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has been disciplined into a kind of second nature, who can think and render their thoughts into musical expression with the same ease with which the poet or the philosopher employs language, or the painter and sculptor their respective media of expression. If it be difficult for us, under any circumstances, to grasp the full meaning of the musical composer,--for this reason, that we are ignorant of the significance of the language which he employs, or at any rate not familiar with it,then it would seem that the only means of sharpening our intelligence is to devote definite pains to the study of the principles or grammar of the art, the rules of its construction, and its prosody. Just so with painting, Those who have possessed themselves of no nucleus of growth, no knowledge of the ascertained principles of the art, are not in the way of carrying on the cultivation of their taste in any certain or systematic manner. The restricted aim with which we approach this interesting subject obliges us to a severer view than we should otherwise take of it. We do not dwell upon that love of nature and that keen faculty of observation, which is the sole and unconscious discipline of many a delicate judgment in matters of taste. We do not attempt to number those unseen and untraceable influences which kindle genius and invest men with an unpatented nobility of mind. We shall presently, indeed, confess that we have good reason for not venturing to educe more than a few simple rules, or to lay down a law which is, to a great degree, unwritten. The principles of taste, like the rules of logic, have a tacit existence, are tacitly violated or observed. The scheme of taste is to be gathered from the acclamation of the most cultivated of all time--not from the writings of any man, or any body of men, of any one age or interest. How men enter into the mysteries of this scheme is not to be told. * The imagination is not an outlaw to the scheme of man's intelligence, but it is a lawless element, and too subtle to be reduced to uniform allegiance.
We have been considering how some aid may be given in this branch of education-what labour will, at any rate, not be fruitless, even if it should fail of influencing the taste so directly as might be desired. Accurate and elementary study of an art may grow into a scientific and philosophic instinct; it cannot cramp genius ; it will improve and discipline talent; it will repay the most unpoetical mind in the hard coin of method and precision.
As some guide to the formation of judgment in relation to the fine arts, we may remark, that the aim or scope of the artist must first be considered, then the nature of the means by which that aim is sought to be attained. The different styles of poetry, painting, music, &c., answer to one another. There are many poets in conception and in appreciation of the aims of art, but few in execution.
Poet is a generic term. There are poet-painters, and painters who have no taste or sense of beauty : in some there is no such element as imagination ; in others this faculty is powerful, but undisciplined. What noble intellectual ruins attest the worth of discipline and the cost at which it is slighted !* , How many have the command of almost indefinite natural resources how few have that element of genius which consists in perseverance !
A great principle of beauty and interest is conveyed in the ancient paradox, aléov quioù návroç. The imagery of poets and painters of the higher class will be found to embody it, and is worthy of careful study under this suggestion. Horace's
“ Sæpius ventis agitatur ingens
Pinus ; et celsæ graviore casu
Fulgura montes” is an example of that power of genius which consists in the ability to refrain from a perfect delineation, and to leave to imagination just that half of the picture on which it will dwell with most delight. This unexpressed, but implied world of beauty, is that in which the poet himself, and all who share in his creative genius, find the most varied occupation of their fancy and thought. It is a legitimate and graceful application of the omne ignotum pro magnifico, a principle which goes far to interpret man's awe of the mysterions beauty of nature. In the lines which we have just quoted there is room left, in the suppressed member of the comparison, for an array of beautiful images, each varying with the mind and imagination and poetic power of the reader. Indeed, this is an example of what we often find ourselves compelled to confess, in translating poets into another language, viz., that poet alone can worthily render poet, that one stanza of Horace would sometimes tax the genius of Coleridge, and Wordsworth, and Byron, could we summon them to the rescue ; ex. gr. this,
“Quà pinus ingens albaque populus
Umbram hospitalem consociare amant
Lympha fugax trepidare rivo."*-Hor. Od. ï. 3. Here is a perfect picture sketched by the poet from nature ; the stream is before our eyes—but the English words to express it! These may be found in the like pictures of our own true poets, but they are coy of showing themselves to a translator. Mr. Tennyson's “ Brook”. may help us ; but Horace's “ winds about, and in and out," within the com pass of six words. By the way, it would be excellent practice to follow out some of these undesigned coincidences of poetic delineation, and bring them into conjunction, side by side. This is what is, of course, done by the ingenious illustrators of poets, but we commend it as a definite exercise in the cultivation of taste. What we must remember particularly is, that although the painter will study all the features and lineaments of nature, and although he will multiply studies of daguerreotype minuteness of detail for his own use, yet that a great landscape even is never a mere representation of what has been presented to his eye in nature. True to nature it is, but there has been much intervening study and reflection, much exercise of the imagination, much elevating, chastening, and refinement of its suggestions, before the picture
* “This is true poetic description, in which, while the poet appears only to express a docile recipiency of what nature bestows, he gives back, to be blended with it, both his own emotion and the light which a poet's imagination creates."- Prof. Reed on Byron's description of Lake Leman. We venture to add from Pindar
«'Αστήρ αρίζηλος, αλαθινόν
comes to be what we may see it on this 1st of May in one corner or another of our great Academy Exhibition, Turner possessed this power to a greater extent, perhaps, than any other painter of modern times ; he could record in his mind the characteristic elements of a picture, i.e. of a particular concurrence of picturesque circumstances (e.g. in the neglected region of cloud-land), with wonderful fidelity ; we allude now to all but his very latest pictures. This is abundantly shown in Mr. Ruskin's first volume of Modern Painters.
