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natural endowments. It is true, he was profoundly skilled in all the parts of painting, but wanting genius, (as I said,) he had less of nobleness in his works than all the rest who studied in the school of the Carraches.
Albani was excellent in all that belonged to painting, and adorned with variety of learning.
Lanfranc, a man of great and sprightly wit, supported his reputation for a long time with an extraordinary gusto of design and colouring. But his foundation being only on the practical part, he at length lost ground in point of correctness; so that many of his pieces appear extravagant and fantastical. And after his decease the school of the Carraches went daily to decay in all the parts of painting.
Gio. Viola was very old before he learned landscape; the knowledge of which was imparted to him by Hannibal Carrache, who took pleasure to instruct him, so that he painted many of that kind, which are wonderfully fine, and well coloured.
If we cast our eyes towards Germany and the Low Countries, we may there behold Albert Durer, Lucas Van Leyden, Holbein, Aldegrave, &c., who were all contemporaries. Amongst these, Albert Durer and Holbein were both of them wonderfully knowing, and had certainly been of the first form of painters, had they travelled into Italy; for nothing can be laid to their charge, but only that they had a Gothic gusto. As for Holbein, he performed yet better than Raphael; and I have seen a portrait of his painting, with which one of Titian's could not ome in competition.
Amongst the Flemings, we had Rubens, who derived from his birth, a lively, free, noble,
and universal genius; a genius which was capable not only of raising him to the rank of the ancient painters, but also to the highest employment in the service of his country; so that he was chosen for one of the most important embassies of our age. His gusto of design savours somewhat more of the Fleming than of the beauty of the antique, because he stayed not long at Rome. And though we cannot but observe in all his paintings somewhat of great and noble, yet, it must be confessed, that, generally speaking, he designed not correctly; but, for all the other parts of painting, he was as absolute a master of them, and possessed them all as thoroughly, as any of his predecessors in that noble art. His principal studies were made in Lombardy, after the works of Titian, Paul Veronese, and Tintoret; whose cream he has skimmed, (if you will allow the phrase,) and extracted from their several beauties many general maxims and infallible rules, which he always followed, and by which he has acquired in his works a greater facility than that of Titian; more of purity, truth, and science, than Paul Veronese; and more of majesty, repose, and moderation, than Tintoret. To conclude; his manner is so solid, so knowing, and so ready, that it may seem this rare accomplished genius was sent from heaven to instruct mankind in the art of painting.
His school was full of admirable disciples, amongst whom Van Dyck was he who best comprehended all the rules and general maxims of his master; and who has even excelled him in the delicacy of his colouring, and in his cabinet pieces; but his gusto, in the designing part, was nothing better than that of Rubens.
A DIALOGUE CONCERNING WOMEN.
The author of this Dialogue, as Dr. Johnson has observed, was more remarkable for his familiarity with men of genius, than for any productions of his own. He was the son of Joseph Walsh of Ab berley, in Worcestershire, and was born to an easy fortune. This last circumstance may have contributed something to the extreme respect in which he seems to have been held by the most accomplished of his age. Dryden, in the Postscript to "Virgil," calis Walsh the best critic of the English nation; and, in the following Preface, he is profuse in his commendation. But though these praises may have exceeded the measure of Walsh's desert, posterity owe a grateful remembrance to him, who, though a stanch Whig, respected and befriended Dryden in age and adversity, and who encouraged
the juvenile essays of Pope, by foretelling his future eminence. Walsh's own Poems and Essays entitle him to respectable rank among the minor poets.
The "Dialogue concerning Women," contains a critical disquisition upon the virtues and foibles of the sex. But though the pleasantry be stale, and the learning pedantic, it seems to have excited some attention when published; perhaps because, as an angry defender of the ladies observes,
THE perusal of this Dialogue, in defence of the fair sex, written by a gentleman of my acquaintance, much surprised me; for it was not casy for me to imagine, that one so young* could have treated so nice a subject with so much judgment. It is true, I was not ignorant that he was naturally ingenious, and that he had improved himself by travelling; and from thence I might reasonably have expected that air of gallantry, which is so visibly diffused through the body of the work, and is indeed the soul that animates all things of this nature; but so much variety of reading, both in ancient, and modern authors, such digestion of that reading, so much justness of thought, that it leaves no room for affectation or pedantry, I may venture to say, are not over-common amongst
——" To begin with Dryden's dreadful name, Should mark out something of no common fame."
Mr. Walsh was born in 1662, and in 1691 must have been twenty-eight years old. Still he was but a youth in the eyes of Dryden, who was now advanced in life.
I cannot omit remarking, that the Dialogue concludes with a profuse panegyric, upon a theme not very congenial to Dryden's political feelings, the character of Queen Mary.
