whom I found guilty of thus disobeying my commands. The Eastern does not understand the suaviter in modo;—behave to him like a human being, he fancies you fear him, and he sets you at defiance—kick him and cuff him, treat him like a dog, and he crouches at your feet, the humble slave of your slightest wishes."
Discipline of so perfect a nature must have inspired the gallant colonel with the strongest hopes of success in case of an onslaught on the forces of Ibrahim Pasha, and in all probability his efforts, with those of Captain Lane, Hunter, and Giorgio, might have produced something like a skrimmage when they came near the tents of the Egyptians; but it would seem that the cudgels wielded by the Musree commanders were either not so strong or not so well applied, for on the first appearance of the hostile squadron, the heroes of Nezib evaporated as if by magic, but not before a similar feat of legerdemain had been performed by the rabble rout of Turks and Arabs; and on looking round, to inspire his followers with a speech after the manner of Thucydides, the colonel discovered the last of his escort disappearing at full speed on the other side of the plain, and the Europeans were left alone in their glory. As they had nobody to attack, (the enemy continuing still in a state of evaporation,) every thing ended well; and, if the trumpeter had not been among the fugitives, there might have been a triumphal blow performed although no blow had been struck. We do not believe in the courage of the Arabs. No amount of kicking and cuffing could cow a nation's spirit that had once been brave; and we therefore consider it the greatest marvel in history how the Arabians managed at one time to conquer half the world. They must have been very different fellows from the chicken-hearted children of the desert recorded in these volumes. One thing only is certain, that they have left their anti-fighting propensities to their mongrel descendants in Spain; for a series of actions—that is, jinking and skulking, and running up and down, hiding themselves as if they were the personages of a writ—more distinctly Arabian than the late campaign which ended in the overthrow of Espartero, could not have been performed under the shadows of Mount Ebal. All the nobility that we are so fond of picturing to ourselves in the deeds and thoughts of Saladin, has gone over to the horse. The wild steed retains its fire, though the miserable horseman would do for a Madrileno aide-de-camp. And yet this is the way they are treated:—
"It was a matter of surprise to us, how our horses stood without injury all the exposure, severe work, and often short commons, to which they were constantly subjected. When we came to a place where barley was to be procured, the grooms carried away as much as they could; when none was to be had, we gave our nags peas and tibbin, (chopped straw, the only forage used in the East,) or any thing we could lay hands on; they had little or no grooming, and frequently the saddles were not even removed from their backs. But I believe that nothing save the high mettle of the desert blood would carry an animal through all this toil and privation; and as to the much-extolled kindness of the Arab towards his horse, although it may be the case in the far deserts of the Hedged and Hedjar, I can avow that I never saw these noble animals treated with more inhuman neglect than I witnessed in the whole of my wanderings through Syria."
The dreariness of a ride through the desolate plains and rugged rocks of Palestine, was diversified with startling adventures; and the fact of several of the powers of Europe and many of the tribes of Asia having chosen that sterile region for their battle-place, gave rise to some very odd coincidences. People from all the ends of the earth, who were lounging away their existence some three or four months before, without any anticipation of treading in the footsteps of the crusaders—some smoking strong tobacco in the coffeehouses of Berlin, or leaning gracefully (like the Chinese Admiral Kwang) against the pillars of the Junior United Service Club in London—or driving a heavy curricle in the Prado at Vienna—or reading powerfully for honours at the Great Go at Oxford—or climbing Albanian hills—or reclining in the silken recesses of a harem at Constantinople—all were thrown together in such unexpected groups, and found themselves so curiously banded together, that the tame realities of an ordinary campaign were thrown completely into the shade. The following introduces us to another member of the foray, whose character seems to have been such a combination of the gallant soldier and light-hearted troubadour, that we read of his after fate, in dying of the plague at Damascus, with great regret:—
"My troop had not yet cleared a difficult pass close to the khan, running between an abrupt face of the hill and the river, when the advanced guard came back at full speed with the announcement that a body of the enemy's infantry was near at hand. Closely jammed in a narrow defile, between inaccessible cliffs and the precipitous banks of the Jordan, with nothing but cavalry at my disposal, I was placed in rather a disagreeable position. There remained, however, no alternative but to put spurs to our horses, push forward through the pass, deploy on the level ground beyond it, and then trust to the chances of war. Having explained these intentions to the Sheikh and Aga, we lost no time in carrying them into effect; and on taking extended order after clearing the pass, saw immediately in front of us what we took to be an advanced guard of the enemy, consisting of some twenty or thirty soldiers, whom their white foustanellis" (the foustanellis is that part of the Albanian costume corresponding with the highland kilt) "and tall active forms immediately marked as Arnouts, or Albanians. Seeing, probably, that we had now the advantage of the ground, they hastily retired, recrossing a ravine which intersected the path, and extending in capital light infantry style, were soon sheltered behind the stones and rocks on the opposite bank, over the brow of which nought was to be seen but the protruding muzzles and long shining barrels of their firelocks. All this was the work of a few seconds, and passed in a much briefer space of time than it has taken to relate. I had now the greatest difficulty in keeping Mahommed Aga and his men from charging up to enemies who, from their present position, could have picked them easily off with perfect safety to themselves; and riding rapidly forward with Captain Lane, to see if we could by some means turn their flank, a few horsemen at this moment suddenly appeared over the swell on the opposite side of the ravine, the foremost of whom, whilst making many friendly signals, galloped across the intervening space, hailing us a friend, and at the same time waving his hand, to prevent his own people from opening their fire. Lane and myself were not backward in returning this greeting; and on approaching we beheld a handsome young man, dressed in the showy Austrian uniform, with a black Tartar sheepskin cap on his head, who, coming up, accosted us in French, and with all the frankness of a soldier, introduced himself as Count Szechinge, a captain of Austrian dragoons, then on his way from Tiberias with a party composed of one or two Turkish lancers, about twenty-five Albanian deserters, his German servant, dragoman, and suite, to raise troops in the Adjelloun hills—a mission very similar to the one I was myself employed on at Naplouse."
An acquaintance begun under such circumstances grows into friendship with amazing rapidity; and many are the joyous hours the foragers spend together, in spite of intolerable weather and storms of sleet and snow, which bear a far greater resemblance to the climate of Lochaber than to that of Syria, "land of roses." Reinforced with the count and his companions, Colonel Napier pushes on—gets into the vicinity of Ibrahim—his rabble rout turn tail, in case of being swallowed alive by the ferocious pasha, whose reputation for cruelty and all manner of iniquities seems well deserved, and having ascertained the movements of that formidable ruffian, he returned to Naplouse to take the command of 1500 half-tamed, undisciplined savages, with whom to oppose his retreat. Luckily, the ratification of the convention come in the nick of time; for it is very evident that the best cudgels that were ever cut in "the classic woods of Hawthornden," could not have awakened a spark of military ardour in the wretched riff-raff assemblage appointed for this service—and of all the abortive efforts at generalship we have ever read of, the attempt of the Turkish commanders was infinitely the worse—no foresight in providing for difficulties—no valour in fighting their way out of them; but, to compensate for these trifling deficiencies, a plentiful supply of pride and cruelty, with a due admixture of dishonesty. We heartily join, with Colonel Napier, in wondering where the deuce the "integrity of the Ottoman empire" is to be found, as, beyond all doubt, not a particle of it exists in any of its subjects. The pashas of Egypt, bad as they undoubtedly are, have redeeming points about them, which the Hassans, and Izzets, and Reschids of the Turks have no conception of; and, lively and sparkling as the gallant colonel's narrative is, we confess it leaves a sadder impression on our minds of the hopelessness and the degeneracy of the Moslems, than any book we have met with. Turk and Egyptian should equally be whipped back into the desert, and the fairest portions of the world be won over to civilization, wealth, and happiness. The present volumes close at the end of January 1841, and perhaps they are among the best results of the campaign. We shall be glad to see the proceedings at Alexandria sketched off in the same pleasant style.
