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Bristol ; look at my · Paul before Felix,' and see whether I'm not as good as the best of them." *
Posterity has not quite confirmed honest Hogarth's opinion about his talents for the sublime. . Although Swift could not see the difference between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, posterity has not shared the Dean's contempt for Handel; the world has discovered a difference between tweedle-dee and tweedle-dum, and given a hearty applause and admiration to Hogarth, too, but not exactly as a painter of scriptural subjects, or as a rival of Correggio. It does not take away from one's liking for the man, or from the moral of his story, or the humor of it — from one's admiration for the prodigious merit of his performances, to remember that he persisted to the last in believing that the world was in a conspiracy against him with respect to his talents as an historical painter, and that a set of miscreants, as he called them, were employed to run his genius down. They say it was Liston's firm belief that he was a great and neglected tragic actor; they say that every one of us believes in his heart, or would like to have others believe, that he is something which he is not. One of the most notorious of the “ miscreants,” Hogarth says, was Wilkes, who assailed him in the North Briton ; the other was Churchill, who put the North Briton attack into heroic verse, and published his “ Epistle to Hogarth.” Hogarth replied by that caricature of Wilkes, in which the patriot still figures before us, with his Satanic grin and squint, and by a caricature of Churchill, in which he is represented as a bear with a staff, on which, lie the first, lie the second lie the tenth, are engraved in unmistakable letters. There is very little mistake about honest Hogarth's satire: if
“Garrick himself was not more ductile to flattery. A word in favor of “Sigismunda' might have commanded a proof.print or forced an original print out of our artist's hands.
The following authenticated story of our artist (furnished by the late Mr. Belchior, F.R.S., a surgeon of eminence) will also serve to show how much more easy it is to detect ill-placed or hyperbolical adulation respecting others, than when applied to ourselves. Hogarth, being at dinner with the great Cheselden and some other company, was told that Mr. John Freke, surgeon of St. Bartholomew's Hospital, a few evenings before at Dick's Coffee House, had asserted that Greene was as eminent in composition as Handel. "That fellow Freke,' replied Hogarth, ‘is always shooting his bolt absurdly, one way or another. Handel is a giant in music; Greene only a light Florimel kind of a composer.' 'Ay,' says our artist's informant, 'but at the same time Mr. Freke declared you were as good a portraitpainter as Vandyke.' “ There he was righi, adds Hogarth, 'and so, by G-, I am, give me my time and let me choose my subject." - Works, by Nichols and Steevens, vol. i. pp. 236, 237.
he has to paint a man with his throat cut, he draws him with his head almost off; and he tried to do the same for his enemies in this little controversy. “ Having an old plate by me,” says he, “ with some parts ready, such as the background and a dog, I began to consider how I could turn so much work laid aside to some account, and so patched up a print of Master Churchill, in the character of a bear; the pleasure and pecuniary advantage which I derived from these two engravings, together with occasionally riding on horseback, restored me to as much health as I can expect at my time of life.”
And so he concludes his queer little book of Anecdotes : “I have gone through the circumstances of a life which till lately passed pretty much to my own satisfaction, and I hope in no respect injurious to any other man. This I may safely assert, that I have done my best to make those about me tolerably happy, and my greatest enemy cannot say I ever did an intentional injury. What may follow, God knows."
A queer account still exists of a holiday jaunt taken by Hogarth and four friends of his, who set out, like the redoubted Mr. Pickwick and his companions, but just a hundred years before those heroes ; and made an excursion to Gravesend, Rochester, Sheerness, and adjacent places.* One of the gentlemen noted down the proceedings of the journey, for which Hogarth and a brother artist made drawings. The book is chiefly curious at this moment from showing the citizen life of those days, and the rough jolly style of merriment, not of the five companions merely, but of thousands of jolly fellows of their tiine. Hogarth and his friends, quitting the “ Bedford Arms,” Covent Garden, with a song, took water to Billings-. gate, exchanging compliments with the bargemen as they went down the river. At Billingsgate, Hogarth made a caracatura” of a facetious porter, called the Duke of Puddledock, who agreeably entertained the party with the humors of the place. Hence they took a Gravesend boat for themselves ; had straw to lie upon, and a tilt over their heads, they say, and went down the river at night, sleeping and singing jolly choruses.
