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haps unsafe in the tenacity of its parts, but answer with garments befitting a maiden; you shall then ing the purpose tolerably. Wrapping this mantle hear my unhappy history." around her, under the natural mantle of her hair, The voice and gentle words reassured Menon. and spreading this last in concealing disarray about His eyes dwelt upon the charming speaker. Me. her person, she awaited the end. Her heart and tra marked the close scanning of the youth, and, lips throbbed and quivered, to be sure, and she blushing to her temples, said : might have wept, but that her late sad life had If you have a mother, I beseech you to bring deepened the well of tears. Apollo came up gladly her speedily hither. It is not seemly that I should over the autumnal hills. Metra saw the streaks of remain here; and—alas !—your own eyes already his light upon the walls and door of her prison. note que as cominon, and of little value.” And One of them traversed her body, resting its golden Metra aided the sweetness of her tongue with point upon the arch of her white instep. She tears. moved more into the shadow. A noise of birds Menon, abashed out of his scrutiny, blushed a twittering about the stable-eaves, and singing blithe little, and, placing his hand on his heart, promised ly on the wing above them, came to the matutinal that he would instantly acquaint his mother with bidding. One, a purple-glossed swallow, darted the maiden's presence and wish. And, so doing through a crevice in the wall, whirled past the and saying, he left the stable in a great hurry, and maiden's head, made a skilful course of the stalls, went to fulfil his promise. returned to whirl past it again, and then, as if per- A stately old dame, with a cap four feet high, fectly informed of the reality of the wonder, pass- and spectacles upon nose, came at a slow pace toed out, by the same crevice, to give an account of wards the stable and Metra. his extraordinary discovery and adventures to the Madam,” said Metra, calmly, when the dame crowd of his companions.
was drawn near, “ you find me in distress. That “ Apollo!" said Metra, clasping her hands, and will plead with your kind heart to give me present falling upon her knees, “ Apollo-beautiful and relief. I can convince you, at a better time, that I generous! rescue me, a poor child, from the hor- am innocent as well as unhappy.” rors of this condition. Thou knowest that I am The mother of Menon, touched by the distress not unworthy-being a pure maiden—of thy kindly and beauty of the fair stranger, made haste to clothe care. Rescue me. The autumnal wood is dædal her beauty in more becoming and reputable habili. under the splendor of thy flashing locks. Bear me ments. Servants ran about, and it was not long to its wildest recesses, that my maiden purity may before Metra stepped into the sunshine surrounded not meet the jeering eyes of men. Apollo-beau- by a troop of waiting women, and looking as beautiful and generous-be kind to me."
tiful as Aurora-only with the sad eyes of the earthThis prayer exposes the simple and relying piety ly-weak Merope. It is said, and I am unable to of the maiden. If she had been skeptically ac- contradict it, that the music of a sweet instrument quainted with the character of Apollo she would sounded in the air, or under the earth, or from some have hesitated to make so singular a request of him. unascertained quarter which the inclining ears of She had, doubtless, been kept ignorant of his ad- the waiting women were pricked to discover, as ventures with Daphne, Cyrene, and a great many the train passed from the stables. The music had others.
a sweet effect upon Metra. Her red lips murmurA low twanging, as of a harp string, came from ed “ Apollo"—and her eyes acquired the lustre of the rafters above her head, and Metra, assured a divine hope. Crossing her arms upon her boof the god's protection, folded her arms upon her som, she moved with the stately step of one asbosom, and awaited the end. Presently some notes sured of the loving protection of the gods. And of natural music reached her ears. It was the so the train entered the house of Menon. melodious whistling of Menon. He came to look The story of Metra was presently told, without after his horse. The key turned in the lock—a a particle of concealment. If you had been near kick which did not drive the door open, another you would have seen that the youth, Menon, listenthat did, and-be entered. " By Pluto!" said Me. ed with his heart as well as his ears. non, who saw nothing of his horse. He stepped A week passed away.
