Imágenes de página

friend Hogarth, to whom he often promifed to fit, and for whom he has left us in his writings many beautiful memorials of his affection, had long laboured to try if he could bring out any likeness of him from images exifting in his own fancy; and just as he was defpaiting of fuccefs, for want of fome rule to go by in the dimenfions and outlines of the face, fortune threw the grand defideratum in the way. A lady, with a pair of fciffars, had cut a profile, which gave the diftances and proportions of his face fufficiently to restore the artist's loft ideas of him. Glad of an opportunity of paying this laft tribute to the memory of an author whom he admired, Mr. Hogarth caught at this outline with pleasure, and worked with all the attachment of friendship till he finished an excellent drawing, which ftands at the head of the new edition of his works.

Mr. Murphy gives the character of Fielding in the following terms: His paffions, as the poet expreffes it, were tremblingly alive all d'er: whatever he defired, he defired ardently; he was alike impatient of disappointment or ill ufage, and the fame quickness of fenfibility rendered him elate in profperity, and overflowing with gratitude at every inftance of friendship or generofity: fteady in his private attachments, his affection was warm, fincere, and vehement; in his refentments he was manly, but temperate, feldom breaking out in his writings into gratifications of illhumour, or perfonal fatire. It is to the honour of those whom he loved, that he had too much penetration to be deceived in their characters; and it is to the advantage


of his enemies, that he was above paffionate attacks upon them. Open, unbounded, and focial in his temper, he knew no love of money; but inclining to excess even in his very virtues, he pushed his contempt of avarice into the oppofite extreme of imprudence and prodigality. When young in life he had a moderate eftate, he foon fuffered hofpitality to devour it; and when in the latter end of his days he had an income of four or five hundred a-year, he knew no ufe of money, but to keep his table open to those who had been his friends when young, and had impaired their own fortunes. Tho' difpofed to gallantry by his ftrong animal spirits, and the vivacity of his paffions, he was markable for tenderness and conftancy to his wife, and the strongest affection for his children. Of ficknefs and poverty he was fingularly patient, and under the preffure of thofe evils he would quietly read Cicero De confolatione; but if either of them threatened his wife, he was impetuous for her relief: and thus often from his virtues arofe his imperfections. A fenfe of honour he had as lively and delicate, as most men; but fometimes his paffions were too turbulent for it, or rather his neceffities were too preffing; in all cafes where delicacy was departed from, his friends knew how his own feelings reprimanded him. The intereft of virtue and religion he never betrayed; the former is amiably enforced in his works; and for the defence of the latter, he had projected a laborious Answer to the pofthumous Philofophy of Bolingbroke; and the preparation he had made for it, of long extracts and arguments from the fathers and the most eminent writers of controverfy,

[ocr errors]

verfy, is ftill extant in the hands of his brother, Sir John Fielding. In fhort, our author was unhappy, but not vicious in his nature; in his understanding lively, yet folid; rich in invention, yet a lover of real fcience; an obferver of mankind, yet a scholar of enlarged reading; a fpirited enemy, yet an indefatigable friend; a fatirift of vice and evil manners, yet a lover of mankind; an useful citizen, a polished and instructive wit; and a magiftrate zealous for the order and welfare of the community which he ferved.

An account of the Life of Ariofto.

Lodovico Ariofto, the famous Italian poet, and author of Orlando Furiofo, was born at the cafile of Reggio in Lombardy in 1474. His father, who was major-domo to duke Hercules, lived to the extent of his fortune, fo left but little at his death. Ariofto, from his childhood, fhewed great marks of genius, especially in poetry, and wrote a comedy in verfe on the ftory of Pyramus and Thisbe, which his brothers and fifters played. His father being utterly unlearned, and rather regarding profit than his fon's inclination, compelled him to ftudy the civil law; in which, having plodded fome years to no purpofe, he quitted it for more pleafing ftudies. Yet often lamented, as Ovid and Petrarch did befor him, and our own Milton fince †, that his father banished him from the mufes. On which occafion, one cannot help obferving, how cruel and impolitic it is in parents to force their chil

† See his Latin poem, Ad Patrem.

