Rossetti Archive Textual Transcription

Document Title: The Academy, Volume 2
Author: Williams and Norgate (publishers)
Date of publication: 1871
Publisher: Williams and Norgate
Printer: William Clowes and Sons
Volume: 2

The full Rossetti Archive record for this transcribed document is available.

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Madeline, with other Poems and Parables. By Thomas Gordon

Hake, M.D. London: Chapman and Hall, 1871.
Above all ideal personalities with which the poet must learn

to identify himself, there is one supremely real which is the

most imperative of all; namely, that of his reader. And the

practical watchfulness needed for such assimilation is as

much a gift and instinct as is the creative grasp of alien

character. It is a spiritual contact hardly conscious yet ever

renewed, and which must be a part of the very act of pro-

duction. Among the greatest English singers of the past,

perhaps four only have possessed this assimilative power in

pure perfection. These are Chaucer, Shakespeare, Byron,

and Burns; and to their names the world may probably add

in the future that of William Morris.
We have no thought of saying that not to belong to this

circle, widest in range and narrowest in numbers, is to be

but half a poet. It is with the poetic glory as with the

planetary ones; this too has satellites called into being by

the law of its own creation. Not every soul specially at-

tuned to song is itself a singer; but the productive and the

receptive poetic mind are members of one constellation;

and it may be safely asserted that to take rank in the

exceptional order of those born with perfect though passive

song-perception is to be even further removed from the

“general reader” on the one hand than from the producer

of poetry on the other.
But some degree, entire or restricted, of relation to the

outer audience, must be the test of every poet's vocation,

and has to be considered first of all in criticising his work.

The book under notice has perhaps as limited a reach of

appeal as can well be imagined, and the writer's faculty of

rapport seems on the whole imperfect; yet there are quali-

ties in what he has written which no true poetic reader

can regard with indifference.
The best and most sympathetic part of Dr. Hake's volume

is decidedly its central division—the one headed “Para-

bles.” Had one poem of this section, quaintly called “Old

Souls,” come first in the book, the favourable impression on

opening it must have been immediate and conclusive. The

poem is a symbolic expression of the humility of Christ in

his personal ministering to man's needs and renewal of fallen

humanity; and the subject is carried out with great com-

pleteness as regards the contrast between Christ himself and

his earthly representatives, his relation to all classes of men,
and the deliberate simplicity of his beneficent labour in the

soul. The form of expression adopted in this poem is of

the highest order of homely pathos, to which no common

word comes amiss, and yet in which the sense of reverence

and appropriateness is everywhere perfect. The piece is so

high in theme, and so utterly good of its class, that we shall

not attempt to extract from it, as its unity of purpose and

execution throughout is the leading quality without which

no idea of its merit can be conveyed.
Two others among the four “Parables”—“The Lily of

the Valley” and “The Deadly Nightshade”—though some-

what less perfect successes than this, rival it in essential

value. They are contrasted pictures; the first, of poverty

surrounded by natural influences and the compensations of

universal endowment; the other, of poverty surrounded in

the life of cities by social rejection only, and endlessly insti-

gated to snatch some share of good by the reiterated scoff,

“This is not for thee.” In the first poem a young forest-

bred girl, in the second a boy reared in the fetid life of

courts and alleys, is the medium through which the lesson

is developed. Here, again, we are at some loss to express

the poems by extract; but with this proviso we may take

from the “Lily of the Valley” a few sweet stanzas of simple

  • “The wood is what it was of old,
  • A timber-farm where wild flowers grow:
  • There woodman's axe is never cold,
  • And lays the oaks and beeches low:
  • But though the hand of man deface,
  • The lily ever grows in grace.
  • “Of their sweet loving natures proud,
  • The stock-doves sojourn in the tree:
  • With breasts of feathered sky and cloud,
  • 10 And notes of soft though tuneless glee,
  • Hid in the leaves they take a spring,
  • And crush the stillness with their wing.
  • “The wood to her was the old wood,
  • The same as in her father's time;
  • Nor with their sooths and sayings good
  • The dead told of its youth or prime.
  • The hollow trunks were hollow then,
  • And honoured like the bones of men.”
This simple story or parable has great beauties, especially

