Page images

ligion—they stimulated confidence in cess of the conception, and its signifi. its abstract dogmas, by giving birth to cation or meaning, are both profoundly moral emotion.*

intellectual. Raphael both in style At the first view, it may appear and expression, impresses dignitied impossible to bring the varied range and reposed benevolence, and exalted of the works of Raphael under one humanity.+ Each illustrates or spedesignation or category; but that va- cities particular portions of the subriety, on their proper nature and rela- ject; they draw the mind toward its tion being perceived, only serves more contemplation under different aspects, strikingly to exhibit their collected and It is in this view that the works of specific character. Had his works been Raphael must be considered to come less numerous and varied, they might collectively under one designation : have more readily appeared to be iso their numerous combinations present lated examples of what they now ex- the Eternal Father, the Christ, Matensively embrace, and, in painting, donna, saints, disciples, prophets, become the principal exponents of philosophers, doctors, and dignitaries Whatever are the subjects, their sphere of the Church, soldiers, and all the is the same ; to such an extent, that it incidental characters which they offer, might be urged against their fidelity, under the dominion of one range of in connexion with description or his. sentiment. tory. But their greatness does not Of this the most eminent and radi. consist in being faithful to these. The cal manifestation, are the pictures of worth of all the great masters consists the Madonna and the Infant Jesus. in the working outwards of particular In these the nature of the genius of or exclusive portions of mind. Thus Raphael is most strongly exemplified, the works of each are limited to cer- and his greatest excellence in art extain circles-fate-bound within a cer- hibited. They may be viewed as a tain range ; and, before painting is centre, from which the ethical bearing understood (if unprejudiced play is of his other works was irradiated. given to the mind, it must always be The expression of any superhuman correctly fell), it must be regarded as a character cannot be considered at all whole, of which the separate works of to be their aim; they would thus be each form a part. This may be con- removed from the sphere of those sidered to be dependant upon the emotions which they present in a vi. limited nature of human power, and sibly appreciable form. No sentiment so far it is ; but it also was, in a great of doubt or question enters into them. measure, the result of the character of The enquiry of intellectual power has those ages which produced the great- no place. They express à reposed est painters. In the painting of these, elysium of feeling. They canonize the apprehension of any particular one of the first of the charities of life. subject or character is only to be ar. In their subject and expression the rived at by a comparison of the opin- kindred relations are raised into the ions or dictates (it must be recollect. sphere of divinity. They are a visi. ed that painting was, for centuries, ble apotheosis of maternal love, worth, almost alone the book - Bible--of Eu- and duty. Of this, they meet the menrope) of various masters. Thus, to tal conception or idea ; beyond which, take as an example the idea of Deity, if it is possible to go, no other exemas expressed in the works of Michael plification has passed, and in very few Angelo and Raphael. Michael An. instances nearly reached. gelo has, by a combination of form, The progress towards the perfected attitude, and colour, expressed mental evolution of the expression of these greatness, super-humanity. The pro. pictures, proceeded throughout the

Not on any preconcerted or systematic plan, such as that of Spenser's Faery Queen, which is “ disposed into twelve books, fashioning twelve moral virtues," but which, in the relation that it establishes with the mind, rather becomes expressive of a mixture of the poetry of allegory and chivalric romance, than essentially impressive of the sentiments which it professes to set forth. In Raphael, this is set forth in the matter much more than the mode.

