Imagens das páginas




nibal habits; and that of the Chinese- such cases not to resort to well-meaning Celtes, from sell-teas. *

and weak palliation, but to own the The reader will be glad to see a stray truth honestly. letter of his, not "collected," and the Allusion has been made to his friendlike of which is not to be found in any ship with Haydon. When the luckless " complete letter-writer,” under the forin comptroller had his head so comically of acknowledging books from a publish-, examined by Lamb, that inspection took

He is writing thanks for the “Maid place in presence of the painter's “Jeruof Elwar,” by Cunningham, and for Bar-salem." Lamb celebrated that work in ry Cornwall's songs :--

another way, sending some Latin lines * Thank you for the books. I am ashamed

I am ashamed to “ The Champion":to take tithe thus of your press. I am worse “In tabulam eximii pictoris R. B. Haydoni to a publisher than the two universities of the in qua solymeei adveniente domino Palmas in Brit. Mus. ‘A. C.' I will forth with read. via prosternentes mira arte depinguntur. ‘B. C.' (I can't get out of the A, B, C) I have Quid vult iste equitaus ? et quid velit iste more than read. Taken together, 'tis too Lo virorum. vey. But what delicacies ! Ilike most 'King Palmifera ingens turba et vox terque brinda Death.' Glorious 'bove all “The Lady with

Hosanna ? the Hundred Rings,' “The Owl,' “ Reply to Hosanna Christo semper, semperque canawhat's his name' (here, maybe, I'm partial), "Sit down, sad Soul,' “The Pauper Jubilee Palma fuit semel Pictor celeberrimus olim; (but that's old, and yet 'tis never old), “The Sed palman cedat, modo si feret ille superstes Falcon,' 'Felon's wife,' 'Dannu,' 'Mdme. Palma Haydone tibi : tu palmas omnibus Paisley;' but that is borrowed

aufers. Apple pie is very good,

Palma negata macrum, donataque reddit And so is apple pastry,

opimum But,

Si simul incipiat cum fama increscere corpus O Lord, "tis very naisty

Tu cito pinguesces, fies et amicule, obesus.

Affectant lauros pictores atque poetæ, but chiefly in Dramatic Fragments, scarce Sin laurum invideant (siquis tibi) laurigethree of which should have escaped my specimens had an antique name been prefixed. Pro lauro palma vroid anti tempora ligas. They exceed his first so much for the manner

“CAROLAGNULUS." of poetry; now to the serious business of life. Up a court (Blandford-court) in Pall-mall,

" TRANSLATION OF THE ABOVE. exactly at the back of Marlboro' House, with “What rider's that? and who those myriads house-gate in front, and containing two bringing houses, at No. 2 did lately live Leishman, Him on his way, with palms, Ilosanna my tailor. He is moved somewhere in the singing ? neighborhood—devil knows where. Pray Hosanna to the Christ-Heaven, earth find him out and give him the opposite. I should still be ringing ? am so much better, though my hand shakes in writing it, that after next Sunday I can see In days of old, Old Palma won renown, F. and you. Can you throw B. C. in? Why But Palma's self must yield the painter's tarry the wheels of my Hogarth ?”

crown, Ile delighted in children, and in telling

Haydon, to thee. Thy palms put every

other down. them strange, wild stories. No doubt,

If Flaccus' sentence with the truth agree, he liked to see their trusting, wondering

That palms awarded make men plump to little faces as he told. A young girl,

be, daughter of a late dramatist, was often

Friend Horace, Haydon soon shall match taken out by him in a day's junketting ; in bulk with thee. and she has told how they never passed a punch's show, but stopped and sat on

Painters with poets for the laurel vie ;

But should the laureate band thy claims the steps, and saw them all in succession.

deny, But there were, unhappily, other things

Wear thou thine own green palm, Haydon, which he could not pass by either; and

triumphantly. she was left outside many a gin-palace

“C. L." while he went in. Of this sad weakness

How delightful that little diminutive, there can be no question. It is best in “Carolagnulus.” It is almost sweeter * Letters and Recollections of Coloridge.

were contributed to

“Notes and † This letter is from the Athenæuin.