They arrived at Gravesend at six, when they washed their faces and hands, and had their wigs powdered. Then they sallied forth for Rochester on foot, and drank by the way three pots of ale. At one o'clock they went to dinner with excellent
* He made this excursion in 1732, his companions being John Thornhill (son of Sir James), Scott, the landscape-painter, Tothall, and For
port, and a quantity more beer, and afterwards Hogarth and Scott played at hopscotch in the town hall. It would appear that they slept most of them in one room, and the chronicler of the party describes them all as waking at seven o'clock, and telling each other their dreams. You have rough sketches by Hogarth of the incidents of this holiday excursion. The sturdy little painter is seen sprawling over a plank to a boat at Gravesend ; the whole company are represented in one design, in a fisherman's room, where they had all passed the night. One gentleman in a nightcap is shaving himself; another is being shaved by the fisherman; a third, with a handkerchief over his bald pate, is taking his breakfast; and Hogarth is sketching the whole scene.
They describe at night how they returned to their quarters, drank to their friends, as usual, emptied several cans of good flip, all singing merrily.
It is a jolly party of tradesmen engaged at high jinks. These were the manners and pleasures of Hogarth, of his time very likely, of men not very refined, but honest and merry. It is a brave London citizen, with John Bull habits, prejudices, and pleasures.*
Of SMOLLETT's associates and manner of life the author of
“ Dr. Johnson made four lines once, on the death of poor Hogarth, which were equally true and pleasing; I know not why Garrick's were preferred to them :
« • The hand of him here torpid lies,
That drew th' essential forms of grace ;
“Mr. Hogarth, among the variety of kindnesses shown to me when I was too young to have a proper sense of them, was used to be very eamest that I should obtain the acquaintance, and if possible the friendship, of Dr. Johnson; whose conversation was, to the talk of other men, like Titian's painting compared to Hudson's, he said: 'but don't you tell people now that I say so,' continued he; ‘for the connoisseurs and I are at war, you know; and because I hate them, they think I hate Titian — and let them!' Of Dr Johnson, when my father and he were talking about him one day, 'That man,' says Hogarth, “is not contented with believing the Bible; but he fairly resolves, I think, to believe nothing but the Bible. Johnson,' added he, though so wise a fellow, is more like King David than King Solomon, for he says in his haste All men are liars.'”. Mrs. Piozzi.
Hogarth died on the 26th of October, 1764. The day before his death, he was removed from his villa at Chiswick to Leicester Fields, " in a very weak condition, yet remarkably cheerful.” He had just received an agreeable letter from Franklin. He lies buried at Chiswick.
the admirable « Humphrey Clinker” has given us an interesting account, in that most amusing of novels. *
* " To Sir Watkin Phillips, BART., OF JESUS COLLEGE,
Oxon. “Dear Phillips, — In my last, I mentioned my having spent an evening with a society of authors, who seemed to be jealous and afraid of one another. My uncle was not at all surprised to hear me say I was disappointed in their conversation. 'A man may be very entertaining and instructive upon paper,' said he, and exceedingly dull in common discourse. I have observed, that those who shine most in private company are but secondary stars in the constellation of genius. A small stock of ideas is more easily managed, and sooner displayed, than a great quantity crowded together. There is very seldom anything extraordinary in the appearance and address of a good writer; whereas a dull author generally distinguishes himself by some oddity or extravagance. For this reason I fancy that an assembly of grubs must be very diverting.'
“My curiosity being excited by this hint, I consulted my friend Dick Ivy, who undertook to gratify it the very next day, which was Sunday last. He carried me to dine with S-, whom you and I have long known by his writings. He lives in the skirts of the town; and every Sunday his house is open to all unfortunate brothers of the quill, whom he treats with beef, pudding, and potatoes, port, punch, and Calvert's entire butt beer. He has fixed upon the first day of the week for the exercise of his hospi. tality, because some of his guests could not enjoy it on any other, for rea. sons that I need not explain. I was civilly received in a plain, yet decent habitation, which opened backwards into a very pleasant garden, kept in excellent order; and, indeed, I saw none of the outward signs of author. ship either in the house or the landlord, who is one of those few writers of the age that stand upon their own foundation, without patronage, and above dependence. If there was nothing characteristic in the entertainer, the company made ample amends for his want of singularity.
