תמונות בעמוד
PDF
ePub

A standing sermon, at each year's expense,
That never coxcomb reach'd magnificence!

You show us, Rome was glorious, not profuse,
And pompous buildings once were things of use.
Yet shall (my Lord) your just, your noble rules, 25
Fill half the land with imitating fools;
Who random drawings from your sheets shall take,
And of one beauty many blunders make;
Load some vain Church with old theatric state,
Turn arcs of triumph to a garden-gate;

30

NOTES.

nature; and therefore, as appears both from profane and sacred history, has ever been the more peculiar object of divine vengeance. But aukward Pride intimates such abilities in its owner, as eases us of the apprehension of much mischief from it; so that the Poet supposes such a one secure from the serious resentment of Heaven, though it may permit fate or fortune to bring him into that public contempt and ridicule, which his natural badness of heart so well deserves.

Warburton. Ver. 20. Bids Bubo build,] He means Bub Dodington's magnificent palace at Eastbury near Blandford, which he had just finished.

Bowles. Ver. 23.) The Earl of Burlington was then publishing the Designs of Inigo Jones, and the Antiquities of Rome by Palladio.

Pope. Ver. 29. Load some vain Church with old theatric state,] In which there is a complication of absurdities, arising both from their different natures and forms. For the one being for religious service, and the other only for civil amusement, it is impossible that the profuse and lascivious ornaments of the latter should become the modesty and sanctity of the other. Nor will any examples of

this

VARIATIONS.

After Ver. 22. in the MS.

Must bishops, lawyers, statesmen have the skill
To build, to plant, judge paintings, what youwill ?
Then why not Kent as well our treaties draw,
Bridgman explain the gospel, Gibbs the law? Warburton.

Reverse your ornaments, and hang them all
On some patch'd dog-hole eked with ends of wall;

NOTES,

this vanity of dress in the sacred buildings of antiquity justify this imitation ; for those ornaments might be very suitable to a Temple of Bacchus or Venus, which would ill become the sobriety and purity of the Christian Religion.

Besides, it should be considered, that the form of a Theatre would not permit the architectonic ornaments to be placed but on the outward face; whereas those of a Church may be as commodiously, and are more properly, put within ; particularly in great and close pent-up cities, where the incessant driving of the smoke, in a little time, corrodes and destroys all outward ornaments of this kind; especially if the members, as in the common taste, be small and little.

Our Gothic ancestors had juster and manlier notions of magnificence, on Greek and Roman ideas, than these mimics of Taste, who profess to study only classic elegance. And because the thing does honour to the genius of those barbarians, I shall endeavour to explain it. All our ancient Churches are called without distinction, Gothic; but erroneously. They are of two sorts; the one built in the Saxon times ; the other in the Norman. Several Cathedral and Collegiate Churches of the first sort are yet remaining, either in the whole or in part: of which, this was the original. When the Saxon kings became Christian, their piety, (which was the piety of the times) consisted in building Churches at home, and performing pilgrimages abroad, especially to the Holy Land: and these spiritual exercises assisted and supported one another. For the most venerable as well as most elegant models of religious edifices were then in Palestine. From these our Saxon builders took the whole of their ideas, as may be seen by comparing the drawings which travellers have given us of the Churches yet standing in that country, with the Saxon remains of what we find at home; and particularly in that sameness of style in the later religious edifices of the Knights Templars (professedly built upon the model of the church of the Holy Sepulchre at Jerusalem) with the earlier remains of our Saxon edifices. Now the architecture of the Holy Land was Grecian, but greatly fallen from its ancient

elegance.

Then clap four slices of pilaster on't,
That, lac'd with bits of rustic, makes a front;

NOTES.

elegance. Our Saxon performance was indeed a bad copy of it; and as much inferior to the works of St. Helene and Justinian, as theirs were to the Grecian models they had followed. Yet still the footsteps of ancient art appeared in the circular arches, the entire columns, the division of the entablature, into a sort of Architrave, Frize, and Corniche, and a solidity equally diffused over the whole mass.

This, by way of distinction, I would call the Saxon architecture.

