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and Florence by the publication of his “ Asolani,' the most intolerably dull book we ever took up, in which six young people of each sex were supposed deliberately to meet, and “ragionar d'amore,' and one maintained that love was always bad and never could be good; and another that it was always good and never could be bad; and a third that love has the choice of two windows, the eyes, which conduct him to the beauty of the body, and the ears, which lead him to that of the soul; and a fourth, Heaven knows what! and in short, where the twelve hopeful young devotees go on to the end of the book perpetually buzzing about the candle, and say nothing as to whether any of them got burnt. Even Michael Angelo fell into this jargon, in a discourse he held before the Academy della Crusca, upon a sonnet by Petrarch, beginning · Amore, che nel pensier mio vive e regna, in which he treats the great question as if it were a sort of mental botany, dividing it into order and class, and proving nothing so clearly as that the first of all virtues and the best of all felicities, reduced to such abstractions, was the prosiest thing in the world. But all pedantry ceased with him when actual feeling was concerned. The Marchesa di Pescara, though too high an ideal to inspire more than the tenderest form of respect, was no abstraction to him. No one indeed was less liable at any age to be caught by merely imaginary charms, and no one was richer in the best feminine graces than the highborn, and gifted, and fair woman who, in his own words, taught him, by fairest paths to tread the way to heaven. The friendship which united Vittoria Colonna and Michael Angelo, as it comes before us through the long vista of ages, appears one of those forms of poetic justice which even this world affords to its truly great. Each stood upright and unsullied at a time when such principles excited rather wonderment than admiration. Each received in the esteem of the other the highest tribute which the world could bestow.
From the varied aspects of Michael Angelo's genius which we have successively considered, may be gathered, if not the complete mirror of his mind, yet those leading qualities, and especially that one quality of haughty independence, which in him assumed the form of the sternest moral integrity. There is no wonder that disappointment should be the theme, and melancholy the keynote, of his verse. He who hated injustice and disdained the great, who was inaccessible to vanity and selfinterest, and incapable of intrigue, was an inconvenience as well as a reproach in the times in which his lot was cast. His whole career was one of ceaseless conflict with the vices of the great and the little, and the intrigues of both. He
paid them back by the standing aloof from society, the refusal of favours, and by that power of despising' which Ugo Foscolo attributes to Dante. Nor was this luxury of contempt confined by any means within his own breast ; his tongue never faltered either to prince or pope; what he had to say, like what he had to do, he said with all his might. The Duke of Urbino insultingly advised him, through an agent, to make a clean conscience' regarding the moneys for the monument of Julius II. ; the hot old Florentine replied, “Tell him he has fabricated a Michael Angelo in his own heart, of the same stuff that he finds there.' Pope Paul IV. enjoined him to add some drapery to the nude figures of the Last Judgment; he answered, “The pope had better concern himself less about pictures, which are easily mended, and more about the reformation of men, which is far more difficult to achieve.'
The power of his will in his later years daunted even those least accustomed to submit. The ambassador from the Duke of Urbino writes, touching the much discussed monument, Michael Angelo has lately evinced a strong desire to come to Rome and conduct the affair himself; the pope has not yet made up his mind to give him leave, but he, wishing to come, sarà finalmente sua Santità forzata di contentarsene.' Again, in the manuscript of François de Hollande, though receiving its evidence with a certain reserve, we find Maintenant, si je parle du célèbre . Maître Michelange, on taxera mes paroles de fable et de mensonge. Il est pourtant vrai que le Pape Clément avait pour lui de tels égards, que lorsqu'il allait le voir il se tenait toujours débout, craignant que s'il s'asseyait le brusque artiste n'en fit autant.' It is impossible not to wonder how such a spirit could submit at all to that tyrannic waste of his time, and that arbitrary appropriation of his hand, which marks his whole career. Here, however, something must be allowed for a state of society in which respect for the artist in our sense was utterly unknown, and more for that energy which, kindling with difficulties, avenged itself nobly on caprice by showing that it could not be taxed in vain.
It was not to be expected that his countrymen should comprehend those trials to which a nature so unlike their own was peculiarly sensitive; on the contrary, his cotemporary biographers lose no opportunity of extolling the supreme good fortune which in their opinion attended the life of this extraordinary individual. What higher tribute, Condivi asks, can be given to merit, than to be contended for by four Pontiffs, one Grand Turk, by the King of France, the Duke of Tuscany, the Signory of Venice, and other minor powers? And to leave no doubt of
what was then considered the highest homage Genius could receive, he gives an anecdote of Julius III. in the next page, which must be translated literally to be believed.
• Having access,' Condivi says, “to his Holiness, I have heard with my own ears from his own mouth, that, if he should survive Michael Angelo, which the natural course of life renders probable, he would have him embalmed, and kept close to his own person, so that his body should be as perpetual as his works. Which thing, at the beginning of his pontificate, he told Michael Angelo himself, many being present. Nor do I know of anything more honourable to Michael Angelo than these words, nor a greater sign of the esteem in which his Holiness holds him.'--p. 48.
