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Let Fancy's vivid hues awhile prevail-
mien, In their calm beauty smile around the sun-bright
And lovely o'er thee sleeps the sunny glow,
And seem indeed whate'er devotion deems, While so suffused with heaven, so mingling with
Again renew'd by Thought's creative spells, In all her pomp thy city, Theseus ! towers : Within, around, the light of glory dwells On art's fair fabrics, wisdom's holy bowers. There marble fanes in finish'd
grace ascend, The pencil's world of life and beauty glows; Shrines, pillars, porticoes, in grandeur blend, Rich with the trophies of barbaric foes;
And groves of platane wave in verdant pride, The sage's blest retreats, by calm Ilissus' tide.
? Fata Morgana. This remarkable aërial phenomenon, which is thought by the lower order of Sicilians to be the work of a fairy, is thus described Father Angelucci, whose account is quoted by Swinburne :
“On the 15th August 1643, I was surprised, as I stood at my window, with a most wonderful spectacle: the sea that washes the Sicilian shore swelled up, and became, for ten miles in length, like a chain of dark mountains, while the waters near our Calabrian coast grew quite smooth, and in an instant appeared like one clear polished mirror. On this glass was depicted, in chiaro-scuro, a string of several thousands of pilasters, all equal in height, distance, and degrees of light and shade. In a moment they bent into arcades, like Roman aqueducts. A long cornice was next formed at the top, and above it rose innumerable castles, all perfectly alike; these again changed into towers, which were shortly after lost in colonnades, then windows, and at last ended in pines, cypresses, and other trees.”_SWINBURNE's Travell in the Two Sicilies.
1 “We are assured by Thucydides that Attica was the province of Greece in which population first became settled, and where the earliest progress was made toward civilisation." -MITFORD's Greece, vol. i. p. 35.
Fall'n are thy fabrics, that so oft have rung
hill, Closed are the triumphs of the sculptor's hand, The magic voice of eloquence is still ;
Minerva's veil is rent 3_-her image gone; Silent the sage's bower—the warrior's tomb o'er
1 All sorts of purple and white flowers were supposed by the Greeks to be acceptable to the dead, and used in adorning tombs; as amaranth, with which the Thessalians decorated the tomb of Achilles.--POTTER'S Antiquities of Greece, vol. ii. p. 232.
? Pericles, on his return to Athens after the reduction of Samos, celebrated in a splendid manner the obsequies of his countrymen who fell in that war, and pronounced himself the funeral oration usual on such occasions. This gained him great applause ; and when he came down from the rostrum the women paid their respects to him, and presented him with crowns and chaplets, like a champion just returned victorious from the lists.- LANGHORNE's Plutarch, Life of Pericles.
3 The peplus, which is supposed to have been suspended as an awning over the statue of Minerva in the Parthenon, was a principal ornament of the Panathenaic festival ; and it was embroidered with various colours, representing the battle of the gods and Titans, and the exploits of Athenian heroes. When the festival was celebrated, the peplus was brought from the Acropolis, and suspended as a sail to the vessel, which on that day was conducted through the Ceramicus and principal streets of Athens, till it had made the circuit of the Acropolis. The peplus was then carried to the Parthenon, and consecrated to Minerva. - See CHANDLER's Travels, STUART's Athens, &c.
Fair Parthenon ! yet still must Fancy weep For thee, thou work of nobler spirits flown. Bright, as of old, the sunbeams o'er thee sleep In all their beauty still—and thine is gone ! Empires have sunk since thou wert first revered, And varying rights have sanctified thy shrine. The dust is round thee of the race that rear'd Thy walls; and thou---their fate must soon be
· The gilding amidst the ruins of Persepolis is still, according to Winckelmann, in high preservation.
Mark on the storied fricze the graceful train,
mienEach ray of beauty caught and mingled in the scene.
Gaze on yon forms, corroded and defacedYet there the germ of future glory lies !
