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of her marble-like cheeks, which have been refined our of these it were good to linger long; but I in form and blanched in tint by the urgency of must hasten on to the chief glory of the work, unperfected love." This effusive outburst led the the pledge (I write it in all seriousness) of its "Pall Mall Gazette” to print the subjoined amus- immortality—the two flying figures in the foreing burlesque :]
ground. Of these, however, I hardly dare trust
myself to speak. No impatient lover in flight ANOTHER IMMORTAL PICTURE.
with willing or unwilling maiden, no dark-browed Of the central figure in this great work—of Pluto bearing his Proserpine from flowery Enna, the mighty minstrel whose strains have sounded no tauriform Zeus aswim in the strait-waters with to such wondrous issue—it may suffice to say Europa on his .back, no centaur Nessus exulting that Mr. Priggins has reported of him with his in the capture of a Dejanira, has been treated by usual resolute and unshrinking veracity. The the greatest of ancient masters as Mr. Priggins theme is not one to which belongs in any mea- has treated the same subject in this noble picsure the quality of loveliness; but whatever ture. Conception and execution, line and color, charm of forthright craftsmanship, whatever attitude and movement, all are perfect. The force of downright utterance can inform and delicate curves of the rapt one's form, recalling innerve the conception of the artist, is truly here. in some mysterious wise the contours of the The viol-player stands almost, but not quite, minstrel's viol; the sober sheen, as of tarnished erect, swayed to and fro, as it should seem, by silver, of her robe; the sweeping curve of her the immitigable might of Pan—a reed shaken by lover's figure, the fantastic blue-and-white arathe passion-wind of creative minstrelsy. He besque, propounded with such assured exquisitegrasps the finger-board of his instrument with I ness of tracery in his dress—these are but a few know not what of frenzied intensity; the bow is of the outward beauties which enthrall the most raised in act to fall upon the vibrant strings. carelessly alighting eye. Its deeper magic yields The sacred fury of inspiration is visible in the itself only to a longer and more reverent study. contorted limbs of the musician, and in the part- But, as for that, it is no part of the critic's duty ed lips (from which we can almost hear issuing to wait the leisure of a preoccupied public. It is the night-shriek of his race), no less'than in the better to speak the truth at once, and to say that green lambency of the flaming eye. Above him we have in Mr. Symphony Priggins a master as a weird wan moon plunges through a rack of great as the greatest ; and in this picture the haggard clouds-itself bestridden for a moment masterpiece of a master; and in this episode of by an awful flying figure, set down for us with a this picture the master-stroke of a master's maswholly lurid fidelity. Yet even here it should be terpiece. The sublimity of Buonarotti, the ponoted that in the very storm and stress of his etic fervor of Raffaelle, the tremulous intensity embodiment of these wild imaginings Mr. Prig- of Sandro Botticelli, the correggiosity of Correggins's artistic composure has never for a moment gio, have never raised these masters to higher failed him; that he can still turn aside to cull and heights than our own Priggins has attained in bind for us whatever flowers of color-fancy may this transcendent rendering of the Dish running have sprung up beneath his brush-still incline a away with the Spoon. purged ear to all the subtile hue-harmonies that The artist, like some others of his craft, is, as press for utterance upon his canvas. So that the is known, a poet of no mean pretensions; and he moon of this portent and the figure that over- has set forth the inner meaning of his picture in soars it, and the clouds and sky that engirdle and the following lines, which form the motto on its embathe it, do more than simply recite their nar- frame : rative, content if it be recounted without error or prevarication. They have a decorative value as well; they chant their message in epic rhapsodies of color, not rehearse it in mere pedestrian
Ah, night! blind germ of days to be,
Ah me! ah me! discourse of line and stroke. But with what
(Sweet Venus, mother!) bold and far-resonant chords of brown and dun
What wail of smitten strings hear we? and purple in the cloud-mass, with what tender
Ah me! ah me! modulations of sky-surface, with what exquisite
Hey diddle dee! appoggiature of moon - smitten mist - flakes, it were hopeless to describe in words. I must dwell
Ravished by clouds our lady moon, no longer upon this portion of the artist's work;
(Ah me! ah me!) nor yet upon that strange but utterly credible
Sweet Venus, mother! and convincing presentment of the mocking Sinks swooning in a lady-swoon. cynic whose sardonic laugh reëchoes from the
Ah me! ah me! middle distance. On these things and the glam
Dum diddle dee!
