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EDINBURGH LITERARY JOURNAL ;

THE

No. 118.

WEEKLY REGISTER OF CRITICISM AND BELLES LETTRES.

LITERARY CRITICISM.

SATURDAY, FEBRUARY 12, 1831.

OR,

Lives of the Italian Poets. By the Rev. Henry Stebbing. With twenty Medallion Portraits. In three volumes 12mo. Pp. 343, 365, 361. London: Edward Bull. Edinburgh Bell and Bradfute. 1831.

THE roll of Italian poets begins with Dante, and we would say closed with Tasso, had not Alfieri arisen, a lonely and fiercely blazing star, after a long age of mere versifiers. The themes of which the bards of Italy sung, are those which have chiefly employed their compeers in every quarter of the world" fierce wars and faithful loves." But the national, and still more the individual character of the Italians, has lent to their poems graces peculiar and unrivalled. The features common to all are voluptuous sentiment, borne up by a buoyant and cheerful temperament. They are a set of practical Epicureans. They enjoy, with a high relish, all the beauties of nature -they drink deep of the intoxicating draught of love but if they do turn their thoughts to serious reflection, it is to lose themselves in the luxurious dreams of a mystical philosophy, most seductive, as it allows full scope to the revels of the imagination.

A turn of mind, such as we have attempted to describe, may be traced in all the Italian poets, but more or less modified and varied. The difference is extreme between Dante, the stern and active political partisan, and the dreamer Tasso. Not less wide is the gulf between Petrarch, concentrating with the self-will of passion all the wealth of his fancy upon one theme, and making all his poems one long-drawn sigh, and Ariosto, ever gay, ever laughing-whose muse, if it ever look demure, is like the girl trembling at the pressure of her lover's hand, and the next moment breaking the tell-tale silence by an affectation of redoubled mirth. Yet these differences are all of them what logicians would term accidental, not essential. The nerves of Dante and Ariosto were of a firmer tone than those of their two lacrymose countrymen; the fancy of the latter was more versatile than that of the former-that was all. In Dante we find warm and glowing passion; Ariosto's laughter is half hypocritical—of that kind which is used to cloak deep feeling; the other two, although like sweet bells jangled out of tune and harsh, broke down from excess of those feelings, which temper and give a charm to the more manly characters of those we have named.

The poets we have here selected for the purpose of illustrating our position are fair specimens of all. They possessed among them the peculiar excellencies of all the others, wedded to more powerful and loftier minds. Nor is the likeness the mere similarity of kindred; their acknowledged superiority enabled them, in some measure, to stamp their image upon the rest.

We agree entirely with Mr Stebbing, that the lives of such a race of men afford a noble subject for the pen of the biographer. A history of their public and private life, recording ali the outbreaks and flashes of their spirit, provoked by cross, or won by gentle incidents-notices of their great contemporaries in arts and arms-their roman

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tic adventures, and the light which they throw upon the state of society in which they lived, afford a theme worthy of an author uniting to the most susceptible imagination, a mind that can read with accuracy the inmost thoughts of others, and an unerring judgment in appreciating what is really worthy in human nature. The reader will see that we entertain high notions respecting the genius requisite for the proper execution of such a work, and will be ready to allow Mr Stebbing considerable merit, even though he should only approximate to our standard.

One qualification which the reverend author has shown himself possessed of in a high degree, is patient research. His work is not hastily got up, in consequence of a superficial perusal of one or two second-hand authoritiesthe fashionable practice of the day. He has laboured like (no very new simile) the bee, bringing day by day her drops of honey to swell the winter store, carefully refusing every thing nauseous or worthless. His taste is no less conspicuous, in his selection, than his industry. There is nothing offensive in his volume, and much that gives pleasure. His judgments too, although we may sometimes dissent from them, are always those of a man of sound sense. And there is a vein of amiable, ingenuous candour running through the whole book. But there is a want of nerve and power. We have no felicitous expressions suggesting a whole mine of thought. The author does not vary his style to suit the varying character of the incidents and characters he describes; he is deficient in liveliness and graphic talent. He is always correct, and sometimes insipid.