Under the serene umthree steps on. Some tresses of Metra's hair brage of a dell, in the widespreading grove, Mecaught his eye. He advanced and stood within a non and Metra walked and talked as lovers. step of her. Within one step of her he stood, but “ I cannot conceal from you, Menon," said Metra, then he at once increased the step to half a dozen. in answer to some warm urgency of the youth's It is not a common thing to see a beautiful woman, passion, “that your kindness wins daily upon me. veiled with hair, in the stall of a horse. Meira, But I am devoted by Faie and filial affection to the finding the youth utterly astounded, spoke. fortune of my father, Erisicthon. The curse of
“ Menon,” she said, with tones of resigned sad- Ceres still clings to him, and his canine hunger is ness, " you are amazed to find me here. My story unappeasable. Let us, in the purity of our youth, will increase your amazement. But provide me journey with sweet instruments of music to the
foot of Olympus, and offer up sacrifices and prayers this she drew her skirts a little up and walked to the great goddess. She may relent: then, happy away over the ascending slope of Olympus. in the happiness of my father, and in the satisfied The feast was made ready at the old house in the love of my own heart, which, in my candor, I do oak grove. The clergyman had just arrived in a not conceal from you, the days will pass gladly with barouche, holding, in addition to himself, his wife me, Menon."
and eleven small children, drawn by a meek old And Metra, full of the joyous hope, melted Me- horse, with the agitations of a springhalt in his non with the glory of her eyes.
gait. The venerable horse was moving slowly Then it was arranged that the propitiatory pil- from the door. • Make way for my lady's chariot," grimage and sacrifices should be made.
was heard above the grinding sound of rapidly apOn a fair autumn day, with a cool breeze to chide proaching wheels. It was a bravely adorned wothe over-warmth of the sun and the tinted shades man, with a majestic presence, that descended of the gorgeous boughs of forests mellowing the from the chariot and entered. All knew Ceres. natural light of a thousand lovely scenes, the pil. She led a miserable man by the hand who, amazed grims set forth on the way to Olympus. Menon at what he saw, blinked his feeble eyes in the wedand Metra marched first, the one with the heat of ding lights. passion on his cheek, the other calm with a serene “I bring Erisicthon," said Ceres. “I will that, and consoling confidence in the mercy of Ceres. from this moment, he be as he was, before stricken A sow, with her farrow, was led in the midst of by care and hunger." the crowd that came after. The sow grunted; her Erisicthon became, in a moment, a hale and offspring also remonstrated : It was to no purpose. portly country-gentleman. Lofty music drowned the remonstrances. And so “ You will return to your house to-morrow," the train swept on, gathering way-farers as it went, whispered Ceres to him. "I shall have the present and came, at last, to the foot of Olympus. After owner ousted to night. You shall be reinstated the sacrifice had been offered, and the loudest peal where my curse found you ; but bear in mind hereof the blended music had gone up with a glorious after that the lovely trees of the earth are living swell, and come down with a wandering and fitful things, suffering and rejoicing, after their kind and cadence, (what goes up must come down,) a stout in their degree." country-woman, who had joined the train by the
The wedding rite was over. Ceres took a hand way-side, stepped out of the crowd, and, walking of Menon and a hand of Metra, and, with a divine to where Menon and Metra stood, awaiting some aureola encircling her majestic head, bestowed her divine utterance or gleam of light, addressed her- blessing upon them-saying : “ Metra, your filial self to the latter.
piety and sweet resignation to an unhappy fortune“Metra,” she said, "your father committed a Menon, your truth and gentle kindness have made great outrage upon me; and all the polite atten- you, joined now in hands and love, and one housetions yourself and this good-looking young gentle hold, my peculiar care. So it has been that I have man can shew me, shall not change my opinion of forgiven this old man ; so it is that I bestow my him. But, nevertheless, I am willing to wipe out blessing upon you; so it will be that sorrow shall old scores, for your sake--my dear."
never darken your doors. Farewell. I am obliged Menon and Metra, of course,
to leave you now on very important business." “ You are a little perplexed, my young friends,”
Plenty ever after filled the garners of Erisicthon. said the stout country-woman; “you probably do Love and happiness took up their abode with Menot recognize me. I am Ceres."
non and Metra. With the words, three hundred knees--there being just one half so many persons in the company- Having thus vindicated the truth of history, I were bent to the ground, and a prayer which sound- retire from the admiring gaze of an appreciating ed like the shouts of an army storming a city, made public, with that prompt grace for which my friends the leaves on Olympus quake.
declare me to be remarkable. “ That will do,” said Ceres, blushing under the
JOSEPH JENKINS. extraordinary civility. “I accept the sacrifice. Erisicthon shall return to a slender, natural appelite. Go, my young friends and marry as soon as you will. But stop-I am just now at leisure. I will be very busy after 10-day. I should like very The magnificent edition of Camoen's As Lusiamuch to be at your wedding, and insist that you in. das printed in 1817 by Dom Jose Souza, assisted" vite me to witness the ceremony to night." by Didot, is perhaps the most immaculate specimen
Metra blushed—Menon looked delighted and as of typography in existence. In a few copies, howsofi-eyed as an amorous falcon.
