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that, when it is needed to be done, there is perhaps only ono man in the world who can do it ; but he can do it without any trouble-without more trouble, that is, than it costs small people to do small things; nay, perhaps, with less. And yet what truth lies more openly on the surface of all human phenomena ? Is not the evidence of Ease on the very front of all the greatest works in existence? Do they not say plainly to us, not, “there has been a great effort here,” but, “there has 7 been a great power here”? It is not the weariness of mortality, but the strength of divinity, which we have to recognise in all mighty things; and that is just what we now never recog. nise, but think that we are to do great things, by help of iron bars and perspiration :--alas! we shall do nothing that way but lose some pounds of our own weight.
Yet, let me not be misunderstood, nor this great truth be supposed anywise resolvable into the favorite dogma of young men, that they need not work if they have genius. The fact is, that a man of genius is always far more ready to work than other people, and gets so much more good from the work that he does, and is often so little conscious of the inberent divinity in himself, that he is very apt to ascribe all his capacity to his work, and to tell those who ask how he came to be what he is: “If I am anything, which I much doubt, I made myself so merely by labor.” This was Newton's way of talking, and I suppose it would be the general tone of men whose genius had been devoted to the physical sciences. Genius in the Arts must commonly be more self-conscious, but in whatever field, it will always be distinguished by its perpetual, steady, well-directed, happy, and faithful labor in accumulating and disciplining its powers, as well as by its gigantic, incommunicable facility in exercising them. Therefore, literally, it is no man's business whether he has genius or not: work he must, whatever he is, but quietly and steadily : and the natural and unforced results of such work will be ale
ways the things that God mcant him to do, and will be bis best. No agonies nor heart-rendings will enable him to do any better. If he be a great man, they will be great things ; if a small man, small things ; but always, if thus peacefully done, good and right; always, if restlessly and ambitiously done, false, hollow, and despicable.
Then the third thing needed was, I said, that a man should be a good judge of his work; and this chiefly that he may not be dependent upon popular opinion for the manner of doing it, but also that he may have the just encouragement of the sense of progress, and an honest consciousness of victory: how else can he become
" That awful independent on to-morrow,
I am persuaded that the real nourishment and help of such a feeling as this is nearly unknown to half the workmen of the present day. For whatever appearance of self-complacency there may be in their outward bearing, it is visible enough, by their feverish jealousy of each other, how little confidence they bave in the sterling value of their several doings. Conceit may puff a man up, but never prop him up; and there is too visible distress and hopelessness in men's aspects to ad. mit of the supposition that they have any stable support of faith in themselves.
I have stated these principles generally, because there is no branch of labor to which they do not apply: But there is one in which our ignorance or forgetfulness of them has caused an incalculable amount of sufforing : and I would endeavor now to reconsider them with especial reference to it,--the branch of the Arts.
In general, the men who are employed in the Arts have freely chosen their profession, and suppose themselves to have spocial faculty for it; yet, as a body, they are not happy men. For which this seems to me the reason, that they are expected, and themselves expect, to make their bread by being clever not by steady or quiet work; and are, therefore, for the most part, trying to be clever, and so living in an utterly false state of mind and action.
This is the case, to the same extent, in no other profession or employment. A lawyer may indeed suspect that, unless he has more wit than those around him, he is not likely to advance in his profession; but he will not be always thinking how he is to display bis wit. He will generally understand, early in his career, that wit must be left to take care of itself, and that it is hard knowledge of law and vigorous examination and collation of the facts of every case entrusted to him, which his clients will mainly demand : this it is which he has to be paid for; and this is healthy and measurable labor, payable by the hour. If he happen to have keen natural perception and quick wit, these will come into play in their due time and place, but he will not think of them as his chief power; and if he have them not, he may still hope that industry and conscientiousness may enable him to rise in his profession without them. Again in the case of clergymen : that they are sorely tempted to display their cloquence or wit, none who know their own hearts will deny, but then they know this to be a temptation : they never would suppose that cleverness was all that was to be expected from them, or would sit down deliberately to write a clever serinon : even the dullest or vainest of them would throw some veil over their vanity, and pretend to some profitableness of purpose in what they did. They would not openly ask of their hearers-Did you think my sermon ingenious, or my language poetical ? They would early understand that they were not paid for being ingenione, nor called to be so, but to preach truth ; that if they happened to possess wit, eloquence, or originality, these would appear and be of service in due time, but were not to be continually
sought after or exhibited: and if it should happen that they had them not, they might still be serviceable pastors without them.
Not 80 with the unhappy artist. No one expects any honest or useful work of him ; but every one expects him to bo ingenious. Originality, dexterity, invention, imagination, every thing is asked of him except what alone is to be had for asking -honesty and sound work, and the due discharge of his function as a painter. What function ? asks the reader in some surprise. He may well ask; for I suppose few painters have any idea what their function is, or even that they have any at all.
And yet surely it is not so difficult to discover. The facul. ties, which when a man finds in himself, he resolves to be a painter, are, I suppose, intenseness of observation and facility of imitation. The man is created an observer and an imitator; and his function is to convey knowledge to his fellow-men, of such things as cannot be taught otherwise than ocularly. For a long time this function remained a religious one: it was to impress upon the popular mind the reality of the objects of faith, and the truth of the histories of Scripture, by giving visible form to both. That function has now passed away, and none has as yet taken its place. The painter has no profession, no purpose. He is an idler on the earth, chasing the shadows of his own fancies.
But he was never ineant to be this. The sudden and universal Naturalism, or inclination to copy ordinary natural objects, which manifested itself among the painters of Europe, at the moment when the invention of printing superseded their legendary labors, was no false instinct. It was misunderstood and misapplied, but it camo at the right time, and bas maintained itself through all kinds of abuse ; presenting in the recent schools of landscape, perhaps only the first fruits bf its power. That instinct was urging every painter in
Europe at the same moment to his true duty—the faithful representation of all objects of historical interest, or of natu ral beauty cxistent at the period; representations such as might at once aid the advance of the sciences, and keep faithful record of everymonument of past ages which was likely to be swept away in the approaching eras of revolutionary change.
The instinct came, as I said, exactly at the right moment; and let the reader consider what amount and kind of general knowledge might by this time have been possessed by the nations of Europe, had their painters understood and obeyed it. Suppose that, after disciplining themselves so as to be able to draw, with unerring precision, each the particular kind of subject in which he most delighted, they had separated into two great armies of historians and naturalists;—that the first had painted with absolute faithfulness every edifice, every city, every battle-field, every scene of the slightest historical interest, precisely and completely rendering their aspect at the time; and that their companions, according to their several powers, had painted with like fidelity the plants and animals, the natural scenery, and the atmospherie phenomena of every country on the earth-suppose that a faithful and complete record were now in our museums of every building destroyed by war, or time, or innovation, during these last 200 years—suppose that each recess of every mountain chain of Europe had been penetrated, and its rocks drawn with such accuracy that the geologist's diagram was no longer neces sary-suppose that every tree of the forest had been drawn in its noblest aspect, every beast of the field in its savage life that all these gatherings were already in our nation:al galleries, and that the painters of the present day were labor. ing, happily and earnestly, to multiply them, and put such means of knowledge more and more within reach of the com. mon people would not that be a more honorable life for them, than gaining precarious bread by “bright effects ?'