But our Norman works had a very different original. When the Goths had conquered Spain, and the genial warmth of the climate, and the religion of the old inhabitants, had ripened their wits, and inflamed their mistaken piety, (both kept in exercise by the neighbourhood of the Saracens, through emulation of their science and aversion to their superstition) they struck out a new species of architecture unknown to Greece and Rome; upon original principles and ideas much nobler than what had given birth even to classical magnificence. For this northern people having been accustomed, during the gloom of Paganism, to worship the Deity in Groves (a practice common to all nations), when their new religion required covered edifices, they ingeniously projected to make them resemble Groves, as nearly as the distance of architecture would permit; at once indulging their old prejudices, and providing for their present conveniences, by a cool receptacle in a sultry climate. And with what skill and success they executed the project by the assistance of Saracen Architects, whose exotic style of building very luckily suited their purpose, appears from hence, That no attentive observer ever viewed a regular avenue of well-grown trees, intermixing their branches over head, but it presently put him in mind of the long visto through a Gothic Cathedral ; or ever entered one of the larger and more elegant edifices of this kind, but it represented to his imagination an avenue of trees. And this alone is what can be truly called the Gothic style of building.

Under this idea, of so extraordinary a species of architecture, all the irregular transgressions against art, all the monstrous offences against nature, disappear ; every thing has its reason, every Shall call the winds thro' long arcades to roar, 35 Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door;

NOTES.

thing is in order, and an harmonious whole arises from the studious application of means, proper and proportioned to the end. For could the Arches be otherwise than pointed when the workman was to imitate that curve which branches of two opposite trees make by their intersection with one another? Or could the Columns be otherwise than split into distinct shafts, when they were to represent the stems of a clump of trees growing close together ? On the same principles they formed the spreading ramification of the stone-work in the windows, and the stained glass in the interstices; the one to represent the branches, and the other the leaves, of an opening grove; and both concurred to preserve that gloomy light which inspires religious reverence and dread. Lastly, we see the reason of their studied aversion to apparent solidity in these stupendous masses, deemed so absurd by men accustomed to the apparent as well as real strength of Grecian architecture. Had it been only a wanton exercise of the artist's skill, to shew he could give real strength without the appearance of any, we might indeed admire his superior science, but we must needs condemn his ill judgment. But when one considers, that this surprising lightness was necessary to complete the execution of his idea of a sylvan place of worship, one cannot sufficiently admire the ingenuity of the contrivance.

This too will account for the contrary qualities in what I call the Saxon Architecture. These artists copied, as has been said, from the churches in the Holy Land, which were built on the models of the Grecian architecture; but corrupted by prevailing barbarism ; and still further depraved by a religious idea. The first places of Christian worship were sepulchres and subterraneous caverns, low and heavy from necessity. When Christianity became the Religion of the State, and sumptuous Temples began to be erected, they yet, in regard to the first pious ages, preserved the massive style; made still more venerable by the Church of the Holy Sepulchre ; where this style was, on a double account, followed and aggravated. Such as is here described was GOTHIC ARCHITECTURE. And it

would

ܪ

Conscious they act a true Palladian part,
And if they starve, they starve by rules of art.

Oft have you hinted to your brother Peer,
A certain truth, which many buy too dear :

40

COMMENTARY.

Ver. 39. Oft have you hinted to your

brother Peer, A certain truth,–] and in this artful manner begins the body of the Epistle.

I. The first part of it (from ver. 38 to 99.) delivers rules for attaining to the magNIFICENT in just expense ; which is the same in

building

NOTES.

would be no discredit to the warmest admirers of Jones and Palladio to acknowledge it hath its merit. They must at least confess it had a nobler birth, though a humbler fortune, than the Greek and Roman ARCHITECTURE.—The reader may see Sir Christopher Wren's account of this matter from some papers of his, published since the printing this, in a book called Parentalia, page 273—297–306-7-8–355, and then judge for himself.

Warburton. See Wren's Parentalia, the Preface to Bentham’s History of Ely Cathedral, in which it is said he was assisted by Gray.

Warton. Ver. 30. Turn arcs of triumph to a garden-gate;] This absurdity seems to have arisen from an injudicious imitation of what these builders might have heard of, at the entrance of the ancient gardens of Rome. But they do not consider, that those were public Gardens, given to the people by some great man after a triumph ; to which, therefore, Arcs of this kind were very suitable ornaments,

Warburton. Ver. 36. Proud to catch cold at a Venetian door ;] In the foregoing instances, the poet exposes the absurd imitation of foreign and discordant manners in public buildings ; here he turns to the still greater absurdity of taking their models from a discordant climate, in their private; which folly, he supposes, may be more easily redressed, as men will be sooner brought to feel for themselves than to see for the public.

Warburton.

« הקודםהמשך »