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is to the scholar. There is no such method for mastering the meaning of a book, for getting at its heart, if I may so say, as to have read it in a language with which we are not thoroughly familiar, which obliges us to dwell more or less on every word it contains. And none but those who have patiently studied Nature under her varying moods, as the sketcher must, can know the deep signification of those many voices through which she speaks to man.
For “the use of art," as Bacon tells us,“ hath been to give some shadow of “ satisfaction to the mind of man in “ those points wherein the nature of " things doth deny it :-a more ample “greatness, a more exact goodness, a “more absolute variety, than can be “found in the nature of things.” Hence it is that the interest of a picture depends mainly upon the human element interfused in it, upon the human senti. ment which created it. When we stand before the landscape painting. of a master, we say:-That scene under a certain aspect and at a certain time looked so to this man, so and no otherwise. Being a poet, he saw in it what the peasant who accompanied him and carried his white umbrella, did not see“ A presence that disturbed him with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
And, seeing these things, he has noted them down for us, as a kaua es dei, a joy for ever. In truth, his picture-it is himself! Whatever of nobleness, whatever of reverence for fact, whatever of originality, whatever of beauty we see there, we may look for in the man himself. In him these qualities live, and move, and have their being. And from him they have come forth to be embodied in the work of his hand.
“Where,” said a tiro to one of the old painters, “where do you get the model from whom your Madonnas are painted ? For I, too, would gladly look upon so much majesty, humility, and grace.”
“Here !” said the master, calling his old colour-grinder to him; and, placing the man, an aged cripple, in a certain posture before him, the outlines of a face and form so postured soon grew upon his canvas; but it was the beautiful form of a woman, and the face of the virgin-mother. And I myself once received a lesson of a similar kind, which I have not forgotten. Living in a country essentially destitute of the features which artists love, being flat, treeless, and agricultural, a country once characterised by a witty, worthless king as only fit to be cut up into roads by which its inhabitants might get away from it, I had often bemoaned myself on account of the dearth of the beautiful about me, and looked in vain for subjects for my sketch-book. I naturally expected, therefore, much sympathy from an artist, an old friend of mine, who came to spend a few days with me one summer. The morning after his arrival, however, I found him under the white umbrella in a bit of waste ground at the back of my house, where a few straggling beeches and elms surround an old barn and some outhouses. In the midst of faggots, and hen-coops, and dust-heaps, and other rubbish which collects in such places, he had taken up his position, and had begun a large drawing in water-colour of two or three of these trees, which he said were most picturesquely grouped. And so indeed it seemed. At any rate, with trees and sky, and some felled timber lying amidst docks and mallow leaves, he produced a charming picture, full of light and colour and beauty. “My dear fellow," he said to me, on taking leave, “I have been through the best part of the Highlands this year ; yet I rather think that I shall send this,' touching the portfolio with his sketch made at my barn-door, “as my contribution to the gallery in the spring."
Herein it is that the photograph, wonderful mirror as it is of nature, fails signally ; because it is but a mirror. It has no choice. It shows no thought or feeling in its reflection of fact. The mind of the artist seizing upon a certain
aspect of nature whose beauty has stirred its depths, the feeling of the moment passes into the work of his hands, and stamps it with a sentiment which the scene itself might not have suggested to others, but which, as interpreted by him, comes home to us at once. Photography does well enough perbaps for foreground bits, the waifs and strays of landscape ; a few wayside stones, a group of ferns upon a crumbling wall, the rugged bole of a tree, with its little forests of moss and patches of lichens,-these things it renders to us with fidelity: and we are thankful for what it can give. But in landscape proper I think it utterly fails. Take up a photograph—the best and see. You have mountains indeed, trees, the winding river, nay, the very play of light and shadow; but the spirit of the scene is not there. You look upon it as you would look upon a beautiful face, which lies hushed and still in death. There fore, even as a remembrance of a place we have seen, it seems to me that a photograph is most unsuggestive ; and, as a remembrance of a person we have known, most unsatisfactory. When you, sir, call up the image of the woman you love, is it the mere shape of the face you remember, the curve of the eyebrow, or the colour of the cheek? Nay, these are but the outward manifestations of an earthly beauty, which all are privileged to note, which is destined to be the prey of the worm, and to mingle with the common dust. But there has been a moment-perhaps it was but a moment-when the eye beamed with a soft and yet most brilliant light, the light of a love that was unfathomable, which absence could never dull, and which death could not destroy : there was a moment when the lip spoke with an unwonted eloquence, though no sound came forth from it ; when all the fair face blazed forth into an unearthly paradise-beauty, of which you, and you alone, were the witness ; and as you saw her then—at that moment most truly her
self—you see her now, and will see her · in your dreams for ever!
