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stowed upon him a head of wonderful properties and unequalled grandeur, displaying, in might, majesty, and wisdom, a personification of the Phidian Jupiter. His eyebrows were prominent, strongly marked, and bushy; and a mind well regulated, fearless, and independent, looked ont of his clear and well-opened eyes. His persout was not unworthy of the lofty brow, and thick ambrosial curls, which crowned its tall proportions. It was cast in the grandest mould of masculine strength and symmetry, and there was in his deportment, and in his tread, that dignity which is the offspring of self-respect and conscious superiority. The sarcastic expression which played around his lips during the heat of discussion, had disappeared; but when he spake, there was occasionally a good-natured irony in his tone and look which led the listener to doubt whether the opinions he expressed were his own, or assumed only to sound the intellect, and draw out the knowledge of those with whom he conversed.
I accosted him, and proposed a walk up the adjacent hill, to view the glories of the sunset. He assented, with a benignant smile, and we proceeded slowly up Monte Testaceo, on the summit of which we found several artists sketching the varied scenery which glowed around them in the golden hues of an Italian sunset. The ever-lovely pyramid of Cestius, the churches of San Paolo, Pietro Montorio, and Stefano Rotondo, the tower of Cecilia Metella, and the Coliseum, rose in a flood of brightness; beyond them glittered romantic villas, vinecovered slopes, and ancient aqueducts ; and the lovely distance was crowned by the hills of Tivoli, Frascati, and the Sabine land.
The broad disk of the sun now touched the horizon, and the sublime and still unfinished cupola of St. Peter's threw up its giant head in Juninous and imposing ma ificence. Its noble outline was well defined, and apparently brought nearer to the eye, by the transparency of the atmosphere ; and, as we gazed upon it, our thoughts simultaneously turned
upon the colossal mind and daring hand of the architect.
“ That cupola,” remarked my companion, s well illustrates the gigantic and imperious mind of the man who designed it. It is the wonder of modern architecture, and would have astonished the boldest Greek or Roman builder. The heroic daring, and sublime perseverance of Michael Angelo would have raised him to distinction in any other career; and had France or Spain produced this fiery and ambitious spirit, his choice would have been politics or arms; but, in prostrate and divided Italy, where could his mighty soul scek occupation and renown, but in the pursuit of arts and letters? How few of these ethereal spirits has any age or nation produced! Even Greece, beyond all comparison the most intellectual nation of antiquity, can display but a scanty group of really great men. Lycurgus, Themistocles, Pythagoras, Socrates, Aristoteles, Homer, Eschylus, Sophocles, Aristophanes, Pericles, Demosthenes, Phidias, Apelles. When I have named these, I have included all. Other bright names illumine the pages of lier history; but their radiance was a borrowed light, and their strength was the minor power, which the needle steals from the magnet.”
The glorious luminary had now sunk in solemn grandeur, and the ruddy tints of evening were rapidly following his career.—“ Were I a landscape painter,” exclaimed Odysscus, as we returned to the tavern,
“ I would for a year paint only atmospheric tints, and, above all, sunsets. What enchanting and harmonious blending of light and shade, of cloudy forms, and clear azure ! It is the poetry of nature, and all the prominent features of landscape shine out with new and tenfold lustre when the god of day descends in a glow of fire."
“ The tints of sunset," I replied,“ are too evanescent to be accurately fixed in the memory, and from thence slowly transferred to canvas: nor can any artist approach this kind of excellence who does not combine wonderful skill with a creative imagination, and a deep feeling for the beauties of nature.”
“ True,” rejoined Odysseus, “ the finer features of nature cannot be faithfully copied until they are deeply felt. They must reach the intellect through the feelings, and thus become interwoven with the
It was by the daily contemplation and study of the naked human form in public baths and gymnastic exercises, that the Greek artists attained such unrivalled excellence in painting and sculpture. The picturesque attitudes, and finely developed figures of the wrestlers, boxers, runners, and throwers of the discus and the spear, at their public games, afforded opportunities of study and improvement which modern artists may look back upon with envy, but will never attain in the present state of society. The warmer clothing required in the variable climate of Italy, and the absence of athletic games in the education of her youtlı, prevent that perfect development of strength and beauty in the human frame which distinguished the Greeks: and it is to be feared, that any attempt to remedy this defect by the introduction of gymnastic exercises, would be crushed in its infancy by the iron arm of ignorance and prejudice, and by the withering influence of that monkish power, which knows that it exists only ly the blindness of the people, and has cunning enough to foresee the prodigious mental impulse which the full expansion of physical power would convey to the vivacious youth of Italy."