From what we have said, our readers will easily infer that Mr Stebbing is less successful in grappling with the characters of Dante, Boiardo, and Ariosto, than with those of Petrarch and Tasso. In his narrative of the latter, indeed, he has outdone himself. He has entered with full sympathy, and generous feeling, and exquisite tact, into the wayward feelings of this gentle, but wayward genius-this bruised and broken reed. As giving the fairest specimen of Mr Stebbing's powers, and at the same time as communicating a unity of interest to our extracts, we select them exclusively from the biography of Tasso. The outlines of the poet's history, perhaps more generally known in England than that of any of his great countrymen, free us from the task of a narrative.

Tasso's boyhood foreboded his future character. "To this seminary Portia sent her Torquato, soon after completing his sixth year, and such was the ardour with which he attended to the lessons of the fathers, that he was Before the day dawned he would leave his bed, and wait so never happy except when listening to their instructions. anxiously for the hour of school, that his mother, in the winter time, was obliged to send him with a servant and a lighted torch to show him along the neighbouring street.

"By the time he was ten years old, he had not only made himself master of Latin, but was far advanced in Greek, and composed orations and verses, which he recited to the satisfaction and surprise of all who heard them. His progress also well were his tutors satisfied with his thoughtful and devout in other kinds of knowledge was equally remarkable, and so disposition, that they admitted him to the communion when he was only nine years of age, and before he understood that in the host was the real body of Christ.' In the letter

which records this circumstance, he says, that notwithstanding his ignorance of the mysterious union, he was moved by a secret feeling of elevation, which the sanctity and reverence of the place, and the habits and the manner of the congregation, and the beating of the breast had contributed to awaken,' and that having received the elements, or, according to the erroneous doctrine of his teachers, the real body of Christ, he felt within himself he knew not what of new and unknown delight.''

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His tendency to reverie, and the exclusive cultivation of his taste, was encouraged by his father.

"His company, it is said, was all his father required to complete the comfort he then enjoyed; and he lost no time in associating him in his favourite occupations, frequently employing him in copying and correcting parts of his manuscripts, but chiefly in the perusal of the best Italian works, both prose and verse. The wisdom of Bernardo, in this respect, is worthy of notice. It was his opinion that nothing could be more absurd than to employ the attention of youths in the study of the classics to the neglect of their own language, making them, he said, citizens abroad and strangers at home. In the study of Italian authors he made Torquato follow the same plan as is usually confined to the perusal of the ancients, teaching him to remark all the delicacies of which the language is capable, the peculiar beauties of the different writers, and by what means the most admired had arrived at the art of constructing such sweet and harmonious periods. Dante, Petrarch, and Boccaccio, formed the principal companions of Torquato at this period; but as his father wished to make him eminent for general learning, and a man of business rather than a poet, he sent him, in November 1560, to Padua, in the hope that he would there become a proficient in the civil law. Had he reflected more carefully on the subject, it is not unlikely that he would have seen how improbable it was that a youth, who had hitherto been almost solely employed in the study of the poets, and who had shown the most decided inclination to follow their example, would become a very assiduous student of a science so contrary in its nature both to his taste and previous pursuits."

The objections of his confidential critics must have been peculiarly annoying to so susceptible a mind. They were captious enough.

to the opinion of Pythagoras, Plato, Marcus Tullius, Dante, and other philosophers, poets, and theologians, both sacred and profane, there is sound in heaven; and to this opinion I may refer either as a poet, philosopher, or theologian; but, abiding by the doctrine of the Peripatetics, I deny the consequence, In heaven there is not sound, therefore there are not Muses there. The better argument would be, There is not music in heaven, therefore there are not Muses there. But, if there be musical proportions in heaven, it must be that the Muses are there; but without doubt there are, since the whole world is composed with musical harmony, as Plato shows in Timæus, and Plotinus and others who have philosophized on this matter. Nor would Aristotle himself deny that there are intelligible proportions in heaven, as Pythagoras also intimates, according to the opinion of the Peripatetic philosopher, Simplicius, in his first book on heaven, where he treats of this question.' Similar objections and answers appear on other points, equally trivial; among others, as to the propriety of representing the Almighty sending the dream to Godfrey: the authority of Aristotle being quoted, Dreams are not sent by God-To which I answer,' says Tasso, that the authority of the Prince of Poets would be sufficient to defend a poet; and Homer represents Jupiter sending a dream to Agamemnon, the general of the army. But even Aristotle himself, in the very book quoted, makes mention of certain divine or demoniacal dreams, sent from demons, or from God, as St Thomas particularly notes in his little work De Intellectu.' This is sufficient for a specimen of the kind of criticism to which the Gerusalemme was subjected, and to which its author submitted with a degree of patience and humility, which proves both his anxiety to render his poem as perfect as possible, and the laborious care with which men of genius in former days attended to the revision of their works."