ever, one error was discovered occasioned by one "Go back,” said Ceres, “and make the wed- of the letters in the word Lusitano getting misding-feast ready. I will be punctual”—and saying placed during the working of a sheet.
tional literature would come any the sooner by their WHENCE COME YE?
crying for it than by their writing for it, and mean
while they are mostly authors of such mean abiliDreams of the calm midsummer night,
ties, that while they are crying it up, they are wriSteeping the soul in soft Jelight,
ting it down. From this principle, however, has Weaving sweet spells of magic bright, Whence come ye?
originated a vast and vapid array of novels, tales,
poems, &c., founded on the red men and the RevoDreams of hope- with the rainbow's hue lution, which two branches comprehend almost all Painting dull life to mortal view,
the available nationality we can boast of, always In colors too bright to be yet trueWhence come ye ?
excepting those everlasting Pilgrim Fathers, who
have so often, on canvass, been placed, bare headed Dreams which tell of kingly power;
and handed, amid ice and snow and the dreariest Of crested knighi in batile's hour,
cold of a New England winter, that it is a special And revels gay in beauty's bower
Providence they have not been frozen to death Whence come ye?
long ago. Some wiseacres have proposed that all Dreams of a fairy's dew-drop throne,
American books and newspapers should be printed In lily cup or rose fresh blown.
in a peculiar letter, avoiding all forms of the RoTo mortal eye, alas! unknown
man as being decidedly English. Their preferWhence come ye?
ence, I believe, lay in what is called the Gothic, Dreams of love-which in whisperings tell, which having the hair lines of the letters of the Like mellowed tones from a distant bell, same thickness with the rest, was to exemplify the Of joys which the heart but knows too well
theory of republican equality! They would thus Whence come ye?
secure a type of nationality even if they missed Amid the voices of the night,
the substance. Another and a later set, still more Come in gentle accents light,
rabid, have attempted to remodel the orthography Answ'ring words from unseen sprite
of the whole language, and they print books and a
newspaper in a character that looks as if their fount • Mortals ! there is a bright land of dreams
of type had been mixed up with portions taken Whence sweet fancies flow in gushing streams,
from other founts of Greek, old Saxon, Russian, And the light of love forever gleams
Coptic and Gibberish. This is a free country, and Hence come we.'
men are at liberty to make fools of themselves in
any harmless way they like, especially if they pay Martinsburg, Va., Sept. 1848.
the expenses themselves. Some architects have carried the principle of nationality into their branch of the fine arts, and have proposed a column whose capital shall be adorned with silk-tasseled ears of
Indian corn, and strings of tomatoes, which, as the ON THE REQUISITES
“ American order," shall supersede, among the
“ Natives," the acanthus leaves and almonds of FOR THE FORMATION
the graceful Corinthian and the chaste Ionic. We OF A NATIONAL SCHOOL OF HISTORICAL PAINTING. have seen the raising of a Gothic monument to
Washington objected to, because Gothic architec
lure belonged to the Dark Ages, when Europe was There are some men among us who are such scra- overspread with Romanism and Feudalism ; and it polous and exclusive patriots, who are so jealously was argued that, since George Washington was atdevoted to the aggrandizement and glorification of tached neither to Popery nor the feudal system, a our own dear country, that they insist upon the ne. Gothic monument was manifestly inappropriate. cessity incumbent upon all our artists of painting To make it of the classical architecture would be Dothing but national subjects; otherwise, say they, equally bad ; because the old Greeks and Romans the artists are false to the resources and reputation were Pagans, while George Washington was no of the land that gave them birth, and do not deserve pagan. They have accordingly, I believe, adopted the name of American. If landscape is the art- a design for that monument, which, as it resembles ist's choice, let him paint nothing but American sce- nothing else under the sun, they infer must be truly nery, especially views of such places as have wit- and purely and patriotically “ National." nessed the triumphs of the American arms. If Now what is the foundation of all these propohistorical painting be the object of his devotion, letsitions ? Is it patriotism? If so we should at him illustrate only the great events of American least give them a respectful consideration, for true History. There is a similar class among the lit-patriotism is a noble virtue, although it has a name erary men of our country, who are continually cry which is nearly worn threadbare. But it must ing out for a National Literature," as if a Na-'be remerabered that patriotism, like valor, gen
BY CHARLES LANMAN.