TO WALSH'S DIALOGUE CONCERNING WOMEN.
practised writers, and very rarely to be found amongst beginners. It puts me in mind of what was said of Mr. Waller, the father of our English numbers, upon the sight of his first verses, by the wits of the last age; that he came out into the world forty thousand strong, before they heard of him. Here, in imitation
Mr. Malone observes, that, according to Antony Wood, (Ath. Oxon. ii. 423,) this was not said of Waller, but by that poet, of Sir John Denham.-"In the latter end of the year 1641, Sir John published the tragedy called the 'Sophy,' which took extremely much, and was admired by all ingenious men, particularly by Edmund Waller of Beaconsfield, who then said of the author, that he broke out, like the Irish rebellion, threescore thousand strong, before any body was aware, or the least suspected it." Mr. Malone adds, that the observation is more applicable to Denham than to Waller; for Denham, from the age of sixteen, when he went to Trinity College, in Oxford, November 18, 1631, to the time of his father's death, January 6, 1638 9, was considered as a dull and dissipated young man; whereas Waller distinguished himself, as a poet, before he was eighteen. Besides, the" Sophy" was published just when the Irish rebellion broke out.
of my friend's apostrophes, I hope the reader need not be told, that Mr. Waller is only mentioned for honour's sake; that I am desirous of laying hold on his memory on all occasions, and thereby acknowledging to the world, that unless he had written, none of us could write.
I know, my friend will forgive me this digression; for it is not only a copy of his style, but of his candour. The reader will observe, that he is ready for all hints of commending merit, and the writers of this age and country are particularly obliged to him, for his pointing out those passages which the French call beaux endroits, wherein they have most excelled. And though I may seem in this to have my own interest in my eyes, because he has more than once mentioned me* so much to my advantage, yet I hope the reader will take it only for a parenthesis, because the piece would have been very perfect without it. I may be suffered to please myself with the kindness of my friend, without valuing myself upon his parti lity: he had not confidence enough to send it out into the world, without my opinion of it, that it
might pass securely, at least amongst the fair readers, for whose service it was principally designed. I am not so presuming to think my opinion can either be his touchstone, or his passport; but I thought I might send him back to Ariosto, who has made it the business of almost thirty stanzas, in the beginning of the thirtyseventh book of his "Orlando Furioso," not only to praise that beautiful part of the creation, but also to make a sharp satire on their enemies; to give mankind their own, and to tell them plainly, that from their envy it proceeds, that the virtue and great actions of women are purposely concealed, and the failings of some few amongst them exposed with all the aggravating circumstances of malice. For my own part, who have always been their servant, and have never drawn my pen against them, I had rather see some of them praised extraordinarily, than any of them suffer by detraction; and that in this age, and at this time particularly, wherein I find more heroines than heroes. Let me therefore give them joy of their new champion. If any will think me more partial to him than really I am, they can only say, I have returned his bribe; and the worst I wish him is, that he may receive justice from the men, and. favour only from the ladies.
In one passage of the Dialogue, our author's version of the sixth satire of Juvenalis mentioned with commendation; and in another, the tragedy of "Aureng-Zebe " is quoted.
CHARACTER OF ST. EVREMONT.
Charles dc St. Denis, Seigneur de St. Evremont, was born in 1613, of a noble Norman family, and was early distinguished by the vivacity of his wit, as well as by his gallantry; for, like all the French noblesse, he followed the profession of arms. The Duke D'Enghien, afterwards Prince of Conde, was particularly attached to him, and gave him an appointment in his household. This he lost by illtimed raillery on his patron. He was committed to the Bastile for a joke on Cardinal Mazarine and afterwards forced to fly to Holland for writing a satirical history of the peace of the Pyrenees. From Helland St. Evremont retreated to England, where, at the witty court of Charles, his raillery was better understood than in Holland, and less likely to incur unpleasant consequences than in France. St. Evremont naturally addressed himself to his fair country woman Louise de Querouaille Duchess of Portsmouth, and the Duchess of Maza. rine; and though they were rivals in Charles' affections, they united in protecting the Norman belesprit. The king conferred on him a thousand ca
resses, and a small pension; on which he lived, amusing himself by the composition of lighter pieces of literature, and despising the country, which afforded him refuge, so very thoroughly, that he did not even deign to learn English. The people of England did not, however, consider the labours of their foreign guest with similar apathy. After several surreptitious editions of his various tracts had appeared, there was published, in 1692, a collection entitled, "Miscellaneous Essays, by Monsieur St. Evremont, translated out of French; with his character, by a person of honour here in England, continued by Mr. Dryden." Desmaiseaux, by whom a complete edition of St. Evremont's works was edited in 1705, mentions it as well known, that Dr. Knightly Chetwood, who died dean of Gloucester, was the person of honour in the title-page of 1692. His connexion with Dryden makes this highly probable; although there is reason to believe, that the title of "person of honour" was not strictly applicable, and was probably assumed for the purpose of disguising the real translator.
CHARACTER OF M. ST. EVREMONT.