“The distinction between nature and art, that is, between real and ideal beauty, is the same which separates taste from genius. Art is nature destroyed and reconstructed. Genius is taste no longer as the appreciator of natural beauty, but the creator of beauty ideal and superior to the former.
“ Taste appreciates : it is the moral in humanity in the presence of the moral in nature ; it decides whether the natural symbol is in accordance with the moral idea. Genius does more than this, it creates. Genius contains the same elements as taste, but in a higher degree; genius, by reason, apprehends unity more thoroughly ; by the faculty of representation, it retraces more vividly the different parts of an object; lastly, by the sentiment, or love, it not only distinguishes the moral idea, it reveres it, aspires to this ideal, which it detaches as much as possible from nature; it etherealizes the forms of matter, and takes away all that can obstruct the idea. Taste reposes tranquilly in the contemplation of the beautiful in nature ; genius rends and reconstructs nature, in order to make it more like the idea. .... Genius destroys nature while it reveres it, and then restores it more pure and more like the moral idea graven upon it by the hand of God; thus the marks of genius are destruction and creation. .... Thus the artist who, seriously regarding nature, should be satisfied to copy it faithfully, would fall from the rank of an artist to that of a mechanic. I see that this portrait very exactly represents such a person, but there is no ideal there, the work is not by an artist. This decision condemns the whole school of painting, of sculpture, or of music, which does not conceive of nature as symbolic, and which does not consecrate art to the discovery of symbols, the most pure and the most expressive of moral ideas. If art has for its great purpose the picturing forth of moral beauty, the result is, that it excites in other minds the sentiment of the beautiful which the artist possesses."*
Such is Victor Cousin's view of the difference between taste and genius, and the true end of art. We may go on to say that nature is in one sense the perfection of art. True, man has done what he could to mar the several features of that perfection which characterized the work of the Supreme Artificer. It is the mission of art to impress upon fragments of nature that recovered image of perfect beauty which belongs to creation. Genius recovers ; art applies, with a spiritual and ethical design and power in the act.
(To be continued.)
* “The Philosophy of the Beautiful,” by Victor Cousin, chapter viii. ' Translated by J. C. Daniel. (Pickering, 1848.)
REV. C. H. DAVIS versus “ F. F. W." TO THE EDITOR OF THE ENGLISH JOURNAL OF EDUCATION. SIR,—If“ F. F. W.” will take the trouble of turning to p. 69 of your February No., he will perceive that the “ ominous” heading had reference to a little book entitled “ Mind your Stops !"—the “ ! ” being part of its title. As to the merits of the said book, I have, it is true, seen two opposite opinions in Reviews; but I ventured to give mine in its favour. I then (as “ F. F. W.” truly observes) diverged a little in order to discuss “ one or two points, chiefly concerning the pointing of parentheses ....... and quotations.” (P. 69.) · If “F. F. W.” be able to supply more than two modes of pointing parentheses and quotations, perhaps he will be good enough to supply them for the benefit of your readers ? At all events the two which I gave are the two general modes. And my remark was limited to these.
“F. F. W.” does not even take the trouble of quoting me correctly! My illustration was this :
“Is that work quite out of print'?” (P. 70.) And my argument was based upon the fact that the question here turned upon the word “ quite”; now “F. F. W.” recklessly misquotes the illustration, and attributes to me the words “ Is that work out of print ?” and then proceeds to offer his own comments upon them!