"The assistance and inspection of the judicious friends, to whom Tasso makes allusion in the above letter, proved a source of the greatest uneasiness to him. His critics, it would appear, disagreed among themselves in all points, but that of discovering defects in the execution of the work. His replies to their objections are often very curious and ingenious; and we know not which to regard with greater wonder, the subtleties of his metaphysical reviewers, or the keen scholarship with which he answers them. One or two instances will serve to illustrate this subject. The Abate, Niccolò degli Oddi, began his objections with the Invocation: It does not appear to me correct that Urania should be addressed under the name of Muse, and placed in heaven-the name of Muse signifying nothing but a sound or song, which, according to Aristotle, cannot be in heaven; and sound not being there, the Muses are not there, and, therefore, the Invocation is not correct. It would be sufficient,' says Tasso, 'to reply, that, according

its bias, is a painful subject of contemplation.
The manner in which a mind so delicate swayed from

But it was only his imagination and passions that were infected with this sickly taint-his mind at an early period showed its ambition and daring.

"He now reverted to the idea of his epic poem, of which he had drawn out the plan at the latter University. His studies in philosophy and criticism were all directed to this great purpose, and he collected from the works of the most celebrated writers whatever might assist him in the accomplishment of his grand design. His ideas on the subject subject, assumed, shortly after his return to Ferrara, a more "The melancholy to which he had now been sometime were as yet undetermined-his taste had been formed on the best models of classic composition, but his imagination alarming character. There is no doubt that he suffered was captivated by the romance writers of his own and other Court, but it also seems likely that his nervous excitement many annoyances, and probably injuries, from his rivals at countries. To fix, therefore, his thoughts on the subject had greatly magnified the idea of danger, and led him to which required such serious consideration, he wrote his dread an enemy in the most indifferent observer of his accelebrated Discourses on Poetry,' in which he examines the various theories of the critics, and the methods best caltions. Even his servants at last became objects of his fear, culated to insure the proper objects of the art. The treatise and he wrote to the Marchese del Monte, beseeching him on epic poetry was written expressly with a view to the to send him one, and to join to his own authority that of Gerusalemme,' and both that and the others were address-weightiest punishment, if he should ever be guilty of any the Duke of Urbino in threatening the servant with the ed to Scipione Gonzaga, as a testimony of the author's respect and gratitude."

treachery against him. Shortly after this letter was written, the idea recurred, which had troubled his mind some time before, that he had allowed himself to indulge heretical opinions while studying philosophy, and that he was subject to the wrath of the Inquisition, which he imagined therefore, set out for Bologna, as he had done from similar his enemies were endeavouring to excite against him. He, motives two years since, and presented himself before the fathers of the Inquisition, who, finding nothing in him deserving of punishment, dismissed him with some profit

"No part of Tasso's life is more melancholy than the period at which we are now arrived. He was on the point of ushering into the world a work which was destined to crown him with the greenest laurels the Muse ever wore, and thus obtain a rich and ample reward for all his labours. But before he could receive this precious fruit of his toil, he was becoming the victim of the direst evil to which humanity is liable; while the morning of his glory was dawning around him, darkness was gathering in his soul, and we see him become more dependent and helpless than ever, in the first hour the world paid universal homage to his genius.

able counsel.

acquittal. He now determined to preserve a perfect silence, "But his fears were not in any way diminished by this lest his adversaries should take advantage of some incautious word, and indulged a notion that he had been only suffered to escape the Inquisition this time, that some more effectual means might be found to ruin him utterly. He also began and that he must certainly fall a victim either to poison or to think that some violent death was preparing for him, the dagger. The Duke and the Princesses did all in their power to cure him of these gloomy imaginations, and had June, 1577, when in the apartment of the Duchess of Urhim frequently with them; but one evening, the 16th of bino, he suddenly seized a knife, and aimed a stroke at the

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back of one of the attendants. The alarm occasioned by this circumstance was extreme, and as it was now concluded that he must be labouring under insanity, he was arrested, and placed in confinement in one of the apartments of the palace court."

