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flushed and glimmering twilight - refracted down through a thousand media — from the full and direct blaze of its parent source. There may be those, too, who never go directly to Nature, to paint her in the strong lineaments of reality ; but prefer a concentrated and reflected scene : as if they would always dwell in a camera obscura, without ever going out to look upon the full glory of the world. But true Genius is always practical ; and when it would teach us, it is by great and lofty truths indeed, but not by truths for which we must hunt afar off to obtain the clue. Genius is always practical ; and it may safely be propounded as a rule, that in studying the great masters who have illustrated human nature, we are to apply the truths which exist every where around us in life, and expect to see them fully and directly recognised.
How powerfully Shakspeare has taught one of these common truths, in the story of Romeo and Juliet, hardly needs to be insisted on. There is not a more common phenomenon in life, than the sad result of love heightened to excess by a vigorous imagination, which soon brings in the idea of a kind of consecration to some peculiar fate ; and then rushes beyond the barriers of present difficulty and obstacle without the patience and judgment to remove them by the ordinary means. Thus have deluded beings, bound up in each other by a desperate affection, which owed its strength as much to a heated fancy as to real love, turned away from all else that was fair in life, and from all other duties, and voluntarily sought a common death, in every civilized and probably in every savage land.
But I am aware that Shakspeare did not mean alone to point out the weakness of our nature ; he meant also to illustrate its glory and its strength. He meant to show, that it is capable of a fidelity which nothing can corrupt or intimidate, and that no blows inflicted upon it from without are so terrible as those which it would inflict upon itself, if unfaithful, untrue, ungenerous, and selfish.
The tempest of midnight shriek'd loud through the sky,
But forms in the forest trod silent and fast,
The hand grasp'd the hatchet — the belt bore the knife,
And proud was that chief, though the fagots were pild,
Did he think of his lodge in the valley that stood ?
“How oft have ye trembled and crouch'd like the deer,
At the sweep of my hatehet and dart of my spear,
“The scalp of thy father has dried in my smoke,
I seized thy young brother, his death doom I spoke,
Their yells drown'd his song, and the torch was applied,
But hark! from the forest's tempestuous gloom
With a leap like the panther's, the chieftain has sprung,
In its purple and gold rose the morn in the east,
A. B. S. Monticello, Sullivan Co. N. Y.
ALLSTON THE PAINTER.
A PHILOSOPHER of the present day, looking at the Race of Man as an Individual, bas divided time into three parts, the era of the infinite, the era of the finite, and the era in which the relations of the infinite and finite are developed.
By the era of the infinite, he means that time during which the soul is absorbed in what is beyond the region of the senses and understanding; when it is only conscious of being, and has not discriminated the boundaries of its own being and powers, but all is confounded in one great sea of the incomprehensible. The child must be in this condition of mind, at least until he has learned what portion of being or power is contained within the limits of his own little body. The Race was very much in this condition of mind before it had learned that Nature was to be brought into subjection to the inward spirit, which, kindling in the course of ages, has brought every region and element in some degree into obedience to the will of man.
This era of the infinite had hardly any representation by Art. When Man contemplated only the great and deep unknown, which the felt boundaries of the known intimate to human Reason, what could he do ? He could only be still and adore. And from this instinctive self-annibilation, which is the first impulse of devotedness, come the characteristic Religions of the East, -- unintelligent, unreasoning, slavish obedience, destitute of all moral sentiment, and expressing themselves in the most cruel self-tortures and suicide ; and from the same cause came the characteristic governments, despotisms upheld by priestcraft. Hence also the absolute want of the beautiful arts in Eastern Asia, and the uncarved pyramids of the Elder Egyptians ; who, carrying the oriental spirit away from its home, seem to have attempted to supply, by an accumulation - all but artless, — some symbol of the grand and indestructible, to their soft-featured country.
The era of the finite, on the other hand, had its full representation by Art. This era of the history of the race corresponds to that period of youth which is enlivened by the discovery of its own fresh powers, and when nothing seems impossible. It is at this period that man is the image of God, — the Creator. All those inexplicable sympathies which connect the soul with the world without, are fully awake, and inform him that this same world-without is a material on which he is to work. The impulse of the infinite too is upon him, from that past era through which his soul has come, and this unconsciously swells the tide of feeling, which now takes the form of personal power. So with the Race. Some exciting political circumstances, lost in the remoteness of antiquity or only preserved in the tradition of the war of the Titans with the Olympian Gods who conquered them ; (a tradition which seems to represent a violent re-action of the immortal spirit within men, against a human mal-administration of the divine,) waked up, in the beautiful clime of Greece, a consciousness that some power, for his own well-being, belongs by nature to every man. This consciousness was so new—so delightful to realize - that for a time that favored people thought of no other power than what was within them; and as this inward power was, in truth, kindred with the power above, mimic creations of all departments came forth at its word, stamped with all the characteristics of the individuals, who were, indeed, by their plastic genius, affiliated with the Almighty.
In this era of Art, the beauty and music scattered through the visible universe, were concentrated in Greece, so as to be within the reach of single minds. The restless activity of human desire, which sends men forth to seek beauty and harmony every where, found a “rapture of repose" in groups in which all that the love of Beauty sought was placed by the artist within the reach of the senses of any seeker. The perfection of a work of this era was measured by the self-repose, the sense of proper humanity, which it brought. Man was indeed upon the throne of the world in classic art. The very powers which rule outward things were subject to the Grecian artist. He acknowledged powers over the external world, but none over himself. Phidias chiselled the Thunderer and Minerva after the patterns of Homer ; and Homer's hero, in the hour of his might, disdains the omens of Jupiter. Throwing himself on that sentiment, which has been beautifully defined as “ the combined of the social affections,” Hector, at the feet of the Greeks, replies to Polydamas, who warns him to retreat, on account of the eagle Jove sends to Olympus —
“ Ye vagrants of the sky! your wings extend,
Or where the suns arise, or where descend -
But the era of the finite with its representation in classic art, is fading into the third interminable era. Time and Christianity have opened the relations of the finite to the infinite; the divine has been humanised, the human more than idealised, it has been seen divine. A spirit far above that Spiritus Mundi which was divided and subdivided into the divinities of Olympus, has become the object of worship ;
a spirit which broods especially over the progressive mind of man, which opens a fountain to the human race for the everlasting increase of its proper humanity - Is there any representation of this by art?
Some have presumptuously answered that there is not ; that the era of Sculpture, Painting, aye, even of Poetry, is past. Soine look back on the period of the Fine Arts as the flower of Time's age, and believe that the Fountain of Genius, once thought eternal in God, is exhausted. Others think that the Fine Arts were the starry lights of the Night of Time, or at best the dawn of its Day ; and that its day is Locke on the Human Understanding, and Malthus on Political Economy! But on this great question we must have higher authority. Let us
In the article on “Washington Allston,” in the May No., our readers will please notice the following
437 A period after humanity in line 3.
33d line, insert the before aesthetic.
the miracles that he wrought in prooi ui mo maww--the reach of the senses; works whose execution transcended the mortal life of an individual; works which — complete in conception, yet — unfinished in execution, are in that very thing an expression of the relation of the Spirit within a man to the frail tabernacle of his mortal life, the infinite to the finite !
It was indifferent to Michael Angelo by what element he expressed himself, so that he could express himself by some means. Was he called to Architecture? He commenced a monument to the Chief of the Apostles, a mere item of which was throwing into the air the masterpiece and embodiment of the religion of the conquerors of the world; for the dome of St. Peters is the Coliseum, the temple of all