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Published at the Office of THE LIVING AGE.
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I. The State Ok English Painting, . . Quarterly Review, . . . 707
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Beautiful Hands 706 I Hope Deferred 706
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Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
They're neither white nor small,
That they were fair at all.
A sculptor's dream might be,
Most beautiful to me.
Such beautiful, beautiful hands!
Though heart were weary and sad, These patient hands kept toiling on
That children might be glad.
To childhood's distant day,
When mine were at their play.
But oh! beyond this shadow land —
Where all is bright and fair,
Will palms of victory bear;
Flow over golden sands,
I'll clasp my mother's hands.
Come to me in the silence of the night;
Come in the speaking silence of a dream; Come with soft rounded cheeks and eyes as bright
As sunlight on a stream;
O dream, how sweet, too sweet, too bitter sweet,
Whose wakening should have been in Paradise,
Where souls brimful of love abide and meet;
Yet come to me in dreams that I may live
My very life again, though cold in death; Come back to me in dreams that I may give Pulse for pulse, breath for breath: Speak low, lean low, As long ago, my love, how long ago!
CHRISTINA O. ROSSETTI.
A Dreariness came o'er me
The summer on before me
Full dark had reigned the winter,
My spirit longed to enter
The tempest's wild repining,
Made sorrow in my soul;
When heavy clouds unroll.
I saw a gleam on heather,
The masses swept together,
The winds spoke fierce and loud.
The mist upon the mountain
Fell in a bitter fountain
All The Year RomuL
SONNET. —LOVE FOR THE YOUNG.
Not only for yourselves, but for the years Which you, not knowing, bring to me anew, Are you so dear that I consider you
With this persistency of quiet tears;
For-many silent tones afe in jour speech, And dead hopes rise and tremble when roa smile,
Making me fancy for a little while That hands I cannot clasp are in my reach; And my soul cries, " What can I do or bear" (I that have lost so much and wept so long) "How make myself your servant, to remove
The sting and weight of that remembered
Which was my joy, but may have had some wrong
From slights unknown, ere Time had taught me care!"
Good Words. M. B. SMEDLXY.
Welcome Thy gentle scourge, Thou precious Lord;
Small are the cords Thy love hath intertwined,
And light the stroke. I own Thy just award Of stripes, when in Thy temple Thou dost find
Unmeet intruders, traffickers abhorred, That grieve Thy loving Spirit's gracious mind,
Making the holy place where Thou should'st reign
Alone a den of earthliness again.
Thou wilt destroy this temple; for within
Nor can the plague-spot of indwelling sin
And though at times to feel Thy work begin
The blessed hope, that, as Thy word is true,
Thou wilt return and build it up anew.
From The Quarterly Review. THE STATE OF ENGLISH PAINTING.*
The announcement at a Royal Academy dinner that large sums of money are given for pictures is no evidence that Art is flourishing among us. When one or two thousand pounds are paid for a Chelsea vase, we need not assume that similar sums given for paintings by popular artists indicate anything more than abundant wealth and corresponding vanity. The price set upon a picture by art-traders and in the sale-room, has, in nine cases out of ten, nothing whatever to do with the real value of the work. The whims of individuals, the despotism of fashion, the catchword of the frivolous and ignorant, often carry a temporary influence with them, before the deliberative judgment of the thoughtful has been able to come to a definite conclusion. But he who neither bounds his horizon by the motives of the moment, nor shares the unreflecting prejudices of his time, will take a broader view. He will be little disposed to submit to the unquestioning tyranny of the present, but casting his eye over the whole kingdom of Art he will contrast the capabilities and powers that it displayed in the past with the aimless waywardness and trivial self-seeking that characterize its dissipated efforts now. The astute and judicious lover of Art for its own sake will follow quite another lead than that of an illusory prestige in gratifying his aesthetic tastes. He will look patiently and closely to the genuine qualities of what he selects; choosing that'which suits his own temperament and sympathies, without reference to the false touchstone of popularity; and though unknown out of his circle as an art-patron, he may find ultimately that, in surrounding himself with artistic work thus carefully and independently chosen, he will have ob
* i. The Exhibition of the Royal Academy of Arts. London, 187a.
2. A Descriptive Handbook for the Pictures in the House of Parliament. By T. J. Gullick. London, 1866.
3. Descriptive and Historical Catalogue of tlie Pic~ tteres of the National Gallery, with Biographical fvotes of the Painters. By R. N. Wornum. London, 1872.
4. Catalogo degli Oggetti(TArte esposti al Pubblico nella R. Accademia di Belle Arti in Venesia. Veuexia, 1872.
tained something more and better than that which the pretentious canvases of show-painters bring to the walls of those millionaires who invest their superfluous thousands in them. Perhaps we should hardly go beyond the truth in saying that scarcely one of the ambitious collectors who crowd their dining-rooms and drawing rooms with pictures selected from a fashionable and materialistic point of view, would be found willing to give five pounds for a picture by Titian or Tintoretto not inscribed with his name or otherwise externally authenticated. It is difficult to make such "patrons " understand that the buying of a name is not the buying of a picture; and that a genuine work of art has quite another kind of value than that of a Dutch tulip or a piece of Dresden china. This vulgar and commercial Mxcenism is the bane of art; it gives fictitious money-value to bad work, and by ill-judged expenditure robs the true artist of his merited reward. It exorbitantly raises the commercial value of the work of fashionable favourites, and depresses that of all others, however worthy it may be. Its tendency is to develop shallow sentiment, and by a clever meretricious execution — a mere facility of representation—to supersede artistic dignity and genuine seriousness of aim and purpose.
For these and other reasons which we shall examine, we find our English Art in so depressed a state as to suggest the inquiry if we have Art at all existing as a school among us. The epic spirit certainly has left our canvases, the idyllic too has vanished, and in their stead we find merely clever imitations in detail of nature, analytic studies, infinite variety of material means; but of the spirit that could bring these into contact with the highest sentiments and feelings, we have nothing left. The dramatic idealism and concentration of Hogarth; the imaginative grace of Reynolds and Gainsborough; the picturesque diffusiveness of rustic Morland; the scenic breadth of plain, downright John Crome; the suffused tenderness and poetic glow of Richard Wilson; the idyllic simplicity and sweetness of Stothard; the glory of the