The state into which he was reduced by ill-judged rigour is awful.

"It is easy to imagine what an effect these continual alternations of hope and despair must have had on the weakened frame and irritable mind of the more than ever unfortunate Tasso. Terrified at one time with the gloom of his solitude, and at another provoked by the insolence of his keepers, and the neglect with which he was treated by the Duke-now suffering all the anxiety of an ill-treated author, then agitated with sudden intelligence of fame and success conversing during the day with the great men, who expressed their highest veneration for the powers of his intellect, and left in the full glow of thought as soon as night began to fall, to be locked up, a maniac among maniacs,-what a fearfully mingled stream of ideas must have passed through the mind of this noble, broken-hearted being! The wonder is, not that his reason sometimes wandered, but that it was not wholly lost: and if we consider for a moment the terrible trial he had to endure, disposed as he constitutionally was to melancholy, we shall see greater cause than ever to admire the original strength of his intellect, all the powers of which were, no doubt, instinctively and constantly combating with the terrors which assailed the very life and being of his spirit.

"He had been now for seven years a captive, and during the best part of the time, had been confined in a small and unhealthy cell. Though latterly removed to a somewhat less loathsome chamber, and allowed, for a brief period, to enjoy the free air of the country, he was still treated with rigorous austerity, and the hope that solaced him one day only served to deepen the despair of the next. Thus oppress ed, his mind grew more and more willing to indulge in the reveries of a disordered fancy; his thoughts became visions; the terror of solitude, long suffered, was changed into a belief that the air was rife with beings of another world; all was confusion in his mind-splendid dreams-a resentful [sense of injury-a consciousness of power that scarce another human being possessed-and a knowledge forced upon him, at the same time, that not another could be found more dependent, more afflicted, or bowed nearer to the earth-with all these contradictory emotions in his soul, it is little to be wondered at that he every day became less capable of distinguishing between the suggestions of imagination and the real objects of sense, feverishly strong and active as was the former, and little as there was in the things around him to awaken any interest or keep alive any natural sympathy-the only principle in our being that can prevent the imagination from gaining dominion over the

reason.

"Tasso yielded himself a willing victim to his disordered fancy, and about the period at which we are arrived began to believe that he was haunted night and day by a malicious spirit, whose sole occupation it was to annoy him. We are fortunately able to give his own account of this strange matter, as he did not neglect to mention the new source of affliction to his friend Cataneo, to whom he thus writes:- I have received two letters from you, but one of them vanished as soon as I had read it, and I believe the goblin has stolen it, as it is the one in which he is spoken of, and this is another of those wonders which I have often seen in this hospital. I am sure they are effected by some magician, as I could prove by many arguments, but particularly from the circumstance of a loaf having been visibly taken from me, while my eyes were wide open, and from a plate of fruit having been taken away in a similar manner the other day, when the amiable young Polacco came to visit me. I have been also served thus with other viands when no one has entered the prison, and with letters and books which were locked up in cases, but which I have found scattered about the floor in the morning, and others I have never found.'

"Nor was this the only torment he experienced from the feverish state of his imagination. Besides the miracles of the goblin I suffer many nocturnal terrors; I have thought I saw flames in the air, and sometimes my eyes have sparkled to such a degree that I feared I should lose my sight, and sparks have visibly flown from me. I have also seen amid the spars of the bed, shadows of rats which could not naturally be in that place; I have heard fearful noises, and have felt a whistling in my ears, and a jingling of bells and

tolling of clocks for an hour together. And I have thought in my sleep that I was on horseback, and ready to fall and suffer some grievous hurt. I have had pains of the head, but not excessive; of the intestines, the side, and the legs and thighs, but not great; I am greatly weakened by vomits, a flux of the blood, and fevers; but amid so many terrors, and such great afflictions, there appeared to me in the air an image of the glorious Virgin with her Son in her arms, in the midst of a circle of colours and vapours; wherefore, I ought not to despair of her grace. And although it is possible that this was a mere fantasm, as I am phrenetic, and am almost continually disturbed by various fantasies, and am filled with an infinite melancholy; nevertheless, am able, by the grace of God, to limit my assent, which, according to Cicero, is the work of a wise man; I ought rather to believe, therefore, that this was a miracle of the Virgin.'