Art unobtrusive there ennobles form,
1 “In the most broken fragment, the same great principle of life can be proved to exist, as in the most perfect figure," is one of the observations of Mr Haydon on the Elgin Marbles.
2 “ Every thing here breathes life, with a veracity, with an exquisite knowledge of art, but without the least ostentation or parade of it, which is concealed by consummate and masterly skill."-CANova's Letter to the Earl of Elgin.
3 Mr West, after expressing his admiration of the horse's head in Lord Elgin's collection of Athenian sculpture, thus proceeds :-" We feel the same, when we view the young equestrian Athenians, and, in observing thein, we are insensibly carried on with the impression that they and their horses actually existed, as we see them, at the instant when they were converted into marble."-West's Second Letter to Lord Elgin.
4 Mr Flaxman thinks that sculpture has very greatly improved within these last twenty years, and that liis opinion is not singular--because works of such prime importance as the Elgin Marbles could not remain in any country without a consequent improvement of the public taste, and the talents of the artist.–See the Evidence given in reply to Interrogatories from the Committee on the Elin Marbles.
Midst their bright kindred, from their marble
throne They have look'd down on thousand storms of
time; Surviving power, and fame, and freedom flown, They still remain d, still tranquilly sublime ! Till mortal hands the heavenly conclave marrd. The Olympian groups have sunk, andare forgotNot e'en their dust could weeping Athens guard; But these were destined to a nobler lot!
And they have borne, to light another land, The quenchless ray that soon shall gloriously ex
But thine are treasures oft unprized, unknown, And cold neglect hath blighted many a mind, O'er whose young ardours had thy smile but
shone, Their soaring flight had left a world behind ! And many a gifted hand, that might have
wrought To Grecian excellence the breathing stone, Or each pure grace of Raphael's pencil caught, Leaving no record of its power, is gone !
While thou hast fondly sought, on distant coast, Gems far less rich than those, thus precious, and
Phidias ! supreme in thought! what hand but
thine, In human works thus blending earth and heaven, O'er nature's truth had spread that grace divine, To mortal form immortal grandeur given? What soul but thine, infusing all its power In these last monuments of matchless days, Could from their ruins bid young Genius tower, And Hope aspire to more exalted praise;
And guide deep Thought to that secluded height Where excellence is throned in purity of light ?
Yet rise, O Land, in all but art alone!
Thy mighty monuments with reverence trace, And cry, “This ancient soil hath nursed a glorious
might not such a genius carry art, by the opportunity of studying those sculptures, in the aggregate, which adorned the temple of Minerva at Athens?"-WEST's Second Letter to Lord Elgin.
3 In allusion to the theories of Du Bos, Winckelmann, Montesquieu, &c., with regard to the inherent obstacles in the climate of England to the progress of genius and the arts. --See HOARE'S Epochs of the Arts, p. 84, 85.
And who can tell how pure, how bright a flame,
EXTRACTS FROM CONTEMPORARY REVIEW'S.
1 The Theseus and Ilissus, which are considered by Sir T. Lawrence, Mr Westmacott, and other distinguished artists, to be of a higher class than the Apollo Belvidere, “ because there is in them a union of very grand form, with a more true and natural expression of the effect of action upon the human frame than there is in the Apollo, or any of the other more celebrated statues.”-See The Evidence, &c.
2 “Let us suppose a young man at this time in London, endowed with powers such as enabled Michael Angelo to advance the arts, as he did, by the aid of one mutilated specimen of Grecian excellence in sculpture, to what an eminence
Blackwood's Magazine.-" In our reviews of poetical productions, the better efforts of genius hold out to us a task at once more useful and delightful than those of inferior merit. In the former the beautiful predominate, and expose while they excuse the blemishes. But the public taste would receive no benefit from a detail of mediocrity, relieved only by the censure of faults uncompensated by excellencies. We have great pleasure in calling the attention of our readers to the beautiful poem before us, which we believe to be the work of the same lady who last year put her name to the second edition of another poem on a kindred subject,“ The Restoration of the