網頁圖片
PDF
ePub 版

History of the Public Proceedings on the Question of the
With an
East India Monopoly during the past Year.
Outline of Mr Buckingham's Extempore Descriptions
of the Oriental World. 8vo. Pp. 75. London. Hurst,
Chance, and Co.

1830.

vels of Mr Buckingham during that period-what was said by and of him-what dinners he ate-what balls be danced at, and what sicknesses he suffered.

Life. A Dream. From the Spanish of Don Pedro Calderon de la Barca. Edinburgh. William Blackwood. 1830. 12mo. Pp. 106.

THE public proceedings of the past year on the question of the East India monopoly are novel and curious. Mr Buckingham set out from his own house in January

THIS little volume cannot have been published in the hope of obtaining popularity, for the ancient Spanish

1829, and returned in September of the same year. During the whole of this period, (with one single interrup-drama is so different in its construction from the drama tion,) he delivered at least one lecture every day (Sun- of modern Europe, that little interest can now be taken days alone excepted); sometimes two, and on one ocin it save by the antiquary or the scholar. Nevertheless, casion three; and the average length of these lectures was the translator, Mr Cowan, has executed his task with from three to four hours. He, moreover, seized every spirit, and in the introduction which he has prefixed, he opportunity of firing off a volunteer discourse, afforded by evinces an accurate and extensive acquaintance with the Masonic processions, Missionary meetings, balls, private literature of Spain. Mr Cowan is a young man, but parties, theatres, and puppet shows. Now, though we several specimens have already appeared in the Literary think Mr Buckingham a shrewd and active person, we Journal of his talents as a poetical translator; and his preare also beginning to think that there is not a little quack-sent publication, among the few who can really judge of ery in the means he is at present taking to trumpet his own praises. The newspaper of one town, he tells us, discovered it, will serve to confirm the opinion which his friends enEvery man has that he was at the head of all extempore orators, because he tertain of his abilities in this respect. his favourite study, and we do not see why Mr Cowan repeated with great fluency what he had already delivered should not do for the Spanish, what has already been done verbatim in thirty other places; and the equally sagacious journal of another town found out that he ought to have by several ingenious linguists for the German drama. a seat in Parliament, because Glasgow, Birmingham, and Manchester, were not represented. At Scarborough, the Doncaster race-week proved more attractive than Mr Buckingham's eloquence. Only thirty persons attended the lecturer, and at the suggestion of some of them, the conclusion of the Course (query, the race-course, or the course of lectures?) was postponed for ten days. Mr Buckingham does not seem to have resumed his lectures at the end of that interval; and we have no means of determining whether the suggestors were instigated by a benevolent desire to share a pleasure with their absent friends, or a selfish wish to rid themselves of an annoyance. The erudite editor of the York Courant proved, most logically, that Mr Buckingham, having been bred a sailor, must inevitably know much more about the shipping interest than Mr Sadler, who had only been bred a merchant. But it would be in vain to attempt enumerating all the good things said by the provincial press à propos, and in praise of Mr Buckingham's itinerant eloquence, and recorded, with a most engaging modesty, by that gentleman, in his "History of the Public Proceedings on the Question of the East India Monopoly during the past Year;" to say nothing of the ingenious and happy imitations of their eulogistic strain which he inserts while narrating his feats in those districts which either possessed no newspaper, or none of sufficient taste duly to appreciate his merits. In that portion of the history which relates to his adventures in Edinburgh, Mr Buckingham quotesthe Mercury twice,-the Courant twice,-the Observer thrice, the Literary Journal once, and then adds, that these are "unsought eulogies from nine papers, of all shades in politics." Now, we are not quite certain whether to understand by this, that Mr Buckingham means to insinuate that our respected [contemporaries change their shades of politics according to the days of the week, or whether he means to pay a just tribute to the Literary | is divided into three hundred and sixty-five reading lesJournal, by reckoning it equivalent to six newspapers,-an sons, that is, one for each day in the year, on a great vainterpretation which our innate modesty strongly tempts riety of subjects; fifty-two of these are devoted to what us to adopt. Of all Mr Buckingham's speeches recorded the Editor calls "Sunday Readings," which are placed in this History, we have been most struck with his “ Ad- at the end of the volume, distinct from the others, and dress to the ladies of Northumberland, on the burning of consist of selections from the best writers on sacred subHindoo widows, after a ball at Newcastle." There is, jects, in poetry and prose. In this new edition, the whole besides, one very important fact to be learned from this text of the Class-Book has been revised with the greatest book, of which we believe our readers are not generally care; a few lessons, which did not appear in accordance aware, namely, that Mr Buckingham is the East India with the general tenor of the book, have been exchanged, Question. We prove it thus:-The book before us is and others, more applicable, substituted; and those porentitled, "History of the Public Proceedings on the tions which include the arts and sciences have been brought Question of the East India Monopoly during the past down, so as to include the most recent discoveries. All Year ;" and it relates exclusively to the voyages and tra- this must confer additional value on the work; and, after