THE FATE OF POLYCRATES.—Herod. iii. 124-126.
"Oh! go not forth, my father dear—oh! I go not forth to-day, And trust not thou that Satrap dark, for he fawns but to betray; His courteous smiles are treacherous wiles, his foul designs to hide; Then go not forth, my father dear—in thy own fair towers abide."
"Now, say not so, dear daughter mine—I pray thee, say not so! Where glory calls, a monarch's feet should never fear to go; And safe to-day will be my way through proud Magnesia's halls, As if I stood 'mid my bowmen good beneath my Samian walls.
"The Satrap is my friend, sweet child—my trusty friend is he— The ruddy gold his coffers hold he shares it all with me; No more amid these clustering isles alone shall be my sway, But Hellas wide, from side to side, thy empire shall obey!
"And of all the maids of Hellas, though they be rich and fair, With the daughter of Polycrates, oh! who shall then compare? Then dry thy tears—no idle fears should damp our joy to-day— And let me see thee smile once more before I haste away!"
"Oh! false would be the smile, my sire, that I should wear this morn, For of all my country's daughters I shall soon be most forlorn; I know, I know,—ah, thought of woe!—I ne'er shall see again My father's ship come sailing home across the Icarian main.
"Each gifted seer, with words of fear, forbids thee to depart, And their warning strains an echo find in every faithful heart; A maiden weak, e'en I must speak—ye gods, assist me now! The characters of doom and death are graven on thy brow!
"Last night, my sire, a vision dire thy daughter's eyes did see, Suspended in mid air there hung a form resembling thee; Nay, frown not thus, my father dear; my tale will soon be done— Methought that form was bathed by Jove, and anointed by the sun!"
"My child, my child, thy fancies wild I may not stay to hear. A friend goes forth to meet a friend—then wherefore should'st thou fear? Though moonstruck seers with idle fears beguile a maiden weak, They cannot stay thy father's hand, or blanch thy father's cheek.
"Let cowards keep within their holds, and on peril fear to run! Such shame," quoth he, "is not for me, fair Fortune's favourite son!" Yet still the maiden did repeat her melancholy strain— "I ne'er shall see my father's fleet come sailing home again!"
The monarch call'd his seamen good, they muster'd on the shore, Waved in the gale the snow-white sail, and dash'd the sparkling oar; But by the flood that maiden stood—loud rose her piteous cry— "Oh! go not forth, my dear, dear sire—oh, go not forth to die!"
A frown was on that monarch's brow, and he said as he turn'd away, "Full soon shall Samos' lord return to Samos' lovely bay; But thou shalt aye a maiden lone within my courts abide— No chief of fame shall ever claim my daughter for his bride!
"A long, long maidenhood to thee thy prophet tongue hath given—" "Oh would, my sire," that maid replied, "such were the will of Heaven! Though I a loveless maiden lone must evermore remain, Still let me hear that voice so dear in my native isle again!"
'Twas all in vain that warning strain—the king has crost the tide— But never more off Samos shore his bark was seen to ride! The Satrap false his life has ta'en, that monarch bold and free, And his limbs are black'ning in the blast, nail'd to the gallows-tree!
That night the rain came down apace, and wash'd each gory stain, But the sun's bright ray, the next noonday, glared fiercely on the slain; And the oozing gore began once more from his wounded sides to run; Good-sooth, that form was bathed by Jove, and anointed by the Sun!
 Modern Painters—their Superiority in the Art of Landscape Painting to all the Ancient Masters, &c. &c. By a Graduate of Oxford.
We read this title with some pain, not doubting but that our modern landscape painters were severely handled in an ironical satire; and we determined to defend them. "Their superiority to all the ancient masters"—that was too hard a hit to come from any but an enemy! We must measure our man—a graduate of Oxford! The "scholar armed," without doubt. He comes, too, vauntingly up to us, with his contempt for us and all critics that ever were, or will be; we are all little Davids in the eye of this Goliath. Nevertheless, we will put a pebble in our sling. We saw this contempt of us, in dipping at hap-hazard into the volume. But what was our astonishment to find, upon looking further, that we had altogether mistaken the intent of the author, and that we should probably have not one Goliath, but many, to encounter; while our own particular friends, to whom we might look for help, were, alas! all dead men. We found that there were not "giants" in those days, but in these days—that the author, in his most superlative praise, is not ironical at all, but a most serious panegyrist, who never laughs, but does sometimes make his readers laugh, when they see his very unbecoming, mocking grimaces against the "old masters"—not that it can be fairly asserted that it is a laughable book. It has much conceit, and but little merriment; there is nothing really funny after you have got over, (vide page 6,) that he "looks with contempt on Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin." This contempt, however, being too limited for the "graduate of Oxford," in the next page he enlarges the scope of his enmity; "speaking generally of the old masters, I refer only to Claude, Gaspar Poussin, Salvator Rosa, Cuyp, Berghem, Both, Ruysdael, Hobbima, Teniers (in his landscapes,) P. Potter, Canaletti, and the various Van Somethings and Back Somethings, more especially and malignantly those who have libelled the sea." Self-convicted of malice, he has not the slightest suspicion of his ignorance; whereas he knows nothing of these masters whom he maligns. Still is he ready to be their general accuser—has not the slightest respect for the accumulated opinions of the best judges for these two or three hundred years—he puts them by with the wave of his hand, very like the unfortunate gentleman in an establishment of "unsound opinions," who gravely said—"The world and I differed in opinion—I was right, the world wrong; but they were too many for me, and put me here." We daresay that, in such establishments may be found many similar opinions to those our author promulgates, though, as yet, none of our respectable publishers have been convicted of a congenial folly. We said, that he suspects not his ignorance of the masters he maligns. Let it not hence be inferred that it is the work of an ignorant man. He is only ignorant with a prejudice. We will not say that it is not the work of a man who thinks, who has been habituated to a sort of scholastic reasoning, which he brings to bear, with no little parade and display, upon technicalities and distinctions. He can tutor secundum artem, lacking only, in the first point, that he has not tutored himself. With all his arrangements and distinctions laid down, as the very grammar of art, he confuses himself with his "truths," forgetting that, in matters of art, truths of fact must be referable to truths of mind. It is not what things in all respects really are, but what they appear, and how they are convertible by the mind into what they are not in many ways, respects, and degrees, that we have to consider, before we can venture to draw rules from any truths whatever. For art is something besides nature; and taste and feeling are first—precede practical art; and though greatly enhanced by that practical cultivation, might exist without it—nay, often do; and true taste always walks a step in advance of what has been done, and ever desires to do, and from itself, more than it sees. We discover, therefore, a fallacy in the very proposal of his undertaking, when he says that he is prepared "to advance nothing which does not, at least in his own conviction, rest on surer ground than mere feeling or taste." Notwithstanding, however, that our graduate of Oxford puts his "demonstrations" upon an equality with "the demonstrations of Euclid," and "thinks it proper for the public to know, that the writer is no mere theorist, but has been devoted from his youth to the laborious study of practical art," and that he is "a graduate of Oxford;" we do not look upon him as a bit the better judge for all that, seeing that many have practised it too fondly and too ignorantly all their lives, and that Claude, and Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin must, according to him, have been in this predicament, and more especially do we decline from bowing down at his dictation, when we find him advocating any "surer ground than feeling or taste." Now, considering that thus, in initio, he sets aside feeling and taste, the reader will not be astonished to find a very substantial reason given for his contempt of the afore-mentioned old masters; it is, he says, "because