† His picture of God dividing light from darkness cannot be said to conform to this. In it he probably intended to enter the sphere of Michael Angelo, but has altogether fail. ed. It has not power or will, but much vulgar effort.

whole line of the predecessors of Ra- pression of emotion, under the influphael, from the resuscitation of paint- ence of moral sentiment, is presenteding. The earliest mosaics—those at. from placid trust to compassionating tributed to St Luke the Evangelist, agony. but the works of Greeks of the middle Next to the Virgin Mary, the anages, or probably even of the twelfth gelic personages most strongly precentury, by Apollonius or his asso- sent the essential features of his works. ciates-supply the first attempts at the They are so moulded in, and signifipictured reference to it. It is peculiar, cative of amenity and benevolenceand only incident in å prominent de. so imbued with open-eyed benignity, gree to Roman Catholic painting. It that in those instances wherein they can scarcely be said to -appear in become the ministers of vengeance, as Greek sculpture; the only important in the fresco of the expulsion of Heinstances in which, that refer to the liodorus from the temple, their exsanctity of the relations of kindred, are pression almost becomes contorted. It the Niobe and the Laocoon, and in appears to be the assumption of what both they are adopted not to enforce they seem physically and mentally intheir value, but to enhance, or assist capable of feeling or expressing. In the expression of other sentiments. this instance, their expression is that They are rendered subjective to the of irritation; it is deficient in superepic expression of woe, in the one in- human power, in connexion with instance, and of mighty suffering in the telleet. So, likewise, is the head, and other the contention of will with also the figure of the warrior on horsefate. In the Greek poets, the morality back, which was intended to repredependant upon the sacredness of these sent the vision that drove back the relations is extensively referred to; intruder; which, in connexion with but, in almost every noticeable in- its subject, is one of the most unfortustance, it must be considered that it is nate of the productions of Raphael. subordinated to particular objects, As an angry warrior, who assumes the which, on the other hand, are seldom appearance of being still more so than or never subordinate to this. Their he really is—as a half-Gothic Roman, violation in the story of the Iliad, finds clad (but this belongs to convention, a cause for the epic expression of the which must be so far allowed for in all character of Greek heroism. In the the old masters) in the mixed mode of Eumenides of Æschylus, which is the decay of the empire, it is a good built on their perceived importance, figure, but not as a representation of they are subservient to the announce- the immediate agent of Deity.s But, ment of the power of the gods. The in the same picture, there is a contrast @Edipus of Sophocles presents their to this failure in the figures of the fesubjection to irrevocable fate-to the males, and in those of Pope Julius II. unquestionable will of the Stygian with his attendants. In these, RaJove.

phael comes upon the ground to which Throughout the works of Raphael, his powers are adapted. the character of the Madonna conti- In the Infant Jesus, much has been nues, under various aspects, to furnish considered to have been expressed that a principal exemplification of their na- is almost incompatible with possibiture. From her personification in his lity. But if the expression" (consibeautiful early picture of the Mar- dering it separately from its union riage of the Virgin,t to that of her with the whole sentiment of the picbeatification, finished by his pupils,$ tures of the Madonna and Child, and a diversified, and it may almost be Holy Families) may be regarded to said a continuous, series of the ex- be to any extent distinct from that

* The refined criticisms that have been made on the Laocoon, which define the measure of mental suffering that the father endures on account of his son's being involved in the like calamity with himself, only attest how little their authors felt or understood the work. † At Milan.

$ At Rome, in the gallery of the Vatican. $ This figure has been often praised, in connexion with its subject, by those who had learned that Raphael was great ; but, not knowing in wbat respect he was great, and having a notion of what should have been done here, bad either faith enough to believe it done, or did voluntary violence to their own feelings, and gave hypocritical com. mendation to what deserves none.

of the frequently attendant cheru- is scarcely a head, figure, or group, bim, it consists in making the infant which impresses the idea of the awakencountenance-at times so expressive ed impetuosity of mortal combat. The of intuitive perception—more com- figure of Mezentius presents a poor pletely its type. But, throughout his impersonation of the defeated and works, Raphael cannot be considered drowning tyrant; while the principal to be in general successful in the incident--the only feature which is Christ. There are, however, so far, not implied by such a subject, and the exceptions to this ; but he probably most efficiently produced in the work, attempted more (though this cannot refers to the refined miseries of civil be said to be apparent by study or la- and kindred strife_in the father re. bour) to pursue an idea, and more to cognising his slain son. present what was in conformity to In the Incendio del Borgo_the Pope that, than altogether to rely upon the arresting the fire of the suburbs of expression with which his powers Rome–the interest is altogether cencoincided. These, however, although tred, to the disregard of the miracle, ample and eminent in many subordi- in incidents which exemplify affection nate characters, and necessary as part and duty. The School of Athens, in of the expression of the union of the a series of elevated characters, inculdivine and human in this instance, are cates the dignity of wisdom-of mennot sufficient for its whole. Nor did tal superiority, which is met by youth the intellectuality of Michael Angelo with eager and implicit confidence in effect it ; here he again was deficient its dictates. The Dispute of the Sain what Raphael possessed.

