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process : and like W. C. Bennett, giving his whole heart manfully to old John Bunyan's “Pilgrim," though with the localizing, limiting, closely-approximating principle expressed before us there, however novel or forcible, our old dreams in favour of allegory may not coincide.
A new path may be considered to open in the plan taken this season, by a very elegant edition of Keats. No less than a “hundred and twenty designs, original and from the antique," have here been “ drawn on the wood by George Scharf, jun., F.S.A., F.R.S.L.” The volume is not only a marvel of wood-engraving, while it exhibits qualities entitled to high praise, from the artistic point of view ; it also rests more stress than usual on the safe system of copying from standard models. Here Mr. Scharf, whose own designs are some times excellent, stands yet higher in care for correct transference to the block, with a minuteness not to be surpassed : preserving himself from monotony or servility alike, by this judicious resort to specimens of Pompeian painting, to works of Titian and chef d'oeuvres of Flaxman, that the reader may be enabled to compare the spirit of classicism and romance in Keats, with the very letter of them, in which he was far less learned. Initials and tailpieces there are, too, of the happiest possible novelty ; consisting as they do of exquisite outlines from nature, accurate to a scientific degree, chiefly “wild-flowers, suggested by the poet's delight in them,” which was a special trait of Keats.
Other examples are at hand, beyond enumeration, to denote a satisfactory turn in the late fashion. It is, at all events, impossible to go the full length of our bookish friend who thus strangely writes in private. “This is the age of illustration. In many worse senses, I tell you, than as books display it. It will not stop till the name of illustration sickens us. We shall shrink soon from illustrated transcendental metaphysics, from illustrated religion, morals, life, and death, back into select esoteric relish for Egyptian darkness. The spirit-rapping illustration makes rapid progress. It has convinced some of the most cultivated people I know, of the truth of things I shall not mention. What are the mobs at St. George's-in-the-East, who seem to protest against it? They are merely on the Punch side, or stand up for the Reynolds's illustrations. I lately was intimate with a person, an editor, a connoisseur, a Turner admirer, whom I am intimate with no more. He held up his hands one evening, the last time I walked with him, exclaiming at sight of a glorious sunset over Kensington, that it was so truly like Turner! I always doubted Turner. After the Oxford Graduate, I began to hate him. I now think he began the mania. The illustration principle was a caterpillar eating the heart out of his rich genius, which once had a soul, as you may per ceive in the Liber Studiorum, especially that most human epic of • Rizpah the daughter of Aiah' watching her dead-that neither the beasts of the field by night, nor the fowls of the air by day, might come near them on the hills of Judæa. In those few touches of sepia, you saw her. You saw the stealing lion kept away ; you saw and test the hovering vulture. Landscape is a pagan thing, after all, without
man. Landscape to be illustrated by writers, and cooked' by en. gravers for popularity, and bought and sold, is a sordid thing at best. It taught Turner to be hasty, conventional, tricky, greedy, knowing, full of the bravura-style which ruined him—in short, an illustrator. I have no personal feeling against him, never having seen the gentleman; and seeing a man always softens you, somehow. I only consider him a strong illustration of the fact that Art without soul is a monster which destroys its maker, for neither bestowing that, nor knocking it on the empty head. It was perhaps like the prophet who was persuaded to lodge with his friend, and go back, and a lion met him and slew him, leaving the beast he rode on : though what sort of beast, or who the other prophet that coolly came to perform his rites, you must only guess. He was unhumanized for want of the great aim, forced on the old masters. The pity is, that the new ones have no such compulsion. If he was a sort of Goethe without Goethe's better habit, pray what must we come to, without Turner's wonderful instinct !”