I have no reason at all to quarrel with “ F. F. W."'s statement that brackets alone are correct to mark interpolations ; for I should have supposed that they were so. But I have been so much teased by compositors altering my brackets to parentheses in those cases, that I could not have supposed them capable of such changes had the rule been quite as absolute as “ F. F. W." contends it is ; I therefore wrote as if it might be open to two opinions. All I can say is, that if your readers should take “ F. F. W.” 's advice, and leave punctuation to the printers and compositors without giving directions as to brackets and parentheses, they will sometimes, even in London offices, find their brackets set up as parentheses !
As to dots for omissions, I had no idea of so many as “ F. F. W." chooses to suppose.
As to the P.S., let “ F. F. W.” look again ; I did not propose to alter the general rule of quotation ; I spoke only of cases whenever the letter ' v.' is used as an abbreviation for verse" &c. Does “ F. F. W.” doubt the reality of or the necessity for such cases ? Take an illustration :
“ In John iii. 15 the word alwviov is translated · eternal', but in v. 16 it is translated everlasting ?”
Now if an author should here forget to italicize the "y" it would be set up thus :
“ but in v. 16 it is translated everlasting?", and would of course convey to the reader the idea that in the 5th chapter and at the 16th verse it is translated“ everlasting”, instead of “ verse 16”. of the same chapter !
This is one case out of hundreds. I have learned by experience the
need of the use of an italicized“ v." in such cases ; and I often see the ambiguity caused by the omission of it.
In all ordinary occasions of mere chapter and verse, as I did not propose to disturb the general rule, so “ F. F. W.” 's criticism is mere waste of words.
In conclusion, permit me to request your readers, who may have the opportunity, just to compare a page of the “ Christian Observer” with a page of the “ Church of England Magazine”, both printed by established London houses. They will find in the one an exclusive adherence to the “ Plan A.”, and in the other an exclusive adherence to “ Plan B.", of my former letter at p. 69. An author may naturally ask, “ When printers disagree who shall decide ?” But the fact remains—they do disagree. And this fact led me to reflect ; and in my letter I gave my reasons for supposing that “ both are right, and both are wrong" &c.; and that a COMBINATION of the Two forms according to the sense is the true settlement of the question.
I hope that “ F. F. W.” will another time take the trouble to read what he undertakes to criticize and to controvert.-I am, Sir, yours truly,
C. H. DAVIS. Nailsworth, 2. April 1856.
INFLUENCE OF THE MOTHER ON HER FAMILY-IMPORTANCE OF THE STUDY OF “ COMMON THINGS.”—“The mother has to discharge, as it were, the moral duties of both parents. She is the centre of home influence ; it is she who is to set the guiding example of sobriety, thrift, industry, and cleanliness ; she ought to have a fair share of skill in household matters, and sufficient knowledge to be able to answer the prattling questions of her little ones. She should have strength of body, the result of early exercise, to enable her, without stimulants, to go through the daily work of her household, and cheerfulness of mind, which waits upon health, and the conviction of her own heart that she discharges, from day to day, the duties of that station in which God's providence has placed her, in a manner satisfactory to those about her, if not completely so to herself. And now, let me ask, How are the daughters of the working classes brought up to fit them for their lot in life, to be the wives and mothers of men in their own station ? Let us take the more favourable case. A girl is sent to a National or a British school. Seated for five or six hours every day on a hard form, without a back or any other support, till her spine gets bent or twisted, she pores listlessly over the pages of a closely small-printed Bible, or now and then stands up in her place and drones out-I cannot call it reads out-her verse in turn, often without having the least glimmering of a notion of what she is reading about. Then she is put to make things like hooks and eyes, which she calls figures. She scratches some uncouth zigzag lines, which she is told is learning to write, and this comprehends what is implied under the taking title, a sound moral, religious, and scriptural education. A year after she leaves school she will have forgotten nearly all that she had so imperfectly learned-in some respects worse off than those girls who had lived about the streets, and never went inside a school ; for freedom from constraint and exercise in the open air will have preserved for them the full use of their limbs and the vigour of their constitutions. * * * * * Why should not a 'young woman' be taught a knowledge of those common things with which she will have to deal the whole residue of her life? Why should she not, for example, be taught to light a fire, to sweep a room, to wash crockery and glass without breaking the half of them, to wash clothes, to bake bread, to dress a dinner, to choose meat, or fish, or vegetables, and to know how to keep them when bought ; what clothes are most economical-cheap, showy, tawdry rags, or those which are perhaps more expensive, but cheaper in the end ? Why should she not be taught the use of savings-banks and the results of thrift ?”- Lecture on Female Education, by the Rev. Dr. Booth.