at the point where the first acquaintance with death among

those she loved causes the child to wander forth bewildered,

and at last, weary and asleep in the wood, to find the images

of terror and decay hitherto overlooked in nature assume

prominence for the first time in her dreams. This is very

subtle and lovely; but it must be added that even this

poem, which is among the least difficult in the book, needs

some re-reading before it is mastered, and leaves an impres-

sion— if not of artificiality, to which the author's mind is

evidently superior—yet of a singular native tendency to

embody all conceptions through a remote and reticent me-

dium. This, however, is much less apparent in the “Deadly

Nightshade,” which approaches “Old Souls” in clearness

and mastery, though not essentially finer than its companion

poem, the “Lily.” The description here of the poor beggar-

boy's drunken mother is in a vein of true realistic tragedy; and

the dire directness of treatment is carried on throughout:—
  • “Then did he long for once to taste
  • The reeking viands, as their smell
  • From cellar-gratings ran to waste
  • In gusts that sicken and repel.
  • Like Beauty with a rose regaled,
  • The grateful vapours he inhaled.
  • “So oft a-hungered has he stood
  • And yarn of fasting fancy spun,
  • As wistfully he watched the food
  • 10 With one foot out away to run,
  • Lest questioned be his only right
  • To revel in the goodly sight.
page: 106
  • “Lest justice should detect within
  • A blot no human eye could see,
  • He dragged his rags about his skin
  • To hide from view his pedigree:
  • He deemed himself a thief by law,
  • Who stole ere yet the light he saw.
  • “His theft, the infancy of crime,
  • 20 Was but a sombre glance to steal,
  • While outside shops he spent his time
  • In vain imaginings to deal,
  • With looks of awe to speculate
  • On all things good, while others ate.
  • “No better school his eyes to guide,
  • He lingers by some savoury mass,
  • And watches mouths that open wide
  • And sees them eating through the glass:
  • Oft his own lips he opes and shuts,—
  • With sympathy his fancy gluts.
  • 30“Yet he begs not, but in a trance
  • Admires the scene where numbers throng;
  • And if on him descends a glance,
  • He is abashed and slinks along;
  • Nor cares he more, the spell once broke,
  • Scenes of false plenty to invoke.”
The fourth “Parable,” called “Immortality,” deals with the

course of an elevated soul in which thwarted ambition is

tempered by resignation, and which looks into the future of

eternity for free scope and for a reversed relation between

itself and antagonistic natures. This, however, is somewhat

obscurely rendered, and must be pronounced inferior to the

other three. Of these three, we may say that, if they are

read first in the book, the fit reader cannot but be deeply

moved by their genuine human and spiritual sympathy, and

by their many beauties of expression; and will be prepared

to look thenceforward past his author's difficulties to the

spirit which shines through them, with a feeling of enthu-

siastic confidence.
We may turn next to the last section of the volume—

the series of sixty-five short poems entitled in the aggregate

“The World's Epitaph.” Many of these reveal the same

tender thought for human suffering which is the great charm

of the “Parables,” and it is sometimes expressed with equal

force and beauty. Such pre-eminently are those “On the

Outcast” and “On the Saint;” the last conveying a picture

which has something startlingly imaginative, of a member of

the communion of saints presenting before the supreme

Tribunal, as an appeal for pity, some poignant personation

of the anguish endured on earth. However, here again the

order of the poems seems unfortunate, the series opening

with some of the weakest. Many of the “epitaphs” have

appended to them an “epode” which appears to be, gene-

rally or always, the rejoinder of the world to the poet's

reflection; but perhaps these do not often add much to the

force of the thing said. Such a scheme as this series

presents is obviously not to be fairly discussed in a brief

notice like the present; but we may note as interesting

examples, in various degrees, of its plan, the epitaphs “On

the Sanctuary,” “On Time,” “On the Soul,” “On the Valley

of the Shadow,” “On Life,” “On the Seasons of Life,” “On

the Widow,” “On Early Death,” “On the Deserted,” “On

Dissipated Youth,” “On the Statesman,” “On Old Age,”

“On Penitence,” and “On the Struggle for Immortality.”

