Imágenes de páginas

sloping terraces which adorn the gar “I have admired your genius,' reden, while he pointed out and named to plied the old man, “but I admit that I me the persons worthy of being distin- have regretted its being exercised upon guished from the crowd. After a long the ephemeral philosophy so much in array of titled personages and literati vogue-a philosophy the more dangerhad been presented to my notice, ous, because it surrounds itself with • Who,' I asked, “are the unpretending all the allurements of mental imagery, persons just advancing towards us I and casts a veil of dreamy beauty mean, that venerable old man, and the around its most glaring inconsistenfading yet intellectual-looking woman cies.' that leans, as if for support, upon his “ The harmony of the moral world,' arm ?'

I replied, “as well as the order of the “* That is Professor L of Berlin, physical universe, has dispelled in a the most celebrated of the few Ortho- great degree the clouds that obscured dox* theologians that Germany can my mental vision ; and I see at last the boast ; and the lady is his only daughter. scheme of eternal intelligence developShe is, as you see, past the first blooming itself alike in both. The wonderful of womanhood ; but she is a rare speci- adaptation of means to ends has conmen of intellectual culture, and I doubt vinced me that there is a great First if our land can produce another Frede. Cause separate from myself-infinite in rika. Incessant study has worn down power-the maker and upholder of all her physical strength; but her mental things.' powers are undiminished, and her love “A tear glistened in the eyes of the of everything that is true, pure, and old man, as he turned his face towards good, adds a bright, untarnished lustre his daughter; and our conversation to her name.'

was abruptly terminated by his being " An undefinable sensation shot called away. through my frame-a thrill, that made “Frederika and myself were left alone. my heartstrings vibrate. My thoughts My heart throbbed with unwonted rareverted to the unknown who, but a few pidity ; the state of suspense was months before, had given a deeper inte- misery. rest to my life than it had ever known. 66• 'Íell me,'I began-and, abashed And where was she now? Had her fate at my presumption, I hesitated. She been sealed by death's stern warrant, looked at me for a moment in silence; or did she still live to hope and pray then, gently placing her hand in mine, for me? I gazed after the receding she said : form of Frederika; and as a wild, im 6 • Ernest Steiner, we have met at probable idea forced itself upon me, I last.' left my friend, and sought the solitude “I raised that hand to my lips—but of my chamber.

emotions too sacred for utterance over“ saw her no more that day; but the powered me. following one, at sunset, we met at the upper spring. My friend was also “Two months—two eventful months there, and introduced us to each other. passed away; and the hue of health To my great disappointment, not a shade again visited the cheek of Frederika. passed over her countenance as she In my intercourse with herself and her heard my name, but, entering into con- admirable parent, I had felt my nature versation with the most graceful ease purified and improved; while my views and self-possession, she soon charmed were in a great measure enlightened me by the originality and depth of her and confirmed by the simple, but allmind, and by the unaffected simplicity powerful arguments of the Christian of her manner. Her father I founl a divine. I had, found in the real friend no less agreeable acquaintance; and of my soul, the ideal bride of my afwhen at length he delicately alluded to fections; but the word upon which my success as an author, I saw the my all of happiness must be staked, eyes of Frederika turned upon me, as had not been spoken. I had, when a I answered, 'Yet I would gladly blot child, blown bubbles in the summer out, if I could, all that I have written.' air, and as the floating orb was sus

• “ To belong to the Orthodox party in Germany at the present time, the great points of Lutheran belief must be admitted."-Dwight's Travels in Germany.

pended between earth and Heaven, and thy steps astray, then let the counsels Í marked its opal shades, and saw the she has given thee, lure thee back into bright images reflected on its surface, the paths of purity and peace.”. I scarcely dared to breathe, for fear I The young man clasped his father's should dissolve the existence of that hand between his own, and both refairy globe. Thus did I feel, as the mained silent. There were thoughts hour drew on that must either unite, or too deep for their utterance, or for my separate us for ever. It was no com- expression, that were busy at their mon die to cast; it must be blighted hearts; and as night in its starry manhood-or-a prospect of happiness beauty closed around them, the that I could not trust myself to dwell shrouded memories of other days upon.