crament presents numerous features of Next to these, the characters which worth, intelligence, and consideration frequently recur, and continue most -the fiery zeal of theological dispudistinctly to exemplify the nature of tation has no place. The subject is his genius, are the young St John, St little heeded: the aspect and station Elizabeth, Mary Magdalene, Joseph, of the personages of the assembly and St John the beloved_each of seem alone to be regarded. which present different features of sen- But every work of Raphael might timent under the same influence. here be adduced. Each, more or less,

But, although particular characters exemplifies the sentiment—that, ruling may be specified as affording the most throughout the whole, sacrifices, or direct exemplification of what has probably, in the instance of their aubeen stated to distinguish Raphael, thor, does not fully permit the appreit must be kept in view, that the qua- hension of any other, which would iities peculiar to his genius cannot al- materially interfere with its predomimost be said to exist more in one nance. As a combined whole, in their instance than in another; although, essential tendency, the works of Rafrom the subject of his works coincid. phael stand single and distinct among ing with it, it may be more fully dis- the various productions of the different played. What must be considered the arts. The living poetry of Homer spirit of his works, was frequently op- presents the self-boasted cause of posed to that of their letter or subject. Greek superiority--the union of the This, a reference to the Battle of Con- demigod heroism of its imagined stantine, may exemplify. It cannot chronology with actual history. The be considered to be, in an elementary tragic poets of Greece exhibit their or essential manner, expressive of strife overruling power of the gods. Greek and confliction. There is too much sculpture is a perfected combination urbanity even in the anatomical ex. of reason and poctic sentiment in pression. The whole is a very inade- many various modes. Greek architecquate representation of the ruin and ture is poetry united to the rigidity of confusion of such a scene. In this it mathematical law. The Æneid poetfalls in comparison with Le Brun's izes narrative ; Lucan and Lucretius, Alexander passing the Granicus, and Roman battle-fields and prevalent phiits value must rest upon its style and losophy. Dante and Michael Angelo signification in other respects. The evulgate the fluctuating strife of intelfigure of Constantine is without much lect. Raphael recognises moral disexpression ; but so far as it does pos- tinction under the influence of reposed sess such, it is not that of warlike benevolence ; from which, in common energy, but of the reposed power of with Pythagoras, Plato, and the evan. justice-he is preceded by divine mi- gelist St John, he derives his titlenisters. Throughout the whole, there the divine.



No. I.-- To NEPTUNE,

God of the mighty deep! wherever now
The waves beneath thy brazen axles bow-
Whether thy strong proud steeds, wind-wing'd and wild,
Trample the storm-vex'd waters round them piled,
Swift as the lightning-flashes, that reveal
The quick gyrations of each brazen wheel ;
While round and under thee, with hideous roar,
The broad Atlantic, with thy scourging sore,
Thundering, like antique Chaos in bis spasms,
In heaving mountains, and deep-yawning chasms,
Fluctuates endlessly ; while through the gloom,
Their glossy sides and thick manes fleck'd with foam,
Career thy steeds, neighing with frantic glee
In fierce response to the tumultuous sea-
Whether thy coursers now career below,
Where, amid storm-wrecks, hoary sea-plants grow
Broad-leaved, and fanning with a ceaseless motion
The pale cold tenants of the abysmal ocean-
Oh, come! our altars waiting for thee stand,
Smoking with incense on the level strand !

