Page images
PDF

but cultivated the new art himself. It had not been long in vogue before Hugh da Carpi tried the same experiment with wood, and even added a variety of tints by using different stamps, for the graduations ef lights and (hades; a method revived here some years ago with much success by Kirkall, and since at Venice by Jackson, though very imperfectly.

"Frcm Italy engraving soon travelled into Flanders, where it Was fcrst practised by one Martin of Antwerp. He was followed by AlBert Durer, who carried the art to a great height considering how bail the taste was of the age and country in which he lived. His &deR:y to what he saw, was st ©nee his fame and misfortune j he Was happy in copying nature, but it was nature disguised and hid tinder angracefol forms. With neither choice of subjects nor beauty, his industiy gave merit even to ugfifttss and absurdity. Confining his labours almost wholly to refigious and legendary histories, he turned the Testament into the History of a Flemish Village; the habits of Herod, Prlate, Jo>ftph, &c. their dwellings, their trtensils, and their customs, were all Gothic and European; his Virgin Mary was the heroine of a Kermis. Lucas of Leyden imitated him in all his faults, and was still more burlesque in his representations, h was not till Raphael had formed Marc- Amonio.that engraving pl.iccd itself with dignity by the side of painting.

*• When the art reached England does not appear. It is a notorious blonder in Chambers to Cay it was first brought from Antwerp by Speed in the reign of

James the 1st. In some degree we had it almost as soon as printing) the printers themselves using small plates for their devices and rebuses. Caxton's Golden Legend has in the beginning a group of faints, and many other cuts dispersed through the body of the work. It was printed in 1483. The second edition of his Game at Chefs had cuts too: So has his l.e Mvte dt Arthur. Wynkyn de Worde, Caxton's successor, prefixed to his title of the Statutes, in the sixth year of Henry VII. a plate with the king's arms, crests, Sec. a copy of which is given in the Life of Wytikyn> by Ames in riis Typographical Antiquities, p>79- The-same pvinter exhibited 'several books adorned • with cots, some of which are particularly described by his biographer, in pages 87, 68, 89, if sequentibus.

"The subsequent printers continued- to' ornament their books with wooden cuts. One considerable work, pubIHhed by John Rastell, was distinguished by prints of uncommon merit for that age. It was called The Poftime ef tht 'Pe»plfi and by Bishop Nicholson, in his Historical Library, RaJUits Chronicle. This scarce book, of a very large size, I saw at the auction of Mr. Ames's library; it had many cuts, eighteen of which were in great folio, representing the kings of England, so well designed and boldly executed as to be attributed to Holbein, though I think they were not of his hand. I (hall mention one more book with wooden cots (though severil are recorded by Ames); it is Grafton's Chronicle, printed in 1569, and containing many heads, as of William the Conqueror, Henry

VIII, VIII, and Queen Elizabeth, ice. Yet even though portraits were used in books, I find no trace of single prints being wrought off in that age. Those I have mentioned in a former volume as composing part cf the collection of Henry VIII, were probably the productions of foreign artists. The first book that appeared with cuts from copper-pluses, at least the first that £0 industrious an enquirer as Mr. Ames had observed, was, " The Birth of Mankind, otherwise called, The Woman's Book," dedicated to Queen Catharine, and published by Thomas Rolande in 1540, with many small copper cuts, but to thele no name was affixed."

jtn EJkj on History, in tbrtt Epistles to Edward Gibbon, Esq. tuitb Nous. By William Hay ley, E/q.

IT has been the fortune of few potts : to begin their career with suili universal, and, we may add, undivided applause, as the author of the essay now before us. It is no small part of his merit, that in times, not perhaps so very deficient in poetic abilities, as remarkable for countenancing the most frivolous and licentious abuse of them, he has made choice of subjects which the English muse need not blulh to decorate. The Essjy on Painting is a convincing proof of his talents in that mixed Kind of poetry which is partly didactic, partly descriptive; and his EpilUe on the Death of Mr. Thornton, and the Ode to Mr. Howard, shew that he is no weak master of the pathetic.

His poeucal talents, without be

ing marked by any strong cast of original genius, are of that fort, which is well qualified to adorn philosophy, and illuminate the dictates of reason and good fense. He possesses a considerable command of figurative language: his versification, though it has no great compass or variety, is easy, flowing, and harmonious: his Invention is quick and fertile: his imagery new and various: his similies are novel, frequent, and happily applied.

The poem now before us is divided into three parts. In the first, after some general reflections on his subject, the author traces the progress of history from

—the rude symbol on the artiest flone—

to those models of historical composition which we owe to the genius of Athens. The following reflections on the scarcity of great historians, and the impossibility of* attaining to perfection, are equally just and beautiful.

