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No. 1021.-26 December, 1863.
PAGE 1. William Blake, the Painter,
579 2. Refinement,
584 3. Old and New Schools of Nursery Rhyme, Spectator,
587 4. Peculiar Dresses,
589 5. The Bar and the Beard,
592 6. Authorized Commentary on the Bible,
594 7. Politics in the Private Box,
595 8. On the Weaning of America,
Dr. O. W. Holmes,
598 9. Queens of Song,
601 10. Life in Brazil,
604 11. Tara,
609 12. Foster on Decision of Character,
611 13. Stories of Monomania,
613 14. The Last Page of the Living Age, 1863, Dr. Johnson,
616 Title-page and Index of Vol. 79. POETRY.—Me, Too, 578. Finish thy Work, 578. “Give to him that Asketh thee,” 578. Mother, 578. The Eagle's Invitation, 596.
SHORT ARTICLES.- Application of the Catheter, 583. Drought in Hungary, 583. Microscopes, 583. Literary Intelligence, 583, 586, 605, 608, 610. Polus in the Orchestra, 597. A Negro Philosopher, 603. Papyri, 608.
NEW BOOKS. JEAN BELIN; or, the Adventures of a Little French Boy. By Alfred de Brehat. Translated from the French. Loring, Publisher, 319 Washington St., Boston.” [Having been requested to buy a copy of this book for a Christmas present, we asked at several bookstores in our usual walk, in vain. The supply had been exhausted, and they had sent for more. So we walked to the Publisher's, and could scarce get it for the crowd of ladies, buying papers, cts. etc. And it was with difficulty that we could get a copy there, " the Trade having called for all that were bound.” Whether this is from the merit of the book, or because Mr. Loring is so popular and fasbionable, we must read and see.)
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| Yes, finish all thy work, then rest ;
Till then rest never ; “ We'll seek for flowers in the woods,"
The rest prepared for thee by God I heard a mother say ;
Is rest forever.
Finish thy work, then wipe thy brow,
Ungird thee from thy toil ;
Take breath, and from each weary limb And then another little voice,
Shake off the soil. Soft pleading, said, “ Me, too !”
Finish thy work, then sit thee down Oh, childish heart that could not bear
On some celestial hill, Her name should be forgot!
And of its strength-reviving air,
Take thou thy fill.
Finish thy work, then go in peace;
Life's battle fought and won, She claimed her right--" Me, too!”
Hear from the throne the Master's voice
“Well done, well done!” But not alone in childhood's years, The heart gives out this cry ;
Finish thy work, then take thy harp, 'Tis heard amid the silent tears
Give praise to God above; Of life's deep agony..
Sing a new song of mighty joy
And endless love.
Give thanks to Him who held thee up
In all thy path below,
And crowns thee now.
- British Friend. Before one t'ırone we kneel ; The longings of humanity,
Send up one deep appeal.
« GIVE TO HIM THAT ASKETH THEE.” Fed by one common dew; None seek in solitude to pine,
Ir the poor man pass by thy door,
Give him of thy bounteous store,
Give him shelter from the cold ;
Aid him his lone life to live,
For 'tis angel-like to give.
Though world riches thou hast not,
Give to hini of poorer lot ; Wear warm hearts mild and true;
Think thee of the widow's mite: Nor from the wenkest turn aside,
In the holy Master's sight, Who feebly cries “ Me, too!”
It was more, a thousand-fold,
Than the rich man's hoard of gold. And, little child, who sweetly plead,
With love learnt long ere speech,
No earthly friend can fill a mother's place,
When the dear one is with us here no more ; In that fair girner thou shalt win
No smile so sweet, so loving to the core, A place ---Ile needs thee, too!
As those which beamed upon that faithful face, -Churchman's Family Magazine.