A BALLAD OF HIGH ENDEAVOR.
have been commonly intensely indifferent to the GOVERNMENT AS A FORCE IN CIVILI. honesty or dishonesty, the purity or the profligacy, ZATION.
the wisdom or the ignorance, of the people; but they
have been very zealous in behalf of favorite ecclesiN a recent essay Mr. Froude utters the following: asticisms, and have endeavored with all their might
ernment is restricted to the prevention of crime and zeal in this direction, however, has been solely as a statutable fraud, and where beyond these things all means of wielding power, or as a result of some blind men are left to go their own way—to be honest or superstition. They have concerned themselves a good dishonest, pure or profligate, wise or ignorant, to deal about dogma, but very little about morals; they lead what lives they please and preach what doc. haven't cared a straw about the purity or profligacy trines they please—may have been a necessary step of the community, but have looked well to see that in the evolution of humanity; but, as surely, if no the people have paid their tithes, and acknowledged other principle had ever been heard of or acted on, the supremacy of the established church. In pursucivilization would have stood still, hardly above the ance of these purposes they have at various times level of barbarism."
constituted a good many statutable offenses which in This passage permits two distinctly different in- equity were not offenses, and these fictitious crimes terpretations. It is quite true that a society in which have been punished with abundant energy. At times “no other principle had ever been heard of” than when highways swarmed with banditti, when no one that of the "prevention of crime and statutable fraud,” could venture abroad without means of defense, when where men were "honest or dishonest, pure or prof. robbery and violence abounded, when neither life ligate, wise or ignorant," as they pleased, “would nor property was safe because of the gross neglect have stood still, hardly above the level of barbarism." and indifference of the state, men and women were But if this means that no community can rise above zealously burned, and whipped, and imprisoned for the level of barbarism in which the government is some defection in the way of belief. At times when actuated by no other principle than that of the pre- roads were so neglected that travel was laborious vention of crime and statutable fraud, then the ar- and difficult, and rivers were without bridges ; when gument is false through and through, from the foun- on all sides was needed energetic administration in dation upward, and is false with such a curious directions that would advance the practical welfare of inversion as to afford a remarkable illustration of the people, governments always exhibited zeal enough how completely the records of the race can be mis- and found resources enough to build grand catheread.
drals and fine palaces. The whole history of govNow, it is true that no community can advance ernment is a record of meddlesome and oppressive in civilization unless there are powerful moral and things done and necessary things left undone. The intellectual forces at work ; but it so happens that state has always taxed trade, handicapped industry, the governments of the past, even the most pa- vexatiously embarrassed commerce, suppressed opinternal and the most illustrious, have commonly ob- ion, retarded the growth of knowledge, hindered in. structed rather than aided those forces. Govern. tellectual activity, and proved itself in a hundred ments have very much neglected the prevention of things a common nuisance. It has always so recrime, and have rarely efficiently punished statutable tarded civilization, either by its interferences or its frauds;.nor have they adequately performed in any neglects, that advance has been rendered possible way their legitimate and proper functions. They only by controlling and subordinating it, by virtually dethroning it, by compelling it to keep within or thority in all the affairs of life. The strength which nearly within its proper province. Rulers have the United States Government exhibited in the late never understood that, by simply limiting the func- war was the only kind of strength that any governtion of government to the preservation of order, they ment should rightly possess—the strength that comes would more effectually than by any other means bring of a zealous cooperation of the people. The Governall the forces of society into full and free activity. In ment was strong in that emergency because the peoview of the wretched mistakes and appalling crimes ple were with it. Let us never have a government governments have thus committed, it is amazing to that possesses strength independent of the people, for see a man like Mr. Froude confound things in the such a strength would in the end be sure to be turned way he does—wholly confusing the forces that un- against them. Despotic governments are strong in derlie government with the restrictions that operate their power to keep their hands on the throat of the in the name of government. The more we study public: this is not the strength we ought to desire the past the more it becomes evident that, while gov- in the United States, however much it may be adernment is indispensable up to a certain point, our mired by American worshipers of foreign autoccivilization has advanced in despite of it rather than racies. Unless a government is weak enough to by its aid. Governments have created more disor- stand always in wholesome fear of the people, it is ders than they have suppressed ; they have made not a government to be desired. dangerous classes by their oppressiou and injustice ; and, while we are not yet far enough advanced to do without them altogether, we may yet keep them
ARTISTS AND INARTISTIC DRESS. closely to their proper work. Let them preserve order and keep the peace. Art and letters and indus- A WRITER in the last “ Nineteenth Century," in trial energy will carry on civilization triumphantly deploring the “present conditions of art,” has somewithout their aid or interference.