I look with the most devoted veneration upon Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, that I do not distrust the principles which induce me to look with contempt," &c. We do not exactly see how these great men, who were not landscape painters, can very well be compared with those who were, but from some general principles of art, in which the world have not as yet found any very extraordinary difference. But we do humbly suggest, that Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, are in their practice, and principles, if you please, quite as unlike Messrs David Cox, Copley Fielding, J. D. Harding, Clarkson Stanfield, and Turner—the very men whom our author brings forward as the excellent of the earth, in opposition to all old masters whatever, excepting only Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, to whom nevertheless, by a perverse pertinacity of their respective geniuses, they bear no resemblance whatever—as they are to Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin. We do not by any means intend to speak disrespectfully of these our English artists, but we must either mistrust those principles which cause them to stand in opposition to the great Italians, or to conceive that our author has really discovered no such differing principles, and which possibly may not exist at all. Nor will we think so meanly of the taste, the good feeling, and the good sense of these men, as to believe that they think themselves at all flattered by any admiration founded on such an irrational contempt. They well know that Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, and Da Vinci, have been admired, together with Claude, Salvator, and Gaspar Poussin, and they do not themselves desire to be put upon a separate list. The author concludes his introduction with a very bad reason for his partiality to modern masters, and it is put in most ambitious language, very readily learned in the "Fudge School,"—a style of language with which our author is very apt to indulge himself; but the argument it so ostentatiously clothes, and which we hesitate not to call a bad one, is nothing more than this, (if we understand it,)—that the dead are dead, and cannot hear our praise; that the living are living, and therefore our love is not lost; in short, as a non-sequitur, "that if honour be for the dead, gratitude can only be for the living." This might have been simply said; but we are taken to the grave—with "He who has once stood beside the grave," &c. &c.; we have "wild love—keen sorrow—pleasure to pulseless hearts—debt to the heart—to be discharged to the dust—the garland—the tombstone—the crowned brow—the ashes and the spirit—heaven-toned voices and heaven-lighted lamps—the learning—sweetness by silence—and light by decay;" all which, we conceive, might have been very excusable in a young curate's sermon during his first year of probation, and might have won for him more nosegays and favours than golden opinions, but which we here feel inclined to put our pen across, as so we remember many similarly ambitious passages to have been served, before we were graduate of Oxford, with the insignificant signification from the pen of our informator of nihil ad rem. As the author threatens the public with another, or more volumes, we venture to throw out a recommendation, that at least one volume may serve the purpose and do the real work of two, if he will check this propensity to unnecessary redundancy. His numerous passages of this kind are for the most part extremely unintelligible; and when we have unraveled the several coatings, we too often find the ribs of the mummy are not human. We think it right to object, in this place, to an affectation in phraseology offensive to those who think seriously of breaking the third commandment—he scarcely speaks of mountains without taking the sacred name in vain; there is likewise a constant repetition of expressions of very doubtful meaning in the first use, for the most part quite devoid of meaning in their application. One of these is "palpitating." Light is "palpitating," darkness is "palpitating"—every conceivable thing is "palpitating." We must, however, in justice say, that by far the best part of the book, the laying down rules and the elucidating principles, is clearly and expressively written. In this part of the work there is greater expansion than the student will generally find in books on art. Not that we are aware of the advancement of any thing new; but the admitted maxims of art are, as it were, grammatically analysed, and in a manner to assist the beginner in thinking upon art. To those who have already thought, this very studied analysis and arrangement will be tedious enough.
In the "Definition of Greatness in Art," we find—"If I say that the greatest picture is that which conveys to the mind of the spectator the greatest number of the greatest ideas, I have a definition which will include as subjects of comparison every pleasure which art is capable of conveying." Now, there are great ideas which are so conflicting as to annul the force of each other. This is not enough; there must be a congruity of great ideas—nay, in some instances, we can conceive one idea to be so great, as in a work of art not to admit of the juxtaposition of others. This is the principle upon which the sonnet is built, and the sonnet illustrates the picture not unaptly. "Ideas of Power" are great ideas—not always are ideas of beauty great; yet is there a tempering the one with the other, which it is the special province of art to attain, and that for its highest and most moral purposes. In his "Ideas of Power," he distinguishes the term "excellent" from the terms "beautiful," "useful," "good," &c.; thus—"And we shall always, in future, use the word excellent, as signifying that the thing to which it is applied required a great power for its production." Is not this doubtful? Does it not limit the perception of excellence to artists who can alone from their practice, and, as it were, measurement of powers with their difficulties, learn and feel its existence in the sense to which it is limited. The inference would be, that none but artists can be critics, as none but artists can perceive excellence, and we think in more than one place some such assertion is made. This is startling—"Power is never wasted; whatever power has been employed, produces excellence in proportion to its own dignity and exertion; and the faculty of perceiving this exertion, and approaching this dignity, is the faculty of perceiving excellence." "It is this faculty in which men, even of the most cultivated taste, must always be wanting, unless they have added practice to reflection; because none can estimate the power manifested in victory, unless they have personally measured the strength to be overcome." For the word strength use difficulty, and we should say that, to the unpractised, the difficulties must always appear greatest. He gives, as illustration, "Titian's flesh tint;" it may be possible that, by some felicitous invention, some new technicality of his art, Titian might have produced this excellence, and to him there would have been no such great measurement of the difficulty or strength to be overcome; while the admirer of the work, ignorant of the happy means, fancies the exertion of powers which were not exerted. In his chapter on "Ideas of Imitation," he imagines that Fuseli and Coleridge falsely apply the term imitation, making "a distinction between imitation and copying, representing the first as the legitimate function of art—the latter as its corruption." Yet we think he comes pretty much to the same conclusion. In like manner, he seems to disagree with Burke in a passage which he quotes, but in reality he agrees with him; for surely the "power of the imitation" is but a power of the "jugglery," to be sensible of which, if we understand him, is necessary to our sense of imitation. "When the object," says Burke, "represented in poetry or painting is such as we could have no desire of seeing in the reality, then we may be sure that its power in poetry or painting is owing to the power of imitation." "We may," says our author, "be sure of the contrary; for if the object be undesirable in itself, the closer the imitation the less will be the pleasure." Certainly not; for Burke of course implied, and included in his sense of imitation, that it should be consistent with a knowledge in the spectator, that a certain trick of art was put upon him. And our author says the same—"Whenever the work is seen to resemble something which we know it is not, we receive what I call an idea of imitation." Again—"Now, two things are requisite to our complete and most pleasurable perception of this: first, that the resemblance be so perfect as to amount to deception; secondly, that there