following miscellaneous particulars, selected from the volume before us.

• His person was of the middle stature, bony in his make, and rather spare, although broad over the shoulders. He had a good complexion ; his forehead was square and somewhat projecting ; his eyes rather small, of a hazel colour, and on his brows but little hair : his nose was flat, being disfigured from the blow he received from Torregiano :* his lips were thin, and speaking anatomically, the cranium, on the whole, was rather large in proportion to the face. His countenance was animated and expressive.'

. In the early part of his life he not only applied himself to sculpture and painting, but to every branch of knowledge, connected in any way with those arts, and gave himself up so much to application, that he in a great degree withdrew from society. When his mind was matured, he attached himself to men of learning and judgement, and in the number of his most intimate friends were ranked the highest dignitaries of the church, and the most eminent literary characters of his time. .

Among the authors he most delighted in, were Dantè and Petrarch. Of these it is said he could nearly repeat by memory all their poems : but Dantè appears to have held the highest place in his esteem.... In his own poetical compositions, indeed, he imitated Petrarch rather than Dantè : but it is sufficiently obvious that the poetical mind of the latter influenced his feelings.... The edition of Dantè he used was a large folio with Landino's commentary; and upon the broad margin of the leaves, he designed with a pen and ink, all the interesting subjects. He also studied, with equal attention, the sacred writings of the old and new Testament.... The mode in which he composed his poetry I have had an opportunity of knowing from the MSS. of which I have seen many. They were written on loose neglected sraps of paper, on which sketches and memoranda had been previously made.

The love of wealth made no part of Michel Angelo's character. He was in no instance covetous of money nor attentive to its accuniulation. That which was sufficient for him to live respectably, bounded his wishes and he was an example of his own opinion,

“ Che l’tempo è brevè è'l necessario poco.

« Man wants but little, nor that little long." • When he was offered commissions from the rich with large sums he rarely accepted them, being more stimulated by friendship and benevolence than the desire of gain. For eighteen years, he gave up the greatest part of his time to the building of St. Peter's without emolument. He freely assisted literary men as well as those of his own profession.'

In a very closely printed Appendix, Mr. Duppa has given 20 of Michael Angelo's letters, together with his poems (131 in number,) printed verbatim, and in the same order they were originally published by his great nephew. In the body of the work several of the poems are translated, by Mr. Sou

* A contemporary student with M, Angelo, and a sculptor of superior merit, bot a proud inconsiderate ungovernable character.'

[ocr errors]

they and Mr. Wordsworth, and in a manner which leads us to regret that their contributions are not more numerous. We lay the following specimens before our readers with great pleasure. Their attention will probably be less attracted by the poetical merit of the composition, which, however, is considerable, than by the spirit of devout feeling which must have actuated the illustrious writer. At p. 142, we find the following sonnet accompanied by a letter to Vasari. The age of Michael Angelo when he composed it is stated to be above eighty. (p. 227.)

10 VASARI. " It is the will of God that I still continue to be : and I know that I shall justly be called foolish and out of my mind for making sonnets : but as many say I am in my second childhood, I am willing to employ myself agreeably to my state. By yours I feel conscious of the love you bear me ; therefore I wish you to know that it is my filial desire to rest these my feeble bones by the side of those of my father, and I pray you to see that it be done."


« Well nigh the voyage now is over past,

And my frail bark, through troubled seas and rude,
Draws near the common haven where at last

Of every action, be it evil or good
Must due account be rendered. Well I know

How vain will then appear that favoured art,

Sole idol long and monarch of my heart;
For all is vain that man desires below,
And now remorseful thoughts the past upbraid. -

And fear of twofold death my soul alarms,
That which must come and that beyond the grave.

Picture and sculpture lose their feeble charms,
And to that love divine I turn for aid,

Who from the cross extends his arms to safe.'
On this sonnet it appears Varchi Benedetto wrote a com.
mentary. Michael Angelo thus alludes to it in a letter to M.
Luca Martini.

" As for the sonnet I know well enough what it is : but be it as it may, I cannot conceal a little vain glory in having been the occasion of so excellent a commentary, which makes me feel an importance that does not belong to me. Therefore, I entreat you to make the returns that are due to so much esteem, respect, and politeness : I entreat you to do this because I feel my own unworthiness. He that has reputation ought not to tempt fortune, for it is better to be stationary than to fall from a height, I am old, and death has deprived me of juvenile thoughts; and he who does not know what old age is let him have patience enough to wait its arrival, and then he will."

For the translation of the madrigal, inserted at p. 176, we presume we are indebted to the pen of Mr. Southey. It runs thus :

• Ill hath he chosen his part who seeks to please

The worthless world, ill hath he chosen his part: .
For often must he wear the look of ease

When grief is at his heart.
And often in his hours of happier feeling,

With sorrow must his countenance be hung;
And ever his own better thoughts concealing,
Must he in stupid grandeur's praise he loud;
And to the errors of the ignorant crowd,

Assent with lying tongue
Thus much would I conceal that none should know
What secret cause I have for silent woe,
And taught by many a melancholy proof,
That those whom fortune favours it pollutes,
I from the blind and faithless world aloof,
Nor fear its censure nor desire its praise,

But choose my path through solitary ways.' We shall conclude our extracts with the following prose translation of a poem addressed to the Supreme Being.'

