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Title: The Life and Writings of Henry Fuseli, Volume I (of 3)
Author: Knowles, John
Language: English
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*** Start of this Doctrine Publishing Corporation Digital Book "The Life and Writings of Henry Fuseli, Volume I (of 3)" ***

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    [Illustration: HENRY FUSELI ESQre]

    Engraved by Deane from a Painting by Harlow

    London, Published by Henry Colburn & Richard Bentley, 1830.





    HENRY FUSELI, Esq. M.A. R.A.






    "Animo vidit, ingenio complexus est, eloquentiâ illuminavit."
    _Velleius Paterculus in Ciceronem._


    VOL. I.







    Dorset-street, Fleet-street.






I feel a degree of diffidence in dedicating to your Ladyship the Life
and Posthumous Works of Henry Fuseli; because, with regard to the
former, no one is better acquainted with the extent of his talents, or
can form a more accurate opinion of the powers of his conversation, and
the excellent qualities of his head and heart, than yourself. In giving
some account of his life and pursuits, I have endeavoured to speak of
him as he was, and to become his "honest chronicler." How far I have
succeeded, it is for your Ladyship to form a judgment. Had it ever
occurred to me, during his lifetime, that it would be my lot to become
his Biographer, I should have kept a Journal, and thus have been enabled
to present to you, and to the world, a more copious and rich view of his
colloquial powers. But as this is not the case, if the Memoir bring to
your remembrance the general power of his genius, or give an adumbration
of his professional merit; if it convey impressions of his profound
classical attainments and critical knowledge, and recall with them the
simplicity of his domestic habits, my end is fully answered.

It is not for me to make an apology for sending to the public, under the
high support of your Ladyship's name, the posthumous works of my friend;
as these, I know, will be acceptable to you; and many of them have
already received the highest encomiums, when delivered as Lectures
before the Members of the Royal Academy of Arts.

I am fully certain that if the mind which dictated these works, could
now be conscious of the fact, no circumstance would give to it greater
satisfaction, than the knowledge of their appearing under the sanction
of your patronage.

    I have the honour to subscribe myself,


      Your Ladyship's most obedient,

        And obliged humble servant,

                           JOHN KNOWLES.

    4, Osnaburgh Street, Regent's Park,

      24th March, 1830.


In offering to the public the Life and a complete edition of the
literary Works of Henry Fuseli, I feel myself called upon to state the
sources whence the former has been drawn.

The daily intercourse and sincere friendship which subsisted for many
years between this great artist and myself, afforded me the opportunity
of witnessing his domestic habits, hearing many of the incidents of his
life, and watching his career as an artist; and, being executor to his
will, his professional as well as private papers came into my
possession. Independently of these advantages, I have been in
correspondence with the nearest branches of his family, (at Zurich, in
Switzerland,) and from their kindness have obtained many particulars of
his early life, together with the correction of some previously
inaccurate dates. Whatever estimate, therefore, may be formed of my
work, as a literary production, the particulars have been gathered from
the most authentic and unquestionable sources.

With respect to his works, it may be necessary to state that the first
Six Lectures were published in a quarto volume under Mr. Fuseli's own
superintendence, and were printed in a more extended form than that in
which they were delivered; additional observations having been inserted
for the press, and notes added to indicate the authorities whence his
opinions were derived. They are now reprinted from a copy in my
possession, in which are noted some corrections by the author.

The remaining Six Lectures are published from the manuscripts in his own
hand-writing, without any addition, omission, or alteration.

The Aphorisms were collated, and re-copied fairly some years before the
death of the author: these are printed _verbatim_ as he intended they
should come before the public.

The History of the Italian Schools of Art will be found to contain the
professional lives of Michael Angelo, Raffaelle, Titian, Correggio, and
other great masters, with the author's criticisms on their works. Most
of the observations on Art were made by Fuseli while in Italy and
France, after a close inspection of the frescoes, pictures, or works in
sculpture, which he describes or criticises; and the particulars of the
lives of the artists were deduced from a careful perusal and comparison
of the most elaborate and esteemed works in which they have been

The reader will notice, that, in a few instances, the same notions and
expressions are repeated; a circumstance which occasioned from an
eminent artist, (the late Sir Thomas Lawrence,) for whose opinion and
talents I had great respect, a recommendation to "use the
pruning-knife." But it appeared to me, after due consideration, to be
preferable that I should print the manuscripts as they came into my
hands; for to have omitted these passages might have disturbed the
connexion of the reasoning and rendered the author's ideas less apparent
to the reader; I therefore present his works to the world without any
omission, alteration, or addition on my part.

    John Knowles.





     Fuseli's birth and family.--Passion for drawing manifested in his
     childhood.--His destination for the Church.--Singular cause of
     _ambidexterity_.--Fuseli's early fondness for entomology.--He
     enters the Collegium Carolinum at Zurich.--His associates there:
     Lavater, Usteri, Tomman, Jacob and Felix Hess.--Professors Bodmer
     and Breitinger.--His partiality for Shakspeare, &c.--His turn for
     satire called forth at the College.--He courts the Poetic
     Muse.--Enters into holy orders at the same time with
     Lavater.--State of Pulpit oratory in Zurich.--Fuseli and Lavater
     become champions of the public cause against a magistrate of
     Zurich.--Quits Zurich                                        Page 1


     The friends are accompanied in their journey by Professor
     Sulzer.--They visit Augsburgh and Leipsic.--Arrive at
     Berlin.--Fuseli furnishes some designs for Bodmer's work.--Baron
     Arnheim.--Fuseli visits Barth, in Pomerania, where he pursues his
     studies for six months under Professor Spalding.--Motives which
     induce him to visit England, where he arrives in 1763, under the
     protection of Sir Andrew Mitchell.--Lord Scarsdale: Mr. Coutts: Mr.
     Andrew Millar: Mr. Joseph Johnson.--Fuseli receives engagements
     from the booksellers.--His first residence in London: becomes
     acquainted with Smollet: Falconer: A. Kauffman: Mrs. Lloyd: Mr.
     Cadell: Garrick.--Fuseli accepts, and shortly after relinquishes
     the charge of travelling tutor to the son of Earl Waldegrave.--His
     first interview with Sir Joshua Reynolds.--His earliest production
     in oil painting.--He visits Liverpool.--Takes part in Rousseau's
     quarrel with Hume and Voltaire, (1767) and exerts his pen in the
     cause of his countryman                                          22


     Fuseli leaves England for Italy in the society of Dr.
     Armstrong.--They quarrel, and separate at Genoa.--Fuseli arrives at
     Rome (1770).--His principle of study there.--He suffers through a
     fever, and repairs to Venice for his health.--Visits Naples.--Quits
     Rome (1778) for Switzerland.--Letter to Mr. Northcote.--Fuseli
     renews his classical studies.--Visits his family at
     Zurich.--Engages in an unsuccessful love-affair.--Arrives again in
     London                                                           46


     Fuseli settles in London.--Interview with Mr.
     Coutts.--Reconciliation with Dr. Armstrong.--Professor
     Bonnycastle.--Society at Mr. Lock's.--Mr. James Carrick Moore and
     Admiral Sir Graham Moore.--Sir Joshua Reynolds.--Mr.
     West.--Anecdote of Fuseli and West.--The popular picture of "The
     Nightmare."--Death of Fuseli's Father.--Visit to Mr. Roscoe at
     Liverpool.--Fuseli's singular engagement to revise Cowper's
     Iliad.--Three Letters from Mr. Cowper.--Anecdotes of Fuseli and Dr.
     Geddes                                                           57


     Subjects painted by Fuseli for Boydell's "Shakspeare Gallery."--His
     assistance towards the splendid Edition of "Lavater's
     Physiognomy."--His picture for Macklin's "Poets' Gallery."--His
     contributions to the Analytical Review.--His critique on Cowper's
     Homer                                                            77


     Fuseli's proficiency in Italian History, Literature, and the Fine
     Arts, exemplified in his Criticism on Roscoe's Lorenzo de' Medici


     Fuseli's Marriage.--His inducements to associate himself with the
     Royal Academy.--He translates Lavater's "Aphorisms on
     Man."--Remarks on his own "Aphorisms on Art."--Particulars of
     Fuseli's acquaintance with Mrs. Wollstonecraft                  158


     Fuseli undertakes the Illustration of Cowper's Edition of
     Milton.--First notion of the "Milton Gallery" hence
     suggested.--Letter to Mr. Roscoe from Fuseli and Mr.
     Johnson.--Circumstances attending Fuseli's Election as a Royal
     Academician.--Sir Joshua Reynolds's temporary secession connected
     with that event.--Fuseli's progress in the pictures for the
     "Milton Gallery."--Controversy between Fuseli and the Rev. Mr.
     Bromley.--Subjects painted for Woodmason's "Illustrations of
     Shakspeare."--Subscription towards the completion of the Milton
     Gallery.--Letter from Mr. Roscoe.--Fuseli contributes to Seward's
     "Anecdotes."--His Visit to Windsor with Opie and
     Bonnycastle.--Anecdotes connected with that Visit.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Mr. Johnson's Imprisonment, and Fuseli's adherence to
     him.--Anecdote of Lord Erskine.--Exhibition of the "Milton
     Gallery," and List of the Works composing it, with incidental
     Comments, &c.--Letter to Fuseli from his brother Rodolph.--Letter
     from Fuseli to Mr. Lock                                         171


     Fuseli's Lectures at the Royal Academy.--Letters respecting them
     from Mr. Farington.--Letter from Sir Henry Englefield, on the
     subject of the ancient Vases.--Death of Fuseli's friend
     Lavater.--Fuseli's Visit to Paris in 1802.--His Letter from thence
     to Mr. James Moore.--His acquaintance with the French Painters
     David and Gerard.--Results of his Visit.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Fuseli's Remarks on some of the Paintings in the
     Louvre.--Letter from Mr. Smirke.--Fuseli elected Keeper of the
     Royal Academy.--Incidental Anecdote.--Letter to Mr. Joseph Johnson


     The Biographer's Introduction to Fuseli.--New Edition of
     Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters, superintended by
     Fuseli.--Establishment of the British Institution, and Fuseli's
     limited Contributions to the Exhibition there.--Subject from
     Dante.--Fuseli's Remarks on Blake's Designs.--His Lectures on
     Painting renewed.--Tribute of esteem from the Students of the
     Academy.--Letter.--Death of Mr. Johnson, and Fuseli's sympathy on
     the occasion.--Fuseli re-elected to the Professorship of Painting
     at the Royal Academy                                            287


     Fuseli's prefatory Address to his resumed Lectures.--His second
     Edition of Pilkington.--He suffers from a nervous fever, and visits
     Hastings in company with the Biographer.--His Picture of Marcus
     Curius, and Letter relative to it.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Canova's Intercourse with Fuseli.--Anecdotes of Fuseli and
     Harlow.--Letters from Fuseli to the Biographer.--Republication of
     his Lectures, with additions.--Death of Professor Bonnycastle, and
     Anecdote concerning him.--Death of Fuseli's friend and patron Mr.
     Coutts.--An agreeable party at Fuseli's house                   304


     Decline of Fuseli's Health.--Letter from Mr. James C.
     Moore.--Fuseli's Bust by Baily, and Portrait by Sir Thomas
     Lawrence.--His last Academical Lectures.--Particulars of his
     Illness and Death.--Proceedings relative to his interment, with an
     account of the ceremony--Copy of his Will                       329


     Fuseli's personal appearance and habits.--Existing Memorials of him
     in Pictures and Busts.--His method of dividing his time.--Anecdotes
     exemplifying his irritability.--His attainments in classical and in
     modern Languages.--Instances of his Powers of Memory.--His intimate
     knowledge of English Poetry and Literature.--His admiration of
     Dante.--His Passion for Entomology.--His opinions of some
     contemporary Artists.--His conversational powers, and
     Anecdotes.--His deficient acquaintance with the pure Physical
     Sciences                                                        350


     Fuseli's inherent shyness of disposition.--His opinion of various
     noted individuals, viz. Dr. Johnson, Sterne, Sir Joshua Reynolds,
     Gibbon, Horne Tooke, and Thomas Paine.--His cultivation of English
     notions and habits.--His attachment to civil and religious
     Liberty.--His intimacy with theatrical matters.--His adventure at a
     Masquerade.--His powers as a Critic, both in Literature and Art,
     with various illustrative examples.--His impressions of
     Religion.--One of his Letters on Literature                     371


     Character of Fuseli as an Artist.--His early style.--His ardent
     pursuit of excellence in design.--His neglect of mechanical means,
     particularly as regards Colours.--His professional independence,
     unmixed with obstinacy.--His pre-eminent faculty of invention, and
     success in the portraiture of the ideal.--His deficiencies as to
     correctness, and disinclination to laborious finish.--Causes of his
     limited popularity as a Painter.--His felicity in Likenesses.--His
     colour and chiar-oscuro.--His quality as a Teacher of the Fine
     Arts.--His ardent love of Art.--Arrangements as to the disposal of
     his Works, &c.--List of his Subjects exhibited at the Royal Academy
     from 1774 to 1825                                               395


     On the character of Fuseli as an Artist, by W. Y. Ottley,
     Esq.--Verses to Fuseli on his series of Pictures from the Poetical
     Works of Milton, by W. Roscoe, Esq.--Ode to Fuseli on seeing
     Engravings from his Designs, by H. K. White, Esq.--"A
     Vision,"--verses in which Fuseli's principal productions are
     briefly noticed                                                 419





M.A. R.A.


     Fuseli's birth and family.--Passion for drawing manifested in his
     childhood.--His destination for the Church.--Singular cause of
     _ambidexterity_.--Fuseli's early fondness for entomology.--He
     enters the Collegium Carolinum at Zurich.--His associates there:
     Lavater, Usteri, Tomman, Jacob and Felix Hess.--Professors Bodmer
     and Breitinger.--His partiality for Shakspeare, &c.--His turn for
     satire called forth at the College.--He courts the poetic
     Muse.--Enters into holy orders at the same time with
     Lavater.--State of pulpit oratory in Zurich.--Fuseli and Lavater
     become champions of the public cause against a magistrate of
     Zurich.--Quits Zurich.

As there is a natural wish in mankind to be made acquainted with the
history of those men who have distinguished themselves by any
extraordinary exertion of talent, so we always experience regret when
we look to the biography of a celebrated man, if we find the details
scanty, or the particulars respecting him resting for their accuracy
upon the uncertainty of oral communication, made after a lapse of
several years.

Although the mind of an author may, at a remote period, be appreciated
by a perusal of his works, and the capacity and talents of an artist be
judged of by the powers of invention which he has displayed,--by the
harmony of his colour and the style and correctness of his lines; yet
these do not completely satisfy; we wish the more to see him in his
closet, to pursue him into familiar life, and to be made acquainted with
the paths which he trod and the mode of study which he adopted to arrive
at eminence. Who does not feel this impulse when he peruses the meagre
accounts we have received of Shakspeare or Correggio? although the
utmost efforts of industry have been employed to collect facts relating
to these extraordinary men.

It is with such feelings that I attempt to give some particulars of the
life and professional career of Henry Fuseli, while they are fresh on
the memory; for if the biography of any particular man be not written
during his lifetime, or shortly after his decease, we recollect perhaps
only a few circumstances, and fill up the record by guessing at the

Many of the incidents which I am about to relate respecting Mr. Fuseli
were communicated by himself; for I had the happiness of enjoying his
friendship uninterruptedly for twenty years, and was almost in the daily
habit of seeing and conversing with him until the last period of his
existence. Other particulars I have collected from some of his relations
and friends, and gleaned much from his private papers, which fell into
my possession, as executor to his will. The facts may therefore be
relied upon, and they will, at least, assist some future biographer: for
I feel the difficulties under which I must unavoidably labour, in
attempting to display the powers of a highly gifted man, and an eminent
professor in an art which requires the study of years, nay of a whole
life, to understand in any competent degree.

Henry Füessli (for such is the family name), the second son of John
Caspar Füessli, was born on the 7th February, 1741, N.S. at Zurich, in
Switzerland, which city had been the native place of his family for many

His father, John Caspar, a painter of portraits and sometimes of
landscapes, was distinguished for his literary attainments; when young,
he had travelled into Germany, and became a pupil of Kupetzky, the most
celebrated portrait painter of his time. He then resided for some time
at Rastadt, as portrait painter to that court; and afterwards went to
Ludswigsbourg, with letters of recommendation to the Prince of
Wirtemberg, and was particularly patronized by him.

In the war of 1733, a French army having entered Germany, threw every
thing there into confusion, on which Füessli withdrew from the scene of
military operations, to Nuremberg, and remained in that city for six
months, in expectation of a termination of hostilities; but hearing of
the fall of his patron, the Prince of Wirtemberg, in the field of
battle, he returned to Zurich, and settled in Switzerland for life.

Shortly after his return to his native city, he married Elizabeth Waser,
an excellent woman, but of retired habits, who confined her attention to
the care of her house and family, and to the perusal of religious books.
By this marriage he had eighteen children, three of whom only arrived at
the age of manhood;--Rodolph, who followed his father's profession as a
painter, and afterwards, settling at Vienna, became librarian to the
Emperor of Germany; Henry, the subject of this Memoir; and Caspar, well
known for his able and discriminative works on entomology.

Although John Caspar Füessli, the father, had travelled much, and was
not unacquainted with the manners of courts, and could practise, when he
thought proper, those of a courtier, yet he had assumed the carriage of
an independent man of the world, and acquired an abrupt and blunt manner
of speaking. Yet, as he was endowed with learning and possessed of
talents, his house was frequented by men the most eminent in literature
and in the arts, in Zurich and its neighbourhood. He was also an author,
and, among other works, published the Lives of the Helvetic Painters, in
which he received considerable assistance, both in its arrangement and
style, from his son Henry. This he was enabled to do, notwithstanding,
to use his own words, "in boyhood, when the mind first becomes capable
of receiving the rudiments of knowledge, he had not the advantage of the
amalgamating tuition of a public school."[1]

Henry Fuseli not only profited in his early years by the instruction of
his parents, but also by the society which his father kept; indeed, he
may be said to have been rocked in his cradle by the Muses,--for Solomon
Gessner was his godfather. This poet and painter was the intimate friend
of the elder Fuseli, and addressed to him an elaborate letter on
landscape-painting, which is published in his works. But it was to his
mother that Henry considered himself chiefly indebted for the rudiments
of his education: she, it appears, was a woman of superior talents, and
possessed, in a high degree, the affection and gratitude of her
children. Even in the latter days of his life, when Fuseli has spoken of
his mother, I have seen tears start into his eyes.

Henry Fuseli showed, very early, a predilection for drawing, and also
for entomology; but the former was checked by his father, who knowing,
from his own pursuits, the difficulty of arriving at any eminence in the
fine arts, except a man's whole mind and attention be given to them; and
having designed his son Henry for the clerical profession, under the
expectation of advantageous preferment for him in the church, he
considered that any pursuit requiring more than ordinary attention would
draw his mind from those studies which appertain to theology, and thus
be injurious to his future prospects. Perhaps, too, his dislike to his
son's being an artist may also have arisen from the notion, that he
would never excel in the mechanical part of painting; for, in youth, he
had so great an awkwardness of hands, that his parents would not permit
him to touch any thing liable to be broken or injured. His father has
often exclaimed, when such things were shown to his visitors, "Take care
of that boy, for he destroys or spoils whatever he touches."

Although the love which Fuseli had for the fine arts might be checked,
yet it was not to be diverted altogether; this pursuit, which was denied
him by parental authority, was secretly indulged,--for he bought with
his small allowance of pocket-money, candles, pencils, paper, &c., in
order to make drawings when his parents believed him to be in bed. These
he sold to his companions; the produce of which enabled him either to
purchase materials for the execution of other drawings, or to add
articles to his wardrobe, such as his parents might withhold, from
prudential motives.

Many of his early sketches are still preserved, one of which is now in
my possession,--"Orestes pursued by the Furies." The subjects which he
chose were either terrific or ludicrous scenes: in both these, he at all
periods of life excelled: although his early works are incorrect in
point of drawing, yet they generally tell the story which they intend to
represent, with a wonderful felicity, particularly when it is considered
that several of them proceeded from the mind of a mere child, scarcely
eleven years of age.

The work which most engrossed Fuseli's juvenile attention was Tobias
Stimmer's field-sports: these subjects he copied diligently, either with
a pen or in Indian ink, as well as the sketches of Christopher Maurer,
Gotthard Ringgli, Jobst Ammann, and other masters of Zurich. These
artists, it must be acknowledged, possessed great powers of invention,
and had a firm and bold outline, yet their figures are not to be
commended for proportions or elegance, and the mannerism of their works
was a dangerous example for a student to follow. It is not surprising,
therefore, that we find an imitation of their faults in the early
drawings of Fuseli; in which short and clumsy figures are generally
draped in the old Swiss _costume_.

Although the father seldom or ever attended public worship, yet he was
not ignorant of the principles of religion, and knew what would be
expected from his son when he entered upon the clerical profession: in
order, therefore, to initiate him in the doctrines which he intended he
should teach, he employed a clergyman to assist him in these as well as
to instruct him in the classics. From this gentleman he borrowed the
most esteemed religious books, which it was his practice, in the
evenings, to read aloud to Henry. But while the father was reading the
paraphrases of Doddridge, or the sermons of Götz or Saurin, the son was
not unfrequently employed in making drawings; and the better to escape
observation, he used his left hand for that purpose. This practice made
him ambidextrous during his life.

The tutor soon perceived the bent of his pupil's inclination, who,
instead of making his themes, or attending to other studies, was
caricaturing those about him; and he told his father that, although he
had an uncommon capacity for whatever he undertook with ardour, yet he
was so wayward in his disposition, and so bent upon drawing, that it
was doubtful whether he would ever become a scholar.

The health of Mrs. Füessli being in a very delicate state, the family
removed a few miles from the city, for the benefit of the air. Henry was
at this time about twelve years of age. A residence in the country
opened to his active mind a new field for contemplation, in the study of
nature; and he now found great delight in what he had before in a degree
pursued,--entomology. This study his father allowed him to prosecute, as
he considered that the attempt to gain a knowledge of a science

        "Which looks through Nature up to Nature's God,"

would be advantageous to his future walk in life; he therefore indulged
his wish, encouraged him to proceed, and furnished him with books by
which he could get information respecting the genera of insects, and
their habits.[2] And in the pursuit of entomology he was usually
accompanied by his younger brother, Caspar, who has written so ably upon
this science; and I have often heard Henry enlarge, in glowing terms,
upon the pleasurable sensations which he experienced, when a boy, from
the freshness of the air, at the dawn of day, when he had been creeping
through hedge-rows in search of the larvæ of insects, or in pursuit of
the disturbed and escaping moth or butterfly.

After a residence of two or three years in the country, Henry had
arrived at that age when he required and was likely to profit by more
profound instructions than he had hitherto received; with the view of
affording these, his family resumed their residence at Zurich, and he
was placed as a student in the _Collegium Carolinum_, in which he was
matriculated, and finally took the degree of Master of Arts.

The secluded life which Fuseli's parents led, particularly while they
resided in the country, had confined his juvenile acquaintances to a M.
Nüscheler,[3] and to those youths who received occasional instructions
from his father in painting. A college was therefore a new and imposing
scene. Although he was then a novice in society, and had from nature a
degree of shyness, which was increased by seclusion; yet his acute and
discerning mind soon discovered those students who possessed the
greatest talents, and with whom he could therefore with the more
pleasure associate. Accordingly, he formed an acquaintance, which
ripened into lasting friendship, with Lavater, Usteri, Tomman, Jacob,
and Felix Hess; names well known in German literature.

At this time, the celebrated Bodmer and Breitinger were professors in
the Caroline College; they were the intimate friends of the elder
Füessli, (who has transmitted their likenesses to posterity,) and in
consequence of this intimacy, they paid more than ordinary attention to
the young student. These learned men were, in addition to their other
studies, actively engaged in reforming the German language, and in this
respect correcting the taste of their countrymen, and they constantly
urged their pupils to pursue the same course; for at this period a pure
and elegant style was very rare, and therefore considered no mean

A naturally strong constitution, with considerable elasticity of mind,
enabled Fuseli to pursue his studies for many hours in each day without
interruption. In fact, he was capable of any mental labour, however
severe. He attended diligently the usual routine of college studies, and
being possessed of a very retentive memory, these were attained or
performed without difficulty. He therefore found time to gain a
considerable knowledge of the English, French, and Italian languages. He
was attracted to these, not only by the desire of travelling at some
future period, but that he might be enabled to read some of the most
celebrated authors in their own tongues.

He was enamoured with the plays of Shakspeare, and attempted a
translation of Macbeth into German. The novels of Richardson,
particularly his Clarissa, made a powerful and lasting impression upon
his mind.[4] The works of Rousseau were eagerly devoured by him. And the
poetic flights of Dante not only aroused his feelings, but afforded
subjects for his daring pencil, which, notwithstanding his numerous
studies, was not laid aside.

Mixing in society naturally gives to an observing mind a knowledge of
men and manners. After Henry Fuseli had attended for some time the
college studies, and acquired some degree of confidence in his own
powers, he discovered and exposed weak points in some of the professors
and tutors who had been held up as examples to the students, and also
brought forward the merit and latent qualities of others, who from their
modesty had remained without notice, and thus drew them from obscurity.
If he could not attain his object by satire, in which he was very
powerful, he sometimes resorted to caricature, a weapon not less
formidable in his hands. The wounded pride of some of the masters
induced them to draw up a formal complaint against him, and he was
threatened with expulsion by the president, which was only a menace to
intimidate him, as the heads of the college admired his talents, and
were pleased with his assiduity.

In reading the Holy Scriptures (which he did diligently), the classics,
or the modern historians or poets, Fuseli's mind was most powerfully
attracted by those incidents or expressions which are out of the
ordinary course, and he frequently embodied them with his pencil. Bodmer
perceiving this bent of his mind, recommended him to try his powers in
poetry, and gave him, as models for imitation, the works of Klopstock
and Weiland. The former were considered by Henry to be master-pieces; he
caught the inspiration, and published, in a weekly journal called the
"Freymüthigen Nachrichten,"[5] an ode to Meta. This was so much in the
spirit, and so near an imitation of Klopstock's style, that the ardent
admirers of this great poet attributed it to him, and which was believed
by all who were not in the secret. He also attempted a tragedy from the
Bible, "The Death of Saul," which was also highly commended.