be some means of proving at the same moment that it is a deception." He justly considers "the pleasures resulting from imitation the most contemptible that can be received from art." He thus happily illustrates his meaning—"We may consider tears as a result of agony or of art, whichever we please, but not of both at the same moment. If we are surprised by them as an attainment of the one, it is impossible we can be moved by them as a sign of the other." This will explain why we are pleased with the exact imitation of the dewdrop on the peach, and why we are disgusted with the Magdalen's tears by Vanderwerf; and we further draw this inevitable conclusion, of very important consequence to artists, who have very erroneous notions upon the subject, that this sort of imitation, which, by the deception of its name, should be most like, is actually less like nature, because it takes from nature its impression by substituting a sense of the jugglery. This chapter on ideas of imitation is good and useful. We think, in the after part of his work, wherein is much criticism on pictures by the old masters and by moderns, our author must have lost the remembrance of what he has so well said on his ideas of imitation; and in the following chapter on "Ideas of Truth." "The word truth, as applied to art, signifies the faithful statement, either to the mind or senses, of any fact of nature." The reader will readily see how "ideas of truth" differ from "ideas of imitation." The latter relating only to material objects, the former taking in the conceptions of the mind—may be conveyed by signs or symbols, "themselves no image nor likeness of any thing." "An idea of truth exists in the statement of one attribute of any thing; but an idea of imitation only in the resemblance of as many attributes as we are usually cognizant of in its real presence." Hence it follows that ideas of truth are inconsistent with ideas of imitation; for, as we before said, ideas of imitation remove the impression by an ever-present sense of the deception or falsehood. This is put very conclusively—"so that the moment ideas of truth are grouped together, so as to give rise to an idea of imitation, they change their very nature—lose their essence as ideas of truth—and are corrupted and degraded, so as to share in the treachery of what they have produced. Hence, finally, ideas of truth are the foundation, and ideas of imitation the distinction, of all art. We shall be better able to appreciate their relative dignity after the investigation which we propose of functions of the former; but we may as well now express the conclusion to which we shall then be led—that no picture can be good which deceives by its imitation; for the very reason that nothing can be beautiful which is not true." This is perhaps rather too indiscriminate. It has been shown that ideas of imitation do give pleasure; by them, too, objects of beauty may be represented. We should not say that a picture by Gerard Dow or Van Eyck; even with the down on the peach and the dew on the leaf, were not good pictures. They are good if they please. It is true, they ought to do more, and even that in a higher degree; they cannot be works of greatness—and greatness was probably meant in the word good. In his chapter on "Ideas of Beauty," he considers that we derive, naturally and instinctively, pleasure from the contemplation of certain material objects; for which no other reason can be given than that it is our instinct—the will of our Maker—we enjoy them "instinctively and necessarily, as we derive sensual pleasure from the scent of a rose." But we have instinctively aversion as well as desire; though he admits this, he seems to lose sight of it in the following—"And it would appear that we are intended by the Deity to be constantly under their influence, (ideas of beauty;) because there is not one single object in nature which is not capable of conveying them," &c. We are not satisfied; if the instinctive desire be the index to what is beautiful, so must the instinctive aversion be the index to its opposite. We have an instinctive dislike to many reptiles, to many beasts—as apes. These may have in them some beauty; we only object to the author's want of clearness. If there be no ugliness there is no beauty, for every thing has its opposite; so that we think he has not yet discovered and clearly put before us what beauty consists in. He shows how it happens that we do admire it instinctively; but that does not tell us what it is, and possibly, after all that has been said about it, it yet remains to be told. Nor are we satisfied with his definition of taste—"Perfect taste is the faculty of receiving the greatest possible pleasure from those material sources which are attractive to our moral nature in its purity and perfection." This will not do; for taste will take material sources, unattractive in themselves, and by combination, or for their contrast, receive pleasure from them. All literature and all art show this. That taste, like life itself, is instinctive in its origin and first motion, we doubt not; but what it is by and in its cultivation, and in its application to art, is a thing not to be altogether so cursorily discussed and dismissed. The distinction is laid down between taste and judgment—judgment being the action of the intellect; taste "the instinctive and instant preferring of one material object to another without any obvious reason," except that it is proper to human nature in its perfection so to do. But leaving this discussion of this original taste, taste in art is surely, as it is a thing cultivated, that for which a reason can be given, and in some measure, therefore, the result of judgment. For by the cultivation of taste we are actually led to love, admire, and desire many things of which we have no instinctive love at all; so that the taste for them arises from the intellect and the moral sense—our judgment. He proceeds to "Ideas of Relation," by which he means "to express all those sources of pleasure, which involve and require at the instant of their perception, active exertion of the intellectual powers." As this is to be more easily comprehended by an illustration, we have one in an incident of one of Turner's pictures, and, considering the object, it is surprising the author did not find one more important; but he herein shows that, in his eyes, every stroke of the brush by Mr Turner is important—indeed, is a considerable addition to our national wealth. In the picture of the "Building of Carthage," the foreground is occupied by a group of children sailing toy-boats, which he thinks to be an "exquisite choice of incident expressive of the ruling passion." He, with a whimsical extravagance in praise of Turner, which, commencing here, runs throughout all the rest of the volume, says—"Such a thought as this is something far above all art; it is epic poetry of the highest order." Epic poetry of the highest order! Ungrateful will be our future epic poets if they do not learn from this—if such is done by boys sailing toy-boats, surely boys flying a kite will illustrate far better the great astronomical knowledge of our days. But he is rather unfortunate in this bit of criticism; for he compares this incident with one of Claude's, which we, however, think a far better and more poetical incident. "Claude, in subjects of the same kind," (not, by the by, a very fair statement,) "commonly introduces people carrying red trunks with iron locks about, and dwells, with infantine delight, on the lustre of the leather and the ornaments of the iron. The intellect can have no occupation here, we must look to the imitation or to nothing." As to the "infantine delight," we presume it is rather with the boys and their toy-boats; but let us look a little into these trunks—no, we may not—there is something more in them than our graduate imagines—the very iron locks and precious leather mean to tell you there is something still more precious within, worth all the cost of freightage; and you see, a little off, the great argosie that has brought the riches; and we humbly think that the ruling passion of a people whose "princes were merchants, and whose merchants princes," as happily expressed by the said "red trunks" as the rise of Carthage by the boys and boats; and in the fervour of this bit of "exquisite" epic choice, probably Claude did look with delight on the locks and the leather; and, whenever we look upon that picture again, we shall be ready to join in the delight, and say, in spite of our graduate's "contempt," there is nothing like leather. If the boys and boats express the beginning, the red trunks express the thing done—merchandise "brought home to every man's door;" so that the one serves for an "idea of relation," quite as well as the other. And here ends section the first.