This is evidently far over-strained. It is too vilely platitudinous to say of the present age, that it is the “age of illustration :” besides being sadly the reverse of original. It is as much the age of anything else, since its character simply rises from the fact, that everything is in its conscious possession ; everything, therefore, begins to be realized and used. The realization comes first, the use afterwards. A tendency works in it, doubtless, with accumulative force of all joined ages, toward some great good. To the pre-illustration epoch, however, there still belonged a cloistral quiet, an academic abstraction; a shady grove of retreat, under an atmosphere of repose. The often-dazzling sunshine, unsuggestive of photographic triumphs, did then at times still let down, through whatever cloud, its ladders of light; by which the mind rose to great thoughts, or saw angels ascending and descending. There were works born of it, which, at all events, though the unknown age may equal them otherwise, had more of an inspired air than it is likely to desire ; they admitted the neophyte less easily than it may do, arcebant profanum vulgus, also were more congenial to us, who half claim the said period. Worst of all, the works which the present day is illustrating, for want of new creations, were bred from our older soil and air ; showing the very mark of a time without pictures in books as yet, fossil eyes of an age when the light was still not rainbow-like, nor prismatic with falling colours and images of all nature. There is nothing now to be left in suggestion, there is nothing to be credible on mere authority, pictured from the inarticulate glance to the secret sense, veiled and left so for the reverent fancy.
But it is not a want of faith, after all, like that which marked the un pictorial, picturesque, secular past, when it used to grovel before its uncouth shapes, to disbelieve fiercely, or to scoff with hate, or to sneer, and wrap itself in callous indifference. It only demands to have things made manifest. Its unmiraculous, unmarvelling manner may rise, for all we know, from the same bold heart that disdained testimony of old, because the matter in question was too great for secondhand. The miraculous may be yet so plainly set before it, so vividly presented, that from every aspect of nature, humanity, and the imagination which passes beyond, it may gather at last a single impression, as it were, a palpable sense of taste and touch and sight together, that shall raise it to the wondering recognition of a form and face. When the last style of evidence has been vouchsafed, when the bluntest fashion of imagination has been sharpened, then may we be left to spiritual culture only. Civilization may go forth to all the world to testify, each member of it for himself, that the Form and the Face were real indeed, but greater than human or natural. And illustration will be gone in that sense, because it is then risen and transfigured.
HOLY WEEK IN ROME.
Last year, when at this season the gorgeous ceremonials of the Romish Church took place in her regal temple of St. Peter's—there were many lookers-on who speculated whether the pomp of the Papacy was likely to assert itself for many more years in that place, and under those auspices. How many more times would the Pope assume his imperial robes, his triple tiara, and mount that unsteady throne, to be borne on the shoulders of certain of his faithful sons, in majestic insecurity, up and down the grand length of that stue pendous aisle, between close-packed lines of French soldiers, crowds of curious heretic gazers, and scattered kneeling worshippers ?
How much longer can Rome, that is, ecclesiastical Rome, stand: is a question that thoughtful men had pondered in their minds long before recent events made it general. How much longer can that system survive a great stagnant morass on the fair highway of civilization -- breeding pestilence and obstructing progress Thoughts and speculations like these could but obtrude as the strang, pageants and solemn observances, which heralded the great festivalo Easter Day, went on in Rome this time twelve months ago; the principal actor in them all being the Pontiff. It was strange to see that feeble representative of what claims to be ultra-human power to know him upheld in his tottering dignity by legions of foreign troops -a dweller upon sufferance in his own “capital of Christendom, an incarnation of impotent arrogance, of helpless assumption, and beneath all the state and the mockery, nothing but a good-natur looking old man, who would be harmless enough in any other place perhaps, and whose white hairs and kindly, somewhat nervous aspect
cannot but arouse an instinctive compassion for the individual who is perhaps not the least pitiable of many million sufferers under that thraldom of which he is professedly the head.
The nine days, commencing with Palm Sunday, pass in an almost constant succession of Church pageants in this Papal Rome. The blessing of the palms is the commencement, when the grand Basilica of St. Peter's is the scene of a ceremony which, if to the uninitiated somewhat unmeaning and tedious, is splendid as costly vestments, varied uniforms, and striking decorations of all kinds can make it.
But our interest was chiefly reserved for the “Miserere.” Who does not know of the famous “ Miserere” which, chanted by the rarely-heard Papal choir amid the mysterious gloom of the Sistine Chapel, is said to exceed in beauty and impressiveness all other music in the known world ? No other of the numerous attractions of this season is so wildly rushed after by the forestieri as this. Tickets for the Sistine Chapel are the objects of intense desire; they are supplicated, cajoled, intrigued for; and the unhappy, but always urbane dispensers of them lead lives not to be envied, we are informed, while the season of demand lasts. Then, when tickets are procured, the great struggle has but commenced. Alarming stories are freely related of the difficulties and perils attendant upon getting into the Chapel on these occasions ; of the terrors of the crowd, specially terrible, alas ! because mainly composed of ladies, equally strong-minded and able-bodied, who are reported to clear their way along by the aid of vigorously-used elbows, pins, and similar truly feminine weapons.
