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recent public events, favour our pursuits in this sacred quarter ; and I am highly grateful at being permitted to see, with my own natural eyes, what Jerusalem in our day can still present to us.
• Here, after centuries of ruin and suffering, Jerusalem exists in her greatness. She is elevated on the high table-land of Judea, 2500 feet above the level of the sea. Except the Mount of Olives,
hill near rises above her. Her walls, which encompass her on every side, are higher and more superb than any city walls I have ever seen. The square towers of her gates recall those of Windsor Castle; while their lengthened elevation, with the spires and cupolas they enclose, would have arrested the Poussins and Claudes in preference to all other cities. Her streets are stone-built, massive, surmounted by arches, through which the solemn vista claims the painter's art, though by that art still unknown and unrepresented; and the people, the Jew, the Arab, and the more humble and destitute, who never change, recall, by their appearance, a period of antiquity in everything removed from the present time.'
It is in vain to conjecture, from Wilkie's rapid sketches at Jerusalem and elsewhere, what might have been his success in the great object he contemplated, had his life been prolonged. He has both written and drawn enough to show how deeply his mind and feelings were impressed by the Holy Land; and the sketch of an Ecce Homo in its main figure has a divine sadness which, we confess, we should have thought beyond his reach.
We mentioned some time ago, in reviewing Dr. Robinson's · Biblical Researches in Palestine,' that Wilkie personally superintended the scientific experiment by which the long-contested problem of the depression of the Dead Sea and the adjoining region far below the level of the Mediterranean was at last solved. He details this interesting day's proceedings in a letter to Professor Buckland.
Proceeding to Alexandria, he, at the pasha's own request, drew his very flattering likeness of Mehemet Ali; and, but for admonitions of internal malady, he would no doubt have ascended the Nile to Cairo and the Pyramids. But this was not to be. He embarked for Malta on the 21st of May, had an access of sharp fever there, and on the 27th resumed his
voyage in a very feeble state. The vessel reached the bay of Gibraltar on the 1st of June, but Sir David Wilkie was by that time insensible. A stroke of palsy proved fatal. He expired on board at mid-day, and his remains were the same evening committed to the great deep.
He had reached but the 56th year of his age when he was suddenly cut off in the midst of high and pious aspirations and designs. If anything could console his affectionate relations for such a loss, it must have been the knowledge of the manner in
which his last thoughts were occupied. All honours were paid to his memory. The most eminent of our senators, at a moment of hardly surpassed political excitement, came like mourning brothers to take the lead in a public meeting, to commemorate his talents and virtue, and concert measures for the erection of a monumental statue in Westminster Abbey.
Great Britain has produced no artist superior to Wilkie. We doubt if Europe has produced so great a painter since Hogarth : and allowing him to be much below Hogarth in boldness and fertility of invention, he has, on the other hand, such a delicacy of sympathy with many of the better parts of human nature, as marks an intellect of happier and, we believe, higher order than ever found its chief gratification in satire. The truth and sobriety of Wilkie's dramatic delineations, in his native style, indicate a masculine breadth of apprehension, a repose of conscious power, a gentle calmness of mind and temper, such as the experience of mankind attests to be the privilege only of pure genius.
We cannot close this paper without again expressing our regret in having been compelled to find fault with many things in Mr. Cunningham's book. We knew him long, and regarded. Honest Allan' with sincere and affectionate respect. But it is a hasty, and in not a few points a rash, compilation. We have already suggested where the true, the sad apology must be found.
One unlucky omission must still be mentioned. He does not print, nor even give any account of, Sir David Wilkie's last will. An Appendix, no doubt, had been designed; but we have a specific reason for noticing the silence of the text. Mr. Cunningham intimates his opinion (vol. iii. p. 357) that there had never existed any cordiality of personal regard between the two greatest artists of our time-Wilkie and Chantrey. They were neither of them at all addicted to sentimental effusion-but the biographer produces not one circumstance in support of his unpleasant suggestion. We often saw them together, and should have drawn a very
different conclusion. Never, we must think, was there a man of simpler, more thoroughly manly manners, than Chantrey-one more incapable of carrying hypocrisy into his connexion with his fellows. If he was not a genuine cordial John Bull, we fear we shall never see one. As to Wilkie-in his few letters to the sculptor-few, of course, since they were near neighbours almost all their days, and met each other constantly—the tone is, we should say—for Wilkie-remarkably kind; and there is one fact which, we apprehend, will be considered as settling the whole affair as respects him. Wilkie left Chantrey one of his three executors!
And, by the by, what a rebuke does Chantrey's own will give
to all our friend's diatribes against the Royal Academy! Sir Francis, we all know, left a large fortune-he destined it most generously, most nobly, to the service of the fine arts of Great Britain ; and, with that great object in view, to what hands did he intrust the management of his munificent bequest? He constituted the President and Council of the Royal Academy his trustees for ever! He did so after thirty years' close observation of the body; and no shrewder observer ever lived.
Art. V.—Theognis Restitutus. The Personal History of the
Poet Theognis deduced from an Analysis of his existing Frag
ments. 410., pp. 117. Malta, 1842. IF F we were not in the secret, this fanciful and ingenious essay
would have betrayed its parentage. It is one of those graceful amusements with which Mr. John Hookham Frere occupies himself in his retirement at Malta. We recognise at once the translator of Aristophanes, whose successive plays reach us at such uncertain intervals as to keep us in a state of constant expectation, and to delay, perhaps too long, that respectful notice which, in our opinion, will be best paid to the complete work.