On our arrival at the tavern, we found the company reduced to our own party, the dancers reposing from their fatigues, and a garden banquet in preparation. Tolomeo and his lovely partner had been proclaimed the king and queen of the feast.
Their dark eyes were sparkling with gaiety, their brows were wreathed with chaplets of laurel, and their lips with involuntary smiles, as they were conducted in regal state to an elevated seat at the end of a long table. The scene of the banquet was a spacious arbour of vine-trellice, and under the spreading branches of a lofty chestnut, but open on one side to admit the amber light and soft effulgence of an Italian moon. Our Sicilian host was a man of ingenuity and taste; and his supper table was decorated by several small fountains, which played their pure waters in fanciful and graceful jets, flashing like drifted silver in the moonbeams, and soothing our senses with the gentle cadence of their soft and ceaseless music. The assembled artists, their lovely wives and friends, were grouped around the table, while Odysseus and I occupied the seat opposite to the regal pair, and now began a scene of social and genuine enjoyment. There are no men so richly fraught with spirituality and gaiety as artists in their hours of leisure. All of them possess much general knowledge unconnected with their profession, and not a few are men of exalted and poetical imagination, and full of refined and generous feeling. With such materials for convivial enjoyment, the hours flew like moments. The delicious wines and fruits of southern Italy, the guitar, the song, the tale, and the repartee, the bright eyes and brighter wit of lovely women, and the speaking glances of youthful lovers; such were our elements of pleasure, and the evening passed as swiftly as a pleasant dream. It was an hour after midnight, when, during a brief pause in the conversation, the melodious voices of Tolomeo and his queen burst like Arcadian Antes upon our ravished ears, and sang iu thrilling harmony a joyous and appropriate strain, the chorus of which was chaunted with exulting enthusiasm by all assembled.
Qui se un piacer si gode
Amore e fedeltà.
Che cosa é porertà.
Onde alletcar non ha.
Chorus. O care, &c. We now arose to depart in a glowing tumult of friendly and social feeling. It was a night of surpassing splendour, and we walked homeward in the brilliant light of the full-moon, singing in chorus as we skirted the still waters of the Tiber. We moved in gay procession under triumphal arches, and amid ruins of shadowy grandeur, until we reached the Tarpeian rock, where we paused a moment, and separated amidst cordial and resounding wishes of “ Felicissima Notte.”
MR. EDITOR,—I want to know from you, for I think it is in your line of business, how much money it may fetch me to publish my Reminiscences. If you back me, I will set-to, and cudgel my knowledge-box for as pleasant a “ Life and Times” as ever was writ by that play-wright Reynolds, or the arch-composer Michael-and by George! I'll beat them hollow, even on their own stage.
By the law! I've as big a budget of the like characters to show off, as would feed a hungry author for a twelvemonth. None of your flash adventures, to make people laugh, like comical story-books, but downright serious things, that happened to myself during my eventful
But the mischief is, I never had much scholarship; elegance of style, therefore, I won't lay claim tonor fine grammar either; at least, not that I know of-for to say truth, I never could write-that is, small text, having spoilt my hand by beginning with letter-writing on a large scale. Yet my works have been read by all the world, and my midnight lucubrations have gone through numberless editions ; nevertheless, I'm as innocent of grammar as the child unborn. Fact was, I never had occasion to write, but with a whiting-brush on dead walls, but I never heard that any critic ever found fault with my Syntax.
You will observe, therefore, that I employ an amanuensis, who is answerable for the bad spelling and grammar of my memoirs.
He blows me up, by telling me, that 'twas he who edited for some of those life-writing folks, who had no more school-learning than I—but, however, I insist on his being particular, and not cramming in too many fine words of his own, lest people should suspect the hodge-podge not to be genuine, and lest I should not be able to understand my own book, as happened to some of his employers. He promises to put a dash under such wares as he furnishes himself, and to write down verbatim nothing, but what I comprehend after his explaining it so that I shall speak for myself, though in his words.