thing to say about the ugliness of the dress of the But governments can never cease to be threaten- day. He declares that a well-dressed gentleman ing and troublesome so long as people adhere to ready for dinner or attired for any ceremony is a pitiantiquated notions in regard to their importance. able example of ugliness. “ His vesture is nearly The time was when people seemed to think that the formless and quite foldless ; his legs misshapen props, King regulated everything and conferred everything, his shirt-front a void, his dress-coat an unspeakable and the old fallacy still leavens the ideas of to-day. piece of ignobleness. The human form, the noblest Mr. Thurlow Weed, for instance, has recently de- and most interesting study for the artist, is distorted plored the weakness of our Government. “It does in the case of men's dress by monstrous garments, not,” he says, “seem strong enough to assert itself. and in the case of women's dress by extravagant arOur population is increasing very rapidly; the ex. rangements which impede all simple nobility and repansion and development are wonderful and amaz- fined grace of movement.” The writer thinks that ing, and under such circumstances a government to an ancient Greek, " accustomed to see the human needs to be and ought to be increasing in strength. form and understand its beauty, an Eton boy would Nevertheless, I see every day, and with more and be a thing to wonder at.” To admiring mammas more dismay, our assimilation to English habits, the absurd get-up is “perfectly lovely," and the boy English ideas, and even English costume." This himself values it beyond measure. The traditions is certainly very puzzling. How does Mr. Weed of the boy unfortunately stick to the man, and, “ acexpect the strength of the Government to operate in customed to the ignoble arrangement which has been arresting this alarming condition of things ? Must a glory in his eyes since he was old enough to envy the Government be strong enough to put an embargo his elder brother, he can not know how far he has on English habits and ideas? Must it be invested departed from a sense of the natural ; it is pure perwith authority to regulate styles of dress? Strength version of taste for which convenience can not be of government! How wearisome and senseless is pleaded.” What can be expected, the writer asks, this persistent clamor! It has been well said, and from such habits of mind in matters of taste ? “ The by a London critic of Mr. Weed, that “during the Eton boy grows into the man, dispensing judgments colossal civil war in his own country, of which he and influencing events; he will perpetuate the pot. was a witness, his Government, which now seems to hat and the shapeless costume his second nature has him to be too weak to assert itself, manifested a taught him to believe in, and all that is unusual or strength and vigor which might have awakened the least grateful to the eye in color or shape will be envy in the heart of the great Napoleon when at the regarded as 'bad form.' Yet it is from him as an zenith of his power, and which at this moment the educated gentleman that encouragement to art should Autocrat of all the Russias would not dare to emu- be expected. Under such conditions taste must suflate." This is a little extravagant, but certainly it fer, and no great art can have a natural spring." is idle to talk of a government being weak that in a This all sounds very well. But a question natugreat emergency could display the power that ours rally arises that if ignoble garments have this unfordid. It is declared to be weak, however, because tunate effect upon the taste of the wearer, how is it it does not carry out the notions of those fussy old that our artists have never made any attempt to rewomen who imagine that the strength of government form the evil? The pot-hat is commonly looked lies in its disposition to exercise a meddlesome au- upon by artists as an abomination; but we are not aware of anything that this class has done in the way we are told that, “when the question of what be. of giving artistic character to dress. In fact, artists longs to the class of sensations appertaining to beauty are often the worst dressed people in the community comes into competition with the smallest amount of --not merely worst dressed in the way of neglect, money interest, it is seldom a matter of a moment's but worst dressed in the selection of incongruous consideration which shall be sacrificed. Few people inaterial and inharmonious colors. They are dis. hesitate to cut down a tree or grub up a hedgerow if posed to disdain the adornment of the person just as twenty shillings a year will be gained by so doing.” more practical people do. The traditional artist, One can with difficulty overcome a feeling of im. with his long hair, his untrimmed beard, his stained patience which these lamentations evoke. It is no velvet coat, his soiled fingers, his dilapidated some doubt true that art does not occupy the exalted place brero, is almost wholly of the past. The few who it did in ancient and mediæval times, but complaints still retain these peculiarities are not of the better of indifference and neglect in matters pertaining to rank, and their affectations of costume are now con- art come at the present moment with singular injus. temptuously laughed at by their fellows no less than tice. There never was an era in England in which by the “ Philistines.” The artists of the day