On the Requisites for the Formation of a National School of Historical Painting. (DECEMBER
erally lies dormant in the “ piping times of peace,". very improbable that he could learn any new les. and is developed only at epochs of national danger sons, at this late day, from the easel or the brosh. or distress. Then, no people that have Anglo- But let us leave the speculative inquiry and conSaxon blood in their veins, will be found to lack it. sult the records of experience. Let us look at But gazing on patriotic pictures is by no means a those nations who have, in modern times, been fa. sure way 10 arouse patriotic emotions. I have mous for their schools of Historical Painting, and stood in the rotunda of the Capitol at Washington, see how far their success was founded on the prinlooking at some of Col. Trumbull's shirl-sleeve ciple of Nationality. To begin with Italy, the heroes of the Revolution, and have seen a man mother country of the arts in modern times; how come in, just fresh from the country, whose opin- many of her great paintings, those that have brought ion of his native land was great in strict proportion the rest of the world together to learn at her feet, with his ignorance of all others, and I have watched those that have covered the walls and the ceilings the effect produced upon bim. His eyes shone of her churches, chapels and palaces with masterwhen I explained the picture to him; he asked ques. pieces of coloring and design, and elevated her tion after question, and finally, slapping his hand painters to the front rank, there to remain forever, vehemently upon his thigh, he almost shouted— the princes of their profession,-how many of these “ Yes, them's the fellers that licked the British! I say, have been founded on the events of their naThem's the sellers for me!" It excited in him, to tional history? So few that their number is absoan intense degree, the passion of National vanity : lutely pitiful. The Bible has been the great source while in me, who love my native land, I believe, as whence her artists drew their inspiration, and nest well as any man, the only feeling was that, as a to that the lives of the Saints. Then followed work of art, the picture was a poor concern, and classical subjects, which are incomparably more unworthy of the Capitol of a nation as great as numerous than those of national history. Even ours. National vanity is the root whence all these in landscape, the greatest number of celebrated silly projects of " nationality" arise, and their ad- pictures are not views of any particular spot favocates, who are chiefly to be noted for two things, mous from historical associations, but compositions, clamor and pertinacity, will almost invariably be whose sole interest is derived from their execution. found 10 be men who have great ambition with small In Spain the same rule will be found to hold good ; ability, who have discovered that National vanity the number of national paintings being exceedingly is a strong and lusty beast of burden, which can few, while Religion again stands up as the fostercarry great freight, and which they are determined 10 ing parent of all that has formed the fame of the mount, in the vain hope that they may thus securely Spanish school. In Germany the principle only ride to the regions of renown ;-being instinctively finds a further confirmation. The grand producconscious all the while, poor fellows !—and hence tions of the German school rest for the most part their desperate fire and fury,—that they have none on Religion, as do those of Italy and Spain ; and of that peculiar innate vigor, by which great men but a small portion, and that mostly of very mod. march down to posterity on their own two legs, ern growth, is devoted to the maintenance of the and without any beastly help whatever.
National vain-glory. Nor is the Flemish school an Now the great object of Art is, not to pander to exception, although distinguished by a strong naNational vanity, but to encourage and develope in tionality. Its historical painters, like the others, man the sense of the beautiful, the good and the drew on Religion for the subjects of their great true, and by fit representations of them, lo enchant pictures; while the large class of those who devohim with their love. It is intended to appeal to ted themselves 10 landscape, village and tavern the sympathies, the feelings, the principles, the be- scenes, rustic carousals, and all the varieties of lief, the hopes, the fears, the affections of man as still life, were strongly national. But how was man, and not as an American, or an Englishman, this nationality displayed! By a selection from or a Frenchman. The former will help the world the glorious events of their national history, so as to feel the great truth, that God hath made of one to tickle the national vanity, which is whal our blood all the nations of the earth ; while the other clamorous exclusives call “ encouraging the patritends directly to perpetuate the abominable lie that otic feeling ?” Not in the least. They are nationone people are the “natural enemies” of another. al, because they express the character of the comBesides our nation needs no additional helps to Na. mon people of the country in their common every tional vanity. She has enough of them already of day affairs, for it is here that the peculiarities of all sorts and sizes, prices and qualities, from Trum- every nation are most strongly developed. But bull's pictures in the rotunda, down to Currier's lith-the subjects of this whole class of pictures have ographed daubs of Capt. May and the battle of no more connexion with Dutch patriotism, than the Buena Vista. Brother Jonathan was a smart boy, clay pipes of tavern smokers have with the death and taught himself the whole theory and practice of Count Egmont, or a pot-house card-party with of national bragging long before he left school; he the exploits of admiral Van Tromp. Of the same is so thorongh in the science, moreover, that it is 'nature is nearly all the nationality of the English
On the Requisites for the Formation of a Nalional School of Historical Painting.