It is but reasonable to suppose, that Bodmer would endeavour to instil
into the mind of a favourite pupil a love for the abstract sciences, in
the knowledge of which he was himself so eminently skilled: but for
these Fuseli showed an utter distaste, which continued during the whole
of his life. He has more than once exclaimed to me, "Were the angel
Gabriel sent expressly to teach me the mathematics, he would fail in his
mission." And he has frequently dilated upon the annoyance which he
felt, when discovered by any one of the tutors to be engaged in some
favourite pursuit, by his putting, in Latin, an abrupt and unexpected
question in physics, such as, "_Quid est calor, Henrice Füessli?_"

In the year 1761, Fuseli and his intimate friend Lavater entered into
holy orders. The state of pulpit oratory, at this time, in Zurich, is
thus described by a kinsman[6] of the former: "The Dutch method of
analyzing was at this time in vogue in our pulpits. By aiming at
popularity, the language was often reduced to the lowest strain, and to
mere puerilities. The subjects were chiefly dogmatical; and if a moral
theme was introduced, their sermons betrayed no knowledge of mankind:
they were mostly common-place declamation, deficient in precision and
just discrimination. Exaggeration prevented the backslider from applying
the description to himself; and as the way to reformation was neither
intelligibly nor mildly pointed out, he was rather irritated than

     "Even the most distinguished preachers lost themselves in long
     and tiresome discourses, wandering either through the barren
     fields of scholastic or academic exercises, of little interest to
     a common audience; or else they spun out labyrinthine allegories.

     "Others tried to excite the feelings by doctrines that bordered
     on mysticism or Moravianism; and there were those who made
     simplicity their aim, not the noble but the coarser species,
     descending to vulgarity and meanness to flatter the popular
     taste, and endeavouring to disguise vacuity and sameness by low
     comparisons, little tales, and awkward imagery.

     "Some were to be found who, in their zeal for doctrinal faith,
     abused morality and philosophy, and bestowed the nickname of
     "_Taste-tellers_" on those who took a different course, and aimed
     at a better mode of address."

Klopstock, Bodmer, Weiland, Zimmerman, S. Gessner, and some others,
feeling how defective pulpit oratory was at Zurich, had laboured to
bring about a better style of preaching, but without much effect.
Fuseli, upon entering into holy orders, determined to regulate his
efforts, and by the advice of these learned men, he chose Saurin's
sermons as models of manner and arrangement; but with the view of
conveying his sentiments so as to produce the greatest effect upon his
audience, adopted the more inflated language of Klopstock and of Bodmer.

As his reputation stood high at college, and as his society was coveted
for the power which he displayed in conversation, and for his deep
knowledge in the classics and in sacred and profane history; so, a great
degree of curiosity was excited among his friends, as to the success of
his probationary sermon, which he knowing, with characteristic humour,
took his text from the 17th chapter of the Acts of the Apostles, 18th
verse, "What will this babbler say?" and preached against the passion of

The new mode of preaching which Fuseli adopted and carried into many of
the pulpits of Zurich; the novelty of the style, the originality of the
ideas, and the nervous language which he used, pleased "the judicious
few;" but it was "caviare to the general;" and hence the youthful
preacher gained no great degree of popular applause. His friends, and
Bodmer in particular, prompted him to persevere in the course which he
had commenced, assuring him, that, in the end, it would be crowned with
success; but at this time an incident happened, which gave a turn to his
pursuits in life.

The works of Rousseau, Voltaire, and others, who were then endeavouring
by their writings to bring about a reform in the political and moral
conditions of society, warmed his imagination, and he, Lavater, Jacob
and Felix Hess, (who were not less influenced,) were determined to exert
themselves, to benefit those of their native city. An opportunity was
soon presented to their active minds. Rumour had been for some time busy
with the character of a ruling magistrate, the high land-bailiff Grebel,
ascribing to him various acts of tyranny and oppression, and among
others, that of appropriating to himself property, and bidding defiance
to the rightful owners. This he considered he might do with impunity,
not only by the power which he possessed from his high situation, but
also from that which he derived from his father-in-law, who was the
burgomaster of Zurich.

The young friends made diligent inquiries into these charges, and found
that there were ample grounds to justify the reports which were current.
Their indignation was aroused, and they sent an anonymous letter to the
magistrate, threatening him with instant exposure if he did not restore
the property. Grebel, relying too much upon the feeling of security
which power creates, took no notice of this letter. Upon which Fuseli,
and Lavater in particular, excited farther by his contempt, resolved to
make the cause of the injured party their own, and accordingly wrote a
pamphlet, entitled, "The Unjust Magistrate, or the Complaint of a
Patriot," in which they detailed, in forcible and glowing terms, the
acts of oppression which had been committed, and called upon the
Government to examine into the facts, and punish the offender.

This pamphlet they industriously circulated, and took care that it
should fall into the hands of all the principal members of the
government. The manly tone in which it was written, and the facts
adduced in support of the accusation, made such an impression on the
council of Zurich, that it was stated from authority, if the author
would avow himself, all the circumstances should be inquired into, and
the facts carefully examined.

Upon this, Fuseli and Lavater, who were the ostensible persons, boldly
stepped forward, and acknowledged themselves the authors. Evidence was
taken, and the truth of the accusation established to its utmost extent.
An upright judgment was awarded; the property restored; and the guilty
magistrate then absconded, to avoid the personal punishment so justly
due to his crimes.

Of this incident, which perhaps was the most important of Fuseli's life,
as it was the cause of his quitting his native country, and changing his
profession, he very seldom spoke; and during the whole term of our
acquaintance, never mentioned the particulars but once, and then
remarked, "Although I cannot but reflect with some degree of
satisfaction upon the correctness of our feeling, and the courage which
we displayed, yet, situated as we and our families then were, it evinced
precipitation on our part, and a want of knowledge of the world."

This spirited act, on the part of Fuseli and his friends, was for some
time the theme of public conversation at Zurich, and their patriotism
was greatly applauded. But the disgrace which had fallen, by their
means, on the accused, was felt by his powerful family, who considered,
that, from their connexion with him, a part of the ignominy fell upon
themselves. The tendency and natural consequences of such feelings were
properly appreciated by the respective families of the young men, and
they considered it prudent to recommend them to withdraw for a time from
the city.


    The friends are accompanied in their journey by Professor Sulzer.--
    They visit Augsburgh and Leipsic.--Arrive at Berlin.--Fuseli
    furnishes some designs for Bodmer's work.--Baron Arnheim.--Fuseli
    visits Barth, in Pomerania, where he pursues his studies for six
    months under Professor Spalding.--Motives which induce him to visit
    England, where he arrives in 1763, under the protection of Sir Andrew
    Mitchell.--Lord Scarsdale: Mr. Coutts: Mr. Andrew Millar: Mr. Joseph
    Johnson.--Fuseli receives engagements from the booksellers.--His
    first residence in London: becomes acquainted with Smollet: Falconer:
    A. Kauffman: Mrs. Lloyd: Mr. Cadell: Garrick.--Fuseli accepts, and
    shortly after relinquishes the charge of travelling tutor to the son
    of the Earl of Waldegrave.--His first interview with Sir Joshua
    Reynolds.--His earliest production in oil painting.--He visits
    Liverpool.--Takes part in Rousseau's quarrel with Hume and Voltaire,
    (1767) and exerts his pen in the cause of his countryman.

It was fortunate for Fuseli and his friends, that the learned Sulzer,
who held the situation of professor of mathematics in the Joachimsthel
College, at Berlin, was at Zurich at this time, having obtained leave
from the King of Prussia to visit his native country, to endeavour to
dissipate his grief for the loss of a beloved wife. Sulzer, who had
taken a lively interest in the cause which these young men had
advocated, was about to return to Berlin, and offered to take them with
him: this opportunity was not to be neglected; and he, Fuseli, Lavater,
Jacob and Felix Hess, set out on their journey, early in the year 1763,
accompanied by a numerous train of friends and admirers, who attended
them as far as Winterthur, at which place they were welcomed with
fervour, as the enemies of oppression.

Sulzer justly and properly appreciated what would probably be felt by
young men who, for the first time, leave home and those connexions which
make home dear to them; and he therefore, in order to dissipate any
unpleasant feelings, determined to remain for some days at those cities
or towns on the road, where there was any thing to be seen worthy of
attention. The change, however, was less felt by Fuseli than by his
companions; the profession in which he had been employed was not one of
his choice; he had always entertained a strong desire to travel, and he
had lost, a few years previously, an affectionate mother[7] to whom he
was tenderly attached.

The first city of note at which they tarried was Augsburgh: here Fuseli
showed his predilection for art, in giving, by letter to his friends at
Zurich, a florid description of the sensations which he experienced on
seeing the colossal figure of St. Michael over the gateway of the
arsenal, the work of a Bavarian sculptor, Reichel. In the churches and
senate-house of this city, the paintings of Tintoretto, Schönfeld, and
Rothenhamer, attracted his particular attention; and he expressed his
regret at the neglect which appeared to attend the works of the
last-named master, (whom he eulogizes as "one of the most able painters
of Germany,") as his pictures were then falling into rapid decay.

At Leipsic, they were introduced by Sulzer to Ernesti, Gellert, Weisse,
and other literati. From the description which Fuseli gave of the two
former, it is evident that he, as well as Lavater, had paid early in
life a sedulous attention to physiognomy. Of Ernesti, he says, "although
he spoke of the liberality of all classes in Saxony, his countenance did
not agree with his words; on the contrary, he seems to be growing
intolerant from knowledge and from authorship." Of Gellert, he remarks,
"he has an expressive mouth, it turns on one side with a sensible easy
smile; he is so gentle, so accustomed to express simplicity in his very
countenance, and yet so quick-sighted, that he was disturbed by being
looked at, and inquired whether I was displeased with him; he has
certainly a tendency to hypochondria."

On their arrival at Berlin, Sulzer commenced (according to a promise
made at Zurich) arrangements for publishing a splendid and improved
edition of his friend Bodmer's "Noachide," which was to be embellished
with engravings. B. Rhode, of Berlin, was employed to make the designs
for the first four cantos; those for the remaining eight were furnished
by Fuseli, who, not only to raise his own credit, but to show his
gratitude to Bodmer, exerted his utmost ability upon that work.
Comparing these with his former drawings, it is evident that the St.
Michael, at Augsburgh, was the standard for the stupendous forms which
he introduced against a murky sky, in the terrible scenes of the
destruction of the primeval inhabitants of the earth. In these subjects
he succeeded beyond expectation. In the more lovely scenes of the poem
he was not equally happy; for, "instead of repose and cheerfulness, his
female figures had a degree of wantonness bordering somewhat upon

The popularity of the cause which induced Fuseli and his companions to
leave Zurich travelled before them, and they were caressed not only by
the friends and acquaintances of Sulzer, at Berlin, but by all those who
were enemies to oppression from whatever quarter it might spring. Among
these, was the then Baron Arnheim, who was so much pleased with the
recital of the transaction, and struck with the appearance and
conversation of Fuseli and Lavater, that he had a picture painted,
representing their first interview, which is still preserved by his

After remaining a short time at Berlin, Sulzer placed his young friends
with Professor Spalding, who resided at Barth, in Hither Pomerania.
Fuseli here pursued his classical studies with eagerness, and did not
neglect the fine arts, for we find that he drew the portrait of the
Professor's daughter, and also added to the decorations of her
summer-house by his pencil.

During a residence of six months at Barth, he gained the highest
estimation for talents with all those who knew him, and the esteem of
Spalding, but he left his friends there, being recalled to Berlin by

The cause of Fuseli's return to the capital was, that, at this time,
some of the literati of Germany and Switzerland had it in contemplation
to establish a regular channel of literary communication between those
countries and England. Fuseli's tutors and friends, Bodmer, Breitenger,
and Sulzer, felt a lively interest in this project, and took an active
part in carrying the design into execution. These philosophers thought,
that there was no person better qualified than Fuseli to conduct the
business. He was possessed of great mental and bodily activity; they had
the highest opinion of his talents; and they considered that his
extensive knowledge of modern languages would facilitate their project.
In making the proposal, Sulzer represented that it would be
inconvenient, if not dangerous, for him to go back, within a limited
time, to Zurich; for it was well known to the family of Grebel, that he
had taken the most active part in the affair against their relation: and
moreover that, although his companions might, under this circumstance,
from their powerful connexions, return at no distant period with
impunity, yet Fuseli, not so happily situated, would suffer from all the
effects of tyranny which power could exercise. This reasoning had its
due effect upon the mind of Fuseli; he however asked the opinion of his
father, which being in favour of his accepting the offer of Sulzer, made
him determine to visit England.

Sir Andrew Mitchell was at this time the British minister at the court
of Prussia: he was a friend of Sulzer's, who accordingly introduced
Fuseli to him. At his house he improved much in English conversation,
and he met several men of literary note, among whom was Dr. Armstrong,
who was then physician to the British forces in Germany; and with this
gentleman he became intimately acquainted.

Sir Andrew Mitchell was about to return to England; and being pleased
with the society of Fuseli, and wishing to give every facility to the
views of Sulzer, he liberally made the offer to the latter that his
young friend should accompany him to London, and promised that he would
give him his protection when there, and such introductions as should be
useful in effecting the object of his mission. This offer was not to be
refused: Fuseli, therefore, set out with Sir Andrew, and arrived in
England at the close of the year 1763.

Before he quitted Prussia, he took leave of Lavater, his early and
devoted friend, who, at parting, put into his hands a paper, which he
previously had framed and glazed, on which was written, in German, "Thue
den siebenden theil von dem was du thun kannst."[8] "Hang this in your
bed-chamber, my dear friend," said he; "look at it occasionally, and I
foresee the result."

Sir Andrew Mitchell fully performed his promise, for, on their arrival
in London, he was anxious to introduce his _protégé_ to men
distinguished either for rank, property, or talents: among these were
the late Lord Scarsdale and Mr. Coutts, the banker. Sir Andrew, knowing,
however, that booksellers of respectability and probity are the best
patrons of literary characters, strongly recommended him to Mr. Andrew
Millar and Mr. Joseph Johnson. The former was well known as an opulent
man, and an old and established publisher; the latter had but recently
begun business on his own account, but he had already acquired the
character which he retained during life,--that of a man of great
integrity, an encourager of literary men as far as his means extended,
and an excellent judge of their productions. With these persons Fuseli
kept up a friendly intercourse during their lives.

Fuseli took lodgings in the house of a Mrs. Green, in Cranbourn Street,
then called Cranbourn Alley. He lived here from prudential
motives,--those of economy, as well as being near to the house of a
gentleman (Mr. Coutts) to whom he had been introduced, who resided at
this time in St. Martin's Lane. No sooner was he fixed in this place,
than he wrote to his father, to give him an account of his voyage and
journey from Berlin to London, and of the prospects which appeared to be
open to him. Stranger as he was in the great metropolis of England,
separated from his family, and nearly unknown to any of its inhabitants,
his sensitive feelings were aroused, and in a gloomy state of mind he
sallied forth, with the letter in his hand, in search of a post-office.

At this period there was much greater brutality of demeanour exercised
by the lower orders of the English towards foreigners than there is at
present. Meeting with a vulgar fellow, Fuseli inquired his way to the
post-office, in a broad German pronunciation: this produced only a
horse-laugh from the man. The forlorn situation in which he was placed
burst on his mind;--he stamped with his foot, while tears trickled down
his cheeks. A gentleman who saw the transaction, and felt for Fuseli,
apologised for the rudeness which he had received, explained its cause,
and told him that, as a foreigner, he must expect to be so treated by
the lower orders of the people: after this he shewed him where he might
deposit his letter. This kindness from a stranger, in some degree,
restored tranquillity to his agonised feelings.

Finding that his name was difficult of pronunciation to an Englishman,
he shortly after altered the arrangement of the letters, and signed

He kept up a constant correspondence with Bodmer and Sulzer. This was
not, however, conducted in those terms of respectful diffidence in which
a pupil generally addresses his tutors; but with that manly independence
of spirit which he inherited from his father, and with that originality
of thought so peculiar to himself; which, although he frequently
differed in opinion with them, and expressed his notions with asperity,
was somewhat pleasing to these eminent men, particularly to Bodmer,
whose constant advice to his pupils was, "Think and act for yourselves."

The independent spirit of Fuseli would not allow him to be under the
pecuniary obligations which his friends offered; he therefore laboured
hard, and fortunately got ample employment from the booksellers, in
translating works from the French, Italian, and German languages into
English; and some popular works from the English into German,--among
others the letters of Lady Mary Wortley Montague.

In 1765, he published (with his name affixed) a translation of the Abbé
Winkelmann's "Reflections on the Painting and Sculpture of the Greeks,"
which was dedicated to his friend and patron, Lord Scarsdale. The
dedication is dated the 10th April, 1765. Much to the credit of Mr.
Millar, he took every opportunity of forwarding the sale of this work,
and gave Fuseli the whole proceeds, after deducting only the expenses of
paper and printing.

At this time he visited very frequently Smollet, and also Falconer, the
author of "the Shipwreck," and other works. The latter then was allowed
to occupy apartments in old Somerset House, and Fuseli always
represented him as a man of mild and inoffensive manners, although far
from being happy, in consequence of the pressure of his pecuniary
circumstances. For Doctor Smollet he made several drawings of scenes in
his novel of Peregrine Pickle, which were engraved and published in an
early edition of that well-known work. This edition is now very scarce.

Mr. Cadell having, in the year 1766, succeeded to the business of Mr.
Millar, as a bookseller and publisher, he also kept up the connexion
with Fuseli, and gave him constant employment.

A taste for the fine arts had been recently awakened in England, and
some of the principal painters, sculptors, and architects, had formed
themselves into a society for promoting them; from which circumstance,
high expectations were raised of the encouragement likely to be afforded
to artists by the public. Fuseli was stimulated by these to fresh
exertions of his pencil, and all his leisure hours were devoted to
drawing or etching historical subjects.

About this period he became acquainted with two artists his countrymen,
Mr. Moser, who on the establishment of the Royal Academy was appointed
Keeper, and Mr. Kauffman, chiefly known, at present, as the father of
the more celebrated Angelica Kauffman, who, considered as a female
artist, even now ranks high as an historical painter.

With Miss Kauffman, it appears, Fuseli was much enamoured; and although
he did not at any time hold her professional talents in high esteem,
yet he always spoke of her in terms of regard, and considered her as a
handsome, lively, and engaging woman.

The youth, fine manly countenance and conversational talents of Fuseli
made a deep impression upon most female hearts and minds: hence, Miss
Mary Moser (now better known as Mrs. Lloyd), the daughter of Mr. Moser,
who was in almost the daily habit of seeing and conversing with him,
also experienced their influence; and she flattered herself that the
feelings which she had were mutual.

If Fuseli ever had any affection for this lady while he was in England,
it was soon dissipated by change of scene and the pleasures which he
pursued when in Italy. The two following letters, which are extracted
from Mr. J. T. Smith's Life of Nollekens, tend to show the disposition
of both parties towards each other.

     "If you have not forgotten at Rome those friends whom you
     remembered at Florence, write to me from that nursery of arts and
     raree-show of the world, which flourishes in ruins: tell me of
     pictures, palaces, people, lakes, woods, and rivers; say if Old
     Tiber droops with age, or whether his waters flow as clear, his
     rushes grow as green, and his swans look as white, as those of
     Father Thames; or write me your own thoughts and reflections,
     which will be more acceptable than any description of any thing
     Greece and Rome have done these two thousand years.

     "I suppose there has been a million of letters sent to Italy with
     an account of our Exhibition, so it will be only telling you what
     you know already, to say that Reynolds was like himself in
     pictures which you have seen; Gainsborough beyond himself in a
     portrait of a gentleman in a Vandyke habit; and Zoffany superior
     to every body, in a portrait of Garrick in the character of Abel
     Drugger, with two other figures, Subtle and Face. Sir Joshua
     agreed to give a hundred guineas for the picture; Lord Carlisle
     half an hour after offered Reynolds twenty to part with it, which
     the Knight generously refused, resigned his intended purchase to
     the Lord, and the emolument to his brother artist. (He is a
     gentleman!) Angelica made a very great addition to the show; and
     Mr. Hamilton's picture of Brisëis parting from Achilles, was very
     much admired; the Brisëis in taste, _à l'antique_, elegant and
     simple. Coates, Dance, Wilson, &c. as usual. Mr. West had no
     large picture finished. You will doubtless imagine, that I
     derived my epistolary genius from my nurse; but when you are
     tired of my gossiping, you may burn the letter, so I shall go on.
     Some of the literati of the Royal Academy were very much
     disappointed, as they could not obtain diplomas; but the
     Secretary, who is above trifles, has since made a very flattering
     compliment to the Academy in the Preface to his Travels: the
     Professor of History is comforted by the success of his "Deserted
     Village," which is a very pretty poem, and has lately put himself
     under the conduct of Mrs. Hornick and her fair daughters, and is
     gone to France; and Dr. Johnson sips his tea, and cares not for
     the vanity of the world. Sir Joshua, a few days ago, entertained
     the Council and Visitors with calipash and calipee, except poor
     Coates, who last week fell a sacrifice to the corroding power of
     soap-lees, which he hoped would have cured him of the stone: many
     a tear will drop on his grave, as he is not more lamented as an
     artist than a friend to the distressed. (_Ma poca polvere sono
     che nulla sente!_) My mamma declares that you are an insufferable
     creature, and that she speaks as good English as your mother did
     High-German. Mr. Meyer laughed aloud at your letter, and desired
     to be remembered. My father and his daughter long to know the
     progress you will make, particularly

                              Mary Moser,

     Who remains sincerely your friend, and believes you will exclaim
     or mutter to yourself, '_Why did she send this d----d nonsense to

     Henry Fuseli, Esq. à Roma.

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                  "Rome, April 27, 1771.


       "I am inexcusable. I know your letter by heart, and have never
     answered it; but I am often so very unhappy within, that I hold it
     matter of remorse to distress such a friend as Miss Moser with my
     own whimsical miseries;--they may be fancied evils, but to him who
     has fancy, real evils are unnecessary, though I have them too. All
     I can say is, that I am approaching the period which commonly
     decides a man's life with regard to fame or infamy; if I am
     distracted by the thought, those who have passed the Rubicon will
     excuse me, and you are amongst the number.

     "Mr. Runciman, who does me the favour to carry these lines, my
     friend, and, in my opinion, the best _Painter_ of _us_ in Rome, has
     desired me to introduce him to your family; but he wants no other
     introduction than his merit. I beg my warmest compliments to papa
     and mamma, and am unaltered,


        "Your most obliged servant and friend,


     "To Miss Moser,
     Craven Buildings, Drury Lane."

Mrs. Lloyd was a painter of flowers, which she grouped with taste, and
coloured with truth and brilliancy; in this department of the art she
experienced patronage from her late Majesty Queen Charlotte, who
employed her pencil not only on pictures, but also to decorate a room in
the palace at Frogmore. This lady always held the talents of Fuseli in
the highest respect. Being invited by the late Mr. Angerstein to view
the superb collection of pictures in his house in Pall Mall, then
belonging to him, but subsequently sold by his heirs to the Nation, she
left him by expressing her gratitude for the treat which his kindness
had afforded her, but she added, "In my opinion, Sir, your finest
pictures are on the staircase," alluding to those which he purchased of
Fuseli, and which had formed a part of the Milton Gallery.

At this time, Garrick was in the height of his reputation; and as Fuseli
considered the theatre the best school for a foreigner to acquire the
pronunciation of the English language, and Garrick's performance an
excellent imitation of the passions, which would give him a lesson
essential to historical designs; he never missed the opportunity of
seeing him act, and he was generally to be found in the front row of the
pit: to obtain which, he often used much personal exertion, and put
himself in situations of hazard and inconvenience. And he has often
dwelt with delight upon the performances of the man who represented so
well the stormy passions of Richard, or the easy libertinism of Ranger;
and then could descend to the credulous Abel Drugger, and, in the
character of the silly tobacconist, so alter the expression of his
countenance as scarcely to be recognised as the person who had
delineated the higher character in the histrionic art. As a proof of the
strong impression which Garrick's acting made at this period upon
Fuseli, there are now in the possession of the Countess of Guilford, two
drawings, which he presented to the late Alderman Cadell; the one
representing Garrick and Mrs. Pritchard as Macbeth and Lady Macbeth,
from the passage,

        "I have done the deed;"

the other, Garrick as Richard the Third, making love to Lady Anne, over
the corse of her father-in-law, Henry the Sixth. These, according to an
inscription on the second, were made in London, in 1766. And although
they have the faults of most of his early productions, yet they are
drawn with characteristic truth and spirit.

At the end of the year (1766) an advantageous offer was made to Fuseli,
to undertake the situation of travelling tutor to Viscount Chewton, the
eldest son of Earl Waldegrave, which, after consulting Professor Sulzer,
he accepted. For this charge, it was considered, his extensive knowledge
of languages and eminent literary talents fully qualified him. His
lordship was young, and, when in France, showed an impatience of control
common to a youth of his age and rank in life, the latter of which he
thought should exempt him from the authority and constraint which his
tutor considered it his duty to exert. This disposition, on the part of
the pupil, naturally excited the irritable feelings of Fuseli, and on a
second refusal to obey, a severe blow was given. Considering that, after
this, his services would be of no avail to a youth by whom they were not
properly appreciated, he, to use his own words, "determining to be a
bear-leader no longer," wrote in nearly those terms to Earl Waldegrave,
and returned to England. He left, however, some written instructions
with Lord Chewton, showing how he might profit by travelling. On his
return to this country, Earl Waldegrave, so far from condemning (as
Fuseli expected) his conduct, told him that he had acted with a proper
degree of spirit; but Fuseli's family, and most of his friends, blamed
him in the strongest terms for his impetuosity, as they considered that
a want of forbearance on his part had ruined those prospects in life
which naturally would arise from forming a connexion with a family of
such consequence as that of Earl Waldegrave. To Bodmer he explained all
the circumstances of the case, with the state of his feelings; and his
venerable tutor wrote him a letter of consolation. In reply to this,
Fuseli spoke in florid terms of the agonies which he had felt while
residing in that noble family, when he considered himself obliged to say
Yes, when No "stuck in the throat;"--and thus showed, that he was not
framed to live with courtiers. In after-life he used to remark jocosely
to his friends, "The noble family of Waldegrave took me for a
bear-leader, but they found me the bear."

