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These have the power, with but a single frown,
A. If candid wit, if genius strikes the blow, Some consolation in my fate I know, Enjoy the brightness of the satire's beam, And praise the ridicule, myself its theme. Sure 'twere to die like that famed bird whose nest Holds all the scents of Araby the blest, For whom their fragrance gums and spikenard lend, Their odours frankincense and cassia blend, Who clasps her wings exulting in the fires, Ard blest amid oppressive sweets expires.
Where, Gifford, is the promise that thy hand Should strike a nobler, more reluctant band ? a Why sleep thy bolts, why in thy quiver lie The shafts that bid the brood of folly die? Ripe for thy song, the vices of the age Demand the fullest ardour of thy rage ; Then wake thou; from thy languid slumber start; Prepare thy bow; make ready the keen dart; Strengthen thine arm: then on religion's foe, On guilt and villainy inflict the blow; Nor put thou off thy wrath, till on the ground Vice groans, laid low, and pierced with many a
a « Nunc in Ovilio
The motto used by Mr. Gifford.
RELATIVE TO THOSE PAINTINGS OF
WHICH ARE MENTIONED IN THE PRECEDING POEM.
The following notes pretend to no critical know
ledge. They were simply dictated by the admiration which was created in me by those talents, which produced the pictures here noticed. It may not be improper to mention, that I fixed upon the paintings here more particularly described rather because they conveniently offered themselves as proofs of versatility of talents, than on account of any preeminence they may have over the rest of Mr. West's works.
NOTE' Í. Cicero discovering the Tomb of Archimedes to the
Magistrates of Syracuse. This Picture is classic; and the air and character of the figures, the introduction of the Lictors and Consular chafiot, the costume, the buildings, the scenery, in short, all
the component parts are purely so. The combination of forms, and the general air of the buildings and surrounding landscape are such, that while we behold them we imagine ourselves carried back to the age in which the discovery here represented actually took place, and planted amid the sages who are the actors in the scene. Every thing is perfectly in character with the solemn dignity which belongs peculiarly to scenes of this nature. The clouded sky, and the smoke of Mount Etna, mounting with difficulty, and labouring through a heavy atmosphere, are in perfect concord with the subject. Indeed there is not the form or character of foliage of a tree, the shape or colour of a fragment of stone, or the course or tone of a streamlet of water, that does not tend to advance the prime object of the painter.
It has been said, but surely without foundation, that this picture is in the manner of Poussin. It certainly has that composed solemnity which is almost personified in his pictures, and the subject is such as Poussin loved to paint; and this is all the resemblance. The composition of Poussin's groups is generally diffuse, much dispersed, and, if I may so express myself, stringy; and the character which he gave to all his figures, upon all occasions, was a transcript of some statue or bas-relief: he rather loved to paint the simple elements of a passion, and to represent a general idea of man, than to discriminate between this or that national character; and in his pictures we only know from the symbols and allegory which he introduced, whether we are on the banks of the Jordan, the Nile, or the Tiber. In Mr. West's picture the composition of the principal group iş