The translation of Theognis, however, is a humbler task, and no one can be more fully aware of its relative worth and difficulty than Mr. Frere. Here there is nothing of the poetry with which the wildest revel, the most grotesque invention, of Aristophanes is instinct; nothing of that exquisite Atticism of language which, even in its most daring liberties, its strangest combinations of composite words, preserves an infelt but undefinable purity, and which requires the most consummate mastery of vernacular and idiomatic, but unvulgar, English to echo it to our ears; nothing of that unrivalled melody of versification, not merely in the short lyric pieces, but infinitely various as the tone of the subject may require, to which it is still more difficult to bend our rough and inflexible metres. In the elegiac -- as distinguished from the amatory-poets, all is unimaginative, common life. Their merit consists in an easy and perspicuous terseness of language, with now and then a pleasing image, occasionally a quiet and gentle melancholy, a touching complaint of the uncertainty or the sorrows of life, or a simple and vigorous moral precept. Their strength, indeed, lies in this happy and pregnant sententiousness, which Mr. Frere has caught with extraordinary skill. In itself it is curious to observe this more prosaic period interposing itself between the two rich and prolific ages of Grecian poetry. Above
it is the Homeric epic, where all, the legends of gods and men, is equally mythic; an ideal elder world, where everything is of a higher order, even of a higher stature and greater physical strength, than the existing race of men. Below it is the age of the more poetic lyrical writers and of the tragic dramatists—a second birth of poetic and religious legend—if not so boldly creative, yet reviving all the Homeric or Cyclic traditions with the same earnestness of faith. The deeds of gods and godlike men, the crimes, the calamities, the fortitude of the divine or half-divine ancestors of all the tribes, are no longer, it is true, the actual present, as the epic poets produce them; they are the hoary and venerable past, but they still demand and receive the same implicit credence.
For in this lies the strong point of contrast between the imaginative and unimaginative poetry of Greece. Making due allowance for the manner in which the fragments of Theognis and his school have been preserved by the gnomologists or collectors of moral sayings and precepts, we cannot but be struck by the difference of the religion in the elegiac poetson the one hand from the bold Anthropomorphism of Homer's deities, with the dim and majestic Fate hovering over gods and men-and on the other, from the sedate and awe-struck piety of Pindar or Sophocles, or even from the bolder wrestlings of Æschylus against more profound mysteries — with that later Fatalism, which is the Nemesis of the gods for some great ancestral crime, the inevitable visitation of the sins of the fathers upon the children. In the fragments of Theognis there is no mythology, no calm and undoubting faith; there are one or two invocations of Jupiter, and of Apollo, the tutelar god of the Doric city of Megara, some religious commonplaces on the providence of the gods; but still more of a kind of querulous arraignment of Jove for his partial dispensations; an expostulation against the depression of the good (the aristocracy of Megara), and the elevation of the bad (which, in the language of that day, is synonymous with the popular party); an enforced submission--which is anything rather than submissive-at best is that acquiescence in the inevitable state of things, which may arise from worldly experience; and from the sad conviction that it is as useless as unbecoming to struggle or to repine.
In what, then, consists the interest of these elegiac fragments ? In the personality of the poet, which appears to have been the characteristic of this kind of poetry; in the allusions to his own life and fortunes—to his own share in the revolutions in which his country was involved—to his hopes and fears, his dangers and reverses. We have here a citizen of one of the old Grecian republics—just at the crisis of the great struggle between the
old oligarchic families, and either a single tyrant, or the democracy of the town and the neighbouring villages-expressing in easy, perspicuous, sometimes graceful verse, his thoughts, feelings, sufferings, passions; his aristocratic indignation at the levelling doctrines of the day; his grave advice to a young friend, Kyrnus, to whom he looked for the constitutional settlement of his country; his repinings at the loss of his property; his sorrows in banishment, with allusions to the countries which he visited as an exile; his philosophy sometimes inspiring manly courage and patience, sometimes bewailing the inevitable and hopeless wretchedness of life, sometimes desperately taking refuge in the Epicurean consolation of the banquet, the pipe, and the song. We are reminded of Dante by the similarity of the circumstances, both as to the poet and his times, but still more by the total contrast between the antique and the mediæval poetry. Dante is involved in factions as fierce; he, too, is an exile from his native land; but his refuge is another world. Instead of the cities of Italy, to which he fled for safety, Hell, Purgatory, Paradise expand before him—the religion, the rich, mythological Christianity of the dark ages, is the animating soul of all his poetry. He, too, is constantly betraying his individuality—the whole poem
is the impersonated poet, with all his thoughts, his passions, his attachments, his hatreds; but it is at the same time a great theologic system; all his allusions to history, remote or contemporaneous, are raised above ordinary and common life; his worldly thoughts and feelings are invested in an unworldly language and imagery. He is at once the most true and most daringly imaginative of poets.
This view of the peculiarities of this race of bards has induced Mr. Frere to attempt his present task. Theognis, in his words, belongs to that class which includes some of the earlier lyric as well as most of the elegiac poets, Archilochus, Alcæus, Sappho (?), who were decidedly and peculiarly the poets of active life, differing in this respect from their epic predecessors, and from the dramatic tribe which succeeded them :'
With these poets verse was the vehicle of their feelings and passions, excited as they were by the tumult of an agitated existence: feuds, factions, expatriation to distant colonies, sudden usurpations, revolution, and exile were the elements by which they were surrounded, and of whose influence they partook ; and they themselves appear sometimes to have been among the leading spirits of these tempests: the faculty of composing animated and popular poetry giving to the person who applied it to party purposes a power of producing impressions, less forcible indeed in the first instance, but more durable and diffusive than the effect of oratory. Hence their poetry, turning wholly upon the feelings and passions produced by the events and characters with which