Reflecting every meek, angelic grace ;
No words so kind, so potent to restore
Joy to the sool, where sadness ruled before,
But when the vesture visible to sight
Has worn away, to set the spirit free,
Then we behold those looks of lo.e and light Finish thy work ; the time is short ;
In fideless lines impressed on memory; The sun is in the west ;
And feel that but one mother e'er is given The night is coming down-till then
To guari us here below, or guide the way to Think not of rest.
" and in a
From The Spectator. by William Blake. There was one little enWILLIAM BLAKE.*
graving of a wicked brother saying, “ I hate It is seldom, indeed, that a book appears you!” to the good brother. His hair almost from which we derive so vivid an impression stands on end with fury, and the tremendous of a completely unique character and unique impression of fraternal hatred in that stiff life as this biography of William Blake. old engraving comes back on us now with This is not merely due to the authorship and full force through a vista of thirty years. editing of the book, though that is done with another, too, we can recall, where a form, singular thoroughness, and does not appear crouching with misery, is seated in some dank to have suffered materially even by the death room, and confessing to a didactic visitor that of the biographer, Mr. Gilchrist, so earnestly - Prodigality has made me poor ; have his friends, Mr. D. G. Rossetti and Mr. third the stars of a brilliant night are looking W. M. Rossetti, thrown themselves into the down with wonderful vividness on the Gertask of collecting the materials of the second man pastor's improving harangues. Few volume, and completing the almost completed children who read that old-fashioned novelfirst. It is also partly due to the lavish il- lette could fail to attach peculiar sensations lustrations of Blake's genius by the engrav
to those prim little engravings. The book ings and vignettes which are scattered richly shows, at least, how curiously Blake managed through its pages, and partly to the fact that to lend some of his power even to the merest Blake's singular mind was projected, as we
trifes not of his own design. Even those who may call it, on two quite distinct planes of know thoroughly his grand “ inventions” to art, -—that of poetry as well as that of paint- the Book of Job would recognize some of the ing,—though it was essentially the same in influence of his strange genius, even in those both.
didactic little childish plates. William Blake was much more than an
Blake was often thought insane, and not unknown painter of great "though mystical without reasons quite strong enough to have genius. His is an unknown character of a shut up many a man less poor and more enperfectly unique cast, which contrived to viable in worldly position. But, probably, affect everything he touched with something
the truth was simply this, that he was a of its own singular power. Many persons
visionary in the eighteenth century,—an age who will not know even his name at all may both the age was less able to understand him,
when there was " no open vision,”
-80 that remember the quaint but forcible plates in a didactic little children's novel in thrce small and he was fretted into greater eccentricity volumes, called “ Elements of Morality," by his age. Being from the first a dreamer which was translated from the German somc
of dreams and a man of very obstinate intelwhere about 1790 for the benefit of our fa- lect, he was induced to talk as if his dreams thers' and mothers' childhood, and which has were the only truth and the world around amused the nurseries of the next two genera- London in 1757, the son of a hosier of small
him comparatively a fiction. He was born in tions with the formal, stiff-jointed morality which that curious tale (less adapted for means, and never found in either the ideas of children than for stunted adults in knee
his day or his own fortunes anything but a breeches) inculcated on its young readers.
strong stimulus to kick against the pricks. Thirty years ago it was a book rare but pre
His thoughts were soon driven inward into cious to discerning children who could enjoy diffidence in personal intercourse with his
reverie, and he early contracted a profound the spectacle of a rapidly disappearing world of didactic thought, and one of its greatest letter to a friend, he once expressed the pain
fellow-men. In some doggerel verses in a attractions was the singular force of those grotesque plates, not designed, but engraved his own manner to do justice to his char
ful sense he entertained of the inadequacy of * “ Life of William Blake, Pictor Ignotus,” with acter. IIis manner, he says, was "too passelections from his Poems and other writings. By sive” and inconsistent with “my active the late Alexander Gilchrist. Illustrated from Blake's own Works in fac simile by W. J. Linton, physiognomy." In other words, we supand in photolithography, with a few of Blake's orig. pose, he had the manner of il suppressed man, inal plates. 2 vols. London : Macmillan.