dren from thofe prevailing ftudies to which their genius leads them, and make them apply to others, which, as they hate, can never be a credit or advantage to them. the age of twenty-four Ariofto lost his father, and found himself perplexed with family affairs. However, in about fix years he was, for his good parts, taken into the fervice of Don Hippolito, cardinal of Efte. At this time he had written nothing but a few fonnets; but now he refolved to make a poem, and chofe Bayardo's Orlando Inamorato, for a ground-work. However, he was prevented writing for à great many years, and was chofen as a fit perfon to go on an embassy to Pope Julio II. where he gave fuch fatisfaction, that he was fent again, underwent many dangers and difficulties, and at his return was highly favoured. Then at his leifure, he again applied himself to his poem: but foon after he incurred the cardinal's difpleasure, for refufing to accompany him into Hungary, by which he was fo difcouraged, that he deferred writing for fourteen years, even till the cardinal's death. After that he finished by degrees, in great perfection, that which he begun with great expectation. Duke Aftolfo offered him great promotions if he would ferve him; but preferring liberty to grandeur, he refused this and other great offers from princes and cardinals, particularly from Leo X. from all whom he received notwithstanding great prefents. The duke of Ferrara delighted fo much in his comedies, of which he wrote five, that he built a ftage on purpofe to have them played in his

[blocks in formation]

court, and enabled our poet to build himself a house in Ferrara, with a pleasant garden, where he ufed to compofe his poems, which were highly efteemed by all the princes in Italy, who sent him many prefents; but he faid, "he would not fell his liberty for the best cardinal's hat in Rome." In his diet he was temperate, and fo careless of dainties, that he was fit to have lived in the world when they fed upon acorns. Whether he was ever married is uncertain. He kept company with one Alexandra, to whom, it was reported, he was married privately, and a lady Genevera, whom he flily mentions in the 24th book of Orlando, as poets are apt to intermix with their fic tions fome real amours of their own. He was urged to go ambaffador to pope Clement, but would by no means accept it. He tranflated the Menecmi of Plautus: and all his own comedies were fo efteemed, that Don Francifco of Efte rehearfed the prologue himself in public. He began one of his comedies in his father's life-time, when the following incident fhews the remarkable talent he had for poetry. His father one day rebuked him fharply, charging him with fome great fault, but all the while he returned him no answer. Soon after his brother began on the fame fubject; but he eafily refuted him, and with ftrong arguments, juftified his own behaviour. Why then, faid his brother, did you not fatisfy my father?" "In truth, faid Lodovico, I was thinking of a part in my comedy, and methought, my father's fpeech to me was fo fuited to the part of an old man chiding his fon, that I forgot I was concerned in it myself, and confidered it only to make it


part of my play." Which, by the way, is not near so bad as the story of a famous painter, who having prevailed on a man to be tied naked to a cross to represent a crucified faviour, took occafion to stab him, the better to reprefent the agonies of death. It is alfo reported of Ariofto, that coming by a potter's fhop, he heard him finging a ftave out of his Orlando, with fo bad a grace, that, out of all patience, he broke with his ftick feveral of his pots: the potter, in a pitiful tone, afking what he meant by wronging a poor man that had never injured him, "You rafcal, he replied, I have not done thee half the wrong thou haft done me, for I have broken but two or three pots of thine, not worth fo many halfpence; whereas, thou haft broken and mangled a ftanza of mine worth a mark of gold."

Ariofto was tall, of a melancholy complexion, and fo abforbed in study and meditation, that he often forgot himfelf. His picture was drawn by Titian, in a mafterly manner. He was honoured with the laurel by the hands of the emperor Charles V. He was naturally affable, always affuming less than was his due, yet never putting up a known injury, even from his fuperiors. He was fo fearful on the water, that whenever he went out of a fhip, he would fee others go before him; and, on land, he would alight from his horfe on the leaft apprehenfion of danger. How inconfiftent this with that fiery imagination which could fo well defcribe the courage, ftrength, and marvellous intrepidity of an Orlando Furiofo, as well as of many other renowned and valiant knights, and valiant ladies too! For certainly he was much fitter to handle

*handle the pen than the fword, and to write advantageously the atchievements of others, than afford matter of panegyric, at leaft, in the manner of thefe heroes, whofe praises he delighted to fing. Tho', in the opinion of many, the character of a good poet, and a good man, is, at leaft, equal to that of an honourable warrior, and fuccessful knight


He lived to the age of 59, and towards his latter end grew infirm, and by much phyfic injured his ftomach. He affirmed that he was willing to die; and the rather, because he heard that the greatest divines were of opinion, that after this life we should meet and know our friends; faying, to thofe that ftood by, "that many of his friends were departed whom he had a great defire to fee; and that every hour feemed to him a year, till he might vifit them." He died in Ferrara, in the year 1533; and there was fcarce a man that could write, but honoured him with an epitaph.

Life of Inigo Jones. Extracted from Mr. Walpole's Anecdotes of Painters.


