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it is to endure the storms of life with fortitude and cheerfulness—like Milton, to “bear up and steer right onward,” than to give up in despair and die, like poor sensitive Keats, at the first attack.
We heartily wish there were more such live spirits to keep the world from being what it really is—a grave; for, as Novalis says, part of our body, of our humanity itself, yet sleeps a deep sleep." We wish our country might have many such men, devoted to nothing but literature,—wedded to it " for better or for worse.” We of course speak not now of the peculiarity of Andersen's genius, it must be left for another time. Such as he must stop the noisy mouths of those who are booing up and down the land, like Carlyle's Moon Calves, in regard to our national literature. If some calculating utilitarian should inquire the per cent. profit on the productions of such men, our answer must be, though to him very like unintelligible, “ Philosophy can bake no bread, but she can procure
, for us God, Freedom, Immortality.”
PRAISE for the warriors of the land !
TIE BLIND ARTIST.
“I must leave to-night for Rome,” said Diodati Pisano, as he approached his young pupil in a gallery of the Louvre : “ The Pope wishes a copy of the St. Jerome, of Correggio, for the Cardinal Rufina, and it is his pleasure that I return immediately.”
“What! can Pisano never be the master of himself ?" asked the youthful artist. “Are kings and popes privileged to bind genius with a chain of freaks and humors ? Must he serve who was born to sway?"
“ But in such service there is no thraldom. Artists must have patronage or they cannot live. The vassal, too, by his work, can oftentimes make himself greater than his king. Besides, unless the Pope had smiled on my early labors, I should never have been Pisano."
It may be so; but is the soul to hang on the nods of earthly authorities? Is there not something more than bread and fame for genius to toil after ? Nero once said, 'the artist lives every where.' But enough of this! It is a mere childish pettishness at the abruptness of your leaving that makes me speak so idly. A few more trials, and I shall throw back my boyhood forever, and step forth a man, with a stout and brave heart, I hope.”
" And a skilful hand, too, Rialti. This phantom-world of art sometimes dismays as well as delights. Happy is the young enthusiast, if, after it has opened the soul to beauty and hope, it merges it not into sorrow and despair. For the hand in vain essays to reach the realm where the spirit forever revels. But why do you sigh? Have you so soon learned that the soul lives within prison-bolts and bars? Have you so soon found that when it would spread its wings aloft in the free air, an unthought-of chain drags it with violence to the earth again? Alas! the first and last lesson which the artist has to learn is the littleness of his power. He must be content to leave more of his conception in the ideal realm than his brushes and pig. ments can take away.”
“I, too, have felt these sad and stern truths, Pisano. But when I have paused to consider my weakness, a word from you, or a single touch of your brush, has chased away my gathering fears. But when you have gone, I am fearful my hand will lose what little confidence it has gained. Could
you have staid until I had finished this copy of the Death of Clorinda, I should the better dare to go on alone. I fear I lack spirit and bold
See if the lines are not traced with too much care and fear." Pisano turned and looked long upon the picture. It was simple in design, and still simpler in execution. A gleam of morning sunshine has just broke upon the fanes of the old city, and fallen along the summits of the dark hills beyond it. In the foreground, lying at the foot of a tree, is a young and graceful girl-disguised partially in armor-her bosom bare and bleeding fast from an arrow which the warrior Tancred has but a moment ago shot with a deadly aim. She feels her life to be rapidly ebbing away, and wishes to receive the baptismal sacrament. But just as Tancred has reached her with water, which he has dipped with his helmet hurriedly from a spring, and is uuloosing her visor, he discovers that his dying victim is Clorinda, the object around whom has centered for years all his love, and
“ with perfect
solicitude, and devotion—the faithful and hoping girl, who has come forth so early only to seek him. But alas ! a mist is falling upon her eyes; and with a faint smile she reaches out her hand in token of forgiveness, and dies!
