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create forms, nor the painter to draw mountains or trees from his own fancy, or they will assuredly never fail to offend, if they do not always disgust. The two grand allegorical landscapes of Claude, descriptive of the rise and fall of the Roman empire, furnish an admirable illustration of the maxim which I would inculcate. There is no part of Italy, various and beautiful as the scenery of that country is, which exhibits such magnificent scenes as those paintings; but still the moment that we see them, we at once recognise all the features of the Italian landscape. The picture descriptive of the rise of the Roman nation informs us, at the first glance, of the moral which the artist intends to convey. The sky indicates the morning. On more close examination we find, by the general appearance of the woods and other objects, that it is the spring of the year; the allegory is still more distinctly told by the introduction of husbandmen employed in preparing the soil ; and the rudeness of society is ingeniously expressed by a number of little incidents, that, nevertheless, harmonize with the general tone of the composition; while the style of the buildings and the features of the landscape shew, that it is a probable view of Italy, in the simple and manly ages of the Roman republic. In delineating the decline of the empire the painter has been no less happy. The incidents are chosen with equal skill, and combined with equal judgment. The sun is setting.It is the close of the vintage. The temples are in ruins; which emphatically tell the spectator how much the reverence for the gods had declined. The peasants are discovered in a state of intoxication, and the painter has contrived to represent this without any ludicrous circumstance. He wished to convey an idea of the corruption of manners, and he has accomplished it without infringing the solemnity of his composition. In the first picture all is vigorous, fresh, active, and produc
tive; in the second, all is exhausted, decaying, melancholy, and wasteful. No poem, no oration, could have described the subject more elegantly. The historian who related the fall of Rome, has not employed a pen more correct than the pencil of the artist. It is such productions that shew the superiority of genius. It is this exquisite arrangement, and choice of things actually existing, which obtain the praise of originality. .
“ Architecture, painting, and sculpture, may be described as the sensual classes of the fine arts, and poetry and music as the intellectual. The former address themselves at once to our senses. Their aim is to exhibit the resemblances of things which we have seen, but the latter address themselves to the mind, and call up trains of thought by means that have no likeness to those ideas which they nevertheless renew. The influence of painting and sculpture on the mind is like that of oratory, which persuades by the statement of truths ; the power of poetry and music is felt like that of magic, which calls up spirits, and produces miraculous effects by the mixing of certain ingredients curiously culled. As the orator cannot state a truth justly and perspicuously, without obtaining an immediate concurrence in opinion from his auditors, so the painter or sculptor cannot exhibit a picture or a statue properly executed, without obtaining the admiration of all spectators. But the jurisdiction of poetry and music is not so universal, for they are dependent on associations in the minds of those to whom they address themselves. Truth is every where the same, but habits are local. And the arts of painting and sculpture are connected with truths, while those of music and painting are dependent on habits.The poet cannot produce any effect unless the reader's acquired intellectual associations resemble those of the poet. Music will produce no sentimental effect, unless in particular passages it tends to remind the hearer of sounds in nature, and by that remembrance to recall the images of the scenes where they were first heard, or of incidents connected with the hearing of them.
“ The effects of a local influence, similar to that which has produced the different styles of architecture, is per. ceivable in the poetry of all nations. The more detached, unmixed, and steady the society of any country preserves itself, the more original and singular should be the characteristics of its poetry; and by the same rule, according to the intimacy and extent of intercourse which nations cultivate with one another, the more various will be the points of association in their habits of thinking, and their poetry will the more approximate in resemblance.
“ The English nation, above every other, has cultivated a general intercourse with all parts of the world, and accordingly we find poets in that country, whose works, though comparatively popular there, are but little understood, even by the learned, in those districts where the inhabitants have remained less extensively informed ; while, at the same time, there are productions in the English language in which the most unmixed and primitive people may discover transcripts of their own thoughts.
“In the middle of the eighteenth century, all Europe was surprised by the appearance in the English lan. guage of the poems of Ossian, works which, whatever may be the debate as to their historical authenticity, are admitted to be fine specimens of a kind of poetry cultivated by the mountaineers of Scotland, and which was felt to be natural, and acknowledged to be original, even by those who questioned their antiquity. In like manner, the conquests of the British in India have added to the stores of the British poets; and in England a kind of poetry is fast growing into repute, which seems to bear the same sort of resemblance to that of the
oriental poets which the productions of the muse in the days of Leo X. bore to those of antiquity. Dr Southey and Mr Moore have already brought this style to a high degree of excellence; and specimens by Sir William Jones, along with the Transactions of the Asiatic Society, present to the world a glimpse of what pleasures may be added to our enjoyment of knowledge, by a nation which combines in its enterprises the glory of victory and the advantages of commerce ; which carries in the rear of its armies the abundance of industry; and which, by its jurisprudence, sends, to the most distant regions, the most enlightened of mankind in the capacity of advocates and judges."
CONCLUSION. HAVING thus, in a most ingenious manner, shewn with what sort of conjugal sweets those gentlemen are entertained who bind themselves for better and worse to the intellectual nymphs, especially such of them as connect themselves with the family of General Literature, we now lay down our pen, trim our frill, and smooth our vest, to receive the congratulations of the world on the success and felicity with which we have accomplished a most interesting and delightful task. Certainly we might affect a tone of greater humility, but humility went out of fashion before we came into this world ; and, to say the truth, it is a weak apery of the old school of merit for authors, or indeed for any body else, now-a-days, to talk with diffidence of themselves.
No discovery of the moderns is more deserving of approbation than the uses of the power of self-confi
dence, it is to the business of life what steam is in mechanics,-and its operations on the public produce effects quite as wonderful,--sometimes, it is said, as profitable. May this be the case in the present instance,—for without a view to profit no man who has come to years of discretion would ever think of writing a book. Under the old system, where the vast effects of the self-confident power were scarcely even imagined, it is inconceivable what perturbation men of pretension as well as their friends suffered, when they advanced to claim the attention of the world. But now all is smoothness, expectation, and complacency. Every genius, to whatever class or species he may happen to belong, is instructed, when he advances from under the maternal wing to try his pinions in the world, to believe that he cannot take too bold a flight; and, accordingly, he most judiciously joins his own chirrup to the encouragement of his friends, just as the school-boy, in passing through the church-yard at night,
“Whistles aloud to cheer his courage up." The more his fears thicken, and the faster his heart beats, the louder and the livelier he whistles. It is so with modern modesty ;-—there is, however, more real humility often in a swagger than in the most demure and downcast bashfulness. But enough of this: the reader will not think a bit better of our book by all the blushes we might try to make with ink.
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