"In writing to Eneas Tasso, he says, The devil, with whom I have slept and passed my time, not being able to find that peace with me which he desired, has become a regular robber, and, coming behind me when I am asleep, opens the closets which I am unable to keep a watch over; but as he has robbed me thus cunningly, I shall not trust to his not pilfering me again, and therefore I transmit to your Excellency the money given me by the Princes of Molfetta and Mantua, and by Signor Paulo Grillo, and the Marquis of Este, making in all twenty-four scudi of gold, ten zecchini, and forty ducats di piastre. I beg you to acknowledge the receipt of this, and to use your exertions that I may escape from the hand of the devil with my books and writings, which are not more secure than my money.'"

Mr Stebbing's appreciation of Alfonso's conduct to the poet is just and discriminative.

"Alfonso was not long in discovering how Tasso was vilifying him; and it is at this period of the poet's memoirs that the memory of his patron begins to wear the shade that has rendered it so unamiable in the eyes of posterity. Hitherto, the conduct of Alfonso appears to have been such, that, had he continued it, he would have merited being placed among the most respected benefactors of genius. He had left nothing undone to soothe the irritated mind of Tasso; had taken him with him to his favourite villa, reasoned with him on the folly of his apprehensions, written letters for him when he was distressed respecting the pirated edition of his poem, and borne both his melancholy humours and even violence with the utmost patience and forbearance; so that, up to the present time, he seems to have had a very fair claim to the gratitude of the unfortunate poet. The severity he was now about to exercise, afforded a terrible contrast to his previous kindness. Highly angered at the expressions which Tasso had used against him, or else regarding them as an additional evidence of his insanity, he ordered him to be secured, and immediately conveyed to the Hospital of St Anna, an institution for lunatics. In whichever light he considered the conduct of the poet, this procedure was unjustifiable. He had allowed him to return to Ferrara, and, sensible as he was of the weak and irritable condition of his mind, he was bound, by the common law of humanity, to do nothing to increase the disposition to malady. Instead of which, he treated him in a manner that would have inflamed a much sounder intellect than poor Tasso's had been for a long time past. To the destruction of his hopes, he had added the wounds inflicted by a cold and haughty contempt, and he had every reason to expect that the feelings of the injured man would show themselves, in words or actions, different to those of a calm and cunning courtier. But even supposing that the conduct of Tasso was more the effect of lunacy than of passion, which certainly ought not to have been punished so severely, he surely deserved a milder treatment than to be seized and conveyed to a common madhouse. He had, it is true, no claims upon the kindness of Alfonso, except those which genius has on all men, and especially on princes; but those claims are sacred, and Alfonso sinned against the noblest feelings that inspire the human soul, by immuring Tasso in a dungeon. His thoughts were dark and bewildered, but 'the light from heaven' was still in his soul, and that ought to have rendered his person as inviolable and sacred as that of a sovereign-genius being at least as plainly the gift of God as a crown."

On the whole, we can recommend this book to the reading public, as one which will never lead them astray; although the author may sometimes fail to convey to us in their full force the strong characters of old Italy.

They will find in it no offences against good taste or the tious and tolerant priest, a self-taught architect in an age purest morality. They will find in it much that is just emerging from barbarism. He is the Chaucer of amiable, the true reflex of the author's character. It con- architecture. There is something in his strong homely tains the biography of every distinguished Italian poet, fabrics, with the profusion of wild and sometimes delifrom Dante to Alfieri, and thus forms a history of cate ornament scattered over them, which irresistibly reItalian poetry. We take leave of the author with sin-mind us of his great contemporary. We have sought for a characteristic anecdote of him to lay before our readers, but our attention has been arrested by his biographer's

cere esteem.

description of the manner in which large structures were reared at that early period.