The study of ideas of imitation are thrown out of the consideration of ideas of power, as unworthy the pursuit of an artist, whose purpose is not to deceive, and because they are only the result of a particular association of ideas of truth. "There are two modes in which we receive the conception of power; one, the most just, when by a perfect knowledge of the difficulty to be overcome, and the means employed, we form a right estimate of the faculties exerted; the other, when without possessing such intimate and accurate knowledge, we are impressed by a sensation of power in visible action. If these two modes of receiving the impression agree in the result, and if the sensation be equal to the estimate, we receive the utmost possible idea of power. But this is the case perhaps with the works of only one man out of the whole circle of the fathers of art, of him to whom we have just referred—Michael Angelo. In others the estimate and the sensation are constantly unequal, and often contradictory." There is a distinction between the sensation of power and the intellectual perception of it. A slight sketch will give the sensation; the greater power is in the completion, not so manifest, but of which there is a more intellectual cognizance. He instances the drawings of Frederick Tayler for sensations of power, considering the apparent means; and those of John Lewis for more complete ideas of power, in reference to the greater difficulties overcome, and the more complicated means employed. We think him unfortunate in his selection, as the subjects of these artists are not such as, of themselves, justly to receive ideas of power, therefore not the best to illustrate them. He proceeds to "ideas of power, as they are dependent on execution." There are six legitimate sources of pleasure in execution—truth, simplicity, mystery, inadequacy, decision, velocity. "Decision" we should think involved in "truth;" as so involved, not necessarily different from velocity. Mystery and inadequacy require explanation. "Nature is always mysterious and secret in her use of means; and art is always likest her when it is most inexplicable." Execution, therefore, should be "incomprehensible." "Inadequacy" can hardly, we think, be said to be a quality of execution, as it has only reference to means employed. Insufficient means, according to him, give ideas of power. We otherwise conclude—namely, that if the inadequacy of the means is shown, we receive ideas of weakness. "Ars est celare artem"—so is it to conceal the means. Strangeness in execution, not a legitimate source of pleasure, is illustrated by the execution of a bull's head by Rubens, and of the same by Berghem. Of the six qualities of execution, the three first are the greatest, the three last the most attractive. He considers Berghem and Salvator to have carried their fondness for these lowest qualities to a vice. We can scarcely agree with him, as their execution seems most appropriate to the character of their subjects—to arise, in fact, out of their "ideas of truth." There is appended a good note on the execution of the "drawing-master," that, under the title of boldness, will admit of no touch less than the tenth of an inch broad, and on the tricks of engravers' handling.
Our graduate dismisses the "sublime" in about two pages; in fact, he considers sublimity not to be a specific term, nor "descriptive of the effect of a particular class of ideas;" but as he immediately asserts that it is "greatness of any kind," and "the effect of greatness upon the feelings," we should have expected to have heard a little more about what constitutes this "greatness," this "sublime," which "elevates the mind," something more than that "Burke's theory of the nature of the sublime is incorrect." The sublime not being "distinct from what is beautiful," he confines his subject to "ideas of truth, beauty, and relation," and by these he proposes to test all artists. Truth of facts and truth of thoughts are here considered; the first necessary, but the latter the highest: we should say that it is the latter which alone constitutes art, and that here art begins where nature ends. Facts are the foundation necessary to the superstructure; the foundation of which must be there, though unseen, unnoticed in contemplation of the noble edifice. Very great stress is laid upon "the exceeding importance of truth;" which none will question, reminding us of the commencement of Bacon's essay, "What is truth? said laughing Pilate, and would not wait for an answer." "Nothing," says our author, "can atone for the want of truth, not the most brilliant imagination, the most playful fancy, the most pure feeling (supposing that feeling could be pure and false at the same time,) not the most exalted conception, nor the most comprehensive grasp of intellect, can make amends for the want of truth." Now, there is much parade in all this, surely truth, as such in reference to art, is in the brilliancy of imagination, in the playfulness, without which is no fancy, in the feeling, and in the very exaltation of a conception; and intellect has no grasp that does not grasp a truth. When he speaks of nature as "immeasurably superior to all that the human mind can conceive," and professes to "pay no regard whatsoever to what may be thought beautiful, or sublime, or imaginative," and to "look only for truth, bare, clear downright statement of facts," he seems to forget what nature is, as adopted by, as taken into art; it is not only external nature, but external nature in conjunction with the human mind. Nor does he, in fact, adhere in the subsequent part of his work to this his declaration; for he loses it in his "fervour of imagination," when he actually examines the works of "the great living painter, who is, I believe, imagined by the majority of the public to paint more falsehood and less fact than any other known master." Here our author jumps at once into his monomania—his adoration of the works of Turner, which he examines largely and microscopically, as it suits his whim, and imagines all the while he is describing and examining nature; and not unfrequently he tells you, that nature and Turner are the same, and that he "invites the same ceaseless study as the works of nature herself." This is "coming it pretty strong." We confess we are with the majority—not that we wish to depreciate Turner. He is, or has been, unquestionably, a man of genius, and that is a great admission. He has, perhaps, done in art what never has been done before. He has illuminated "Views," if not with local, with a splendid truth. His views of towns are the finest; he led the way to this walk of art, and is far superior to all in it. We speak of his works collectively. Some of his earlier, more imaginative, were unquestionably poetical, though not, perhaps, of a very high character. We believe he has been better acquainted with many of the truths of nature, particularly those which came within the compass of his line of views, than any other artist, ancient or modern; but we believe he has neglected others, and some important ones too, and to which the old masters paid the greatest attention, and devoted the utmost study. We have spoken frequently, unhesitatingly, of the late extraordinary productions of his pencil, as altogether unworthy his real genius; it is in these we see, with the majority of the public, "more falsehood and less fact" than in any other known master—a defiance of the "known truths" in drawing, colour, and composition, for which we can only account upon the supposition, that his eye misrepresents to him the work of his hands. We see, in the almost adoration of his few admirers, that if it be difficult, and not always dependent, on merit to attain to eminence in the world's estimation, it is nearly as difficult altogether to fall from it; and that nothing the artist can do, though they be the veriest "aegri somnia," will separate from him habitual followers, who, with a zeal in proportion to the extravagances he may perpetrate, will lose their relish for, and depreciate the great masters, whose very principles he seems capriciously in his age to set aside, and they will from followers become his worshippers, and in pertinacity exact entire compliance, and assent