At any rate, from the visit of my
artist friend I have learnt one wholesome lesson, which has stood me in good stead ever since. If I could not find much beauty in the homely scenes around me, it was because I had not enough cultivated “ the beautiful" within me. For the poet's dictum is perhaps wiser than he knew, and deeper than he meant :
“We receive but what we give, And in ourselves alone doth nature live.”
If my lot was cast in an ugly and uninteresting country, why, it was true wisdom to make the best of it. If I had no forests from which to sketch, I could at all events take a single tree, and find out as much as I could about that; if I had no mountains to draw from, the elements of which mountains are made lie everywhere beneath my feet. The informing spirit of Nature works as carefully on a small scale as on a large ; for she has no journeymen in her employ to “scamp” a little job merely because it is little. There is colour enough in a thatched cottageroof, with its golden stone-crop and emerald mosses, to kill the brightest tints of Tintoret or Titian ; and, as the German poet said of his little gardenwalk, “it may be narrow, indeed, but it is everlastingly high, you see.”
The study of Art, then, will teach the amateur to observe and to appreciate. And this, believe me, is no small gain. He may never attain much practical skill in the art which he loves ; a lifetime of labour is all too little for that. But if it teaches him in some small measure to appreciate that in which he himself has failed, it will have done for him a good and kindly office. Much of the master-work of the world is only to be understood by patient study and reverent attention. But, giving these, his art will, Columbus-like, open a new world before him.
V. OF THE PROFESSIONS. HAVING lately returned home after a short absence, on going into my study I found to my dismay that the busy hand of womankind had been at work
there in a laudable endeavour to put sometimes see a man who has adopted things to rights. I need scarcely say a profession for which he had no parthat this had resulted in putting every ticular liking, settle down to it manfully, thing out of its place. My papers determined to make the best of things, (amongst which were sundry jottings and succeeding admirably in his endeafor these “Essays ") having been left vours. There are, of course, also cases in on the table in apparent disorder, which a boy discovers a strong bent for though in reality they were arranged a particular pursuit, which years only after a certain scientific method of my strengthen, so that the man and his own, by which I can at once lay my profession have grown up together after hand upon whatever I want, had borne the manner of that boy-and-girl love the brunt of the attack. Some had which poets sing of. been crumpled up and thrust into the But for the most part it seems to me waste-paper basket; others, more for that men choose their professions as tunate, had simply been shuffled into they get their opinions-at second neatness and inextricable confusion. hand. It will be found, I think, that our So that I inwardly determined that for main opinions, those which are matter of the future I would write all memorunda party debate and strife, which make upon pieces of paper cut into such us Whig or Tory, Churchman or patterns as dressmakers use, which are, Dissenter, are generally the result of I believe, regarded by the feminine mind early influence and education ; matters as things sacred and mystical. But, if of feeling rather than of logical deducmy papers were disordered, my books tion; whilst on the many minor opinions had equally suffered at the neat hands afloat in the world we probably seldom of Phillis. No author was in his right come to any definite conclusion at all, place. Dr. Pusey and Dr. Close, whom but are always open to conviction. I had left divided by a long array of And I fancy that education and family Apostolic Fathers, were now elbowing influence have very much to do with each other for room on the shelf; and the choice of a profession. As a general Colenso's “Pentateuch and Book of rule, a man is espoused to his calling Job” occupied the place which had as of old a prince was espoused to his hitherto been filled by “Pearson on the wife, before he is of an age to have Creed.”