. My prayers will be sweet, if thou lendest me virtue to make them worthy to be heard. My unfruitful soil cannot produce virtue of itself. Thou knowest the seed and how to sow it, that will spring up in the mind to produce just and pious works. If rhou shewest him not the hallowed path, no one by his own knowledge can follow thee. Pour thou into my mind the thoughts that may conduct me in thy holy steps, and endue me with a fervent tongue, that I may alway praise, exalt, and sing thy glory.

As for Mr. Duppa, though he is a sensible writer and a clear narrator, yet we must confess we do not think him emni.. nently qualified for the biographer of Michel Angelo. He is evidently a man of reading and of taieits--sufficientiy unassuming-has no ostentation--nor ever offends by the cant of connoisseurship. But we discover little of that perspicuous criticism that large, and liberal survey of the history, character, and province of Art, which mark the powerful m od exerting itself on a favourite and familiar subject : we look in vain for that high enthusiasm, that glow and sympathy of spirit, which identifies the writer with his work, and creaies a strong and eager interest in the mind of the reader. Mr. D.'s style, too, though it tells the story plainly and correctly, is neither elegant nor impressive.-Of the outline plates, it is sufficient to say that, with a few exceptions, they are disgraceful to the work.

Art. V. A Letter to the Right Honourable Lord Viscount Sidmouth,

upon the subject of the bill lately introduced by his Lordship into the House of Peers, &c. By Thomas Belsham, Minister of the Chapel in Essex Street, Syo. pp. 52. Price 2s 6d. Johnson and Co. 1811. A MIDST the conflict of contending parties, and the endless

diversities of sentiment which exist in this country, relative to religion and politics, the principle of toleration seems to be regarded, by all classes of society, as sacred and inviolable. That every man has a right to be protected by the state, in the exercise of his religion, may now be considered as an axiom : and although there may still be individuals who cherish a very different opinion, yet they are restrained from openly expressing it, by the well founded apprehension of general scorn and derision. Such being the state of the public mind, it was no wonder that Lord Sidmouth's late unadvised Bill excited so powerful a sensation in the country ; aid that scarcely any legislative measure was ever so instantaneously and emphatically rejected

On the subject of this unfortunate bill, Mr. Belsham has thought fit to publish a pamphlet in the form of a letter to Lord Sidmouth; in the advertisement prefixed to which he states, that its design is to vindicate a highly repectable character from unmerited obloquyếto explain a measure which has been misunderstood to mark what appeared to be its defects—to state those modifications by which it would probably have been rendered' both more effectual and more generally acceptable and to guard against certain consequences which might be fatal to any future application in respect of the penal statutes relating to religion. Indeed he is by no means content with aiming simply at the vindication of his Lordship, but attempts, rashly enough, to reconcile in his own person the two characters of the encomiast of the noble lord, and the advocate of unlimited toleration.

At the commencement of his letter, be represents, with much more levity and insolence than wit, that the alarm and hostility which the bill produced, were excited by a very inadequate cause. And on a subject of the grevest interest and importance, to a mind of the least reflection, he ventures, in the first paragraph, to express himself in the following terms:

Your lordship must be not a little astonished at the unparalleled exertions of the Dissenters in opposition to your Lordship’s Bill, and · the extraordinary unanimity of persons most hostile to each other in their religious sentiments, in their efforts to procure its rejection in

[ocr errors][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small][merged small]

the earliest stage. One would suppose that the Bill lately introduced
in the House of Peers, instead of being, as it professes to be “ An
Act to explain and render more effectual the Toleration Act,” &c.
had been a Bill of Pains and Penalties, or at least a revival of
the famous Schism Bill of good* Queen Anne. Indeed I have been
credibly informed that some who signed the Petitions were appre.
hensive that if your Lordship's bill had passed, neither Prayer
Meetings nor Spiritual Conferences would have been any longer to-
lerated. And some among us of more than ordinary penetration,
clearly foresaw that your Lordship would never rest satisfied till you
had obtained a revival of the famous Writ de Hæretico comburendo;
and were persuaded that like bishop Gardener, of pious and merciful*
memory, your Lordship’s appetite would be whetted by the odour of
a roasted heretic. I confess, my Lord, that I feel an honest pride
in witnessing the quick, 1 might almost say the morbid sensibility
of the whole body of Dissenters to any measure which bears the
appearance of encroachment upon religious liberty, and the energy and
spirit with which persons of all sentiments and parties among them,
are ready to unite in opposition to it. For though the mighty ex-
ertions which were called forth upon the present occasion to crush
a measure, which, to say the least of it, extended legal toleration
on one side as much as it restrained it on the other,

Resembled ocean into tempest wrought
- To waft a feather, or to drown a fly;
Yet I trust they will operate as a solemn warning to those, if in
these enlightened times there are any such, who really desire, what
1 am persuaded your Lordship does not, to impose restrictions upon
toleration, and to call into action the dormant energies of the penal

He then proceeds to point out his objections to the Bill. After stating, what is undoubtedly true, that the statute of W. & M. grants privileges and immunities only to ministers settled with congregations, and affords to others merely an exemption from the pains and penalties of former statutes, so that no alteration in the law was necessary to prevent improper persons qualifying for the purpose of gaining those privileges, he justly complains that by this bill no certificate could be obtained without a production of testimonials, and that if a person incapable of procuring testimonials should preach, he would be subject to the penalties; a circuinstance, he says, which

if not completely effaced from the bill, 'must have entailed upon its head, from every consistent protestant, disgrace and condemnation. He further objects to the mode, prescribed by the bill, of obtaining those testimonials, as troublesome and vexatious: and to the latitude which the terms in the bill substantial and reputable house

* Italic in the original.

« ElőzőTovább »