[The Living Aye, a few years ago, gave a series of together with the actively working features engravings from Blake's Designs, for Blair's Grave.] of an excitable man :
« Oh, why was I born with a different face? his vision.” And Blake's intellectual visions Why was I not born like the rest of my race ? were all of the primeval kind, of grand and When I look each one starts, when I speak I of- free outline, with vistas of great complexity
fend, Then I'm silent and passive, and lose every but simple elements, such as opened out friend."
everywhere to the seer in the morning of ere
ation. Everywhere there is infinitude in We can see even in the portrait prefixed to them ; but an intellect unaccustomed to this book how instinct was his face with sound its own depths assembles a confusion nervous energy, but he was alive, fortu- of symbols from all quarters of creation to nately for his own reason, to the indifference spell out its meaning in a sort of half-articuof the world, and so the eighteenth century late hieroglyphic. Terror and pity, horror succeeded in depositing round his cager vi- and innocence and primeval joy, strong desire sionary mind a crust of reserve which made and anguish unsubdued, all speak in different bim brood more than ever over his visions and mysterious synubols through shrouds of and believe in them more passionately. His tempestuous darkness or an overwhelming art, his philosophy, if it can be so called, his blaze of light. The most striking characterpoetry, his faith, his manners, all express the istic of the early and sublime imagery of the chain d visionary, who would have fretted East,--such imagery as Ezekiel used in order passionately against the bonds of social hum- to shadow forth his divine inspiration,-is, drum if he had not found a sasety-valve for all that it does so much more than express meanhis visions in art. “ Damn braces, bless re- ing.--that it expresses meaning in the vague laxes," was one of his favorite apophthegms, sense in which music expresses meaning, -60 which indicates clearly enough the sense of that a very wide fringe of imagery remains that painfully tight bracing inflicted by the over, which is, as it were, merely an accomuncongenial world upon his visionary intel- paniment of the meaning, not a part of its eslect.
sence. So many symbols are heaped together, If we had to describe Blake's intellect in a each of them a sort of separate bieroglyphic, single sentence we should say that a mind that one is always in danger of over-interpretmoulded in the primeval intellectual world ing the drist of the aggregate, and as you which gave rise to the Book of Job, or more may miss the melody by attempting to crossnearly, perhaps, of Ezekiel, had been put to examine the notes, so you may miss the bursleep for near three thousand years, and then den by attempting to separate the symbols. launched into the midst of the meaner Lon- This is as true of Blake as if he had lived in don life in Golden Square, Battersea, Oxford the age of hieroglyphic. His brother artists Street, and the Strand, of the reign of George called his house " the house of the InterIII. Wben Blake wanted to paint Nelson preter ; " but it was rather the house of the and Pitt, the conception, to him literally the man who most needed an Interpreter, yet, most natural, was to design " the spiritual who, perhaps, after all, was better interpreted form of Nelson guiding Leviathan, in whose by feeling than by thought. wreathings are infolded the nations of the The explanation of such hieroglyphic visions earth,"--and “the spiritual form of Pitt we take to be that minds of a special constiguiding Behemoth; he is that Angel who, tution,--one which becomes much less compleased to perform the Almighty's orders, mon as the world studies and masters its own rides on the whirlwind directing the storms thoughts,—are almost unable to separate of war.” And in both cases, as we might be thoughts from things at all, but incarnate sare, Blake's conceptions of the great sea their thoughts in things, almost arbitrarily beast Leviathan and the great land beast and capriciously, rather than not at all. Behemoth are far more striking than his con- This is especially the gift of a great visionary ception of the "spiritual forms” of those painter like Blake. He has a profound coneighteenth-century angels, Nelson and Pitt; Alict going on in his own mind, as he takes indeed, he regretted bitterly that the nation a country walk; instead of separating his was not likely to order from him a monu- thoughts from the scenery, they pass out of ment of cach in what he called “ fresco," a him into the scenery; the sun throws out a hundred feet or more in height, like the great forbidding glare,-the trees stretch their arms Assyrian monuments that he “ had seen in to hold him back from his path,—the clouds
scowl or smile upon his wishes, even the piece of doggerel ; but the hot thoughts which thistle under his foot looks its malice,-and thus used earth and air and sky to paint a if he paints the scene as a picture, it is a pic- mere personal conflict would have made, and ture instinct with force of expression and often did make, marvellous pictures. His feeling. But if, instead, he blunders into double and treble and quadruple visions, of mystical poetry, his awkward use of things which he was so proud, spoiled his poetry, to express wbat words would, in poetry, ex- and often confused his pictures ; but, when press better, only looks like childish “ make- not too multiplex, gave a singular depth and belief."