Queries " by Mr. Elmes, of Greenwich.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

* These

than his own English names. Lamb's ' had inhabited the hills of California life has, indeed, to be written. The ma- | What are the precise causes of the actual terials have grown prodigiously. As an difference observed between ancient and instance of unexplored grounds, Cottle modern sentiment in this respect, is, inmentions seeing a Miss Nuitford's “port- deed, a thorny and intricate problem. folios piled up and filled with letters of But it is easy to point out the obvious Lamb, Southey,” &c. These, it may be necessity, that some great difference must suspected, have not been used. There exist. are some scraps, and odds and ends of A great number of wonderfully acute thoughts and speculations—which he remarks upon this subject are due to Mr. called “table-talk”—which found their Ruskin. Mountaineers will feel grateful way to the Atheneum shortly after his to him for the eloquence, which has indeath. They are headed dismally and tensified for them the ancient charms of oddly, “ By the late Elia.” Like every- their favorite haunts. Many of them thing of his, they have a character. To will regret that they are so disjointed, the same journal he contributed the year and mixed up with so much matter that of his death some criticisms on the mod- seems wantonly designed to set up the ern English painters, and their want of bristles of all ordinary readers, and of all imagination, leading off with the wild who do not consider the nineteenth cengigrotesque of "M."-Martin-and his tury to be a peculiarly degraded epoch. tribe of Belshazzar's Feasts" and "Last In an eloquent passage, Mr. Ruskin deJudgments.”

scribes how, one afternoon, the " silver flame” of the snows on Mont Blanc, and

the “dark glades of pine" around him, Frazer's Magazine.

gave him no pleasure; how he discovered ON MOUNTAIN BEAUTY. the canse of this strange insensibility to

be that he was thoroughly tired; and The question is sometimes asked: how, by limiting himself to the contemIlow are we to account for the indiffer- plation of single tufts of moss or flakes ence with which our ancestors regarded of foam, he could still enjoy them, mountain scenery but a few years ago ; though the sublimities of Mont Blanc whilst we, on the contrary, find ourselves were too much for him. Every one who unable to express a due sense of its sur- has traveled much on mountain scenery passing beauty, without superlatives will confirm the accuracy of this descrippiled upon superlatives? How is it that tion. He will know how bodily fatigue the ancient poets mention mountains not can take the very brilliance out of the at all, or mention them with obvious dis- snow-field, “ smirch the sunshine out of

How could Addison cross the the skies," and convert the everlasting Alps, without showing the sensibility ex- hills into misplaced lumps of raw matepected now from the conductor of a dili- rial. If he is not quite up to Mr. Rusyence? Why has this anomalous taste kin's prescription of single blades of grass, sprung up to fill the pockets of the Swiss, perhaps the humbler beauty of a snowy and disturb the most secret recesses of table-cloth may still have power to excite rock and snow with scrambling English- his wearied sensibility. But what is the men? There is generally a tacit as- moral to be drawn from this? Mr. Russumption underlying these questions, kin takes occasion to be down, with spewhich accounts for their being asked in cial energy, upon his usual bugbear, * a a tone of astonishment. People appa- German philosopher.” This luckless rently think the proposition, that what is German would, he thinks, hold that beautiful to us must have been beautiful Mont Blanc was nothing, except in so to our ancestors, as simple as the propo- far as he was looking at it, and that he sition, that if sugar is sweet to our pa- —the luckless German—was everything; lates, it must have been sweet to theirs or, to use the shibboleth which most also. They think that our forefathers stinks in Mr. Ruskin's nostrils, that the not having discovered beauty in moun mountain was a “subjective” phenomtains, is as strange a fact as would have enon. (We may, in passing, deny Mr. been their not discovering gold, if they Ruskin's fairness towards the wretched



dummy, whom he thus uses for a chop- beautiful to Mr. Ruskin, whenever he is ping-block.) Mr. Ruskin draws the more awake; but it is beautiful to A. B. only humble inference, that he himself was after he has finished his breakfast, and

exceedingly small creature,” much soothed his nerves with a cigar. Withtired, and, thereupon, “fraternally asso- out asking why mountains are absolutely ciated himself with certain arts.” Now, beautiful, it may be worth while to confar be it from us to draw invidious com- sider why they produce a sense of beauty parisons between Mr. Ruskin and Mont in an ordinary concrete Englishman. Blanc. Mont Blanc is clearly the big. But even this problem involves, to some gest, and Mr. Ruskin (not to mention extent, the awful question, what is the his friends, the ants,) has, to all appear- meaning of the word beauty ?-a quesances, the most intellect. But we total- tion not to be asked-far less answered. ly object, both to the supposititious We will only limit a dark suspicion that German’s inference, and to that which its definition is so vague, that it is apMr. Ruskin seems to imply. They have plied to a great many things, having simply no connection with the problem nothing in common—or, at least, having to be solved. The fact is, that it takes only this in common, that they give two to produce the sense of beauty. Mr. pleasure to the observer. But how the Ruskin could not feel it without the particular class of pleasant things, includmountain, and the mountain could cer- ed in the minor class of beautiful things, tainly not produce it without Mr. Rus- is to be discriminated from those things kin. If Mont Blanc were unfortunately which are pleasant, but not beautiful, it situated on the wrong side of the moon, passes our wits to say.

