Imágenes de páginas

its energies and character and dominant af fections, is acknowledged by all; but it is not equally considered to what degree the mind, cherished from infancy in all that generous freedom, which is the gift of its author, may determine the form, and rear it up in the grace and elegance and beauty which answer to the best intention of nature. The easy flowing dress of the Greeks corresponded with this freedom of mind; whatever nature designed, she freely operated ; no restraint forced her into awkward, ill-proportioned and ungraceful deviations; and what freedom of mind, ease of dress, salubrity of climate, and simplicity of diet and manners left unfinished, their gymnas-, tic exercises completed. In modern Europe, every thing almost is adverse to the production and preservation of beautiful form: mind is not so pure and unadulterated; modes of life are not so equal, nor so conformed to simple elegance; the form of the great mass of the community is as much injured by excess of labour, depression of

mind, and exposure to unequal climate, with scantiness of food, or irregular supplies of it, and not of a simple and salubrious kind, as the form of the higher ranks is impaired by excess of food, equally insalubrious'; exclusion from air and exercise ; manners that awake no mental energies, invite to no pleasant, healthful, sportiveness ; intemperance in the hours of rest; and, what alone is sufficient to every depredation of form and beauty, confinement in the poisoned vapour of crowded and heated rooms. The inference is obvious. The modern European cannot rival the artist of antient Greece. He has not the same originals. Nature presented herself unviolated to the Greek; injured and perverted, she can exhibit to the European only her weaker productions.

To these considerations may be added, what I have already alluded to, that the Greek artists were men of the first form, well educated, and of high consideration. Superior instruction, and admission to the highest honours, elevate the mind, excite grander



conceptions, and exale the taste ; especially in an age and country where the passion for fame was the stimulant to all great exertion's, and furnished to every one the most generous gratification. The philosophic Socrates, that wondrous man among the Greeks, was himself a statuary, and is said to have sculptured three very beautiful figures of the Graces. Without intending any thing unhandsome to later artists, the same elevation of mind cannot be equally affirmed of them. The motive of gain, always sordid and depressing, and equally accessible to the lowest minds, has too much usurped over the moregenerous one of fame.

I shall conclude this essay, which perhaps is already too long, with another very pow. erful argument in favour of Grecian art; which


be inferred from the great length of time that it flourished, and the innumerable productions which it furnished. This argued a degree of fame atrached to it, and an encouragement to rivalship, of which we have no example. We may judge of this


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from the immense number of works which escaped the repeated plunder of the Romans; and from the valuable remnant which to our day has survived the destruction of successive revolutions, and the rudest barbarism. Memmius, Æmilius Verres, and proconsuls, and prætors, and generals, and Romans of rank and taste, beyond all calculable amount, might have been thought to have exhausted Greece of her rich treasures of art; but succeeding to them Tiberius Nero carried off a valuable plunder from the Acropolis, Delphi, and Olympia, and yet in these very places not fewer than three thousand statues were remaining in the time of Pliny. Can any thing in modern times compare to this? Can modern artists recur to so grand a feast of the senses, so glorious à school for instruction in their art? Does the patronage of later times present any thing like such a provocative to genius and rivalship, as we may presume to have been the character of Greek and Roman antiquity?


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