صور الصفحة
PDF
النشر الإلكتروني

we are well aware that an Irish no

But it is still certain that Mr. bleman either forgets that he is Shee himself proves the contrary to Irish, or at least imposes so far upon be the fact, for he frequently clothes his own anderstanding, as to believe his precepts in the richest 'robes of that the natives of the country are poetic imagery. It is, however, an no countrymen of his. To him imagery that is always just because who is swayed by the dictates of never idly introduced. It nerer common sense, this species of delu- forms any part of his subject, so sion would appear impossible; but that it always appears the mere to him who is acquainted with the dress of a body, which it merely people of whom we speak, it is well ornaments, but never conceals from known to be a fact. ‘Alexander the view. Mr. Shee belongs not thereGreat believed himself to be a God, fore to our modern schools of poetry, and every Irish nobleman believes which are conversant with the imagihimself to be a prince at least, if he native world alone: with them imagebe no better; and has the additional ry is not only ornament, but the satisfaction of believing himself nothing ornamented ;—it is both subIrishman. In fact, an Irish noble- stance and shadow. Hence it may man thinks he possesses

properly be called “Much ado about

nothing," and accordingly has nei· The front of Jove himself,

ther strength, nerve, or energy. An eye like Mars, to threaten and

Poetic imagery soon palls upon the command,

sense when unaccompanied by any A station like the herald Mercury, New lighted on a heaven kissing hill;

thing of a more substantial nature; A combination and a form indeed

but whenever it is used to embellish Where every God did seem to set his

our views of “the naked nature, seal,

and the living grace," and permits To give the world assurance of a man :" this paked nature to be seen through

it, it gratifies at once both the but he can never imagine for a senses and imagination, and imparts moment, that this highly favoured the highest charms and graces of man is a mere Irishman. Hence which poetry is capable. Without Ireland never produced a man of this “ naked nature," however, this talent that was not obliged to trans- ground work of poetry, all imagery is port it to some other country, and not only uninteresting, but childish to extend that intelligence to others, and impertinent, and hence we have, which would have multiplied the in general, from our modern schools, rays, and increased the radiance of only sing-songs, about nothing. science and mental illumination in No traces are to be found in them his native land. Had this illumina of tion taken place, these self-created

“ The varying verse, the full resoundGods would not blush to avow the

ing lipe, country to which they belong. The long majestic march, and energy As an artist, Mr. Shee's merits

divine," are already well known to all that characterized the school of who delight in the productions of Pope and Dryden. To the former taste, and are connoisseurs in paint of these, we would compare Mr. ing. As a poet, perhaps, be is not Campbell, so far as we can form our so well known, because the subject views of his poetic character from of which he treats is interesting his “Pleasures of Hope,"-to the only to the lovers of the arts: to latter we would compare Mr. Shee. the rest of mankind, its principles He wants the exquisite finish of are not only void of interest, but Pope, but possesses all the strength, absolutely unintelligible. Indeed it would seem from its didactic and Like him he is irregular, bold, im

energy, and variety of Dryden. higher beauties of poetry, and this petuous, 'yielding instinctively and higher beauties of poetry, and this unconsciously to all the influences opinion seems to be streugthened by and impulses of passion, and this the motto which Mr. Shre prefixes to, too, in a subject which appeals only his “ Elements of Art."

to the more delicate perceptions and “Ornari præcepta negent contenta, finer feelings of our nature. The, doceri."

works of art require taste, judgment

and experience, to perceive their born elements clothe themselves in beauties; and what depends on the light, softness, and beauty, when exercise of these faculties, seldom touched by the fairy finger of the prompts to enthusiasm, or gives bright eyed muse. It must, however, impulse to the energies of inspired be confessed, that those poets who genius. Indeed it would be idle to have had the art of rendering didacexpect 'such enthusiasm in such a tic subjects poetical, and impregnasubject, from any other than Mr. ting them at the same time with all Shee himself. It was a subject or the fire and enthusiasm of genius, an art, to which he had devoted

are few

very few in number. So himself, and consequently a subject far as regards poetical expression that associated with the recollections in subjects of this nature, Virgil of his earliest years.

