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• Nor yet, too fanguine, fondly deem that fame

Awaits to crown your triumphs, and proclaim,
That honour still on excellence attends,
And praise in clouds at Merit's shrine ascends :
Foes, pleas'd to crush coeval worth, combine,
And censure circulates the critic's coin;
The modern's claim faftidious tafte denies,
Or, while he lives, reluctant grants the prize ;
Fame lurks behind, till, Merit's death delay'd,

And having lost the substance,---crowns the shade.' Hitherto we have spoken chiefly of the reasoning or design of the work before us; but its execution is also deserving of some attention. The author has great command of language, and very considerable powers of fancy. His taste, indeed, is not always perfectly correct; and he is apt to run riot among clusters of me. taphors, and to heap up his tropes and figures till the reader is rather bewildered than enlightened : But there is a force, a richness, and a spirit about his compositions, which makes amends for all this; and places him in a station, both as a prose writer and as a poet, which very few authors have been able to attain by a first publication. The following passage will give an idea of the general tone and cast of his introductory dissertation.

It is a mistake, unworthy of an enlightened government, to conceive that the arts, left to the influence of ordinary events, turned loose

upon fociety, to fight and scramble, in the rude and revolting contest of coarser occupations, can ever arrive at that perfection which contributos fo materially to the permanent glory of a state,

• This is the true handicraft conlideration of the subject--the warehouse wisdom of a dealer and chapman, who would make the artist a manufacturer, and measure his works by the yard. The arts treated commercially,-intrusted to that vulgar and inadequate impression of their importance, which is to be found in the mass of society, never did, and never can flourish in any country. The principle of trade, and the principle of the arts, are not only diffimilar, but incompatible. Profit is the impelling power of the one---praise, of the other. Employment is the pabulum vite of the firit-encouragement, of the laft. These terms are synonymous in the ordinary avocations of life ; but in the purfuits of taste and genius, they differ as widely in meaning, as coldness from kindnels--as the fordid commerce of mechanics, from the liberal intercourse of gentlemen.' Pref. p. xx.-xxi. . Whether our artists

get

their bread in decent competence » from the profits of panoramas, or the projects of printsellers by drudging in our modern manufactories of frontispiece and vignetteofficiating as the decoy-ducks of sporting booksellers, and luring the public eye to works

“ In which the pi&tures for the page atone?Pope. These are questions, which, whatever importance may be attached to

them,

may not

on his

them, the author certainly had no intention to discuss. Neither did he delign to plead the cause of imbecility, or ask honours and rewards for those who have shown neither ambition nor merit.-- The painter who pursues his art as a trade, and thinks when he is paid that he is rewarded, should certainly be content if he is allowed, on equal terms, to play at the round game of profit and lola, and shuffle his cards with the contentious crowd,

6 Who follow fortune through her filthy maze. · The author's observations were directed to higher points. It is not for the cultivation of mediocrity he contends, but the production of excellence ; not that the artist may live in eafe and luxury, but that the arts may flourish in pride and perfection ; that an object may be held out to the ambition, not to the avarice of the painter; and that he may be fired to such exertions as shall immortalize his name, and shed a glory country,' Pref.

p.

1.-lii, The following affords an example of that disorderly style into which he is sometimes hurried by an unruly imagination.

· The balance of trade is indeed (to speak commercially) completely against us; and although the hardy progeny of commerce and manufacture (upon whose rough and lufty limbs the cumbrous swathings of miftaken affe&tion act but as the fetters of obstruction and restraint) are cautiously cradled up in bounties and protecting duties-the tender offspring of taste are left helpless, naked, and exposed.

• Their situation appears a paradox ; and, like the Spaniards after the discovery of the treasures of the New World, they are impoverished by an importation of wealth. So many rich galleons of art have been brought home from the Peru of picture-dealers, that we disdainfully turn from our native productions; and even an ingot from the British mine is considered a metal too bafe for the circulation of taste.

« Our critics are transformed to antiquaries, with whom every thing is prized that is proved to be old ; and the fterling currency of the day, though stamped in the mint of genius, is cried down in favour of rusty coins, and Queen Anne's farthings.' Pref. xxx.xxxi.

This is more like poetry than prose; and the poetry has the same excellences and defects. There is a good deal of spirit in the following reply to those who maintain that there is something unfavourable to the arts, in the climate and physical constitution of Britain.

