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Head-piece to the Prologue.
Now expectation, tickling skittish spirits,
The above lines ought not to be paffed over, without affixing an engraving correfpondent to them. The un-affuming lines immediately following them, will be an inducement to an artist to accompany the above, with every mark of grateful efteem.
THE most proper defign then might be a half-length portrait of a gallant youth-one, whofe fpirit lifts him from the carth. He may be drawn as at the moment of his youthful breaft, catching the flame of glorious war, and wishing to plunge into the approaching battle. He fhould have fomething of the wild young Harry Piercy in him—and that softened glow of the lumen purpureum juventa, which we fee in the late Mr. Hone's Spartan Boy, fhould be animated with the quick and proud fire of ardent youth. His drefs may be either Trojan or Grecian—or perhaps a fancy drefs, well chofen, with a waving feather in his cap, may be more pleafing. His young hand may be grafping a fword.
THOUGH Helen is a character immortalized by Homer:* the charm of whofe poefy intercedes fo much in her behalf, as to make us forget even
THE philofophy of portrait painting, could fcarce produce a more divine portrait, than what the lines in which Homer's Helen joins the lamentation over Hector, might give rife to, in the breaft or that
her frailties and vices; yet fhe appears only in one scene of this play, and that scene is not fufficiently interefting to be the fubject of an engraving. Her name however caufing a very interesting scene in the fecond act; and her beauty fuffering little diminution from the pen of Shakespeare (particularly at p. 55 and 58) it would be unjust not to adorn one of his pawith the portrait of this frail fair. It may ferve as the Head piece; and thefe lines may be engraved under it:
She is a pearl,
Whofe price hath launched above a thousand fhips,
A neceffary queftion then now arifes-how are we to obtain an original
English artist, whofe tafie (we are told) and imagination are inexhaustible.
WITH Zeuxis' Helen, thy Bridgewater vie,
The foul alone (fays Win
NICOMACHUs paffed an hour or two every day with the Helen of Zeuxis, and on hearing a perfor. find fault with the compofition of that famous picture, "Take my eyes," faid he, "and you will think her a goddess."
not prefume to felect one; but must refer it to those more converfant in the books of antiquity, and who have feen a greater variety.* In a letter of Rafaelle, to his friend Caftiglione, concerning a Galatea he had painted for him, he fays-" to paint a beauty, I ought to fee many beauties, on condition you were with me to choose the best; but there being at this time a scarcity both of good judges and fine women, I make use of a certain divine form or idea which prefents itself to my imagination." One part of this letter, (reprefenting the fcarcity) will not hold good when applied to England and unless the English artift wifhes to follow the example of Zeuxis: he muft (if he wishes to form a portrait of Helen), make use of a certain divine form or idea, which may prefent itfelf to his imagination. We have affurance however of one part of Helen's beauty—for Mr. Felibien fays: "outre que la blancheur et la délicateffe du cou leur eft trés recommendable, it leur fied bien quand il eft un peu long. Helene l'avoit de la forte; et c'eft pourquoi on a dit affez plaifamment, que l'on voyoit bien qu'elle êtoit fille d'un Cigne.”
Paintings.-L'Enlevement d' Helen par Paris; par G. Hoct; being No. So, in the catalogue of the grand fale of Le Comte d'Elz's pictures, at Mayence, in the fummer of 1785. The departure of Helen with Paris, by Guido, at Stourhead. Paris and Helen, by L'Araife, in the collection of the late Sir G. Page. The celebrated rape of Helen, by Guido, is one of the fine pictures in the magnificent gallery of 1' hotel de Toulouse, at Paris. The rape of Helen, by V. de Castro; being No. 80, in the catalogue of Mr. Timmernan's pictures, fold by Greenwood, in 1785. The interview of Helen and Paris, after his combat with Menelaus, by Dance; exhibited at Somerset-houfe in 1770. Zeuxis painting a picture for the Agrigentines, of a naked Helen, by Solemene; in the collection of the Duke of Devonshire. From this picture Mr. Boydell published a print.
Prints. THE flight of Paris and Helen, by Kauffman. The carrying off Helen, h. fh. by Marc Antonio, from after Raphael. The Rape of Helen, a small plate, copied from this last print by Jac. Grandhomme. The carrying off Helen, a. fh. etching by A. Schiavone, from after his own design.
Statues, Gems, &c.-IN the 33d. chap. ofPaufanias, mention is made of a figure of Helen, by Phidias. Among Taffie's Gems, are three of Paris and Helen. In the catalogue of Mr. Wedgwood's manufactory, is a head of Helen
THERE is no scene in this play where we can well represent Troilus and Crefida together. For though he interests us in almost every scene—yet the jilt Creffida does not appear to equal advantage.* The scenes where we should have most wished to fee them painted together, would have been at p. 103-p. 109-p. 110-where he speaks these two lines:
We two that with fo may thousand fighs
Or at page 113. when he fays:
Entreat her fair: and, by my foul, fair Greek,
Name Creid, and thy life shall be as fafe
BUT unfortunately in each of these scenes, fhe is too uninterefting to appear with Troilus. As we are deprived then of feeing them together; we cannot do justice to Troilus without giving two portraits (at the least) of him, under the different paffions in which he appears in the course of this play.
THE 76th page then, will furnish us with the first portrait of Troilus: as the lines he there speaks are very beautiful. It may be a rich metzo
* SHE fpeaks a few good lines at page 84-but they could not well be drawn here together, as the lines which Troilus fpeaks immediately preceding them, are not worth an engraving.