« PředchozíPokračovat »
It was Chantrey, not the Church, who first made us, of this day, sensible of these solecisms. He brought us back to Nature, and we owe him much for it. But there is still something to be done. It is still to be considered whether a statue which tells of nothing but the greatness of the departed, and the gratitude of the survivors, is the most fitting mode of commemorating the one, or of exhibiting the other, in a Christian Church. It is but a barren homage. It is not the homage which a good man would choose if he could be called from the grave, and asked in what manner he would wish that his name should be recorded. Surely, if the thousands now lavished on these public memorials were consecrated to some lasting work of honour to God and utility to man, which should at once preserve the memory of the dead, and encourage and direct the good deeds of the living ; if, as Mr. Markland suggests, instead of busts and sculpture, we raised churches, or chapels, or schoolhouses, or founded refuges for the poor, or dedicated only some portion or ornament of a sacred building to the memory
and name of those whom we wish to honour, we should be acting more consistently with that genuine benevolence which would delight to do good even in the grave; and should contribute, by degrees, to a fund which would soon be thus rendered permanently available to the noblest uses. And in thus doing we should only be treading in the steps of those by whom the noblest of our works of charity and piety were created and transmitted to us :
• We build churches,' says Mr. Wilberforce, "by calculation, as a matter of necessity; but, of old, church-building was a delight, a luxury, a passion. Then men of wealth would build some glorious fane from foundation to turret, and those whose means were less abundant would furnish a pillar, a transept, or a choir : each man felt a paternal interest in his work; while he lived, he delighted to visit it, and watch its progress ; when he died, his mortal remains were laid beneath the roof which he had raised, in the hope of His coming whose promise had called forth his bounty.'*
We may add that the same practice seems to have prevailed both in France and in England, in the erection of painted glass windows, many of which appear to have contained monumental effigies of deceased persons. The Dean of Chichester has set an
* Wilberforce on the Parochial System, p. 99. Several instances of this practice still remain in the church of St. Mary, Beverley. For example :- The corbels on the pillars which support the north side of the nave, are angels with scrolls in their hands, charged with inscriptions, which are repeated at the back of the columns,' recording the donors of pillars. The Minstrells left behind them an evidence of their public rit. They built one of the columns on the north side of the church, and placed an emblematical device on its capital with this inscription :
Thys Pyllor made the Megnstyris. -Oliver's Hist. of Beverley, pp. 167, 178, 351.
example of this kind in his own cathedral, and we trust it will not be without followers.
Mr. Markland shows that this practice of contributing portions of sacred buildings was not unknown to the ancients :
* Mr. Fellowes,' he says, “in his recent travels in Asia Minor, met with several examples of the practice of individuals having contributed to the erection of portions of a building. He describes a beautiful temple of the Corinthian order at Labranda, “with twelve fluted columns, and four not fluted, but apparently prepared for this ornamental finish." These twelve pillars present the great peculiarity of having a panel or tablet not let in, but left uncut, projecting above the fluting : on each tablet is an inscription, showing the temple to have been a votive structure, e.g. “Menecrates, son of Menecrates, the chief physician of the city, gave, whilst Stephanophoros, this columu with the base and capital ; his daughter Tryphæna, herself also a Stephanophoros and Gymnasiarchos, superintending the work." “Leo, the son of Leo, whilst Stephanophoros, gave the column with the base and capital, according to his promise," &c. &c.
* The symmetry of a column must necessarily be “much disturbed," as Mr. Fellowes states is the case, by the introduction of tablets of this description ; but if the precedent were adopted in this country, inscriptions (whether as records of private liberality, or as posthumous memorials) might be so placed around the base of a column, that the eye could not be offended by them.'