These recol- bas, undoubtedly excelled all men lections are the purest and brightest in his Georgics: Pope, perhaps, -the most inspiring, captivating, comes next to him; but shee cerand seductive, that Goat' in light tainly leaves both far behind him in visions round the poet's head. No fire and energy. His description of wonder then that Mr. Shee has the celebrated statues of the Pagan divested his “Elements of Art,” of divinities; of the Olympic Jupiter of all appearance of being a didactic Phidias, at Elis ; his Minerva, at poem. He instructs without seem Athens; the Venus de Medici, the ing to do so : we are imbibing pre- Apollo Belvidere, the Hercules Farcepts that are soon to form our nese, and others, are sketched with taste, and to regulate our judgment such a pencil of light and fire, that while we imagine that we are revel we have some difficulty in conceivling in the brightest worlds of fic- ing how a person who laughs at tion, reposing amid the wildest re the Pagan creed and its imaginary treats of imagination, or twining deities, could feel such enthusiasm the wreaths of fancy round the in such a theme. An extract, howsyren bowers of the seductive muse. ever, from the second canto of the This, indeed, is more than any reader “ Elements of Art," in which this of judgment could promise himself description occurs, will speak more from such a subject as the “ Ele than volumes of criticism. ments of Art;" but the most stub

“ Now throned at Elis first, the Olympic sire
Appear'd sublime, amidst the immortal quire ;
Pride of the Pagan host ! the form divine
Betray'd Omnipotence in every line:
With such an awful brow he bore command,
And grasp'd the golden sceptre in his hand,
That e'en celestials might his frown have fear'd,
Confess'd their sovereign ruler, and revered.

“ Now Pallas too, received her second birth,
And Phidias' offspring rivall’d Jove's on earth ;
Presiding Wisdom on her brow express'd
The flame divine that glow'd within her breast ;
While grace and majesty in every part,
Proclaim'd the bright divinity of Art.
But now those ancient glories shine no more,
And Fame records them only to deplore:
Yet rich in what remains, our humbler days,
Condemnd to copy, and content to praise ;
Behold the wealth by wondering ages shared,
And grateful triumph in what Time has spared.

“ Lo! first, where dazzling fair, as poets feiga
The sea-born Goddess blushing from the main,
When ravish'd Ocean saw the vision rise,
Stole his last kiss, and gave her to the skies,
Love's Queen appears ; all hearts her sway confess,
And powerful monarchs plunder, to possess :

The vulgar trophies of the sword despise,
And claim a triumph for their Parian prize.
Unrivall’a Form! beyond Gircassia's boast !
Or get the brighter Fair of Albion's coast !
To thee the Bard, as erst on Ida's hill
Like Paris, would present the apple still ;
His partial eye tho' Painting's glories warm,
And jealous Nature take Olynthia's form.

“ With modest mien the sov'reign Beauty stands,
And seeks to shun the homage she commands,
Averts her face with such a timid air,
The marble seems to burn in blushes there ;
While grace and ease in every limb unfold,
The Paphian fair that fired the world of old.

“ Each charm divine that Nature's stores supply, To fire the Poet's thought or Painter's eye; Whate'er of Love's elysium Fancy views, . Or Heaven unfolds in vision to the Muse, The carious Artist caught, with care combined, Fix'd as he found, and as he wrought refined, Till rapt, the wave's proud offspring he outvies, And bids a rival from the rock arise. When Nature, watchful of the process, view'd A form so lovely, from a mass so rude ; When, in the wond'rous work, she saw her own, By Art outdone, and e'en excell'd in stone, Amazed, she paused-confess'd the conquering fair, Set her bright seal, and stamp'd perfection there. Yet, while we view those beauties which might move Immortal breasts, and warm a world to love, No coarse emotions rise, no vulgar fires, Profane the sacred passion she inspires; Each sense refined to rapture as we gaze, Like heav'ns pure angels, finds its bliss in praise.

“ But see! where Taste extends her brightest crown, Unclaim'd amid the contests of renown! Lost, in the darkest night of time, his name! By envious fate, defrauded of his fame, The hand divine! to whose high pow'rs we owe The noblest image of a God below! Bright as on Pindus, crown'd by all the Nine, Behold Apollo! Pythian victor shine! With holy zeal, in Delphic splendour placed, And still revered-an oracle of Taste! He owns full tribute to his godhead given, And finds on earth the homage feign'd in hear'n. Not with more awful grace, as sung of yore, That God himself his golden quiver bore; When, o'er the Grecian host, in shafts of fire, He pour'd swift vengear ce at his priest's desire; Erect his mien, with ease, the silver bow Has just let fly its terrors on the foe; While, with triumphant step, and eager eye, He forward moves to see the monster die. Majestic rising from its ample base, The polish'd neck uniting strength and grace, Bears the bright head aloft, and seems to shine, The column of a capital divine! In each light limb elastic vigour proves, A power immortal, and in marble moves;

