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which, with the revival of literature, and the liberal patronage of the great, contributed to form the eminent artists of those days. The second was the discovery of Herculaneum and Pompeii, which first brought us acquainted with the beautiful forms familiar to the ancients in their household utensils, and with specimens of their mural paintings, though these in truth were in part made known, when the palaces of the Cesars, and the baths of Titus, were cleared in the sixteenth century. Then came the excavations in Hadrian's villa below Tivoli, the vases of Nola and of Magna Græcia, the speculations undertaken to excavate at Veli, and in the environs of the eternal city, and the contemporaneous munificence of Pius VI., the real founder of the Museum of the Vatican; together with the liberality of our own countrymen in purchasing some of the most precious monuments, which these operations brought to light. The fourth epoch was marked by the visits of our learned travellers and artists to the ruins of Balbeck and of Athens, and of the lesser Asia, and by the successive publications of the Society of Dilettanti. Your Lordship then stepped forward to rescue from the hands of barbarians, and eventually from the more destructive struggles of civil war, the chefsd'œuvres of Phidias, which we had already begun to appreciate from drawings and measurements and engravings. The sixth and last great event of this character was the discovery of the tombs of the Greek inhabitants of parts of Etruria; and the last fifteen years have produced from this rich and still unexhausted mine, proofs of the extensive range and high quality of Greek art, which we could not have gleaned from history, and which are furnishing us with more data, whence to pursue our reciprocal illustrations of art by literature, and literature by art, than all which we possessed before.
"These are a few of the points to which the attention of the youth of our upper classes ought to be directed; and when we add to a knowledge of such historical details, a familiarity with the works of the ancients, either by casts or engravings, and the literary labours of those, who have best illustrated these triumphs of genius; and have accompanied the whole with a study of the chief characteristics of the Greek and Roman medals and lapidary inscriptions, the best correctors and lights of history, geography, mythology, and archæology, in general, we may then hope to see a genuine feeling for beauty in art pervade those classes, which ought to give the tone, and perform the part of judges and protectors to others, who look up to them for employment; for such as is the demand, such will be the supply-if we are willing to pay for indifferent performances, because we are satisfied with mediocrity, we shall never be disappointed. It will come to our doors in shoals, unasked for and not wanted; the plant that is not well trained by the hand of the gardener, will luxuriate in barren poverty, and will rival the weed of the field; but if those who are to guide, know and put in practice the rules of culture, the production will reward them for their toil, and reflect honour on the hand which reared it.'
ART. IX.-1. Attila, a Romance. By the Author of the Gipsy, &c. (G. P. R. James, Esq.) 3 vols. 8vo. London: 1837. 2. Rookwood, a Romance. By W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, Esq. Fourth Edition. 8vo. London: 1836.
3. Crichton. By W. HARRISON AINSWORTH, Esq. 3 vols. 8vo. - London: 1836.
HE state of Romance, since the death of Sir Walter Scott,
T not been of the most high and palmy kind. In his own department that great writer had so completely preoccupied the ground, had so nearly filled the picture gallery of Romance, with historical or imaginary portraits from his own pencil,-that little or no room seemed left for the performances of the most meritorious artists. Even the small space which he left unoccupied, we can hardly consider as since filled up, by any production entitled to take its place beside his majestic and beautiful delineations. Aladdin, we remember, left but the twenty-fourth window of his palace-hall to the Sultan to finish, and after all he could not accomplish it. He had to wait till that genius who had executed the other twenty-three came to his assistance. We, too, must wait until a genius of a kindred order to Sir Walter Scott shall arise, ere we can hope to see the spirit of Romance revive in all its former majesty and beauty.
We do not wonder, then, that the inventive talent of the age has, of late, taken so much more decidedly the direction of Novelwriting, than of Romance. In the former, moderate abilities, acquaintance with society, and a quick perception of characteristic traits, with some infusion of humour, seem sufficient to ensure success. To the novelist, 'the world's his oyster, ' which he with pen doth open;' he has but to look about him upon the beings with whom he is brought into daily contact,-the feelings, interests, and prejudices which regulate his own conduct and that of those around him,-to set in his note-book common characters, common events, and conversations, and the materials of an amusing, nay strongly interesting novel are ready to his hands. Add to this, ordinary tact in selection and liveliness of narrative, and we enumerate all that this branch of fiction seems to need. But Romance requires abilities of a different order. A novelist may be amusing, and yet the most prosaic of mortals. Such was Fielding; such, except in a few scenes of Clarissa, is Richardson; but a Romance writer, if he is to be tolerated at all, must be a poet in feeling and in heart. He can
find but to a very small extent the materials of composition in the scenes around him. Even the annals of the past, to which he must revert as his sources, present him with his materials in the rudest, barest, and most disjointed form. The more he penetrates into the minutiae of history, the more he accumulates about him a mass of incoherent particulars. The callida junctura must be his own; the fire by which all these scattered substances are to be fused into one coherent whole, must come from within; and it must be the flame of genius, not general talent merely, that will suffice for that purpose. Talent may enable a Romance writer to make a tolerable historical mosaic; but in no mosaic can the real separation of the parts, and their artificial junction, be altogether concealed. There must be a strong and independent energy of mind exerted on the materials accumulated by study and observation, by which they are not merely dynamically but thoroughly united; an interpenetrating and subtile power which, like the long sought for menstruum of the alchymists, shall act as a universal solvent, and enable the projector to extract at last from the discordant elements which filled his alembic, a compact, beautiful, and homogeneous whole.