may not art stood in such high estimation as it does at pres. like the dress-coat, but they commonly appear at so- ent. There may be now no individual painters that cial gatherings punctiliously dressed in the regulation stand as high as Reynolds and Gainsborough and garments. They are accustomed, however, to con- Constable, but the whole field of art is immensely endemn them; and portrait-painters specially long for larged, and its relation to the general public much a more picturesque costume. Now, as artists are dis- closer. A fairly large literature in regard to art has tinctly cultivated in the direction of taste, it is pe- of late years grown up-a literature of criticism and culiarly their business to set an example of tasteful exposition. The rewards of artists have immensely dressing. The pioneers in any reform must be men increased. A passion for decoration and artistic the world will be willing to follow. Artists and adornment has sprung up everywhere. In many others who usually attempt to give us examples of things art has broken down old conventional barriers picturesque dressing are too apt to be slovenly as and freed itself from academic traditions. Galleries well as picturesque ; their decorated finger-nails have and schools have multiplied-in London notably a commonly extinguished all desire to imitate them in gallery where all the more audacious and indepen. other particulars. Artists of mark have so far done dent performances may compete for public favor nothing to improve or reform our apparel. Let them with the traditional paintings of the Royal Academy. invent something that will serve as an artistic substi- Many of us may be wholly out of sympathy with tute for trousers—something that will not reveal all the strange canvases that according to report appear the bad points of legs as legs go in the generations on the walls of the Grosvenor Gallery, but at least of to-day, and which will yet be shapely and grace- we must admit that they indicate great freedom and ful. Let them devise something in the way of a coat marked determination to be individual. The tenthat shall have elegance of form without the sacrificedency now is to imitate nothing, to encourage each of comfort. Artists are entering now very much more artist to express himself in his own way, to learn ev. than formerly into purely decorative work-even into erything of the past, but to embody that learning in designing wall-papers and decorating dining-rooms- forms wholly prompted by the artist's heart of hearts. hence it would not be in fra dig. for them to consider As to the charge that "few people now hesitate such a matter as the suitable appareling of the person. to cut down a tree or grub up a hedgerow if twenty If they refuse to do this, if they assert that it is be- shillings a year will be gained by so doing," we do neath them to study and plan costumes, then we sub- not recall any criticism so curiously wrong and unmit that it becomes a matter of impertinence for crit- just. If “noble beauty pervades life no more" in ics to declaim against inartistic fashions which the ar. forms of art, it conspicuously does so in nature. tistic world accept with the rest of people, and make Whatever else may be said against the culture of the no effort to reform.
present era, it at least has rediscovered nature-we say rediscovered in order to be modest, and not to
dispute the claims of the ancients in this particular THE GROWTH OF ART.
-and is filled with the love of grand and noble The writer whom we quoted in the preceding beauty. It really belongs to the present century to article has a good deal to say about the generally have found out the magnificence of mountain-scenery deplorable conditions of art in the present era. " It and the charms of all wild landscape ; to have peneis to be lamented,” he says, " that a nation which trated the mystery and the splendor of the sea; to has distinguished herself as England has in arms, in have discerned the glory of the sky; to have brought adventure, in science, in poetry, in philosophy, in into our parks and gardens the ease and grace of naphilanthropy, and in all else that relates to progress, ture, to the exclusion of the stiff forms of artifice. should have no art that can be fairly placed on the The great susceptibility we have developed in this same level.” Elsewhere he declares that “in many direction ought to go far to excuse us for insensibili. respects the present age is far more advanced than ty in the way of costume and indifference to painted preceding times, incomparably more full of knowl. saints and Madonnas. All things are by compariedge ; but the language of great art is dead, for gen- son. If we compare the present era with ancient eral, noble beauty pervades life no more." Again Greece or with Italy in the sixteenth century, we may discover that art holds a comparatively inferior ing. Mr. Mackaye has introduced some novelties. place; but if we will compare the last three decades He has placed the orchestra above the stage, directly with the first half of the present century, or with the over the curtain, which gives a picturesque effect to preceding century, we shall see that not only has art that part of the house, but whether this arrangement made immense progress, with the people, but that will be practically advantageous remains to be seen. love of beauty, in both art and nature, has deepened He has also constructed a wonderful double-tier and widened.