The main point is to lay before you in brief, who, and what I am, that you may judge how far I am fit to write a book, bigger than the History of England, of myself and the nobility and rabble with whom I kept company. I am both a musician and a comic actor by profession, though not on the books of either house ; but for all that, my business has given me as many opportunities of observing the Great and Little, as ever any of those gentry had. I once was manager of a theatre as popular as any in London ; but this is anticipating, as my amanuensis says ; for that, if I mean to spin out two volumes, I must begin as far back as I know any thing about my origin. I shall then give you a hurried sketch of my career, from the time when I was first thought on till now; and beg you to inform me, whether it will be a good spec ; as it won't answer me to be keeping an amanuensis here in the compter, at eleven pence three farthings a day, tobacco, snuff, and ale not included, without which we should never feel any inspiration, as he says.
All my ancestors, that I ever heard of, were of the mother's side, and she, good woman, was no way given to brag of them! though I have heard her acknowledge that she was indebted to her mother for all the great qualities she possessed. She was a fine woman—for her situation in life, and had, I am told, in her youth, a fine contralto voice, that sometimes was heard above every other in Covent Garden
In reality, some of her notes were so shrill, yet welcome, that even when she was walking in the streets, persons, attracted by her voice, would run to their doors, and invite her with the greatest civility to rest herself, while they commended or criticised the burden of her song. She always received some little presents from her admiring hearers, which she, for she was uncommonly high-spirited, returned in fruit and vegetables out of her garden, which was agreeably situated in the purlieus of the theatres. Indeed, I have no doubt she might have accumulated a fortune in this way, had she laid out her money to
interest, but she had a ginerous soul, and preferred all her life-time assisting public-houses--of refuge, and increasing the revenue, to laying up any provision for the morrow. Her public spirit was unbounded, and private virtues appeared ridiculous to her in comparison with the general good; not that I mean to disparage those same private virtues, for hers were private enough, God knows—more so than any miser's charities--but she was none of your over strict people, “ too good on carth to stay;" for it was a common saying of her, that she was no better than she ought to be—a negative compliment to her worth, which implies her to have been quite as good as she might be, but nothing uncommon—no, by my faith! she was all the reverse of that.
However, though I may have lost a fortune by her noble thirst for the good of the public, I have no disposition to blame her for indulging it, because it is owing to her love of freedom, that I ever was born-moreover, she threw no tedious forms, or any of the“ law's delays” between me and this goodly world ; but the good creature, not content with conceiving the notion of me, hastened to take out a patent or copyright, to prevent any one else from fathering her young idea, but those to whom she might assign it in her affidavit. Several gentlemen were anxious to have the forthcoming edition dedicated to them, else why did they deposit their subscriptions ? but genius is wayward ! my lady-mother most disinterestedly named as trustee, a gentleman who had never contributed to her production.
She was the means too of bringing him into notice, by the tribute which she paid to his taste; in consequence of which, a gentleman pensioner of the parish, with a gold-laced hat and coat, waited upon him, bearing an address of congratulation, signed by the churchwardens, &c.
I did not come into the world without some such fuss as always attends the entrance of a prodigy. A great house was appointed for my mother's lying-in, and a physician was ordered to attend her free of expense, so grateful was the community for her devotion to their service. I cannot say, however, that their gratitude was without exception, for it was wholly wanting in the quarter one would have least expected; that is to say, in the person whom she had gratuitously paternized, and laid under a mighty obligation. Well! well! it's the way of the world ! . I won't speak ill of him, because he is my namesake, mother having, out of regard for him, honoured him by calling me by his name, a proceeding that was very useful to me in after life, as it enabled me honourably to choose which name I should prefer, of Jay or Daw, my excellent mother being familiarly called Nelly Jay, and her adopted assignee Mr. John Daw.
So clever a woman could not but have particular notions about education, and it was her system that man should become useful from his very childhood. Now as a child could not be a profitable servant in the church or law, it was useless to teach him reading or writing, when he might never live to enter those professions. At least, it was better to instruct him in any art that he could turn to immediate advantage. She soon found out one, that promised to unfold my mental and bodily powers, and produce a certain return, without the expenditure of much capital.
The alto tenore of a respectable strolling company happening to