What we would wish to suggest in our modern days may best be stated in Mr. Markland's own words :
· Surely,' he says, ' by the rebuilding and restoration of the old waste places of our Zion we should render far more honour to the dead than by a continuance of our present practice. And let it be remembered that in all the works which have been recommended, panels with suitable inscriptions may be carefully let into the walls, recording the occasion when they were raised and perfected, and the names of the individuals to be commemorated. Thus the name of a relation or friend would be identified with the shrine which holds his ashes. Should the font and the altar call for restoration, there are many touching associations, which point them out as most fitting memorials. At the one the deceased
may have been baptized, and been made an inheritor of that kingdom in which it may be humbly hoped his spirit rests in peace ; and at that altar he may, during the largest portion of his life, have meekly knelt, and “received with trembling joy the signs and seals of God's heavenly promises."
• If the works here recommended for adoption appear to be such as can only be accomplished by a large outlay of money, and can therefore be effected solely by persons of fortune, there are modes by which the same objects can be attained by individuals of moderate means. In the first place, instead of a paltry design being at once comPLETED, and an inferior church erected out of limited funds, ought not the old custom of building by degrees to be resorted to? A plan for a large church might
be laid down, but a portion of it merely, a chancel or a transept, might in the first instance be perfected; or the interior of a church might be finished, while the completion and ornaments of the external walls, tower, or spire, might be left to the care and munificence of others in future years. In all these undertakings there might be a principle of expansion, both as regards the size and ornaments of a building.
A signal example has recently been given us of this laudable practice. The liberal founder of a church in the district of Eastover, Bridgewater, thus expressed himself in relation to the proposed fabric :-“The proposal which I now make is to build the church, as far as may be, according to the drawing which is now laid before the meeting. As accurately as it is possible to calculate, it will cost about 3,0001. to complete the church, exclusive of the spire. It is my wish to go thus far at once, leaving the spire to be completed at some future time, when, from my own resources, or by the assistance of my friends, the necessary funds can be found. It was on this plan that the great
cathedrals were almost all erected: one bishop generally completed one portion of the building, leaving the whole to be finished by future generations; so that frequently two, three, or even four centuries, elapsed between the commencement and the completion of the work." ;
We may add an instance where a beautiful addition has been made to a parish church by the erection of a transept in early English, the lower part of which is appropriated to a family vault, and the upper to stalls and seats for the family, while slabs are placed within the tracery of the windows to receive the names of the persons who lie beneath. This is one of the nearest approaches which we have seen to the realization of our author's suggestions. The church is that of Calbourne in the Isle of Wight; and the plan originated in the benevolence, good taste, and good sense of Sir Richard Simeon, Bart.
Mr. Markland has not been unmindful of the objections which may be advanced.
Should it be urged,' he says, that these plans, if generally pursued, would lead to a neglect of sculpture, and that we should transfer the commemoration of the dead from sculpture to architecture, a little reHection will satisfy us that the art of sculpture would, on the contrary, be materially benefited. The accomplished artist, instead of being doomed to tasks which must often be to him of the most insipid and uninteresting character, from their not calling for any high exercise of his genius, would be left to devote himself to works more congenial to his taste and feelings. Let statues, and busts, and relievos be multiplied, but let their lestination be changed. Let the statues and busts of literary men be placed in those Institutions with which they have been connected. Let those of lawyers be placed in Courts of Justice, or in the Halls of the Inns of Court; those of medical men in the Colleges, where their lectures were delivered, or in the Hospitals, which they have benefited by the exercise of their talents and philanthropy; and those of eminent ecclesiastics in their College Libraries or Halls. Let provision be made in the Houses of Parliament now rising for the introduction of statues within their walls. How much more advantageously might those of Lord Chatham and of Pitt, of Fox, Horner, and Canning, have appeared in such a building, than crowded, almost buried, as they are, in the adjoining Abbey of Westminster! Of such men monuments are not required on the particular spots where their ashes rest—these form the most precious deposit.