“At two in the afternoon, I found myself one of ten messmates seated at table ; and I question if the whole kingdom could produce such another assemblage of originals. Among their peculiarities, I do not mention those of dress, which may be purely accidental. What struck me were oddities originally produced by affectation, and afterwards confirmed by habit. One of them wore spectacles at dinner, and another his hat Happed; though (as Ivy told me) the first was noted for having a seaman's eye when a bailiff was in the wind; and the other was never known to labor under any weakness or defect of vision, except about five years ago, when he was complimented with a couple of black eyes by a player, with whom he had quarrelled in his drink. A third wore a laced stocking, and made use of crutches, because, once in his life, he had been laid up with a broken leg, though no man could leap over a stick with more agility. A fourth had contracted such an antipathy to the country, that he insisted upon sitting with his back towards the window that looked into the garden ; and when a dish of cauliflower was set upon the table, he snuffed up volatile salts to keep him from fainting; yet this delicate person was the son of a cottager, born under a hedge, and had many years run wild among asses on a common. A fifth affected distraction : when spoke to, he always answered from the purpose. Sometimes he suddenly started up, and rapped out a dreadful oath ; sometimes he burst out a laughing; then he folded his arms and sighed; and then he hissed like fifty serpents.
I have no doubt that this picture by Smollett is as faithful & one as any from the pencil of his kindred humorist, Hogarth.
“At first, I really thought he was mad; and, as he sat near me, began to be under some apprehensions for my own safety; when our landlord, perceiving me alarmed, assured me aloud that I had nothing to fear. “The gentleman,' said he, 'is trying to act a part for which he is by no means qualified: if he had all the inclination in the world, it is not in his power to be mad; his spirits are too fat to be kindled into phrenzy.' "'Tis no bad p-p-putf, how-owever,' observed a person in a tarnished laced coat: 'aff-ffected m-madness w-ill p-pass for w-wit w-with nine-nineteen out of t-twenty.' * And affected stuttering for humor,' replied our landlord; 'though, God knows! there is no affinity between them.' It seems this wag, after having made some abortive attempts in plain speaking, had recourse to this defect, by means of which he frequently extorted the laugh of the company, without the least expense of genius; and that imperfection, which he had at first counterfeited, was now become so habit. ual, that he could not lay it aside.
“ A certain winking genius, who wore yellow gloves at dinner, had, on his first introduction, taken such offence at S-, because he looked and talked, and ate and drank, like any other man, that he spoke contemp tuously of his understanding ever after, and never would repeat his visit, until he had exhibited the following proof of his caprice. Wat Wyvil, the poet, having made some unsuccessful advances towards an intimacy with S-, at last gave him to understand, by a third person, that he had written a poem in his praise, and a satire against his person: that if he would admit him to his house, the first should be immediately sent to press ; but that if he persisted in declining his friendship, he would publish the satire without delay. S--- replied, that he looked upon Wyvil's panegyric as, in effect, a species of infainy, and would resent it accordingly with a good cudgel ; but if he published the satire, he might deserve his compassion, and had nothing to fear from his revenge. Wyvil having considered the alternative, resolved to mortify S- by printing the panegyric, for which he received a sound drubbing. Then he swore the peace against the aggressor, who, in order to avoid a prosecution at law, admitted him to his good graces. It was the singularity in S---'s conduct on this oocasion, that reconciled him to the yellow-gloved philosopher, who owned he had some genius; and from that period cultivated his acquaintance.
“Curious to know upon what subjects the several talents of my fellow. guests were employed, I applied to my communicative friend Dick Ivy, who gave me to understand that most of them were, or had been, under. strappers, or journeymen, to more creditable authors, for whom they translated, collated, and compiled, in the business of bookmaking; and that all of them had, at different times, labored in the service of our landlord, though they had now set up for themselves in various departments of liter
Not only their talents, but also their nations and dialects, were so various, that our conversation resembled the confusion of tongues at Babel. We had the Irish brogue, the Scotch accent, and foreign idiom, twanged off by the most discordant vociferation; for as they all spoke together, no inan had any chance to be heard, unless he could bawl louder than his fellows. It must be owned, however, there was nothing pedantic in their discourse ; they carefully avoided all learned disquisitions, and endeavored to be facetious : nor did their endeavors always miscarry; some droll repartee passed, and much laughter was excited; and if any individual lost his temper so far as to transgress the bounds of decorum, he was effectually