As a specimen of this section of the book we extract the

following brief poem “On the Soul:”—
  • “Free as the soul, the spire ascends;
  • Heaven lets it in her presence sit;
  • Yet ever back to earth it tends,—
  • The tranquil waters echo it.
  • So falls the future to the past;
  • So the high soul to earth is cast.
  • “But though the soul thus nobly fails,
  • Not long it borders on despair;

  • Column Break

  • It still the fallen glory hails,
  • 10 Though lost its conquests in the air.
  • While truth is yet above, its good
  • Is measured in the spirits' flood.
  • “Though not at first, its holy light
  • Is figured in that mirror's face,
  • It scarce returns a form less bright
  • Than fills above a higher place.
  • The one was loved though little known,
  • The other is the spirit's own.”
This little piece, in spite of some uncertainty in the arrange-

ment of its last stanza, has the dignity and ordered compass

of a mind naturally empowered to deal with high things;

and this is often equally evident throughout the series. Still

we have to regret that even complete obscurity is a not

uncommon blemish, while imperfect expression seems too

often to be attributable to a neglect of means; and this

despite the fact that a sense of style is certainly one of the

first impressions derived from Dr. Hake's writings. But we

fear that a too great and probably organic abstraction of mind

interferes continually with the projection of his thoughts;

and we are frequently surprised to meet, amid the excel-

lence and fluent melody of his rhythm, with some sudden

deviation from the structure of the metre employed, which

can be attributable only to carelessness and want of watch-

ful revision. It needs such practical and patent proofs

as this to convince one of neglect where the instinct of

structure exists so unmistakably; and it is then that we

begin to perceive the cause of much that is imperfect in the

author's intellectual self-expression. This is no doubt the

absence of that self-examination and self-confronting with

the reader which are in an absolutely unwearied degree neces-

sary in art; and the question only remains whether the poet's

nature will or will not for the future admit of his applying

at all times a rigorous remedy to this mental shortcoming.
The same difficulty meets us in excess when we come to

the poem which stands first on Dr. Hake's title-page—

“Madeline.” With this our remaining space is far from

permitting us to deal at such length as could alone give any

true idea of its involved and somewhat bewildering elements.

Its unexplained form is a puzzle at the outset. It is delivered

in a kind of alternating recitative between “Valclusa,” the

name of the personified district in which the action is laid,

and a “Chorus of Nymphs.” The argument may be sum-

med up somewhat to this effect. Hermes, a beneficent

magician and poet, has been enamoured of Daphne, who

has since died and become to him a ministering spirit and

his coadjutress in the hallowed exercise of his art. He has

been made aware of the seduction of a young girl, Madeline,

by the lord of the land, and has in vain laboured to prevent

it, but now calls Daphne to his aid in consoling the outcast.

This angelic spirit conveys her to the magician's home,

where a sort of heavenly encampment is formed, in the

midst of which Madeline lies in magic slumbers watched by

her protectress. Glad and sad visions succeed each other in

her sleep, varied but not broken by conference with Daphne,

who urges her to forgiveness of her betrayer. But she has

been chosen by a resistless power as the avenger of her own

wrong; and as this ever-recurring phantom of vengeance

gains gradual possession of her whole being, the angelic

comforter, who has taken on herself some expiatory com-

munion in Madeline's agony, is so wrung by the human

anguish that she undergoes the last pain of humanity in

a simulated death. Madeline then fulfils her destiny, and

makes her way, still in a trance of sleep, by stormy moun-

tain passes to the castle of him who had wrought her ruin;

passes through his guards, finds him among his friends, and

slays him. She then returns to the magic encampment, and

lying down by the now unconscious Daphne, is in her turn
page: 107
released by death. The poem closes with the joint apo-