WE are disposed to think highly of the work before us, and esteem it well worthy the attention of teachers. It

The Phrenologists. A Farce, in Two Acts. By The

mas Wade, Author of " Woman's Love," a Drama, &c. First performed at the Theatre-Royal, Covent-Garden, on Tuesday, January 12, 1830. London. J. Onwhyn. 1830.

none.

PEOPLE have turned Phrenology into all shapes-metaphysics, poetry, and farce; but it seems to succeed in Phrenological metaphysics are downright nonsense ;-phrenological poetry is the dullest thing on the face of the earth; and phrenological farces are all plagiarisms, and consequently bad; for though phrenology be an excellent farce itself, unlike the wit of Falstaff, it is not the cause of excellent farces in others. Mr Thomas Wade is rather a clever young man, but his farce is rather a stupid affair. It is difficult to paint the lily, or gild refined gold; and in like manner, it is next to impossible to caricature phrenology, or make it appear more ludicrous on the stage than it is in real life. Keeley is not more mirth-provoking than Mr Combe, nor Cranium more absurd than Dr Spurzheim. Failing, therefore, to laugh at a farce about phrenology so much as we do at phrenology itself, we cannot help thinking the former scarcely more endurable than the latter.

The Literary and Scientific Class-Book: Adapted to the

Use of Schools of both Sexes; with One Thousand
Questions for Examination. By the Rev. John Platts.
Second Edition. London. Whittaker, Treacher, and
Co. 1830. 12mo. Pp. 492.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][merged small]

the care which has been taken in its preparation, we can safely recommend it to the heads of schools and families, and to all who are anxious for the intellectual and moral welfare of the young,

The Young Wanderer's Cave, and other Tales. London.
Whittaker, Treacher, and Co. 1830. 12mo. Pp. 316.

THIS small volume is a collection of four Tales, calculated to infuse proper sentiments into the minds of young people. "The Young Wanderer's Cave" is the first and "Prince longest of the four, and, we daresay, the best. Bastian" is a simple story, connected with Africa and her swarthy sons. "Fagging" is an exposure, in a small way, of the very pernicious and disgraceful custom which exists in too many schools on the other side of the Tweed. And "True Courage," the last and shortest of these Tales, inculcates a good moral.

A Concise System of Mathematics, in Theory and Practice, for the Use of Schools, Private Students, and Practical Men. The Second Edition, with many important additions and improvements. By Alexander Ingram, Author of "Elements of Euclid," &c. &c. Edinburgh. Oliver and Boyd. 1830. 8vo. Pp. 448.

THE first edition of this work, published under the title of "A Concise System of Mensuration," met with very great success. A number of important additions have now been made, especially in the departments of Algebra, Land-surveying, Gauging, Mensuration of Artificers' Works, the Limits of Ratios, Fluxions, and Fluents, and Spherical Trigonometry. An accurate set of Logarithmic Tables has also been added, and the whole has undergone "a careful, vigorous, and minute revision." "As an additional recommendation," says the Preface, "the Publishers may venture to affirm, that while

De

Tor

MISCELLANEOUS LITERATURE.

where the latter four lines, as connected with the preceding, appear nearly unintelligible or absurd. The original, no doubt, is allowed to contain an obscure reference, though not incapable of some elucidation. It would be better, however, to overskip it altogether, as inexplicable, as do Messrs Tait and Brady, than to insert it in such a questionable shape. Old Sternhold makes of it not only good sense, but invests it with poetical beauty:

Ci

it is, in many respects, the most complete, it is unquestion- The same remark may be applied to Psalm xviii. 29ably the cheapest, work of the kind ever published."

