페이지 이미지
PDF
ePub

true God, by means of revelation.” At the time of his death, he was employed on etchings or designs for this purpose, but made no great progress. In the mean time he published his “ Letter to the Dilettanti,” a work which his biographer justly characterises as not quite so tranquil or praise-worthy.

The appointment of professor of painting, honourable as it was, and the duties of which he might have discharged with reputation to himself, became in his hands the source of misfortune and disgrace. Original, and in many respects extremely singular in his opinions, he proposed changes and innovations which could not consistently be complied with, and by these means he often subjected himself to the pain of a refusal. His great object was, to appropriate a fund, accumulated from the receipts of exhibitions, to form a gallery of the old masters, for the use of the pupils. In this, and in many other efforts which he made with the same view, he entirely failed; so that, by continual opposition, he at length rendered himself so obnoxious to the jealousy of his brethren, that early in March 1799, a body of charges was received by the council at the royal academy, against the professor of painting; upon which the following resolution was passed, “ that the charges and information were sufficiently important to be laid before the whole body of academicians to be examined; and if they coincide in opinion, the heads of those charges to be then communicated to the professor of painting.” This was intimated to Mr. Barry, by order of the council. On the 19th of March, the academy received the minutes of the council respecting the charges, and referred them to a committee elected for the purpose. The academy met again the 15th of April, to receive the report of the committee, when Mr. Barry arose, and demanded to be furnished with a copy of the report. This being denied, he protested against the injustice of the whole proceeding, and withdrew, declaring in plain terms, that “ if they acted in conjunction with his enemies, without giving him the opportunity of answering for himself, and refuting the charges alleged against him, he should be ashamed to belong to the academy.” Having withdrawn, Mr. Barry was removed by a vote from the professor's chair, and by a subsequent vote, expelled the academy. The whole proceedings were then laid before his majesty, who was pleased to approve them, and Mr.

[ocr errors]
[ocr errors]

Barry's name was accordingly struck off from the roll of academicians.

Soon after this event, the earl of Buchan set on foot a subscription, which amounted to about 1000l. with which his friends purchased an annuity for his life; but his death prevented his reaping any benefit from this design. The manner of his death is thus related by his biographer : “On the evening of Thurday, Feb. 6, 1806, he was seized as he entered the house where he usually dined, with the cold fit of a pleuritic fever, of so intense a degree, that all his faculties were suspended, and he unable to arti, culate or move.

Some cordial was administered to him, and on his coming a little to himself, he was taken in a coach to the door of his own house, which, the keyhole being plugged with dirt and pebbles, as had been often done before, by the malice, or perhaps the roguery of boys in the neighbourhood, it was impossible to open. The night being dark, and he shivering under the progress of his disease, his friends thought it advisable to drive away without loss of time to the hospitable mansion of Mr. Bononni. By the kindness of that good family, a bed was procured in a neighbouring house, to which he was imınediately conveyed. Here he desired to be left, and locked himself up, unfortunately, for forty hours, without the least medical assistance. What took place in the mean time, he could give but little account of, as he represented himself to be delirious, and only recollected bis being tortyred with a burning pain in his side, and with difficulty of breathing. In this short time was the deathblow given, which, by the prompt and timely aid of copious bleedings, might have been averted; but without this aid, such had been the re-action of the hot fit succeeding the rigours, and the violence of the inflammation on the pleura, that an effusion of lymph had taken place, as appeared afterwards upon dissection. In the afternoon of Saturday, Feb. 8, he rose and crawled forth to relate his complaint to the writer of this account. He was pale, breathless, and tottering, as he entered the room, with a dull pain in his side, a cough short and incessant, and a pulse quick and feeble. Succeeding remedies proved of little avail. With exacerbations and remissions of fever, he lingered to the 22d of February, when he expired.”. His remains, after lying in state in the great room of the society of arts, Adelphi, was interred in St. Paul's cathedral, with due

solemnity, and the attendance of many of his friends and admirers, among whom was not one artist.

For Barry's character we may refer to an elaborate article by his biographer. To us it appears that with unquestionable talents, original genius, and strong enthusiasm for his art, he was never able to accomplish what he projected, or to practise all that he professed. Few men appear to have had more correct notions of the principles of art, or to have departed more frequently from them. His ambition during life was to excel no less as a literary theorist, than as a practical artist, and it must be allowed that in both characters he has left specimens sufficient to rank him very high in the English school. Where he has failed in either, we should be inclined to attribute it to the peculiar frame of his mind, which, in his early as well as mature years, appears to have been deficient in soundness : alternately agitated by conceit or flattery ; and irritated by contradiction, however gentle, and suspicion, however groundless. This was still more striking to every one conversant in mental derangement, when he exbibited at last, that most common of all symptoms, a dread of plots and conspiracies. This went so far at one time, that when robbed, as he said, of a sum of money, he exculpated common thieves and housebreakers, and attributed the theft to his brother artists, jealous of his reputation; yet the money was afterwards found where he had deposited it. The same unhappy malady may account for his many personal eccentricities of conduct, over which a veil may now be thrown. Nor is it necessary to specify his literary publications, as they were all collected in two volumes 4to, published in 1809, under the title of “ Thę Works of James Barry," with a life, from which the present sketch has been principally taken. '