A form divine, to heav'n's proportions just!
In grandeur graceful, as in grace august!
By Taste restored, on some celestial plan,
Drawn from the great original of man :
A cast recover'd of that mould divine,
That stamp'd heaven's image strong in every line,
When first as earth received him and revered,
The «

paragon of animals” appear'd!
" Great shade of Genius! still decreed to raise
Our pride and wonder, yet elude our praise !
Say, from the skies, where'er by Phidias placed,
Thou takest high station 'mongst the sons of Taste,
While seraphs round, celestial wreaths bestow,
And hymn above thy name, anknown below;
Say, dost thou, pleased, from heaven's immortal bowers,
Behold on earth the triumph of thy powers ?
Thy toil enshrined in Glory's temple view,
Through every age the idol of Virtu?
How oft! as o'er the waste of ages cast,
The light of learning seen’d to shew the past !
Has pious zeal exploring sought to raise
Thy reverend image to our mental gaze;
To rescue from oblivion's tide thy name,
And stamp it radiant on the rolls of Fame :
But vain the search, thou like a God dost shine,
On earth unknown, but in thy work divine,

« Nor less in characters of mortal mould,
The powers of Greece transcendent we behold;
The sage's, patriot's forms, attest her skill,
And all her godlike heroes triumph still.
See ! on his club reclined, Alcides stand!
Holding the Hesperian plunder in his hand;
While slow relaxing, each charged muscle shews
A strength divine subsiding to repose.
Whate'er of wond'rous might in mortal frame,
Remotest legends have transferr'd to Fame,
The god-like shape surpasses, and appears,
With Atlas, worthy to sustain the spheres :
Or, cope with him, in holy writ renown'd,
Who shook the towers of Gaza to the ground,

" What wonders still the stores of Greece display!
What crowding deities demand the lay!
What forms of mythologic glory rise,
To justify the pride of Pagan skies !
In every attribute of Beauty glow,
And grace the elysium of Virtú below!
But vain the task ! beyond the Muse's boast !
To trace Art's triumphs through the heathen host,
Or, mark what varied traits, in every line,
Discriminate their qualities divine.
As when disaster'd on Norwegia's strand
The wreck of some proud galley floats to land,
The rude inhabitants with rapture save
Each shatter'd fragment wafted on the wave,
And think, while grateful for the wealth supplied,
What better stores lie buried in the tide.
Thus, from the wreck of years, a sacred prize!

The rich remains of ancient Art arise;
Eur. Mag.

0

And while in wonder rapt, our ruder age,
The trophies of the Grecian world engage,
We judge what splendours must her prime have graced,
When these are but the fragments of her Taste.'

Touch gently as thou fliest, O Time! with care
Approach those precious relies-prize and spare.
Long as thy course hath been, since first began
The reign of Nature, and the race of man ;
Say, through the world's wide circuit, say, if aught
E'er charm'd thine eye, to such perfection wrought!
And thou, blind Chance! eventfal power! whose sway,
Disordering life, sublunar things obey;
Thee too, the Muse, could aught of pray'r revoke
Thy random rage, or stay thy sudden stroke,
Would pray forbear, nor with rude hand deface
What ages can't supply, nor Art replace."

“ Hail, awful shade! that o'er the mouldering urn
Of thy departed greatness lovest to mourn;
Deploring deep the waste where, once unfurl'd,
Thy ensigns glitter'd o'er a wond'ring world.
Spirit of ancient Greece! whose form sublime,
Gigantic striding, walks the waves of Time;
Whose voice from out the tomb of ages cane,
And fired mankind to freedom and to fame;
Beneath thy sway how life's pure frame aspired!
How Genius kindled, and how Glory fired!
How Taste, refining sense-exalting soul,
Enfranchised mind from passion's course control!
Aroused to deeds, by heav'n and earth revered,
While all the majesty of man appear'd.
How vast our debt to thee, immortal Pow'r!
Our widow'd world subsists but on thy dower ;
Like Caria's queen, our relict ages raise
But monumental trophies to thy praise !
Lo! from the ashes of thy arts arise,
Those phænix fires that glitter in our skies ;
Thy san, long set, still lends a twilight ray,
That cheers our colder clime, and darker day;
Exhales high feelings from our glowing hearts,
Inflames our Genius and refines our Arts :
Still at thy shrine, the hero's vows aspire,
The patriot kindles there the purest fire ;
Thy virtues still applauding ages crown
And rest on thy foundations their renown!
Beneath the mighty ruins of thy name,
We build our humbler edifice of Fame,
Collect each shatter'd part, each shining stone
Of thy magnificence, by Time o'erthrown,
Arrange the rich materials, rapt, amazed,

And wonder at the palace we have raised !'' But if Mr. Shee be carried away by the enthusiasm of his feelings where the ancient works of art become the subject of his pen, he is still more so when he calls our attention to the ancient authors themselves. We canne forbear quoting from his description of Michael Angelo, Raphael, Rubens, whom he denominates the “ Triumvirate of art."

“ Though purest forms from ancient Greece we trace, And in her Sculpture find the school of grace,

« السابقةمتابعة »