It is still more where there are no inhabitants, where difficult to say whether different memtelescopes can never reach, until tele- bers of this class do not differ more scopes are contrived to see round a cor- amongst themselves, than they do from ner, he would cease to be beautiful ; or, other pleasant things. We have all at least, he would be beautiful only in heard of beautiful women, of beautiful this sense, that if any one should ever poems, and of beautiful

scenery ;

but see him (which, ex hypothesi

, no one ever the term is applied to other objects of less will), he might still produce the same general attractiveness. A surgeon will mental sensation as before. In saying speak of a beautiful operation, or a beauthis, we scrupulously avoid the meta- tiful case of disease, without a suspicion physical problem, whether the Beautiful he is straining the English language. (with a big B) has an absolute existence We have heard of a mathematician look-whatever that means. It is some com- ing at some horrid conglomeration of fort with this, as with other metaphysical abstruse figures, or abstract terms of art, questions, that every proposition we can pronounce a problem about tritinear comake about it, will remain equally true, ordinates, or reciprocal polars, to be beauwhichever way the question is answered. tiful. It seems difficult, if not impossiBeauty, in the abstract, is like that ble, to classify either the objects exciting, "wrong in the abstract,” which Mr. Big- or the emotions which they excite, in low tells us, never gets pitied, because such a way as to bring these various casit's a crime no ever committed.” es under one head. Every one would The beauty of a stone as much implies call the rich purple of a glass of claret the existence of a perceiving mind as the beautiful. The flavor of the wine indigestibility of a stone implies the ex- would be described, not as “ beautiful,” istence of a living stomach. In examin- but as " delicious.” A poem, again, or a ing the causes of the beauty of any ob- statue, excites a complex emotion, beject, the condition of the observer, at yond the powers of any mental chemistry the time, is an equally important consid- to analyze; but we should unhesitatingeration with the nature of the thing ob- ly describe it as beautiful.

Yet it seems served. And yet people persist in asking hard to maintain that there is not more whether a mountain is beautiful, just as resemblance between the pleasures exif they were asking whether it contained cited by the rich color and the exquihornblende or mica-schist. A full answer site taste of the claret, than between would have to be in the form of— It is those excited by the color of the wine,



and the sight of the Dying Gladiator. Paradise (a distressing prospect for some The reason of the distinction, made in people), but states the calculable sum of this case, is, that by the use of the term elements of beauty to be steadily in probeautiful, we are accustomed to connote portion to the increase of mountainous a certain intellectual dignity, which we character.” He proceeds to enumerate are unwilling to concede to pleasures pre- some of the causes which entitle the hills eminently sensual. Thus we retrain of Westmoreland (for example) to superifrom applying it to objects that gratify ority over the plains of Leicestershire. the senses of smell and taste, though we In the first place, the mountains introbestow it upon those which please the duce the shades of “purple, violet, and higher faculties of sight and hearing. | ultramarine blue.” Secondly, he talks of

Let us then discuss the question why the "color jewellery in every stone," and the sight of mountains should please us, the variety of flowers—making honorand avoid the more abstruse labyrinths able mention of the “ large orange lily, into which we should be drawn by inqui- and narcissus,” and “the exquisite oxalis.” rý, why they are beautiful; no doubt Thirdly, he prefers the water of the mounthat most of the pleasures which they tains to that in the plains, and considers, produce, will be those which we should also, that the trees are decidedly superior generally ascribe to our sense of beauty. i-being given in mountain districts to It is, of course, impossible to catalogue, dancing, gathering in companies, and even roughly, the different classes of gliding in grave processions, which they emotion that mountains may produce in don't generally do in parks. Finally,

It is difficult enough to analyze ful mountains have an unquestionable “suly the simplest cases of beauty. So ma- premacy in clouds." We do not quarrel ny evanescent associations may join to with this statement, except that, as usual produce the effect, that it is impossible with Mr. Ruskin, his rhetoric rather runs to disentangle them, or even to become away with him—especially when he prodistinctly conscious of their separate in- i fesses to be making a simple enumeration. fluence. They affect us like the stars of We will first observe the mention, in the lesser magnitudes, which go to make this eloquent passage, of certain effects up the impression of vast multitudes, by likely to be produced on every one who affecting the remote part of the retina; but has the faculty of sight. The exquisite which vanish when we look at them di- purple of the distant mountain range,

