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This assemblage did not equal some of former years, but selections made from the finest collections of the nobility and gentry of the country, will, of course, contain very many beautiful specimens of the different masters. There were several very good portraits by Rembrandt, as No. 9 the portrait of a female, and No. 89 his own portrait, both from the king's collection; and No. 80 an old man's head, the property of Mr. Cholmondeley. From this gentleman's collection also was procured the beautifully colored landscape by Titian, No. 37. In the near neighbourhood of this splendid and harmonious picture, were two very gaudy and bad pictures of Claude Loraine, the “Mercury and Battus,” and the “ Io and the Woodman.” There was a pretty little circular picture of the “Master and his Echo,” and “Narcissus" was in some respects very good; but “Claude" does not appear to advantage in this gallery, and especially when contrasted with those exquisitely colored pictures of his in the gallery of lord Grosvenor, the “birth and decline of Rome.” Mr. Watson Taylor's collection supplied two of the finest Vandyckes we have seen, the portraits of Simon de Vos and his wife, and two small but sweetly colored Ruysdael's brilliant and true to nature, and a fine Rembrandt landscape. The view of Rome from Tivoli, by Gaspar Poussin, is finely coloured and very carefully wrought, it is full of beautiful passages and is a tasteful representation of a delightful country; but it has become we suspect, very dark, from the sinking of the color into the ground; we prefer the picture
which hung as a pendant to this when both were in Mr. Champersonne's collection, and which we believe to be the joint labour of Nicolo and Gaspar Poussin ; this last is now the property of Mr. D. Bevan. Mr. Rogers's Landreche, by Nicolo, is very fine. No. 42. The daughter of Herodias, by Carlo Dolci, was much admired ; and indeed, Salome is beautiful, though the expression of her countenance is not pleasing; but for a pretty girl to hold with
composure and in close contact a
decapitated head, would be revolting to our feelings if we saw it in nature, and it is not less disgusting from the minute pencil of Carlo Dolci. Had Salome been masculine in appearance, and the subject treated with the force and breadth of Spagnolletto, or Carravagio, it would much better have accorded with our taste. As a contrast to this picture, we refer to the exquisite St. Cecilia of Domenichino, No. 25.
Our strictures on the Carlo Dolci, will in part apply to the “Tomyris Queen of the Massageta, ordering the head of Cyrus to be immerged in a vessel full of blood." Even the magical pencil of Rubens cannot render this picture beautiful to us, or atone for the disgust arising from the sight of blood, and especially when so applied by a woman. His “Diana returning from the Chase” is beautifully colored though coarse in sentiment. “ St. Martin dividing his cloak with a beggar" is also very fine.
No. 10 was a sweetly colored Cuyp. “A Shepherd with cattle on the banks of a river.”
The St. George of Tintoretto, a spirited and finely colored picture. *
The pictures of the dowager mar
chioness of Thomond have been sold this season, amongst them were some of the finest of the pencil of her uncle, sir Joshua Reynolds.
We can never expect to see again so many splendid pictures of this master assembled together. Amongst them were a few copies of those we suspect of the hand of the marchioness herself; but it was a delightful treat to those who value pictures, not for the age in which they were painted but for their intrinsic merits. This collection must have proved to all unprejudiced persons, that sir Joshua's coloring was not fugitive, but on the contrary that his pictures far exceed all modern paintings in splendor, and that the grace which he gave to his finales was never exceeded by any of the old masters. Many of the pictures in which wax had been too freely used have cracked, or run down in tears, but it has seldom injured the effect and deducts very little from the value. We will give the prices which some of the first procured.
No. 23. Sir Joshua with a book, sold to lord Normanton for 234 guineas.
No. 61. Lady Hamilton, sold to Mr. Lambton for 202 guineas.
No. 63, View from Richmondhill, sold to Mr. J. Rogers for 155 guineas.
No. 65. A girl resting upon her heels embracing a favourite kitten, sold to lord Normanton for 295 guineas.
No. 68. Girl with scarlet muff, sold to marquis Landsdown for 255 guineas. (These two last wonderfully brilliant.)