much voice or choice in the matter. Whilst I looked with a smile at these Brought up to look upon a certain incongruities, I could not help being course of events as settled, and being reminded of something akin to this a man of placid and easy temper (as which I see in every-day life—I mean most men are), I daresay the prince the incongruity between many men of did not struggle much against the my acquaintance and the profession they inevitable, but yielded patiently to his have adopted. In looking round about fate, and settled down at last into a me in the world, it often seems as if married life, which was neither very some bustling hand had been at work irksome to him nor very delightful. on a large scale in putting men out of And I think this is often very much the their proper places. Here are the men case with men and the professions they and the professions. But they seem in have wedded. At any rate, if it be, we many cases to have been joined together cau scarcely wonder that a man's upon the principle which somebody business is so seldom his pleasure. I recommends for marriages :-“Write am afraid that the prince often took to the names of the candidates on slips of himself a mistress. And under such paper, put them in a bag, shake well circumstances the professional man together, and then draw them out by generally takes up a hobby. two and two.” To be sure this hap- J., an intimate friend of mine, is a hazard way of doing things would occa- country clergyman, a man of spotless sionally produce a good result ; and we character, and whose life I believe to
be a very happy one. He reads prayers makes whatever bears the aspect of and preaches, and talks to his old men necessary work to be distasteful and and women, and gets through all his repulsive to us. I fancy that I ought appointed duties in a thoroughly blame- to finish this Essay to-day ; not a hard less and monotonous manner; but he is or unpleasant task surely, being but a a most energetic man in the farming of commonplace chat about the choice of his glebe. He was married in early life, a profession with a kindly reader. But, you see, to a calling he had not fallen in simply because the thing wears the love with. And the wife thus thrust aspect of duty it has become irksome upon him, being, fortunately for him, to me, and I am anxious to turn away of an easy temper, does not punish him from it, and to devote myself to-well, for any petits soins he may pay to the let us say “the history of the sect of the mistress of his choice. But it might be Essenes.” a very different thing if he had to After all, the men who seem to me depend upon his professional labours for to be the happiest in their callings his bread.
are those whose profession unites handIn truth there are many men so work with brain-work—the painter, the constituted that all necessary work is sculptor; shall I add the man of science, distasteful to them. It is not that they the surgeon, the author ? There is, I have not the power of working in suppose, a certain amount of satisfaction them. They will actually give the time in any work which produces a definite and labour to unproductive work which, and tangible result after a due amount if concentrated on their profession, of labour, and of course this is quite would insure them advancement and apart from the money value of that success in life. But this would be alto- labour; I am speaking only of work gether discordant with their principles. for the work's sake. Holbein amuses Work, to be pleasant to them, must be himself in the evening, after his day's wholly unproductive. The minute it toil at the easel, with a broad-nibbed becomes useful or profitable, it also pen and a sheet of paper, whereon he becomes distasteful. I have lately sketches any quaint groups which have been reading the life of Gray ; and met his view in the market-place or at his was essentially a case in point. the street corner-dashing in the shadows Gray, we are told, spent years of hard broadly and effectively with a swash of labour in the study of heraldry and sepia. John Leech illustrates his notes architecture, as illustrative of the to intimate friends just as he illustrated history of his country. And, at a time Punch. And the biography of artists has when archæology as a science was not, many another story to the same effect. he had made many happy discoveries What I will call directly productive therein, by the comparison of the labour has in fact more resting-places buildings he visited with the coats of by the roadside of life than any others. arns which he found sculptured upon When the artist has finished his picture, them ; but, as soon as the time came or the author his book, he can stop for for him to put his employment to some a while, pour se délasser, and take in practical use, and give the results to fresh fuel. And that path, even if it the world, he straightway abandoned be an uphill one, by which we find a it. He reads through the classics with seat here and there where we can rest care, and annotates them skilfully; for a little, and look back or look forbut no sooner does a friend suggest to ward, is not so wearisome to us as the him to edit the authors he has 80 level road which we are forced to tread anxiously studied for the benefit of without a pause to take breath in. It scholars, than he shuts up his books, is in this respect that the profession of and enters upon another field of self- a clergyman, which common opinion deimposed toil. And there is something, clares to be of all others the pleasantest, I suppose, in human nature which fails. The clergyman's work is never No. 66.-YOL. XI.