“ You have mastered the conception,” said the old artist, success. It has none of the stiffness of a copy-it seems your own. There is a soul in every inch of the canvass. Each nerve of the warrior is touched with feeling-with the color of sorrow! The whole figure seems real, and stands out of the canvass, dumb with agony, bursting with despair! Yes, Rialti,
you have revived the spirit of Lodovic Lana from this old bit of canvass, and will carry it with you to Rome. You need copy but little more, before you shall yourself begin to equal, nay," he added, as the delicate, pale face of the youth flushed up under the excitement of a growing hope, « perhaps to distance the masters you now tread after. Study this, Jacob's Dream of Rembrandt, at your left. It is more like a dream than
any vision you will find in Italy. Notice the brilliancy and gorgeousness of the supernatural light, in which the angels are floating on silvery wings, above the darkness. Seek the source of his power. It was a mistake of Rembrandt, that he clung to nature with such a superstitious fear. But the execution -mark how perfect! See! he has in some places even left the paints in lumps. In his inspired moments, he forgot how he laid them on. faith in his fingers, and they sometimes made him paint with the handle of his brush."
Pisano reached out his hand to take leave of his pupil. But while bidding him adieu, his eye fell upon a little panel at the foot of the easel. “ What is this ?” he asked; and he stooped to take it up before Rialti could divert his glance.
“ That,” replied the young artist, in a hesitating voice," is the face of a girl near my home. It came between me and my canvass, and I could not go on till I had sketched it down.”
“And you have not wasted your time," said the master, encouragingly. “ the Madonna of Raphael was but the face of his mother. You have breathed a warm and life-like thought into these angelic features. The living spirit from its distant home has come here and taken up its dwelling. But you must not let your memory be too busy. He who would be great must marry his thoughts to his work, forsaking everything else. gies are weakened when they are divided. To reach into the highest heaven of invention-into the glittering floods of light, he must first lift himself out of his own heart."
“I know,” said Rialti, sadly, “it is all true. But the years that are fled will look back to us and beckon to us! Yes, they even come sometimes and knock at the door, and enter in spite of ourselves."
Pisano looked a moment, musingly, on his young charge, as if loth to leave; then giving him a few directions about his course of painting, he started on his journey. It was the last time the master had to speak to him of devotion to his art. Alas! the time was soon coming, when it would have been well if a more trifling employment than this could have taken him from his work.
The young artist was now alone. But he could not go on with his picture for some moments. His mind was full of his home, and it took a long while to travel back to his easel. By and by he began to think over the last words of Pisano. “He has laid out almost a year's labor," he said, as he muttered over the directions which were left him; “I inust study the works of Guido and Rubens bere; I must study those of Tintoretti, and Titian, and Paul Veronese, at Venice, and those of Caracci at Bologna ; and then I am free to enter the Sextine Chapel and the Vatican. Then I
can muse over the beauty and grace of Raphael, and over the grandeur and awe of the mighty Florentine. But it must be done quickly; I long to be trying my own creative power, and my own translating skill."
A week afterwards Rialti made preparations for leaving France. As he walked hastily through the long galleries, his brain became confused and sickened. “I am tired of this Louvre,” he said; “ all things are so crowded together that there is scarcely a chance for exclusive study. There is too much to be seen at once. But the Vatican will be better. There, there will be at least one statue to a niche-often one work to a room. Ha! I will be in Rome soon,” and his eye brightened with a boy's ecstacy, “in the metropolis of the earth-the grave of giant empires, girt about forever by its own desolation. I will be in the eternal city, which stands like a mighty tombstone in sublime loneliness amidst the living world; with its great wrecked arches, and broken columns, and weed-topped temples, strangers from the early time. And the Vatican is there, within whose hoary walls dwells the great spirit of beauty, sleeping away in everlasting dreams!”
It may be worth the while to go a little further back into the youth of Luca di Rialti. It was from our own country that he went forth to perfect himself in his art. The village where he dwelt, though changed from its former quaint rudeness, may still be seen on an open highland that rises slowly from the banks of the St. Lawrence. But the little cottage in which he lived has long since crumbled away and disappeared. The spot where it stood is still pointed out on a small mound near by the village church. Around lay in proud repose the most grand and weird sights that nature in all its primeval wildness and grace can group. On one side, as far as the eye can roam, reach out the old and gigantic forests; and on the other, rise up, as by enchantment, the Thousand Islands, glancing with golden hues far away over the sunlit waters. Here Rialti first felt a growing love for the vast and beautiful, the grand and startling, which afterwards became so entirely the passion of his soul. This was the chosen home of his grandfather, when he came a persecuted exile, with his little family, Rialti among the number, from a restless Carbonaro province in Italy. The old man, with his stern and energetic spirit, gave up but slowly the cherished plans and hopes of his heart. Even here, with all thought of returning gone, he loved to live out the same life which he had so long been leading. For many years he wore a foreign dress and spoke a foreign language. He had to battle hard with his attachments for his native land; and when he at last overcame them, and was more thoroughly American in habits and feelings, his mild benevolence and generous counsel made him seem the father of us all.