“In Santa Croce's holy precincts lie
Even in itself an immortality.” Shakespeare's gravestone, with its quaint lines, would have drawn the same number of pilgrims to Stratford if no mural monument to his memory had existed ; and when we approach the gravestone, simply inscribed with the name of SAMUEL Johnson, in Poet's Corner, it awakens far keener emotions than the contemplation of his colossal statue in St. Paul's. But we must recollect that sculpture is essentially conbined with the plans here proposed. The church-porch, the altar-screen, and the font, may all be decorated, lavishly decorated, if desired, with appropriate sculpture; all these ecclesiastical appendages would admit its introduction with perfect propriety and the best effect. Grinlin Gibbons's font in St. James's Church, Westminster, and Sir Richard Westmacott’s alto-relievos on the screen of the Chapel of New College, are instances in point.'
Art. VI.-Marschall Vorwärts; oder Leben, Thaten, und Cha
racter des Fürsten Blücher von Wahlstadt. Von Dr. Raushnick. (Marshal Forwards; or Life, Actions, and Character
of Prince Blücher von Wahlstadt.) Leipsig, 1836. THE
IE unjust apportionment of present and posthumous fame
to military eminence has often been the subject of grave remonstrance on the part of the aspirants to civil and literary distinction. Helvetius, in his work Sur l'Esprit,' once famous, now little read, attempts the solution of this standing riddle in human affairs :
'If we can in any instance imagine that we perceive a rallying point for the general esteem of mankind-if, for example, the military be considered among all nations the first of sciences—the reason is, that the great captain is in nearly all countries the man of greatest utility, at least up to the period of a convention for general peace. This peace once confirmed, a preference over the greatest captain in the world would unquestionably be given to men celebrated in science, law, literature, or the fine arts. From whence,' says Helvetius, with an eye to the pervading theory of his fallacious treatise, 'I conclude that the general interest is in every nation the only dispenser of its esteem!'
Unfortunately for the French sage, that which he calls esteem, which we should rather term renown, is indiscriminately enough bestowed upon the destroyers as well as the saviours of nations —upon the selfish aggressor who amuses himself with the bloody game of foreign conquest, as well as upon the patriot who resists him. Philosophers may draw distinctions in the study, but Cæsar will share the meed with Leonidas. To give a sounder solution of the evident fact--to investigate the principle on which society seems agreed to furnish the price for the combination of moral and physical qualities, essential to the composition of military eminence, would lead us beyond our limits, if not beyond our depth. So far, we fear, Helvetius is right, that till the millennium shall arrive it will be vain to struggle against the pervading tendencies in which the alleged abuse originates; and that the injured parties must still be content to look upon those whose trade it is to die, under the feelings with which a young clergyman at a county ball beholds the lady of his affections in active flirtation with a newly-arrived pair of epaulettes ; feelings which the author of Hamilton's Bawn has wedded to immortal doggrel. For the moment we can offer them no consolation ; for we cannot enter on the discussion of the manifold circumstances which might be enumerated as set-off to the advantages enjoyed by the soldier during a lease of existence, of which the tenure is as uncertain as the conditions are
To those, however, who moan over the posthumous part of the reward which Falstaff in his shrewder philosophy rated so low, we might suggest as matter of reflection that the number of those who are destined to enjoy it is so limited as to leave ample room for competitors of all classes, whether poets, philosophers, statesmen, or writers of novels in three volumes, or of histories in a dozen. Survey the military annals of Europe from the French revolution : Germany, France, Spain, Italy, Russia, Belgium, have formed the vast theatre of one huge and continuous scramble for such distinction. Every species of cotemporary reward, from kingdoms down to the Guelphic order, has indeed been showered on the combatants; but how many names will outlive their owners? How many of the meteors will leave a track of light behind their rapid and explosive course? Some half-dozen of all countries. We are speaking, be it remembered, of general celebrity, not of the just estimation in which the memory of individuals
be held in their own countries, or by the scientific. Two of the mightiest, by land and sea, are
Russia, perhaps, may claim some duration for Suwaroff. In the case of France who but a decypherer of gazettes will