REMARKS

ON THE SCOTTISH VERSION OF THE PSALMS,
WITH A VIEW TO ITS AMELIORATION.

By William Tennant, Author of " Anster Fair," &c.

Or the version of the Psalms at present used in our Scottish Church, the blemishes are nearly of the same venial character as those of Sternhold and Hopkins. They were occasioned to the versifier not so much, as it appears, by his insensibility to the solemn dignity of the subject, or his indexterity in the use of such rhymes and phraseology as were considered in his day, and in his own country, duly authorized and classical; but to the uncultivated state of our Scottish literature as compared with that of England, and to a want of familiarity with the models of good taste and elegant style which had already become acknowledged as standards in the capital, but which were either little read, or not at all known, in that provincial degradation to which Scotland was then reduced. The errors, therefore, of our version consist principally in such provincialisms; though, in a few places, an obscure or imperfect translation may be detected. For instance, in Psalm lxxiv. 5, the poetry proceeds thus→→→

[blocks in formation]
[blocks in formation]

Indeed, the superiority of the latter four lines is so de cided, as to make us wish that they were substituted for the objectionable part of the Scottish distich.

In several other passages, our version, though it cannot be impeached with incorrectness, yet adheres with such Calvinistic inflexibility to the naked Hebrew expression, as to make the application of such words seem, to our conceptions, ridiculous, rather than strong or solemn, as Of that description is they were surely designed to be. the verse in Psalm 1xxviii.

"God's wrath upon them came, and slew
The fattest of them all;"

where, as the adjective in the original signifies both a fat man and a rich man, (somewhat like the Latin word opimus,) the versifier has, unfortunately, chosen the less solemn signification. Again, he might have been benefited by worthy Sternhold, who says, much better,

"And slew the flower of all the youth,
And choice of Israel."

"And by my God assisting me,
I overleap a wall;"

which, in the old version, is more happily expanded into

CC

By thee I scale and overleap
The strength of any wall."

In Psalm xlv. 13, we have by far too meagerly and unintelligibly

"Behold, the daughter of the Queen
All glorious is within ;"

which has been beaten out by Father Sternhold into the golden and magnificent lines

"Within her chamber she doth sit,
Deck'd up with broider'd gold.”

And in Psalm xlix. 18, the Orientalism is too bold to be understood by our people, though the versifier has taken it literally from the prose translation:

"Although he his own soul did bless,
Whilst he on earth did live."*

But it is less in the important particular of translation that our version hallucinates; it is principally in the

Although here somewhat perhaps out of place, we may be allowed to remark on the coincidence of the Hebrew and Arabic expression, blessing his soul," making himself happy,-a phrase corresponding to the Latin beare se. Queen Elizabeth's version translates this expression according to its sense," he rejoiced himself," putting the other in the margin. Our present Bible exhibits the literal translation of the Hebrew, he blessed his soul. Sir William Jones, in a note to his Persic Grammar, under the pronoun KHUD, seems to consider the idiom NEFESH, used for self, as purely of Arabic origin and usage; whereas, from this, and perhaps other examples in the Hebrew Bible, it may be rather inferred that the Arabians have derived this, as well as many other idiomatic expressions of two or three thousand years standing, from Abraham, and the ancient inhabitants of Canaan.

pettier technicalities of language; in the proprieties, no with others less striking, but equally peccant against the less to be exacted, of rhyme, grammar, accentuation, pro-rules of Lindley Murray. sody, and idiom.

