Imágenes de páginas

form of their art, they appeal to the feelings and the imagination, and their most affecting passages are those in which the human element is bound up with the natural, and nature seems to be in sympathy with their feelings.

Cowper realizes this:

“A Song.” Cowper.

“When all within is peace
How nature seems to smile!
Delights that never cease
The livelong day beguile.
It is content of heart
Gives nature power to please;
The mind that feels no smart
Enlivens all it sees.

“The vast majestic globe,

So beauteously array'd
In nature's various robe,
With wondrous skill display'd,
Is to a mourner's heart
A dreary wild at best;
It flutters to depart,
And longs to be at rest."

But he does not see that the painter should
be similarly affected:

“Strange! there should be found,
Who, self imprison'd in their proud saloons,
Renounce the odours of the open field
For the unscented fictions of the loom;

“The Sofa." Cowper.

Who, satisfied with only pencill'd scenes,
Prefer to the performance of a God
The inferior wonders of an artist's hand!
Lovely indeed the mimic works of art;
But nature's works far lovelier. I admire,
None more admires, the painter's magic skill,

But imitative strokes can do no more
Than please the eye sweet nature every sense.
The cheering fragrance of her dewy vales,
And music of her woods no works of man
May rival these; these all bespeak a power
Peculiar and exclusively her own.
Beneath the open sky she spreads the feast;
'Tis free to all 'tis every day renew'd."

Nothing could show more clearly the confusion that exists in so many minds as to what painting really is than this passage. It is a beautiful piece of poetry and a charming description of nature, and it is all perfectly true as regards anyone who would prefer such an art to nature, or even compare nature and art at all. But painting is not a "mimic” art, produced by "imitative strokes”; it is something far higher, and there should be no comparison like this made. It shows the necessity of clearly understanding that nature and art are entirely different things, and that the

artist does not try merely to copy nature. Sir Thomas Browne saw further: “Nature “Religio

Medici." is not at variance with art, nor art with nature. Art is the perfection of nature. Nature hath made one world, and art another.” Coleridge puts forward the subjective view very strongly:

“It were a vain endeavour

“Ode on Though I should gaze forever

Dejection.' On that green light that lingers in the West; I may not hope from outward forms to win The passion and the life, whose fountains are within, O lady! we receive but what we give And in our life alone does nature live; Ours is her wedding garment, ours her shroud! And would we aught behold of higher worth Than that inanimate cold world allow'd To the poor loveless, ever anxious crowd, Ah! from the soul itself must issue forth A light, a glory, a fair luminous cloud Enveloping the earth ... And from the soul itself must there be sent A sweet and potent voice, of its own birth, Of all sweet sounds the life and element.”

And again he tells us in his wonderful poem how the personality is affected by nature:

"Beyond the shadow of the ship
I watch'd the water snakes;

“The Ancient Mariner."

They moved in tracks of shining white,
And when they reard the elfish light
Fell off in hoary flakes.

'Within the shadow of the ship
I watch'd their rich attire;
Blue, glossy green, and velvet black
They coil'd and swam, and every track
Was a flash of golden fire.

"O happy living things! No tongue
Their beauty might declare;
A spring of love gush'd from my heart,
And I bless'd them unaware;
Sure my

kind saint took pity on me,
And I bless'd them unaware.

“ The selfsame moment I could pray;

And from my neck so free
The Albatross fell off, and sank
Like lead into the sea.”*

“Tintern Abbey."

Wordsworth shows us how nature moved him:

For I have learn'd
To look on nature, not as in the hour
Of thoughtless youth; but hearing oftentimes
The still sad music of humanity,

*" Just between the third and fourth stanzas the thing has occurred in the mind, which makes all nature and external phenomena part of the history of the personality. It is reality passing into higher reality, the world being minted by the soul.” Dr. F. W. Gunsaulus.

Nor harsh, nor grating, though of ample power
To chasten and subdue. And I have felt
A presence that disturbs me with the joy
Of elevated thoughts; a sense sublime
Of something far more deeply interfused,
Whose dwelling is the light of setting suns,
And the round ocean and the living air,
And in the blue sky, and in the mind of man.”

What a world is lost to the man typified by the same poet:

“Peter Bell."

“He rov'd among the vales and streams,
In the green wood and hollow dell.
They were his dwellings night and day,
But nature ne'er could find the way
Into the heart of Peter Bell.

“In vain through every changing year

Did nature lead him as before.
A primrose by the river's brim
A yellow primrose was to him,
And it was nothing more.

Well might such a lover of nature as Wordsworth cry out in irony:

“The World.”

“Great God! I'd rather be
A Pagan, suckled in a creed outworn,
So might I, standing on this pleasant lea,
Have glimpses that would make me less forlorn,
Have sight of Proteus rising from the sea,
Or hear old Triton blow his wreathed horn."

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