On Fuseli's return to England, in 1767, there was every prospect that
the society which had been formed for the promotion of the fine arts
would receive royal protection and patronage, and become a chartered
body.[9] And it was then the general opinion, that great public
encouragement would be given to artists. This still increased his wish
to become a painter. He sought for and obtained an introduction to Mr.
(afterwards Sir Joshua) Reynolds, to whom he showed a portfolio of
drawings, and some small etchings, which he had recently made from
subjects in the Bible, and an etching on a large scale from
Plutarch,--"Dion seeing a female spectre sweep his hall." Sir Joshua,
who was much struck with the style, grandeur, and original conception of
his works, asked him how long he had been from Italy? Fuseli answered,
"he had never seen that favoured country;" at which the former expressed
much surprise; and, to mark how highly he estimated his talents,
requested permission to have some of the drawings copied for himself.
This was readily granted, and he was induced, by the solicitations of
Fuseli, to accept some of the etchings. The interview ended by Reynolds
assuring him, that "were he at his age, and endowed with the ability of
producing such works, if any one were to offer him an estate of a
thousand pounds a-year, on condition of being any thing but a painter,
he would, without the least hesitation, reject the offer."

Having received such encouragement and flattering encomiums from the
greatest painter of the age, Fuseli directed nearly the whole of his
attention to drawing; and at the recommendation of Reynolds, afterwards
tried oil colours. The first picture he produced was "Joseph
interpreting the dreams of the butler and baker of Pharaoh." On showing
this to Reynolds, he encouraged him to proceed, remarking, "that he
might, if he would, be a colourist as well as a draughtsman." This
picture, now in the possession of the Countess of Guilford, fully
justifies the opinion of Sir Joshua, as it is remarkably well coloured,
and, as a first attempt in oil colours, may be considered a surprising

From the time of Fuseli's first arrival in England, he had been a
constant visitor at Mr. Johnson's house, and, in common with all those
who were acquainted with him, was a great admirer of his steady, upright
character. In the summer of 1767, he was prevailed upon to accompany him
to Liverpool, which was Johnson's native town. From this, and subsequent
visits, Fuseli became acquainted with men who, in after-life, were the
greatest patrons of his pencil.

The attention of the public was at this time much engaged by the
constant attacks made by Hume and Voltaire on the works of Rousseau.
Fuseli advocated the cause of his countryman, and published anonymously,
during the year 1767, a thin duodecimo volume, entitled "Remarks on the
Writings and Conduct of J. J. Rousseau." But he never wished it to be
considered that he was the author of this work. To speak of it as a
literary production, it abounds with wit and sarcasm; and although, in
style, it cannot be considered strictly English, yet there is novelty in
the remarks, and great power of language throughout the book. It also
shows him to be well read in the works of Rousseau, whom at this time he
idolized, and to be perfectly acquainted with the nature of the disputes
in all their bearings. Perhaps the reasons for not wishing it to be
considered a work of his, although he never denied it, were, that there
are in several instances coarseness of language and indelicacies of
expression which disfigure the pages of the book, and that in more
advanced life the high opinion which he had formed of Rousseau, was in a
degree abated. Fuseli gave the design for the frontispiece, which
represents in the foreground, Voltaire booted and spurred, riding upon
man, who is crawling upon the earth: in the back of the picture, Justice
and Liberty are gibbeted. Rousseau is witnessing Voltaire's pranks, and
by his attitude seems to threaten disclosure. This work is rarely to be
met with, as the greater part of the impression was destroyed shortly
after it was printed, by an accidental fire which took place in Mr.
Johnson's house, who then resided in Paternoster Row.


     Fuseli leaves England for Italy in the society of Dr.
     Armstrong.--They quarrel, and separate at Genoa.--Fuseli arrives at
     Rome (1770).--His principle of study there.--He suffers through a
     fever, and repairs to Venice for his health.--Visits Naples.--Quits
     Rome (1778) for Switzerland.--Letter to Mr. Northcote.--Fuseli
     renews his classical studies.--Visits his family at
     Zurich.--Engages in an unsuccessful love-affair.--Arrives again in

Fuseli had now determined to relinquish the pen for the pencil, and to
devote his life to painting; his wishes were therefore directed to Rome,
the seat of the fine arts.

Having at Mr. Coutts' table renewed the intimacy with Dr. Armstrong,
which formerly subsisted at Berlin, and as the Doctor considered it
necessary to pass the winter in the milder climate of Italy, to relieve
a catarrhal complaint, under which he was then labouring, Fuseli was
tempted to accompany him thither, and they left London the end of
November 1769, with the intention of going to Leghorn by sea.

Their voyage, from adverse winds and tempestuous weather, was long and
tedious; the monotony of a life at sea, and the qualms which generally
affect landsmen in such a situation, were not fitted to allay the
naturally irritable tempers of Armstrong and his companion: they at
first became dissatisfied with their situation, then with each other,
and finally quarrelled about the pronunciation of an English word;
Fuseli pertinaciously maintaining that a Swiss had as great a right to
judge of the correct pronunciation of English as a Scotsman.

After a tedious passage of twenty-eight days, the ship was driven by a
gale of wind into Genoa, where Fuseli and Armstrong parted in a mood far
from friendly. Armstrong took the direct road to Florence, where he
intended to reside. Fuseli went first to Milan; here he remained a few
days to examine the works of art, and then passed a short time at
Florence, on his way to Rome, where he arrived on the 9th of February

Shortly after he had taken up his abode in "the eternal city," he again
changed the spelling of his name; this he did to accommodate it to the
Italian pronunciation; and always afterwards signed, "_Fuseli_."

His views now were to see the stores of art, which had been collected
in, or executed at Rome; and subsequently, to examine with care each
particular specimen, for his future improvement. He did not spend his
time in measuring the proportion of the several antique statues, or in
copying the fresco or oil pictures of the great masters of modern times;
but in studying intensely the principles upon which they had worked, in
order to infuse some of their power and spirit into his own productions.

Although he paid minute attention to the works of Raphael, Correggio,
Titian, and the other great men whom Italy has produced, yet, he
considered the antique and Michael Angelo as his masters, and formed his
style upon their principles.

To augment his knowledge, he examined living models, sometimes attended
the schools of anatomy, and used the dissecting knife, in order to trace
the origin and insertion of the outer layer of muscles of the human
body. But he was always averse to dissecting, believing the current
story, that his idol, Michael Angelo, had nearly lost his life from a
fever got by an anatomical examination of a human body in a state of

By such well-directed studies, and by great exertion, his improvement
was rapid, and he soon acquired a boldness and grandeur of drawing
which surprised the Italian artists, one of whom was so struck with some
of his compositions, that, in reference to their invention, he
immediately exclaimed, "Michael Angelo has come again!"

In the year 1772, his progress was impeded by a fever, which enfeebled
his nervous system. This illness he attributed to the heat of the
climate, and to having, in a degree, departed from those regular and
very abstemious habits which marked the early part of his life. The
fever changed his hair, originally of a flaxen, to a perfectly white
colour, and caused a tremulous motion in the hands, which never left
him, but increased with age. He has more than once told me, that this
indisposition drove his mind into that state, which Armstrong so
forcibly describes in "The Art of preserving Health:"

                "Such a dastardly despair
        Unmans your soul, as madd'ning Pentheus felt,
        When, baited round Cithæron's cruel sides,
        He saw two suns, and double Thebes ascend."

Being advised to change the air and scene, he went to Venice, and
remained there until he had thoroughly examined the works of art in that
city, and regained sufficient strength of body and mind to resume with
effect his studies and labours at Rome.

Although he got much employment from those Englishmen who resided at or
visited Rome, yet he saved no money, being always negligent of pecuniary
concerns. His friends in England were unacquainted with his progress in
the arts until the year 1774, when he sent a drawing to the exhibition
of the Royal Academy, the subject of which was, "The death of Cardinal
Beaufort," from Shakspeare.

In 1775, he visited Naples, studied the works of art in that city, and
examined the excavations at Herculaneum and Pompeii.

In 1777, he sent from Rome to England a picture in oil, representing a
scene in "Macbeth," for the annual exhibition at the Royal Academy.

In 1778, he took a farewell of Rome, and left his friends there with
regret. As a nation, however, he was not very partial to the modern
Italians, who, he said, "were lively and entertaining, but there was the
slight drawback of never feeling one's life safe in their presence."
This he exemplified by the following fact: "When I was one day preparing
to draw from a woman selected by artists for a model, on account of her
fine figure, on altering the arrangement of her dress, I saw the hilt
of a dagger in her bosom, and on inquiring, with astonishment, what it
meant, she drew it, and quaintly answered, 'Contro gl' impertinenti.'"

On his way to Switzerland, he stayed some time at Bologna, Parma,
Mantua, Milan, Lugano, and Belanzona. At Bologna, he remained with Sir
Robert Smyth, Bart. who, while at Rome, had given him considerable
employment. Thence he proceeded to Lugano, from which place he wrote the
following letter to Mr. Northcote, who was then studying at Rome:--

                                               "Lugano, 29th Sept. 1778.


       "You may, and must think it unfriendly for me to have advanced to
     the borders of Switzerland without writing to you; but what would
     have been friendly to you was death to me; and self-preservation is
     the first duty of the eighteenth century. Madness lies on the road
     I must think over to come at you; and at the sound of Rome, my
     heart swells, my eye kindles, and frenzy seizes me.

     "I have lived at Bologna as agreeably and as happily as my
     lacerated heart and boiling brains would let me, with Sir Robert
     and his lady.

     "You, whose eye diverges not, will make the use of Bologna I have
     not, or at least but very imperfectly: much more than what is
     thought of, may be made of that place. What I admire, and what I
     frequented most,--what indeed suited my melancholy best, are the
     cloisters of St. Michael, in Bosco, near the city. The fragments of
     painting there are by Ludovico Caracci and his school, and, in my
     opinion, superior for realities to the Farnese gallery. There is a
     figure[10] in one of the pictures which my soul has set her seal
     upon: 'tis to no purpose to tell you what figure--if you find it
     not, or doubt, it was not painted for you; and if you find it, you
     will be obliged for the pleasure to yourself only. Still in that,
     and all I have seen since my departure, Hesiod's paradox gains more
     and more ground with me,--'that the half is fuller than the whole,'
     or, if you will, full of the whole.

     "At Mantua I have had emotions which I had not apprehended from
     Julio Romano, at Rome: but the post going, I have not time to enter
     into so contradictory a character.

     "The enclosed[11] I shall re-demand at your hands in England. _Take
     need of the mice._ Of Rome, you may tell me what you please. Those
     I should wish to know something about, you know not. I have written
     to Navina in the Bolognese palace; pray give her my best
     compliments _e dille che quando sarò in Inghilterra troverò qualche
     opportunità di provare, prima del mio ritorno in Italia, che non
     sono capace di scordarmi dell' amicizia sua_. To Mr. Hoare I shall
     write next post.

                         "Love me,


     "P.S. I have been here (at Lugano) these eight days, at the house
     of an old schoolfellow of mine, who is governor of this place.

     "À Mons. James Northcote, à Roma."

In Italy he became acquainted with David and other artists of note, as
well as with several Englishmen distinguished either for rank or
talents. With the Hon. George Pitt (the late Lord Rivers,) he there
became very intimate, and he was flattered by his friendship and
patronage, which he enjoyed during the whole of his life.

The necessary employment of his time in painting, and studying works of
art, during several of the first years of his residence in Italy, was
such as to leave little opportunity for other occupations, and he found,
to his regret, that he had either lost a great deal of his knowledge of
the Greek language, or, what is more probable, that he had never
possessed it in that degree which he flattered himself he had attained
while at college. Determined, however, to regain or acquire this, he now
studied sedulously the Grecian poets, made copious extracts of fine
passages from their works, and thus gained, in the opinion of the best
judges, what may be called, at least, a competent knowledge of that

Although Fuseli's professional talents were much admired, and highly
appreciated in Italy, yet, as he did not court it, he never obtained a
diploma, or other honour, from any academy in those cities in which he
resided, or occasionally visited. Indeed, he refused all overtures which
were made to him on this subject; for he considered that the institution
of academies "were symptoms of art in distress."

Having arrived at Zurich the end of October 1778, after an absence of
sixteen years, his father, who had taken great pains, in early life, to
check his love for the fine arts, and to prevent his being an artist,
was now gratified by witnessing the great proficiency he had attained:
and he knew enough of the state of the arts in Europe to feel that his
son did then rank, or would shortly, among the first painters of his
time. During a residence of six months with his family, he painted some
pictures; among them "The Confederacy of the Founders of Helvetian
liberty," which he presented to, and which is still preserved in, the
Senate-house at Zurich. Lavater, however, did not consider this picture
a good specimen of his friend's powers, particularly as to colouring,
and expressed his distaste to this in such strong terms, as were by no
means gratifying to him.

Fuseli was always very susceptible of the passion of love. But when at
Zurich, in the year 1779, his affections were gained in an extraordinary
degree by the attractions of a young lady, then in her twenty-first
year, the daughter of a magistrate, who resided in the "Rech" house of
Zurich. This lady, whom he calls in his correspondence, "Nanna," had a
fine person, lively wit, and great accomplishments, and among the
latter, her proficiency in music was considerable, which is celebrated
in a poem by Göethe. It appears that she was not indifferent to him;
but her father, who was opulent, considered that her marriage with a man
dependent upon the caprice of the public for his support, was not a
suitable connexion for his daughter, and he therefore withheld his
consent to their union. This disappointment drove Fuseli from Zurich
earlier than he intended; and it would appear by his letters, that his
mind, even after his arrival in England, was almost in a state of
phrenzy. He, some time after, however, received the intelligence that
"Nanna" had given her hand to a gentleman who had long solicited it,
Mons. le Consieller Schinz, the son of a brother of Madame Lavater; and
thus his hopes in that quarter terminated.

In April 1779, he took a last farewell of his native country and family,
and returned to settle again in London. On his way to England, in order
to improve his knowledge in art, he travelled leisurely through France,
Holland, and the Low Countries, examining in his route whatever was
worthy of notice.


     Fuseli settles in London.--Interview with Mr.
     Coutts.--Reconciliation with Dr. Armstrong.--Professor
     Bonnycastle.--Society at Mr. Lock's.--Mr. James Carrick Moore and
     Admiral Sir Graham Moore.--Sir Joshua Reynolds.--Mr.
     West.--Anecdote of Fuseli and West.--The popular picture of "The
     Nightmare."--Death of Fuseli's Father.--Visit to Mr. Roscoe at
     Liverpool.--Fuseli's singular engagement to revise Cowper's
     Iliad.--Three Letters from Mr. Cowper.--Anecdotes of Fuseli and Dr.

When Fuseli arrived in London, he took apartments in the house of an
artist, Mr. Cartwright, whom he had known at Rome. This Gentleman then
resided at No. 100, St. Martin's Lane, and practised chiefly as a
portrait painter; he sometimes attempted historical subjects, in which,
however, he did not excel. The kindness and simplicity of Mr.
Cartwright's disposition and manners were appreciated by Fuseli, who
afforded him many useful hints, and sometimes assistance, in his
professional pursuits. When we look at the historical pictures which he
painted, it is easy to perceive what figures owe their production to
Fuseli's mind; but it must be confessed that they appear to hang to the

        "Like a giant's robe upon a dwarfish thief."

When settled in London, his first object was to renew an acquaintance
with those whose friendship he had cultivated, and, as he considered,
secured before he went to Italy. On calling, for this purpose, upon Mr.
Coutts, that gentleman frankly said, he was not pleased with him for the
quarrel which he had with Dr. Armstrong while on board ship. Fuseli
attempted to remove the impression which had been made on Mr. Coutts'
mind; but that gentleman replied, "I consider that the age and talents
of the Doctor should have commanded a sufficient degree of respect from
you, to have prevented any rudeness on your part; and I am very sorry to
tell you, that he is now labouring under a severe, and what is
considered an incurable malady." This account disarmed Fuseli, who had
always entertained a high opinion of the talents of Armstrong, and
considered his poems, particularly that on "The Art of preserving
Health," productions of great merit. He therefore determined to
suppress every hostile feeling, and to call upon the Doctor without

On sending up his name, he was admitted almost immediately into
Armstrong's bed-chamber. The poet, however, could not restrain his
naturally sarcastic humour, and the following dialogue took
place:--Armstrong: "So, you have come back?" Fuseli: "Yes; I have come
home." Armstrong: "Come, you mean, to London! 'the needy villain's
gen'ral home;' however," (putting out his hand) "I thank you for this
visit: you find me in bad plight; but I am glad to see you again." After
this salutation they conversed amicably; but the Doctor did not long
survive the interview.[12]

About this time, the intimacy between Fuseli and Professor Bonnycastle
commenced, which was kept up during their lives. The introduction took
place at Mr. Johnson's house. Fuseli's voice being heard as he ascended
the staircase, Mr. Johnson said to Bonnycastle, "I will now introduce
you to a most ingenious foreigner, whom I think you will like; but, if
you wish to enjoy his conversation, you will not attempt to stop the
torrent of his words by contradicting him."

The genius and acquirements of Fuseli soon attracted the notice of men
who were distinguished for learning and talents, and more especially
those who possessed also a taste for the fine arts; among whom may be
particularly noticed Lord Orford, and Mr. Lock of Norbury Park, with
whom, and with his eldest son in particular, he kept up a constant
friendly intercourse. Fuseli not only regarded Mr. William Lock junior,
for the amiability of his character and his extensive knowledge, but
also for his taste and critical judgment in the fine arts, as well as
for the power which he displays in historical painting, whenever he
condescends to employ his pencil thereon. In this particular, he
considered that Mr. W. Lock ranked as high, or higher, than any historic
painter in England. The society at the house of Mr. Lock was well chosen
and very select; and here he occasionally met Sir Joshua Reynolds and
Dr. Moore, author of Zeluco and other popular works. Dr. Moore being
highly entertained with his conversation, took an early opportunity of
introducing him to his family, with the whole of whom Fuseli kept up the
most uninterrupted intercourse and friendship during life.

I may, I hope, here be allowed to digress by stating, that after the
marriage of Mr. James Carrick Moore and that of his brother, Admiral
Sir Graham Moore, Fuseli in a manner became domesticated in their
respective families. In their houses he was always a welcome and
highly-favoured guest: there he was unrestrained; and his wit and gibes
were allowed to sally forth sometimes upon contemporary artists, and
often upon popular men, or passing events. The freedom which he enjoyed
in their society, encouraged him to give utterance to the wild and
unpremeditated flights of his fancy. It was with these favoured friends
that he displayed the depth of his learning, his fine taste in poetry,
and critical judgment in painting. By their indulgence, his intemperate
expressions usually passed unnoticed, and the ebullitions of a naturally
impatient temper were soothed.

Gratitude makes me acknowledge the uniform kindness which I have also
experienced from Mr. Carrick Moore and his family; and that I am
indebted to them for much valuable assistance in compiling the
particulars of Fuseli's life, and for some of those characteristic
anecdotes and reminiscences which will be found in the sequel. Fuseli
has more than once said to me, after we had partaken of their
hospitality, "Moore's is the most pleasant house to visit that I know,"
and coupled the observation with such encomiums on the sound sense,
knowledge, and accomplishments of that family, (known certainly to those
who have the pleasure of their acquaintance,) which, if repeated in this
place, might be considered by some as flattery on my part.

When Fuseli returned to England, Sir Joshua Reynolds was in the zenith
of popularity as a portrait painter; but his powers in historical
painting were not then sufficiently appreciated: hence, some of his best
works remained on his hands until his death; for example, the "Dido,"
the series of designs for the painted window at Oxford, the "Cymon and
Iphigenia," and several others. West, as an historical painter, was
held, at this time, in equal, if not in higher esteem by the public,
than Sir Joshua. Fuseli was astonished at this, and accordingly was not
backward in expressing his opinion thereon, both in writing and in
conversation, for he was at no time of his life an admirer of West. He
however always gave to him the merit of much skill in composing;--of a
thorough knowledge of the art which he professed, and a perfect mastery
over the materials which he employed; and he spoke in terms of qualified
praise of his pictures of "Regulus,"--"Death of Wolfe," and "Paul
shaking the viper from his hand."--But he considered that West was
wanting in those qualities of the art which give value to historical
design,--invention, and boldness of drawing; and being determined to
show what he could do in these particulars, in 1780, Fuseli exhibited at
the Royal Academy the following pictures:

"Ezzlin musing over Meduna, slain by him, for disloyalty, during his
absence in the Holy Land."--"Satan starting from the touch of Ithuriel's
lance."--"Jason appearing before Pelias, to whom the sight of a man with
a single sandal had been predicted fatal."

These paintings raised him, in the opinion of the best judges, to the
highest rank in the art; and the President, Sir Joshua Reynolds,
considered that they possessed so much merit, that he had them placed in
prominent situations in the Exhibition.

The following anecdote has been told of Fuseli, with regard to West,
which is certainly characteristic of the man, and if true, shows his
feelings towards that painter in a very pointed manner. At the election
of West to the chair of the Royal Academy, in the year 1803, after a
secession of twelve months, the votes for his return to the office of
President were unanimous, except one, which was in favour of Mrs. Lloyd,
then an academician. Fuseli was taxed by some of the members with
having given this vote, and answered, "Well, suppose I did, she is
eligible to the office--and is not one old woman as good as another?"

The next year, 1781, he painted his most popular picture, "The
Nightmare," which was considered to be unequalled for originality of
conception. The drawing first made, which is now in my possession, had
the words, "St. Martin's Lane, March 1781," written by him in the
margin; it is a masterly performance, chiefly in black chalk, and is
composed without the head of the mare. This subsequent thought is added
in the picture, which, when placed in the annual exhibition of 1782,
excited, as it naturally would, an uncommon degree of interest. This
picture was sold by him for twenty guineas; it was subsequently engraved
by Burke, and published by J. R. Smith; and so popular was the subject,
that the publisher acknowledged to have gained upwards of five hundred
pounds by the sale of the prints, although vended at a small price.

The conception of the subject of "The Nightmare" has been thus
beautifully described by one of the most popular poets of his time,--Dr.

          "So on his NIGHTMARE, through the evening fog,
        Flits the squab fiend o'er fen, and lake, and bog;
        Seeks some love-wilder'd maid with sleep oppress'd
        Alights, and grinning sits upon her breast--
          Such as of late, amid the murky sky,
        Was marked by FUSELI'S poetic eye;
        Whose daring tints, with Shakspeare's happiest grace,
        Gave to the airy phantom form and place--
        Back o'er her pillow sinks her blushing head,
        Her snow-white limbs hang helpless from the bed;
        While with quick sighs and suffocative breath,
        Her interrupted heart-pulse swims in death."

Fuseli painted at different periods several pictures of "the Nightmare:"
but in each of them there are variations from, or additions to, the
first drawing of that subject. His fame was about this time further
raised by two pictures, "The Weird Sisters," and "Lady Macbeth walking
in her sleep," of which excellent prints in mezzotinto were made; these
also became popular, and tended to advance the merit of the artist in
the opinion of connoisseurs.

In 1781, he received intelligence of the death of his father,[13] who
was esteemed both as a writer and a painter, and had not only acquired a
name for his talents, but for the assistance which he was at all times
ready to give in furtherance of literature and the fine arts. At his
decease, he had arrived at the advanced age of seventy-five years.
Fuseli this year painted a picture, representing an interview, which
took place in 1778, between him and his aged tutor, Bodmer. In
this, Fuseli is sitting in an attitude of great attention, and Bodmer
apparently speaking: the subject of the conversation may be supposed to
relate to philosophy or literature, from the bust of a sage which is
placed upon the mantel of the room. This picture he sent to Zurich, as a
present to Solomon Escher, a friend of his, and a near relation of
Bodmer. About this period, in paying a visit to Lord Orford, with whom
he kept up the most familiar intercourse, he had the misfortune to fall
from a horse, and, among other injuries which he received dislocated his

In 1785, he again visited Liverpool, having received an invitation from
Mr. Roscoe,[14] whose acquaintance he had made shortly after his return
to this country from Italy. This visit cemented that friendship which
remained unabated during his life. Of the virtues and talents of this
friend, Fuseli always spoke in the highest terms of praise. Mr. Roscoe,
who saw Fuseli's works with the eye of a poet, as well as with that of a
connoisseur, patronized him, not only by giving him commissions at
different times to paint ten pictures for himself, but by recommending
his works to his numerous friends.

In January 1786, Cowper issued a prospectus for publishing a translation
of Homer into English blank verse. To give the public some notion of his
powers, and ability to execute the task, he sent to Mr. Johnson, his
publisher, a manuscript translation of 107 lines of the 24th book of the
Iliad, being part of the interview of Priam and Achilles, and also
proposals for publishing the work by subscription. This specimen was
shown to Fuseli, who, without hesitation, made several alterations in
it, which appeared to Mr. Johnson to be so judicious, that he sent it
back to Cowper for his opinion before the manuscript was printed,
without, however, mentioning the name of the critic. Cowper immediately
saw that these alterations were improvements, and had been made by a
scholar and a man of taste; and expressed his readiness, not only to
adopt them, but to attend to any suggestions, if the same person would
overlook his translation. Fuseli readily agreed to do this, without the
notion of any reward; and he accordingly made observations on the
translation of the Iliad, and alterations therein, before the several
books passed through the press.

Hayley, in his Life of Cowper, and the latter in the preface to his
translation of Homer, and also in his published letters, have given many
testimonials of their opinion of Fuseli, not only as a Greek scholar,
but for his taste and judgment in English poetry. The former (Hayley)
remarks, "It is a singular spectacle for those who love to contemplate
the progress of social arts, to observe a foreigner, who has raised
himself to high rank in the arduous profession of a painter, correcting,
and thanked for correcting, the chief poet of England, in his English
version of Homer."

The following letters, hitherto unpublished, which I have obtained
through the kindness of Mr. Hunter, one of the executors to the will of
the late Mr. Johnson, are additional evidence how highly Cowper
estimated the assistance which he received from Fuseli.

                                                "Olney, March 5th, 1786.


       "I ought sooner to have acknowledged the receipt of Mr. Fuseli's
     strictures; and, had I been at leisure to consult my own
     gratification, should have done so. The work will be greatly
     indebted to him; and I cannot help adding, though I believe I said
     it before, that I account myself singularly happy in the advantages
     that I shall derive to my translation from his fine taste and
     accurate acquaintance with the original.

     "I much wish for an answer to my question concerning my
     subscribers' payments at Bristol. Have you a correspondent there
     who can negotiate it? Again I remind you, though perhaps
     unnecessarily, of the second volume for Richard Howard, Esq.