to every, the silliest, dictation of their monomania. We subjoin a specimen of this kind of worship, which will be found fully to justify our observations, and which, considering it speaks of mortal man, is somewhat blaspheming Divine attributes; we know not really whether we should pity the condition of the author, or reprehend the passage. After speaking of other modern painters, who are so superior to the old, he says: "and Turner—glorious in conception—unfathomable in knowledge—solitary in power—with the elements waiting upon his will, and the night and the morning obedient to his call, sent as a prophet of God to reveal to men the mysteries of his universe, standing, like the great angel of the Apocalypse, clothed with a cloud, and with a rainbow upon his head, and with the sun and stars given into his hand." Little as we are disposed to laugh at any such aberrations, we must, to remove from our minds the greater, the more serious offence, indulge in a small degree of justifiable ridicule; and ask what will sculptor or painter make of this description, should the reluctant public be convinced by the "graduate," and in their penitential reverence order statue or painting of Mr Turner for the Temple of Fame, which it is presumed Parliament, in their artistic zeal, mean to erect? How will they venture to represent Mr Turner looking like an angel—in that dress which would make any man look like a fool—his cloud nightcap tied with rainbow riband round his head, calling to night and morning, and little caring which comes, making "ducks and drakes" of the sun and the stars, put into his hand for that purpose? We will only suggest one addition, as it completes the grand idea, and is in some degree characteristic of Mr Turner's peculiar execution, that, with the sun and stars, there should be delivered into his hand a comet, whose tail should serve him for a brush, and supply itself with colour. We do not see, however, why the moon should have been omitted; sun, moon, and stars, generally go together. Is the author as jealous as the "majority of the public" may be suspicious of her influence? And let not the reader believe that Mr Turner is thus called a prophet in mere joke, or a fashion of words—his prophetic power is advanced in another passage, wherein it is asserted that Mr Turner not only tells us in his works what nature has done in hers, but what she will do. "In fact," says our author, "the great quality about Mr Turner's drawings, which more especially proves their transcendant truth, is the capability they afford us of reasoning on past and future phenomena." The book teems with extravagant bombastic praise like this. Mr Turner is more than the Magnus Apollo. Yet other English artists are brought forward, immediately preceding the above panegyric; we know not if we do them justice, by noticing what is said of them. There is a curious description of David Cos lying on the ground "to possess his spirit in humility and peace," of Copley Fielding, as an aeronaut, "casting his whole soul into space." We really cannot follow him, "exulting like the wild deer in the motion of the swift mists," and "flying with the wild wind and sifted spray along the white driving desolate sea, with the passion for nature's freedom burning in his heart;" for such a chase and such a heart-burn must have a frightful termination, unless it be mere nightmare. We see "J. D. Harding, brilliant and vigorous," &c., "following with his quick, keen dash the sunlight into the crannies of the rocks, and the wind into the tangling of the grass, and the bright colour into the fall of the sea-foam—various, universal in his aim;" after which very fatiguing pursuit, we are happy to find him "under the shade of some spreading elm;" yet his heart is oak—and he is "English, all English at his heart." But Mr Clarkson Stanfield is a man of men—"firm, and fearless, and unerring in his knowledge—stern and decisive in his truth—perfect and certain in composition—shunning nothing, concealing nothing, and falsifying nothing—never affected, never morbid, never failing—conscious of his strength, but never ostentatious of it—acquainted with every line and hue of the deep sea—chiseling his waves with unhesitating knowledge of every curve of their anatomy, and every moment of their motion—building his mountains rock by rock, with wind in every fissure, and weight in every stone—and modeling the masses of his sky with the strength of tempest in their every fold." It is curious—yet a searcher after nature's truths ought to know, as he is here told, that waves may be anatomized, and must be chiseled, and that mountains are and ought to be built up rock by rock, as a wall brick by brick; no easy task considering that there is a disagreeable "wind in every fissure, and weight in every stone"—and that the aerial sky, incapable to touch, must be "modeled in masses." All this is given after an equally extravagant abuse of Claude, of Salvator Rosa, and Poussin. He finds fault with Claude, because his sea does not "upset the flower-pots on the wall," forgetting that they are put there because the sea could not—with Salvator, for his "contemptible fragment of splintery crag, which an Alpine snow-wreath" (which would have no business there) "would smother in its first swell, with a stunted bush or two growing out of it, and a Dudley or Halifax-like volume of smoke for a sky"—with Poussin, for that he treats foliage (whereof "every bough is a revelation!") as "a black round mass of impenetrable paint, diverging into feathers instead of leaves, and supported on a stick instead of a trunk." A page or two from this, our author sadly abuses poor Canaletti, as far as we can see, for not painting a tumbled-down wall, which perhaps, in his day, was not in a ruinous state at all; it is a curious passage—and shows how much may be made out of a wall. Pyramus's chink was nothing to this—behold a specimen of "fine writing!" "Well: take the next house. We remember that too; it was mouldering inch by inch into the canal, and the bricks had fallen away from its shattered marble shafts, and left them white and skeleton-like, yet with their fretwork of cold flowers wreathed about them still, untouched by time; and through the rents of the wall behind them there used to come long sunbeams gleamed by the weeds through which they pierced, which flitted, and fell one by one round those grey and quiet shafts, catching here a leaf and there a leaf, and gliding over the illumined edges and delicate fissures until they sank into the deep dark hollow between the marble blocks of the sunk foundation, lighting every other moment one isolated emerald lamp on the crest of the intermittent waves, when the wild sea-weeds and crimson lichens drifted and crawled with their thousand colours and fine branches over its decay, and the black, clogging, accumulated limpets hung in ropy clusters from the dripping and tinkling stone. What has Canaletti given us for this?" Alas, neither a crawling lichen, nor clogging limpets, nor a tinkling stone, but "one square, red mass, composed of—let me count—five-and-fifty—no, six-and-fifty—no, I was right at first, five-and-fifty bricks," &c. The picture, if it be painted by the graduate, must be a curiosity—we can make neither head nor tail of his words. But let us find another strange specimen—where he compares his own observations of nature with Poussin and Turner. Every one must remember a very pretty little picture of no great consequence by Gaspar Poussin—a view of some buildings of a town said to be Aricia, the modern La Riccia—just take it for what it is intended to be, a quiet, modest, agreeable scene—very true and sweetly painted. How unfit to be compared with an ambitious description of a combination of views from Rome to the Alban Mount, for that is the range of the description, though, perhaps, the description is taken from a poetical view of one of Turner's incomprehensibles, which may account for the conclusion, "Tell me who is likest this, Poussin or Turner?" Now, though Poussin never intended to be like this, let us see the graduate's description of it. We know the little town; it received us as well as our author, having left Rome to visit it.
"Egressum magna me accepit Aricia Roma."
