ePub 版

pendous symmetry of the thunderer, roused by the opening of a door, and who occupied the centre of the the entrance of a mixed party, ushgroupe, which remain indelibly im- ered in by Alcamenes and Coletes, pressed upon my heart, contrasted pupils of Phidias ; among whom I admirably with the milder majesty of distinguished a short thick-set man, the virgin Minerva; who, seated in remarkable for his slovenly dress, her car, appeared to be slowly as- bald head, high forehead, and turned cending Olympus. The figures for up nose. That is Socrates, said I,

— the posterior pediment, exhibited the in a whisper ;-I know him by his dispute between Neptune and Mi- ugliness.-What sort of mental halnerva, to determine which of them lucination possessed me I know not, should give a name to Attica ; but but certainly I expressed neither before I could distinctly examine the surprise nor alarm at the miracle, blaze and glory of art which they when the statue of Theseus, in ano displayed, I heard footsteps ap- ther whisper, thus replied to my obproaching; and, retiring to the extre- servation :-" That which indicates mity of the groupe, I seated myself intellect, is always admired among in speechless admiration, behind the the Greeks. It is a maxim with recumbent statue of Theseus. them, that the lower the eyes are

Phidias, the superintendant of the placed, the more does the human reworks under Pericles, and author of cede from the animal character :the wonders with which I was sur- those of Socrates, (a solitary, inrounded, slowly advanced to the stance), occupy nearly the middle of front of the principal groupe, and his head; to this they attribute his kneeling down with an expression of superior wisdom ; and by the wisdom deep reverence, I heard bim return of his head they measure their admithanks to the Gods that life and ration of its form." The statue was health had been granted him for the silent, and I felt somewhat surprised completion of his work; while he at the minute and technical manner implored their forgiveness, if the im- in which Socrates proceeded to critiperfect conception of his mind, or in- cise and examine the sculptures, unadequate execution of his hand, had til I recollected that he himself had disabled him from doing full justice been educated as a statuary, and to the divine originals.—Ah, said I attained such proficiency that the to myself, here is the true secret of Three Graces, executed by his chisel, the inimitable sublimity of the Greek were long preserved in the citadel. sculptors! That holy enthusiasm But I was soon to contemplate the that utter concentration of all the most perfect union of intellectual and faculties necessary for the production personal beauty, that the world perof such masterpieces, can only be hapsever produced; for a female stood elicited by combining the stimulants before me, whose dignified, yet beof both worlds ;-by believing that witching demeanour entirely rivetted heaven as well as earth are waiting my attention.—Though no longer in to shower down rewards upon the the first bloom of youth, and with a successful artist ;---that the gods, as complexion enriched by the fervour of well as men, are to sit in judgment an Ionian sun, her countenance, upon every effort of his chisel. Re- when its features were not called ligions feelings only can create such into action, exhibited the majesty, prodigies of art, and religion only by beauty, and intelligence of the virgin dedicating them to the sacred edifices Minerva ; but no sooner did she and public buildings, can adequately smile, or even speak, than her dark reward their creators. Hence the hazel eyes shot forth a thousand faseminence of painting in Catholic cinations; a voluptuous air diffused countries, where every church is a itself around her; and more Cupids perpetual stimulus, combining in the seemed to lurk in her numerous dimmind of the artist the excitement of ples, than were ever summoned to devotion with the certainty of world- the aid of Aphrodite, when she put ly remuneration; a conjunction of forth all her allurements to win the motives to which England must have prize from the Trojan shepherd. recourse, if she ever hopes, in this res- Her face, deportment, and figure pect, to equal her continental rivals, seemed compounded of the muses, . From these reflections I was a- the graces, and the loves; while

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

« Nous,"

upon those

[ocr errors]

ħer dress, splendid, yet exquisitely son Xanthippus; Paralus, the betasteful-provocative, yet perfectly cond of his sons, is led behind him, decorous, assimilated most happily by Euryptolemus, his nephew ;-aná with the characteristics of the wear yonder grey headed old man is his er. Who is that lovely creature? I tutor, Anaxagoras, the Clazomenian, exclaimed Aspasia,” replied the from his superior wisdom, surnamed statue.