     "I have this day sent to Lady Hesketh the remaining half of book 2,
     and the whole of books 3, 4, and 5. From her they will pass to
     General Cowper, and from him, I suppose, to Mr. Fuseli, in a short
     time. In the interview which he had with that gentleman, he was
     highly pleased with him.

                              "I am, Sir,

                         "Your most humble servant,

                              "William Cowper."

     "Mr. Joseph Johnson."

                                                "Olney, March 8th, 1786.


       "You are very happy in being so intimately connected with Mr.
     Fuseli, a gentleman of such exquisite taste and learning; and I
     also account myself very happy, that by your means my work has
     found its way into the hands of a person in all respects so
     perfectly well qualified to revise it. I am only sorry, that my
     distance from town permits me not (at least for the present) the
     pleasure of an introduction to one to whom I am to be so much
     indebted. I very sincerely thank you for interesting yourself so
     much in my comfort, as to write to me principally with a view to
     inform me of his approbation. You may take my word for it, that I
     find your intelligence on that head a great and effectual
     encouragement. I have had some anxious thoughts upon the matter, as
     you may suppose, and they are guests I am always glad to dismiss
     when I can; and immediately after reading your letter, accordingly
     dismissed them.

     "Mr. Fuseli will assuredly find room for animadversion. There are
     some objectionable lines, and others that are improvable, of which
     I am myself aware. When I receive the manuscript again, I will give
     it a close examination, both that I may avail myself of Mr.
     Fuseli's remarks to the utmost, and give to the whole of it the
     best finishing that I can.[15]

       *       *       *       *       *

                              "I am, Sir,

                         "Your most humble servant,

                              "William Cowper."

     "Mr. Joseph Johnson."

                                                 "Olney, Sept. 2d, 1786.


       *       *       *       *       *

       "Present, Sir, if you please, my compliments to your friend Mr.
     Fuseli, and tell him, that I shall be obliged to him if, when he
     has finished the revisal of the 8th book, he will be so good as to
     send it to General Cowper's, in Charles Street, together with his
     strictures. Assure him, likewise, that I will endeavour, by the
     closest attention to all the peculiarities of my original, to save
     him as much trouble as I can hereafter. I now perfectly understand
     what it is that he requires in a translation of Homer; and being
     convinced of the justness of his demands, will attempt at least to
     conform to them. Some escapes will happen in so long a work, which
     he will know how to account for and to pardon.

     "I have been employed a considerable time in the correction of the
     first seven books, and have not yet begun the ninth; but I shall in
     a day or two, and will send it as soon as finished.

                              "I am, Sir,

                         "Your most humble servant,

                              "William Cowper."

     "Mr. Joseph Johnson."

Fuseli grew tired of the labour which he had imposed upon himself,
before the Iliad was finished; but yet he went through the task of
correcting the translation of that poem until its conclusion. The
following extract of a letter to Mr. Roscoe, dated 25th November, 1789,
shows his feelings upon the subject:--

    "You are not surely serious when you desire to have your remarks
    on Cowper's Iliad burnt; whatever they contain upon the specific
    turn of language is just; many observations are acute, most
    elegant: though, perhaps, I cannot agree to all; for instance, the
    word rendered murky is not that which, in other passages,
    expresses the negative transparency of water: it means, I believe,
    in the text, a misty appearance: this depended on a knowledge of
    the Greek.

    "I heartily wish with you, that Cowper had trusted to his own
    legs, instead of a pair of stilts, to lift him to fame."

When Cowper began the Odyssey, Fuseli pleaded, and, as will be shown,
justly pleaded, that his numerous avocations would not allow him time to
correct the translation; this the poet states, and regrets the
circumstance in his preface. He however saw parts of the poem as it was
passing through the press, and made some observations thereon: these are
given in notes, to which the initial letter F. is affixed.

It is a singular fact that Fuseli never saw Cowper, nor did he ever
write to him or receive a letter from him; all communications being
carried on either through General Cowper, the relation of the poet, or
Mr. Joseph Johnson.

The late Doctor Geddes frequently visited at Mr. Johnson's, and often
met Fuseli there; both, from their natural temperament, were impatient
of contradiction, and each had an opinion of his own powers, and
depreciated those of the other. It was only to meet in order to dispute,
and the ready wit of Fuseli usually raised the irritable temper of the
doctor, who, when provoked, would burst out of the room and walk once or
twice round St. Paul's Churchyard before he returned to the company; to
the great amusement of Fuseli. One day he indulged himself at Johnson's
table, to plague Geddes with uttering a string of truisms: Geddes at
length became impatient, and said, "I wonder that you, Mr. Fuseli, who
have so much ready wit, should be uttering dogmas by the hour together."
Fuseli immediately answered, "You, Doctor, to find fault with
dogmas,--you, who are the son of a dog--ma." The pause between the
syllables instantly raised a tumult in the doctor's mind, and he
replied, "Son of a b----h I suppose you mean;" and, as usual, left the
room to cool himself by his accustomed round.

Dr. Geddes had a great love for horticultural pursuits. Dilating one day
on the evils of fanaticism, Fuseli stopped him, by, "You, Doctor, to
speak against fanaticism, when you are a fanatic."--"In what?" asked
Geddes impatiently.--"In raising cucumbers," said the other.

When Cowper's translation of Homer appeared, Geddes, who was a great
admirer of Pope, was irritated beyond measure at the work, but chiefly
by the praises bestowed in the preface upon Fuseli; and he had not
sufficient prudence even to hide what he felt, but a detail of this will
be given best in the words of his intimate friend, admirer, and
biographer, the late Doctor I. Mason Good.

     "Pope was the idol of Geddes, and estimated by him as highly
     above Cowper, as Cowper was above his contemporaries: and he
     could not but look with a jealous eye upon any one who attempted
     to rival the poet of his heart. Geddes was disgusted with Cowper
     from the very first page, and in a fit of undue exasperation
     declared he would translate Homer himself, and show that it was
     possible to make as good versification, while he preserved not
     only all the epithets and phraseologies of the original, which
     Mr. Cowper has not done, but the very order itself. Yet what
     appears principally to have irritated him, was Mr. Cowper's
     declaration, towards the close of his preface, of acknowledgments
     'to the learned and ingenious Mr. Fuseli,' whom he styles in the
     same place 'the best critic in Homer I have ever met with.'

     "Accident had frequently thrown Dr. Geddes and Mr. Fuseli into
     the same company, and much learned dust had as frequently been
     excited between the two critical combatants, not at all times to
     the amusement of the rest of the respective parties. Whatever
     opinion Mr. Fuseli may have entertained of the powers of his
     antagonist, it is certain that Doctor Geddes was not very deeply
     impressed with those of Mr. Fuseli, and that he scarcely allowed
     him the merit to which he is actually entitled. When, therefore,
     he found in Mr. Cowper's preface, that instead of consulting the
     profound erudition and sterling authorities of Stephens, Clarke,
     Ernesti, and Velloison, he had turned to Mr. Fuseli as his only
     oracle, and had gloried in submitting to the whole of his
     corrections and emendations: to his disappointment at the
     inadequacy of the version, was added a contempt of the quarter to
     which he had fled for assistance.

     "Geddes resolved to translate Homer, and in the beginning of
     1792, published a translation of the first book as a specimen. In
     the preface he says, 'I beg leave to assure my readers that
     neither _Fuseli nor any other profound critic_ in Homer, has
     given me the smallest assistance; the whole merit or demerit of
     my version rests solely with myself.' The attempt failed, and he
     never succeeded beyond the first book."


     Subjects painted by Fuseli for Boydell's "Shakspeare Gallery."--His
     assistance towards the splendid Edition of "Lavater's
     Physiognomy."--His picture for Macklin's "Poets' Gallery."--His
     contributions to the Analytical Review.--His critique on Cowper's

In the year 1786, Mr. Alderman Boydell, at the suggestion of Mr. George
Nicol, began to form his splendid collection of modern historical
pictures, the subjects being from Shakspeare's plays, and which was
called "The Shakspeare Gallery." This liberal and well-timed speculation
gave great energy to this branch of the art, as well as employment to
many of our best artists and engravers, and among the former, to Fuseli,
who executed eight large and one small picture for the gallery. The
following were the subjects:

Prospero, Miranda, Caliban, and Ariel--from the Tempest. Titania in
raptures with Bottom, who wears the ass's head, attendant fairies, &c.
Titania awaking, discovers Oberon at her side; Puck is removing the
ass's head from Bottom--Midsummer Night's Dream. Henry the Vth with the
Conspirators--King Henry V. Lear dismissing Cordelia from his
Court--King Lear. Ghost of Hamlet's Father--Hamlet. Falstaff and
Doll--King Henry IV. 2d part. Macbeth meeting the Witches on the
Heath--Macbeth. Robin Goodfellow--Midsummer Night's Dream.--This gallery
gave the public an opportunity of judging of Fuseli's versatile powers.

The stately majesty of the ghost of Hamlet's father, contrasted with the
expressive energy of his son, and the sublimity brought about by the
light, shadow, and general tone, strike the mind with awe. In the
picture of Lear is admirably pourtrayed the stubborn rashness of the
father, the filial piety of the discarded daughter, and the wicked
determination of Regan and Goneril. The fairy scenes in the Midsummer
Night's Dream amuse the fancy, and show the vast inventive powers of the
painter: and Falstaff with Doll is exquisitely ludicrous.

The example set by Boydell was a stimulus to other speculations of a
similar nature, and within a few years appeared the Macklin and
Woodmason galleries; and it may be said with great truth, that Fuseli's
pictures were among the most striking, if not the best in either

The splendid edition of Lavater's physiognomy was announced this year
(1786) for publication. Fuseli wrote the preface, or, as he modestly
called it, the "advertisement;" corrected the translation by Hunter;
made several drawings to illustrate the work; and superintended the
execution of the engravings. Lavater had prepared many of his drawings,
illustrative of the system, on a folio size, wishing the treatise to be
brought out in that form; and it was his desire, that his lines should
be rather traced than imitated by the engraver. Fuseli entered into an
animated correspondence on this subject; gave him to understand, that
the quarto size best pleased the British public; and expressed his own
decided opinion against "ponderous folios." He at length succeeded in
getting Lavater's slow consent to the work appearing in quarto; but so
particular was the author as to a proper exemplification, that he made
his drawings anew to suit the quarto size.

In 1787, he painted a picture for Macklin's Poet's Gallery, "the Vision
of Prince Arthur."

In May 1788, the Analytical Review was commenced by Mr. Johnson, and he
entered into engagements with most of the authors whose works he
published, to write criticisms for it. Fuseli, of course, was among the
number; and he wrote, during the progress of that work, which continued
until December 1798, upwards of eighty articles, some of which were long
and laboured criticisms, while others were only brief notices of the
contents of the books. As his knowledge was general and extensive, so he
was employed in several departments of literature, and reviewed works on
the classics, history, the _belles lettres_, physiology, geography, and
the fine arts. Fuseli not only took an interest in his own criticisms in
this Review, but frequently defended those of others. When the
authenticity of the Parian Chronicle was doubted by the Rev. Joseph
Robertson, in a work which he published, it was reviewed and confuted by
the Rev. John Hewlett. Robertson replied to this very angrily; and on
Mr. Hewlett's being urged, in the hearing of Fuseli, not to let this
reply pass without observation, he immediately said, "Answer it! no, by
G----d, the subject is as dead as hell: a lion does not feed upon

The following criticisms on "Cowper's Homer," and "Roscoe's Lorenzo de'
Medici," will give some idea of his powers in this department of


     Translators of poetry may be arranged into two classes: those who,
     without invention, but an ardent ambition for its honours, with
     powers of embellishment, harmony of diction, and elegance of taste,
     attempt to graft their own scions on a solid stem; and those who,
     from real or imagined sympathy with the production of another,
     unable to perceive excellence through any other medium but that of
     their idol, renounce all individual consequence, swear to his
     words, and rank themselves under his banner. The first sacrifice
     their model to themselves and their age; the second sacrifice both
     to their darling original. Of both kinds of translation, the muses
     of this country have produced specimens: Mr. Pope ranks foremost in
     the former; whether that of Mr. Cowper claims the same eminence in
     the latter class, we are now to inquire.

     Though the ultimate end of poetry be to please, and the best
     include both instruction and pleasure at once, it will easily be
     perceived that the laws which are to rule two species of
     translation so different, cannot be the same. The laws which the
     first imposes, are of its own creation and choice; the laws of the
     second resemble somewhat those which a master prescribes to his
     servant;--they have little to gratify vanity, they are related to
     resignation,--they are fidelity and simplicity, with as much
     harmony and vivacity as is compatible with both; for the translator
     of Homer, indeed, the difficulty will not be--how much he shall
     sacrifice of these two last requisites, but how much he shall be
     able to obtain, or to preserve.

     By _fidelity_, some will understand the mere substitution of one
     language for another, with the entire sacrifice of idiom and metre,
     which belongs only to the literal translation of school-books.
     Fidelity, as Mr. C. himself has with equal happiness and precision
     defined it in his preface, is that quality which neither omits nor
     adds any thing to an author's stock. "I have invented nothing,'
     says he; "I have omitted nothing." When we consider the magnificent
     end of epic poetry,--to write for all times and all races,--to
     treat of what will always exist and always be understood, the puny
     laws of local decorum and fluctuating fashions by which the
     omission or modification of certain habits and customs, natural but
     obsolete, is prescribed, cannot come into consideration. Such laws
     may bind the meaner race of writers. He who translates Homer knows,
     that when Patroclus administers at table, or Achilles slays the
     sheep himself for Priam, a chief and a prince honour the chieftains
     and king who visit them, and disdain to leave to meaner hands these
     pledges of hospitality; and he translates faithfully and minutely,
     nor fears that any will sneer at such a custom, but those who sneer
     at the principle that established it. He neither "attempts to
     soften or refine away" the energy of passages relative to the
     theology of primitive ages, or fraught with allegoric images of
     the phenomena of nature, though they might provoke the smile of the
     effeminate, and of the sophists of his day. This is the first and
     most essential part of the fidelity prescribed to a translator; and
     this Mr. C. has so far scrupulously observed, that he must be
     allowed to have given us more of Homer, and added less of his own,
     than all his predecessors; and this he has done with that
     simplicity, that purity of manner, which we consider as the second
     requisite of translation.

     By _simplicity_, we mean, what flows from the heart; and there is
     no instance of any translator known to us, who has so entirely
     transfused the primitive spirit of an ancient work into a modern
     language; whose own individual habits and bent, if we may be
     allowed the expression, seem to be so totally annihilated, or to
     have coalesced so imperceptibly with his model. He is so lost in
     the contemplation of his author's narrative, that, in reading, we
     no more think of _him_ than we do of Homer, when he hurls us along
     by the torrent of his plan: no quaintness, no antithesis, no
     epigrammatic flourish, beckons our attention from its track, bids
     us admire or rather indignantly spurn the intruding dexterity of
     the writer. To have leisure to think of the author when we read, or
     of the artist when we behold, proves that the work of either is of
     an inferior class: we have neither time to inquire after Homer's
     birth-place or rank, when Andromache departs from her husband, nor
     stoop to look for the inscription of the artist's name, when we
     stand before the Apollo.

     Considering next the _harmony_ of numbers prescribed to the
     translator of a poet, Mr. C. himself allows that he has many a
     line 'with an ugly hitch in its gait;' and perhaps to those he
     acknowledges as such, and the copious list of others called forth
     in battle array against him, no trifling file of equally feeble,
     harsh, or halting ones might be added. Still we do not hesitate to
     give it as our opinion, founded on a careful perusal of the whole,
     that the style and the flow of his numbers are in general
     consonance with the spirit of the poem. In particular lines, he may
     be inferior to many; we even venture to say, that he has as often
     adopted or imitated the discords of Milton, as his flow of verse.
     The English Jupiter perhaps shakes his ambrosial curls not with the
     full majesty of the Greek; the plaintive tones of Andromache do not
     perhaps melt, or the reverberated bursts of Hector's voice break,
     on our ear with their native melody or strength; the stone of
     modern Sisyphus oppresses not with equal weight, or rebounds with
     equal rapidity as that of old; the hoarseness of Northern language
     bound in pebbly monosyllables, and almost always destitute of
     decided quantities, must frequently baffle the most vigorous
     attempt, if even no allowance were made for the terror that invests
     a celebrated passage, and dashes the courage of the translator with
     anxiety and fear. Still, if Mr. C. be not always equally successful
     in the detail, his work possesses that harmony which consists in
     the variety of well-poised periods,--periods that may be pursued
     without satiety, and dismiss the ear uncloyed by that monotony
     which attends the roundest and most fortunate rhyme, the rhyme of
     Dryden himself.

     The chief trespass of our translator's style,--and it will be found
     to imply a trespass against his fidelity and simplicity,--is no
     doubt the intemperate use of inversion, ungraceful in itself,
     contrary to the idiom of his language, and, what is still worse,
     subversive of perspicuity, than which no quality distinguishes
     Homer more from all other writers: for Homer, though fraught with
     every element of wisdom, even in the opinion of a critic[16] to no
     heresy more adverse than that of acknowledging faultless merit,
     whether ancient or modern,--Homer, with all this fund of useful
     doctrine, remains to this day the most perspicuous of poets, the
     writer least perplexed with ambiguity of style. His tale is so
     clearly told, that even now, as of yore, he is or may be the
     companion of every age, and almost every capacity, at almost every
     hour. This perspicuity is perhaps not to be attained by the
     scantiness of modern grammar; it is perhaps not to be fully
     expected from the inferior powers of the most attentive translator,
     wearied with labour, and fancying that to be clear to others which
     is luminous to him: but this we cannot allow to be pleaded every
     where in excuse of our translator's ambiguities, after the ample
     testimony he bore in his preface to the perspicuity of his author.
     Such palliation, indeed, will not be offered by him who tells us,
     that not one line before us escaped his attention. We decline
     entering into particulars on this head, partly because Mr. C.
     cannot be ignorant of the passages alluded to, partly because
     sufficient, and even exuberant, pains have been taken by others to
     point them out to the public.

     But if the translator often deviate from his model in so essential
     a requisite, he scrupulously adheres to another of much less
     consequence,--the observance of those customary epithets with which
     Homer distinguishes his gods and heroes from each other. As most of
     these are frequently no more than harmonious expletives of the
     verse, often serve only as a ceremonious introduction to his
     speakers, we are of opinion, that he might at least have sometimes
     varied them with advantage to his verse, and for the greater
     gratification of his reader. He who thought it a venial licence to
     deviate in the first line of his work from the text, who
     cries--'woe to the land of dwarfs,'[17]--who makes his hero often
     'the swiftest of the swift,' tinges the locks of Menelaus with
     'amber,' and varies Eumæus from plain swineherd to 'the illustrious
     steward or noble pastor of the sties,' he surely might have saved
     us from the 'archer-god,' 'the cloud-assembler Jove,' the
     'city-spoiler chief,' the 'cloud-assembler deity,' &c. &c. &c. or,
     in mercy to our debauched ears, have meditated combinations more
     consonant to verse and language. Their casual omission would not
     have proved a greater infidelity than that which made him disregard
     names and epithets, expressly repeated in the original, of which
     that of Asius the Hyrtacide in the catalogue[18] is a striking

     Homer is ample, and the translator studies to be so, and generally
     with success; but Homer is likewise concise, where Mr. C. is often
     verbose, and where, by more careful meditation, or more frequent
     turning of line and period, he might have approached his master.
     Homer finishes; but, like Nature, without losing the whole in the
     parts. The observations which the translator offers on this in the
     Preface we are tempted to transcribe. Pref. p. xv.

     "The passages which will be least noticed, and possibly not at all,
     except by those who shall wish to find me at a fault, are those
     which have cost me abundantly the most labour. It is difficult to
     kill a sheep with dignity in a modern language, to flay and to
     prepare it for the table, detailing every circumstance of the
     process. Difficult also, without sinking below the level of poetry,
     to harness mules to a waggon, particularizing every article of
     their furniture, straps, rings, staples, and even the tying of the
     knots that kept all together. Homer, who writes always to the eye,
     with all his sublimity and grandeur, has the minuteness of a
     Flemish painter."

     To this remark, founded on truth, we could have wished Mr. C. had
     added the reason why Homer contrived to be minute without being
     tedious,--to appear finished without growing languid,--to
     accumulate details without losing the whole; defects which have
     invariably attended the descriptions of his finished followers,
     from Virgil and Apollonius, down to Ariosto, and from him to the
     poets of our days, Milton alone excepted. It is, because he never
     suffered the descriptions that branched out of his subject to
     become too heavy for the trunk that supported them; because he
     never admitted any image calculated to reflect more honour on his
     knowledge than on his judgment; because he did not seek, but find,
     not serve, but rule detail, absorbed by his great end; and chiefly,
     because he, and he alone, contrived to create the image he
     described, limb by limb, part by part, before our eyes, connecting
     it with his plot, and making it the offspring of action and time,
     the two great mediums of poetry. The chariot of Juno is to be
     described:[19] it is not brought forth as from a repository, tamely
     to wait before the celestial portico, and subjected to finical
     examination, the action all the while dormant: on the spur of the
     moment, Hebe is ordered to put its various parts together before
     our eyes; the goddess arranges her coursers, mounts, shakes the
     golden reins, and flies off with Minerva, and our anticipating
     expectation, to the battle. Agamemnon is to appear in panoply:[20]
     we are not introduced to enumerate greaves, helmet, sword, belt,
     corslet, spear; they become important by the action only that
     applies them to the hero's limbs. We are admitted to the toilet of
     Juno:[21] no idle _étalage_ of ornaments ready laid out, of boxes,
     capsules, and cosmetics; the ringlets rise under her fingers, the
     pendants wave in her ears, the zone embraces her breast, perfumes
     rise in clouds round her body, her vest is animated with charms.
     Achilles is to be the great object of our attention: his shield a
     wonder:[22] heaven, earth, sea, gods, and men, are to occupy its
     orb; yet, even here he deviates not from his great rule, we see its
     august texture rise beneath the hammer of Vulcan, and the action
     proceeds with the strokes of the celestial artist. Where
     description must have stagnated or suspended action, it is confined
     to a word, 'the sable ship,' 'the hollow ship;' or despatched with
     a compound, 'the red-prowed ship,' 'the shadow-stretching spear.'
     If the instrument be too important to be passed over lightly, he,
     with a dexterity next to miraculous, makes it contribute to raise
     the character of the owner. The bow of Pandarus is traced[23] to
     the enormous horns of the mountain ram, and its acquisition proves
     the sly intrepidity of the archer, who bends it now. The sceptre of
     Agamemnon[24] becomes the pedigree of its wearer: it is the
     elaborate work of Vulcan for Jupiter, his gift to Hermes, his
     present to Pelops, the inheritance of Atreus, the shepherd-staff of
     Thyestes, the badge of command for Agamemnon. Thus Homer describes;
     this is the mystery, without which the most exquisite description
     becomes an excrescence, and only clogs and wearies the indignant
     and disappointed reader. Poetic imitation, we repeat it, is
     progressive, and less occupied with the _surface_ of the object
     than its _action_; hence all comparisons between the poet's and the
     painter's manners, ought to be made with an eye to the respective
     end and limits of either art: nor can these observations be deemed
     superfluous, except by those who are most in want of them, the
     descriptive tribe, who imagine they paint what they only perplex,
     and fondly dream of enriching the realms of fancy by silly
     excursions into the province of the florist, chemist, or painter of
     still life.

     Proceeding now to lay before the reader specimens of the
     translation itself, we shall select passages which, by their
     contrast, may enable him to estimate the variety of our author's
     powers, to poise his blemishes and beauties, and to form an idea of
     what he is to expect from a perusal of the whole. To exhibit only
     the splendid, would have been insidious; it would have been unfair
     to expose languor alone;--we have pursued a middle course; and when
     he has consulted the volumes themselves, the reader, we trust, will
     pronounce us equally impartial to the author and himself.

     Juno, entering her apartment to array herself for her visit to
     Jupiter on Gargarus, is thus described--Iliad, B. XIV. p. 365.

          "She sought her chamber; Vulcan, her own son,
        That chamber built. He framed the solid doors,
        And to the posts fast closed them with a key
        Mysterious, which, herself except, in heav'n
        None understood. Entering, she secured
        The splendid portal. First, she laved all o'er
        Her beauteous body with ambrosial lymph,
        Then, polish'd it with richest oil divine
        Of boundless fragrance; oil that, in the courts
        Eternal only shaken, through the skies
        Breathed odours, and through all the distant earth.
        Her whole fair body with those sweets bedew'd,
        She pass'd the comb through her ambrosial hair,
        And braided her bright locks, streaming profuse
        From her immortal brows; with golden studs
        She made her gorgeous mantle fast before,
        Ethereal texture, labour of the hands
        Of Pallas, beautified with various art,
        And braced it with a zone fringed all round
        An hundred fold; her pendents triple-gemm'd
        Luminous, graceful, in her ears she hung,
        And cov'ring all her glories with a veil,
        Sun-bright, new-woven, bound to her fair feet
        Her sandals elegant. Thus, full attired
        In all her ornaments, she issued forth,
        And beck'ning Venus from the other pow'rs
        Of Heav'n apart, the Goddess thus bespake:
        'Daughter, beloved! Shall I obtain my suit?
        Or wilt thou thwart me, angry that I aid
        The Grecians, while thine aid is given to Troy?'
          "To whom Jove's daughter, Venus, thus replied.
        'What would majestic Juno, daughter dread
        Of Saturn, sire of Jove? I feel a mind
        Disposed to gratify thee, if thou ask
        Things possible, and possible to me.'
          "Then thus, with wiles veiling her deep design,
        Imperial Juno. 'Give me those desires,
        That love-enkindling power by which thou sway'st
        Immortal hearts, and mortal, all alike.
        For to the green Earth's utmost bounds I go,
        To visit there the parent of the Gods,
        Oceanus, and Tethys his espoused,
        Mother of all. They kindly from the hands
        Of Rhea took, and with parental care
        Sustain'd and cherish'd me, what time from heav'n
        The Thund'rer howl'd down Saturn, and beneath
        The earth fast bound him and the barren Deep.
        Them, go I now to visit, and their feuds
        Innumerable to compose; for long
        They have from conjugal embrace abstain'd
        Through mutual wrath; whom by persuasive speech
        Might I restore into each other's arms,
        They would for ever love me and revere.