It is natural enough, then, we think, considering the comparative ease of Novel-writing and its probability of success, if executed with even ordinary knowledge of the world, and address in the management of incident and dialogue; and on the other hand, the high qualities which a true Romance presupposes on the part of its author, and the disproportionate study and reflection necessary for the accumulation, selection, and due disposition of its materials-with the conspicuous and complete nature of the failure, in the event of want of success-(for that middle state of doubtful popularity with the prospect of which a novelist may console himself, falls not to the lot of the Romance writer, whose work either makes him or unmakes him quite,')-it is natural enough, we think, that while our novelists of talent have of late been numerous, few writers of any eminence have ventured to attempt the task of sustaining the sinking fortunes of Romance. The day labourers, the ordinary hewers of wood and drawers of water for the circulating libraries, to whom it is all one whether they pen a heroic Romance, or turn a Persian 'tale for half a crown,' of course continue as numerous as ever; they have their reward' as usual; but we speak at present of men of higher mark-writers of some strength and originality of mind, who guide instead of following the public taste, and whose productions will in some measure contribute to form the literary tastes and character of the age. And of these almost all
have devoted themselves to different departments of the Novel; according as their powers leant towards the delineation of scenes of domestic life, or of bustling adventure; or towards the exhibition, in broad and laughable caricature, of characteristic peculiarities and vulgarities. We certainly feel grateful to such writers as Mr. Lister, Captain Marryat, Mrs Gore, and Mr Morier, for their lively and amusing sketches of life, for such they are; and have seldom been better pleased than with the 'Abel Allnut' of the latter, which, in its quiet unpretending humour and simplicity, recals to us not unpleasantly the recollection of Goldsmith. We acknowledge our obligations to Mr Hook for more than one burst of laughter (reviewers do laugh occasionally) over some of those accumulations of comic miseries, which he showers upon his characters as from a cornucopia, with a prodigality of invention unequalled since the persecutions with which the mischievous ingenuity of Pickle assailed the unfortunate Pallet at the inn in Flanders. Of the eloquence, deep feeling, and powerful interest of Mr Bulwer's novels we have, on a former occasion, expressed our high sense. They in fact carry the poetry of Romance into the field of the Novel; and might perhaps be as justly considered as belonging to the former as to the latter class of fictions. We are not, therefore, we trust, of that ungrateful class of readers who while they read and are amused, are disposed to undervalue the merits of those to whom they are indebted for that amusement-who, like Milton's spirits, 'cram and blaspheme their feeder;'-but, with all due admiration of our clever and ingenious novelists of the present day, we regret to see the nobler field of Romance left uncultivated, except by persons of slender capital,-occupied with no higher object than that of drawing from it a mere subsistence—and are delighted when we observe such writers as those to whom we are indebted for the volumes the names of which we have placed at the head of this article, from time to time appearing to redeem it from barrenness; and to show, that though the mighty ⚫ minstrel breathes no longer,' a portion of his mantle (for we fear it has at best been torn to pieces and divided) has descended to some of his successors.
There are few points of resemblance, however, between Mr James and Mr. Ainsworth; except that they have both written historical romances which have been popular and deservedly so. They are both men of high talent, if not genius; but in the construction of their minds, in their prevailing tastes, in the objects at which they respectively aim, as embodying their views of the true scope and proper field of Romance, they have but few points in common. There is more of brilliancy,—more of what looks at
first sight like genius and originality about the author of Rookwood; there is much more of a due balance of mind, and of a more varied and better adjustment of the different qualities neces*sary for a romance writer in the author of Attila.
Mr James has not only framed his Romances upon the model of those of Sir Walter Scott; but, whether naturally, or by that early admiration and imitation which almost amounts to second nature, his whole tastes and modes of thinking have grown into a singular harmony with those of the great original from which he drew. He has to some extent his excellencies; he is chargeable with all his faults. He has, for instance, the same loving admiration of the past, prompting him naturally to revert to the fancied glories of chivalry, and to revive for our own time the splendours of pageants which have past away. The warmth and sincerity of this feeling leads him to a thorough study of the periods in which the scenes of his varied historical picture gallery have been placed; a study not merely of general features but of details; for to him as to Scott it is not sufficient to reconstruct the halls and chief apartments of the fallen edifice of former times, but every minute closet, staircase, or vault has its interest and importance; 'no jutty, frieze, or buttress, nor coigne of vantage' must be neglected. It is a labour of love for both to grope among the old walls, and from fragments of broken arches, and vestiges of pillars and rafters, to divine the original plan, and to build up anew the social structure of other days in its original completeness and symmetry. This gives to the productions of both extreme distinctness of portraiture, and appearance of individuality in their sketches of the manners, dresses, and domestic arrangements of other times in all the externals of romance;-which, however, are of extreme importance and value in strengthening the impressions arising from the delineation of passion and character. In both cases also, it has led to prolixity and longueurs; the writers not perceiving that to readers in general such details have no interest or value for their own sake; and that the moment they withdraw the attention from the more important considerations of incident and character, they become mere impertinencies, over which the reader hurries with as much precipitation as possible. Scott, as we have said, is by no means exempt from these passages, which, like those in Mrs Radcliffe's castles, lead to nothing, particularly in his later romances, where the details of dresses and pageants, and the description of mere matters of stone and lime are needlessly frequent, and have no tendency to advance the interest. Mr James, we are sorry to say, sins still more grievously in this respect. As his historical and antiquarian information would rather seem to have been generally acquired for each novel, and