« 上一頁繼續 »
ealled an ideal life, yet he was far from being a recluse, but was a popular, highspirited youth, and passionately fond of society. As a scholar in classical and English literature his rank was high; and on taking his degree he delivered a poem which was much applauded.
On leaving college, he determined to devote his life to the fine arts, and embarked for London in the autumn of 1801. He at once became a student of the Royal Academy, with whose President, Benjamin West, he formed an intimate ani lasting friendship. After three years spent in England, he went to Paris, and thence to Italy, where he first met with Coleridge." In 1809, he returned to America, and remained two years in Boston, his adopted home, and there married the sister of Dr. W. E. Channing. In 1811, he went again to England, where his reputation as an artist had been completely established. In 1813, he published a small volume entitled The Sylphs of the Seasons, and other Poems, which was republished in this country, and gave him a rank among our best poets. Soon after this he passed through a long and serious illness, from which he had scarcely recovered when he suffered the loss of his wife. These trials, however severe, were truly sanctified to him : he became an earnest and sincere Christian, and to the close of life preserved a beauty and consistency of Christian character rarely equalled. o
In 1818, he again returned to America, and again made Boston his home. “There, in a circle of warmly-attached friends, surrounded by a sympathy and admiration which his elevation and purity, the entire harmony of his life and pursuits, could not fail to create, he devoted himself to his art, the labor of his love.” In 1830, he married his second wife, the daughter of the late Judge Dana, and removed to Cambridge, and soon after began the preparation of a course of lectures on art. But four of these he completed. His death occurred at his own house, Cambridge, on Sunday morning, July 9, 1843. “He had finished a day and week of labor in his studio, upon his great picture of Belshazzar's Feast,” the fresh paint denoting that the last touches of his pencil were given to that glorious but melancholy monument of the best years of his later life.”3
! In one of his letters he thus writes:—“To no other man do I owe so much, intellectually, as to Mr. Coleridge, with whom I became acquainted in Rome, and who has honored me with his friendship for more than five-and-twenty years. He used to call Rome the silent city; but I never could think of it as such while with him; for, meet him when and where I would, the fountain of his mind was never dry, but, like the far-reaching aqueducts that once supplied this mistress of the world, its living stream seemed specially to flow for every classic ruin over which we wandered. And when I recall some of our walks under the pines of the Villa Borghese, I am almost tempted to dream that I have once listened to Plato in the groves of the Academy.” * This embodiment of a sublime conception, magnificent even in its unfinished state, inay be seen in the Picture Gallery of the Boston Athenaeum. * Memoir of Allston prefixed to an edition of his works, by Richard Henry Dana, Jr. “Allston's appearance and manners accorded perfectly with his character. His form was slight and his movements quietly active. The lines of his countenance, the breadth of the brow, the large and speaking eye, and the long, white hair, made him an immediate object of interest. If not engaged in conversation, there was a serene abstraction in his air. When death so tranquilly overtook himn, for many hours it was difficult to believe o he was not sleeping, so perfectly did The Sylphs of the Seasons is Allston's most finished poem. The argument in brief is this. The poet falls asleep, and in his dream finds himself in
“A bright saloon,
where “four damsels stood of faery race,”—the sylphs of the four seasons,—each of whom addresses him, striving by her eloquence to “win his heart and hand." The following is the best portion of
THE ADDRESS OF THE SYLPH OF SPRING.
Then spake the Sylph of Spring serene:–
“'Tis I thy joyous heart, I ween,
For I, with living melody
Of birds, in choral symphony,
First waked thy soul to poesy,
“When thou, at call of vernal breeze,
“Or heard, from branch of flowering thorn,
“Then, catching with a sudden glance
“'Twas mine the warm, awakening hand,
the usual expression remain. His torchlight burial, at Mount Auburn, harmonized, in its beautiful solemnity, with the lofty and sweet tenor of his life."—Tuckerman's Artist Life.
“Or, brooding o'er some forest rill,
“And thence, as by its murmur call’d,
“'Twas I to these the magic gave,
“That made thy heart, like His above,
Of Mr. Allston's fugitive poems, that which has been most praised is his ode entitled
AMERICA TO GREAT BRITAIN."
All hail! thou noble land,
Oh, stretch thy mighty hand,
O'er the vast Atlantic wave to our shorel
For thou with magic might
Canst reach to where the light
Of Phoebus travels bright
The world o'er.
The Genius of our clime,
Shall hail the guest sublime;
'Written in America, in the year 1810, and in 1817 inserted by Coleridge in the first edition of his “Sibylline Leaves,” with the following note:– “This poem, written by an American gentleman, a valued and dear friend, I communicate to the reader for its moral no less than its poetic spirit.”—Editor.
With their conchs the kindred league shall proclaim.
Though ages long have pass'd
While the language free and bold
While the manners, while the arts,
Still cling around our hearts,
Our joint communion breaking with the Sun:
Yet still from either beach
The voice of blood shall reach,
More audible than speech,
“We are One.”!
Allston's Lectures on Art are very beautiful and instructive: but to be appreciated they must be read as a whole. Of his prose, therefore, I select the following few aphorisms from many that were written on the walls of his studio:—
No right judgment can ever be formed on any subject having a moral or intellectual bearing without benevolence; for so strong is man's natural self-bias, that, without this restraining principle, he insensibly becomes a competitor in all such cases presented to his mind; and, when the comparison is thus made personal, unless the odds be immeasurably against him, his decision will rarely be
'Note by the Author.—This alludes mercly to the moral union of the two countries. The author would not have it supposed that the tribute of respect offered in these stanzas to the land of his ancestors would be paid by him if at the expense of the independence of that which gave him birth.
impartial. In other words, no one can see any thing as it really is through the misty spectacles of self-love. We must wish well to another in order to do him justice. Now, the virtue in this good will is not to blind us to his faults, but to our own rival and interposing merits.
If the whole world should agree to speak nothing but truth, what an abridgment it would make of speech And what an unravelling there would be of the invisible webs which men, like so many spiders, now weave about each other But the contest between Truth and Falsehood is now pretty well balanced. Were it not so, and had the latter the mastery, even language would soon become extinct, from its very uselessness. The present superfluity of words is the result of the warfare.
The only true independence is in humility; for the humble man exacts nothing, and cannot be mortified,—expects nothing, and cannot be disappointed. Humility is also a healing virtue; it will cicatrize a thousand wounds, which pride would keep forever open. But humility is not the virtue of a fool; since it is not consequent upon any comparison between ourselves and others, but between what we are and what we ought to be, which no man ever Was.
PRofessor BeNJAMIN SilliMAN, the son of G. S. Silliman, Esq., a lawyer of distinction, and a Revolutionary patriot and soldier, was born in North Stratford, now Trumbull, Connecticut, on the 8th of August, 1779. In 1792, he entered Yale College, with which from that time he has been almost uninterruptedly connected. In 1799, he was appointed a tutor in the college, and, at the suggestion of its President, Dr. Dwight, he resolved, in 1801, to devote himself to chemistry, and the associated sciences, mineralogy and geology. After studying for some time at New Haven, he spent two seasons in Philadelphia; and in 1800 he visited Europe, both to purchase books and apparatus, and to attend the lectures of the distinguished Professors in Edinburgh and London. He had given a partial preliminary course before he went abroad; and, after his return, he delivered, in 1806 and 1807, his first full course of lectures in Yale College. In 1810, he published an account of his travels, which was received with great favor, and passed through several editions.
In 1818, Professor Silliman founded the “American Journal of Science and
Arts,"—a work which has done more on any other to raise the reputation of ()'s