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The Court Journal has said it—and can we 'apply to a better oracle ?—that to paint portraits of ladies of quality, it is requisite to have the entrée of Almacks. Was it then only to catch the air of our fashionable dames, that the worthy President was so constant and so eager,—as eager as it beseemeth an artist of such courtly polish to be in his attendance at the King's Theatre last year? We dreamt that Pasta was the subject of study, and we looked for a proof that painting court ladies was a condescension on the part of Sir Thomas. We hardly yet despair-another exhibition, or perhaps a posthumous appearance, may gratify us. The Duke of Clarence, the Duchess of Richmond, Miss Macdonald (exquisite!) Lord Durham, and Mr. Soane are perfect in their kind. Mr. Southey was evidently, notwithstanding his laureateship, too poetical and lakish, far too little genteel, to be made a good picture of.
Mr. Pickersgill's Jeremy Bentham is venerable and excellent. Mr. Jackson's Dr. Wollaston is full of philosophical feeling. In looking at the late Earl of Kellie, Mr. Wilkie's exclusively-British admirers quote Shakspeare, and cry, “ Richard is
“ Richard is himself again.” Mr. Shee shines with unusual splendour in his portrait of Sir Thomas Strange; but he also is himself again in Mrs. Edward Tunno-none of your clever guess-work corrections, Mr. Compositor, our MS. is quite clear, T-u-n-n-o is the name, sec. cat. There is no want of character in Mr. Phillips's portrait of Sir John Richardson ; but it is a pity that Sir John is such a palid subject—more so, that he should persist in his paleness.
Mr. R. R. Reinagle, R. A., should confine himself to the portraits of Zebras and Quaggas v. Nos. 246 and 6. "The Battle of Borodino' No. 257, G. Jones, R. A., is a splendid piece of confusion. Mr. Howard's “Greek Girl,' 262, is sweet: how charming our young countrywomen would be were they but Greeks! · Landscape after a shower,' 269. Here is a piece of rural nature !—Thunder is still about—the earth is moist, but the atmosphere is yet sultry-how dark the shade-we would swear the fish will bite.
No. 291. Edwin Landseer, ‘Bashaw,' no Bashaw is he; but a handsome, playful, good-natured Newfoundlander, quite ready to be familiar, and to gambol with the first beggar's cur he meets. We have Burns in our head, and would quote him, but, for the life of us, he will not come at our call; our readers may supply the deficiency.
• Camilla introduced to Gil Blas, at the Inn,' 246, G. S. Newton, in point of popularity is the crack piece of the School of Painting: The painting is better than the conception; the former is exceedingly masterly and clever. The latter is good, -the Ruby of the Philippine Isles speaks for itself, and the spectator is further sufficiently let into the secret of the swindling design by the mere arch look of the page, artist-like tact! The other characters have very properly a sustained carriage.
The • Loretto Necklace,' No. 337. Mr. Turner has not sufficiently discriminated between the poetry of the Roman Catholic Apostolical Church, and that of Paganism.
We would say, that Mr. Simpson is a very promising artist, were it not for the fear that some enemy might catch us on the hip, and tell us he has been eminent these twenty years. We have no such fear
in pronouncing two or three portraits in this room to be first-rate performances. That of Mrs. Flight, No. 284, is one; that of J. Robinson, Esq., No. 373, is another most masterly production. Mr. Pickergill's Portrait of Mrs. Royds,' 342, deserves to be distinguished ; it is a living picture, devoid of parade, and executed with a bold and free pencil.
In the Ante-Room, Mr. Stanfield has a most clever View near Chalons sur Soane,' 330. Mr. Copley Fielding's · Distant View of Winchester, shower passing off,' 397, is quite illusive.
The best thing in the Autique Academy, alhough there are as usual some exquisite specimens of Mr. Chalon's easy and elegant pencil, is 'A Gondolier, sketched at Venice,' No. 532, J. F. Lewis.
It was our intention to have criticised the Miniatures seriatim, but our space will not allow us to do them justice.