Perhaps thou lettest now thy horses roam
Upon some quiet plain : no wind-toss'd foam
Is now upon their limbs, but leisurely
They tread with silver feet the sleeping sea,
Fanning the waves with slowly floating manes
Like mist in sunlight: Haply, silver strains
From clamorous trumpets round thy chariot ring,
And green-robed sea-gods unto thee, their king,
Chant, loud in praise : Apollo now doth gaze
With loving looks upon thee, and his rays
Light up thy steeds' wild eyes: A pleasant warm
Is felt upon the sea, where fierce cold storm
Has just been rushing, and the noisy winds
That Æolus now within their prison binds,
Flying with misty wings: Perhaps, below
Thou liest in green caves, where bright things glow
With myriad colours-many a monster cumbers
The sand a-near thee, while old Triton slumbers
As idly as his wont, and bright eyes peep
Upon thee every way, as thou dost sleep.
Perhaps thou liest on some Indian isle
Under a waving tree, where many a mile
Stretches a sunny shore, with golden sands
Heap'd up in many shapes by Naiad's hands,
And, blushing as the waves come rippling on,
Shaking the sunlight from them as they run
And curl upon the beach-like molten gold
Thick-set with jewellery most rare and old-
And sea-nymphs sit, and with small delicate sliells
Make thee sweet melody, as in deep dells
We hear, of summer nights, by fairies made,
The while they dance within some quiet shade,
Sounding their silver flutes most low and sweet,
In strange but beautiful tunes, that their light feet

May dance upon the bright and misty dew
In better time : all wanton airs that blew
But lately over spice-trees, now are here,
Waving their wings, all odour-laden, near
The bright and laughing sea. Oh, wilt thou rise,
And come with them to our new sacrifice !


Bright-hair'd Apollo !- Thou who ever art
A blessing to the world— whose mighty heart
For ever pours out love, and light, and life:
Thou at whose glance all things of earth are rife
With happiness—to whom in early spring
Bright flowers raise up their heads, where'er they eling
On the steep mountain side, or in the vale
Are nestled calmly. Thou at whom the pale
And weary earth looks up, when winter fees,
With patient gaze: thou for whom wind-stripp'd trees
Put on fresh leaves, and drink deep of the light
That glitters in thine eye: thou in whose bright
And hottest rays the eagle fills his eye
With quenchless fire, and far, far up on high
Screams out his joy to thee : By all the names
That thou dost bear-whether thy godhead claims
Phæbus or Sol, or golden-hair'd Apollo,
Cynthian or Pythian—if thou now dost follow

The fleeing night, oh hear
Our hymn to thee, and smilingly draw near !

Oh most high Poet !-thou whose great heart's swell
Pours itself out on mountain and deep dell:
Thou who dost touch them with thy golden feet,
And make them for a poet's theme most meet:
Thou who dost make the poet's eye perceive
Great beauty every where—in the slow heave
Of the unquiet sea, or in the war
Of its unnumber'd waters ; on the shore
Of pleasant streams, upon the jagged cliff
Of savage mountain, where the black clouds drift
Full of strange lightning; or upon the brow
Of silent night, that solemnly and slow
Comes on the earth: Oh thou ! whose influence
Touches all things with beauty, makes each sense
Double delight, tinges with thine own heart
Each thing thou meetest-thou who ever art
Living in beauty-nay, who art in truth
Beauty embodied-hear, while all our youth

With earnest calling cry!
Answer our hymn, and come to us most liigh!

Oh thou! who strikest oft thy golden lyre
In strange disguise, and with a wondrous fire
Sweepest its strings upon the sunny glade,
While dances to thee many a village maid,
Decking her hair with wild-flowers, or a wreath
Of thine own laurel, while reclined beneath
Some ancient oak, with smiles at thy good heart,
As though thou wert of this our world a part,
Thou lookest on them in the darkening wood,
While fauns come forth, and, with their dances rude,
Flit round among the trees with merry leap

« PreviousContinue »