BARTAS (WILLIAM DE SALLUSTE DU), the son of a treasurer of France, was born in the year 1544, at Monfort in Armagnac, and not on the estate de Bartas, which is in the vicinity of that little town. Henry IV. whom he served with his sword, and whom he celebrated in his verses, sent him on various commissions to England, Denmark, and Scotland. He had the command of a company of cavalry in Gascony, under the marechal de Matignon.

1 See also Edwards's Apecdoter of Painters, and Pilkington's Dict, Edit 1810,

He was in religious profession a Calvinist, and died in 1590 at the age of 46. The work that has most contributed to render his name famous, is the poem entitled “ Commentary of the Week of the creation of the world,” in seven books. Pierre de l’Ostal, in a miserable copy of verses addressed to du Bartas, and prefixed to his poem, says that this book is "

greater than the whole universe." This style of praise on the dullest of all versifiers, was adopted at the time, but has not descended to ours. The style of du Bartas is incorrect, quaint, and vulgar; his descriptions are given under the most disgusting images. In his figures, the head is the lodging of the understanding; the eyes are two shiping casements, or twin stars; the nose, the gutter or the chimney; the teeth, a double pallisade, serving as a mill to the open gullet; the bands, the chambermaids of nature, the bailiffs of the mind, and the caterers of the body; the bones, the posts, the beams, and the columns of this tabernacle of flesh. We have several other works by the seigneur du Bartas. The most extraordinary is a little poem, composed to greet the queen of Navarre on making her entry into Nerac. Three nymphs contend for the honour of saluting her majesty. The first delivers her compliments in Latin, the second in French, and the third in Gascon verses. Du Bartas, however, though a bad poet, was a good man. Whenever the military service and his other occupations left any leisure time, he retired to the chateau de Bartas, far from the tumult of arms and business. He wished for nothing more than to be forgotten, in order that he might apply more closely to study, which he testifies at the conclusion of the third day of his week. Modesty and sincerity formed the character of du Bartas, according to the account of him by the president de Thou.

“I know (says that famous historian) that some critics find his style extremely figurative, bombastic, and full of gasconades. For my part," adds he, “who have long known the candour of his manners, and who have frequently discoursed with him, when, during the civil wars, I travelled in Guienne with him, I can affirm that I never remarked any thing of the kind in the tenor of his behaviour; and, notwithstanding his great reputation, he always spoke with singular modesty of himself and his works." His book of the “Week," whatever may now be thought of it, was attended with a success not inferior to that of the best performances.

His courage

Within the space of five or six years, upwards of thirty editions were printed of it. It found in all places, commentators, abbreviators, translators, imitators, and adversaries. His works were collected and printed in 1611, folio, at Paris, by Rigaud. His “ Week,” and other poems, were translated into English by Joshua Sylvester, 1605, 4to, and have been frequently reprinted, although not of late years."

BARTH (John), a native of Dunkirk, an eminent naval hero, was the son of an humble fisherman, and was born in 1651.

Before the year 1675, he was famous for a variety of acts no less singular than valiant, to particularize which would take up too much of our room. having been signalised on a variety of occasions, he was appointed in 1692 to the command of a squadron consisting of seven frigates and a fire-ship. The harbour of Dunkirk was then blocked up by thirty-two ships of war, English and Dutch. He fouyd means to pass this Aleet, and the next day took four English vessels, richly freighted, and bound for the port of Archangel. He then proceeded to set fire to eighty-six sail of merchant ships of various burdens. He next made a descent on the coast of England, near Newcastle, where he burnt two hundred houses, and brought into Dunkirk prizes to the amount of 500,000

About the close of the same year, 1692, being on a cruise to the north with three men of war, he fell in with a Dutch fleet of merchant ships loaded with corn, under convoy of three ships of war; Barth attacked them, captured one of them, after having put the others to flight, which he then chased, and made himself master of sixteen of their number. In 1693, he had the command of the Glorieux, of sixty-six guns, to join the naval armament commanded by Tourville, which surprised the fleet of Smyrna. Barth, being separated from the rest of the fleet by a storm, had the fortune to fall in with six Dutch vessels, near to Foro, all richly laden; some of these he burnt, and drove the rest ashore. This active and indefatigable seaman set sail a few months afterwards with six men of war, for convoying to France, from the port of Velker, a fleet loaded with corn, and conducted it successfully into Dunkirk, though the English and the Dutch

Gen. Dict. in Sallust.-Moreri..Dict. Hist. For an account of the English editions, see Gent. Mag. LXX. p. 930.

crowns.

« 이전계속 »