The Lives of the Most Eminent Painters, Sculptors, and
Architects. By Allan Cunningham. Vol. IV. (Being the
Family Library, Vol. XIX.) London. John Murray.

1831.

brief instructions, of the days of Wykeham, concerning the

"From our old historians, our public records, and a few

the mode of erecting cathedrals. The site of the church was royal buildings, we gather some curious information about selected, not in a barren spot, but in a pleasant place, where the soil was naturally fruitful, and lakes or streams containing fish were near. The foundations of the structure were marked out, and around this a camp of huts was established, to afford shelter to the workmen: a warden was appointed to every ten men, and over the whole a clerk of executed according to the plans of the chief architect. Those the works presided, whose duty was to see the building workmen, if the need of the church required great diligence, had many indulgences; and if they were refractory, there were modes of bringing them to reason, spiritual as well as temporal. The masonry was the work of Englishmen; and much of the carving, as our memorandums sufficiently

workmen seems sometimes to have directed the accessorial

show, was cut by native hands. The caprice or taste of the ornaments; for many of our cathedrals are deformed by figures of indecent demons, and other grotesque and impure representations, which mingle indifferently with things holy. To save the purse of the state, or the hoards of the clergy, the noble families of the district, from a love of re

THE author of this volume having led us, in those which preceded it, through the master painters and sculptors of our country, has now closed his pleasing and honourable task by recounting the histories of our principal architects. The character of an architect-of one, let us be understood, who is really a master in his profession-has ever been an object of our peculiar admiration. In order to be eminent as an architect, a man must unite to the eye of the painter, and the feelings of the poet, the severest powers of reasoning. He must be a clear-headed, closecalculating man of business, at the same time that he must be conciliating in his manners, in order to temper those with whom he has to deal. Lastly, he must possess enthusiasm and perseverance. Look at every distinguished architect, of whom any records remain, you will find him uniting all these qualities, and, in consequence, on terms of intimacy with all the master spirits of his day. The history of the erection of more than one of the finest monuments of architecture is more amusing than any roWitness the building of the great dome at Flo-ligion, or as a commutation of penance, permitted their rence-witness the building of St Paul's, as related in forests to be felled, their quarries to be wrought, their vassals to be pressed, and their horses too, in order to facilitate the volume now before us. And yet how often has it the good work. Wren, who was no admirer of their archibeen the lot of men such as we have described, to feel, at tecture, speaks with knowledge and with justice of their the proud moment when, in the face of an assembled na- way of going to work. Those who have seen the exact tion, they laid the last hand to their everlasting piles, that amounts in records,' says he, 'of the charge of the fabrics of the impressions with which they were regarded by those to some of our cathedrals, near four hundred years old, cannot whom in an especial manner they had looked for patronbut have a great esteem for their economy, and admire how age, was the reverse of friendly! How often may our soon they erected such lofty structures. Indeed, great author's touching reflection upon the completion of St height they thought the greatest magnificence. Few stones were used but what a man might carry up a ladder on his Paul's, have been applicable! back from scaffold to scaffold, though they had pullies and "For a period of thirty years the genius of Wren had spoked wheels upon occasion; but having rejected cornices, now been watchfully inspecting the progress of that great they had no need of great engines: stone upon stone was monument of his fame-the Cathedral of St Paul; nor had easily piled up to great heights; therefore the pride of their the nation at large, though shaken sometimes by civil com- work was in pinnacles and steeples. In this they essentially motions, been a cold or careless looker on. The report had differed from the Roman way, who laid all their mouldings long spread not only through England but through Eu- horizontally, which made the best perspective: the Gothic rope, that a fabric, rivalling all in the world save that of St way, on the contrary, carried all their mouldings perpendiPeter's at Rome, was rising on the ruins of the old metro-cular, so that the ground-work being settled, they had nopolitan church; and now the general curiosity was quick-thing else to do but to spire all up as they could. Thus ened by the news that the great work was nearly finished. they made their pillars of a bundle of little Toruses, which Of the original patrons of the design, many were dead, some they divided into more when they came to the roof; and had been banished, and there remained but few of the com- these Toruses split into many small ones, and traversing one missioners who had so often impeded the early progress of another, gave occasion to the tracery work of which the the undertaking. When, in 1710, Sir Christopher, in the Freemasons were the inventors. They used the sharp79th year of his age, by the hands of his son, laid the high-headed arch which would rise with little centreing, requiest stone of the lantern on the cupola of St Paul's, there red lighter key-stones and less butment, and yet could bear were few to rejoice of his own compeers, save Mr Strong, another row of doubled arches rising from the key-stone, the respectable master mason to the Cathedral. The pious by the diversifying of which they erected eminent strucarchitect performed this in humility and with prayer; and tures. It must be confessed, that this was an ingenious as it was publicly known, London poured out its vast po- compendium of work, suited to those northern climates; pulation to witness the ceremony. But even while the great and I must also own, that works of the same height and and venerable man was placing the crown on the head of magnificence, in the Roman way, would be much more this royal work, he was not unaware that among the spec- expensive.' The facility with which those edifices were tators of the scene there were some who envied or hated his reared, was aided much by the command which a feudal success, and still hoped to make the very fabric, whose prince had over his people; but more by the power of the finished beauty the crowd were so rapturously applauding, Church over hordes of illiterate workmen, who had at once the means of bringing sorrow and shame to his grey hairs." before their eyes the fear of hell, the hope of heaven, and the impulse of good wages."