          "Her, foam-born Venus then, Goddess of smiles,
        Thus answer'd. 'Thy request, who in the arms
        Of Jove reposest the Omnipotent,
        Nor just it were, nor seemly, to refuse.'
          "So saying, the cincture from her breast she loos'd
        Embroider'd, various, her all-charming zone.
        It was an ambush of sweet snares, replete
        With love, desire, soft intercourse of hearts,
        And music of resistless whisper'd sounds
        That from the wisest steal their best resolves;
        She placed it in her hands and thus she said.
        'Take this--this girdle fraught with ev'ry charm.
        Hide this within thy bosom, and return,
        Whate'er thy purpose, mistress of it all.'
        She spake; imperial Juno smiled, and still
        Smiling complacent, bosom'd safe the zone."

     Euphorbus falls thus under the spear of Menelaus: Iliad, B. XVII.
     p. 452. v. 60.

          "Sounding he fell; loud rang his batter'd arms.
        His locks, which even the Graces might have own'd,
        Blood-sullied, and his ringlets wound about
        With twine of gold and silver, swept the dust.
        As the luxuriant olive, by a swain
        Rear'd in some solitude where rills abound,
        Puts forth her buds, and, fann'd by genial airs
        On all sides, hangs her boughs with whitest flow'rs,
        But by a sudden whirlwind from its trench
        Uptorn, it lies extended on the field,
        Such, Panthus' warlike son, Euphorbus seem'd,
        By Menelaus, son of Atreus, slain
        Suddenly, and of all his arms despoil'd.
        But as the lion on the mountains bred,
        Glorious in strength, when he hath seiz'd the best
        And fairest of the herd, with savage fangs
        First breaks her neck, then laps the bloody paunch
        Torn wide; meantime, around him, but remote,
        Dogs stand and swains clamouring, yet by fear
        Repress'd, annoy him not or dare approach;
        So there, all wanted courage to oppose
        The force of Menelaus, glorious chief."

     The beauty of this passage will no doubt prompt Mr. C. to revise
     the words descriptive of the olive's gender. He cannot possibly
     have had an eye to the passage in the XIth B. of the Odyssey,
     relating to the spirit of Tiresias; the licence there, and the
     beauty obtained by it, are founded on very different principles.

     With the following ample scene between Achilles, Lycaon, and
     Asteropæus, we conclude our extracts from the Iliad, B. XXI. p.
     553. v. 119.

          "Such supplication the illustrious son
        Of Priam made, but answer harsh received.
          'Fool! speak'st of ransom? Name it not to me.
        For till my friend his miserable fate
        Accomplish'd, I was somewhat giv'n to spare,
        And num'rous; whom I seized alive, I sold;
        But now, of all the Trojans whom the Gods
        Deliver to me, none shall death escape,
        'Specially of the house of Priam, none.
        Die, therefore, even thou, my friend! What mean
        Thy tears, unreasonably shed, and vain?
        Died not Patroclus, braver far than thou?
        And look on me--see'st not to what an height
        My stature tow'rs, and what a bulk I boast?
        A king begat me, and a Goddess bore.
        What then! A death by violence awaits
        Me also, and at morn, or eve, or noon
        I perish, whensoe'er the destin'd spear
        Shall reach me, or the arrow from the nerve.'
          "He ceased, and where the suppliant kneel, he died.
        Quitting the spear, with both hands spread abroad
        He sat; but swift Achilles with his sword
        'Twixt neck and key-bone smote him, and his blade
        Of double edge sank all into the wound.
        He prone extended on the champion lay,
        Bedewing with his sable blood the glebe,
        'Till, by the foot, Achilles cast him far
        Into the stream, and as he floated down,
        Thus in wing'd accents, glorying exclaim'd.
          'Lie there, and feed the fishes, which shall lick
        Thy blood secure. Thy mother ne'er shall place
        Thee on thy bier, nor on thy body weep,
        But swift Scamander on his giddy tide
        Shall bear thee to the bosom of the sea.
        There, many a fish shall through the crystal flood
        Ascending to the rippled surface, find
        Lycaon's pamper'd flesh delicious fare.
        Die Trojans! till we reach your city, you
        Fleeing, and slaughtering, I. This pleasant stream
        Of dimpling silver, which ye worship oft
        With victim bulls, and sate with living steeds
        His rapid whirlpools, shall avail you nought,
        But ye shall die, die terribly till all
        Shall have requited me with just amends
        For my Patroclus, and for other Greeks
        Slain at the ships, while I declined the war.'
          "He ended, at whose words still more incensed
        Scamander means devised, thenceforth, to check
        Achilles, and avert the doom of Troy.
        Meantime the son of Peleus, his huge spear
        Grasping, assail'd Asteropæus, son
        Of Pelegon, on fire to take his life.
        Fair Peribœa, daughter eldest-born
        Of Acessamenus, his father bore
        To broad-stream'd Axius, who had clasp'd the nymph
        In his embrace. On him Achilles sprang.
        He, newly risen from the river, stood
        Arm'd with two lances opposite, for him
        Xanthus embolden'd, at the deaths incensed
        Of many a youth whom, mercy none vouchsafed,
        Achilles had in all his current slain.
        And now, small distance interposed, they faced
        Each other, when Achilles thus began.
          'Who art and whence, who dar'st encounter me?
        Hapless, the sires whose sons my force defy.'
          "To whom the noble son of Pelegon,
        Pelides, mighty chief. 'Why hast thou ask'd
        My derivation? From the land I come
        Of mellow-soil'd Pæonia, far remote,
        Chief-leader of Pæonia's host spear-arm'd;
        This day hath also the eleventh ris'n
        Since I at Troy arriv'd. For my descent,
        It is from Axius' river, wide-diffused,
        From Axius, fairest stream that waters earth,
        Sire of bold Pelegon, whom men report
        My sire. Let this suffice. Now fight, Achilles!'
          "So spake he threat'ning, and Achilles rais'd
        Dauntless the Pelian ash. At once two spears
        The hero bold, Asteropæus threw,
        With both hands apt for battle. One his shield
        Struck but pierced not, impeded by the gold,
        Gift of a God; the other as it flew
        Grazed his right elbow; sprang the sable blood;
        But, overflying him, the spear in earth
        Stood planted deep, still hung'ring for the prey.
        Then, full at the Pæonian Peleus' son
        Hurl'd forth his weapon with unsparing force,
        But vain; he struck the sloping river-bank,
        And mid-length deep stood plunged the ashen beam.
        Then, with his faulchion drawn, Achilles flew
        To smite him; he in vain, meantime, essay'd
        To pluck the rooted spear forth from the bank;
        Thrice with full force he shook the beam, and thrice,
        Although reluctant, left it; at his fourth
        Last effort, bending it, he sought to break
        The ashen spear-beam of Æacides,
        But perish'd by his keen-edg'd faulchion first;
        For on the belly, at his navel's side,
        He smote him; to the ground effused fell all
        His bowels, Death's dim shadows veil'd his eyes,
        Achilles ardent on his bosom fix'd
        His foot, despoil'd him, and exulting cried.
          'Lie there; though river-sprung thou find'st it hard
        To cope with sons of Jove omnipotent.
        Thou said'st, a mighty river is my sire--
        But my descent from mightier Jove I boast;
        My father, whom the myrmidons obey,
        Is son of Æacus, and he, of Jove.
        As Jove all streams excels that seek the sea,
        So, Jove's descendants nobler are than theirs.
        Behold a River at thy side--Let Him
        Afford thee, if he can, some succour--No,
        He may not fight against Saturnian Jove.
        Therefore, not kingly Achelous,
        Nor yet the strength of Ocean's vast profound,
        Although from him all rivers and all seas,
        All fountains, and all wells proceed, may boast
        Comparison with Jove, but even He
        Astonish'd trembles at his fiery bolt,
        And his dread thunders rattling in the sky."

     On opening the Odyssey, we present the reader with the interview of
     Ulysses and his mother in the Shades, and the description of Tyro's
     amour with Neptune.--Odyss. B. XI. p. 254.

          "She said; I ardent wish'd to clasp the shade
        Of my departed mother; thrice I sprang
        Toward her, by desire impetuous urged,
        And thrice she flitted from between my arms,
        Light as a passing shadow or a dream.
        Then, pierced by keener grief, in accents wing'd
        With filial earnestness, I thus replied:--
        'My mother, why elud'st thou my attempt
        To clasp thee, that ev'n here, in Pluto's realm,
        We might to full satiety indulge
        Our grief, enfolded in each other's arms?
        Hath Proserpine, alas! only dispatch'd
        A shadow to me, to augment my woe?'
          "Then, instant, thus the venerable form.
        'Ah, son! thou most afflicted of mankind!
        On thee, Jove's daughter, Proserpine, obtrudes
        No airy semblance vain; but such the state
        And nature is of mortals once deceased.
        For they nor muscle have, nor flesh, nor bone;
        All those, (the spirit from the body once
        Divorced) the violence of fire consumes,
        And, like a dream, the soul flies swift away.
        But haste thou back to light, and, taught thyself
        These sacred truths, hereafter teach thy spouse.'
          "Thus mutual we conferr'd. Then, thither came,
        Encouraged forth by royal Proserpine,
        Shades female num'rous, all who consorts, erst,
        Or daughters were of mighty chiefs renown'd.
        About the sable blood frequent they swarm'd,
        But I consid'ring sat, how I might each
        Interrogate, and thus resolv'd. My sword
        Forth drawing from beside my sturdy thigh,
        Firm I prohibited the ghosts to drink
        The blood together; they successive came;
        Each told her own distress; I question'd all.
          "There, first, the high-born Tyro I beheld;
        She claim'd Salmoneus as her sire, and wife
        Was once of Cretheus, son of Æolus,
        Enamour'd of Enipeus, stream divine.
        Loveliest of all that water earth, beside
        His limpid current she was wont to stray,
        When Ocean's God (Enipeus' form assumed)
        Within the eddy-whirling river's mouth
        Embraced her; there, while the o'er-arching flood,
        Uplifted mountainous, conceal'd the God
        And his fair human bride, her virgin zone
        He loos'd, and o'er her eyes sweet sleep diffused.
        His am'rous purpose satisfied, he grasp'd
        Her hand, affectionate, and thus he said.
          'Rejoice in this, my love, and when the year
        Shall tend to consummation of its course,
        Thou shalt produce illustrious twins, for love
        Immortal never is unfruitful love.
        Rear them with all a mother's care; meantime,
        Hence to thy home. Be silent. Name it not,
        For I am Neptune, shaker of the shores.'
          "So saying, he plunged into the billowy deep.
        She, pregnant grown, Pelias and Neleus bore,
        Both valiant ministers of mighty Jove."

     The visit of Hermes to Calypso and her abode, are thus
     described.--Odyss. B. V. p. 110.

          "He ended, nor the Argicide refused,
        Messenger of the skies; his sandals fair,
        Ambrosial, golden, to his feet he bound,
        Which o'er the moist wave, rapid as the wind,
        Bear him, and o'er th' illimitable earth,
        Then took his rod, with which, at will, all eyes
        He closes soft, or opes them wide again.
        So arm'd, forth flew the valiant Argicide.
        Alighting on Pieria, down he stoop'd
        To ocean, and the billows lightly skimm'd
        In form a sea-mew, such as in the bays
        Tremendous of the barren deep her food
        Seeking dips oft in brine her ample wing.
        In such disguise, o'er many a wave he rode,
        But reaching, now, that isle remote, forsook
        The azure deep, and at the spacious grot
        Where dwelt the amber-tressed nymph arrived,
        Found her within. A fire on all the hearth
        Blazed sprightly, and, afar-diffused, the scent
        Of smooth split cedar and of cyprus-wood.
        Odorous, burning, cheer'd the happy isle.
        She, busied at the loom, and plying fast
        Her golden shuttle, with melodious voice
        Sat chaunting there; a grove on either side,
        Alder and poplar, and the redolent branch
        Wide-spread of cypress, skirted dark the cave.
        There many a bird of broadest pinion built
        Secure her nest, the owl, the kite, and daw
        Long-tongued, frequenter of the sandy shores.
        A garden-vine luxuriant on all sides
        Mantled the spacious cavern, cluster-hung
        Profuse; four fountains of serenest lymph
        Their sinuous course pursuing side by side,
        Stray'd all around, and ev'ry where appear'd
        Meadows of softest verdure, purpled o'er
        With violets; it was a scene to fill
        A God from heav'n with wonder and delight.
        Hermes, heav'n's messenger, admiring stood
        That sight, and having all survey'd, at length
        Enter'd the grotto; nor the lovely nymph
        Him knew not soon as seen, for not unknown
        Each to the other the immortals are,
        How far soever sep'rate their abodes.
        Yet found he not within the mighty chief
        Ulysses; he sat weeping on the shore,
        Forlorn, for there his custom was with groans
        Of sad regret t' afflict his breaking heart,
        Looking continual o'er the barren deep.
        Then thus Calypso, nymph divine, the God
        Question'd from her resplendent throne august."

     With the subsequent passage of Ulysses' stratagem in the cave of
     Polypheme, we shall dismiss the Odyssey, and add a few
     observations.--Odyss. B. IX. p. 207.

        "'Cyclops! thou hast my noble name inquired,
        Which I will tell thee. Give me, in return,
        The promised boon, some hospitable pledge.
        My name is[25] Outis; Outis I am call'd,
        At home, abroad, wherever I am known.'
          "So I; to whom he, savage, thus replied:
        'Outis, when I have eaten all his friends,
        Shall be my last regale. Be that thy boon.'
          "He spake, and, downward sway'd, fell resupine,
        With his huge neck aslant. All conqu'ring sleep
        Soon seized him. From his gullet gush'd the wine
        With human morsels mingled, many a blast
        Sonorous issuing from his glutted maw.
        Then, thrusting far the spike of olive-wood
        Into the embers glowing on the hearth,
        I heated it, and cheer'd my friends the while,
        Lest any should, through fear, shrink from his part.
        But when that stake of olive-wood, though green,
        Should soon have flamed, for it was glowing hot,
        I bore it to his side. Then all my aids
        Around me gather'd, and the Gods infused
        Heroic fortitude into our hearts.
        They, seizing the hot stake rasp'd to a point,
        Bored his eye with it, and myself, advanced
        To a superior stand, twirl'd it about.
        As when a shipwright with his wimble bores
        Tough oaken timber, placed on either side
        Below, his fellow artists strain the thong
        Alternate, and the restless iron spins;
        So grasping hard the stake pointed with fire,
        We twirl'd it in his eye; the bubbling blood
        Boil'd round about the brand; his pupil sent
        A scalding vapour forth that singed his brow,
        And all his eye-roots crackled in the flame.
        As when the smith an hatchet or large axe
        Temp'ring with skill, plunges the hissing blade
        Deep in cold water, (whence the strength of steel,)
        So hiss'd his eye around the olive-wood.
        The howling monster with his outcry fill'd
        The hollow rock, and I, with all my aids,
        Fled terrified. He, plucking forth the spike
        From his burnt socket, mad with anguish, cast
        The implement, all bloody, far away.
        Then, bellowing, he sounded forth the name
        Of ev'ry Cyclops dwelling in the caves
        Around him, on the wind-swept mountain tops;
        They, at his cry flocking from ev'ry part,
        Circled his den, and of his ail enquired.
          'What grievous hurt hath caused thee, Polypheme!
        Thus yelling, to alarm the peaceful ear
        Of Night, and break our slumbers? Fear'st thou lest
        Some mortal man drive off thy flocks? or fear'st
        Thyself to die by cunning or by force?'
          "Them answer'd, then, Polypheme from his cave,
        'Oh, friends! I die, and Outis gives the blow.'
          "To whom with accents wing'd his friends without.
        'If no[26] man harm thee, but thou art alone,
        And sickness feel'st, it is the stroke of Jove,
        And thou must bear it; yet invoke for aid
        Thy father Neptune, sov'reign of the floods.'
          "So saying, they went, and in my heart I laugh'd;
        That by the fiction only of a name,
        Slight stratagem! I had deceived them all."

     If translation be chiefly written for those who cannot read the
     original, it is, we apprehend, self-evident, that Polypheme's
     charging _Outis_ with an attempt on his life, and the departure of
     his associates in consequence of this information, must remain a
     problem to those who do not understand the Greek. To them, _Outis_
     is the name of somebody, and why that should pacify the giants who
     came to assist the Cyclops, appears unsatisfactory, if not
     inconceivable. Clarke, when he adduces the passage from the Acta
     Eruditorum, which censures Gyphanius for having translated _Outis_,
     _nemo_, would have done well if he had adduced other reasons in
     support of his opinion (if indeed he coincided in opinion with that
     passage) than grammatical futilities. The separation of ου-δε can
     be no reason why the brethren of Polypheme should depart; his
     destruction remained a call equally urgent for their assistance,
     whether it was carrying on by fraud or force. In Homer, whenever a
     man is asked after his name, he replies, they call me so, or my
     mother has given me such a name; and this is always in the
     accusative. Ulysses, to deceive Polypheme, consults probability,
     and the customary reply to a question after a name, and therefore
     calls him _Outin_, not _Outina_, to escape the suspicion of the
     Cyclops; but well surmised, or Homer at least for him, that his
     enemy would pronounce his name in the nominative, if he should be
     asked who was his destroyer. If the deception be puerile, it is to
     be considered, that no sense can be obtained without it; and on
     whom is it practised? on something worse than a solitary barbarian
     not trained up in social craft; it is exerted on a monster of mixed
     nature, unacquainted with other ideas than the immediate ones of
     self-preservation, brutal force, and greedy appetite. The whole
     fiction is indeed one of those which Longinus calls dreams, but the
     dreams of Jupiter; and the improbabilities of the component parts
     vanish in the pathos, and the restless anguish of curiosity which
     overwhelms us in the conduct of the tale.[27]

     That the translation of the word Κραταυς, in the celebrated passage
     of Sisyphus, should have met with indulgence from those who insist
     on the preservation of _Outis_, may not be matter of surprise,
     because, as Mr. C. observes, 'it is now perhaps impossible to
     ascertain with precision what Homer meant by the word κραταυς,
     which he only uses here and in the next book, where it is the name
     of Scylla's dam.' We give it up too, though not willingly, because
     the ancients appear to have been as ignorant of the being so called
     as ourselves; some of whom, by cutting the word into two, attempted
     to make it rather an attribute of the stone itself, than the effect
     of some external power: but from _him_, we are more surprised at
     the observation on the word 'ἀναιδης,' in the same passage, as
     'also of very doubtful explication.' Is it not the constant
     practice of Homer to diffuse energy by animating the inanimate? has
     he forgotten the maddening lances, the greedy arrows, the roaring
     shores, the groaning earth, the winged words, the cruel brass, and
     a thousand other metaphors from life? and if these occurred not to
     his memory, the observation of _Aristotle_ on the passage in
     question, as quoted by Clarke, might have removed all doubts about
     the true sense of the word ἀναιδης, when applied to a rock.

     Mr. Cowper, in his interpretation of many words and expressions of
     dubious explication, has generally chosen that sense which seemed
     most to contribute to the perspicuity of the passage: thus in
     Iliad, iv. v. 306, seq. when Nestor instructs his troops before the
     battle, he has, in our opinion, adopted the best and only sense,
     though rejected by Clarke, with more subtilty than reason. Thus he
     has substituted the word 'monster' for the epithet ἀμαιμακετος,
     Iliad, xvi. 329, with sufficient propriety, whether that word be
     expressive of enormity of dimension, or untameableness of
     disposition; in both which senses it occurs in Pindar.[28] We might
     enlarge on the terms ἀμητροχιτωνας; τροπαι Ἠελιοιο; ορσοθυρη, and a
     variety of others equally disputed or obscure; but as they will be
     sufficiently recognized by the scholar, whilst the unlearned reader
     is enabled to pass smoothly over them, we shall just observe, that
     the interpretation of the proverbial passage in Odyss. viii. v.

        Δειλαι τοι δειλων γε και ἐγγυαι ἐγγυαασθαι
                      'Lame suitor, lame security,'

     is the happiest instance of the superiority of plain sense over
     learning merely intricate.

     When, in Odyss. iv. v. 73, Telemachus describes the mansion of
     Menelaus, Mr. C., with all the translators, renders Ἠλεκτρον
     'amber,' contrary to the explanation of Pliny, who defines electrum
     to be gold, containing a fifth part of silver, and quotes the
     Homeric passage.[29] Amber ornaments, we believe, are not mentioned
     by Homer in the singular. Thus, in Odyss. xviii. 294-5, the golden
     necklace presented by Eurymachus, is called Ἠλεκτροισιν ἐερμενον,
     inlaid with amber drops.

     Homer, Odyss. xi. v. 579, seq., places two vultures by the sides of
     Tityus, who entered his entrails, and tore his liver by turns, and
     adds, to enhance the terror of the image,

        ὁ δ' οὐκ ἀπαμυνετο χερσι,

     'he had not hands to rescue him;' entranced, no doubt, or chained
     to the ground. This Mr. C. translates--

            "----Two vultures on his liver prey'd,
        Scooping his entrails; nor suffic'd his hands
        To fray them thence."----

     Why not, if he had a hand for each vulture, unless we suppose him
     chained or entranced?

     Odyss. xix. 389, Ulysses removes from the light of the hearth into
     the shade, lest the nurse, who had already discovered a striking
     resemblance in his shape, voice, and limbs, to those of her lost
     master, by handling his thigh, and seeing all at once the scar on
     it, should be convinced that he could be no other, and betray him.
     This Mr. C. translates thus: p. 453.

        "Ulysses (for beside the hearth he sat)
        Turn'd quick _his face_ into the shade, alarm'd
        Lest, handling him, she should at once
        remark His scar, and all his stratagem unveil."

     He who, unacquainted with the rest, should read these lines, would
     either conclude that the nurse had not looked at the face before,
     or that the scar was in the face. Minerva had taken care that
     Ulysses should not be discovered by his countenance, making
     identity vanish into mere resemblance; but as the scar in such a
     place, without a miracle, could belong only to Ulysses, he
     attempted to elude the farther guesses of the nurse, by having his
     thigh washed in the dark.

     Odyss. viii. 400, Euryalus, eager to appease Ulysses for the
     affront offered to him, addressed Alcinous his chief--

        Τον δ' αυτ' Ἐυρυαλος ἀπαμειβετο, φωνησεν τε
        Ἀλκινοε κρειοι.----

     But Mr. C. turns Alcinous into his father;

        "When thus Euryalus his _sire_ addressed."

     The sons of Alcinous were Laodamus, Halius, and Clytoneus.

     When Mr. C., Odyss. xi. v. 317, seq. tells us that Alcmena bore
     Megara to Creon, he says surely what Homer has not said,[30] who
     mentions Megara as the daughter of Creon, and one of the women
     Ulysses _saw_, and not as the sister and wife of Hercules together.

     But enough. Of similar observations, perhaps more might be added.
     These at least will show the attention with which we have compared
     copy and original. If, among the emendations of a future edition,
     they be not passed over as cavils, or treated as nugatory, our
     purpose will be fully answered. It would be difficult to determine
     in which of the two poems Mr. C. has succeeded best. We however
     incline to decide in favour of the Odyssey. The prevalent mixture
     of social intercourse, domestic manners, and rural images, with the
     scenes of terror and sublimity, as upon the whole it renders that
     poem more pleasing, though not more interesting than the Iliad, and
     what we would call a poem for all hours, appears to us to have been
     more adapted to the mild tones of our translator, than the
     uninterrupted sublimity and pathos of the Iliad. In parting from
     both, we congratulate the author on the production, and the public
     on the acquisition of so much excellence. We contemplate the whole
     in its mass as an immense fabric reared for some noble purpose: on
     too near an approach, not perhaps of equal beauty, with parts left
     rough that might have been smoothed to neatness, and others only
     neat that might have been polished into elegance; blemishes that
     vanish at a proper distance: by uniform grandeur of style, the
     whole strikes with awe and delight, attracts now the eyes of the
     race who saw it rise, and, secure of duration from the firmness of
     its base and the solidity of its materials, will command the
     admiration of posterity.


     Fuseli's proficiency in Italian History, Literature, and the Fine
     Arts, exemplified in his Criticism on Roscoe's Lorenzo de' Medici.

The following review of Roscoe's Lorenzo de' Medici, will shew Fuseli's
critical knowledge of Italian history.


     "The close of the fifteenth, (says Mr. R. Pref. p. i.) and the
     beginning of the sixteenth century, comprehend one of those periods
     of history which are entitled to our minutest study and enquiry.
     Almost all the great events from which Europe derives its present
     advantages are to be traced up to those times. The invention of the
     art of printing, the discovery of the great Western Continent, the
     schism from the Church of Rome, which ended in the reformation of
     many of its abuses, and established the precedent of reform; the
     degree of perfection attained in the fine arts, compose such an
     illustrious assemblage of luminous points, as cannot fail of
     attracting for ages the curiosity and admiration of mankind.

     "A complete history of these times has long been a great
     desideratum in literature; and whoever considers the magnitude of
     the undertaking will not think it likely to be soon supplied.
     Indeed, from the nature of the transactions that then took place,
     they can only be exhibited in detail, and under separate and
     particular views. That the author of the following pages has
     frequently turned his eye towards this interesting period is true;
     but he has felt himself rather dazzled than informed by the survey.
     A mind of greater compass, and the possession of uninterrupted
     leisure, would be requisite to comprehend, to select, and to
     arrange the immense varieties of circumstances which a full
     narrative of those times would involve, when almost every city of
     Italy was a new Athens, and that favoured country could boast its
     historians, its poets, its orators, and its artists, who may
     contend with the great names of antiquity for the palm of mental
     excellence: when Venice, Milan, Rome, Florence, Bologna, Ferrara,
     and several other places, vied with each other, not in arms, but in
     science and in genius, and the splendour of a court was estimated
     by the number and talents of learned men, who illustrated it by
     their presence, each of whose lives and productions would, in a
     work of this nature, merit a full and separate discussion.

     "From this full blaze of talents, the author has turned towards a
     period when its first faint gleams afford a subject, if not more
     interesting, at least more suitable to his powers; when, after a
     night of unexpected darkness, Florence again saw the sun break
     forth with a lustre more permanent, though perhaps not so bright.
     The days of Dante, Boccaccio, and of Petrarch, were indeed past;
     but under the auspices of the House of Medici, and particularly
     through the ardour and example of Lorenzo, the empire of science
     and taste was again restored."

