Изображения страниц

which Felton stabbed the Duke of Buckingham -the first finished sketch of the JocundaTitian's large colossal profile of Peter Aretinea mummy of an Egyptian king—a feather of a phænix-a piece of Noah's Ark. Were the articles authentic? What matter?-his faith in them was true. He was gifted with a secondsight in such matters: he believed whatever was incredible. Fancy bore sway in him; and so vivid were his impressions, that they included the substances of things in them. The agreeable and the true with him were one. He believed in Swedenborgianism-he believed in animal magnetism-he had conversed with more than one person of the Trinity-he could talk with his lady at Mantua through some fine vehicle of sense, as we speak to a servant down-stairs through a conduit-pipe. Richard Cosway was not the man to flinch from an ideal proposition. Once, at an Academy dinner, when some question was made whether the story of Lambert's Leap was true, he started up, and said it was ; for he was the person that performed it :--he once assured me that the knee-pan of King James I. in the ceiling at Whitehall was nine feet across (he had measured it in concert with Mr. Cipriani, who was repairing the figures)

[ocr errors]

he could read in the Book of the Revelations without spectacles, and foretold the return of Buonaparte from Elba—and from St. Helena! His wife, the most lady-like of Englishwomen, being asked in Paris what sort of a man her husband was, made answer—“ Toujours riant, toujours gai.This was his character. He must have been of French extraction. His soul appeared to possess the life of a bird; and such was the jauntiness of his air and manner, that to see him sit to have his half-boots laced on, you would fancy (by the help of a figure) that, instead of a little withered elderly gentleman, it was Venus attired by the Graces. His miniatures and whole-length drawings were not merely fashionable—they were fashion itself. His imitations of Michael Angelo were not the thing. When more than ninety, he retired from his profession, and used to hold up the palsied hand that had painted lords and ladies for upwards of sixty years, and smiled, with unabated good-humour, at the vanity of human wishes. Take him with all his faults and follies, we scarce “ shall look upon his like again!"

” Why should such persons ever die? It seems hard upon them and us! Care fixes no sting in their hearts, and their persons

present no mark to the foe-man." Death in them seizes upon living shadows. They scarce consume vital air: their gross functions are long at an end—they live but to paint, to talk or think. Is it that the vice of age, the miser's fault, gnaws them? Many of them are not afraid of death, but of coming to want; and having begun in poverty, are haunted with the idea that they shall end in it, and so die—to save charges. Otherwise, they might linger on for ever, and “ defy augury!"

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small]
« ПредыдущаяПродолжить »