-or the intelligence.-In Aspasia !-what a world of recol- the multiplicity of his public duties, lections does the name involve! As- Pericles forgot to make the necessary pasia, the riddle and paradox of an- provision for his tutor's support; the tiquity ;-the courtézan, and the fe- philosopher had covered up his head, male philosopher ;-the keeper of a and was going to starve himself; when brothel, and the most accomplished his pupil, hearing of his situation, politician in Athens ;- the mistress ran instantly to his relief, expostuof Lysicles, the grazier, and the in- lated, entreated forgiveness for his structor of Socrates ;-the cause of neglect, and implored him not to dethe Sarnian war, and the writer of prive his administration of so valuthe celebrated funeral oration pro- able a counsellor.—Uncovering his nounced by Pericles in honour of face, Anaxagoras exclaimed Ah its victims-of which the eloquence Pericles ! those that have need of a was so touching, that the very mo- lamp, take care to supply it with thers who had been rendered child oil." less, followed him home with bles- At this moment, Aspasia approachsings, and showered garlands upon ing the spot where I sat, disengaged his head. Such was the celebrity of her arm from that of Pericles.Aspasia, that Cyrus, the rival of Ar- “Go”_said she playfully," and extaxerxes, bestowed her name upon amine those glorious works; why his favourite mistress : - such was do you bestow all your attentions the ridicule and disrespect with which upon me, and none she was treated at Athens, that, in goddesses?" « Because," replied the comedies, she was publicly deno

Pericles,“ you are my only god. minated “ the new Omphale,”

dess." " Which of them ? " resumed “ Deianira,” and “ Juno;” nay, Aspasia, with an arch look. --- Take * the Prostitute !" Such was the in- care, take care," said Socrates smil. fatuation of Pericles for this woman, ing; -“ every one of those deities that he was never known to depart has been enamoured of more than upon business, or return, without sa- one mortal, and if Pericles talks of luting her, until at last he married exclusive devotion, even tó á daughher:--but, above all, notwithstanding ter of earth, he may have cause to the infamy of her vocation, such was rue their jealousy." -An obsequious the decorum of her public conduct, smile, and ready laugh followed each and the overpowering splendour of of these observations from a listener her various talents, that the matrons behind, who instantly turned round of Athens did not hesitate to take to two companions, prepared with their daughters to her house, that tablets to note down what he comthey might hear her discourse, and municated in a whisper. profit by her instructions.

“That,” said my marble colloquist, And who is that grave personage, “is Cleon the factious demagogue, resaid I, upon whose arm she is lean- peating what he has heard to Anytus ing; whose dress, without any ap- and Melitus, and begging them to pearance of undue attention, is yet write it down, that it may be added arranged with such scrupulous pro- to the materials of their intended priety; and whose head appears as prosecution against Socrates for immuch too long as that of Socrates is piety.”—Those, then, are the scountoo round ?

drels, said I to myself, who succeeded “ That is Pericles, whose head, on at last in procuring the death of that account of its disproportionate length, great philosopher, spite of his pre

, is generally represented covered with tended' Agatho-demon, and his real a helmet, and who, for the same rea- virtues.---Phidias, too, owed his death son, has received from the comic to pestilent and unprincipled informpoets the name of the onion-headed. 'ers of the same stamp-being accused The youth beside him is his eldest of sacrilege in having introduced hi's

[ocr errors]

own effigy, as a bald old man, in the What a volume of wit sparkles in battle of the Amazons, represented the countenance of that young man, upon Minerva's shield; as well as a who is listening to their jargon with portrait of Pericles, fighting with an a sneering smile. Jibes and jeers, Amazon, although the arm lifting up jokes, ridicule and burlesque seem to the spear, was artfully contrived, so be flickering in every corner of his as partly to conceal the face.-Nor mouth; angry sarcasm, and indigdid Aspasia escape an impeachment nant rebuke, glimmer through the for impiety by Hermippus, the comic flashes of his eyes, tempered only by poet, from which she escaped only those gentler emanations from the by the exertions of Pericles, who is muse within, which would have reported to have shed more tears in made him the brightest poet of his her defence, than fell from him when age, had not the follies and vices of so many of his friends and children Athens compelled him to become its perished in the great plague.-And severest comic satirist.--I learnt from had these men, said I, turning to the my communicative statve, that this statue, so deep and sensitive a rever- was Aristophanes, watching both ence for religion, as to feel the horror Socrates and the sophists, that he which they profess at such trifling might burlesque them in his comedy

of the Clouds; and that his two « Treacherous knaves!” exclaimed companions were Eupolis and Cratithe figure; “ in their private orgies, nus, the comic poets; who, in their and symposia, they make a mockery calumnious wantonness, scrupled not of every thing holy, and would tram- to affirm that Phidias received feple on all the gods of Olympus, if it male visitors in his house, under prewould advance them so many steps text of exhibiting his sculptures, but in their career of selfishness and am- with the real intention of affording a bition."