The childhood of Rialti was passed in the utmost friendship among the village boys; but he seemed little pleased with their sports. He would often steal away from their merriest meetings, and wander alone in the woods and by the streams. And he was not idle in his ramblings. After studying a landscape long and attentively, he would go to the roadside and trace it with a stick in the sand. He would pass hours over his simple work; and if a wind swept by, and hurried off his tracings in a cloud of dust, he would stand sadly for a moment, then begin anew; or, perhaps, walk sorrowfully away to find soine new picture, and try his rude art again.
Years passed by, and Rialti was a man. His grandfather was dead, and he had now no protector. But he had learned to think and to act for himself. His enthusiasm in his school-boy recreations had grown with his years. Better materials were put into his hands when his friends understood and approved his inclinations. The stick had given place to the pencil-the sand to the canvass. And now he began to catch glimpses of man's real power over the language of colors—of that spell which can bring a dream down from the still air, and hold it enchanted here for the world to gaze upon. “I cannot stay here longer," he said; “I must go abroad and tudy my art. He who would step above the common level-who would make himself truly great, must not keep himself in close contact with his home and his time. Ile must early sever himself from all the bounds and claims of ages or of countries. He cannot be pent up like a day laborer in little fields and little shops. He must go abroad widely and freely among his fellows; he must breathe the atmosphere of distant climates; he must go back into the spirit of distant ages. The great world must be his study -men and things his books. And when he has journeyed over ocean and land, and studied beauty in the tree, the flower, the mountain and the cloud; when he has mused long upon the out-spread earth, with all the mystery and sublimity of its light and its darkness, its heat and its cold, its sunshine and its storm; then must he stop in studios and galleries—then must he dwell among paintings, and statues, and ruins, that he may learn how spirit may be wedded to matter-how the airy conception may be brought into a visible execution. He must learn to speak of rapture or of anguish-of hope or of gloom, by mingling colors on a scrip of canvass, eloquently as in tones. He must make himself master of that mysterious alchemy which turns shapeless earth into forms of thought, which warms dead pigments into life and sense. He must study the shapes of mindthe hues of feeling, until he can call the lovely and evanescent images of beauty into external embodiment; until, by the might of his will, he can fasten upon earth the saint-like visions of his impassioned hours; until, by a few magic shadings, he can put a speaking soul into the mirrored shadow of his thought."
And so the young artist fixed his thoughts upon his future career; so he kegan to talk of the day when he should leave his home. But the ties of bindred were strong. The feeling of affection is always deep in the childhood of genius. But the closest tie of all, and one which he found it hardest to loosen, was a holier than that of kindred. A young schoolgirl, one of his earliest playmates, had been a sharer of his youthful joys and hopes, and a passion firm and deep had grown up between them. And many wondered often why Luca di Rialti did not take to his own dwelling the beautiful Laura Methender as a bride. But months few past, and he did not. At last his enthusiasm for his art conquered for awhile his affection for his home, and he started for Italy. The young artist's heart leaped with gladness, for he was going to the home of art—to the land where life itself was art.
But the moment of separation was a sad one. It seems hard to break away from all the scenes and friends of childhood when the time draws
Rialti found it so when he parted from the loved one of his youth. Many were the promises spoken-many the tears shed, before he could gather up his flagging resolutions and re-cross the threshold. And when Laura Methender, with a heart sinking under sadness and fear, placed a ring upon his finger, that her memory might not die when he should dwell far away among a strange people, his heart throbbed with the keenest sorrow. He had almost a mind to throw down his art forever. Half tearfully,