Owards the end of James the firft's reign, Genius was called out and appeared. The magnificent temper or tafte of the duke of Buckingham, led him to collect pictures, and pointed out the ftudy of them to prince Charles. Rubens came over, Inigo Jones arofe, and Architecture broke forth in all the luftre and purity of Rome and Athens.

The greatest artist of this profeffion that has appeared in thefe kingdoms, and fo great, that, in the reign of arts, we fcarce know


the name of another architect, was Inigo Jones, who, if a Table of Fame, like that in the Tatler, were to be formed for men of real and indifputable genius in every country, would fave England from the difgrace of not having her reprefentative among the Arts, adopted Holbein and Vandyck, she borrowed Rubens, fhe produced Inigo Jones. Vitruvius drew up his grammar, Palladio fhewed him the practice, Rome displayed a theatre worthy of his emulation, and king Charles was ready to endourage, employ, and reward his talents. lents. This is the hiftory of Inigo Jones as a genius.

He was born about 1572, the fon of a cloth-worker; and, by the moft probable accounts, was bound apprentice to a joiner; but even in that obfcure fituation, the brightnefs of his capacity burft forth fo ftrongly, that he was taken notice of by one of the great lords at court, who sent him to Italy to study landscape painting, to which his inclination then pointed. He was no fooner at Rome, than he found himself in his proper fphere: he felt that nature had not formed hin to decorate cabinets, but defign palaces. He dropt the pencil, and conceived Whitehall. In the ftate of Venice he faw the works of Palladio, and learned how beautiful tafte may be exerted on a lefs theatre than the capital of an em, pire. How his abilities diftinguifed themselves in a fpot where they certainly had no opportunity to act, we are not told, though it would not be the least curious part of his hiftory certain it is, that, on the ftrength of his reputation at Venice, Chriftian IV. invited him to Denmark, and appointed him his archi

tect; but on what buildings he was employed in that country, we are yet to learn. James I. found him at Copenhagen, and queen Anne took him in the quality of her architect to Scotland. He ferved prince Henry in the fame capacity, and the place of furveyor-general of the works was granted to him in reverfion. On the death of that prince, with whom at least all his lamented qualities did not die, Jones travelled once more into Italy, and, affitted by ripeness of judgment, perfected his tafte. To the interval between thefe voyages I fhould be inclined to affign thofe buildings of Inigo, which are lefs pure, and border too much upon that baftard ftile, which one may call King James's Gothic. Inigo's defigns of that period are not Gothic; but have a littleness of parts, and a weight of ornaments, with which the revival of the Grecian tafte was encumbered, and which he shook off in his grander defigns. The furveyor's place fell, and he returned to England; and, as if architecture was not all he had learned at Rome, with an air of Roman difinterestedness, he gave up the profits of his office, which he found extremely in debt; and prevailed upon the comptroller and paymaster to imitate his example, till the whole arrears were cleared.

In 1620, he was employed in a manner very unworthy of his genius: king James fet him upon difcovering, that is, gueffing, who were the founders of Stone-henge. His ideas were all romanized; confequently, his partiality to his favourite people, which ought rather to have prevented him from charging them with that mafs of barbarous clumfinefs, made him conclude it a Roman temple. It is remarkable,


that whoever has treated of that monument, has bestowed on it whatever class of antiquity he was peculiarly fond of; and there is not a heap of ftones in these northern countries, from which nothing can be proved, but has been made to depofe in favour of fome of those fantastical hypothefes. Where there was fo much room for vifions, the Phoenicians could not avoid coming in for their share of the foundation; and, for Mr. Toland's part, he discovered a little Stone-henge in Ireland, built by the druidefs Gealcopa, (who does not know the druidefs Gealcopa?) who lived at Inifoen in the county of Donegal.

In the fame year Jones was appointed one of the commiffioners for the repair of St. Paul's; but which was not commenced till the year 1633, when Laud, then bishop of London, laid the first stone, and Inigo the fourth. In the restoration of that cathedral he made two capital faults. He firft renewed the fides with very bad Gothic, and then added a Roman portico, magnificent and beautiful indeed, bnt which had no affinity with the ancient parts that remained, and made his own Gothic appear ten times heavier. He committed the fame error at Winchester, thrusting a screen in the Roman or Grecian taste into the middle of that cathedral. Jones indeed was by no means fuccefsfal when he attempted Gothic. The chapel of Lincoln's-Inn has none of the characteristics of that architecThe cloyfter beneath feems oppreffed by the weight of the building above.


The authors of the life of Jones place the erecting of the Banquetinghoufe in the reign of king Charles; but it appears, from the accounts of Nicho

« AnteriorContinuar »