Amid the violations of grammar, however, I am unÖf rhymes, there are about fifty-five or sixty, of such willing to class the several imitations of the Hebrew rude and unseemly dissonance, as to be disavowed by all idiom throughout our Psalms, which, though not acknowears of even ordinary susceptibility, in this our well-at-ledged as correct syntax by the writers on English gramtuned generation. They were tolerated, no doubt, by our mar, do nevertheless possess, particularly on sacred sub. worthy, unfastidious grandfathers and grandmothers, and jects, a certain peculiar air of emphatic and solemn enunare all of them such as good Zacharias Boyd would have ciation. Such is the frequent use of what we may call been fain, in some of his desperate sinking moods, to up- the nominative absolute, a mode of speech which, though buoy himself upon; but they are now-a-days too unhar- not altogether unpractised by the best Greek and Latin monious to be found even in the pages of our slenderest authors, may be deemed peculiarly Hebrew, from its very pedlar-poetaster. For we have not only words of the frequent use by the Jewish writers. In Tait and Brady's antique pronunciation; such as, high, thee,—due, bow,- paraphrase, I have not observed a single instance of this me, eye,-lie, ay,-king, reign, &c.; but such as never Judaism; in our version, we have a great many; and the did, do not now, and never will, chime together; such sentiment, instead of being impaired by the apparent disas, fram'd, ordain'd,—prove, hoof,-goes, rejoice, says, jointedness of the words, is rendered certainly more soeyes,-wish, is,-approv'n, own,-tempt'd, sent,-imper- lemn and impressive. As examples, there are, fect, (monstrum horrendum!) writ; which are all, even for the eye to look at on paper, most hideously and repulsively jarring. Polysyllabic words, also, of the same monosyllabic termination, are employed so profusely and unhesitatingly, as to impress the reader (an impression which is inevitable) with the unskilfulness or poverty of means of the versifier. We have, for example, the whole multitudinous adverbial family of-ly (as in subtilly, deceitfully); the verbal family of-ed (as in opened, published); the adjective family of-ous (as in gracious, plenteous); the abstract family of-ness (as in righteous-The ness, uprightness); all which words are too near of kin to be married together in the bonds of rhyme. Such alliances are now, by the lawgivers of good metre, very justly proscribed. If they are used at all, the union must be with words at least not consanguineous. But besides these pseudo-rhymes, we have about thirty-five or forty double rhymes; as, anointed, appointed,-abhor me, for me,-forsake me, overtake me, &c.; all which are not only in the reading ungraceful, but in the chanting peculiarly indecorous, bespeaking a subject rather of levity than of solemnity. Such bellowing and repercussive rhymes are now, most judiciously, thrown out of all serious, and are admitted only into light or ludicrous poetry. In this respect, indeed, the version of Tait and Brady may be considered faultless, and ought to be set up as a model to us in the North. One double rhyme, or one vicious rhyme, it will be difficult to discover in it, from beginning

to end.

[merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small]

"The Lord he shall the people judge."-Ps. vii. 8. "The tabernacles of thy grace,

How pleasant, Lord, they be."-lxxxiv. 1. "And even my chosen Israel,

He would have none of me."-lxxxi. 11.
"Those that within the house of God
Are planted by his grace,

They shall grow up."-xcii. 13.
"Behold, he that keeps Israel,

He slumbers not nor sleeps."-cxxi. 4.
relative pronoun is also, according to the Hebrew
idiom, often with grace omitted:

"O who is he will bring me to

The city fortify'd!"—Ps. lx. 9.
"His net he hid withal
Himself let catch."-xxxv. 8.
"The testimonies he them taught

And laws, they did not break.”—xcix. 7: As to prosody, accentuation, and idiom, the two latter are sometimes of a growth purely Scottish; of a propensity to the use of which, the versifier, inured as his ears must have been to such sounds and phrases, could not well have divested himself. The falsely-accented words mischief, mischievous, (used repeatedly,) therefòre, comforters, envy, envious, refùge, &c., sound barbarously in the ears of a polite congregation. Such phrases, also, as the following, bespeak the northern soil from which they

sprung:

"Froward thou kyth'st

Unto the froward wight."—Ps. xviii. 23.
"Why thrusts thou me thee fro' ?"—xliii. 2.
"Who seek my soul to spill

Shall sink."-xxxiii. 9.
"Her riggs thou waterest plenteously,
Her furrows settlest."-xxxv. 10.
"He dare make none abode."-cxliii. 2.
"The depths on trembling fell.”—lxxvii. 16.
"They gins for me have set."-cxl. 5.
"Thou also most entirely art

Acquaint with all my ways."-cxxxix. 3.*

* On the head of idiom, I am not sure but a hypercritical South. ron might object to the first line of the 23d Psalm

"The Lord's my shepherd, I'll not want;"

where I'll, contrary to the English idiom, which is I will, is, according to the vulgar usage of Scotland, used for I shall. Certainly the Psalmist means to express his assured conviction thus-" As the Lord is my shepherd, it cannot be that I shall want:" not his determined resolution to do any thing soever, commit wrong or violence, rather than submit to endure want, which is suggested by I'll-I will not want-I am resolved not to want.