Pure, faultless writing, like transmuted

gold, Mortals may wish, but never shall behold: Let genius llill this glorious object' own, And seek Perfection's philosophic'ftonc! "For while the mind, in study's toilsome

hours, Tries on the long research her latent

powers, New woniltrs rife, to fay her patient

thought, Inferior only to the prize she sought.

Nor are those lines less poetical in which he introduce- Herodotos at the head of his historic worthies.

-Behold the historic sire!

Ionic roses mark his soft attire)
Bold in his air, but graceful in his mien,
As the fair figure of bis favour'd queen,
Q_3 When

When her 'pVoud' galley Biam-d the Persian

van, ■ •": ^

And yatelul Xerxes owf.'d her more'than

man!; ■ ,,.

. The cbancters of Thucydide:;, Xen/ophon, Folybius, Ssllult, l,tyy, and Tacirus, are afterwa ds drawn with great sp.rit and judgment. . , • •

• The- poet next addresses himself to Biography, of which he ieems to .consider Plutarch as the father. This mull be done rather on the account of his excellency, than the priority of his claim; since Diogenes Lacrtius 'has left us a valuable work of the. fame .kind. But probably the author has omitted this latter writer, as having compiled rather the history of philosophical opinions^ th in of the actions of mankind.— The characters of Marcel linus and Anna Comnena conclude this part.

The second epistle commences with the Mo.,kish historians, to whose merits and defects the author has done justice in a manner much to the credit Lo'h of his can dour ;;nd di cernniertt ■*—The principal Italian, Spanish, and Kronen writers lollow, ;md these are succeeded by the later hillcijns of our own c<uin:ry. The nemcrous extracts we have aheady given from liiis part of the poem, in our poetical article, makes it unnecessary to add more here, and will in a great measure enable our readers to judge for themselves cf our (author's abilities both as a poet and a critic.

The sources of the principal defects in hiliory, and its general laws, are the subjects of the third epistle.—This, as our author leems (0 have been well aware, is the

most imporrant and difficult part of his design.

It has been well observed of the fffay on tri,Jl..ttaVtrst, '• thatRoscomrnoo has indeed defer veJ his praises, had they been given with discernment, and bellowed i ot on the rules themselves, but the- art With which they are introduced, and the deco.ations with w ich they are adorned." As'to Mr. Haj ley, though we cannot allow t'-at he deserves no pra.fe Es the legislator of hiliory, yet we trull confess that he is very far from having given us a complete cc<!e. In enumerating the delect; of historians, he has confined i imlelf » what relates to the fuiject-n.atlcr of history, and has no. enteied at all into those which arise from faults in thesttle and manner. Tne rules which he afterwards lays down oa that subject, are too general and indefinite to'be capable 01 useful application.

Vanity, national and private, flattery, party-spirit, 'iur^trst'tioo, and false philosophy, are tfafc sources from which he derives the principal faults in history. These. tqpici he has touched with great spirit, and illustrated with a variey of poetical images. Speaking of flutery, lie fays:

Cut arts us deeper fanle, and baser wre-sg,
To Adul.uion'b subtle- UT:bfi belong:
They < ft, \hrir presvnt ideis toe«!r,
Prot..neJy burst the corse-crated vault;
Steal lrom ilie ourico Chief bright Honour''

plume, Or stain with Slander's gall the Slaltsnwn'i

tomb: Stay, sacrilegious Caves! with reverence

tread O'er the blest allies of the worthy dead! See! where, uninjuaM by the eharneT*

damp, The Vestal, Virtues with undving limp.

seas'

Feaad of-hy toil, and jealous of her trust, Sits, the Jfeen Guardian of their sacred

duff, And thus indignant, from the depth of

1 earth, Checks ypur vile aim, and vindicates their

worth: *' Hence ye! who buried excellence be

"lied, "To sooth the sordid spleen of living

"Pride; "Go! gild vtiili Adulation's feeble ray "1"h' imperial pa-cant of your pjAinj

"day! "■ Nor hope to stain, on base Detraction's

"scroll, "A Tolly's morals, or a Sidney's

"soul I"

Just Nature will abhor, and Virtue scern, 1 hit Pen, tho' eloquence its page adorn, Which, brib'd by Interest, or from vain

presence To subtler Wit, and deep-discerning

Sense, Would blot the praise on public toils be

stcwV, And Patript passions, as a jest, explode.

The character of an accomplished historian is drawn with great lorce and boldness.

example of Milton. But the worst defect in an historian, our author lays down to be, h.s supporting any system of tyranny. With his warm aud animated expostulations on this subject, we shall conclude our extracts.