cover for intrigues, and acting as a A loud and angry babbling of pandar to Pericles.-Pyrilampes was tongues in one corner of the room, also pointed out to me, who, because attracted my attention, and casting he had a collection of curious birds, my eyes in that direction, I per- particularly peacocks, was reported, ceived a knot of sophists wrangling upon the same scandalous authority, fiercely about some new refutation of to purchase them, merely that they the well-known syllogistic puzzle- might be bestowed as presents upon Epimenides said ali Cretans were those women who granted their fa. liars ;—but Epimenides was himself vours to Pericles. a Cretan—therefore Epimenides was And who is that handsome youth, à liar—therefore the Cretans were said I, whose splendid-armour, spark not liars—therefore Epimenides, was ling with steel and gold, is fashioned not a liar. Not one of them cast ą with such exquisite tastą, and so glance at the surpassing marbles, of happily adapted to display, the symthe distinguished living characters, metry of his fine figure? That is by whom they were surrounded, and Alcibiades," was the reply ; “ he has I soon found that all the realities of visited the Palæstra this morning, existence were hidden from their merely as an excuse for appearing eyes, by a dense cloud of pedantry. here in all the graces of his military To them the glories of nature and costume; but the perfumes with art were absolutely extinct; they which he is scented, and the affected lived in, an atmosphere of quibbles; lisp which affords him an excuse for and while, in their perpetual and disclosing his white teeth, show that childish warfare, they were chopping he has been contemplating other conat each other's heads with logic, and quests than those which are to be pelting one another with words, they atchieved by arms.-And yet in war, would have been simply contemptible no one more dauntless and hardy, as and ridiculous, had they not at the he fully proved at the battle of Desame time endeavoured, with a pes. lium, where he saved the life of Sotilent subtlety, to jumble right and crates, as Socrates had saved his at wrong, virtue and vice, and thus the fight of Potidæa. confound all the elements of the mo- At some distance from this Atheral world, in one indistinguishable nian Exquisite, stood Critias, and a chaos

party of rival sculptors and stati

[ocr errors]

aries, endeavouring not to see the tants, I distinguished a man of pemost obvious merits in the works be culiarly sly expression, surveying the fore them, and shrugging up their whole scene from the corners of his shoulders at the infatuation of Peri- eyes; yet apparently wishing to ascles, in patronizing an artist guilty of sume an appearance of unconcern such gross blunders, as they had al- and indifference. This I found to ready detected. In fact, they had be Damon, the deepest politician of discovered that the wheel of Miners Athens, the bosom friend and counva's car wanted a linch-pini, while cellor of Pericles; who, in order to there were no marks for nails in one avoid the jealousy of the turbulent of the horse's shoes !

democracy, concealed his interference Three figures now approached me, in staté affairs, under the cloak of a whom I found to be Agatharchus, professor of music. In this capaParrhasius, and Zeuxis, the painters, city, he had procured the Odeum to the former of whom was vaunting be built; where prizes were amually the celerity and ease with which he distributed to the best musical perd finished his pieces. “If I boast,” re- formers. He was conversing with plied Zeuxis, “it shall be of the slow- Ictimus and Callicrates, the builders ness with which I finish mine,”-a of the Parthenon, the latter of whom speech which, apparently, has not had just declared that it had already been thrown away upon the first of cost a thousand talents, and that he our modern artists ; who, though he hoped the gold mines of Lauzium may be as deliberate as his Athenian wonld hold out until it was com: predecessor, bids fair, at least, to pleted—when a dislocation occurred rival him in celebrity.-Discovering in my ideas, which, without dissifrom their conversation that they pating my reverie altogether, transwere all employed in decorating the ferred it to modern times, and to walls of the Parthenon, I could not the mutilated Theseus of the British help reflecting upon the nobler des- Museum. As I gåzed with intense tiny of the sculptor, whose immortal admiration upon its back—that back, productions can be sent down unim- the sight of which Canova declared paired to the lowest posterity; while to be well worth a journey from the most exquisite painters cannot Rome–I could not help exclaiming hope to leave any evidence of their " with what delight must the anskill, after the lapse of a very few cients, with their exquisite relish for centuries, and must content them- sculpture, have pored upon this chef selves, like the artists before me, with dæuvre of Phidias ?" the shadowy perpetuation of a name. Alas !" replied the figure, you