An orthodox or scrupulous divine may also object to the lines in Psalm cxlv. 20

"The Lord preserves all, more and less,
That bear to him a loving heart;"

where the words more and less, are generally understood as adverbs qualifying the verb preserve, which conveys a meaning that may be at least disputable; but it is probable that the compiler used them as adjectives in apposition with all, in the sense of greater people, (majores) and less, high and low-a meaning in which these words are repeatedly found, as well in the old English as in the old Scottish versions.

[ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors][ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Equally irregular and unauthorised is the prosody; to such a degree, that our Scottish precentor must needs have accurate poetical ears to determine the quantities and metrical feet of the lines they are directed to sing. So perplexing and misleading are these irregularities, that the audience are frequently chanting one syllable, when the precentor has either anticipated them, or been anticipated by them with another. Indeed, the gra.nmatical figures, called by the learned Synæresis and Diæresis, are of by far too frequent occurrence. They are met

with, not only in separate lines, as,

For he remembers we are dust,
And he our frame well knows;
Frail man! his days are like the grass,
Like flower in field he grows :
For over it the wind doth pass,

And it away is gone;

And of the place where once it was,
It shall no more be known."-ciii. 13.

But it would be endless, as it is unnecessary, to quote all the fine passages; and of the bad, enough have been already quoted or referred to for the object in view the good have been exhibited in connexion with the bad for the purpose of showing by juxtaposition the unseemliness of such an inharmonious union, and that an occasion might be taken of expressing regret that such deformed misproportions have been already so long allowed to afford so justifiable a pretext for disparaging our Scottish psalter. Many of the psalms-those that afford the best and most frequent subjects for church melody, and are, therefore, become most familiar to the minds and the lips of our most aged and worthy kirk-attending people, require the least

but they occur, side by side, in a short line of six syl- emendation, so that their prejudices (and in that class

lables, as,

principally would prejudice against a change exist)
would be the more easily got over. And in the business
'of purification, should it, as is hoped, ere long take place,
no verse should be touched that is not confessedly in
some important respect faulty; moreover, the labours of
the emendator might be, in a considerable degree, light-
ened and abridged by his resorting, as he ought to do,
wherever it can well be done, to the ancient versions of
Scotland and England, where many passages, having the
stamp of energetic antiquity set bright upon them, might
be selected and substituted for the objectionable ones to
And where a rifacimento is imperiously
be displaced.*
necessary, the language should be carefully studied and
moulded so as to appear, if possible, of the same thread
and colour with the more antique texture of the work,
and combine as much Bible-sublimity and simplicity as
is compatible with the cramping restrictions of the metre,
so as to avoid, what is the great blemish of Messrs Tait
and Brady's production, that paraphrastic and strength-
less prolixity into which a versifier, from the present dis-
torted state of the English language, is now most apt to

fall.

"And over Ziōn, my holy hill.”—Ps. ii.

The nations of Canaan."-lxxviii. 55.

"

[ocr errors]

By him the spīrīts shall be cut off."-lxxviii. 8.

"O Lord, be gracious unto us—

Unto us gracious be."-cxxii. 3.

"The idols of the nations,

Of silver are, and gold;

And by the hands of men is made

Their fashion and mould."-cxxxv. 15. "And plenteous redemption."-cxxx. 7 ;

"Come, let us cut them off, said they,
From being a nation.”—-lxxxiii. 4.

And we have also too many instances of that audacious figure, yclept epenthesis, (or the elongation of a word, Procrustes-like, for the sake of the verse,) in commandement, handywork, rememberance; words which have no competent English authority, and ought therefore to be excluded.

I do not know whether it be sufficiently ascertained that but one versifier turned all those of our psalms which are not borrowed from the older versions; but they seem of merit so unequal as to induce a suspicion that different hands have been at the work. Many of them are either, in whole or in part, excellently executed; and, considering the difficulty that attends the combination of rhyme with sublimity in that narrow species of couplet to which they are restricted, they may be considered as the finest specimens we have in our language of sublime rhyming-translation. Milton himself, in the few a psalms he has attempted to translate, has attained by no How elemeans their ease, and hardly their elevation. gantly and forcefully compressed into the following fourline couplet, is the sense of these two verses of Psalm xxxvii!" I have seen the wicked in great power, and spreading himself like a green bay tree; but he passed away; and, lo! he was gone; I sought him, but he could not be found."

