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which oppress the mind more than even the threatening of their' gigantic gloom. The white lightning, not as it is drawn by less observant or less capable painters, in zigzag fortifications, but in its own dreadful irregularity of streaming fire, is brought down, not merely over the dark clouds, but through the full light of an illumined opening to the blue, which yet cannot abate the brilliancy of its white line ; and the track of the last flash along the ground is fearfully marked by the dog howling over the fallen shepherd, and the ewe pressing her head upon the body of her dead lamb.
I have not space, however, to enter into examination of Turner,s storm-drawing; I can only warn the public against supposing that its effect is ever rendered by engravers. The j83. General great principles of Turner are angular outline, efl?ctsM^TcnUby vastness and energy of form, infinity of gradation, prcssion of'faiifng ana^ depth without black ness. The great princinin- pies of the engravers (vide Psestum, in Rogers,s
Italy, and the Stonehenge, above alluded to) are rounded outline, no edges, want of character, equality of strength, and blacknesswithout depth.
I have scarcely, I see, on referring to what I have written, sufficiently insisted on Turner,s rendering of the rainy fringe, whether in distances, admitting or concealing more or less of the extended plain, as in the Waterloo, and Richmond (with the girl and dog in the foreground,) or as in the Dunstaffnage, Glencoe, St. Michael,s Mount, and Slave Ship, not reaching the earth, but suspended in waving and twisted lines from the darkness of the zenith. But I have no time for farther development of particular points: I must defer discussion of them until we take up each picture to be viewed as a whole ; for tion' of the sec- the division of the sky which I have been obliged to make, in order to render fully understood the (Hjculiarities of character in the separate cloud regions, prevents my speaking of any one work with justice to its concentration of various truth. Be it always remembered that we pretend not, at present, to give any account or idea of the sum of the works of any painter, much less of the universality of Turner,s ; but only to explain in what real truth, as far as it is explicable, consists, and to illustrate it by those pictures in which it most distinctly occurs, or from which it is most visibly absent. And it will only be in the full and separate discussion of individual works, when we are acquainted also with what is beautiful, that we shall be completely able to prove or disprove the presence of the truth of nature.
The conclusion, then, to which we are led by our present examination of the truth of clouds, is; that the old masters attempted the representation of only one among the thousands of their systems of scenery, and were altogether false in the little they attempted ; while we can find records in modern art of every form or phenomenon of the heavens, from the highest film that glorifies the ether to the wildest vapor that darkens the dust, and in all these records we find the most clear language and close thought, firm words, and true message, unstinted fulness and unfailing faith.
And indeed it is difficult for us to conceive how, even without such laborious investigation as we have gone through, any person can go to nature for a single dav or hour,
«85. Sketch of a 6 . „ 6 J ,
few or the skies when she is really at work in any of her nobler as a whole, com- spheres of action, and yet retain respect for the old works of Tamer masters; finding, as find he will, that every scene
and of* the old , . , , , . , • ,
masters. Moming which rises, rests, or departs before him, bears iep ns. fjfith it a thousand glories of which there is not one shadow, one image, one trace or line, in any of their works; but which will illustrate to him, at every new instant, some passage which he had not before understood in the high works of modern art. Stand upon the peak of some isolated mountain at daybreak, when the night mists first rise from off the plains, and watch their white and lake-like fields as they float in level bays and winding gulfs about the islanded summits of the lower hills, untouched yet by more than dawn, colder and more quiet than a windless sea under the moon of midnight ; watch when the first sunbeam is sent upon the silver channels, how the foam of their undulating surface parts and passes away; and down under their depths, the glittering city and green pasture lie like Atlantis, between the white paths of winding rivers ; the flakes of light falling every moment faster and broader among the starry spires, as the wreathed surges break and vanish above them, and the confused crests and ridges of the dark hills shorten their gray shadows upon the plain. Has Claude given i 86. Noon with this? Wait a little longer, and you shall see those gathering storms. SCattered mists rallying in the ravines, and