« السابقةمتابعة »
if gold dust were mixed with some bright red. A line is drawn along his glistening greenish side, and across this there are faintly marked lozenges of darker color, so that in swimming past he would appear barred. There are dark spots on the head between the eyes, the tail at its upper and lower edges is pinkish; his gills are bright scarlet. Proportioned and exquisitely shaped, he looks like a living arrow, formed to shoot through the water. The delicate little creature is finished in every detail, painted to the utmost minutiæ, and carries a wonderful store of force, enabling him easily to surmount the rapids.
III. F. PERSONS
1. Real Persons.
SIR RICHARD GRENVILLE 1
AMONG all the heroic faces which the painters of that age have preserved, none, perhaps, hardly excepting Shakespeare's or Spenser's, Alva's or Parma's, is more heroic than that of Grenville, as it stands in Prince's Worthies of Devon; of a Spanish type, perhaps (or more truly speaking, a Cornish), rather than an English, with just enough of the British element in it to give delicacy to its massiveness. The forehead and whole brain are of extraordinary loftiness, and perfectly upright; the nose long, aquiline, and delicately pointed; the mouth fringed with a short silky beard, small and ripe, yet firm as granite, with just pout enough of the lower lip to give hint of that capacity of noble indignation which lay hid under its usual courtly calm and sweetness; if there be a defect in the face, it is that the eyes are somewhat small, and close together, and the eyebrows, though delicately arched, and without a trace of peevishness, too closely pressed down upon them; the complexion is dark, the figure tall and graceful; altogether the likeness of a wise and gallant gentleman, lovely to all good men, awful to all bad men; in whose presence none dare say or do a mean or a ribald thing; whom brave men left, feeling themselves nerved to do their duty better, while cowards slipped away, as bats and owls before the sun.
1 From Westward Ilo!
FRANCIS DRAKE 1
Who is that short, sturdy, plainly dressed man, who stands with legs a little apart, and hands behind his back, looking up with keen gray eyes, into the face of each speaker ? His cap is in his hands, so you can see the bullet head of crisp brown hair and the wrinkled forehead, as well as the high cheek bones, the short square face, the broad temples, the thick lips, which are yet firm as granite. A coarse plebeian stamp of man: yet the whole figure and attitude are that of boundless determination, self-possession, energy; and when at last he speaks a few blunt words, all eyes are turned respectfully upon him; — for his name is Francis Drake.
JOHN STERLING 2
STERLING was of rather slim but well-boned wiry figure, perhaps an inch or two from six feet in height; of blonde complexion, without color, yet not pale or sickly; dark-blonde hair, copious enough, which he usually wore short. The general aspect of him indicated freedom, perfect spontaneity, with a certain careless natural grace. In his apparel, you could notice, he affected dim colors, easy shapes; cleanly always, yet even in this not fastidious or conspicuous : he sat or stood, oftenest, in loose sloping postures; walked with long strides, body carelessly bent, head flung eagerly forward, right hand perhaps grasping a cane, and rather by the middle to swing it, than by the end to use it otherwise. An attitude of frank, cheerful impetuosity, of hopeful speed and alacrity; which indeed his physiognomy, on all sides of it, offered as the chief expression. Alacrity, velocity, joyous ardor, dwelt in the eyes too, which
1 From Westward Ho! ? From The Life of John Sterling.
were of brownish gray, full of bright kindly life, rapid and frank rather than deep or strong. A smile, half of kindly impatience, half of real mirth, often sat on his face. The head was long; high over the vertex; in the brow, of fair breadth, but not high for such a man.
In the voice, which was of good tenor sort, rapid and strik- . ingly distinct, powerful too, and except in some of the higher notes harmonious, there was a clear-ringing metallic tone, which I often thought was wonderfully physiognomic. A certain splendor, beautiful, but not the deepest or the softest, which I could call a splendor as of burnished metal, — fiery valor of heart, swift decisive insight and utterance, then a turn for brilliant elegance, also for ostentation, rashness, etc., etc., — in short a flash as of clear-glancing sharp-cutting steel, lay in the whole nature of the man, in his heart and in his intellect, marking alike the excellence and the limits of them both. His laugh, which on light occasions was ready and frequent, had in it no great depth of gaiety, or sense for the ludicrous in men or things; you might call it rather a good smile become vocal than a deep real laugh: with his whole man I never saw him laugh. A clear sense of the humorous he had, as of most other things; but in himself little or no true humor; - nor did he attempt that side of things. To call him deficient in sympathy would seem strange, him whose radiances and resonances went thrilling over all the world, and kept him in brotherly contact with all : but I may say his sympathies dwelt rather with the high and sublime than with the low or ludicrous; and were, in any field, rather light, wide, and lively, than deep, abiding, or great.
PERCY BYSSHE SHELLEY 1
T. J. Hogg I HAD leisure to examine, and I may add, to admire the appearance of my very extraordinary guest. It was the sum of many contradictions. His figure was slight and fragile, and
1 From Hogg's Life of Shelley.
yet his bones and joints were large and strong. He was tall, but he stooped so much, that he seemed of a low stature. His clothes were expensive, and made according to the most approved mode of the day; but they were tumbled, rumpled, unbrushed. His gestures were abrupt, and sometimes violent, occasionally even awkward, yet more frequently gentle and graceful. His complexion was delicate, and almost feminine, of the purest red and white; yet he was tanned and freckled by exposure to the sun, having passed the autumn, as he said, in shooting. His features, his whole face and particularly his head, were, in fact, unusually small; yet the last appeared of a remarkable bulk, for his hair was long and bushy, and in fits of abstraction and in the agonies (if I may use the word) of anxious thought, he often rubbed it fiercely with his hands, or passed his fingers quickly through his locks unconsciously, so that it was singularly wild and rough. ... His features were not symmetrical (the mouth, perhaps, excepted), yet was the effect of the whole extremely powerful. They breathed an animation, a fire, an enthusiasm, a vivid and preternatural intelligence, that I never met with in any other countenance. Nor was the moral expression less beautiful than the intellectual; for there was a softness, a delicacy, a gentleness, and especially (though this will surprise many) that air of profound religious veneration, that characterizes the best works, and chiefly the frescoes (and into these they infused their whole souls) of the great masters of Florence and Rome. I recognized the very peculiar expression in these wonderful productions long afterwards and with a satisfaction mingled with much sorrow, for it was after the decease of him in whose countenance I had first observed it.
FATHER PROUT 1
If you had chanced, somewhere among the “sixties,” to drop into the well-known reading-room of Galignani at Paris, you
1 From the Maclise Portrait Gallery.