     Having thus, with great modesty, stated the motives for his choice
     of subject, the author presents us with a rapid sketch of the
     Medician family, the literary and political character of Lorenzo,
     and his undeserved fate as statesman and writer in the succeeding
     century: he then proceeds to a critical enumeration of the
     narratives composed of his life, from the contemporary one of
     Niccolo Valori to the recent volumes of Fabroni, the mass of whose
     valuable documents, together with the communications of a learned
     friend, admitted to the printed and manuscript treasure of the
     Laurentian library, and the acquisition of a number of scarce
     tracts, procured from the sales of the Crevenna and Pinelli books,
     arranged and concentrated by indefatigable assiduity, he considers
     as the basis on which he was enabled to erect his own system, and
     to fill up the chasm that had hitherto separated from legitimate
     history, the period elapsed between the last stage of decay and
     final dissolution of the Byzantine empire by Mahommed II. and the
     brilliant epoch that rose with the accession of Charles the Fifth
     to the German throne.

     The first chapter opens with Florence, its origin, its tempestuous
     though not improsperous liberty during the political schism of its
     citizens into the two factions of Ghibelines and Guelphs, or
     Bianchi and Neri, subsiding at length under the levelling
     preponderance of the Medicean family, whose annals our author
     traces from the real or romantic date of Charlemagne to the
     accession of Cosmo, emphatically decorated with the appellation of
     _Pater Patriæ_, and the height of its commercial and political

     'The authority,' observes our author, p. 13, 'which Cosmo and his
     descendants exercised in Florence during the fifteenth century, was
     of a very peculiar nature; and consisted rather in a tacit
     influence on their part, and a voluntary acquiescence on that of
     the people, than in any prescribed or definite compact between
     them. The form of government was ostensibly a republic, and was
     directed by a counsel of ten citizens, and a chief executive
     officer, called the _Gonfaloniere_, or standard-bearer, who was
     chosen every two months. Under this establishment, the citizens
     imagined they enjoyed the full exercise of their liberties; but
     such was the power of the Medici, that they generally either
     assumed to themselves the first offices of the state, or nominated
     such persons as they thought proper to those employments. In this,
     however, they paid great respect to popular opinion. That
     opposition of interests so generally apparent between the people
     and their rulers, was, at this time, scarcely perceived at
     Florence, where superior qualifications and industry were the
     surest recommendations to public authority and favour. Convinced of
     the benefits constantly received from this family, and satisfied
     that they could, at any time, withdraw themselves from a connexion
     that exacted no engagements, and required only a temporary
     acquiescence, the Florentines considered the Medici as the fathers,
     and not as the rulers of the republic. On the other hand, the
     chiefs of this house, by appearing rather to decline than to court
     the honours bestowed on them, and by a singular moderation of the
     use of them when obtained, were careful to maintain the character
     of simple citizens of Florence, and servants of the state. An
     interchange of reciprocal good offices was the only tie by which
     the Florentines and the Medici were bound; and, perhaps, the long
     continuance of this connexion may be attributed to the very
     circumstance, of its being in the power of either of the parties,
     at any time, to have dissolved it.'

     The temporary interruption of Cosmo's power by the successful
     struggle of an opposite party, headed by families eclipsed in his
     blaze, his exile, and his banishment to the Venetian state, tended
     only, from the resignation and magnanimity of his conduct, to
     rivet, at his recall, the voluntary chains of his
     fellow-citizens;--and he continued the unrivalled arbiter of
     Florence and it's dependencies, the primary restorer of Greek and
     Latin literature, and the most enlightened patron of the arts, to
     the advanced age of seventy-five, and the hour of his death,
     gratified with the prospect of the continuation of family power,
     from the character of his son Piero, and that of his two grandsons,
     Lorenzo and Juliano. The ample and varied detail of this assemblage
     of important subjects we leave, as preliminary, to the curiosity of
     our readers, and hasten to the second chapter, and the appearance
     of Lorenzo.

     'Lorenzo de' Medici,' says, Mr. R., p. 69, 'was about sixteen years
     of age when Cosmo died, and had at that time given striking
     indications of extraordinary talents. From his earliest years he
     had exhibited proofs of a retentive and vigorous mind, which was
     cultivated not only by all the attention which his father's
     infirmities would permit him to bestow, but by a frequent
     intercourse with his venerable grandfather. He owed also great
     obligations, in this respect, to his mother, Lucretia, who was one
     of the most accomplished women of the age, and distinguished
     herself not only as a patroness of learning, but by her own
     writings. Of these some specimens yet remain, which are the more
     entitled to approbation, as they were produced at a time when
     poetry was at its lowest ebb in Italy. The disposition of Lorenzo,
     which afterwards gave him a peculiar claim to the title of
     _magnificent_, was apparent in his childhood. Having received as a
     present a horse from Sicily, he sent the donor, in return, a gift
     of much greater value, and on being reproved for his profuseness,
     he remarked that there was nothing more glorious than to overcome
     others in acts of generosity. Of his proficiency in classical
     learning, and the different branches of that philosophy which was
     then in repute, he has left indisputable proofs. Born to restore
     the lustre of his native tongue, he had rendered himself
     conspicuous by his poetical talents, before he arrived at manhood.
     To these accomplishments he united a considerable share of strong,
     natural penetration and good sense, which enabled him, amidst the
     many difficulties that he was involved in, to act with a
     promptitude and decision which surprised those who were witnesses
     of his conduct; whilst the endowments which entitled him to
     admiration and respect, were accompanied by others that
     conciliated, in an eminent degree, the esteem and affections of his

     'In his person, Lorenzo was tall and athletic, and had more the
     appearance of strength than of elegance. From his birth, he
     laboured under some peculiar disadvantages--his sight was weak, his
     voice harsh and unpleasing, and he was totally deprived of the
     sense of smell. With all these defects his countenance was
     dignified, and gave an idea of the magnanimity of his character;
     and the effects of his eloquence were conspicuous on many important
     occasions. In his youth, he was much addicted to active and
     laborious exercises, to hawking, horsemanship, and country sports.
     Though not born to support a military character, he gave sufficient
     proofs of his courage, not only in public tournaments, which were
     then not unfrequent in Italy, but also upon more trying occasions.
     Such was the versatility of his talents, that it is difficult to
     discover any department of business, or of amusement, of art, or of
     science, to which they were not at some time applied; and in
     whatever he undertook, he arrived at a proficiency which would seem
     to have required the labour of a life much longer than that which
     he was permitted to enjoy.

     'The native energy and versatility of his character were
     invigorated by a suitable education: to the notions of piety,
     imbibed from Gentile d'Urbino, and perhaps from his mother, he
     added the accomplishments of a scholar, under the tuition of
     Landino, and received the elements of the Aristotelian and Platonic
     philosophy from Argyropylus and Ficino; but that exquisite taste in
     poetry, in music, and in every department of the fine arts, which
     enabled him to contribute so powerfully towards their restoration,
     was an endowment of nature, the want of which no education could
     have supplied.'

     Such were the qualifications with which Lorenzo entered on the
     stage of public life, and which enabled him, with the political
     experience he had acquired on his travels through the most powerful
     states of Italy, and the connexions he had then formed, to defeat,
     at his return, the conspiracy framed by Luca Pitti against his
     father Piero, and probably to frustrate the war raised against
     Florence by its exiles, without the loss of much blood or treasure.

     Delivered by these successes from external and domestic strife, the
     Medici were at leisure again to attend to their darling object, the
     promotion of learning. Several literary characters are here
     delineated; principally those of Cristoforo Landino, and Leo
     Battista Alberti, the Crichton of Italy, of whose unlimited powers
     the greatest was perhaps that, which he, if we believe Vasari,
     possessed over his horse; and our author proceeds to the giostra,
     or tournament, celebrated by Luca Pulci and Agnolo of Monte
     Pulciano, in which Lorenzo and Juliano appear to have been the
     principal actors, though the candidates were eighteen in number.

     'The steed upon which Lorenzo made his first appearance,' says our
     historian, p. 96, 'was presented to him by Ferdinand King of
     Naples. That on which he relied in the combat, by Borso Marquis of
     Ferrara. The Duke of Milan had furnished him with his suit of
     armour. His motto was, _Le tems revient_; his device, the _fleurs
     de lys_; the privilege of using the arms of France having shortly
     before been conceded to the Medici by Louis XI., by a solemn act.
     His first conflict was with Carlo Borromei; his next with Braccio
     de' Medici, who attacked him with such strength and courage, that
     if the stroke had taken place, Orlando himself, as the poet assures
     us, could not have withstood the shock. Lorenzo took speedy
     vengeance, but his spear breaking into a hundred pieces, his
     adversary was preserved from total overthrow. He then assailed
     Carlo de Forme, whose helmet he split, and whom he nearly unhorsed;
     Lorenzo then changing his steed, made a violent attack upon
     Benedetto Salutati, who had just couched his lance ready for the

     Some specimens of the two panegyrics, with the plan of that
     composed by Politiano, are annexed, and translated with our
     author's own felicity.

     The philosophical amusements of the two brothers follow next, in a
     pertinent descant on the _disputationes Camaldulenses_ of Landino;
     and after these, Lorenzo is presented to us as a lover. The
     materials are furnished by his own sonnets, and the comment he
     composed on them, and, though the dead and the surviving beauties
     he celebrates are left nameless, there is reason to suppose, that
     they were Simonetta, the deceased mistress of his brother, and
     Lucretia Donati.

     'The sonnets of Lorenzo,' says Mr. R., p. 116, 'rise and fall
     through every degree of the thermometer of love; he exults and he
     despairs; he freezes and he burns; he sings of raptures too great
     for mortal sense, and he applauds a severity of virtue that no
     solicitations can move. From such contradictory testimony, what are
     we to conclude? Lorenzo has himself presented us with the key that
     unlocks this mystery. From the relation which he has before given,
     we find that Lucretia was the mistress of the poet, and not of the
     man. Lorenzo sought for an object to concentrate his ideas, to give
     them strength, and effect, and he found in Lucretia a subject that
     suited his purpose and deserved his praise. But having so far
     realized his mistress, he has dressed and ornamented her according
     to his own imagination. Every action of her person, every emotion
     of her mind, is subject to his control. She smiles or she frowns;
     she refuses or relents; she is absent or present; she intrudes upon
     his solitude by day, or visits him in his nightly dreams, just as
     his presiding fancy directs.

     'In the midst of these delightful visions, Lorenzo was called upon
     to attend to the dull realities of life. He had now attained his
     twenty-first year, and his father conceived that it was time for
     him to enter into the conjugal state. To this end, he had
     negotiated a marriage between Lorenzo and Clarice, the daughter of
     Giacopo Orsini, of the noble and powerful Roman family of that
     name, which had so long contended for superiority with that of the
     Colonna. Whether Lorenzo despaired of success in his youthful
     passion, or whether he subdued his feelings at the voice of
     paternal authority, is left to conjecture only. Certain, however,
     it is, that in the month of December 1468, he was betrothed to a
     person whom, it is probable, he had never seen, and the marriage
     ceremony was performed on the 4th day of June, 1469.[31] That the
     heart of Lorenzo had little share in this engagement, is marked by
     a striking circumstance. In adverting to his marriage in his
     Ricordi, he bluntly remarks, that he took this lady to wife; _or
     rather_, says he, _she was given to me_, on the day
     before-mentioned. Notwithstanding this apparent indifference, it
     appears, from indisputable documents, that a real affection
     subsisted between them; and there is reason to presume that Lorenzo
     always treated her with particular respect and kindness. Their
     nuptials were celebrated with great splendour. Two military
     spectacles were exhibited, one of which represented a field battle
     of horsemen, and the other the attack and storming of a fortified

     Lorenzo's second journey to Milan, and the death of his father,
     Piero, take up the remainder of this chapter.

     The variety of the materials that compose the third chapter, which
     opens with the political state of Italy at the time of Lorenzo's
     succession to the direction of the republic, is too great, perhaps
     the incidents too minute, and the transition from event to event
     too rapid, to admit of extracts. The riches of the Medici, their
     commercial concerns, and other sources of revenue--the character of
     Giuliano de' Medici, that of Angelo Politiano--the league between
     the Duke of Milan, the Venetians, and the Florentines--the
     establishment of the academy of Pisa--an account of Lorenzo's Poem,
     entitled _Altercatione_, with specimens and translations,
     constitute the most prominent features of the chapter.

     The fourth chapter, whether we consider the importance of the
     events related, or the perspicuity and energy with which they are
     developed and told, contains, in our opinion, the most interesting
     period in the life of Lorenzo, the annals of Florence, and the
     general history of that time. 'The conspiracy of the Pazzi,' says
     our author, p. 176, was 'a transaction in which a pope, a cardinal,
     an archbishop, and several other ecclesiastics, associated
     themselves with a band of ruffians, to destroy two men who were an
     honour to their age and country; and purposed to perpetrate their
     crime at a season of hospitality, in the sanctuary of a Christian
     church, and at the very moment of the elevation of the host, when
     the audience bowed down before it, and the assassins were presumed
     to be in the immediate presence of their God.'

     Having traced the origin of the conspiracy to Rome, and the
     ambition and inveterate enmity of Sixtus the Fourth, and his
     nephew, Count Girolamo Riario, to Lorenzo, Mr. R. proceeds to their
     Florentine accomplices, the family of the Pazzi, whom, though
     allied by intermarriages to that of the Medici, envy, intolerance
     of superiority, penury, and profligacy, had rendered their
     irreconcilable enemies. The young Cardinal Riario our author
     considers more as an instrument in the hands of his uncle Girolamo,
     than as an accomplice in the scheme; and proceeds:

     P. 180. 'This conspiracy, of which Sixtus and his nephew were the
     real instigators, was first agitated at Rome, where the intercourse
     between the Count Girolamo Riario and Francesco de' Pazzi, in
     consequence of the office held by the latter, afforded them an
     opportunity of communicating to each other their mutual jealousy of
     the power of the Medici, and their desire of depriving them of
     their influence in Florence; in which event it is highly probable
     that the Pazzi were to have exercised the chief authority in the
     city, under the patronage, if not under the avowed dominion, of the
     papal see. The principal agent engaged in the undertaking was
     Francesco Salviati, archbishop of Pisa, to which rank he had lately
     been promoted by Sixtus, in opposition to the Medici, who had for
     some time endeavoured to prevent him from exercising his episcopal
     functions. If it be allowed that the unfavourable character given
     of him by Politiano is exaggerated, it is generally agreed that his
     qualities were the reverse of those which ought to have been the
     recommendations to such high preferment. The other conspirators
     were, Giacopo Salviati, brother of the archbishop; Giacopo Poggio,
     one of the sons of the celebrated Poggio Bracciolini, and who, like
     all the other sons of that eminent scholar, had obtained no small
     share of literary reputation; Bernardo Bandini, a daring libertine,
     rendered desperate by the consequences of his excesses; Giovan
     Battista Montesicco, who had distinguished himself by his military
     talents, as one of the _condottieri_ of the armies of the pope;
     Antonio Maffei, a priest of Volterra; and Stephano da Bagnone, one
     of the apostolic scribes, with several others of inferior note.

     'In the arrangement of their plan, which appears to have been
     concerted with great precaution and secrecy, the conspirators soon
     discovered, that the dangers which they had to encounter were not
     so likely to arise from the difficulty of the attempt, as from the
     subsequent resentment of the Florentines, a great majority of whom
     were strongly attached to the Medici. Hence it became necessary to
     provide a military force, the assistance of which might be equally
     requisite, whether the enterprise proved abortive or successful. By
     the influence of the Pope, the King of Naples, who was then in
     alliance with him, and on one of whose sons he had recently
     bestowed a cardinal's hat, was also induced to countenance the

     'These preliminaries being adjusted, Girolamo wrote to his nephew,
     Cardinal Riario, then at Pisa, ordering him to obey whatever
     directions he might receive from the Archbishop. A body of two
     thousand men were destined to approach by different routes towards
     Florence, so as to be in readiness at the time appointed for
     striking the blow.

     'Shortly afterwards the Archbishop requested the presence of the
     Cardinal at Florence, where he immediately repaired, and took up
     his residence at a seat of the Pazzi, about a mile from the city.
     It seems to have been the intention of the conspirators to have
     effected their purpose at Fiesole, where Lorenzo then had his
     country residence, to which they supposed he would invite the
     Cardinal and his attendants. Nor were they deceived in this
     conjecture, for Lorenzo prepared a magnificent entertainment on
     this occasion; but the absence of Giuliano, on account of
     indisposition, obliged the conspirators to postpone the attempt.
     Disappointed in their hopes, another plan was now to be adopted;
     and, on further deliberation, it was resolved, that the
     assassination should take place on the succeeding Sunday, in the
     Church of the Reparata, since called Santa Maria del Fiore, and
     that the signal for execution should be the elevation of the host.
     At the same moment, the Archbishop and others of the conspirators
     were to seize upon the palace or residence of the magistrates,
     whilst the office of Giacopo de Pazzi was to endeavour, by the cry
     of liberty, to incite the citizens to revolt.

     'The immediate assassination of Giuliano was committed to Francesco
     de' Pazzi and Bernardo Bandini, and that of Lorenzo had been
     entrusted to the sole hand of Montesicco. This office he had
     willingly undertaken, whilst he understood it was to be executed in
     a private dwelling, but he shrunk from the idea of polluting the
     House of God with so heinous a crime. Two ecclesiastics were,
     therefore, selected for the commission of a deed, from which the
     soldier was deterred by conscientious motives. These were, Stefano
     da Bagnone, the apostolic scribe, and Antonio Maffei.

     'The young Cardinal having expressed a desire to attend divine
     service in the church of the Reparata, on the ensuing Sunday, being
     the 26th day of April, 1478, Lorenzo invited him and his suite to
     his house in Florence. He accordingly came with a large retinue,
     supporting the united characters of cardinal and apostolic legate,
     and was received by Lorenzo with that splendour and hospitality
     with which he was always accustomed to entertain men of high rank
     and consequence. Giuliano did not appear, a circumstance that
     alarmed the conspirators, whose arrangements would not admit of
     longer delay. They soon, however, learnt that he intended to be
     present at the church.--The service was already begun, and the
     cardinal had taken his seat, when Francesco de' Pazzi and Bandini,
     observing that Giuliano was not yet arrived, left the church and
     went to his house, in order to insure and hasten his attendance.
     Giuliano accompanied them, and as he walked between them, they
     threw their arms round him with the familiarity of intimate
     friends, but in fact to discover whether he had any armour under
     his dress; possibly conjecturing from his long delay, that he had
     suspected their purpose. At the same time, by their freedom and
     jocularity, they endeavoured to obviate any apprehensions which he
     might entertain from such a proceeding. The conspirators having
     taken their stations near their intended victims, waited with
     impatience for the appointed signal. The bell rang--the priest
     raised the consecrated wafer--the people bowed before it,--and, at
     the same instant, Bandini plunged a short dagger into the breast of
     Giuliano.--On receiving the wound, he took a few hasty steps and
     fell, when Francesco de' Pazzi rushed upon him with incredible
     fury, and stabbed him in different parts of his body, continuing to
     repeat his strokes even after he was apparently dead. Such was the
     violence of his rage, that he wounded himself deeply in the thigh.
     The priests who had undertaken the murder of Lorenzo were not
     equally successful. An ill-directed blow from Maffei, which was
     aimed at the throat, but took place behind the neck, rather roused
     him to his defence than disabled him. He immediately threw off his
     cloak, and holding it up as a shield in his left hand, with his
     right he drew his sword and repelled his assailants. Perceiving
     that their purpose was defeated, the two ecclesiastics, after
     having wounded one of Lorenzo's attendants, who had interposed to
     defend him, endeavoured to save themselves by flight. At the same
     moment Bandini, with his dagger streaming with the blood of
     Giuliano, rushed towards Lorenzo; but meeting in his way with
     Francesco Nori, a person in the service of the Medici, and in whom
     they placed great confidence, he stabbed him with a wound
     instantaneously mortal. At the approach of Bandini, the friends of
     Lorenzo encircled him and hurried him into the sacristy, where
     Politiano and others closed the doors, which were of brass.
     Apprehensions being entertained that the weapon which had wounded
     him was poisoned, a young man attached to Lorenzo sucked the wound.
     A general alarm and consternation took place in the church; and
     such was the tumult which ensued, that it was at first believed by
     the audience that the building was falling in; but no sooner was it
     understood that Lorenzo was in danger, than several of the youth of
     Florence formed themselves into a body, and receiving him into the
     midst of them, conducted him to his house, making a circuitous turn
     from the church, lest he should meet with the dead body of his

     Through the subsequent scenes of this atrocious drama as our limits
     forbid to follow the author, and an abbreviated account would do
     little justice to his copiousness or pathos, let it suffice to say,
     that the immediate punishment inflicted on the conspirators, was
     such as might be expected from the revenge of an infuriate people.
     Even the Archbishop was hung from the windows of the palace,
     without being suffered to divest himself from his prelatical robes;
     nor ought it to be considered as a small aggravation of their
     punishment, to have after death been gibbeted for lasting infamy,
     by the pencil of such a villain as Andrea dal Castagno. Happy
     Julian! happier Lorenzo, whom the contemporary genius of Politiano
     has rescued from the equivocal memorial of Pollajuoli.

     It is with regret, we must refer the reader to the work itself for
     the consequences that attended the defeat of this execrable
     attempt--the storm raised by the enraged Pontiff, who now launched
     excommunication on the quondam treasurer of the Holy See, as a son
     of iniquity and nursling of perdition;--the war which, at his
     instigation, the court of Naples commenced against the Republic, on
     their refusal to deliver up Lorenzo;--it's various success; with
     the result of that bold expedient by which Lorenzo at once put an
     end to the miseries of his country, and completely triumphed over
     all his enemies, we mean his visit to Ferdinand himself! At that
     moment his genius had attained the summit of his powers.

     The fifth chapter treats of the studies of Lorenzo, and is executed
     with a degree of _amore_ which developes to us the favourite
     studies of his historian, though from the penetration displayed in
     the management of all the other topics of his hero's character, it
     would be unjust to apply to him the motto of '_tractant fabrilia
     fabri_,' or as Johnson has since expressed it, on talking of the
     political disputes of Milton with Salmasius and More, 'that let the
     subject of dispute be the rights of princes and of nations, it
     will, if treated by grammarians, end in grammatic squabbles.' The
     author is perfectly in place and time: if we be to consider Lorenzo
     as a poet, his right to that title was to be examined and
     established, and the chapter became, with great propriety, part of
     a treatise on poetry. After noticing the rise of Italian literature
     in the fourteenth century, it's subsequent degradation, it's
     revival in the fifteenth, and the rude attempts at restoring it, by
     Burchiello, Matteo Franco, and the three Pulci, that honour is
     conferred on Lorenzo: he is shown to have first, among his
     contemporaries, discriminated the true object, and expressed the
     real characteristics of poetry, in description, poetic comparison,
     and personification of material objects, of passions and
     affections; to have treated with success the prosopopœia. The
     sonnet, that favourite of Italy, is next discussed, and his claims
     to it's honours compared with those of Dante and Petrarca; his
     "Selve d'Amore," a poem in ottava rima; his new discovered poem of
     "Ambra;" of the Caccia col Falcone, his moral pieces, his sacred
     poems or orations, and Laude, or Lodi, are reviewed, and specimens
     admirably translated, or, to speak with more propriety, excelled,
     are annexed. We then proceed to his "Beoni," a piece of jocose
     satire in terza rima on drunkenness, of which the fragment produced
     and translated does at least as much honour to our author's vein of
     humour, as to his hero's; and after expatiating on the expedition
     with which he wrote, and many pertinent remarks on the
     "Improvisatori" of Italy, its drama, opera, and carnival songs, the
     chapter concludes with the opinion of the best contemporary
     critics, on the poetic powers of Lorenzo.

     As the mutual limits of poetry and painting are so frequently
     confounded, it may not be improper to extract what our author says
     on the objects and characteristics of poetry. Vol. 1. p. 255.

     'The great end and object of poetry, and consequently, the proper
     aim of the poet, is to communicate to us a clear and perfect idea
     of his proposed subject. What the painter exhibits by variety of
     colour, by light and shade, the poet expresses in appropriate
     language. The former seizes only the external form, and that only
     in a given attitude. The other surrounds his object, pierces it,
     and discloses its most hidden qualities. With the former, it is
     inert and motionless; with the latter, it lives and moves; it is
     expanded or compressed; it glares upon the imagination, or vanishes
     into air, and is as various as Nature herself.

     'The simple description of natural objects is perhaps to a young
     mind the most delightful species of poetry, and was probably the
     first employment of the poet. It may be compared to melody in
     music, which is relished even by the most uncultivated ear. In
     this department Virgil is an exquisite master.[32] Still more
     lively are the conceptions of Dante, still more precise the
     language in which they are expressed. As we follow him, his wildest
     excursions take the appearance of reality. Compared with his vivid
     hues, how faint, how delicate, is the colouring of Petrarca! yet
     the harmony of the tints almost compensate for their want of force.
     With accurate descriptions of the face of Nature the works of
     Lorenzo abound; and these are often heightened by those minute but
     striking characteristics, which though open to all observers, the
     eye of the poet can alone select. Thus the description of an
     Italian winter, with which he opens his poem of _Ambra_[33], is
     marked by several appropriate and striking images.

     'The foliage of the olive appears of a dark green, but is nearly
     white beneath.

        "L'uliva in qualche dolce piaggia aprica
        Secondo il vento par or verde or bianca."

        "On some sweet sunny slope the olive grows,
        Its hues still changing as the zephyr blows."

     'The flight of the cranes, though frequently noticed in poetry,
     was perhaps never described in language more picturesque than the
     following, from the same poem.

        "Stridendo in ciel, i gru veggonsi a lunge
        L'aere stampar di varie e belle forme;
        E l'ultima col collo steso aggiunge
        Ov' è quella dinanzi alle vane orme."

        "Marking the tracks of air, the clamorous cranes
        Wheel their due flight, in varied lines descried;
        And each with outstretched neck his rank maintains,
        In marshal'd order, through th' ethereal void."

     The following picture from his _Selve d'amore_ is also drawn with
     great truth and simplicity.

        "Al dolce tempo il bon pastore informa
        Lasciar le mandre, ove nel verno giacque:
        E 'l lieto gregge, che ballando in torma,
        Torna all'alte montagne, alle fresche acque.
        L'agnel, trottando pur la materna orma
        Segue; ed alcun, che pur or ora nacque
        L' amorevol pastore in braccio porta:
        Il fido cane a tutti fa la scorta."

        "Sweet Spring returns; the shepherd from the fold
        Brings forth his flock, nor dreads the wintry cold;
        Delighted once again their steps to lead
        To the green hill, clear spring, and flow'ry mead.
        True to their mother's track the sportive young
        Trip light. The careful hind slow moves along,
        Pleased in his arms the new-dropt lamb to bear:
        His dog, a faithful guard, brings up the rear."