I KNOW how nice an undertaking it is to write of a living author; yet the example of Father Bouhours has somewhat encouraged me in this attempt. Had not Monsieur St. Evremont been very considerable in his own country, that famous jesuit would not have ventured to praise a person in disgrace with the government of France, and living here in banishment. Yet, in his "Pensees Ingenieuses," he has often cited our author's thoughts and his expressions, as the standard of judicious thinking and graceful speaking; an undoubted sign that his merit was sufficiently established, when the disfavour of the court could not prevail against it. There is not only a justness in his conceptions, which is the foundation of good writing, but also a purity of language, and a beautiful turn of words, so little understood by modern writers; and which, indeed, was found at Rome but at the latter end of the commonwealth, and ended with Petronius, under the monarchy. If I durst extend my judgment to particulars, I would say, that our author has determined very nicely in his opinion of Epicurus; and that what he has said of his morals, is according to mature and reason.
It is true, that as I am a religious admirer of Virgil, I could wish that he had not discovered our father's nakedness.* But, after all, we must confess, that Æneas was none of the greatest heroes, and that Virgil was sensible of it himself. But what could he do? the Trojan on whom he was to build the Roman empire, had been already vanquished; he had lost his country, and was a fugitive. Nay, more, he had fought unsuccessfully with Diomedes, and was only preserved from death by his mothergoddess, who received a wound in his defence. So that Virgil, bound as he was to follow the footsteps of Homer, who had thus described him, could not reasonably have altered his character, and raised him in Italy to a much greater height of prowess than he found him formerly in Troy. Since, therefore, he could make no more of him in valour, he resolved not to give him that virtue as his principal; but chose another, which was piety. It is true, this latter, in the composition of a hero, was not altogether so shining as the former; but it entitled him more to the favour of the gods, and their protection, in all
⚫St. Evremont wrote " Observations on Segrais's Translation of Virgil."
his undertakings; and, which was the poet's chiefest aim, made a nearer resemblance betwixt Æneas and his patron Augustus Cæsar, who, above all things, loved to be flattered for being pious, both to the gods and his relations. And that very piety, or gratitude, (call it which you please,) to the memory of his uncle Julius, gave him the preference, amongst the soldiers, to Mark Antony; and, consequeutly raised him to the empire. As for personal courage, that of Augustus was not pushing; and the poet, who was not ignorant of that defect, for that reason durst not ascribe it, in the supreme degree, to him who was to represent his emperor under another name: which was managed by him with the most imaginable fineness; for had valour been set uppermost, Augustus must have yielded to Agrippa. After all, this is rather to defend the courtier than the poet; and to make his hero escape again, under the covert of a cloud. Only we may add, what I think Bossu says, that the Roman commonwealth being now changed into a monarchy, Virgil was helping to that design; by insinuating into the people the piety of their new conqueror, to make them the better brook this innovation, which was brought on them by a man who was favoured by the gods. Yet we may observe, that Virgil forgot not, upon occasion, to speak honourably of Eneas, in point of courage, and that particularly in the person of him by whom he was overcome, For Diomedes compares him with Hector, and even with advantage:
Quicquid apud duræ cessatum est mœnia Troja,
As for that particular passage, cited by Monsieur St. Evremont, where Eneas shows the utmost fear, in the beginning of a tempest, Extemplo Æneæ solvuntur frigore membra, &c.
why may it not be supposed, that, having been long at sea, he might be well acquainted with the nature of a storm; and, by the rough beginning, foresee the increase and danger of it? at least, as a father of his people, his concernment might be greater for them than for himself; and if so, what the poet takes from the merit of his courage, is added to the prime virtue of his character, which was his piety. Be this said with all manner of respect and deference to the opinion of Monsieur St. Evremont; amongst whose admirable talents, that of penetration is not the least. He generally dives into the very bottom of his authors; searches into the inmost recesses of their souls, and brings up with him those hidden treasures which had escaped the diligence of others. His examination of the "Grand Alexandre," in my opinion, is an admirable piece of criticism; and I doubt not, but that his observa tions on the English theatre had been as absolute in their kind, had he seen with his own eyes, and not with those of other men. But conversing in a manner wholly with the court, which is not always the truest judge, he has been unavoidably led into mistakes, and given to some of our coarsest poets a reputation abroad, which they never had at home. Had his conversation in the town been more general, he had certainly received other ideas on that subject, and not transmitted those names into his own country, which will be forgotten by posterity in ours.
Thus I have contracted my thoughts on a large subject; for whatever has been said, falls short of the true character of Monsieur St. Evremont, and his writings: and if the translation you are about to read does not everywhere come up to the original, the translator desires you to believe, that it is only because that he has failed in his undertaking.
*A tragedy by Racine. St. Evremont, in a dissertation on this play, addressed to Madame Borneau, severely reprobates the fault so common in French tragedy, of making a play, though the scene is laid in ancient Rome or India, centre and turn upon Parisian manners. He concludes, that Corneille is the only author of the nation that displays a true taste for antiquity.