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LVIL— THE LIGHTHOUSE.
THE scene was more beautiful far to my eye
On the shadowy waves' playful motion:
Like a star in the midst of the ocean.
m. No longer the joy of the sailor-boy's breast
Was heard in his wildly-breathed numbers; The sea-bird had flown to her wave-girdled nest,
The fisherman sunk to his slumbers.
rv. One moment I looked from the hill's gentle slope;
All hushed was the billows' commotion: And I thought that the lighthouse looked lovely as Hope,
That star on life's tremulous ocean.
v. The time is long past, and the scene is afar,
Yet when my head rests on its pillow, Will memory sometimes rekindle the star
That blazed on the breast of the billow.
And death stills the heart's last emotion,
LVIIL—MICHAEL ANGELO. ARTIST AJfD
AMONG all the names celebrated in art, there is not one that can be put in comparison with that of Michael Angelo. No man certainly ever had such a wonderful soul for art, in every department: the cupola of St Peter's, as an architect; his Moses and his Christ, as a sculptor; and his Last Judgment, on the ceiling of the Sistine Chapel, as a painter,—are three monuments which would have made the eternal fame, not of three, but of a hundred, artists in each department.
2. Great, noble, generous, and though perhaps somewhat in his temper not amiable, yet sternly honest in all his dealings, he seems to have been the great center around which the art of his period revolved. There was no one so great, so sublime in any particular branch of it, that did not look up to Michael Angelo, and consider him his superior. It is acknowledged that Raffaelle went into the Sistine Chapel and saw Angelo's wonderful works, and changed entirely his style upon beholding them; and it is particularly acknowledged by the writers of that time that in every other department he was considered equally supreme.
3. Now, you would suppose that this man, upon whom commissions poured in every day for great works, would have employed a number of artisans to assist him; that he would have had carefully-prepared models, which he would have entrusted to skillful artificers, so as to lighten his labor. But no such thing. There is every evidence we can desire, that, from the beginning to the end, Michael Angelo performed the whole of his own work; that he began with the piece of marble as it came from the quarry; that, if not always, pretty generally, he did not even condescend to make a design beyond a small wax model, but immediately set to work with chisel and mallet on the figure which he had in his imagination, and which he knew was as truly lurking in the inanimate block.
4. Va-sii'-ri shows us, in fact, from his unfinished pieces, in what way he must have mapped put the marble and done the work himself; and that is why we have so many vast pieces by him unfinished; either the stroke did not come out as he desired, or it went too far into the marble, and spoilt his labor. But so it is, that by far the greater part of those gigantic pieces which he finished, if not all, were the productions of his own hand as well as of his intellect.
5. When about seventy-five years of age he used to be just as indefatigable with his chisel and hammer as when he was a stout young man. He had near his bedroom, if not in it, an immense block of marble, and, when he had nothing else to do, he used to be hammering at that; and, when asked why he so continuously worked at this branch of his various arts, he' used to reply that he did it for amusement, to pass his time, and that it was good for his health to take exercise with the mallet.
6. He undertook at that age, from an enormous block of marble, to bring out four figures, larger than life, representing the descent from the cross; and he had nearly worked out the figure of our Lord, when, happening to meet with a vein that was hard and troublesome, he one day broke it into half a dozen pieces. It was seen in this state by a friend, and his servant begged it for him. It was put together, and it is now to be seen at Florence. But Vasari says that it was necessary, in order to give him occupation, to get another large block of marble and put it near his bed, that so he might continue at his work; and he began another group of the same sort. This was at the age of seventy-five.
7. And Vasari gives us an interesting account of how he worked: he says he was remarkably sober, and while performing his greatest works, such as the paintings, he rarely took more than a crust of bread and a glass of wine for his dinner. This sobriety, he says, made him very vigilant; and very often in the night he used to rise, when he could not sleep, and work away with his chisel, having made for himself a sort of helmet, or cap, out of pasteboard, and upon the middle of this, in the top, he had his candle, so that the shadow of his body never could be thrown upon the work.
8. We have a very interesting account of the manner in which he used to work at his marble, from a French writer, who says, "I can say that I have seen Michael Angelo, when he was about sixty years of age, and not then very robust, make the fragments of marble fly about at such a rate, that he cut off more in a quarter of an hour than three strong young men could have done in an hour,—a thing almost incredible to any one who has not seen it; and he used to work with such fury, with such an impetus, that it was feared he would dash the 'whole marble to pieces, making at each stroke chips of three or four fingers thick fly off into the air;' and that with a material in which, if he had gone only a hair's breadth too far, he would totally have destroyed the work, which could not be restored like plaster or clay."
9. We shall find it true that wherever there has really been grand or noble work executed by sculptors, they have been artificers as well as designers; they have done the work with their own hands, as well as imagined it in their own fancies. Cardinal Wiseman.
LIX— CATILINE AND AURELIA.
CATILINE. I will abandon Rome,—give back her scorn
Avrelia. Hear me, Lord Catiline:
Was Marius' daughter! There was'not in Rome
Catiline. 'T was so!—'t was so!
Amelia. By yon bright sun!
Catiline (eagerly). What's in your thoughts?
Amelia.. Have the walls ears? Great Jove! I wish
Catiline. Would you destroy?
Rome's ship is rotten:
Catiline (shrinking). It will not come to this.
A pair of branded beggars! Doubtless Cicero
Catiline. Curs'd be the ground he treads! . Name him no more. •
Amelia. Doubtless he '11 see us to the city gates j