mance.

England cannot be looked upon as a building, any more than as a fiddling or a painting nation. And yet in the art of architecture, as in every other, she has given birth to men of original and manly genius. To pass over the many who have produced our fine morsels of Gothic architecture, scattered "like stray gifts" through the land, but who have died leaving no name behind them, there is old William of Wykeham, a shrewd statesman, a conscien

A long period intervenes between William of Wykeham and Inigo Jones-the children of different ages, we can scarcely recognise one common feature in their talents. Inigo's architecture has all that daring, rich, seemingly (not really) unsolid character, which one can fancy cherished in a mind naturally that way tending, by his practice in the court masks. In his case, as well as in that

With turrets and with towres;
With halls and with bowres,
Stretching to the starres;
With glass windowes and barres;
Hanging about their walles
Clothes of golde and palles,
Arras of riche arraye,
Fresh as flowres in Maye.'"

age.

of William of Wykeham's, there seems to be an analogy
between his style of architecture and the poetry of his
He is full of conceits, but not unfrequently borne
aloft by as high a spring-tide of imagination as ever rai-
sed genius above the flats and shoals of common life.
Next comes Wren, to whose merits and fate we have al-
ready alluded, and to whose story we request our readers'
attention; it is that of a great and good man. There is a
legend attached to the name of Wren, of which we find no
mention in Mr Cunningham's book, which attributes to
him the invention of freemasonry in that peculiar form in
which it has spread from England over the world. Van-
brugh is the last of this race of Titans. His Blenheim is still
extant to confirm his reputation as a sculptor-his plays
to show his redundant wit-the according voice of his
contemporaries to bear witness to his merits as a man.
From his day to our own, architecture has slept in Eng-
land.
But the spirit is reviving; and it is a proud
thought for us that in our own town the earliest re-
awakening has taken place.

This urth volume closes, we believe, Mr Cunnin ham's work, and it is now our duty to pronounce upon it as a whole. The first volume we are inclined to think the least successful of all; at the same time we protest against being thought to approve of that paltry clamour which was raised against it in the metropolis, commencing, we believe, with certain second and third-rate artists, who sickened to see an individual who was only man-of-business to one of their own profession, occupy, on the strength of natural genius, a larger share of the public estimation than themselves. Of the three succeeding volumes only one opinion has been entertained they are good, characterised careful research, good taste, and good sense.