the rectly. To trace them out would require warm Alpine glow on everlasting snowa perception as acute as that of Sancho fields, gives us a pleasure which can be Panza's respected relatives, one of whom analyzed no further. It must have been distinguished the taste of leather, and the the same to ancient Greeks, who looked other of iron, in a full cask of winema upon mountains as a simple nuisance—to statement verified against all mockers, by the keen-eyed chamois-hunter, who thinks the ultimate discovery of a key with a of them as a great game preserve; and to leather thong, when the cask was drain- the modern tourist, who requires his admied. To hunt out and discriminate all ration to be directed and excused by a the sources of pleasure that are combined Murray. The pleasure of looking at these in the sight of a flower, or the song of a beautiful colors is not, we suspect, very bird, would be an endless labor. We intense to most people. It requires a shall only attempt to point out roughly good deal of education to see what is besome of the more prominent elements of fore our eyes. We know by experience the power of mountain scenery over our that grass is green—a phrase which imaginations. To determine in what means that it is green at a hundred proportion they are combined, and to yards' distance. As we actually see it analyze them, so that no residue may es- with two miles of intervening haze, it cape notice, we leave to bolder or more may be a faint purple; but nine people presumptuous chemists.

out of ten, knowing that they are lookMr. Ruskin (whose writings we still ing at grass, will somehow get the imtake as our text), in an enthusiastic pas- pression that they are looking at somesage, not merely says that a great Alp is thing green. It is only when they try the best image this world can give of to represent their impressions on paper,

[ocr errors]

that is, when they come to have some- local colors which force themselves even thing of the painter's education, that they upon a languid attention. The only exdiscover their mistake. This (which Mr. ceptions are the inexpressibly glorious Ruskin well points out) is, we submit, a ' hues of sunrise and sunset upon


pure satisfactory proof of the faintness of the white snows. But even these are, to impression. No one standing a few feet some extent, casual and varying phenomfrom a regiment of the guards, would ena; they are only seen in their full doubt that their uniform was scarlet. beauty in the furthest recesses of the The rose, whose hue makes the rash gaz- mountain labyrinths, where the great er, according to the extremely poetical snow peaks overhang the valleys, and statement, “ wipe his eye,” will probably they are fortunately not quite unrivaled leave no doubt about its color.

even in the fenny plains of England. Now the faintness of the impression The pleasure derived from the noble must, of necessity, be to some extent a form of some of the mountain peaks measure of the pleasure. It requires might also be placed in this category. some education even to see, and a care- The delicate outline of the snowy cone ful education properly to appreciate col- of the Weisshorn projected against the oring. The observer must be educated deep blue of an Alpine sky must have up to the pitch of a painter's sensibility pleased even dull perceptions. But canbefore he will derive any pleasure at all. dor must admit, that in a general way Exquisite as these aerial hues may be, mountain forms are apt to be decidedly they probably lose more by their faint- ungainly. When Mr. Ruskin has once ness than they gain by their delicacy. attracted our attention to the graceful In a mountain view nothing is more curves eroded by mountain torrents we striking than the dim and the dewy na may admit their beauty. But there is a ture of a large part of the prospect. The fatal objection to a general spontaneous greater part of the visible landscape is at perception. Everyone can recognize, a distance of some miles. A striking il- to some extent, the canons which regulustration of this is the view over the late the beauty of the human form. Italian plains from the top of any of the Those limbs are most graceful which are gigantic Alps on its frontier. From the so moulded as to combine the maximum Hochste Spitz of Monte Rosa, for exam- of agility and strength. This is equally ple, the same depth of haze which makes 'true, whether their adaptation to their Monte Rosa look “ faintly flushed and purpose is, or is not, the cause of their phantom fair” from Milan, interposed in beauty. But the general effect of mounthe inverse direction gives to the solid tain form is marred by the apparent aimplains of Lombardy the same shadowy lessness of their huge, unwieldy masses. and unsubstantial aspect. You seem A cathedral may be beautiful partly befirst only to be fairly suspended in mid cause we see the perfect fitness of the air yourself, but the earth seems burned columns and arches to sustain the roof in into cloud beneath your feet. Now, if harmonious combination.

They prowe look at a view which takes up the duce the impression, the production of same proportion of the visible sphere in which is the test of real grace, that they England, the coloring, though less per- give sufficient strength without throwing fect, must be more intense. If we stand away an unnecessary amount of massivein one of the miniature valleys of Devon- ness. But no human being can tell the shire, we see the emerald green of the purpose of erecting a mountain; no one meadows, or the sheets of yellow gorse knows whether its buttresses and pediblossom along every radius of vision. ments are not out of all proportion ; If replaced by the Alpine view, a large there is an apparent aimlessness and proportion of this rich coloring must be want of purpose about the vast masses changed for distant gray hill sides blend- thrown in wild confusion together, which ed into monotonous tints by leagues of prevents us from tracing design or intelintervening mist. In point of mere col. lect. If any one empties a coal-scuttle at or, then, the mountains generally sub- random, the lumps of coal will probably stitute vague though delicate tints, which not form any very elegant mass; and the most people pass unobserved for brilliant mountains seem, to a casual observer, to NEW SERIES—Vol. I., No. 5.


« AnteriorContinuar »