Neglect alone repays their flight offence, Whoso wanu'rin^ wearies our' lewi'der'J

fen so: But just Abhorrence biands his guilty

name, ■

Whodatcs to vilify his Country's fame;
With Slander's rage the pen of History

And pour from thence the poison of the

Asp; Thejn'urd'rous falsohoo.1, stifling Honour's

* breath 1. ., .,

The flavilh ten.-t," Public Virtue's death! With all that undermines a Nation's

health. And robs the People of their richest wealth I Yc tools of Tyranny I whole sorvile guile Wuul.l jhus pollute the records of our ille, Bthuld your Leader cuist with public

hate, And rtad your just reward in Brady's

fate!

Far other views the liberal Genius fire, Whoso toils to pure Historic praise aspire; Nor Moderation's dupe, nor Fact.ou's

brave, Nor Guilt's apologist, nor Flatter)"s Have; Wife, bu. not cunning; temperate, not

• cold; Servant of Truth, and in that service bold; Free rrom all raid's, save that jnll conttoul By which mild Nauire sways the manly foul, AnJ Reason's philanthrope spirit draws To Virtue's interest, and Freedom's causo; Those great ennobles of the human name, Pure springs of power, of happiness, and fame I

The necessity of chusing a subject that is important and interesting, is judiciouily (hewn from the failure of Knollcs; and the danger 0} dwelling on the distant and minute parts of a subject really interesting, is pointed out in the

Memoirt of the Life of DaviJ Garrick, Esq. inters et-jed -with Characters and Ante Sol u of his Theatrical Contemporaries. By Thomas Davies. 2 Fol. §vo.

TH E life of Mr. Garrick is so intimately connected with, the hist ,rv of tiie stage, of which, he was the unrivalled ornament and a successful manager for upwards of thirty years, that his biographer has juJicioudy chosen to join them in tiese volumes. J he lovers of theatrical anecdotes will find them a valuable continuation ol the Apology of Coiley Ctbb r, and both thole who act, and those who go to see plays, will meet with Q_4 hints

hints for improvement, or subjects , for comparison.—The author appears to be every way well qualified for t e task he has undertaken. A Ion.' acquaintance with the stage, as he himself informs us, and an c r .est inclination to excel in the p ofeffion of acting, to which he was for many years attached, afforded him an opportunity to know much of plays and theatrical history. To this account of hi ml' It we must in justice add, that the many proofs of candour and good fense, which he has given throughout his performance, leave no room to sulpect, that he hr,s wilfully misrepresented either facts or characters.

As we have already given our readers an account of the Life of Mr. Ciarrick, which we do not find to differ materially from what is related of him in these memoirs, we shall select for their entertainment, such parts of the work before us, as relate to the most celebrated of his COtemporaries.

Of Mr. Fleetwood, the patentee, and the revolt of the comedians of Drury-lane, in 1743, ne g'lves tne following account.

"Charles Fleetwood, Esq; was a gentleman of an ancient and respectable family, possessed of a large paternal estate. His person was genteel, and his manner elegant. His acquaintance, in the early part of life, with certain persons of rank and distinction, proved fatal to him; they drew him into many fashionable irregularities and excesses; they gave him an unlucky and extravagant habit for p'a>. Amongst those who are addicted to gami'g, there are many young men of family and fortune, who are imprudent and

undesigning; they generally fall a prey to the artful, the avaricious, and fraudulent; the betrayed, in their turns, become the betrayers; nor from this censure was Mr. Fleetwood exempted.

With the remains of his fortune he was persuaded, by some of his acquaintance, to purchase the greatest part of Drury-lane patent. He fortunately bought at a time when the proprietors, by a run of ill success, were become weary of their bargain, and willing to fell cheap what they had bought at a high price. They had weakly fallen out with the moll esteemed of their players, on account of a small advance in salary, which they had demanded; the sum in dispute did not, I believe, much exceed 4001, per annum. The actors revolted, and opened the little theatre in the Hay-market with some appearance of success.

Fleetwood brought back the feceders, and united the two companies of Drury-lane and the Hay-market. When this was accomplished, he tried all methods to strengthen his troop, .by gaining some actors of merit from Co> vent-garden theatre, with large and unusual offers. Mr. Quin was persuaded to leave his old master Rich, under whole theatrical banners he had sought twenty years, for the advantageous income of 500I. a salary till then unknown in any Engliih theatre. This was, indeed, to him an annual increase of 200I. but it must be confessed that Quin offered to remain in his old sta'ion for a less sum than that which Fleetwood offered to give him; but Rich refused the proposal, and declared /r r that

« PreviousContinue »