     'In the same poem is a description of the golden age, in which the
     author seems to have exerted all his powers, in selecting such
     images as are supposed to have been peculiar to that happy state of

     Mr. R., with great propriety, places the essence of poetic
     diction,--not of poesy itself, for that consists in invention,--in
     representing its object in motion, to impress us with it's variety
     of action and attitudes; in short, in following _time_, avoiding a
     minute anatomy of motionless surfaces, to which words, it's
     vehicle, are totally inadequate. Surface can only be distinctly
     discriminated by line and colour. Hence it is evident that poetry
     cannot in this respect be either put in comparison with, or be
     elevated above painting; the province of their expression, and
     effect, must be for ever separate, though they perfectly coincide
     in their aim, which is to charm and convince the senses. Thus, when
     poetry attempts to describe an object, it must confine itself to
     one, or a very few words, in whatever merely relates to the shape
     or surface of that object, and it's more profuse description is
     _only then_ in it's place, when that object begins to move. Such is
     the rule of Nature and of Homer, from which no ancient or modern
     poet has deviated with impunity; and _Ariosto_, who has described
     the shape, figure, and colour of Alcina, in five stanzas, has
     laboured as much in vain to acquaint us with the ingredients of his
     witch-beauty, as _Constantinus Manasses_ to give us a clear idea of
     Helen by his agglomeration of epithets, or as Haller of the
     Genziana, by a description of nineteen lines. The images which Mr.
     R. adduces from Lorenzo confirm this; they attain their effect
     merely by hastening from the body of the object to it's motion.
     Not the most expressive words of the most expressive language ever
     given to man, arranged by Homer or Milton, or a power still
     superior to their's, could produce a sensation equal to that which
     is instantaneously received by one glance on the face of the Venus
     de' Medici, or in that of the Apollo in Belvedere; and if the
     spark, which Phidias caught from the Zeus of Homer, were shot by
     his _waving_ locks and the _nod_ of his brow, will it be denied
     that _Ctesilas_ in his expiring warrior, from whose expression
     might be collected how much remained of life, or _Aristides_ in the
     wounded mother, who, in the pangs of death, struggled to remove her
     child from her palsied nipple, 'surrounded, pierced, and disclosed
     the most hidden qualities of their objects?'

     From what Mr. R. with great acuteness remarks on poetic comparison,
     we have extracted the following sonnet of Lorenzo, with the
     translation, 'not only,' as he adds, 'as an instance of the
     illustration of one sensible object by another, but of the
     comparison of an abstract sentiment with a beautiful natural
     image.' P. 260.


        "Oimè, che belle lagrime fur quelle
          Che 'l nembo di disio stillando mosse!
          Quando il giusto dolor che'l cor percosse,
          Salì poi su nell' amorose stelle!
        Rigavon per la delicata pelle
          Le bianche guancie dolcemente rosse,
          Come chiar rio faria, che'n prato fosse,
          Fier bianchi, e rossi, le lagrime belle;
        Lieto amor stava in l' amorosa pioggia,
          Com' uccel dopo il sol, bramate tanto,
          Lieto riceve rugiadose stille.
        Poi piangendo in quelli occhi ov'egli alloggia,
          Facea del bello e doloroso pianto,
          Visibilmente uscir dolce faville."

        "Ah! pearly drops, that pouring from those eyes,
          Spoke the dissolving cloud of soft desire!
          What time cold sorrow chill'd the genial fire,
          'Struck the fair urns, and bade the waters rise.'
        Soft down those cheeks, where native crimson vies
          With ivory whiteness, see the crystals throng;
          As some clear river winds its stream along,
          Bathing the flowers of pale and purple dyes,
        Whilst Love rejoicing in the amorous shower,
          Stands like some bird, that, after sultry heats,
          Enjoys the drops, and shakes his glittering wings:
        Then grasps his bolt, and, conscious of his power,
          Midst those bright orbs assumes his wonted seat,
          And thro' the lucid shower his living lightning flings."

     The wing, the harp, the hatchet, the altar of _Simmias_, were the
     dregs of a degraded nation's worn-out taste; but it is matter of
     surprise, that a race celebrated for susceptibility of sentiment
     should have submitted to lisp their first accents, and continued to
     breathe their full raptures of love, in the trammels of a sonnet.
     If, as may reasonably be supposed, the first twister of a sonnet
     were a being of a versatile head and frozen heart, the beauties
     thronged into this little labyrinth, it's glowing words, and
     thoughts that burn, whether we consider the original, or it's more
     than equal translation, equally challenge our admiration and

     We must yet be allowed to make a few observations on what our
     author, perhaps with greater ingenuity than impartiality,
     pronounces on the comparative excellence of the ancients and
     moderns in the use of the prosopopœia.

     P.266.--'If the moderns excel the ancients in any department of
     poetry, it is in that now under consideration. It must not indeed
     be supposed, that the ancients were insensible of the effects
     produced by this powerful charm, which, more peculiarly than any
     other, may be said

        _To give to airy nothing,
        A local habitation and a name._

     But it may safely be asserted, that they have availed themselves of
     this creative faculty much more sparingly, and with much less
     success, than their modern competitors. The attribution of sense to
     inert objects, is indeed common to both; but that still bolder
     exertion, which embodies abstract existence, and renders it
     susceptible of ocular representation, is almost exclusively the
     boast of the moderns.[34]

     'If, however, we advert to the few authors who preceded Lorenzo de'
     Medici, we shall not trace in their writings many striking
     instances of those embodied pictures of ideal existence, which are
     so conspicuous in the works of Ariosto, Spenser, Milton, and
     subsequent writers of the higher class, who are either natives of
     Italy, or have formed their taste upon the poets of that nation.'

     To enforce his premises, the author produces a variety of tableaux
     from the writings of his hero, and not without appearance of
     success, to show his superiority in this species of composition.

     To invalidate the claim of the moderns, with their fragments of
     personification, it might, perhaps, be sufficient to call to the
     reader's mind that immense mass of prosopopœia, on which the
     ancients established the ostensible fabric of their religion. What
     were the divinities that filled their temples, but images of
     things, personifications of the powers of nature? and were not
     these the auxiliaries of their poets? Discriminated by
     characteristics so appropriate and so decisive, that no observation
     of succeeding ages has been able to add any thing essential, or to
     subtract any thing as superfluous from their insignia. At this
     moment, the poet and the artist subsist on their sterling
     properties; and the greatest of the moderns could do no more than
     recompose from the birth of Minerva, the charms of Pandora, and the
     horrors of Scylla, the origin, the beauty, and the deformities of
     his Sin; and if, by the superhuman flight of his fancy, he snatched
     the attributes and shape of Death from a region yet unexplored by
     former wings, the being itself had not been unknown to the
     ancients; it carried off Alceste, and offered battle in it's gloom
     to Hercules. But will it be denied, that by personifying the _act_
     by which his heroes were to fall, and the _punishment_ attendant on
     that act, Milton has, as far as in him lay, destroyed the
     _credibility_ of his poem? Homer found the _abstractions_, which he
     mingled with the real actors of his poem, already personified; and
     to demand a belief in the existence of Minerva or Jupiter,
     subjected his reader to no greater exertion, than to believe in the
     existence of Achilles or Ulysses. Had credibility not been the
     great principle of Homer, had he introduced _Wisdom_ seizing
     _Achilles_ by the hair, and _Beauty_ ravishing _Paris_ from the
     combat, the Iliad, in what concerns the plan, would be little more
     than the rival of the Pilgrim's Progress.

     But if Homer _refused admittance to new-personified beings_ as
     actors of his poem, has he contented himself entirely with
     monosyllabic animation of the inanimate, with roaring shores,
     remorseless stones, or maddening lances? The enormous image of
     _Discord_ in the fourth, the picturesque prosopopœia of
     _Prayers_ and _Guilt_ in the ninth, and the luxuriant episode of
     _Guilt_ again in the nineteenth book of the "Ilias," not only prove
     the contrary, but establish him beyond all competition, Milton
     perhaps excepted, as the first master of that poetic figure. The
     _Liberty_ of Petrarch, and the _Jealousy_ and _Hope_ of Lorenzo de'
     Medici, may with equal propriety adopt the names of _Health_,
     _Suspicion_, and _Curiosity_; but the _Litæ_ of Homer are images
     discriminated from all others, and will rank as models of true
     prosopopœia without the assistance of Hesiod, Æschylus, or the
     love-embodying romance of Apuleius.

     The Appendix to the first volume consists of forty-two pieces, and
     contains the political and literary documents of the history. Of
     these the papers relative to the conspiracy of the Pazzi,
     especially the commentarium of Poliziano, the brief of
     excommunication of Sixtus IV, the reply of the Florentine Synod,
     and the deposition of Giambattista de Montesicco before his
     execution, are the most interesting.

     One great prerogative of the author is, no doubt, that happy
     distribution of matter, by which the grave and the more amusing
     parts of the subject alternately relieve each other. Having left
     his reader "con la bocca dolce," at the conclusion of the first
     volume, Mr. R. at the beginning of the second, exhibits the rival
     of Petrarch, if not as the founder, at least as the first who gave
     action and energy to that conciliating system of politics, since
     denominated the balance of power, the darling maxim of modern

     'The situation of Italy,' says our author, p. 4, 'at this period,
     afforded an ample field for the exercise of political talents. The
     number of independent states of which it was composed, the
     inequality of their strength, the ambitious views of some, and the
     ever-active fears of others, kept the whole country in continual
     agitation and alarm. The vicinity of these states to each other,
     and the narrow bounds of their respective dominions, required a
     promptitude of decision, in cases of disagreement, unexampled in
     any subsequent period of modern history. Where the event of open
     war seemed doubtful, private treachery was without scruple resorted
     to; and where that failed of success, an appeal was again made to
     arms. The Pontifical See had itself set the example of a mode of
     conduct that burst asunder all the bonds of society, and operated
     as a convincing proof that nothing was thought unlawful which
     appeared to be expedient. To counterpoise all the jarring interests
     of these different governments, to restrain the powerful, to
     succour the weak, and to unite the whole in one firm body, so as to
     enable them on the one hand successfully to oppose the formidable
     power of the Turks, and on the other, to repel the incursions of
     the French and the Germans, both of whom were objects of terror to
     the less warlike inhabitants of Italy, were the important ends
     which Lorenzo proposed to accomplish. The effectual defence of the
     Florentine dominions against the encroachments of their more
     powerful neighbours, though perhaps his chief inducement for
     engaging in so extensive a project, appeared, in the execution of
     it, rather as a necessary part of his system than as the principal
     object which he had in view. In these transactions, we may trace
     the first decisive instance of that political arrangement, which
     was more fully developed and more widely extended in the succeeding
     century, and which has since been denominated the balance of power.
     Casual alliances, arising from consanguinity, from personal
     attachment, from vicinity, or from interest, had indeed frequently
     subsisted among the Italian States; but these were only partial and
     temporary engagements, and rather tended to divide the country into
     two or more powerful parties, than to counterpoise the interests of
     individual governments, so as to produce in the result the general

     Before, however, Lorenzo could proceed to the execution of his
     beneficent system, he had to thank his stars for a second escape
     from a new conspiracy formed against his life, at the instigation
     of his old and inveterate enemies, the Riarii, by Battista
     Frescobaldi. This attempt, conducted with less prudence, had none
     of the atrocious consequences of the first, but ended in the
     immediate destruction of Frescobaldi and his Tuscan accomplices.
     Cursorily however, as it is related by our author, it appears to
     have made a deep impression on the mind of his hero, since he
     adopted, in consequence of it, a measure of safety which even the
     homicide Cesar had scorned, that of appearing in public guarded by
     a select band of armed friends.

     The author now proceeds at length, and with equal perspicuity,
     impartiality, and diligence, to detail the progress of Lorenzo's
     measures to secure and establish the independence of Florence, and
     to compose the jarring interests of Italy. Popes, kings, petty
     princes, republics, appear in succession, poised, supported,
     checked, advised, reconciled, to cement his generous plan.
     Eloquence, military skill, caution, liberality, intrepidity, stamp
     him by turns the soul of his own, and the arbiter of the
     surrounding states, till at length the whole is composed and well
     poised,--Italy enjoys security and peace. Such is the general
     outline; a more minute detail, as it would exceed our limits, could
     in a meagre summary serve only to weary the reader: the materials
     vary, the contending parties are not equally important, the heroes
     sometimes relax; conquests give way to a leader's indisposition,
     and battles are fought which remind us of Virgil's winged

        "Hi motus animorum, atque hæc certamina tanta,
        Pulveris exigui jactu compressa quiescunt."

     Chap. VII. From politics, negotiations, and war, we follow our
     author to his academic shades, to the improvements in classic
     learning made under the fostering patronage of Lorenzo; to the
     importation of Greek literature by Emanuel Chrysoloras, Joannes
     Argyropylus, Demetrius Chalcondyles; to the introduction of
     printing, the progress of the Laurentian library, and the
     establishment of a Greek academy at Florence. We are made
     acquainted with Politiano; his merits as a civilian, critic,
     translator, controvertist, and poet: Giovanni Pico, Prince of
     Mirandola, next excites our wonder; and after him, Linacer Landino,
     and the two Verini might claim our attention, were they not
     eclipsed by the female efforts of Alessandra Scala, and Cassandra

     'It might have been expected,' says our author, p. 55, after having
     premised some observations on the seemingly unattainable excellence
     of Dante, Petrarca, and Boccaccio, 'that the successful efforts of
     these authors to improve their native tongue, would have been more
     effectual than the weak, though laudable, attempts made by them to
     revive the study of the ancient languages; but it must be
     remembered, that they were all of them men of genius, and genius
     assimilates not with the character of the age. Homer and Shakspeare
     have no imitators, and are no models. The example of such talents
     is perhaps, upon the whole, unfavourable to the general progress of
     improvement; and the superlative abilities of a few, have more than
     once damped the ardour of a nation. But if the great Italian
     authors were inimitable in the productions of their native
     language, in their Latin writings they appeared in a subordinate
     character. Of the labours of the ancients, enough had been
     discovered to mark the decided difference between their merits and
     those of their modern imitators; and the applauses bestowed upon
     the latter, were only in proportion to the degree in which they
     approached the models of ancient eloquence. This competition was,
     therefore, eagerly entered into; nor had the success of the first
     revivers of these studies deprived their followers of the hope of
     surpassing them. Even the early part of the fifteenth century
     produced scholars as much superior to Petrarca, and his coadjutors,
     as they were to the monkish compilers, and scholastic disputants,
     who immediately preceded them; and the labours of Leonardo Aretino,
     Gianozzo Manetti, Guarino Veronese, and Poggio Bracciolini,
     prepared the way for the still more correct and classical
     productions of Politiano, Sannazaro, Pontano, and Augurelli. The
     declining state of Italian literature, so far then from being
     inconsistent with, was rather a consequence of the proficiency made
     in other pursuits, which, whilst they were distinguished by a
     greater degree of celebrity, demanded a more continued attention,
     and an almost absolute devotion both of talents and of time.'

     It would be injustice to suppose that, by this well turned and
     energetic passage, our author could mean to depreciate the benign
     influence of original genius, or to insinuate aught against the
     necessity of it's periodical appearance: his aim is to assign their
     proper place to the literati of the epoch he describes, to trace
     the probable motives of their pursuits, and to show, that by a
     judicious choice they supplied, in some degree, their want of
     innate power, and even of discernment in their objects of
     imitation. Who, better than our historian, knows, that, if Nature
     be inexhaustible in her resources and productions, and genius be
     merely a power, seizing and representing with clearness some of her
     features, the appearance of one man of genius can no more check the
     perceptions, than preclude the existence of another? He who takes
     Homer or Michael Angelo for his model, adopts him merely as his
     medium to see Nature more distinctly or on a grander scale; he
     imitates without copying, like Virgil and Pelegrino Tibaldi, for
     whom it will be difficult to find a name, if they be refused that
     of imitators of the Ionian and the Tuscan genius. If the supposed
     inaccessible excellence of Dante and his contemporaries dispirited
     the Italians of the fifteenth century from the cultivation of the
     higher Italian poetry, it proved not that they had exhausted
     Nature, but that they were no longer understood; and that they were
     not, almost every line of their pedantic commentators proves.
     Machiavelli, Ariosto, Tasso, appeared after them, with the same
     models before their eyes, and each produced works none would wish
     to exchange for all the laboured lucubrations of Tuscan Latinists:
     the fact is, it was easier to shine before a partial public formed
     by themselves, with glittering compilations of classic lines,
     almost always dishonoured by some clumsy or gothic addition of
     their own, than to emulate the pace of their great predecessors
     before the general eye.

     The domestic character of Lorenzo, the wit, the husband, father,
     friend, appear in the eighth chapter. The author examines and
     acquits him of the charge of having been addicted to licentious
     amours, and exhibits him, if not as a tender, at least as a civil
     husband: but "in no point of view," says he, "does the character of
     this extraordinary man appear more engaging than in his affection
     towards his children, in his care of their education, and in his
     solicitude for their welfare." He accordingly, on each of these
     particulars, enters into very interesting details: we are
     introduced to the characters of his sons, Piero and Giovanni, the
     first known as his successor, the second celebrated as supreme
     pontiff under the assumed name of Leo X. From his children, we pass
     on to Lorenzo's domestic concerns. His villas, Poggio Cajano,
     Careggi, Fiesole, and other domains, pass in review. The visits of
     Piero to Rome and Milan, his marriage with Alfonsina Orsini; the
     exaltation of Giovanni to the dignity of cardinal at the age of
     fourteen, his father's admirable admonitory letter to him on that
     occasion; the death of Madonna Clarice, Lorenzo's wife; his
     patronage of learned ecclesiastics; the assassination of G. Riario,
     and the tragic death of Galeotto Manfredi, Prince of Faenza, occupy
     the remainder.

     If the subject of the ninth chapter, the progress of the plastic
     arts, under the patronage of the Medici, reflect a new lustre on
     the beneficent grandeur of that family, the judgment, perspicuity,
     elegance of taste, and 'amore,' with which it is treated by our
     author, reflect almost equal honour on himself. From the obscure
     dawn of Cimabue to the noonday splendour of M. Angelo, we are
     gradually led to form our ideas of art with a precision and
     distinctness, in vain looked for in the loquacious volumes and
     indiscriminate panegyrics of Vasari. Among so many beauties, the
     choice of selection is difficult; a short extract from one or two
     passages will inform the reader what he is to expect from the
     whole. After mentioning the successful efforts of Lorenzo, Ghiberti
     and Donatello, the author continues:

     P. 189.--'Notwithstanding the exertions of these masters, which
     were regarded with astonishment by their contemporaries, and are
     yet entitled to attention and respect, it does not appear that they
     had raised their views to the true end of the profession. Their
     characters rarely excelled the daily prototypes of common life, and
     their forms, although at times sufficiently accurate, were mostly
     vulgar and heavy. In the pictures which remain of this period, the
     limbs are not marked with that precision which characterizes a
     well-informed artist. The hands and feet in particular appear soft,
     enervated, and delicate, without distinction of sex or character.
     Many practices yet remain that evince the imperfect state of the
     art. Ghirlandajo and Baldovinetti continued to introduce the
     portraits of their employers in historic composition, forgetful of
     that _simplex duntaxat et unum_ with which a just taste can never
     dispense. Cosimo Roselli, a painter of no inconsiderable
     reputation, attempted, by the assistance of gold and ultramarine,
     to give a factitious splendour to his performances. To every thing
     great and elevated, the art was yet a stranger; even the celebrated
     picture of Pollajuolo exhibits only a group of half-naked and
     vulgar wretches, discharging their arrows at a miserable
     fellow-creature, who by changing places with one of his murderers,
     might with equal propriety become a murderer himself.[36] Nor was
     it till the time of Michaelagnolo, that painting and sculpture rose
     to their true object, and instead of exciting the wonder, began to
     rouse the passions and interest the feelings of mankind.'

     Though indignant at the doating tradition which still presumes to
     foist the bedlam trash of Titus Andronicus among Shakspeare's
     pieces; and certainly as little partial to the rubric of
     martyrologies as our author or Mr. Tenhove; we yet believe, that
     their observation receives it's force rather from the
     insensibility, perhaps brutality, of artists, than from the subject
     itself. Let horror and loathsomeness be banished from the
     instruments of art, and the martyrdom of Stephen or Sebastian,
     Agnes or John, becomes as admissible as that of Marsyas or
     Palamedes, Virginia, or Regulus. It is the artist's fault if the
     right moment be missed. If you see only blood-tipt arrows,
     brain-dashed stones, excoriating knives, the artist, not the
     subject, is detestable; this furnished heroism, celestial
     resignation, the features of calm fortitude and beauty, helpless,
     but undismayed; the clown or brute alone, who handled it, pushed
     you down among the assassins from the hero's side. Humanity may
     avert our eyes with propriety from the murdered subjects of Pietro
     Testa, Joseph Ribera, sometimes even of Domenicho himself; but
     apathy, phlegm,[37] effeminacy, alone would prefer an Andromeda, an
     Agave, or a Venus hanging over an expiring Adonis, to the "Madonna
     del Spasmo" of Raffaello, or M. Angelo's Crucifixion of St. Peter.

     We next present the reader with the following passage on

     P. 208.--'The labours of the painter are necessarily transitory,
     for so are the materials that compose them. In a few years
     Michaelagnolo will be known like an ancient artist, only by his
     works in marble. Already it is difficult to determine whether his
     reputation be enhanced or diminished by the sombre representations
     of his pencil in the Pauline and Sixtine chapels, or by the few
     specimens of his cabinet pictures, now rarely to be met with, and
     exhibiting only a shadow of their original excellence. But the
     chief merit of this great man is not to be sought for in the
     remains of his pencil, nor even in his sculptures, but in the
     general improvement of the public taste which followed his
     astonishing productions. If his labours had perished with himself,
     the change which they effected in the opinions and the works of his
     contemporaries would still have entitled him to the first honours
     of the art. Those who from ignorance, or from envy, have
     endeavoured to depreciate his productions, have represented them as
     exceeding in their forms and attitudes the limits and the
     possibilities of nature, as a race of beings, the mere creatures
     of his own imagination; but such critics would do well to consider,
     whether the great reform to which we have alluded could have been
     effected by the most accurate representations of common life, and
     whether any thing short of that ideal excellence which he only knew
     to embody could have accomplished so important a purpose. The
     genius of Michaelagnolo was a leaven which was to operate on an
     immense and heterogeneous mass, the salt intended to give a relish
     to insipidity itself; it was therefore active, penetrating,
     energetic, so as not only effectually to resist the contagious
     effects of a depraved taste, but to communicate a portion of its
     spirit to all around.'

     The comprehensive conception and energy of this admirable passage
     prove our author to have penetrated farther into the character of
     Michaelagnolo, and to have found far more accurate ideas of his
     real prerogative, than either of his favourite biographers.[38]

     Before we dismiss this chapter, we state it as matter of surprise,
     that the accomplishments and gigantic powers of Lionardo da Vinci,
     a man nearly of Lorenzo's own age, appear to have shared in none of
     the favours which he showered on inferior artists.

     Chap. X. We approach with regret the concluding period of this
     history, the last moments and death of Lorenzo. Our regret is
     increased by the limits prescribed to our review, as our author, if
     possible, rises here above the preceding chapters, in the
     accumulation of interesting circumstances, delineation of
     character, and pathetic scenery. The death of his hero involves
     that of the most conspicuous characters around him, of Politiano,
     Pico, Ermolao; the expulsion of his family, and the death of his
     unfortunate son soon follow; and with the reinstatement of the
     Medici, the extinction of the republic, after the unsuccessful
     struggles of Lorenzino de' Medici, and Philippo Strozzi, under the
     establishment of a tyranny, finishes the work. From so rich an
     aggregate of materials, we must content ourselves with a single
     extract, the character of Lorenzo and our author's review of his
     conduct as a statesman.

     P. 239. 'In the height of his reputation, and at a premature period
     of life, thus died Lorenzo de' Medici; a man who may be selected
     from all the characters of ancient and modern history, as
     exhibiting the most remarkable instance of depth of penetration,
     versatility of talent, and comprehension of mind. Whether genius be
     a predominating impulse, directing the mind to some particular
     object, or whether it be an energy of intellect that arrives at
     excellence in any department in which it may be employed, it is
     certain that there are few instances in which a successful
     exertion in any human pursuit has not occasioned a dereliction of
     many other objects, the attainment of which might have conferred
     immortality. If the powers of the mind are to bear down all
     obstacles that oppose their progress, it seems necessary that they
     should sweep along in some certain course, and in one collected
     mass. What then shall we think of that rich fountain, which, whilst
     it was poured out by so many different channels, flowed through
     each with a full and equal stream? To be absorbed in one pursuit,
     however important, is not the characteristic of the higher class of
     genius, which, piercing through the various combinations and
     relations of surrounding circumstances, sees all things in their
     just dimensions, and attributes to each its due. Of the various
     occupations in which Lorenzo engaged, there is not one in which he
     was not eminently successful; but he was most particularly
     distinguished in those which justly hold the first rank in human
     estimation. The facility with which he turned from subjects of the
     highest importance to those of amusement and levity, suggested to
     his countrymen the idea that he had two distinct souls combined in
     one body. Even his moral character seems to have partaken in some
     degree of the same diversity, and his devotional poems are as
     ardent as his lighter pieces are licentious. On all sides, he
     touched the extremes of human character, and the powers of his mind
     were only bounded by that impenetrable circle which prescribes the
     limits of human nature.

