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rocks-dark, though flushed with scarlet lichen, casting their quiet shadows across its restless radiance, the fountain underneath them filling its marble hollow with blue mist and fitful sound, and, over all, the multitudinous bars of amber and rose, the sacred clouds that have no darkness, and only exist to illuminate, were seen in intervals between the solemn and orbed repose of the stone pines, passing to lose themselves in the last, white, blinding luster of the measureless line where the Campagna melted into the blaze of the sea.
Are not all natural things, it may be asked, as lovely near, as far away? By no means. Look at the clouds and watch the delicate sculpture of their alabaster sides, and the rounded luster of their magnificent rolling! They are meant to be beheld far away : they were shaped for the place high above your head: approach them and they fuse into vague mists, or whirl away in fierce fragments of thunderous vapor.
Look at the crest of the Alps from the far away plains, over which its light is cast, whence human souls have communed with it by their myriads. It was built for its place in the far off sky; approach it, and as the sound of the voice of man dies away about its foundations, and the tide of human life is met at last by the eternal “Here shall thy waves be stayed,” the glory of its aspect fades into blanched fearfulness: its purple walls are rent into grizzly rocks, its silver fret work saddened into wasting snow; the storm brands of ages are on its breast; the ashes of its own ruin lie solemnly on its white raiment.
If you desire to perceive the great harmonies of
or seems SO.
the form of a rocky mountain, you must not ascend upon its sides.
All there is disorder and accident,
Retire from it, and as your eye commands it more and more, you see the ruined mountain world with a wider glance; behold ! dim sympathies begin to busy themselves in the disjointed mass: line binds itself into stealthy fellowship with line; group by group the helpless fragments gather themselves into ordered companies: new captains of hosts and masses of battalions become visible one by one; and far away answers of foot to foot, and bone to bone, until the powerless is seen risen up with girded loins, and not one piece of all the unregarded heap can now be spared from the mystic whole.
Biography.- John Ruskin, one of the most noted of art critics, was born in London in 1819, and graduated at Oxford University in 1842.
The year after graduation, the first volume of his work on “Modern Painters” was published, and the young author found himself assailed on all sides on account of his independent views upon painting and painters. Ruskin believed in the worth of modern talent, and scorned to bow before the ancient models so blindly adhered to by others. His influence has been toward progress, and his earnest and conscientious views have found many supporters. He was appointed Professor of Art at Oxford in 1869. His style as a writer is excellent.
Of his works we may mention the following: “Seven Lamps of Architecture,” “The Queen of the Air,” “The Eagle's Nest," " Lectures on Architecture and Painting,” and his greatest work, “Modern Painters.”
Notes. — Albano (äl bä'no) is a town in Italy, about twelve miles from Rome.
Campagna (cäm pän'yä), a very fertile plain, near Rome.
Clar' di an Aq'ueduct, a famous bridge of many arches across the Campagna, erected to convey a supply of water to the city of Rome, and finished by the Emperor Claudius in the year 51. The ruins of this aqueduct present an interesting sight.
The Alban Mount is a mountain 3,000 feet high near Lake Albano.
75.-A DINNER PARTY IN ANCIENT THEBES.N
(1311-1245 B. C.)
på l'an kēen' (păl'an ken), a cov
Cred conveyance used in the East. săn'dalş, coverings for the soles of
the fect. stúe'eoed, plastered. €ūeş, twists of hair. eðr'ri dorş, long passage ways.
hi'eroglyph'ies (glif), the pict.
ure-writing of the Egyptians. åm' ū let, a charm against evil. com'ment ing, remarking. €əl'dronş (kawl' drūnş), kettles. por' půs, full of minute holes. €ul'mi nāt ing, greatest.
The Labyrinth N has stood for nearly seven centuries. During this time the Shepherd kings" have had their sway and been expelled. The XVIIIth dynasty, including the long and brilliant reign of Thothmes III., has passed away, leaving behind it temples, obelisks, and tombs of marvelous magnifi(ence. Thebes is at the height of that architectural triumph which is to make her the wonder of succeeding ages.
Meantime, what of the people? Let us invite ourselves to a dinner party in Theban high life. The time is midday, and the guests are arriving on foot, in palankeens borne by servants, and in chariots. A high wall, painted in panels, surrounds the fashionable villa, and on an obelisk near by is inscribed the name of the owner. We enter the grounds by a folding gate flanked with lofty towers.
At the end of a broad avenue, bordered by rows of trees and spacious water tanks, stands a stuccoed brick mansion, over the door of which we read in hieroglyphics, “The Good House." The building is made airy by corridors, and columns, and open courts shadowed by awnings, all gayly painted and ornamented by banners. Its extensive grounds include flower gardens, vineyards, date orchards and sycamore trees.
There are little summer-houses, and artificial ponds from which rises the sweet, sleepy perfume of the lotus blossom; here the genial host sometimes amuses his guests by an excursion in a pleasure boat towed by his servants. The stables and chariot houses are in the center of the mansion, but the cattle sheds and granaries are detached.
We will accompany the guest whose chariot has just halted. The Egyptian nobleman drives his own horse, but is attended by a train of servants; one of these runs forward to knock at the door, another takes the reins, another presents a stool to assist his master to alight, and others are present with various articles which he may desire during the visit.
As the guest steps into the court, a servant receives his sandals and brings a foot pan that he may wash his feet. He is then invited into the festive chamber, where side by side on a double chair, to which their favorite monkey is tied, sits his placid host and hostess, blandly smelling their lotus flowers and beaming a welcome to each arrival. They are dressed like their guests. On his shaven head the Egyptian gentleman
a wig with little top curls, and long cues which hang behind. His beard is short-a long one is only for the king. His large sleeved, fluted robe is of fine, white linen, and he is adorned with necklace, bracelets, and a multitude of finger rings.
The lady by his side wears also a linen robe
over one of a richly colored stuff. Her hair falls to her shoulders front and back, in scores of crisp and glossy braids. The brilliancy of her eyes is heightened by antimony; and amulet beetles, dragons, asps, and strange, symbolic eyes, dangle from her gold ear-rings, bracelets, necklace, and anklets.
Having saluted his entertainers, the new-comer is seated on a low stool, where a servant anoints his bewigged head with sweet-scented ointment, hands him a lotus blossom, hangs garlands of flowers on his neck and head, and presents him with wine. The servant, as he receives back the emptied vase and offers a napkin, politely remarks, “May it benefit you." This completes the formal reception.
Every lady is attended in the same manner by a female slave. While the guests are arriving, the musicians and dancers belonging to the household amuse the company, who sit on chairs in rows and chat, the ladies commenting on one another's jewelry, and, in compliment, exchanging lotus flowers.
The house is furnished with couches, arm-chairs, ottomans, and footstools made of the native acacia or of ebony and other rare, imported woods, inlaid with ivory, carved in animal forms, and cushioned and covered with leopard skins. The ceilings are stuccoed and painted, and the panels of the walls adorned with colored designs. The tables are of various sizes and fanciful patterns. The floor is covered with a palm leaf matting, or wool carpet.
In the bedrooms are high couches reached by steps; the pillows are made of wood or alabaster. There are many elegant toilet conveniences, such as polished bronze mirrors, fancy bottles for the