Page images

to concentrate himself on perfecting his own particular sort of sea ; and to a certain extent this is the case also with landscape. The danger is, that while intensity is thus gained, breadth and sentiment may be lost, and landscape painting become a mere espression of the idiosyncrasies of the painter's feeling in regard to one aspect of nature. On this account it is satisfactory to see such works as those of Mr. Fisher and Mr. Farquharson; the latter especially shows something of the real poetry of landscape in his beautiful painting, When Snow the Pasture sheets. Mr. A. Hunt is probably the only English landscape painter since Turner who has in the same kind of way (we do not say to the same degree) combined intensity of effect with truth to nature, and with a total absence of mannerism or of devotion to one set of effects.


We have tried to read between the lines of the Academy exhibition a little, to take note of what is coming and going, to consider what is the meaning behind the mass of pictures here displayed. What is it all for? Well, we feel that those works answer the query most satisfactorily which aim at something beyond the reproduction, however brilliantly, of the physical facts of nature. Why do you make the oak,” said a country fellow to M. Rousseau, as he was painting from nature, “when it is there and made already?” And the clown, like Touchstone, spoke more wisely than he was aware of. The question is a pregnant one. We want to have what is behind the oak, what it means to us, in the kind of sense expressed in the words of Drummond (which may stand here with a double application), in the fine sonnet wherein he comments on our neglect of the inner meaning “of this fair volume which we World do call,” which has such deep truths for us if we would only read it aright

· But silly we, like foolish children, rest

Well pleased with coloured bindings, leares of gold,
Fair dangling ribands, leaving what is best,

On the great writer's sense ne'er taking hold;
Or if perhaps we stay our minds on ought,

It is some picture on the margin wrought.” Yet the grave and serious text of life may have its coloured margins too, its decorative frame-work, nor lose thereby any of its loftier meaning


[ocr errors]



Sing we the song of the shepherds—of Damon and Alphesibaus-
When with each other they strove, of the grass unmindful, the heifer
Listened admiring, and even the lynx stood entranced at their singing;
Rivers forgot to run and paused in their devious courses.
Sing we the song of Damon-of Damon and Alphesibæus.

Pollio, whether you scale the crags of the mighty Timavus, ,
Or by Illyrian shores thread your way, shall it ever be given
Me of your deeds heroic to sing and the fame of your verses,
Worthy of Sophocles' sock, trumpet-tongued thro’ the universe echo?
Oh of my song the beginning, the end—set on foot at your bidding,
Take I beseech you my lays, and, twined with the conqueror's laurel,
Suffer to creep round your brow this wreath of homelier ivy.

Scarcely the night's cold shade had fled from the face of the heavens
And, on the tender blade, the dew to the cattle was sweetest,
When thus Damon began, on his staff of smooth olive wood leaning :

Dam. Lucifer rise, and coming the kindly light drive before you.
Duped by the love unworthy of Nisa, my cruel betrothed one,
Vainly I cry to the gods—for what boots it to call them to witness?
Vainly I cry and my soul in death's last agony outpour.
Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Manalian numbers !
Mænalus, home of the murmuring woods and the whispering pine-

Mænalus, ever awake to the lovelorn songs of the shepherds,
Songs of the great god Pan—who left not the reed to grow idle.
Wake, my flute, and with me, give forth Mænalian numbers !
Nisa to Mopsus is wed! Oh what may we lovers not hope for!

Griffins with horses already are matched, and the next generation
Timorous does will behold with the hound to the waterside flocking.
Mopsus, hew wood for the torches—a wife is brought home to your

bosom! Scatter the nuts! 'Tis for you that Hesperus æta is leaving ! Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Manalian numbers ! Worthy the wife of the spouse! while you deem yourself better

than all men, Hating my pipe and my goats and my long beard and rough shaggy


Think you that none of the gods give heed to the sorrows of mortals ? Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Mænalian numbers ! Gathering the dew-gemmed apples, a child by the side of your mother, (I was your guide at the time) I saw you first in our orchardScarce, I remember, the second year of my teens I had entered, Scarce could I reach the frail boughs from the ground with the tips

of my fingers-Saw you—and seeing I fell-oh what dire illusion held me! Wake, my flute, and with me, give forth Manalian numbers ! Now I know what is Love. For him on the desolate mountains Either did Tmaros or Rhodope bear or the far Garamantes. No such boy could be born of fair Italian lineage ! Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Mænalian numbers ! Barbarous Love ! who of old in the blood of her children the mother Taught to embrue her hands—but thou too art cruel, oh mother! Cruel, more cruel is she-but the boy is a reprobate urchin, Reprobate urchin the boy—but thou too art cruel, oh mother! Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Mænalian numbers ! Now from the sheep let the wolf fly scared and the crabbed old

oak trees Golden apples bring forth and the daffodil flower on the alder, And from the tamarisk's bark distil the luminous amber, Screech owls with cygnets' compete and Tityrus turn into Orpheus, Orpheus in the woods and among the dolphins Orion. Wake, my flute, and, with me, give forth Mænalian numbers ! Whelmed be the earth and the air in mid ocean! Adieu, oh, ye forest ! Into the deep sea waves from the beetling brow of a mountain Headlong I cast myself down. Take the gift that, dying, I offer. Still, my flute, be still, and give o'er Mænalian numbers !” So sang Damon; and now what answer made Alphesibæus?