came floating on, and robed the past in " It was on the evening prior to her golden colors such as it was wont to departure from Baden, that I told her wear. of my deep, my fervent attachment. The elder Steiner continued to I told her what she had been to me in gaze in dreamy reverie upon the towthat dark and stormy period of my ering spire, and as he remembered how life, when I turned away in bitterness often she had looked out upon that sky from every sound of consolation ; I with him, and had spoken of its eternal told her of the yearning desire of my mysteries, a faint smile illumined his heart to be a wiser and a better man. countenance, and he breathed this pasWith all the pleading tenderness of sionate appeal to the recollection of love, I besought her to share life's weal buried joys : or woe with me; and as the light of “ Beautiful Ideal! oh, come to me her placid smile beamed in beauty and again, freighted with the precious love, hope upon my soul, I felt that earth which as my wife she bore me. Come had no choicer gift to bestow, and that to me, with all the hallowed influences, the best blessing I had ever coveted which, for years, she shed around my was now indeed mine.

soul. Come to me, not with the sha“Dost thou remember thy mother, my dows of the early grave, but with the boy? Aye, by those tears, I see that soft rainbow hues of my wedded home. thou hast not forgotten her. Comes Refined and exalted by the touch of she in the still night-watches to bless truth, oh, whisper to my heart of the thy slumber? Wieland, when the happiness that is hers! Tell me, in my passion-pulses of thy young bosom are hours of despondence, that she lives throbbing wildly, and temptation with where the Ideal fades, and is merged its winning blandishments would lead in the mighty Real !"

Note. -At the present time, accounts the effect of Animal Magnetism upon of experiments in Animal Magnetism her; if, indeed, he should be able to are apt to excite the smile of incredulity; succeed in his effort. He willed that and one of the incidents of the above sto- she should visit heaven; and as he ry will, perhaps, find but few believers. watched her countenance, he could obIt is paralleled, however, to some extent serve the expression of suffering giving by a circumstance within the know- place to one of tranquil enjoyment. ledge of the writer, which occurred in When she awoke, she told him that she this country a few years since. An had dreamed of Paradise ; and deeminent physician of New York, who scribed in the most circumstantial and was far from being a believer in Mes- glowing manner, what she had felt and merism, was attending a female patient seen. The physician, from that time, laboring under distressing nervous de- ceased to consider the experiments bility. During the heavy sleep that mentioned by others as unworthy of succeeded one of her most severe at- belief. tacks, he thought that he would test

J. L. S.



The susceptibility, the tastes, and the example of revolt and republicanism, genius which enable a people to enjoy was natural ; but the reason which she the Fine Arts, and to excel in them, assigned for those deficiencies was not have been denied to the Anglo-Ameri- the true reason. She argued with the cans, not only by European talkers, depth and the sagacity of a philosobut by European thinkers. The assertion pher who should conclude, from seeing of our obtuseness and inefficiency in an infant imbibe with eagerness its this respect, has been ignorantly and first aliment, that its whole life would presumptuously set forth by some per- be occupied in similar absorption. sons, merely to fill up the measure of Sir Walter Scott, rank tory as he our condemnation. Others have ar- was, showed more good sense, when, rived at the same conclusion, after in recommending an American book to examining our political and social Miss Edgeworth, he accounted for such character, after investigating our ex a phenomenon, by saying, “ that peoploits and testing our capacities. They ple once possessed of a three-legged admit that we trade with enterprise stool, soon contrive to make an easyand skill, that we build ships cunningly chair.” Humble as the phrase is, we and sail them well, that we have a here perceive an expectation on his part, quick and far-sighted apprehension of that the energies now exercised in laythe value of a territory, that we make ing the foundations of a mighty emwholesome homespun laws for its gov- pire, would in due time rear the stately ernment, and that we fight hard when columns of civilisation, and crown the molested in any of these homely exer edifice with the entablature of letters cises of our ability ; but they assert and of arts. Remembering that one that there is a stubborn, anti-poetical leg of the American stool was planted tendency in all that we do, or say, or in Maine, a second in Florida, and the think ; they attribute our very ex- third at the base of the Rocky Mouncellence in the ordinary business of tains, he could scarce expect that the life, to causes which must prevent our chair could become an easy one in a development as artists.

