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is an abstract man, or an abstract horse-on canvas!
10. Mr Addington Symonds writes much more sensibly on this subject. Speaking of later artists, such as the Caracci and Guercino, he remarks: "The purfled silks of Titian's Lilac Lady in the Pitti; the embroidered hems of Boccaccini da Cremona; the crimson velvet of Raphael's Joanna of Aragon; Veronese's cloth of silver and shot taffety, are replaced by one monotonous nondescript stuff, differently dyed in dull or glaring colours but always shoddy. Characteristic costumes have disappeared. After the same fashion, furniture, utensils, houses, animals, birds, weapons are idealised-stripped, that is to say, of what in these things is specific and vital.” He properly speaks, I think, of "idealised" robes as that empty lie called drapery." 1
11. Of Winckelmann.-Another genius, Winckelmann, is reported to hold that "perfect beauty is like pure water; it has no particular savour." 2 Thus in order to be beautiful, a thing would have to be nothing in particular! Apply the saying to lily, or a rose, or a cowslip, or a violet, or anything generally allowed to be beautiful, and its fatuity will become apparent immediately.
12. Of Goethe.-In speaking of Weenix, the animal painter, Goethe declares that "in the delineation of their widely varying coats, the bristles, hair, or feathers, with the antlers and claws, he had equalled nature, while in the effect produced he had excelled her!" 3
13. Of Coleridge.-Nor are we much helped in our efforts to obtain a clear knowledge of the foundation of art or of the principles of criticism, either literary
1 'Renaissance in Italy,' Vol. vii. pp. 233-4.
2 Veron, Esthetics,' p. 133.
Autobiography,' Vol. ii. p. 27.
or artistic, when we return to some famous British critics. Thus Coleridge says that "Shakespeare's characters are all genera intensely individualised." 1 What does he mean by that exactly? "In a
14. Of Macaulay.-Or take Macaulay. barbarous age," says he in his essay on Dryden, "the imagination exercises a despotic power. So strong is the perception of what is unreal, that it often overpowers all the passions of the mind, and all the sensations of the body"; and having made this very extravagant, if not quite senseless assertion, he proceeds to argue from it that "the critical and poetical faculties are not only distinct but almost incompatible"; "that as knowledge is extended and as the reason develops itself, the imitative arts decay"; that we should therefore expect that the corruption of poetry would commence in the educated classes of society' that this, in fact, "is almost constantly the case, and that "the few great works of imagination which appear in a critical age are, almost without exception, the works of uneducated men." 2 In all this doctrinising, it is apparent, I should say at a glance, that there is less than no enlightenment. Consider for a moment the doctrine that "the few great works of imagination which appear in a critical age are, almost without exception, the works of uneducated men." Facts are completely opposed to it. The girl at the boarding-school who sometimes points his moral and adorns his tale, could scarcely wander farther from the truth. Let the ghost of the critic reflect on Eschylus, Sophocles, Virgil, Horace, Dante, Shakespeare, Milton, Scott, Tennyson,-all of them, in the right and great sense of the word, amongst the most learned men of their respective ages, and he will see that the doctrine under considera
1'Essays,' Shakespeare, &c., p. 91.
tion will not bear examination. Great works, indeed, with few, very few exceptions, are the works of educated men; and if self-education be taken into account, self-education (that, for example, of Shakespeare or Burns) which is the very highest kind of education,1 it will appear that, in complete contradiction of Macaulay's theory, great works are produced by educated men only-i.e., by alumni of what might be called the University of Man.
15. Want of Education in the conventional sense may be the very occasion and cause of Education in the great sense.-Indeed, a man's want of education in the conventional sense may be the very occasion and cause of his education in the real and great sense. A genius, say, like Burns would learn more of life from his father's conversation, and more from Jenny Wilson (who lived with his father's family) concerning "devils, ghosts, fairies, brownies, witches, warlocks, spunkies, kelpies, elf-candles, deadlights, wraiths, apparitions, cantraips, giants, enchanted towers, dragons," and the other denizens of the human imagination, and would insensibly imbibe more of the true spirit of poetry from such sources than he could have derived from fifty ordinary academic teachers.
16. It is not hard to understand why Carlyle was disposed to regard Macaulay, in his earlier days, as a sophistical, rhetorical, young man
1 "As may be said with perfect truth, I believe, of every great man, Scott was self-educated in every branch of knowledge. which he has ever turned to account in the works of his genius.' -Lockhart, 'Life of Scott,' Vol. i. p. 177. "Scott having had the benefit of a totally neglected education [education, that was, in the conventional and routine sense], was able early to follow most of his noble instincts; but Turner, having suffered under the instruction of the Royal Academy, had to pass nearly thirty years of his life in recovering from its consequences, &c.Ruskin, 'Modern Painters,' Vol. iii. pp. 327-8. So deadly may academic education be to its poor pupils; but never let a word be said against education in truth and fact, which is at all times the crying need of Humanity.
of talent." In this same essay he lays down the amazing proposition that magnificent versification and ingenious combinations rarely harmonise with the expression of deep feeling." 1 Again the simple reply is that the facts of the case are utterly opposed to the Babingtonian doctrine. The truth of the matter is that grand harmony of thought and expression will be found in all very great poetry; that it is, indeed, an essential of all great poetry. It will be found without fail, I should say, that the more deep and genuine the poet's feeling for nature, the more musically will he express that feeling. Take an instance from Burns:
"The wintry Wast extends his blast,
Or the stormy North sends driving forth
Here, obviously, we have not only magnificent versification, but perfect pictorial representation combined with the deepest and tenderest feeling. And all the great works of all the great poets will bear witness to a similar combination. Amongst them all it will be difficult to find a sweet, or great, or noble thought that is not sweetly, or greatly, or nobly expressed. Indeed, 2 "Winter: A Dirge."
1 'Works,' Vol. vii. p. 163.
it may be accepted as a law that great utterance
Thus, whereas Thomas Babington, Lord Mac-
17. Of Wordsworth.-The difficulties and per-
1 Cf. infra, chap. vi. par. 6.
2 In his essay on Moore's 'Byron' he shows a better apprehension of the nature of poetry; and it should be noticed that in his preface to his Essays' he apologises for their imperfections.