school, whose historical painters,—very few they United States." For Weir's represents a company are, by the way,—have not very largely illustrated of Englishmen, on board an English ship, in a the proud history of their native land. But France Dutch port, at a time when nejther the vessel nor has a very different story to tell. She has con- any of her famous passengers had ever seen or set slantly acted on the principle that the great pur- foot in America. And Vanderlyn's is a Spanish pose to which the arts were meant to be applied and not an American picture, by the same rule ; for is to foster, and intensify, and glorify the national all the persons represented are Spaniards, the scene vanily. For this purpose French art was first is in an island that never belonged to us and probaforced into a hot-bed existence by Louis XIV., an bly never will, and the great discoverer himself existence which was prolonged, with constantly never touched on any part of the coast of these increasing debility and impotence, under his suc- United States. So the best pictures in the Rocessors, until Napoleon arose to infuse into it a tunda are those that are not American. West was fresh but spasniodic vigor. Under the auspices of an American artist, and was the first to give Amerthe grand Emperor and the grand army, arose the ica a name for the arts, yet what national subject Napoleon gallery, the most monotonous collection, did he ever illustrate ? Allston raised his couniry's to any but a Frenchman, that was ever perpetra fame still higher, and has also won an European led under the pretence of the Nationality of Art reputation as a historical painter.
Yet he too The natural and inevitable result has followed. In was devoid of “patriotism." And among living spile of the vast collections of paintings and other historical painters of our country, some of whom works of art in the Tuilleries and the Louvre, in have risen, and several bid fair to rise to eminence, spite of the lavish support of the government, in what nationality has been displayed ? To illustrale spite of the establishment of Academies of design, by a case in point, so as to ascertain what is the and of every effort to create a school of art which true value of this nationality in art, take the case should be a glory to the nation,-efforts far greater of Powers. His statue of the Greek Slave has than have been inade in any other country of Chris. established his reputation in Europe, and placed an tendom,—the race of French painters has always American on a par with the highest living sculpbeen weak, miserable, palıry, emply and contempl- tors; and his statue of the boy holding a shell to ible. Religion and all the deeper and holier feel his ear has only increased his fame. Now would ings of man, as man, were excluded, as forming no the glory to our nation have been any the greater part of the nationality of Art. Man was not re- if the Greek Slave, instead of a Greek, had been garded, except in so far as he was a Frenchman. made a lovely young Choctaw sqnaw, or the boy French painters did not paint, because they were, with the shell had been modelled from a little resin their hearts, enthusiasts for the art divine, and ponsibility among the Sacs and Foxes ? And to could not live and breathe without it: they did not fortify our position by but one case from among our picture on canvass the glorious visions of beauty literary men; what writer has done more to raise that are wont to haunt the imaginations of those our character abroad than Prescott, a man acknowlwho are enamored of the silent mistress of their edged by all European critics to be second to no souls ; but they were painters because they had living historian, if he be not himself the first. And been brought up in the government schools, and yet he has written only Spanish, Mexican and Pethey painted this or that picture because they had ruvian history-not one word of American. received government orders to illustrate such and But what are the contracted limits to which such an event of national glory. The consequence these men, of one idea, (and that one both lule is, that there is hardly a town or even village of de- and false,) would confine the aspiring though youthcent size to be found in Italy, which, in the amount ful energies of American art! There are, first of of works of true art which it has produced, cannot all
, the Red inen-very interesting characters, no outweigh the whole of France with all its nationali- doubt, in Mr. Cooper's Novels, or Mr. Catlin's Inly to boot. And yet this is the point to which our dian gallery, of which the latter is worth infinitely ignorant, conceited and loud-mouthed quidnuncs more than the former, because it is “founded on would degrade American art-if they could ! fact." But it is hard to make much, in the way of
And if foreign examples are not enough, let us art, of a “brave" who chooses to adorn himself, like look at the brief history of American art thus far, a bantam cock, with feathers down to his heels. A and see what the National principle has done for lawny chief may be made to look very sentimental us. The great “ National" pictures are in the Ro- on canvass, indeed, if you imagine him arrived, totunda at Washington. Of these, Trumbull's are wards the hour of a cloudy sunset, at the jumpingvaluable only for their portraits. Chapman's Bap- off place on the borders of the Pacific ocean and tism of Pocahontas is a decided failure. Weir's fancy him ready to take the leap. Something may and Vanderlyn's are the best of the seven, but be made out of a council-fire, and something out of strictly speaking they do not illustrate subjects of a pipe of peace ; though a lomahawk is decidedly American history at all, if by “ American" we are too bloodthirsty to be artistical. Bui is the nato understand, as we suppose, “ belonging to these 'tional artist to be bound up to an eternal round of