66

"I saw the wicked great in power,
Spread like a green bay-tree;

He pass'd; yea, was not; him I sought,
But found he could not be."

With what little alteration upon the words, and what emphatic simplicity, are the sublime third and fourth verses of Psalm xciii. moulded into

"The floods, O Lord, have lifted up,
Have lifted up their voice;

The floods have lifted up their waves,
And made a mighty noise:

But yet the Lord, that is on high,

Is more of might by far
Than noise of many waters is,
Or great sea-billows are!”

And but once more-how sweetly-solemn and tender are the verses,

"Such pity as a father hath
Unto his children dear,

Like pity shows the Lord to such
As worship him in fear;

Devongrove, Clackmannanshire,
February 3, 1830.

[blocks in formation]

There is no apparent necessity for double versions of the same Psalm, even should both versions be good; but when one version is good and the other bad, or indifferent, the inferior one ought to be suppressed. Tait and Brady have no double versions; and in all our double-versioned Psalms, one of them. is generally bad, and seldom or never sung. It might, therefore, be well spared. Of the 124th Psalm, the stanza of the 2d version is very justly gone into desuetude. It is an absurd one, which our versifier has taken from Sternhold: he has borrowed Sternhold's first distich, which accents truly on the second syllable; he has endeavoured to remould the other stanzas for himself, but has forgotten, or not at all known, the order of rhymes to which the first stanza necessarily subjected him.

† Accidents will happen in the best regulated families; and this is the only reason we can give for passing over in silence, last Saturday, when talking of the portraits, the very pleasing and ladylike portraits of Mr Francis Grant. The truth is, we do not much like the display of marching round the room with a catalogue in one hand and a pencil in the other, jotting down our luminous conceptions as they arise; and as we therefore write from memory alone, we may pccasionally pass by in silence what we should wish to notice.

scarcely such a subject as suits Allan's peculiar powers.cially inculcate on Mr Dyce, that a painter should form But who has forgotten the "Circassian Slaves," or the his theory of colour upon his own feelings-not upon ab"Death of the Regent Murray ?" and remembering them, stract doctrines respecting the nature of light inferred who but must acknowledge their author to be a painter of from experiments. He is liable, no doubt, to be misled great talent, and yet greater knowledge? from any peculiar conformation of his own eye, but this liability he can never counteract from another's teaching. All experiments, moreover, are fallacious; they give us not free and living nature, but a body stretched upon the rack. We have entered into this expostulation with Mr! Dyce because we know that he labours hard and consci.

!

Mr GRAHAM. This gentleman has studied at Rome, and with no inconsiderable success. He has a good notion of the beauties of form and colour, and considerable skill in the management of light and shade. His manipulation is that of a man who knows what he is about; and the characteristic of his paintings is probably sweet-entiously in his vocation. We might have cut the matness, rather than power. They who know any thing of ter short by telling him that his style was not likely to the art will be aware, that though we do not use any hy- be popular, but this is an argument which we believe him perbolical language, we thus rate Mr Graham's abilities to be above listening to. Besides, his pictures are posand acquirements high; and we bear him this testimony sessed of beauties which even those least accustomed to with pleasure. But we regret to be obliged to add, that his style may appreciate. The fine carnation in the we do not think he has of late been turning his talents to Young Hercules, the gorgeous colouring of the snakes, that purpose he might do. He seems originally to have and the expression of forcibly tearing them asunder, must formed his style of colouring too servilely upon that of be felt by all. The breathing slumberous look in his the old Italian masters; and when he was necessitated, in "Golden Age," and the fine piece of landscape in the dispainting portraits, to approach nearer to the colour of our tance, are in like manner obvious excellencies. Neither northern nature, there was at first a chalkiness and raw- can the strength and richness in the colouring of his ness in his carnations-as in his Sir Walter Scott exhibited "Flora" escape observation. What we chiefly desiderate last year. In this respect he now succeeds better;-his in this artist's works, is passion. portrait of Mrs Boyle is very pleasing. But we think he is still deficient in seizing the character of his sitters; as in his portrait of Mrs Maxwell of Terraughty. Sometimes, too, his conceptions seem (what we should not have expected from him) rather vulgar; as, for example, in his portrait of a Lady in a Grecian costume. It is but fair, however, to notice, that he has two portraits of Children in this Exhibition, (Nos. 66 and 271,) done in a style peculiar to himself, and extremely pleasing. It is his fancy pieces that we feel most inclined to challenge. His "Lady and Butterfly," and his "Lady looking at a Drawing," are mere repetitions of his "Love-Letter," and its companion, which he exhibited last year. We dislike this style of painting ;-it is essentially hollow and meretricious-calculated to catch the eye by the effect of exaggerated lights and transparent shadows. A man of Mr Graham's talents should trust to solid good painting-to form, expression, and arrangement. If he compare the two pictures we are speaking of with their prototypes of last year, his own good sense will tell him that he is wasting his time with unsubstantial trickery, and depraving his taste by the practice. We know that he has hit the town between wind and water by these means, but a popularity so earned cannot last-and though it could, it is an ambition unworthy of him.