theosis of the consoler and the consoled, together with a

child, the unborn fruit of Madeline's wrong.
This conception, singular enough, but neither devoid of

sublimity nor of real relation to human passion and pity, is

carried out with great structural labour, and forms no doubt

the portion of the volume on which Dr. Hake has bestowed

his most conscientious care. But our rough argument can

give no idea of the baffling involutions of its treatment and

diction, rendering it, we fear, quite inaccessible to most

readers. The scheme of this strange poem is as literal and

deliberate in a certain sense as though the story were the

simplest in the world; and so far it might be supposed to

fulfil one of the truest laws of the supernatural in art—that

of homely externals developing by silent contrast the inner

soul of the subject. But here, in fact, the outer world does

not once affect us in tangible form. The effect produced

is operatic or even ballet-like as regards mechanical environ-

ment and course of action. This is still capable of defence

on very peculiar ideal grounds; but we fear the reader will

find the sequence of the whole work much more difficult to

pursue than our summary may promise.
The structure of the verse is even exceptionally grand and

well combined; but the use of language, though often ex-

tremely happy, is also too frequently vague to excess; and

the employment of one elaborate lyrical metre throughout a

long dramatic action, only varied by occasional passages in

the heroic couplet, conveys a certain sense of oppression, in

spite of the often felicitous workmanship. Moreover a rigid

exactness in the rhymes—without the variation of assonance

so valuable or even invaluable in poetry—is apt here to be

preserved at the expense of meaning and spontaneity.

Nevertheless, when all is said, there can be no doubt that

the same reader who at one moment lays down a poem like

this in hopeless bewilderment might at another, when his

mind is lighter and clearer, and he is at a happier juncture

of rapport with its author, take it up to much more luminous

and pleasurable results, and find it really impressive. One

point which should not be overlooked in reading it is, that

there is an evident intention on Dr. Hake's part to make

hysterical and even mesmeric phenomena in some degree

the groundwork of his conception. The fitness of these for

poetry, particularly when thus minutely dealt with, may

indeed afford matter for argument, but the intention must

not be lost sight of. Lastly, to deny to Madeline a

decided element of ideal beauty, however unusually pre-

sented, would be to demonstrate entire unfitness for judg-

ment on the work.
We have left ourselves no room to extract from “Madeline”

in any representative way; but the following two stanzas

(the second of them extremely fine) may serve to give an

idea of the metre in which it is written, and afford some

glimpse of its uniquely fantastic elaboration. The passage

is from the very heart of the poem; where Madeline is over-

shadowed in sleep by the vision of her seducer's castle,

rousing half-formed horror and resolve; till all things, even

to the drapery which clothes her body, seem to take part in

the direful overmastering hour.
  • “The robe that round her flows
  • Is stirred like drifted snows;
  • Its restless waves her marble figure drape
  • And all its charms express,
  • In ever-changing shape,
  • To zephyrs that caress
  • Her limbs, and lay them bare,
  • And all their grace and loveliness declare.
  • Nor modesty itself could chide
  • 10The soft enchanters as they past her breathe
  • And beauty wreathe
  • In rippling forms that ever onward glide.

  • Column Break

  • “Breezes from yonder tower,
  • Loosed by the avenging power,
  • Her senses hurry and a dread impart.
  • In terror she beholds
  • Her fluttering raiment start
  • In ribbed and bristled folds.
  • Its texture close and fine
  • 20With broidery sweeps the bosom's heaving line,
  • Then trickles down as from a wound,
  • Curdling across the heart as past it steals,
  • Where it congeals
  • In horrid clots her quivering waist around.”
We have purposely avoided hitherto any detailed allusion

to what appear to us grave verbal defects of style in these

poems; nor shall we cite such instances at all, as things of

this kind, detached from their context, produce often an

exaggeratedly objectionable impression. Suffice it to say

that, for a writer who displays an undoubted command over

true dignity of language, Dr. Hake permits himself at times

the most extraordinarily conventional (or once conventional)