We turn from such a story as this as by a natural consequence to that air of melancholy which characterises every portrait of this great man. Men sung his praises and sought his counsel ; a younger generation came upon the scene, who knew, in a dim way, that a great Presence still lingered among them; and the nephews of those who had filled his cup with bitterness stood uncovered before him. But the iron had entered his soul. His later letters are full of a stern sadness, for which no infirmity
age, in a mind so vigorous to the last, can account. He is displeased at his nephew's rejoicings at the birth of a son, because “l'uomo non deve ridere quando il mondo tutto piange.' The death of his servant Urbino, for whose long services he thanks God, leaves him nothing, he says, but una infinita miseria. Writing to Cosimo I. of Florence, he regrets not to be able to comply with his wishes regarding the church of S. Giovanni, because he is old and 'mal d'accordo con la vita.' And if asked to trace a motto under the noble and pathetic head from the bronze bust by John of Bologna, in Mr. Harford's accompanying folio, we should banish all thoughts of his art, bis works, and his virtues, and, remembering only those sorrows which have impressed our heart as deeply as his genius, inscribe his own words written at the foot of some plans for a chapel in St. Peter's : Could one die of grief and shame, I should ere this have ceased to exist.'
Our task must stop here. The analysis of Michael Angelo's art and works, however inadequately performed, was all we proposed to ourselves. The marvellous eye and hand which battled with so many forms of difficulty have given us some insight into his character, and more still is derived from the study of
Both combined, however, are far from supplying a full picture of his mind. As regards cotemporary biography,
. we have had reason to see that in this case it is singularly unworthy of trust. The world is therefore thrown on such evidence
as his unpublished letters supply. Count Cosimo Buonarroti, their possessor, has recently died, bequeathing, we understand, the Casa Buonarroti and its inestimable contents to the government of his native Tuscany. It is impossible that Michael Angelo's letters should have been better preserved and more honoured than by his collateral descendant, and it is to be hoped that they will at last be made available to the public. Then, we have no doubt, from our own limited knowledge of these documents, that a better glory than any that even art can bestow will encompass the name of Michael Angelo, and that even Mr. Harford will find the object of his generous devotion still more worthy of the monument he has raised to him. We understand that a second edition of his work is already called for. If it appears before he can profit by the treasury of new material which is now open to him, it is to be hoped that the correspondence of the great painter, architect, sculptor, and poet, will be published later in a supplement.
ART. VI.-1. The Speeches of Lord Chatham, Sheridan, Erskine,
and Fox; with Biographical Memoirs, and Introductions and Explanatory Notes. Edited by a Barrister. 4th edition.
2 vols. imp. 8vo. London, 1855. 2. Speeches on Social and Political Subjects, with Historical
Introductions. By Henry Lord Brougham, F.R.S., Member of the National Institute of France, and of the Royal Academy
of Naples. 2 vols. post 8vo. London, 1857. 3. An Inaugural Address delivered by Earl Stanhope at his Instal
lation as Lord Rector of Marischal University, Aberdeen. 8vo. London, 1858. N an admirable address to the University of Aberdeen, Lord
happy illustrations drawn from the lives of eminent men in the various departments of literature and science, that success is only to be obtained by industry. He repudiated the notion of heaven-born genius, if by that term is meant genius which spontaneously pours forth its stores without labour or study. The greatest talents, like the richest soil, only yields its choicest fruits to persevering tillage. If there is one branch of excellence which more than another has been supposed to be the gift of untutored nature, it is the faculty of verse; if there is one poet more than another who derived his inspiration from the innate passions of his heated mind, and who appeared to possess the power of embodying fervid feelings in glowing rhymes without
the smallest effort, it was unquestionably Lord Byron. Yet in a conversation, quoted by Lord Stanhope, he asserted that it was nonsense to talk of extemporising verse. The prodigious quantity which he wrote during his short life is no less a proof of his diligence than of his fertility. Mr. Trelawny represents him as spending the larger part of his waking hours in meditating his works; and no physician or lawyer in extensive practice ever followed their professions with more dogged perseverance. His friend Moore, whose songs and tales have a far-fetched prettiness which indicates greater elaboration, confesses of himself that he had been at all times a slower and more painstaking workman than would ever be guessed from the result.' Pope tells us that in his boyhood he lisped in numbers, for the numbers came;' but if they came unsought, it was a felicity which forsook him as his understanding matured. Though by no means a voluminous writer, considering the many years he worked at his craft, Swift complained that he was never at leisure for conversation, because he had always some poetical scheme in his head.' He was in the habit of jotting down in the night, as he lay in bed, any striking thought or lucky expression which passed through his mind, lest it should be forgotten before morning. He recorded lines or fragments of lines, which he hoped to turn to account at a future period, and allowed not a crumb to fall to the ground. What he composed with care, he corrected with patience. He kept his pieces by him long before consigning thein to the press; he read them to his friends, and invited their criticism; and his condensed couplets, which seem . finished more through happiness than pains,' really owe their first quality to the last. As we ascend higher the same truth is equally apparent. Milton's studies are revealed in every page of the Paradise Lost.' One of the most original of poets in his conceptions and style, his particular phrases and allusions may be tracked in all the best literature both ancient and modern which existed before his day. He who invoked his muse to raise him to the height of his great argument' did by that very expression intimate how vast an effort he considered to be necessary to treat worthily so sublime a theme, as in his Lycidas he had declared, that 'to scorn delights and live laborious days’ was the indispensable condition of fame. Of the habits of Shakespeare we know nothing, except that the players boasted that he never blotted a line, which only proves that he must have matured his conceptions before committing them o paper. The knowledge of human nature is a matter of experience and not of intuition, and at least he must have been a diligent reader of men if he had been a careless reader of books.