No. 69. Gypsey Fortune Teller, sold to colonel Howard for 240 guineas. (This cannot be the same picture from which Sherwin made his fine print.) No. 70. Piping Shepherd Boy, sold to Mr. Phillips of Manchester for 410 guineas. Second Day. No. 37. Young Shepherdess with Lamb, sold to colonel Howard for 216 guineas. No. 19. Hope Nursing Love, (the colour partly flown), sold to Mr. Morritt for 215 guineas. No. 60. Portraits of sir Joshua and Jarvis, as Shepherds to lord Fitzwilliam for 410 guineas. No. 61. Peasant Girl and Children with a torch, sold to Mr. Zacchary for 400 guineas. No. 62. Shepherd Boy and Dog, sold to lord Fitzwilliam for 600 guineas. No. 63. Young St. John and Lamb, sold to Mr. Dantz for 175 guineas. The beautiful Cardinal Virtues were all purchased by lord NorImanton. Charity for 1500 guineas. Faith for 400 guineas. Hope for 650 guineas. Temperance for 600 guineas. Justice for 1100 guineas. Fortitude for 700 guineas. Prudence for 350 guineas. No. 72. The Dido on the Funeral Pile, sold to sir C. Long for 700 guineas. No. 73. Admiral Rodney, sold for 115 guineas. No. 74. Nymph and Cupid, or Snake in the Grass, sold to Mr. Soane for 510 guineas. An exquisitely coloured picture, as fresh as when it came from the
To: are two states of society, widely different in themselves,
in which genuine poetry mostly flourishes. The first, is that in which a nation just emerging from barbarism, is composed of spirits strong in imagination, and in feeling, but weak in science and the colder powers of reason; where the mind, like the country, is full of uncultivated mazes, more romantic and imposing, though less useful, than the heat enclosures of after times, and where both the virtues and the vices, have a deeper tone, than in the heart, which has worn the trammels of education and of civil life. The second genuine poetic aera, is that in which a nation is very highly advanced in luxury, and civil refinement; when the arts and the sciences have nearly approached perfection; when true philosophy and pure taste conspire, to direct the imagination, and to permit the passions their full glow, adding delicacy to their warmth, and avoiding all that is vapid or distorted. The space between these two aeras, is filled up with all the modifications of false taste, of fashion, of conceit, of imitation, and of folly: with here and there indeed, the production of some bright genius, which shines amidst the rubbish, like a speck of gold in the surrounding earth. This state is farthest from NATURE, the other two approach her more nearly : the first, because the people are themselves in a state of unsophisticated nature; the other, because when man has run the whole round of his own inventions, pure taste will lead him back to nature, as far more true to beauty, than any deviation which he can possibly imagine. It is to this latter aera that our nation seems at present rapidly approaching. Soundness in philosophy, and purity in taste, more distinctly mark the literature of the day, than at any former period.— Mere fashion has little influence, and genuine beauty has most admirers: feeling and simple loveliness have established their claims on the heart, and most men judge for themselves, comparatively uninfluenced by any charm of name or of reputation: that which is meritorious, continually succeeds, while that which is defective, whatever exterior assistance may have been afforded it, as certainly fails. There are many minor indications of the advance of chaste taste among us. The graceful dresses now worn, contrasted with o: Willc
which in former times seemed invented for the purpose of obliterating every trace of beauty—the elegance of our buildings, of our furniture, and above all, the true love of nature, exhibited in English landscape gardening. But of this advance of our nation in genuine poetic feeling, the shortest proof is the comparison of the writers of the present day, with those of the best part of the past century, and that before it; the majority of whom, might rather full a reader to sleep, than kindle in his soul a single spark of poetic sympathy. We have done, it is to be hoped, for ever, with their boarding school shepherdesses, and petit maitre shepherds, their vapid and bombastic martial odes, and affected elegies, with all the rest of their conceits, and have now retułned to that portraiture of nature, from which while pure taste
reigns, we shall never depart.
Never was any past age so rich in all the varied styles of poetic composition: the universe of imagination—the sparkling of the song of wit—the depth of sweet and solemn feeling, and the echo of the looeliest chords of the human bosom, have each conspired to delight, amuse, and enchant the spirit. If in the midst of all this, some follies have appeared; it were strange indeed if a garden so fertile, did not produce some weeds. Though it is not from the crowd of poets, by whose writings we are continually deluged, that the argument of this excellence is to be drawn, yet doubtless many names, without extensive fame, have struck their harps in winning sweetness, and captivating melody: certainly many might be selected who in years gone by, would have ranked each of them very high in the poetic list of their country, though now in the crowd they sing almost unheard, and from their works a selection might be made, of gems of every hue, and tint, serious or gay, which in themselves, would have procured for their nation, a high poetic character. Even the minor compositions for the harp and the piano, possess a glow and a sweetness of imagination, which, touched by the finger of friendship and of loveliness, sink into the heart, and lead it captive, to the combined effect of the music and the words. Perhaps, upon the whole, Sir Walter Scott is our truest poet.— His mighty genuis has proved—if indeed it required proof–that poetry is no way dependant upon rhyme. In the fascinating tales, (of which we believe him to be substantially the author,) he has interwoven as much exquisite poetry in the form of prose, as can be found in any of his avowedly poetical works.—Southey is rather a poet by art, and by study, than by nature; and although he has brought forward some good productions, he has not displayed many of those bursts of poetic possession, which lead the poet of nature captive. His “Vision of Judgment” is absolutely contemptible.—Lord Byron owes much of his celebrity to fashion, much to the boldness of his sentiments, to his intensity of expression, and it is to be feared to the impurity of his ideas: but who that reads his works, does not perceive his powers, great as they undoubtedly are, to be far over-rated by present opinion
opinion—an opinion which a few years will change, and he will then find his level in a lower class of genuine poetry. His flights are but too often those of deranged feeling, a spirit diseased, and -a conception distorted. Among all the characters he has drawn, there is not one true to Nature, not even to the insane nature which he depicts; nor can he, like the author of Waverly, dart as it were his own soul into the person of the portrait, and make it to think and speak in genuine character. This ability, so peculiarly Shakspeare's, no way belongs to Lord Byron. He also makes much too free with the phrases and lines of former writers, to be entirely exempt from the charge of plagiarism.—Moore, is the writer, whose Lyrics will ever be dear to the heart, as the choicest sparks of feeling: but he is a Lyric writer solely, and even his Lalla Rookh, might be divided into a great number of beautiful little lyrics. He is the miniature painter of oetry, delicate and beauteous in the extreme, but, a writer simply yrical, does not rank so high in reputation as one whose productions are of loftier pretensions: but Moore has called music to his assistance,—he is the poet of our parlors, and the performance of his works, by those whom we love, adds to them, above most, a chain of endearing, and delightful association
Twist ye, twine ye, ever so
While the mystic twist is spinning,
Dimly seen through twilight bending,
Lo! what varied shapes attending:
Passions wild, and follies vain,
THE MAID'S REMONSTRANCE.