half-century. Enjoying the accumulated result of It is true, that before the Declaration the thought and labor of centuries, of Independence, Copley had in BosEurope has witnessed our struggles ton formed a style of portrait which with the hardships of an untamed con filled Sir Joshua Reynolds with astontinent, and the disadvantages of co- ishment; and that West, breaking lonial relations, with but a partial ap- through the bar of Quaker prohibition, preciation of what we aim at, with but and conquering the prejudice against a an imperfect knowledge of what we provincial aspirant, had taken a high have done. Seeing us intently occu rank in the highest walk of art in pied during several generations in fell- London. Stuart, Trumbull, Alston, ing forests, in building towns, and Morse, Leslie, Newton, followed in constructing roads, she thence formed quick succession, while Vanderlyn won a theory that we are good for nothing golden opinions at Rome, and bore except these pioneer efforts. She away high honors at Paris. So far taunted us, because there were no were the citizens of the Republic from statues or frescoes in our log-cabins ; showing a want of capacity for art, she pronounced us unmusical, because that we may safely affirm, that the we did not sit down in the swamp with bent of their genius was rather pecuan Indian on one side, and a rattle- liarly in that direction, since the first snake on the other, to play the violin. burins of Europe were employed in That she should triumph over the de- the service of the American pencil, ficiencies of a people who had set the before Irving had written, and while


Cooper was yet a child. That Eng- us the opinion of the rottenness of the land, with these facts before her, should systems of which they are the instruhave accused us of obtuseness in regard to art, and that we should have De Tocqueville remarks upon the pleaded guilty to the charge, furnishes British aristocracy, that, notwithstandthe strongest proof of her dispositioning their sagacity as a body, and their to underrate our intellectual powers, integrity and high-toned character as and of our own ultra docility and want individuals, they have gradually abof self-reliance.

sorbed everything and left the people Not many years since, one of the nothing; while he declares that the illustrious and good men of America American employés, though they are exclaimed in addressing the nation : sometimes defaulters and dishonest, yet,

after all, get little beyond their dues, « Excudent alii mollius spirantia æra,

and are obliged to sacrifice both repuCredo equidem; vivos ducent de marmore

tation and self-respect in order to obtain voltus!”

that little. Those who direct the Since that period art has received a Academies of Fine Arts in Europe, new impulse among us. Artists have are prone to take an advantage of their arisen in numbers ; the public gives position analogous to that enjoyed by its attention to their productions; their the aforesaid aristocracy. As the latlabors are liberally rewarded. It seems ter come to regard the mass as a flock now admitted that wealth and cultiva- to be fed, and defended, and cherished, tion are destined to yield in America for the sake of their wool and mutton, so the same fruits that they have given in the former are not slow to make a band Italy, in Spain, in France, Germany of educandi the basis of a hierarchy. and England. It seems now admitted Systems and manner soon usurp the that there is no anomalous defect in our place of sound precept. Faith is inmental endowments; that the same sisted on rather than works. The powers displayed in clearing the forest pupils are required to be not only docile and tilling the farm will trim the garden. but submissive. They are not free. It seems clear that we are destined to To minds once opened to the light have a school of art. It becomes a of knowledge, an adept may speak in matter of importance to decide how the masses, and the seed will fall on good youth who devote themselves to these ground; but to awaken a dormant soul, studies are to acquire the rudiments of to impart first principles, to watch the imitation, and what influences are to be budding of the germ of rare talent, remade to act upon them. This question quires a contact and relations such as seemed at one time to have been decided. no professor can have with a class, such The friends of art in America looked as few men can have with any boy. to Europe for an example, and with If Europe must furnish a model of the natural assumption that experience artistical tuition, let us go at once to had made the old world wise in what the records of the great age of art in relates to the fine arts, determined upon Italy, and we shall there learn that forming Academies as the more refined Michael Angelo and Raphael, and their nations of the continent have ended by teachers also, were formed without any doing. We might as well have pro- of the cumbrous machinery and millposed a national church establishment. horse discipline of a modern Academy. That the youth must be taught is clear They were instructed, it is true; they -but in framing an institution for that were apprenticed to painters. Instead object, if we look to countries grown of passively listening to an experienced old in European systems, it must be for proficient merely, they discussed with warning rather than example. We their fellow students the merits of differspeak from long experience and much ent works, the advantages of rival observation of European Academies. methods, the choice between contraWe entertain the highest respect for dictory authorities. They formed one the professional ability and for the another. Sympathy warmed them, personal character of the gentlemen opposition strengthened, and emulation who preside over those institutions. spurred them on. In these latter days, Nay, it is our conviction of their capa- classes of boys toil through the rudicity and of their individual willingness ments under the eye of men who are to impart knowledge, which forces upon themselves aspirants for the public