TO A FRIEND ON HIS BIRTH-DAY.
“ Virides fecere merendo"-Old Motto.
Have you walked in the fields, when the sun
Through the trees is really burning,
To their cottage homes are turning ?
As they toss'd the wild-flowers far and nigh,
They cannot have gone unheeded by.
Have you not mark'd in the quiet aisle
Of Í'intern church, the sweet and fair,
In gladness on the pulpit-stair ?
With shepherd staff, and hoary hair,
So old, and yet so free from care-
Thou art sad !-thy heart is journeying back,
To the guide of thy early day, -
Are all his foot-prints worn away?
Have you walked in a path benighted,
Beguiled by a flickering spark;
Oh, is its bright flame burning dark ?
The violet know its place no more,-
The greenness it cherished of yore.
The soft gleam from that ivy leaf,
'Twill be a smile on the cheek of grief,
THE HARROVIAN. April 11, 1829.
NEW EDITION OF THE WAVERLEY NOVELS.
We think this a mistake. Not in a pecuniary point of view, certainly, — for we doubt not its sale will be enormous. But it is nothing short of a blunder as regards the ultimate fame of the AUTHOR OF WAVERLEY,— and we thought that Sir Walter had been sagacious enough to know it. What we mean is this. To go behind the scenes prevents real enjoyment of the play. We will give an anecdote on this score. In our youth we occasionally went to the Green-room. We recollect once taking a friend“ behind”—and going to the wing with him, where a young singer stood hoydening in a very side-scene fashion, and talking in a loud and unfeminine voice. This very person, the public—(in this instance we take credit to ourselves for always seeing they were wrong)—constantly praised for peculiar grace of motion and delicacy of manner. Our friend had been one of her greatest admirers : " Let me go,” he exclaimed, “ I will never come behind the scenes again.”
In like manner we think that Sir Walter has been unwise, in letting us see the machinery of his scenery—which from the front had so beautiful an effect—and shewing as some of the reality of characters which, as he had put them upon the scene, were so admirable in their several natures. Why would not he leave--not well but, admirablyalone? Why shew us the warp and woof of that tapestry which, in its unbetrayed state, was so perfect ?
In Waverley, this is of less disadvantage than it will be anon. Oh! how we dread his giving us the pleadings in the ‘Heart of Mid Lothian.' Please, Sir Walter, please leave untouched your most estimable and noble offspring, Jeanie Deans ;-if you don't, we'll have you indicted for child murder, instead of poor Effie—and you would be guilty.
Oh! how our hearts went along with the earlier productions of the Author of Waverley! That work itself-the' Antiquary,' the Black Dwarf,'—though it was not much the fashion, it always touched us far more than many more successful— Old Mortality,' • Rob Roy,' with all its faults, delightful — The Bride of Lammermuir,'—and above all the · Heart of Mid Lothian'--Oh! how these both before and since have filled our hearts with kindly good humour, and made them melt with the most natural and deepest touches of tenderness.
We have heard Sir Walter and Miss Edgeworth—to whom we are rejoiced to see he pays a hearty and a just tribute of admiration in his preface-accused of want of that very quality of tenderness, of which few exist who appreciate the real depth, power, and beauty. In Miss Edgeworth's works, there are many passages in which a single exclamation will go like a shot to the heart of him who has one. Το her children's works nearly all those now approaching full maturity must recur with gratitude and blessings. Her · Parent's Assistant, none can look back to without those feelings. Some of her · Popular Tales' have the most affecting bits that we have almost ever lighted upon. That entitled the “Contrast,' is one of the most amiable and per. fect representations of middling life we ever beheld. We know, indeed, an instance of a person holding an office of some local power, who was suddenly restrained from an act, perfectly permissible, but one of haste that might have produced injustice—who paused, because at that instant there flashed across his mind the anecdote of the old and excellent farmer, who comes to his young and gay landlord, after he has sent in a petition not to be turned from his farm in consequence of inevitable losses ; when the young gentleman, who is kind-hearted, but careless, jumps into his gig, exclaiming (to the effect of) “Oh! yes, very hard case-very-go to my steward-he will see you righted." The steward is of the opposite faction, turns the poor man out, and he is ruined. Even such accidental good as this, proves Miss Edgeworth's power over the mind--but her general influence is great indeed. In “ Ennui,” how many pictures, and sayings of a few words, go direct to the heart. Nurse Ellinor!-what a multitude of strong, warm, and tender feelings, are there not gathered under that old woman's cloak! And the “Absentee;"—no one, we think, can read the account of Lord Colombre's incognito visit to Clonbrows, on the rentday, without feelings of the kindest and deepest sympathy with nearly all that is best in our nature.