Our author, however, doubts if it be the place, though he unhesitatingly abuses Poussin, as if he had fully intended to have painted nothing else than what was seen by the travelling graduate. "At any rate, it is a town on a hill, wooded with two-and-thirty bushes, of very uniform size, and possessing about the same number of leaves each. These bushes are all painted in with one dull opaque brown, becoming very slightly greenish towards the lights, and discover in one place a bit of rock, which of course would in nature have been cool and grey beside the lustrous hues of foliage, and which, therefore, being moreover completely in shade, is consistently and scientifically painted of a very clear, pretty, and positive brick red, the only thing like colour in the picture. The foreground is a piece of road, which, in order to make allowance for its greater nearness, for its being completely in light, and, it may be presumed, for the quantity of vegetation usually present on carriage roads, is given in a very cool green-grey, and the truthful colouring of the picture is completed by a number of dots in the sky on the right, with a stalk to them, of a sober and similar brown." We need not say how unlike is this description of the picture. We pass on to—"Not long ago, I was slowly descending this very bit of carriage road, the first turn after you leave Albano;—it had been wild weather when I left Rome, and all across the Campagna the clouds were sweeping in sulphurous blue, with a clap of thunder or two, and breaking gleams of sun along the Claudian aqueduct, lighting up the infinity of its arches like the bridge of Chaos. But as I climbed the long slope of the Alban mount, the storm swept finally to the north, and the noble outline of the domes of Albano, and graceful darkness of its ilex grove rose against pure streaks of alternate blue and amber, the upper sky gradually flushing through the last fragments of rain-cloud in deep, palpitating azure, half aether half dew. The noonday sun came slanting down the rocky slopes of La Riccia, and its masses of entangled and tall foliage, whose autumnal tints were mixed with the wet verdure of a thousand evergreens, were penetrated with it as with rain. I cannot call it colour, it was conflagration. Purple, and crimson, and scarlet, like the curtains of God's tabernacle, the rejoicing trees sank into the valley in showers of light, every separate leaf quivering with buoyant and burning life; each, as it turned to reflect or to transmit the sunbeam, first a torch and then an emerald. Far up into the recesses of the valley, the green vistas arched like the hollows of mighty waves of some crystalline sea, with the arbutus flowers dashed along their flanks for foam, and silver flakes of orange spray tossed into the air around them, breaking over the grey walls of rock into a thousand separate stars, fading and kindling alternately as the weak wind lifted and let them fall. Every glade of grass burned like the golden floor of heaven, opening in sudden gleams as the foliage broke and closed above it, as sheet lightning opens in a cloud at sunset; the motionless masses of dark rock—dark though flushed with scarlet lichen—casting their quiet shadows across its restless radiance, the fountain underneath them filling its marble hollow with blue mist and fitful sound, and over all—the multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the sacred clouds that have no darkness, and only exist to illumine, were seen in fathomless intervals between the solemn and orbed repose of the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in the last, white, blinding lustre of the measureless line where the Campagna melted into the blaze of the sea." In verity, this is no "Campana Supellex." It is a riddle! Is he going up or down hill—or both at once? No human being can tell. He did not like the "sulphur and treacle" of "our Scotch connoisseurs;" but what colours has he not added here to his sulphur—colours, too, that we fear for the "idea of truth" cannot coexist! And how, in the name of optics, could it be possible for any painter to take in all this, with the "fathomless intervals," into an angle of vision of forty-five degrees? It is quite superfluous to ask "who is likest this, Turner or Poussin?" There immediately follows a remark upon another picture in the National Gallery, the "Mercury and Woodman," by Salvator Rosa, than which nothing can be more untrue to the original. He asserts that Salvator painted the distant mountains, "throughout, without one instant of variation. But what is its colour? Pure sky-blue, without one grain of grey, or any modifying hue whatsoever;—the same brush which had just given the bluest parts of the sky, has been more loaded at the same part of the pallette, and the whole mountain throw in with unmitigated ultramarine." Now the fact is, that the picture has, in this part, been so injured, that it is hard to say what colour is under the dirty brown-asphaltum hue and texture that covers it. It is certainly not blue now, not "pure blue"—unless pictures change like the cameleon. We know the picture well, and have seen another of the same subject, where the mountains have variety, and yet are blue. We believe a great sum was given for this picture—far more than its condition justifies. We must return—we left the graduate discussing ideas of truth. There is a chapter to show that the truth of nature is not to be discerned by the uneducated senses. As we do not perceive all sounds that enter the ear, so do we not perceive all that is cognizable by the eye—we have, that is, a power of nullifying an impression; that this habit is so common, that from the abstraction of their minds to other subjects, there are probably persons who never saw any thing beautiful. Sensibility to the power of beauty is required—and to see rightly, there should be a perfect state of moral feeling. Even when we think we see with our eyes, our perception is often the result of memory, of previous knowledge; and it is in this way he accounts for the mistake painters and others make with respect to Italian skies. What will Mr Uwin and his followers in blue say to this, alas—Italian skies are not blue? "How many people are misled by what has been said and sung of the serenity of Italian skies, to suppose they must be more blue than the skies of the north, and think that they see them so; whereas the sky of Italy is far more dull and grey in colour than the skies of the north, and is distinguished only by its intense repose of light." Benevenuto Cellini speaks of the mist of Italy. "Repose of light" is rather a novelty—he is fond of it. But then Turner paints with pure white—for ourselves we are with the generality of mankind who prefer the "repose" of shade. "Ask a connoisseur, who has scampered over all Europe, the shape of the leaf of an elm, and the chances are ninety to one that he cannot tell you; and yet he will be voluble of criticism on every painted landscape from Dresden to Madrid"—and why not? The chances are ninety to one that the merits of not a single picture shall depend upon this knowledge, and yet the pictures shall be good and the connoisseur right. One man sees what another does not see in portraits. Undoubtedly; but how any one is to find in a portrait the following, we are at a loss to conceive. "The third has caught the trace of all that was most hidden and most mighty, when all hypocrisy and all habit, and all petty and passing emotion—the ice, and the bank, and the foam of the immortal river—were shivered and broken, and swallowed up in the awakening of its inward strength," &c. How can a man with a pen in his hand let such stuff as this drop from his fingers' ends?
In the chapter "on the relative importance of truths," there is a little needless display of logic—needless, for we find, after all, he does not dispute "the kind of truths proper to be represented by the painter or sculptor," though he combats the maxim that general truths are preferable to particular. His examples are quite out of art, whether one be spoken of as a man or as Sir Isaac Newton. Even logically speaking, Sir Isaac Newton may be the whole of the subject, and as such a whole might require a generality. There may be many particulars that are best sunk. So, in a picture made up of many parts, it should have a generality totally independent of the particularities of the parts, which must be so represented as not to interfere with that general idea, and which may be altogether in the mind of the artist. This little discussion seems to arise from a sort of quibble on the word important. Sir Joshua and others, who abet the generality maxim, mean no more than that it is of importance to a picture that it contain, fully expressed, one general idea, with which no parts are to interfere, but that the parts will interfere if each part be represented with its most particular truth—and that, therefore, drapery should be drapery merely, not silk or satin, where high truths of the subject are to be impressed.
