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How finish'd with illustrious toil appears!
This small, well-polish'd Gem, the work of years
under which his works were produced and the situation in which they are placed.
Some figures monstrous and mis-shap'd appear,
Which but proportion'd to their light or place,
Essay on Criticism.
Correggio was the first who succeeded in what is called foreshortening (scorcio), and in giving form, proportion, and effect to figures exhibited in the interior of ceilings and cupolas; an art which his great contemporaries Raffaelle and Michelagnolo could never fully attain. "I was astonished," says Agostino Caracci, in a letter to his brother Annibale, on first viewing the works of Correggio at Parma, "to see such an immense work so well represented, di sotto in su, with such rigorous truth, but at the same time with such judgment, such grace, and such colouring, as to appear real life." Correggio designed for the understanding as well as the eye, and attempted by the parts which were seen to give an idea of those not seen. His figures were not measured by the rule and line, but by the projection and depth of a painter's eye, and they can only be proposed as models of art, to those who know with what precautions and exceptions they are to be used.
Ver. 38. Paulo's free stroke and Titian's warmth divine] The free stroke of Paolo Veronese, applies to the facility of his colouring, in which he so eminently excelled; the warmth divine of Titian, to the glow and effect which characterize all his productions, and which compelled Michelagnolo, on seeing his picture of Danae, to acknowledge, that " if he had been as accomplished in the principles of design, as he was in the endowments of nature, in giving to his productions the animation of life, he would have attained the perfection of the art."
Dr. Warton informs us, that Sir Joshua Reynolds told him, he did not think these artists exactly characterized by Pope. To give the peculiar character of an artist by a single epithet, is not an easy task, and notwithstanding so high an authority, it would
Yet still how faint by precept is exprest
Muse! at that Name thy sacred sorrows shed, Those tears eternal, that embalm the dead : Call round her Tomb each object of desire, Each purer frame inform'd with purer fire: Bid her be all that cheers or softens life, The tender sister, daughter, friend, and wife: Bid her be all that makes mankind adore; Then view this Marble, and be vain no more! Yet still her charms in breathing paint engage; Her modest cheek shall warm a future age. Beauty, frail flow'r, that ev'ry season fears, Blooms in thy colours for a thousand years. Thus Churchill's race shall other hearts surprize, And other Beauties envy Worsley's eyes;
not perhaps be easy to accomplish it with greater accuracy in an equal compass.
Ver. 40. the work of years!] Fresnoy employed above twenty years in finishing his poem.
Ver. 43. Strike in the sketch,] Gray, in his verses to Mr. Bentley, has beautifully expressed and described the person and design : "See, in their course, each transitory thought,
Fix'd by his touch a lasting essence take;
Ver. 59. Thus Churchill's race] Churchill's race were the four beautiful daughters of John the great Duke of Marlborough:
Each pleasing Blount shall endless smiles bestow, And soft Belinda's blush for ever glow.
Oh lasting as those Colours may they shine, Free as thy stroke, yet faultless as thy line; New graces yearly like thy works display, Soft without weakness, without glaring gay; Led by some rule, that guides, but not constrains;
And finish'd more through happiness than pains.
Henrietta, Countess of Godolphin, afterwards Dutchess of Marlborough; Anne, Countess of Sunderland; Elizabeth, Countess of Bridgewater; and Mary, Dutchess of Montagu. Their portraits are at Blenheim. Lady Bridgewater, whom Jervas affected to be in love with, and who amused herself at his expense, was the most beautiful of the four sisters. She died, March 1713-14, aged 27. In 1720, her husband was created Duke of Bridgewater.
Ver. 60. Worsley's eyes:] This was Frances Lady Worsley,' Wife of Sir Robert Worsley, Bart. of Appuldercombe, in the Isle of Wight; Mother of Lady Carteret, Wife of John Lord Carteret, afterwards Earl Granville. There is an excellent letter of this Lady to Dr. Swift in his Letters, p. 77. Warton.
MRS. MARTHA BLOUNT,
ON HER BIRTH-DAY.
Он be thou blest with all that Heav'n can send,
Not with those Toys the female world admire,
Let Joy or Ease, let Affluence or Content,
Ver. 10. 'Tis but the Fun'ral] Immediately after this line were these four following, in the original :
"If there's no hope, with kind tho' fainter ray,
To gild the evening of our future day;
If every page of life's long volume tell
The same dull story, Mordaunt, thou did'st well!"
Colonel Mordaunt, who destroyed himself, though not under
the pressure of any ill or misfortune.
Calm ev'ry thought, inspirit ev'ry grace,
Ver. 15. Originally thus in the MS.
And oh since Death must that fair frame destroy,
Die, by some sudden extasy of Joy;
In some soft dream may thy mild soul remove,
And be thy latest gasp a sigh of Love.