floating up towards you, along the winding valleys, till they couch in quiet masses, iridescent with the morning light,* upon the broad breasts of the higher hills, whose leagues of massy undulation will melt back and back into that robe of material light, until they fade away, lost in its lustre, to appear again above, in the serene heaven, like a wild, bright, impossible dream, foundationless and inaccessible, their very bases vanishing in the unsubstantial and mocking blue of the deep lake below, f lias Claude given this? Wait yet a little longer, and you shall see those mists gather themselves into white towers, and stand like fortresses along the promontories, massy and motionless, only piled with every instant higher and higher into the sky,t and casting longer shadows athwart the rocks; and out of the pale blue of the horizon you will see forming and advancing a troop of narrow, dark, pointed vapors,§ which will cover the sky, inch by inch, with their gray network, and take the light off the landscape with an eclipse which will stop the singing of the birds and the motion of the leaves together; and then vou will see horizontal bars of black shadow forming under them, and lurid wreaths create themselves, you know not how, along the shoulders of the hills; you never see them form, but when you look back to a place which was clear an instant ago, there is a cloud on it, hanging by the precipices, as a hawk pauses over his prey.|| lias Claude given this? And then you will hear the sudden rush of the awakened wind, and you will see those watch-towers of vapor swept away from their foundations, and waving curtains of opaque rain let down to the valleys, swinging from the burdened clouds in black, bending fringes,^ or pacing in pale columns
* I have often seen the white thin, morning cloud, edged with the seven colors of the prism. I am not aware of the cause of this phenomenon, for it takes place not when we stand with our backs to the sun, but in clouds near the sun itself, irregularly anil over indefinite spaces, sometimes taking place in the body of the cloud. The colors are distinct and vivid, but have a kind of metallic lustre upon them.
f Lake Lucerne. $ St. Maurice (Rogers's Italy).
§ Vignette, the Great St. Bernard. | Vignette of the Andes.
*- St. Michael's Mount—England series.
along the lake level, grazing its surface into foam as they go.
And then, as the sun sinks, you shall see the storm tempest. Serene drift for an instant from off the hills, leaving their
broad sides smoking, and loaded yet with snowwhite torn, steam-like rags of capricious vapor, now gone, nowgathered again ;* while the smouldering sun, seeming not far away, but burning like a red-hot ball beside you, and as if you could reach it, plunges through the rushing wind and rolling cloud with headlong fall, as if it meant to rise no more, dyeing all the air about it with blood.f Has Claude given this? And then you shall hear the fainting tempest die in the hollow of the night, and you shall see a green halo kindling on the summit of the eastern hills,! brighter—brighter yet, till the large white circle of the slow moon is lifted up among the barred clouds, § step by step, line by line ; star after star she quenches with her kindling light, setting in their stead an army of pale, penetrable, fleecy wreaths in the heaven, to give light upon the earth, which move together, hand in hand, company by company, troop by troop, so measured in their unity of motion, that the whole heaven seems to roll with them, and the earth to reel under them. Ask Claude, or his brethren, for that. And then $8s Andsunrise wa't yet *0T one hour, until the east again becomes on the Alps. purple, | and the heaving mountains, rolling against it in darkness, like waves of a wild sea, are drowned one by one in the glory of its burning; watch the white glaciers blaze in their winding paths about the mountains, like mighty serpents with scales of fire; watch the columnar peaks of solitary snow, kindling downwards, chasm by chasm, each in itself a new morning; their long avalanches cast down in keen streams brighter than the lightning, sending each his tribute of driven snow, like altar-smoke, up to the heaven; the rose-light of their silent domes flushing that heaven about them and above them, piercing with purer light through its purple lines of lifted cloud, casting a new glory on every wreath as it passes by, until the whole
* Illustration to the Antiquary. Goldeau, a recent drawing of the highest order.
f Vignette to Campbell's Last Man. t Caerlaverock. § St. Denis. | Alps at Daybreak (Rogers's Poems :) Delphi, and various vignettes.
heaven—one scarlet canopy,—is interwoven with a roof of waving flame, and tossing, vault beyond vault, as with the drifted wings of many companies of angels; and then, when you can look no more for gladness, and when you are bowed down with fear and love of the Maker and Doer of this, tell me who has best delivered this His message unto men!