"Colour is a secondary truth, therefore less important than form." "He, therefore, who has neglected a truth of form for a truth of colour, has neglected a greater truth for a less one." It is true with regard to any individual object—but we doubt if it be always so in picture. The character of the picture may not at all depend upon form—nay, it is possible that the painter may wish to draw away the mind altogether from the beauty, and even correctness of form, his subject being effect and colour, that shall be predominant, and to which form shall be quite subservient, and little more of it than such as chiaro-scuro shall give; and in such a case colour is the more important truth, because in it lies the sentiment of the picture. The mystery of Rembrandt would vanish were beauty of form introduced in many of his pictures. We remember a picture, the most impressive picture perhaps ever painted, and that by a modern too, Danby's "Opening of the Sixth Seal." Now, though there are fine parts in this picture, the real power of the picture is in its colour—it is awful. We are no enemy to modern painters; we think this a work of the highest genius—and as such, should be most proud to see it deposited in our National Gallery. We further say, that in some respects it carries the art beyond the old practice. But, then, we may say it is a new subject. "It is not certain whether any two people see the same colours in things." Though that does not affect the question of the importance of colour, for it must imply a defect in the individuals, for undoubtedly there is such a thing as nature's harmony of colour; yet it may be admitted, that things are not always known by their colour; nay, that the actual local colour of objects is mainly altered by effects of light, and we are accustomed to see the same things, quoad colour, variously presented to us—and the inference that we think artists may draw from this fact is, that there will be allowed them a great licence in all cases of colour, and that naturalness may be preserved without exactness—and here will lie the value of a true theory of the harmony of colours, and the application of colouring to pictures, most suitable to the intended impression, not the most appropriate to the objects. We have often laid some stress upon this in the pages of Maga—and we think it has been too much omitted in the consideration of artists. Every one knows what is called a Claude glass. We see nature through a coloured medium—yet we do not doubt that we are looking at nature—at trees, at water, at skies—nay, we admire the colour—see its harmony and many beauties—yet we know them to be, if we may use the term, misrepresented. While speaking of the Claude glass, it will not be amiss to notice a peculiarity. It shows a picture—when the unaided eye will not; it heightens illumination—brings out the most delicate lights, scarcely perceptible to the naked eye, and gives greater power to the shades, yet preserves their delicacy. It seems to annihilate all those rays of light, which, as it were, intercept the picture—that come between the eye and the object. But to return to colour—we say that it must, in the midst of its license, preserve its naturalness—which it will do if it have a meaning in itself. But when we are called upon to question what is the meaning of this or that colour, how does its effect agree with the subject? why is it outrageously yellow or white, or blue or red, or a jumble of all these?—which are questions, we confess, that we and the public have often asked, with regard to Turner's late pictures—we do not acknowledge a naturalness—the license has been abused—not "sumpta pudenter." It is not because the vividness of "a blade of grass or a scarlet flower" shall be beyond the power of pigment, that a general glare and obtrusion of such colours throughout a picture can be justified. We are astonished that any man with eyes should see the unnaturalness in colour of Salvator and Titian, and not see it in Turner's recent pictures, where it is offensive because more glaring. Those masters sacrificed, if it be a sacrifice, something to repose—repose is the thing to be sacrificed according to the notions of too many of our modern schools. It is likewise singular, after all the falsehoods which he asserts the old masters to have painted, that he should speak of "imitation"—as their whole aim, their sole intention to deceive; and yet he describes their pictures as unlike nature in the detail and in the general as can be, strangely missing their object—deception. We fear the truths, particulars of which occupy the remainder of the volume—of earth, water, skies, &c.—are very minute truths, which, whether true or false, are of very little importance to art, unless it be to those branches of art which may treat the whole of each particular truth as the whole of a subject, a line of art that may produce a multitude of works, like certain scenes of dramatic effect, surprising to see once, but are soon powerless—can we hope to say of such, "decies repetita placebunt?" They will be the fascinations of the view schools, nay, may even delight the geologist and the herbalist, but utterly disgust the imaginative. This kind of "knowledge" is not "power" in art. We want not to see water anatomized; the Alps may be tomahawked and scalped by geologists, yet may they be sorry painters. And we can point to the general admiration of the world, learned and unlearned, that a "contemptible fragment of a splintery crag" has been found to answer all the purposes of an impression of the greatness of nature, her free, great, and awful forms, and that depth, shades, power of chiaro-scuro, are found in nature to be strongest in objects of no very great magnitude; for our vision requires nearness, and we want not the knowledge that a mountain is 20,000 feet high, to be convinced that it is quite large enough to crush man and all his works; and that they, who, in their terror of a greater pressure, would call upon the mountains to cover them, and the holes of rocks to hide them, would think very little of the measurement of the mountains, or how the caverns of the earth are made. Greatness and sublimity are quite other things.
We shall not very systematically carry our views, therefore, into the detail of these truths, but shall just pick here and there a passage or so, that may strike us either for its utility or its absurdity.
With regard to truth of tone, he observes—that "the finely-toned pictures of the old masters are some of the notes of nature played two or three octaves below her key, the dark objects in the middle distance having precisely the same relation to the light of the sky which they have in nature, but the light being necessarily infinitely lowered, and the mass of the shadow deepened in the same degree. I have often been struck, when looking at a camera-obscura on a dark day, with the exact resemblance the image bore to one of the finest pictures of the old masters." We only ask if, when looking at the picture in the camera, he did not still recognize nature—and then, if it was beautiful, we might ask him if it was not true; and then when he asserts our highest light being white paper, and that not white enough for the light of nature—we would ask if, in the camera, he did not see the picture on white paper—and if the whiteness of paper be not the exact whiteness of nature, or white as ordinary nature? But there is a quality in the light of nature that mere whiteness will not give, and which, in fact, is scarcely ever seen in nature merely in what is quite white; we mean brilliancy—that glaze, as it were, between the object and the eye which makes it not so much light as bright. Now this quality of light was thought by the old masters to be the most important one of light, extending to the half tones and even in the shadows, where there is still light; and this by art and lowering the tone they were able to give, so that we see not the value of the praise when he says—
"Turner starts from the beginning with a totally different principle. He boldly takes pure white—and justly, for it is the sign of the most intense sunbeams—for his highest light, and lamp-black for his deepest shade," &c. Now, if white be the sign of the most intense sunbeams, it is as we never wish to see them; what under a tropical sun may be white is not quite white with us; and we always find it disagreeable in proportion as it approaches to pure white. We never saw yet in nature a sky or a cloud pure white; so that here certainly is one of the "fallacies," we will not call them falsehoods. But as far as we can judge of nature's ideas of light and colour, it is her object to tone them down, and to give us very little, if any, of this raw white, and we would not say that the old masters did not follow her method of doing it. But we will say, that the object of art, at any rate, is to make all things look agreeable; and that human eyes cannot bear without pain those raw whites and too searching lights; and that nature has given to them an ever present power of glazing down and reducing them, when she added to the eye the sieve, our eyelashes, through which we look, which we employ for this purpose, and desire not to be dragged at any time—"Sub curru nimium propinqui solis."
After this praise of white, one does not expect—"I think nature mixes yellow with almost every one of her hues;" but this is said merely in aversion to purple. "I think the first approach to viciousness of colour in any master, is commonly indicated chiefly by a prevalence of purple and an absence of yellow." "I am equally certain that Turner is distinguished from all the vicious colourists of the present day, by the foundation of all his tones being black, yellow, and intermediate greys, while the tendency of our common glare-seekers is invariably to pure, cold, impossible purples."
"Silent nymph, with curious eye, Who the purple evening lie,"
saith Dyer, in his landscape of "Grongar Hill." The "glare-seekers" is curious enough, when we remember the graduate's description of landscapes, (of course Turner's,) and his excursions; but we think we have seen many purples in Turner, and that opposed to his flaming red in sunsets. He prefers warmth where most people feel cold—this is not surprising; but as to picture "is it true?" "My own feelings would guide me rather to the warm greys of such pictures as the 'Snow-Storm,' or the glowing scarlet and gold of the 'Napoleon' and the 'Slave Ship.'" The two latter must be well remembered by all Exhibition visitors; they were the strangest things imaginable in colour as in every particle that should be art or nature. There is a whimsical quotation from Wordsworth, the "keenest-eyed," page 145. His object is to show the strength of shadow—how "the shadows on the trunk of the tree become darker and more conspicuous than any part of the boughs or limbs;" so, for this strength and blackness, we have—