use of Della-Cruscan phrases, that could be found in any

poet since the wonderful days when Hayley wrote the

“Triumphs of Temper.” And this leads us to a few final

words on his position as a living writer.
It appears to us then that Dr. Hake is, in relation to his

own time, as original a poet as one can well conceive pos-

sible. He is uninfluenced by any styles or mannerisms of

the day to so absolute a degree as to tempt one to believe

that the latest English singer he may have even heard of is

Wordsworth; while in some respects his ideas and points of

view are newer than the newest in vogue; and the external

affinity frequently traceable to elder poets only throws this

essential independence into startling and at times almost

whimsical relief. His style, at its most characteristic pitch,

is a combination of extreme homeliness, as of Quarles or

Bunyan, with a formality and even occasional courtliness of

diction which recall Pope himself in his most artificial flights;

while one is frequently reminded of Gray by sustained vigour of

declamation. This is leaving out of the question the direct

reference to classical models which is perhaps in reality the

chief source of what this poet has in common with the 18th

century writers. The resemblance sometimes apparent to

Wordsworth may be more on the surface than the influences

named above; while one might often suppose that the spi-

ritual tenderness of Blake had found in our author a worthy

disciple, did not one think it most probable that Blake lay

out of his path of study. With all his peculiarities, and all

the obstacles which really stand between him and the reading

public, he will not fail to be welcomed by certain readers

for his manly human heart, and genuine if not fully subju-

gated powers of hand.
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Planted by Wm. Shakespeare; felled by the Rev. F. Gastrell.
  • This tree, here fall'n, no common birth or death
  • Shared with its kind. The world's enfranchised son,
  • Who found the trees of Life and Knowledge one,
  • Here set it, frailer than his laurel-wreath.
  • Shall not the wretch whose hand it fell beneath
  • Rank also singly—the supreme unhung?
  • Lo! Sheppard, Turpin, pleading with black tongue
  • This viler thief's unsuffocated breath!
  • We'll search thy glossary, Shakespeare! whence almost,
  • 10 And whence alone, some name shall be reveal'd
  • For this deaf drudge, to whom no length of ears
  • Sufficed to catch the music of the spheres;
  • Whose soul is carrion now,—too mean to yield
  • Some tailor's ninth allotment of a ghost.
Stratford-on-Avon.      D. G. Rossetti.
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There is much in the function of criticism which absolutely

needs time for its final and irreversible settlement. And indeed

some systematic reference to past things, now at length pre-

senting clearer grounds for decision, seems a not undesirable

section in any critical journal, which finds itself necessarily at

the constant disadvantage of determining the exact nature of all

grain as it passes with dazzling and illusive rapidity through the

sieve of the present hour. Thus it might be well if a certain

amount of space were willingly granted, in such journals, to

those who, in the course of their own pursuits, find something

special to say on bygone work, perhaps half if not wholly for-

gotten, yet which, for all that, may have in it a vitality well

able to second any reviving effort when that is once bestowed.
Maclise stands, it is true, in no danger of oblivion; though

he has lately passed away from among us with infinitely

less public recognition and regret than has been bestowed, and

that in recent cases, on painters infinitely less than he. His was

a force of central fire whose conscious abundance descends at

will on many altars, and has something to spare even for feux

and it is fortunate that, after the production of much

which, with all its vigour and variety, failed generally to represent

him in any full sense, his wilful and somewhat scornful power did

at last culminate in a perfect manifestation. His two supreme

works—the “Waterloo” and “Trafalgar” in the House of Lords

—unite the value of almost contemporary record with that wild

legendary fire and contagious heart-pulse of hero-worship which

are essential for the transmission of epic events through art.

These are such “historical” pictures as the world had perhaps

never seen before; bold as that assertion may appear in the face

of the trained and learnedly military modern art of the continent.