favor, and who, deriving no benefit, as positively hindrances instead of helps masters from their apprentices, from to art. the proficiency of the lads, look upon The great element of execution, every clever graduate as a stumbling- whether in painting or in sculpture, is block in their own way. Hence their imitation. This is the language of art. system of stupefying discipline, their Almost all clever boys can learn this tying down the pupil to mere manual to a degree far beyond what is supexecution, their silence in regard to posed. That objects be placed before principles, their cold reception of all them calculated to attract their attenattempts to invent. To chill in others tion and teach them the rules of prothe effort to acquire is in them the portion, while they educate the eye to instinctive action of a wish to retain. form and color, no one will dispute ; Well do we remember the expression but the insisting upon a routine, the deof face and the tone of voice with priving them of all choice or volition, which one of these bashaws of an the giving a false preference to readiEuropean Academy once received our ness of hand over power of thought, praise of the labors of a man grown all these are great evils, and we fully grey in the practice of his art, but who, believe that they fall with a withering though his works were known and ad- force on those minds especially whose mired at Naples and Petersburgh, at nourishment and guidance they were London and Vienna, had not yet won intended to secure—we mean on those from the powers that were his erequatur minds which are filled with a strong

—“ Yes, sir, yes! clever boy, sir! yearning after excellence; warm sympromises well !"

pathies, quick, delicate, and nice perThe president and the professors of ceptions, strong will and a proud conan Academy are regarded by the public sciousness of creative power of mind, as of course at the head of their respect- joined to diffidence of their capacity to ive professions. Their works are bring into action the energies they feel models, their opinions give the law. within them. The paltry prizes offered The youth are awed and dazzled by for the best performances seldom rouse their titles and their fame; the man of men of this order; they may create in genius finds them arrayed in solid pha- such souls an unamiable contempt for lanx to conbat his claim. In those their unsuccessful competitors; they countries where a court bestows all may give to successful mediocrity inencouragement, it is found easy to keep flated hopes, a false estimate of its own from those in power all knowledge of a powers. As a substantial help they dangerous upstart talent. How far are worthless even to the tyro who this mischievous influence can be car- wins them. ried may be gathered froin the position Leonardo da Vinci coiled a rope in in which Sir Joshua Reynolds and his his studio, and drew from it, with the court managed to keep men like Wilson subtlest outline and the most elaborate and Gainsborough. He who sees the study of light and shade. “ Behold!" productions of these men company said he, “my academy!” He meant with those of their contemporaries, and to show that the elements of art can be who remembers the impression which learned without the pompous array of Sir Joshua's writings had conveyed of the antique school or the lectures of the their standing as artists, will perceive professor. Few will be tempted to with surprise that they were not the vic- follow his example; but even that were tims of any overt act of misrepresenta- far better than a routine of instruction tion, but that they were quietly and which, after years of drudgery and gently praised out of the rank due to labor, sends forth the genius and the them into an inferior one, by a union of blockhead so nearly on a level with real talent, constituted influence, and a each other, the one manacled with sly, cool, consistent management. precepts, the other armed with them at

Many of the ablest painters and all points. sculptors of Europe have expressed to The above reflections have been us directly and frankly the opinion that drawn from us by the oft-repeated Academies, furnished though they be expressions of regret which we have with all the means to form the eye, the listened to, “that from the constitution hand and the mind of the pupil, are of our society, and the nature of our

« AnteriorContinuar »