( Insult! to think the land where Shakspeare sprung,

The hear'a he breath'd where seraph Milton sung!
In strains more sweet than erft from fabled shell
Of Orpheus old, or fam'd Amphion, fell :
Where Pope, where Dryden swept the founding lyre,
With Maro's melody, and Homer's fire !
Where Science, (long on weak Conjecture's wing,
A thwarted falcon, flutt'ring from the Atring),

Loosid

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Loosd by her Newton's hand, first shot on high,
And perch'd amid the manfions of the sky:
Insult! to think this garden of the globe,
This spangle shining bright on Nature's robe ;
From finer joys in cold feclufion plac'd,
A kindless clime beyond the beam of tafte !
On wings of fire fustain'd, th' immortal mind,
Nor clime controuls, nor fog, nor froft can bind;
Where freedom, man's most cheering sunshine, glows,
Whether on Lybian fands, or Zemblan snows ;
Where life exults, with each bold feeling fraught,

And Fancy fearless {prings the mine of Thought!' p. 7-8. The same thought is afterwards pursued with equal animation.

• What though! in Greece, when Ammon's glory (way'd,

When proftrate Rome Augustus' power obey'd,
In latter days, when Leo's lustre fhone,
And gorgeous Louis grac'd the Gallic throne;
What though! like rockets from the hand of time,
Through life's long gloom, Phot sparkling and sublime,
Those meteor ages of mankind were given,
To mark with cluster'd stars the mental heaven,
And pour their blaze on earth's astonish'd view,
When Freedom's cloud-encompafs’d orb withdrew !
Britain, for thee! a brighter age expands,
Bless'd rock, on which the church of Freedom ftands!
For thee remains to prove what radiant fires
Gild the clear heaven, where liberty inspires ;
To shew what springs of bounty froin her hand,
As gush'd the rock at Moses' high command,
O'er Art's impoverish'd plains refreshing flow,

And cheer the fainting tribes of Taste below.' p. 41-43. The following picture of Hogarth we select from a considerable number.

Hogarth, with thee! satiric Humour fled,
Proclaims our graphic moralift is dead ;
Who, Sampson-like, in conscious might fecure,
Burst the strong bonds that meaner minds endure ;
Disdain'd the beaten track, the common crown,
And fore'd an untried passage to renown :
To nature true his sportive pencil mov'd,
Taught while it trifled, pleas'd while it reprov'd :
Struck by the harlot's woes, with shame oppress’d,
Reviving virtue wins the wanton breast;
No more the midnight scene to riọt warms,

The rake reviews his progress, and reforms.' P. 15-18. Though there be some coarseness, there is a good deal of power and satirical effect in the following passage.

• Bebold ! • Behold! how pleas'd the conscious critic (neera,

While circling boobies shake their alles' ears ;"
Applaud his folly, and, to feed his pride,
Bray forth abuse on all the world beside :
Hear him, ye gods ! harangue of schools and styles,
In pilfer'a scraps from Walpole and De Piles !
Direct the vain spectator's vacant gaze,
Drill his dull sense, and teach him where to praise ;
Of every toy, fome tale of wonder frame,
How this from Hear'n, or Ottoboni came;
How that, long pendant on plebeian wall,
Or lumber'd in some filthy broker's fall,
Lay, loft to fame, till by his taste restor'd,

Behold the gem---hrin'd, curtain'd, and ador'd.' p. 88. 89. The next is more turbulent and outrageously abusive, though indicating an ardent and vigorous imagination, which might carry the author far up the steeps of glory, if reined by a more practised hand.

• Wherever power or pride, or wealth keep court,

Behold this fulsome, fawning race resort ;
A motley group-a party.colour'd pack,
Of knave and fool-of quidnunc and of quack,
Of critic sops, infipid, cold, and vain,
Done in the drip of some poor painter's brain ;
Dabblers in science-dealers in virtù,
And sycophants of every form and hue.
Low artists too, a busy, babbling fry,
That frisk and wriggle in a great man's eye,
Feed on his (miles, and fimp’ring at his fide,
Catch the cold drops that flatt'ry thaws from pride ;
A cunning kind of fetch-and-carry fools,
The scum of tafte, that bubbles up in schools ;
Savealls of art, that shed a glimmering ray,

And burn the snuffs their betters caft away. p. 91. 92. Upon the whole, we think very well both of Mr Shee's cause and of his talents; though we are of opinion that he has been a little too warm in support of the one, and a little too rash and intemperate in his display of the other. We desire more of his acquaintance, and have no doubt of his improvement.

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