Imaginative children have been glow to the latter. It is the painter's greatknown (secretly) to persuade themselves that est art to think through things instead of nettles were enemies, and thistles powerful words, and Blake did so. In that wonderful enchanters, whose spell was to be broken by description of his picture of the “ Last Judgthe prince of schoolboys. But Blake, grown- ment,” Blake gives us a glimpse of the power up, indulged himself in such notions chiefly this « double vision ” gave him as an artist : because his thoughts, like the old Oriental - I assert for myself,” he says, “ that I do thoughts, would not flow into words, but en- not behold the outward creation, and that to tered like spirits into external nature, so that nie it is hindrance and not action, “What,' the world seemed to him “possessed” by it will be questioned, when the sun rises do his own feelings. For instance, when Blake you not see a round disc of fire somewhat like was living uncomfortably near Haley, at Felp- a guinea ? ' Oh! no, no! I see an inham, in Sussex, he was once going to meet numerable company of the heavenly host, his sister at the coach, and had urgent doubts crying, Holy, holy, holy, is the Lord God in his mind whether to remain at Felpham or Almighty. I question not my corporeal eye return to London. The conflict was taken any inore than I would question a window up in his usual way by the clouds and trees concerning a sight-I look through it and and plants of the country through which he not with it.” And he painted the sun as he passed; by the sun in heaven, and by the describes it, not ignoring, indeed, the disc of spirits of bis deceased father and brothers, fire, but making light always instinct with and particularly by a vicious-looking thistle, spiritual awe. For example, in that wonwhich appears to have suggested to bim that derful plate of Blake's “ Crucifixion,” taken it was instinct with malignant purpose : from his “ Jerusalem," given in this book, “ A frowning thistle implores my stay,
Christ is hanging in death and otherwise in What to others a trifle appears
the profoundest darkness, except that a nimFills me full of smiles or tears ;
bus of rays streaming from behind his head, For double the vision my eyes do see, as though “ the light of the world ” still linAnd a double vision is always with meWith my inward eye 'tis an old man gray,
gered there, casts a few reflected rays on the With the outward a thistle across my way.”
closed eyes, and touches here and there the
relaxed body, otherwise completely shrouded The thistle argues viciously, and has its by the darkness, so that every ray rests like head beaten off hy Blake's foot,-Blake evi- a living thing on the body of the Lord, and dently feeling, rather more seriously, what a the circlet of glory rescues from the night all schoolboy feels in a sort of make-believe way, that lies within the circle of His presence. that in destroying the thistle he is defeating Never was light more living in its language. a spiritual enemy. Then he confronts the
Now and then, when the object of Blake's sun in the same way, explains that to the visions was not plural but singular, he sucoutward
eye it is the sun, to the inward eye ceeded in expressing his vision in singularly the evil angel Los.
striking poetry, but usually his poetry assem
bled too many realistic symbols to be in any “ In my double sight 'Twas outward a sun—inward, Los in his might.” way intelligible. There are touches, however,
of rerse here and there, which mingle the mysAnd he defies the sun or Los, as he had defied terious depth of Wordsworth with the grand the thistle or “old man gray,” and walks symbolism of the primeval world. Take, for home triumphant against the spirits of evil in example, the following :earth and air. It makes a very rubbisby