Seated upon a stool, in front of the forget that, although now the noblest principal groupe, I observed two ve- fragment feft, I then occupied, as a nerable looking men, each resting his deified hero, but a very subordinate ehin upon a staff, while his hands station among the deities of his mawere concealed by an ample beard. jestic groupe. My recumbent pos These were Sophocles and Euripides, ture was destined to fill up the angle the tragic writers, who agreed in of one pediment, as the Ilissus did of pronouncing the composition before the other; and there was nothing but them defective, because it did not the celebrated horse's head between contain the fates or the furies, whose my figure, and the extremity of the presence they had been accustomed building. This back, over which to consider indispensable in their own sculptors and anatomists now hang productions. — * Look attentively," enraptured, might as well have been said my marble communicant, « at an unchiselled block; it was turned that broad shouldered figure, in the to the wall of the building, never philosopher's robes, conversing with meant to be seen; and in fact, no two young men. It is Plato; and human eyes rested upon it for more his companions are Xenophon and than twenty-two centuries, when Thucydides, the historians; names violence tore it from its position, and which require no illustration, as they exhibited it to the applauses of the are assuredly destined to immorta- world. It was thus elaborately lity."

wrought, because it would have been Apart from the rest of the visie held sacrilege, to dedicate any thing

imperfect to the gods ; and because How long this enumeration might in the exuberant opulence of his art, have continued, it is impossible to Philiás could afford to be extrava- say, but it was rudely broken, and gant, and throw away a masterpiece the whole fabric of my reverie demoupon a blind wall.-Judge hence of lished by the voice of the museum the superior majesty, of the more ce- porter." Sir, you're the only gemlestial grace and sublimity by which man left, and we always locks the the central figures were made glo- doors at six."-Once more I surveyed rious to the eyes; but judge not, the marble upon which the living even from them, of the pinnacle to eyes of all the illustrious persons I which Phidias could exalt his art. have mentioned had been formerly All these were fashioned for exposure fixed-as well as those of Cicero, to the injuries of the weather, and Pliny, Pausanias, and Plutareh, who from the great height at which they have recorded their visits to the Parwere to be viewed, were meant to thenon ; and then, with slow steps, I excite admiration by the grandeur of quitted the building. On reaching general effect, rather than the ex- the street, I still doubted whether I quisiteness of minute detail. Ima- was in the Acropolis, the Agora, or gine the awful beauty of the statues before the theatre of Bacchus-when within the temple, where both were a lamplighter, scampering by me, to be combined !--Conceive the stu- skipped up his ladder, and, by the pendous symmetry of the Minerva, light of his link, I discovered, printthirty-nine feet high-the still more ed on a black board—“ GREAT RUSmajestic proportions of the Olympian BELL-STREET, BLOOMSBURY!" Jupiter, executed for the Eleans!”


DEATH-POSTHUMOUS MEMORIALS_CHILDREN. How I could expatiate upon the upon the plant tobacco, without the quaint lugubrious pleasantry, the redemption of an eulogy upon its social yet deep philosophy of your virtues, more eloquent than Sir Walfriend Elia, as particularly illustrat- ter Raleigh's: nor hast thou now, ed in his delightful paper upon New as I trust, pronounced thy anathema Year's Eve !—but the bandying of against the “ foul ugly phantom,' praises among Correspondents has without being prepared, in the same too Magazinish a look :--I have learnt happy strain, to chant a palinode. his essay by heart. Is it possible, No, no. Death hath not any such said I to myself, when I first devour- grisly concomitants, considered either ed it, that such a man can really as a “ thin, melancholy privation, or feel such horrors at the thought of more confounding positive.He is. death, which he describes with so the sleeping partner of life, and we much humorous solemnity ? But give ourselves up to him every night, when I came to his conclusion, without any compunctious visitings:-wherein he talks of the fears, “ just we know not, when we enter them, now expressed, or affected," I had that the sheets of our bed shall not presently a clue to his design.—Ha! prove our winding sheets, yet our I exclaimed, thou art the very Janus hearts quake not. We walk arm in who hast always delighted in anti- arm with him almost every hour, and thetical presentments; who lovest to when his gentle hand draws the curexhibit thy tragic, face in its most tain around us, and covers us up in doleful gloom, that thou mayst in- our narrow bed, what is it but to fall continently turn upon us the sun, asleep, and to have a little longer to shine of thy comic smile.—Thou wait for the day-light.--As I return wouldst not paint the miseries en- to my sequestered quiet cottage, after dured by a friendless boy at Christ's, the bustle of a day in London, and without a companion piece, por- a glimpse at the pageantry of the traying the enjoyments of a more for- theatre; so after the great drama of tunate youngster. Thou wouldst not life, shall we return to the tranquil pour forth the phials of thy wrath non-existence from which we started:

« 上一頁繼續 »