We take Mr LEES next to Dyce and Graham, as having studied in the same school. We are not sure but he is superior to both in native feeling, and in conception, although he is still behind them in the power of expres sion. There is a great deal of impressive dignity in the bearing of his Milton. The daughter, with her face towards the spectator, seemingly rapt in the " numerous verse" flowing with majestic harmony from the lips of the blind old bard, is likewise very fine. And there is something in the rich yet quiet tone of the landscape behind, which harmonizes admirably with the subject. Mr Lees' other works are all respectable, but we do not think that he has come up in any of them to the excellence of the picture we have just mentioned. His " Music” (281) is too much like some of Graham's works, and, what is worse, too much like some which are not exactly Graham's happiest efforts.

Mr DYCE is another of our Romans. He has formed his style still more decidedly upon the old Italian masters than Mr Graham-too decidedly, in our opinion; but Mr Dyce, we know, acts upon principle and reflection, and where a man does this, his opinions are always deserving of respect. Mr Dyce's view of the subject (as far as we can infer it from his own works) seems to be, that all attempts to imitate accurately the effects of light upon the surface of external bodies, ought to be sacrificed, in a great measure, to the object of bringing together masses of local colour, placed in decided contrast. The whites, he thinks, and carnations, ought to be always very much toned down; and in selecting his colours, he does not guide himself so much by the effect the objects he intends to represent produce upon his own eye, as by what experiment persuades him they ought to produce. These seem to be the ground principles of Mr Dyce's theory of colouring. Now, we are aware that the practice of some of the greatest Italian masters seems to countenance this. We are farther aware, that there is a simplicity and severity about this style of colouring which harmonizes admirably with grand subjects. But we think it is misplaced in such subjects as Mr Dyce has hitherto been painting; and we know that many of the early painters adopted it, not from preference, but because they knew of no other. We would, besides, espe

Mr LAUDER.We regret that there is no work by this artist in the Exhibition calculated to give a correct estimate of his powers. His "Portrait of a Lady" (221) shows him to possess a fine eye for colours, and a just conception of the manner of heightening their effect by judicious arrangement. His "Sentinels" (157) show his mastery in light and shade; and, for its style of execution, indicating in the painter a complete practical knowledge of his art, we do not hesitate to write down this picture the best in the Exhibition. But still he has no work which proves with what care he has cultivated his taste for the high and classical style of art. Mr Lauder has sought to mature natural talents of the very highest order, by a really scientific study of his profession; and we have no doubt, that when Italy has once laid open her rich stores to a mind so capable of feeling their ennobling influence, he will justify us in the eyes of those who, not knowing him, may think us rash in designating him, upon the strength of what he has already done, the artist of most promise among us. We rated him last week for laziness; and when we consider that he has only two pictures in the Exhibition, (the catalogue says four, but, though we might allow another artist to reckon the two we have passed over, we cannot allow him,) we shall not say that we repent of what we have done. He will tell us, in all probability, that it does not follow he has been idle because we see no results; and we know that he is too much enamoured of his art not to be constantly occupied with it; but this is not enough. He works for the public, and the public have a right to see that he does work.

We suspect our friend DUNCAN will be not a little surprised at finding us class him along with these theorists. We know that he believes himself to be a rank naturalist,

« 上一頁繼續 »