stage, so arranged that, while one scene, stage and
all, ascends among the flies, another stage, fully INTERIOR PARADISES.
set, emerges from the depths below, thereby securing
a complete change of scene in about two minutes' THERE has been no better exemplification of the time. This is a very ingenious device, but we are now remarkable growth of taste, in the way of interior principally concerned in the decorations, which seem decoration, than that afforded recently by some of to us not a little significant. An era in which a poet our theatres. First, we had the reconstruction by like William Morris devotes himself to paper-hangMr. Daly of the structure in Broadway, near ing, an artist like La Farge gives his time to designs Thirty-second Street (which has known as many for walls and windows; when a wealthy Londoner names, almost, as it possesses years). It was for- decorates his dining-room with designs by Whistler, merly a monument of ugliness; but Mr. Daly has and artists bring their mature knowledge and artistic transformed it into not merely a palace of beauty science to the draperies and colors of a theatre, must for that would be nothing new—but into a place have revived the ancient art-spirit to a marked dewholly artistic in decoration, where all the latest gree. That, with the evidences all around us of the ideas of drapery and color are manifested. It is rapid and widespread growth of a taste for art and even in the severity of its tones just a little somber, beauty, there should be so many lamentations about compared with the showy glitter that some of the the conditions of art and the poverty of taste, would other theatres display; but the effect is nevertheless be surprising, were it not well known that it is aleminently charming. The lobby, with its Eastlake ways in times of genuine movement that certain fireplaces and rich draperies, is, for the first time persons deplore the lack of movement. It has been in our theatres, made a place for promenade for la- well pointed out that just at the time when the sodies and gentlemen between the acts. Mr. Wallack cial tendency is toward temperance that temperance has also this season put his house in fresh and charm- organizations are most clamorous for total abstinence. ing order, banished from the remotest corner every It was not until the whole community became deeply semblance of gloom, and given the whole auditory concerned in the question of learning that we heard an air of lightness and elegance that is very pleasing. of schemes for compulsory education. And when
But transcending everything in the way of inte. there was really no art, no public concern in æsthetrior elegance is Mr. Mackaye's new Madison Square ics at all, we heard no complaints about the indifferTheatre. We have used the word “elegance," butence of the Anglo-Saxon mind to art-matters. It the term is scarcely appropriate, in consideration of seems to be a pretty sure sign that, when a general its long identification with mere gilt and display. lamentation begins about any given deficiency, a The Madison Square Theatre is decorated with that reform in that direction is already half accomplished. sense of color and harmony that enters into a great The Madison Square Theatre gives no indication painting. Instead of calling in upholsterers with of a taste for grand or high art, but for its purpose their conventional notions of decoration, Mr. Macke it seems to us not only wonderfully beautiful, but age secured the aid of Mr. Louis C. Tiffany-one of simply perfect. The only criticism to be made is, the foremost of our younger painters, and noted as a that the exquisite charm of the auditory tends to colorist—and as a result we have a revelation in “kill” the scenery, which looks raw and crude in beauty. We have all heard of Mr. Whistler's “Sym- comparison. Artists should now be invited behind phonies" in the Grosvenor Gallery, and here now the curtain, with the purpose of working up the scenes we have a symphony of our own—a sort of poem in and stage decorations to the standard of the rest of color, the subtile charm of which is wholly captivat- the house.
Books of the Day.
coincidence that, after the lapse of a genera- and compared together, in order to get just general tion since they were written, two such works as the views of the events narrated, and the characters por. Memoirs of Prince Metternich and of Madame de trayed in them. Napoleon, for instance, who plays Rémusat should be simultaneously divulged to the as dominant a part in the history of his times as that public. It is not only that they throw light upon of Hamlet in the play, is regarded by the Prince and the same period of history, and the same prominent the Lady of Honor from view-points as widely sepaactors in it; they complement and assist each other rated as could possibly be imagined, but, in their