We have been much pleased to trace through these successive volumes the gradual adoption of a more simple and natural style--the want of which was the only thing that annoyed us in the author's earlier prose writings. We add one extract more, as a specimen of the nervous, manly English of the present volume.

lows:

THIS work richly deserves the attention of the naturalist. The author tells us that his object has been " to impress attending more particuupon geologists the advantage The circumlarly to the internal structure of plants." stances which first attracted his own attention to the subject, he thus narrates:-" My investigations have led me to believe, that plants of the phanerogamic class are much more abundant in our coal-fields, and mountain limestone groups, than has generally been supposed. The great opacity and peculiar mineralogical arrangements of these fossil plants, have presented obstacles to the examination of their intimate structure, which have induced naturalists to rest contented with the distinctive characters afforded by their external forms; and in many instances, these forms are obviously too much altered, to permit us to refer the objects in question with perfect But a method has satisfaction to any natural family. lately been discovered, by which the stems or branches may be sliced, and afterwards reduced to such a degree of thinness, as to permit us to inspect the most minute The unexpected result thus remains of organic texture. obtained, has enabled me to examine numerous varieties of structure in fossil plants." The method here alluded to, he, in a subsequent part of his work, describes as fol"This method, which I have had the pleasure "The Tudor Architecture, (as it is usually called,) of recommending to the York and Newcastle Philosophiwhich had been gradually becoming predominant in Eng- cal and Natural History Societies, may be briefly deland, has been regarded as the illegitimate offspring of the scribed as follows:-A slice, or thin fragment, is obtained One side of it is ground and poGrecian and Gothic, and it certainly has a little of either in the usual manner. character; inferior in elegance to the one, and in magnifi-lished, and is then applied to a piece of plate or other cence to the other, but more than uniting the domestic glass, by means of a transparent gum or resin. accommodations of both. In truth, it had its rise in the other side is then ground down parallel to the glass, increasing wants and daily demand for comforts which civilisation made; it was admirably adapted for fire-side and and, on being brought to the necessary degree of thinBy this means, the internal structure festive enjoyments; and combined-for the times were yet ness, polished. unsettled-security with convenience. In the interior there may be as distinctly seen as in the case of a recent vegewas abundance of accommodation-splendid halls, tapes- table." tried chambers, armouries, refectories, kitchens made to the scale of roasting an ox with a pudding in his belly, concealed closets, and darker places of abode; and it must be confessed that, externally, the whole was imposing. No rale, indeed, was followed, no plan formally obeyed; each proprietor seemed to do in building what was right in his own eyes, and a baron's residence resembled some of those romances in which the episodes oppress the narrative-for the members were frequently too cambrous for the body. But the general effect was highly picturesque, and amid all the wildness and oddity of the Tudor architecture, it was wonderfully well adapted to its purpose-with all its strangeness it was not strange. The 'baron's picturesque hall seemed the offspring of the soil, and in harmony with the accompaniments. The hill, the river, the groves, the rocks, and the residence, seemed all to have risen into existence at once. Tower was heaped upon tower; there was a wilderness of pinnacles and crow-stepped peaks-jealous windows barred and double barred with iron; passages which led to nothing-ridges of roofs as sharp as knives, ou which no snow could lie-projection overlooking projection, to throw the rain from the face of the wall, and casements where ladies might air their charms, perched so high that birds only could approach them. Skelton, then, might well describe the magnates of the Tudor era as

The

'Building royallie

Their mansions curiouslie,

Observations on Fossil Vegetables; accompanied by Representations of their Internal Structure, as seen through the Microscope. By Henry Witham, Esq. of Lartington. 4to. Pp. 48. Edinburgh: William Blackwood. London: T. Cadell. 1831.

Mr Witham's work gives an account of the nature and extent of his own observations upon fossil vegetables by this new method, and is valuable as an indication to geologists of what they may hope to effect by following the same method of observation, but still more by the important facts which he has already ascertained.

In

first, The work is divided into four sections. some remarks are offered upon the vegetation of the first period of the ancient world; that is, from the first deposit of the transition series to the top of the coal-field. We have already had the pleasure to lay the substance of this section before our readers, in our 57th Number, in a report of a paper read by Mr Witham in the Wernerian Society. In the second, he gives an account of some fossil vegetables found at Lennel Braes, and Allanbank Mill in Berwickshire. This section is dedicated to a more detailed account of the situation in which the most important specimens examined by Mr Witham have been found. The inference he draws from his examination of this district is important. "By the above observations, it appears quite clear, that the mountain limestone group which, to the south of the river Tweed, contains beds of coal, by no means terminates at or near the ancient boundary of the two kingdoms, but approaches within a short distance of the

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