done. The wheel revolves, and yet it amount of alloy to enable it to be seems to make no progress. He, of all worked up and to pass current in the men, works most for great results, and world. And professional work of any of all men he is least privileged to be- kind, while, it strengthens character, hold them ; for of him the saying is undoubtedly debases it-to the standard most true, that “one soweth and another of the world's currency: reapeth.” It was strong common sense for the tendency of active professional which said of this profession, “I would life, especially under an advanced civilirather have chancery suits upon my zation, is to make men one-sided, to bands than the care of souls'; for I do destroy in them the “totus teres atque not envy a clergyman's life as an easy rotundus" of the poet. A professional life, nor do I envy the clergyman who man has to cultivate one faculty at the makes it an easy one."
expense of others; and, like the blackOf course all professions and callings smith's right arm, that faculty necesmay be broadly placed under one of two sarily dwarfs the rest. Each man must heads : those which deal with persons, have his speciality. We do not leave and those which deal with things. But the whole field of disease to tbe phyno. strict line of demarcation can be sician. If he is to get on in life, he drawn between the two. They gradu- must have selected one portion thereof ally pass into each other, from the pro- for his special study. And even the fession of the clergyman, which is purely artist, if he has once painted grupes to liberal, having to do with man's spiritual our liking, must devote himself to the wants solely ; through medicine, which delineation of grapes for the rest of his deals with man's health; law, his pro- days. Of course a man of sense will perty ; arms, his safety ; the arts and strive against this tendency to cultivate sciences, incidentally dealing with men one portion of his nature at the expense as men in elevating their tastes, and of another; will fight against, as well extending their knowledge, yet still as for, his profession ; remembering that touching a lower grade as being pro- there is something better even than ductive employments; down to the success in life. Or, if his temptation businesses of the world, which deal lie in another direction, if he be the with things, and are purely selfish in three-cornered peg thrust into the round their aims. But for all alike the best hole, he will work on manfully till the professional training is that which angularities of his position are rubbed enables a man to deal successfully with down. He may seem at first to be left men; for, whatever be his calling, it is behind in the race, and distanced by comwith his fellow-man that he will have petitors whom he knows he could beat most to do throughout his life. The with a fair start. But, if so, he may knowledge of chemistry, of botany, of console himself with the reflection that mineralogy,- this is I suppose essen, in many men the latent genius, like the tially necessary to the physician ; yet spark in the flint, has needed to be after all, in the exercise of his pro- struck out of them by the sharp and fession it is with living men and women sudden blows of repeated failures. Bat; that he will have to do, much more through failure or success, let the prothan with plants, or minerals, or drugs. fessional man at any rate take with him And so in fact of every calling, and the advice of one of the most practical even of every trade. And from a mea that ever lived: “Sir,” said Dr. worldly point of view those will ulti- Johnson to the patient and receptive mately be most successful in their call- Boswell, “get as much force of mind as: ings whose characters have been most you can, and keep within your income, stiffened into self-reliance. Pure gold, and you won't go far wrong." we know, has to be mixed with a certain