This may be thought an odd way of reviewing the work at the head of this article—but the connexion is close. Sir Walter is speaking of his motives for writing prose when his fame was so established as a poet :
“ The first was the extended and well-merited fame of Miss Edgeworth, whose Irish characters have gone so far to make the English familiar with the character of their gay and kind-hearted neighbours of Ireland, that she may be truly said to have done more towards completing the Union, than perhaps all the legislative enactments by which it has been followed up.
“ Without being so presumptuous as to hope to emulate the rich humour, pathetic tenderness, and admirable tact, which pervade the works of my accomplished friend, I felt that something might be attempted for my own country, of the same kind with that which Miss Edgeworth so fortunately
achieved for Ireland—something which might introduce her natives to those of the sister kingdom, in a more favourable light than they had been placed hitherto, and tend to procure sympathy for their virtues and indulgence for their foibles. I thought also, that much of what I wanted in talent, might be made up by the intimate acquaintance with the subject which I could lay claim to possess, as having travelled through most parts of Scotland, both Highland and Lowland; having been familiar with the elder, as well as more modern race; and having had from my infancy free and unrestrained communication with all ranks of my countrymen, from the Scottish peer to the Scottish ploughman. Such ideas often occurred to me, and constituted an ambitious branch of my theory, however far short I may have fallen of it in practice."
We have already named those of the Scotch novels which are our prime favourites ;—and they are so because we think they join far finer representations of human feeling than is to be found in the others with equal power of incident and description. Guy Mannering' is, probably, the best of those we have omitted—but it is nearly all “ accident by flood and field,” and, which is a great fault in a novel, it is impossible to sympathize with the heroine, the pert and flippant Miss Julia Mannering." Ivanhoe,' also, is a magnificent display of power-but it does not suit us so well as those in which the feelings are nearer to ourselves.
But, after the publication of Ivanhoe,' we draw a strong and decided line. There is no one whole work which is really worthy of the Author of Waverley. Instead of comedy and tragedy of the highest order, it is only melo-drame-of the very highest order we grant at once, but still melo-drame. He works more from books, and less from his own observations, mind, and heart. The antiquarian shews himself far more, the man of genius much less. The causes of this inferiority are manifest; but the fact remains the same. The constant cry of more, more, more-necessarily threw even Sir Walter Scott upon resources foreign from his own. * Peveril,'. Quentin Durward,' Nigel,' • Woodstock’-all these are rather rifacimenti of old memoir-writers and so forth, than the offspring of Sir Walter's recollections, and fertile and brilliant invention. We do not mean to say that we object to materials being thus collected; but they should not in the hands of such a writer be made prominently apparent—nor are they in his earlier works where, nevertheless, they exist, and in considerable quantity. In them, they are worked in with the development of the characters in a manner equally skilful in execution, and delightful in the result; for the skill appears only upon reflection afterwards. Like a first-rate painting we at first are struck by the object represented, and see nothing else; when we cool, we admire the means by which the object that has so entranced us has been created.
In the novels we have named, and in some of those of a later date, there are many passages in which the old hand is recognised at once with delight; but no one work ever takes that hold upon the mind which the earlier productions seized at once, and have never relaxed since.
And now to consider more directly the work before us. The more we consider it, the more we really regret its publication. After what we have said, we shall not be considered luke warm admirers of this