1 Daughters of Pieris, tell—all things are not given to all men. Alph. Bring forth water, and wind round this altar a soft

woollen fillet; Richest of vervein and strongest of frankincense burn on the altar. These be the magic rites whereby the cold heart of a husband Fain would I seek to entrance ! 'Tis but the charm that is wanting.

I Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis. Charms have power to draw down the truant moon from the heavens; Circe by charms transformed the trusty band of Ulysses ; Crushed by the force of charms, the cold snake lies dead in the meadow. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! These three threads round your head with triple colours resplendent First I will twine, and then three several times round the altar

Carry your image ; the god delights in numbers unequal.
Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis !
Bind, Amaryllis, three true lover's knots of three several colours,
Bind, Amaryllis, and say, “I bind the fetters of Venus."

” Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! Like as this image of clay grows hard and the waxen one liquid, Under the self-same fire so let my love work upon Daphnis ! Sprinkle the cakes and light up the crackling laurel with sulphur, Daphnis burns me and I burn this laurel and wish it were Daphnis. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! Daphnis, be such thy desire, as when eary with seeking the bullock, Far through the distant groves and the mountain forests the heifer Lost near the water's edge falls flat on the verdurous rushes, Falls and forgets that the night is far spent and 'tis time to hie

homeward. Daphnis, be such thy desire, while I lift not a finger to heal thee. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! These are the garments he left of old—the faithless one-with me, Pledges dear of himself, which now in front of my threshold, Earth, I deliver to thee—such pledges should bring me my Daphnis. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! These are the herbs and these are the poisons gathered in Pontus, Given me by Moeris himself,—they grow quite common in PontusMoeris, I've seen by their aid the dead from the charnel house summon, Turn himself into a wolf and lie hid for days in the forest, Or to some far distant land transport the obedient harvest. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! Bring, Amaryllis, the ashes and into the swift flowing river, Cast them over your head, but be sure you look not behind you, So will I Daphnis assail, though of gods and of charms he be heed

less. Back to his home from the city, my charms, draw the wandering

Daphnis ! See how the quivering flame has laid hold of the horns of the altar. Now, while I dally, it burst forth unbid—be the sign of good omen! Something is certainly there and Hylax barks on the thresholdShall we believe it?_Or is it a dream from the brain of a lover? Stay my charms ! From the city he comes—the wandering Daphnis.



DURING the two centuries that followed Des Cartes' death, the impossibility of his enterprise became more and more apparent. He had tried, as we have seen, to deduce the Evolution of the universe from the axioms of geometry. Postulating the facts of magnitude, figure, and motion, he undertook with algebra for his sole instrument to explain the activities of matter; those of inorganic matter lying, as he thought, completely within his grasp; the organic world already in great part accessible, and the rest to be won, if not altogether by himself, yet surely by the following generation. He had proved the potency of the new mathematics. He had shown that the inexhaustible combinations of the algebraists were capable of interpretation as the abstract expression for distinct lines, that is to say, for distinct motions—in other words, for distinct activities of matter. The complexities of motion, molar or molecular, he well knew to be endless. But to each of those complexities it was now, as he conceived, possible to adjust an equation soluble by the methods discovered by previous algebraists, especially by the great Vieta, and largely extended by Des Cartes himself. A road was opened into the inmost recesses of nature.

Had he lived to see the growth of the transcendental calculus during the half century that succeeded his death, under the hands of Wallis and Huyghens, followed by Leibnitz, Newton, and the Bernouillis, his hopes of being able to follow the complexities of physical phenomena by algebraic formulæ would possibly have been strengthened. The higher calculus enormously increased man's powers of indirect measurement. No curve could be found, it was thought, so subtle as to evade analysis. The contour of every human countenance, so it was said, could be expressed by an equation.

And yet the lapse of time, which brought accessions of strength to the calculus, brought also such new revelations of the complexities in the workings of nature, that even so audacious a geometer as Des Cartes, supposing him to have survived into the eighteenth century, might well have despaired of grasping them in any algebraic synthesis. Let us examine some of these.

By an amazing effort of scientific abstraction, Des Cartes had denuded his primary matter, from which he evolved his universe, of all properties except magnitude, figure, and motion. The notions of mass, and of density, that is of the quantity of matter in a given

(1) Concluded from the Fortnightly Review of June, 1877.

« EelmineJätka »