But here a man wrought whose instincts were absolutely towards

the poetic, and yet whose ideality was not independent, but

required to be exercised in the service of action, and perhaps

even of national feeling, to attain its full development. These

two splendid monuments of his genius, thus truly directed, he

has left us; and we may stand before them with the confidence

that only in the field of poetry, and not of painting, can the

world match them as realised chronicles of heroic beauty.
However, my desire to express some sense of Maclise's great-

ness at its highest point is leading me away at the outset from

the immediate subject of this notice, which has to do merely with

an early and subordinate, though not ephemeral, product of his

powers. I allude to the long series of character-portraits—

chiefly drawn on stone with a lithographic pen, but in other

instances more elaborately etched or engraved—which he con-

tributed (under the pseudonym of “Alfred Croquis”) to Fraser's

between the years 1830 and 1838. Some illustration

of Maclise's genius, in the form of a book ready to hand, and

containing characteristic work of his, would be very desirable;

and I am not aware that any such exists at present. If un-

fortunately the original plates of these portraits have been

destroyed, they are exactly such things as are best suited to

reproduction by some of the photo-lithographic processes, and

I cannot doubt that by this means they might be perfectly and

permanently recovered and again put in circulation. I suppose

no such series of the portraits of celebrated persons of any epoch,

produced by an eye and hand of so much insight and power, and

realized with such a view to the actual impression of the sitter

exists anywhere; and the period illustrated possessed abundant

claims to a worthy personal record. Pre-eminent here, among

literary celebrities, are Goethe, Walter Scott, Coleridge, Words-

worth, Charles Lamb, and Thomas Carlyle. Each produces
page: 218
the impression of absolute trustworthiness, as in a photograph.

The figure of Goethe alone, though very vivid as he gazes over

his shoulder with encountering unreleasing eyes, is probably not

derived from personal observation, but reproduced from some

authority—here surpassed (as one cannot but suspect) in clear

directness of rendering. The portrait of Scott, with its unflinch-

ing enjoyment of peculiarities, gives, I have no doubt, a more

exact impression of the man, as equipped for his daily life, than

any likeness that could be met with. The same may be said of

the “Coleridge”—a mournful latter-day record of him, the image

of a life subdued into darkness, yet survived by the soul within its

eyes; and of the “Wordsworth”—beneficently enthroned, as if

for the distribution of some order of merit to encourage the forces

of nature; while Lamb, on the contrary, is shown to us warmly

ensconced, sucking at his sweet books (and some other sweets)

like a bee, and only conscious of self by the thrills of that dear

delight provided. As for our still living glory, Carlyle, the pic-

ture here given of him, in the simple reserved strength of his

earlier life, convinces us at once of its priceless fidelity. Fortu-

nately this portrait is one of those most carefully modelled and

engraved, and is a very beautiful complete piece of individuality.

This, no doubt, like some others, is a direct portrait for which the

original actually stood; while many, on the other hand, are remi-

niscences, either serious or satirical, of the persons represented.
It would be vain, in such space as I have at disposal, to

attempt even a summary of the numerous other representatives

of literature here gathered together; from the effete memorial

effigy of Rogers, to Theodore Hook, jauntily yet carelessly

posed, and with a twinkling, self-loving face, which is one of the

special masterpieces of the collection. But I may mention,

almost at random, the portraits of Godwin, Leigh Hunt, Cruik-

shank, Disraeli the elder, and the Arctic voyager Ross, as

presenting admirable examples of the series. To convey a

correct idea of the manner of these drawings to those who have

not seen them would be difficult. Both in rendering of cha-

racter, whether in its first aspect or subtler shades, and in the

unfailing knowledge of form which seizes at once on the move-

ment of the body beneath the clothes and on the lines of the

clothes themselves, these drawings are on an incalculably higher

level than the works of even the best professional sketchers.