Perhaps there is nothing so bad that it cannot be described as worse. The crowding was disagreeable enough, but far within the margin of the description. We, being inexperienced, were so misguided as to go early—at two o'clock, namely, when we drove to the Vatican, and took our places in the rear of a select crowd, consisting about two-thirds of gentlemen in evening dress, or uniform, and the remainder, ladies, black-robed, and wearing veils on their heads, as formally and officially ordered. And so, the throng gradually increasing behind us, we waited at the foot of Bernini's handsome staircase till the guards should permit us to ascend, as some sanguine persons supposed at three, others at halfpast ; the truth proving to be four. For two hours, therefore, behold us standing expectant, cheerful enough, chatting and laughing with our acquaintance, and occasionally entering into friendly relations with strangers, but near neighbours. Sometimes we looked up the ornamental perspective of the staircase, and regarded discontentedly the group of two or three priests who stood at the top-plenty of space about them, free to go on where they would, and comfortably conversing with each other. Then, for a change, we turned round to look back over the thickening crowd to the arch at the end of the long corridor, which framed in, as it always does, a wonderful picture of life and movement, glowing colour and clear atmosphere, being a section of the noble Piazza of St. Peter's, and the streets beyond,
dotted with people and vehicles, and the cool, grey buildings well made out against the blue sky.
Occasionally our ranks were ploughed through by a detachment of Swiss guards or French soldiers, who, by an admirably convenient arrangement, rather typical of all the rest, had thus to enter on their appointed stations. There was one gentleman too, who, with shame be it spoken, wore an English militia uniform, forced his way through under pretence of belonging to the guard, dragging a lady with hin, and thus gaining nearly the foremost rank of the crowd before be was stopped by an undeceived and indignant public. The observations made in divers languages on this un-soldierlike mancurre, he must have heard ; let us hope he will profit by them. In strong contrast to this, it must be owned, appeared the behaviour of a very large and very French Frenchman, who almost wept, because in ascending the staircase, he was pushed against a lady, who remonstratei His earnest declaration that it was impossible to help it, -his pathetic and heartfelt—"Mille pardons, madame," and the strnggles and contortions he went through, in order to raise his hat a quarter of an inch in final apologetic homage will long live in our memories. He was a worthy representative of a polished nation; even the exigencies and selfishnesses of a crowd could not put out his politeness
After slowly and toilsomely ascending the first flight of stairs, is was excessively funny, the guard once passed, to see every one scadding up the other stairs as fast as they could tear, some of them with grave, earnest faces, others laughing at the absurdity of the thing at the same time. Tickets being delivered to the waiting officials, we found ourselves in the Sala Regia, the large frescoed hall leading to the Sistine Chapel, the red-curtained entrance to which was defended by a crescent of Swiss guards, who were trying with all their small science to perform the difficult feat of admitting only a few people at a time, in an orderly manner. A couple of English policemen would have achieved the thing without mach visible effort, but there were no English policemen present, unhappily, and presently a really alarming scene commenced. It was a regular “ charge"—the people forcing their way through the guard and knocking those imposing looking warriors about like so many little boys. The unhappy Swiss, in their flaming liveries, swayed back wards and forwards quite helplessly, evidently not having the least idea what to do, and distressed by their tall staves, which hindered them from using their hands. Of course, screams from a chores of ladies were not wanting, nor the excitement of one or two carried off fainting, which latter circumstance, as usual, drew away a large por tion of the feminine throng, a whole troop following in the wake of & poor fainting lady, with a temporary abnegation of their chance of getting into the chapel, highly creditable to their warmth of sym pathy.
After this revolutionary scene, it was a strange contrast to find ourselves at last within the chapel ; every available inch of which, on the public side, was filled. It is not a large building, and the windows