« VorigeDoorgaan »
principal entertainments of this nature are pictures, infomuch that when I have found the weather fet in to be very bad, I have taken a whole day's jour ney to fee a gallery that is furnifhed by the hands of great mafters. By this means, when the hea vens are filled with clouds, when the earth swims in rain, and all nature wears a lowring countenance, I withdraw myfelf from thefe uncomfortable fcenes into the vifionary world of art; where I meet with fhining landscapes, gilded triumphs, beautiful faces, and all thofe other objects that fill the mind with gay ideas, and difperfe that gloominefs which is apt to hang upon it in thofe dark difconfolate feafons.
I was fome weeks ago in a courfe of thefe diverfions; which had taken fuch an intire peffeffion of my imagination, that they formed in it a fhort morning's dream, which I fhall communicate to my reader, rather as the firft sketch and outlines of a vifion, than as a finished piece.
I dreamt that I was admitted into a long fpacious gallery, which had one fide covered with pieces of all the famous painters who are now living, and the other with the works of the greateft mafters that are dead..
On the fide of the living, I faw feveral perfons bufy in drawing, colouring, and defigning; on the fide of the dead painters, I could not discover more than one perfon at work, who was exceeding flow in his motions, and wonderfully nice in his touches.
I was refolved to examine the feveral artifts that ftood before me, and accordingly applied myself to the fide of the living. The firft I obferved at work in this part of the gallery was VANITY, with his hair tied behind him in a ribbon, and dreffed like a Frenchman. All the faces he drew were very remarkable for their fmiles, and a certain fmirking air which he bestowed indifferently on every age and degree of either fex. The toujours gai appear ed even in his judges, bishops, and privy-counfél
lors: In a word, all his men were petit maitres, and all his women coquettes. The drapery of his figures was extremely well-fuited to his faces, and was made up of all the glaring colours that could be mixt together; every part of the drefs was in a flutter, and endeavoured to diftinguifh itfelf above the reft.
On the left hand, of VANITY ftood a laborious workman, who I found was his humble admirer, and copied after him. He was dreffed like a German, and had a very h hard name that founded fome
thing like STUPIDITY,
The third artift that I looked over was FANTASQUE, drèffed like a Venetian fcaramouch. He had an excellent hand at chimera, and dealt very much in diftortions and grimaces. He would fometimes affright himfelf with the phantoms that flowed from his pencil. In fhort, the most elaborate of his pieces was at beft but a terrifying dream; and one could fay nothing more of his fineft figures, than that they were agreeable monsters.
The fourth perfon I examined was very remarkable for his hafty hand, which left his pictures fo unfinished, that the beauty in the picture (which was defigned to continue as a monument of it to pofterity) faded fooner than in the perfon after whom it was drawn. He made fo much hafte to difpatch his bufinefs, that he neither gave himself time to clean his pencils, nor mix his colours. The name of this expeditious workman was AVARICE.
Not far from this artift, I faw another of a quite different nature, who was dreffed in the habit of a Dutchman, and known by the name of INDUSTRY. His figures were wonderfully laboured: If he drew the portraiture of a man, he did not omit a single hair in his face; if the figure of a fhip, there was not a rope among the tackle that efcaped him. He had likewife hung a great part of the wall with night-pieces, that feemed to thew themselves by the candles which were lighted up in feveral parts of
them; and were fo inflamed by the fun-fhine which accidentally fell upon them, that at firft fight I could fcarce forbear crying out, Fire.
The five foregoing artifts were the moft confiderable on this fide the gallery; there were indeed feveral others whom I had not time to look into. One of them, however, I could not forbear obferving, who was very bufy in retouching the finest pieces, though he produced no originals of his own. His pencil aggravated every feature that was before over-charged, loaded every defect, and poifoned every colour it touched. Though this workman did fo much mifchief on the fide of the living, he never turned his eye towards that of the dead. His name was ENVY.
Having taken a curfory view of one fide of the gallery, I turned myfelf to that which was filled by the works of thofe great mafters that were dead; when immediately I fancied myfelf standing before a multitude of fpectators, and thousands of eyes looking upon me at once; for all before me appeared fo like men and women, that I almoft forgot they were pictures. Raphael's figures stood in one row, Titian's in another, Guido Rheni's in a third. One part of the wall was peopled by Hannibal Carrache, another by Correggio, and another by Rubens. To be fhort, there was not a great mafter among the dead who had not contributed to the embellishment of this fide of the gallery. The perfons that owed their being to thefe feveral mafters, appeared all of them to be real and alive, and differed among one another only in the variety of their fhapes, complexions, and clothes; fo that they looked like different nations of the fame fpecies.
Obferving an old man (who was the fame perfon Í before mentioned, as the only artift that was at work on this fide of the gallery) creeping up and down from one picture to another, and retouching all the fine pieces that stood before me, I could not
but be very attentive to all his motions. I found his pencil was fo very light, that it worked imperceptibly, and, after a thoufand touches, fcarce produced any visible effect in the picture on which he was employed. However, as he bufied himfelf inceffantly, and repeated touch after touch without reft or intermiffion, he wore off infenfibly every Hittle difagreeable glofs that hung upon a figure. He alfo added fuch a beautiful brown to the fhades, and mellownefs to the colours, that he made every picture appear more perfect than when it came frefh from the mafter's pencil. I could not forbear looking upon the face of this ancient workman, and immediately, by the long lock of hair upon his forehead, difcovered him to be TIME.
Whether it were because the thread of my dream was at an end I cannot tell, but upon my taking a furvey of this imaginary old man, my fleep left
No 84. WEDNESDAY, JUNE 6.
Quis talia fando
Myrmidonum Dolopumve aut duri miles Uly fei
VIRG. En. ii. ver. 6.
Who can fuch woes relate, without a tear,
OOKING over the old manufcripts wherein the private actions of Pharamond are fet down by way of table-book, I found many things which gave me great delight; and, as human life turns upon the fame principles and paffions in all ages, I thought it very proper to take minutes of what paffed in that age, for the inftruction of this. The antiquary, who lent me thefe papers, gave me a character of Eucrate, the favourite of Pharamond, exVOL. II.
tracted from an author who lived in that court. The account he gives both of the prince and this his faithful friend, will not be improper to infert here, because I may have occafion to mention many of their converfations, into which thefe memorials of them may give light.
Pharamond, when he had a mind to retire for an hour or two from the hurry of business and fatigue of ceremony, made a fignal to Eucrate, by putting his hand to his face, placing his arm negligently on a window, or fome fuch action as appeared indifferent to all the rest of the company. Upon fuch notice, unobferved by others, (for their intire intimacy was always a fecret) Eucrate repaired to his own apartment to receive the king. There was a fecret accefs to this part of the court, at which Eucrate ufed to admit many whofe mean appearance in the eyes of the ordinary waiters and door-keepers made them be repulfed from other parts of the palace. Such as thefe were let in here by order of Eucrate, and had audiences of Pharamond. This entrance Pharamond called The Gate of the Unhappy; and 'the tears of the afflicted who came before him, he would fay, were bribes received by Eucrate : For Eucrate had the moft compaflionate fpirit of all men living, except his generous mafter, who was always kindled at the leaft affliction which was communicated to him. In the regard for the miferable, Eucrate took particular care, that the common forms of diftrefs, and the idle pretenders to forrow, about courts, who wanted only fupplics to luxury, fhould never obtain favour by his means: But the diftreffes which arife from the many inexplicable occurrences that happen anong men, the unaccountable alienation of parents from their children, cruelty of hufbands to wives, poverty occafioned from fhipwreck or fire, the falling out of friends, or fuch other terrible • difafters,