Indeed no happier instance could well be found of the unity,

for literal purposes, of what may be justly termed “style” with

an incisive and relishing realism. A fine instance, though not

at all an exceptional one, is the figure of the poet Campbell,

leaning back in his chair for a few whiffs at his long pipe, amid

the lumber of an editor's office. The whole proportions of the

vignetted drawing are at the same time so just and fanciful,

and the personage so strongly and unflinchingly planted in his

place, that the eye and mind receive an equal satisfaction at

the first and last glance. Kindred instances are the figures of

Jerdan and Galt, both equally admirable. Of course, as in all

cases of clear satisfaction in art, the gift of beauty, and no other,

is at the bottom of the success achieved. I have no room to

point to many instances of this, but may refer to one; namely,

the rendering—whimsical, as in the spirit of the series, yet

truly appreciative—of that noble beauty which in Caroline

Norton inspired the best genius of her long summer day. At

other times the artist allows himself to render character by

playful exaggeration of the most obvious kind; as in the funnily-

drawn plate of Miss Landon, where the kitten-like mignonnerie

required is attained by an amusing excess of daintiness in the

proportions, with the duly charming result nevertheless. The

same may be said of the “Count D'Orsay,” that sublime Avatar

of the eighteen-thirties, a portrait no doubt as intensely true to

impression as it is impossible to fact.
I have already spoken of the literary leaders represented.

Here too are the kings of slashing criticism; chiefs of that

phalanx of rampant English and blatant Scotch mediocrity:

insolent, indolent Maginn; Lockhart, elaborately at ease;

Croker, tasteless and shameless; and Christopher North, cock

of the walk, whose crowings have now long given place to

much sweet singing that they often tried to drown; and who,

for all his Jove-like head, cloud-capped in Scotch sentiment

and humour, was but a bantam Thunderer after all. Not

even piteous inferiority in their unheeded successors can make

such men as these seem great to us now. There they lie—

broken weeds in the furrows traced by time's ploughshare for

the harvest which they would fain have choked.

Column Break

It may be doubted whether Maclise saw clearly the relative

importance of all the characters he portrayed in this gathering.

His instincts were chiefly those of a painter, not of a thinker;

and moreover he was doubtless, as a young man then, a good deal

under the influence of association with the reckless magazine-staff

among whom he worked in this instance. Accordingly some of

the satire conveyed by his pencil is now and then not in the best

taste; though perhaps the only really strong instance of this is

the laughable but impertinent portrait of Miss Martineau. Many

are merely playful, as the “Siamese” version of Bulwer-Lytton

at his shaving-glass; or that flush of budding Oriental dandyism

here on record as the first incarnation of Benjamin Disraeli.
But one picture here stands out from the rest in mental power,

and ranks Maclise as a great master of tragic satire. It is that

which grimly shows us the senile torpor of Talleyrand, as he sits

in after-dinner sleep between the spread board and the fire-place,

surveyed from the mantel-shelf by the busts of all the sovereigns

he had served. His elbows are on the chair-arms; his hands

hang; his knees, fallen open, reveal the waste places of shrivelled

age; the book he read, as the lore he lived by, has dropped

between his feet; his chap-fallen mask is spread upward as the

scalp rests on the cushioned chair-back; the wick gutters in the

wasting candle beside him; and his last Master claims him now.

All he was is gone; and water or fire for the world after him

—what care had he? The picture is more than a satire; it

might be called a diagram of Damnation; a ghastly historical

verdict which becomes the image of the man for ever. This is

one of the few drawings which Maclise has signed with his nom-

at full length; and he had reason to be proud of it.
But I must bring particulars to a close, hoping that I may

have roused in such readers of the Academy as were hitherto

unacquainted with this series, a desire to know it and an interest

in its possible reproduction. This, I may again say, seems easy

to be accomplished by photo-lithography, though I do not know

myself which of the various methods more or less to be classed

under that title is the best for the purpose. The portraits

should be accompanied in such case both by the original maga-

zine-squibs necessary for explanation, and by some competent

summary of real merits and relative values as time has shown

them since. And before concluding, I may mention that in the

Garrick Club there is a sketch of Thackeray by Maclise, in pen

or pencil (I forget which), evidently meant to enter into this

series. It is Thackeray at the best time of his life, and ought

certainly to be facsimiled with the rest in the event of their re-

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