"Why should I not? Does the Mosaic law contain any particular clause forbidding ambition in a woman? God implanted in our hearts the germ of all principles, and he intends we shall cultivate them."

Signor Bassini smiled.

“The evil as well as the good, signorina?”

"God is not the origin of evil; that is inherited from our first parents. God has given to all his creatures, endowed with a common degree of intellect, the power to discriminate between right and wrong, and there is an intuitive feeling within us which tells when we are fulfilling his purposes. My logic is not equal to Aristotle's, and yet I think it not bad."

"You think, then, that woman may enter the lists with man in the race for fame?"


'No, no! You mistake me in part. She need not be a Lucretia Mott, or Lucy Stone, or Anna Dickinson. The vast expanse of the forum was never intended to be filled by a woman's timid voice, and when she places herself upon the rostrum she deserves to be hissed down to her proper place among the audience. The dove is no match for the eagle in its upward flight. But if a woman have the talent given her, an account of it will surely be required; and if she can satisfy the upward longings of her heart, without neglecting the responsibilities life has placed upon her, I think it right she should make the effort. And God, too, tempers all these things; the same Being who regulates the moving world marks the sparrow's fall; and I think he never places the lofty yearnings, high, holy desires in a person's heart, without giving him the power to satisfy them. That so often they do not, is owing to their own vis inertiæ. As Carlyle says, ‘Our incapacity lies within ourselves. When the golden moment of success comes, we stand in our weakness unable to seize it, and our after-life is spent in mourning the bright occasion lost.' And when we send our arrow upward, you remember, signor, 'if we aim at the sky, we shall reach higher than the


[ocr errors]

According to one writer, signor, since the time of Raphael there can be no originality in painting. He conceived and embodied everything. You remember she says, as some critic said of Shakspeare, 'Show me in any painter, ancient or modern, an especial beauty of form, expression, or sentiment, and in some picture, drawing, or print after Raphael I will show you the same thing as well or better done, and that accomplished which others only sought or attempted.'"

"In answer to that, Miss Isabel, I would say that Raphael and Angelo, in their cartoons, defy alike criticism and imitation. Yet Cole has, in his series of pictures, the 'Voyage of Life,' given us in these modern years a creation of his own, which deserves to be a model of landscape painting, and has, in that connection, surely sent his name to posterity."

"Speaking of the immortality of the names of the early artists," said Isa

bel, "how few, comparatively, of their works have reached us! It seemed almost an evil destiny working against those early masters, Cimabue Giotto and Niccola Pisano, that the art of engraving should have been discovered after their death. Such fragments of their works have come to us! Dante should have provided a special place in his 'Purgatorio' for that old prior who had the superb paintings from the Apocalypse of his friend Giotto, in the church of Santa Chiari, at Naples, whitewashed over, because they made the church look dark!"

"Speaking of Giotto reminds me, Isabel, have you been to the Düsseldorf since that antique collection has been added?"

"Yes; I was there yesterday, and it is a rare treat to an antiquary. I noticed one thing a little remarkable. In an old picture there, with a gilded background, Jehovah is represented — God the Father. I have never seen before an attempt to portray his features."

"Yes; I noticed that, simply the huge face, emitting and surrounded by a halo of golden rays, looking out of the heavens. You know, for a long time it was a disputed question whether Christ should be represented by outward comeliness or extreme repulsion; but the old fathers decided in favor of the former, and I believe it was your favorite, Giotto, in his celebrated 'Crucifixion,' which became a model for his scholars, who first departed from the Byzantine school, and softened the expression of intense physical agony in the Redeemer's face into one of heavenly resignation. This collection, now at the Düsseldorf, must bear a very ancient date. The Italians were indebted to the teachers who, in the twelfth century, came from Constantinople into Italy and Germany, and established schools at Sienna and Pisa for introducing their mode of pencilling and mixing colors. I consider the picture at the Düsseldorf only interesting as an antiquity, showing the history and progress of art."

"I remember seeing at the Berlin Gallery a 'Madonna and Child,' executed by one of the Byzantine painters. The background was most elaborately gilded, as in these pictures at the Düsseldorf, the local colors fearfully vivid, with little or no relief."

"Yes; at the Louvre, in Paris, there is one similar. I remember the flesh tints were of a blackish or greenish hue. It is strange that those ancient workers — artists we can hardly call them-with human models before them, should have so long remained unprogressive. The pedantry of these nurses of art in its infancy, compared with the modesty of the great master who, at the close of his life, had for his motto, 'Ancera impara,' 'Still learning,' but substantiates the trite proverb, 'A little knowledge puffeth up.'”



RS. BIGBY has written many very sweet poems; although, contributing only to the journals of her native State, she is not as. widely known as many who cannot equal her poorest effort. Indeed, her cultivation of the Muses has been more as a recreation than otherwise.

Mrs. Bigby-her maiden name was Dougherty is a native Georgian, and was educated in Georgia. At an early age she evinced an uncommon fondness for poetry, and wrote many verses that would have done credit to one of mature years. An incessant reader, she has gathered a rich and varied fund of information from books, upon which she can always draw with surpassing aptness and effect. In conversation she is fascinating and instructive.

She was married at an early age to John S. Bigby, Esq., of Newnan, Georgia, and is now the mother of three children, two sons and a daughter. She resides in Newnan, a pleasant town, particularly noted for its intellectual and literary characters.

She only occasionally contributes to various journals, having written much that is unpublished.

“Polk" is not surpassed by the beautiful verses of H. L. Flash, which they resemble, on "Zollicoffer;" while in "Delilah" we can imagine standing before us the "Gentile girl with jetty eyes."

"Judith" was awarded a prize of two hundred and fifty dollars, offered by "Field and Fireside,” (Augusta, Georgia,) in 1864, for the best poem, over forty-nine competitors.


[ocr errors]

No richer harvest Death hath reap'd
In all the Southern gleaning,

No braver blood than his that flow'd
With eucharistic meaning.

[merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]


No willing captive wilt thou stand,
While tyrants manacle thy hands

With tripled steel;

But proud, defiant as thou art,
Though anguish rend thy very heart,
Thou 'lt scorn to kneel.

Let foes still thunder at thy gate,
Unblenched, thou 'lt calmly bide thy fate,
Whate'er it be :

Thy hand will grasp the sacred fire,
And on thy self-elected pyre,
Thou 'lt still be free.

Thou art not despoiled; honor's left,
Fair virgin city of the South ;

Like Egypt's queen,

The head that wears a regal crown
Can ne'er to conqueror bow down,
But dies a queen.

Where'er the dauntless and the free
Fight for their birthright- Liberty,
In distant lands,

For a memorial be it told,
Until the mountain-tops grow old,
How Charleston stands.



Evening's first-born, the fair initial gem
Of starry thousands, trembles in the blue;
Its happy mission, lamping out the way
For all the wandering children of the sun,
Trooping to do obeisance to the queen
Of heaven. Cloud-circled on her car, she draws
The stream of stars along the vaulted floor,
Willing captives at her chariot wheels.

« VorigeDoorgaan »