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ON DAVID'S PICTURES OF BUONAPARTE.
[From the Examiner.] 1. Genius, like the sun, irradiates every thing in visible nature, however inferior. If touched with the ease and energy that is ever seen in untrammelled nature, much interest will be felt by the educated and tasteful mind, even in the representation of individuals of obscurest destiny. How lively then will be the impression, where cultivated science and genius place before our view a cotemporary, whon fortuitous circumstances, and whose superior genius, have lifted up to the hatred, the envy, the hopes and fears, the admiration and love, of an entire world. Such a cotemporary is Napoleon, as painted by the pre-eminent French portrait and bistorical painter, David, on two canvasses. One displays him in his Passage over Mont St. Bernard, and in that strong action of mind and of body which so peculiarly characterize him among existing potentates, advancing on a rich blooded charger, whose high-tossed head, proud display of elegant limb, and Aashing and intelligent eye, appear as if he was half conscious of his bearing the agitator and founder of empires. Napoleon is seated on him gracefully, both as to form and attitude, the head bent a little downward in thoughtful guise, and mingling, with the management of his horse, the desiiny-fixing thoughts of men and kingdoms. He is turning on you a look of firm purpose and deep cogitation, as calmly meditative and resolved as if not surrounded by an elemental war on Alpine heights, or not about to meet the more awful war below them. The activity and attachment of his soldiers are displayed by their briskly upward and cheerful march among the rocks in the back ground, some of them looking towards him with confidence and enthusiasm,—others with patient labour dragging up cannon, all with a devoted or martial and active air. The pye-bald horse and his rider glittering with equestrian and martial trappings, relieve with great force and sprightliness from the snow-tinted atmosphere and ground. The hair, especially the tail, looks rather like metallic strips, or what is rather coarsely but significantly called, “ rat's tails.” The picture is, in fine, one altogether of energy. The marking, the colouring, the proportions, the out-door light, and what is of more importance, the character, all einanate from a hand rigidly executing the high wrought and correct feelings of an extraordinary mind operating on an extraordinary object.
2. The bustle of objects in the equestrian picture, improves by contrast the quiescence of the contiguous canvass, representing Napoleon in his Cabinet, just risen from his penPainted at an after time, when Napoleon became fat, it exhibits a less elegantly proportioned form of face and figure, but retains a similarly removed character of intellect from that so below par in the many worn-out families of European royalty, where ihe breeds are in sad want of crossing. The point of time is marked to be four in the morning, after the emperor has been intensely devoted to his pen. The act of rising from this long application; and its cramping effect on the limbs, are denoted by a small degree of feebleness in the limbs, rendered additionally so in their appearance by the muscles being rounded by fat. He is in a military dress. This and the papers; furniture, &c. are correctly and beautifully painted, and without that degree of hardness which is so unnatural and so unpleasant in most of the French works we have seen. Still perhaps many of the secondary objects in both pictures are too prominent as to outline and light; and ought to be rounded off into partial obscurity
3. Pius VIII. and Cardinal Caprera, is a picture nearly, if not altogether, without this undue hardness. It has a relief strikingly as well as naturally and delicately powerful, for it is without that artificial forcing out by glaring light and large violent shadows, which so much predominates in the pictures of Ople, and in some of REYNOLDS. They are from a large subject representing the Coronation of Napoleon and Maria Louisa, at the moment when the Pope is giving her his blessing This is described with much suitable fervour, the Pope lifting up his hand, his face full of piety, while his frame is inclined a little forward with the sudden emotion of the act. The Cardinal stands by with an earnest look of curiosity and satisfaction. Dignity, the inpulse of the time and circumstance, unpretending attitudes, bold effect, and above all, a rivalry of the actual life, pervade this attention-fixing canvass.
The three pictures are proofs of talents of the first orderdeep thinking, careful, yet powerful execution, and that close looking into and description of nature, which, when even united with defects, will, like an intelligent face with indifferent features, always command attention; and where the defects, as in the present instances, are comparatively trifling, will induce admiration and delight.
SATAN'S MODE OF SWINDLING. The following narrative is most marvellous, and lest his readers should doubt its truth, the author prays them to “ sus.
pend their judgment, quhill they spere (until they inquire at] the maist affectionat Protestantis of Scotland quha hes bene in Geneve. Surelie I ressavit the treuth of this be honorable gentilmen of our countrie, quha confessit to me before gud vitnes, that the devil gangis familiarlie up and down the town, and speciallie cumis to pure and indigent men quha sellis thair saullis to him for ten sous, sum for mair or less. The monie is verie plesent quhen they ressave it; bot putting hand to thair purse, quhen they vald by thair denner, thay find nathing bot uther staine or stick.” Hamilton's Catholik and facile traictise, fol. 50, b. Paris, 1581.
DANGER OF LEARNING GREEK AND HEBREW. Villers, in his essay on the reformation by Luther has the following curious passage.—The faculty of theology at Paris declared before the assembled parliament, that religion was undone, if the study of Greek and Hebrew were permitted. But the language of the monks of those days is still more amusing. Thus we are informed by Conrad of Heresbach, a very grave and respectable author of that period, that one of their number is said to have expressed himself, “ They have invented a new language, which they call Greck; you must be carefully on your guard against it; it is the mother of all heresy. I observe in the hands of many persons a book written in that language, which they call the New Testament. It is a book full of daggers and poisons. As to the Hebrew, my dear brethren, it is certain that all those who learn it immediately become Jews."
REMARKABLE INSTANCE OF SUCCOUR IN DISTRESS.
“ An accident," says archbishop Spottiswood, “ befel Mr. Craig, which I should scarcely relate, so incredible it scemeth, if to many of good place he himself had not often repeated it, as a singular testimony of God's care of him.” In the course of his journey through Italy, while he avoided the public roads, and took a circuitous route to escape from pursuit, the money which he had received from the grateful soldier failed him. Having laid himself down by the side of a wood to ruminate on his condition, he perceived a dog approaching him with a purse in his teeth. It occurred to him that it had been sent by some evil disposed person, who was concealed in the wood, and wished to pick a quarrel with him. He therefore endeavoured to drive it away, but the animal continuing to fawn upon him, he at last took the purse, and found in it a sum of money which enabled him to prosecute his journey.
FROM THE SIEGE OF CORINTH, BY LORD BYRON.
'Tis midnight: on the mountain's brown
Then beat with quicker pulse, ashamed
The tent of Alp was on the shore; The sound was hushed, the prayer was o'er: The watch was set, the night-round made, All mandates issued and obeyed:He felt his soul become more light Beneath the freshness of the night. Cool was the silent sky, though calm, And bathed his brow with airy balm: Behind, the camp-before him lay, In many a winding creek and bay, Lepanto's gulf; and, on the brow Of Delphi's hill, unshaken snow, High and eternal, such as shone Through thousand summers brightly gone, Along the gulf, the mount, the clime; It will not melt, like man, to time: Tyrant and slave are swept away, Less formed to wear before the ray; But that white veil, the lightest, frailest, Which on the mighty mount thou hailest, While tower and tree are torn and rent, Shines o'er its craggy battlement; In form a peak, in height a cloud, In texture like a hovering shroud, Thus high by parting Freedom spread, As from her fond abode she fled, And lingered on the spot, where long Her prophet spirit spake in song. Oh, still her step at moments falters O'er withered fields, and ruined altars, And fain would wake, in souls too broken, By pointing to each glorious token. But vain her voice, till better days Dawn in those yet remembered rays Which shone upon the Persian flying, And saw the Spartan smile in dying. Not mindless of these mighty times Was Alp, despite his flight and crimes;