     'As a statesman, Lorenzo de' Medici appears to peculiar advantage.
     Uniformly employed in securing the peace and promoting the
     happiness of his country, by just regulations at home, and wise
     precautions abroad, and teaching to the surrounding governments
     those important lessons of political science, on which the
     civilization and tranquillity of nations have since been found to
     depend. Though possessed of undoubted talents for military
     exploits, and of sagacity to avail himself of the imbecility of
     neighbouring powers, he was superior to that avarice of dominion,
     which, without improving what is already acquired, blindly aims at
     more extensive possession. The wars in which he engaged were for
     security, not for territory; and the riches produced by the
     fertility of the soil, and the industry and ingenuity of the
     inhabitants of the Florentine republic, instead of being dissipated
     in imposing projects and ruinous expeditions, circulated in their
     natural channels, giving happiness to the individual, and
     respectability to the state. If he was not insensible to the charms
     of ambition, it was the ambition to deserve rather than to enjoy;
     and he was always cautious not to exact from the public favour more
     than it might be voluntarily willing to bestow. The approximating
     suppression of the liberties of Florence, under the influence of
     his descendants, may induce suspicions unfavourable to his
     patriotism; but it will be difficult, not to say impossible, to
     discover, either in his conduct or his precepts, any thing that
     ought to stigmatize him as an enemy to the freedom of his country.
     The authority which he exercised was the same as that which his
     ancestors had enjoyed, without injury to the republic, for nearly a
     century, and had descended to him as inseparable from the wealth,
     the respectability, and the powerful foreign connexions of his
     family. The superiority of his talents enabled him to avail himself
     of these advantages with irresistible effect; but history suggests
     not an instance in which they were devoted to any other purpose
     than that of promoting the honour and the independence of the
     Tuscan state. It is not by the continuance, but by the dereliction
     of the system that he had established, and to which he adhered to
     the close of his life, that the Florentine republic sunk under the
     degrading yoke of despotic power; and to his premature death we may
     unquestionably attribute, not only the destruction of the
     commonwealth, but all the calamities that Italy soon afterwards

     Though we admire the author's eloquence, and in a great measure
     subscribe to this character, some doubts may be entertained,
     whether Lorenzo had not to thank a premature death for having left
     his political character, if not unsuspected, at least unimpeached
     by direct proofs. Aggrandisement by enormous accumulation of
     wealth, and that obtained, by cautious but unremitting grasps at
     power, appears to have been the leading principle of the Medicean
     family: hence those sacrifices of private attachments and
     animosities; hence that ambition of connecting themselves by
     intermarriage with the most powerful families of the surrounding
     powers; hence the indecent, though successful attempt of raising a
     boy to the dignity of Cardinal, against the qualms of an else
     willing Pontiff; steps not easily accounted for from men who
     professed the honour of being considered as the first citizens of
     Florence, to be the height of their ambition.

     But let us return for a moment to our historian, whose work we
     cannot dismiss without adding our feeble vote to the unbounded
     applause which it has obtained from the best part of the public.
     Mr. R., in our opinion, possesses a high rank among the historians
     of his country. Notwithstanding the modesty of the title, the life
     of Lorenzo de' Medici unites the general history of the times, and
     the political system of the most memorable country in Europe, with
     the characters of the most celebrated men, and the rise and
     progress of science and arts. The greatest praise of the historian
     and biographer, impartiality, might be called its most prominent
     feature, were it not excelled by the humanity of the writer, who
     touches with a hand often too gentle, those blemishes which he
     scorns to disguise. It is impossible to read any part of his
     performance without discovering that an ardent love for the true
     interests of society, and a fervid attachment to virtue and real
     liberty, have furnished his motives of choice, and every where
     directed his pen. The diligence and correctness of judgment by
     which the matter is selected and distributed, notwithstanding the
     scantiness, obscurity, or partiality of the documents that were to
     be consulted, are equalled only by the amenity with which he has
     varied his subjects, and the surprising extent of his information.
     Simplicity, perspicuity, and copiousness, are the leading features
     of his style, often sententious without being abrupt, and decided
     without an air of dogma; that it should have been sometimes
     verbose, sometimes lax or minute, is less to be wondered at, than
     that it should never be disgraced by affectation or pretence of
     elegance. If we be not always led by the nearest road, our path is
     always strewn with flowers; and, if it be the highest praise of
     writing to have made delight the effectual vehicle of instruction,
     our author has attained it.

     The Appendix, of upwards of forty documents relative to the text,
     many highly interesting, is preceded by some original poems of
     Lorenzo, copied by Mr. Clarke, from the MSS. preserved in the
     Laurentian library, and now published for the first time.


     Fuseli's Marriage.--His inducements to associate himself with the
     Royal Academy.--He translates Lavater's "Aphorisms on
     Man."--Remarks on his own "Aphorisms on Art."--Particulars of
     Fuseli's acquaintance with Mrs. Wollstonecraft.

On the 30th June, 1788, Fuseli married Miss Sophia Rawlins, of Bath
Easton, near Bath, a young lady of reputable parentage and of personal
attractions. She had been for some time on a visit to an aunt who
resided in London. In Mrs. Fuseli he found an excellent wife, and with
her he lived happily for thirty-five years. She now survives him. On his
marriage he removed from St. Martin's lane, and took a house, No. 72,
Queen Anne Street, East, now called Foley Street: where he painted most
of the pictures which subsequently composed "The Milton Gallery."

This alteration in his condition effected, from prudential motives, some
change in his mode of acting, if not of thinking. Hitherto, he had a
distaste to all associated bodies for teaching the fine arts; and, in
consequence, refused to belong to some foreign academies during his
residence in Italy; nor would he attend to the repeated recommendations
of his friends (particularly of Sir Joshua Reynolds and Mr. Alderman
Boydell) to become a candidate for the Royal Academy. But being now a
married man, and far from opulent, the consideration of the pension
usually granted by the Royal Academy, under such circumstances, to the
widows of their members, overcame his reluctance; and having put down
his name, and forced himself to undergo the penance of solicitation,
which the members of this as well as several other self-elective bodies
expect from candidates as a right, he was elected an associate of the
Royal Academy on the 3d November, 1788.

In the beginning of the year (1789), Fuseli published, in a small
duodecimo volume, a translation of Lavater's "Aphorisms on Man;" which
work, written in German, was dedicated to him by this early and esteemed
friend. The dedication is dated October, 1787. When Fuseli gave this
book in an English dress, it was with a promise, that a corresponding
volume of "aphorisms on art," (not, indeed, by the same author,) "should
appear in the course of the year." In conformity to this intention, one
sheet was worked off and corrected by him; but an accidental fire having
taken place in the premises of the printer, the whole impression was
destroyed, and Fuseli could never bring himself to undergo the task of
another revision. It is, however, so far fortunate, that the aphorisms
now appear not only in a more concise, correct, and, in point of number,
extended form, but they are also accompanied by many corollaries; for
adding the latter, he gave to me this reason,--"that an aphorism may be
discussed, but ought not to contain its own explication." These
aphorisms, which are not entirely confined to art, but embrace also life
and character, are certainly the master-work of Fuseli in literature:
many of them, it is true, he has used by amplification in his lectures,
and in the notes to "Pilkington's Dictionary of the Painters;" but what
he himself wrote as an advertisement to Lavater's Aphorisms, may be
fairly said of the work as a whole, that it "will be found to contain
what gives their value to maxims,--verdicts of wisdom on the reports of
experience. If some are truisms, let it be considered that Solomon and
Hippocrates wrote truisms: if some are not new, they are recommended by
an air of novelty."

In the autumn of 1790, Fuseli became acquainted with the celebrated Mary
Wollstonecraft. Several publications having gone so far as totally to
misrepresent the nature of his intercourse with this highly-gifted lady,
it becomes the duty of his biographer to give a plain statement of

The talents of Mrs. Wollstonecraft[39] were first brought into notice by
the Rev. John Hewlett, who, to forward her views in getting employment
by writing on literary subjects, introduced her to Mr. Joseph Johnson,
bookseller, in St. Paul's Church-yard. The house and purse of this
liberal man were always open to authors who possessed talents, and who
required pecuniary assistance; and such being the case with Mrs.
Wollstonecraft, she was a frequent visitor at Mr. Johnson's: there
Fuseli met her; but as he was not very ready to make new acquaintances,
and was not only a shy man, but had rather a repulsive manner to those
he did not know, so it was some time before they became intimately

The eyes of all Europe were at this time fixed upon the passing events
in France. That spirit of liberty inherent in the Swiss, now burst forth
in Fuseli, and he considered, as did his friend and countryman Lavater,
that an opportunity was then offered to mankind to assert and secure
their liberties, which no previous period in the history of the world
had afforded. The same feelings animated the bosom of Mrs.
Wollstonecraft: this was kept up, and indeed heightened by her then
daily occupation, that of translating from the French the political
pamphlets of the day, which at this time met with a ready and rapid
sale; and in writing criticisms on them, as well as upon other subjects,
for the Analytical Review.

Congruity of sentiments and feelings upon points which occupied the
thoughts, and engrossed the conversation of persons in all ranks and
stations of life, naturally brought about a closer intimacy between
Fuseli and Mrs. Wollstonecraft, the consequences of which were not
foreseen by the lady; for she little thought that the attachment on her
part, which proceeded from it, would be the cause of her leaving this
country, and thus becoming an eye-witness of the system of Gallic
liberty which she attempted to uphold, emanating, as it did, from
philosophers, being destroyed by murderers and madmen.

Mrs. Wollstonecraft had the strongest desire to be useful to her
connexions and friends, and she began her career in life by sacrificing
her feelings and comforts to what she fancied purity of conduct, and the
benefit of others. It was a favourite consideration with her, that she
"was designed to rise superior to her earthly habitation," and that she
"always thought, with some degree of horror, of falling a sacrifice to a
passion which may have a mixture of dross in it."[40]

Having a face and person which had some pretensions to beauty and
comeliness, Mrs. Wollstonecraft had been frequently solicited to marry;
but previously to her acquaintance with Mr. Fuseli, she had never known
any man "possessed of those noble qualities, that grandeur of soul, that
quickness of comprehension, and lively sympathy," which she fancied
would be essential to her happiness, if she entered into the marriage
state. These she found in him; but there was a bar to all her hopes in
this quarter; for he was already married to a woman whom he loved.

For some years before their acquaintance, with the view of usefulness
which she had prescribed to herself, Mrs. Wollstonecraft "read no book
for mere amusement, not even poetry, but studied those works only which
are addressed to the understanding; she scarcely tasted animal food, or
allowed herself the necessaries of life, that she might be able to
pursue some romantic schemes of benevolence; seldom went to any
amusements (being resident chiefly at Bath, and in the midst of
pleasure), and her clothes were scarcely decent in her situation of
life." The notions of privation which some of the revolutionists in
France were now endeavouring to inculcate, rather encreased than
diminished this tendency in Mrs. Wollstonecraft, and Fuseli found in her
(what he most disliked in woman) a philosophical sloven: her usual dress
being a habit of coarse cloth, such as is now worn by milk-women, black
worsted stockings, and a beaver hat, with her hair hanging lank about
her shoulders. These notions had their influence also in regard to the
conveniences of life; for when the Prince Talleyrand was in this
country, in a low condition with regard to his pecuniary affairs, and
visited her, they drank their tea, and the little wine they took,
indiscriminately from tea-cups.

Fuseli had a talent for conversation peculiar to himself, and his
knowledge of the classics, of literature in general, and of the fine
arts, was extensive, and his memory so retentive, that he seldom forgot
what he had read or seen; these, aided by a great power and fluency of
words, a poetical imagination and ready wit, enabled him at all times to
put even a known subject in a new light. Talents such as these, Mrs.
Wollstonecraft acknowledged she had never seen united in the same
person; and they accordingly made a strong impression on her mind.
"For," said she, "I always catch something from the rich torrent of his
conversation, worth treasuring up in my memory, to exercise my
understanding." She falsely reasoned with herself, and expressed to some
of her intimate friends, that although Mrs. Fuseli had a right to the
person of her husband, she, Mrs. Wollstonecraft, might claim, and, for
congeniality of sentiments and talents, hold a place in his heart; for
"she hoped," she said, "to unite herself to his mind." It was not to be
supposed that this delusion could last long. From an admiration of his
talents she became an admirer of his person, and then, wishing to
create similar feelings in Fuseli, moulded herself upon what she thought
would be most agreeable to him. Change of manners, of dress, and of
habitation were the consequences; for she now paid more than ordinary
attention to her person, dressed fashionably, and introduced furniture
somewhat elegant into commodious apartments, which she took for that

But these advances were not met with the affection which she had hoped
to inspire in Fuseli,--for he admired her chiefly for her talents; and
in the warmth of her disappointed feelings she constantly vented
complaints of being neglected. These availed so little, that sometimes
when Fuseli received letters from her, thinking they teemed only with
the usual effusions of regard, and the same complaints of neglect, he
would allow them to be some days unopened in his pocket.

The tumult which was raised in her mind by conflicting feelings, having
love for the object, and yet the wish that her affection should be so
regulated as to be strictly within the bounds which she had assigned to
love, that of "strength of feeling unalloyed by passion," injured in a
degree her health, and unfitted her for those literary pursuits which
required a more than ordinary exertion of the mind. For more than
twelve months "she wrote nothing but criticisms for the Analytical
Review," and even these, which required but little exertion of the
talents which she possessed, would not have been written but for her
daily necessities. Fuseli reasoned with her, but without any effect,
upon the impropriety of indulging in a passion that took her out of
common life. Her answer was, "If I thought my passion criminal, I would
conquer it, or die in the attempt. For immodesty, in my eyes, is
ugliness; my soul turns with disgust from pleasure tricked out in charms
which shun the light of heaven."

At length Mrs. Wollstonecraft appears to have grown desperate, for she
had the temerity to go to Mrs. Fuseli, and to tell her, that she wished
to become an inmate in her family; and she added, as I am above deceit,
it is right to say that this proposal "arises from the sincere affection
which I have for your husband, for I find that I cannot live without the
satisfaction of seeing and conversing with him daily." This frank avowal
immediately opened the eyes of Mrs. Fuseli, who being alarmed by the
declaration, not only refused her solicitation, but she instantly
forbade her the house. No resource was now left for Mrs. Wollstonecraft,
but to fly from the object which she regarded: her determination was
instantly fixed; she wrote a letter to Fuseli, in which she begged
pardon "for having disturbed the quiet tenour of his life," and on the
8th of December, 1792, left London for France.

Shortly after her arrival in Paris, she again wrote to Fuseli, gave him
her opinion of the state of public feeling at that important period of
the revolution, and implored him to write to her occasionally. As this
letter was not answered, all communication on her part during her
residence abroad ceased.

The cause of Mrs. Wollstonecraft's protracted stay in France;--for she
intended, prior to her departure from England, to have remained there
only six weeks,--and the attachment which she formed while in Paris, are
foreign to this memoir; besides, if they were not, it would be
unnecessary now to detail them, as they have been long before the public
from the able pen of him who afterwards became her husband.[41]

After an absence of nearly two years and a half, Mrs. Wollstonecraft
returned to London, (in April 1795,) and on her arrival called upon
Fuseli: the reception which she met with, it is presumed, was not very
grateful to her feelings, for she shortly after wrote him the following

     "When I returned from France, I visited you, Sir, but finding
     myself after my late journey in a very different situation, I
     vainly imagined you would have called upon me. I simply tell you
     what I thought, yet I write not, at present, to comment on your
     conduct or expostulate. I have long ceased to expect kindness or
     affection from any human creature, and would fain tear from my
     heart its treacherous sympathies. I am alone. The injustice,
     without alluding to hopes blasted in the bud, which I have endured,
     wounding my bosom, have set my thoughts adrift into an ocean of
     painful conjectures. I ask impatiently what--and where is truth? I
     have been treated brutally; but I daily labour to remember that I
     still have the duty of a mother to fulfil.

     "I have written more than I intended,--for I only meant to request
     you to return my letters: I wish to have them, and it must be the
     same to you. Adieu!"


     "Monday Morning,--To Mr. Fuseli."

All communication ceased between the parties from this time until after
Mrs. Wollstonecraft's marriage with Mr. Godwin. Fuseli noticed this
occurrence in a letter to a friend, in the following terms: "You have
not, perhaps, heard that the assertrix of female rights has given her
hand to the _balancier_ of political justice."

Fuseli saw Mrs. Godwin but seldom; he dined only once at her table.
Indeed, this lady did not live long to enjoy the happiness which she had
pictured to herself, in being the wife of a man of genius and talents;
for she died on the 10th September 1797, after having given birth to a
female child,[42] who has proved herself, by works of the imagination,
to be worthy of her parents. Fuseli could not but feel much regret on
the occasion; but as "grief does not give utterance to words," so he
barely noticed the catastrophe in the postscript of a letter to Mr.
Roscoe, in these terms,--"Poor Mary!"


     Fuseli undertakes the Illustration of Cowper's Edition of
     Milton.--First notion of the "Milton Gallery" hence
     suggested.--Letter to Mr. Roscoe from Fuseli and Mr.
     Johnson.--Curious circumstances attending Fuseli's Election as a
     Royal Academician.--Sir Joshua Reynolds's temporary secession
     connected with that event.--Fuseli's progress in the pictures for
     the "Milton Gallery."--Controversy between Fuseli and the Rev. Mr.
     Bromley.--Subjects painted for "Woodmason's Illustrations of
     Shakspeare."--Subscription towards the completion of the Milton
     Gallery.--Letter from Mr. Roscoe.--Fuseli contributes to "Seward's
     Anecdotes."--His Visit to Windsor with Opie and
     Bonnycastle.--Anecdotes connected with that Visit.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Mr. Johnson's Imprisonment, and Fuseli's adherence to
     him.--Anecdote of Lord Erskine.--Exhibition of the "Milton
     Gallery," and List of the Works composing it, with incidental
     Comments, &c.--Letter to Fuseli from his brother Rodolph.--Letter
     from Fuseli to Mr. Locke.

The Shakspeare Gallery was now (in 1790) nearly completed, and hence
Fuseli's commissions for this had ceased. The success which had attended
Boydell, in his edition of Shakspeare's works, induced Mr. Johnson to
issue proposals for publishing one of Milton, which should not only
rival this, but, in point of letterpress, designs, and engravings,
surpass any work which had previously appeared in England. Cowper had
long meditated giving an edition of Milton's poetical works, with
copious notes on his English poems, and translations into verse of those
in Latin and Italian; and, indeed, he had made some progress in the
undertaking. Johnson, who was his publisher, urged him to complete it;
to which he assented, and Fuseli was engaged to paint thirty pictures,
which were to be put into the hands of the ablest engravers of the time.
Cowper proceeded with his part, and Fuseli laboured in putting upon
canvass the sublime, the pathetic, and the playful scenes in Milton.
That of "The Contest of Satan, Sin, and Death," was soon finished, and
given to Sharpe to engrave. "Eve starting from seeing herself in the
Water" was put into the hands of Bartolozzi. "Satan taking his flight
from Chaos," and "Adam and Eve observed by Satan," were ready for the
graver of Blake.

The serious mental indisposition of Cowper, which took place before he
had completed his part of the work, and the opposition which Mr.
Alderman Boydell offered to the progress of the scheme, thinking that it
would affect the sale of his edition of Milton, made Mr. Johnson resolve
to abandon it altogether. This undertaking of Fuseli's was, however, the
foundation of a stupendous work by him, "The Milton Gallery," of which
I shall have occasion hereafter to speak, and which he appears to have
meditated in August 1790, while at Ramsgate in company with Mr. Johnson;
shortly after he began to paint for Cowper's projected edition of
Milton's poetical works, as will be shewn by the following letter
written by him to Mr. Roscoe, and to which Johnson added a postscript.

                                           "Ramsgate, 17th August, 1790.

        "MY DEAR SIR,

       "I did indeed receive your letter, but had not the pleasure of
     seeing Mr. Daulby. The first time he called upon me, I happened to
     be at dinner with some company, and as it never entered my head the
     stately figure which I observed dropping from the coach should be
     our friend, I ordered myself to be denied. The letter was left, but
     no time mentioned when he would call again, or any place assigned
     where I might find him. Johnson knew nothing of his abode. In about
     eight or ten days he called again, but I was at Woolwich: the next
     morning, I understand, he left town. You both will easily believe
     that I was extremely mortified, not to have had it in my power to
     enjoy an hour or two in his company; but I console myself with the
     thought, that he spent those hours with more satisfaction to

     "You may by this time have forgot the contents of your letter: it
     contains a comparison between your pursuits and mine; and no doubt
     I make the most advantageous figure on paper. I am on a road of
     glory; you are only crawling about from the white to the brown bed.
     I should, however, not be very uneasy if I could, without a total
     change of situation, obtain a little of that "elbow-room" for my
     mind, which it seems you get by moving from a large house to a
     smaller one. Notwithstanding the success of my election at the
     Academy, and of the pictures which I have painted for the
     Shakspeare Gallery, my situation continues to be extremely
     precarious. I have been and am contributing to make the public drop
     their gold into purses not my own; and though I am, and probably
     shall be, fully employed for some time to come, the scheme is
     hastening with rapidity towards its conclusion. "There are," says
     Mr. West, "but two ways of working successfully, that is,
     lastingly, in this country, for an artist,--the one is, to paint
     for the King; the other, to meditate a scheme of your own." The
     first he has monopolized; in the second he is not idle: witness the
     prints from English history, and the late advertisement of
     allegorical prints to be published from his designs by Bartolozzi.
     In imitation of _so great a man_, I am determined to lay, hatch,
     and crack an egg for myself too, if I can. What it shall be, I am
     not yet ready to tell with certainty; but the sum of it is, a
     series of pictures for _exhibition_, such as Boydell's and
     Macklin's. To obtain this, it will be necessary that I should have
     it in my power to work without commission or any kind of
     intermediate gain, for at least three years; in which time I am
     _certain_ of producing at least twenty pictures of different
     dimensions. The question is, what will enable me to live in the
     mean time? With less than three hundred a-year _certain_, I cannot
     do it. My idea is, to get a set of men (twenty, perhaps,--less if
     possible, but not more,) to subscribe towards it. Suppose twenty
     pounds each annually, to be repaid either by small pictures or
     drawings, or the profits of the exhibition, should it succeed, of
     which there can be no very great doubt.

     "Such is, at present, the rude outline of my scheme: it is in this
     manner alone that I can exhibit that variety of picturesque ideas
     of which, I flatter myself, you have seen specimens amongst my
     productions on paper and canvass; and now, tell me your opinion
     with your usual openness. I am in earnest, yours truly,

                              "H. Fuseli."

     "W. Roscoe, Esq."

     "The few pictures that have been painted for Boydell's scheme by
     our friend,--and he has little more to expect, from the numbers
     employed,--I need not say to you, are perfectly sufficient to
     justify the warmest expectations from the scheme he has projected;
     but they are trifling, when we consider what he is capable of were
     he perfectly at his ease for a few years, and at perfect liberty to
     choose his subjects. His plan has my hearty concurrence; and I have
     gone so far as to say, that I would be one of six, or even of
     three, to support him in it; but he prefers a larger number. You
     are the only one to whom it has been mentioned, and it should be
     spoken of with great delicacy, for it had better not be known until
     it is nearly ripe: think of it, and tell me your sentiments. It may
     be, and I am confident it is, unnecessary to tell _you_; but as
     such things are common in your experience, I shall say, that this
     is not the effort of a man whose circumstances are involved, to
     save himself from sinking. Our friend, though not rich, is
     perfectly free from incumbrances. We shall be in town in a few

                              "J. Johnson."

On the 10th of February, 1790, Fuseli was elected a Royal Academician.
As his election was accompanied by a circumstance which caused a great
sensation at that time, (I allude to the temporary secession of Sir
Joshua Reynolds from the Royal Academy,) it will not be uninteresting to
give Fuseli's account of the transaction, which I have heard him
frequently relate.

The Earl of Aylesford, the intimate friend of Sir Joshua, had patronized
M. Bonomi, an Italian by birth, a native of Rome, and by profession an
architect; and, with the view of serving this gentleman, recommended him
strongly to the protection of the President of the Royal Academy.
Accordingly, in the early part of 1789, M. Bonomi became a candidate for
the preliminary step, an Associate of the Academy, in opposition to Mr.
Gilpin, well known as a landscape painter of merit, and who, for his
amiable disposition and manners, was a man much respected and esteemed.
Sir Joshua exerted his influence to secure success to M. Bonomi; but as
the number of votes for the two candidates, on the ballot, were found to
be equal, the President asserted his privilege of the casting-vote,
which he gave in favour of the architect, avowing, at the same time,
that he had done so with the intention of his being elected an
Academician when a vacancy should occur, and thus becoming eligible,
according to the laws of the Academy, to occupy the chair of Professor
of Perspective, which was then vacant; considering it, as he said,
highly desirable that this should be filled according to those laws, by
an Academician, and that, in his opinion, M. Bonomi was the person best
qualified for the situation. On the death of Mr. Meyer,[43] which took
place early in the year 1790, M. Bonomi was accordingly proposed to
succeed him as a Royal Academician. Fuseli, who had always been treated
with great kindness by Sir Joshua, called upon him to solicit his vote
for himself. The President received him with politeness, acknowledged
the claims which he had to the distinction of an Academician, from the
great talents which he possessed, and which no man appreciated more than
himself; but he said, "Were you my brother, I could not serve you on
this occasion; for I think it not only expedient, but highly necessary
for the good of the Academy, that M. Bonomi should be elected:" and he
added, "on another vacancy, you shall have my support." Fuseli, in
answer, thanked Sir Joshua for his candour, and hoped if he tried his
friends on _this_ occasion, he would not be offended. To this the
President said, "Certainly not."

Sir Joshua was active in taking measures to favour the views of M.
Bonomi; and although he expected some opposition, from the spirit which
was manifested on the former occasion, yet he was nevertheless very
sanguine as to the ultimate success of this candidate. On the evening of
the election, an expedient was resorted to, no doubt with the sanction
of, but not acknowledged by, the President,--that of exhibiting on the
table of the Academy some neatly executed drawings of M. Bonomi; which
display had a contrary effect to what Sir Joshua expected. The friends
of Fuseli protested against this, which they deemed an innovation, and
urged with great propriety, that if drawings were to be shown, he should
have the same chance as his competitor; stating at the same time, that
his portfolio was as rich in these as any man's; "for the members," said
they, "must be aware, that no modern artist excels Mr. Fuseli in

The sense of the meeting was taken; and after a warm debate, M. Bonomi's
drawings were ordered to be removed.

As it was considered that Fuseli's claims had not been fairly met, those
who were wavering in opinion before, now became fixed in his favour, and
when the numbers were declared, there were twenty-one votes for, and
only nine against him. This decision was evidently unexpected by Sir
Joshua, who, on leaving the chair, shewed some degree of mortification;
and on the 23d of February, 1790, thirteen days after the election had
taken place, he wrote a letter to the Academicians, in which were these
words: "I resign the Presidency of the Royal Academy, and also my seat
as an Academician." It is unnecessary, in this place, to detail the
means which the Academy took, and successfully, to recall him to the
chair: suffice it to say, that, notwithstanding the chagrin which he
experienced, in failing to carry the point for M. Bonomi, Sir Joshua was
unaltered in his kindness to Fuseli, during the remainder of his life.

The employment which had been given to Fuseli by Mr. Alderman Boydell,
for the Shakspeare Gallery, enabled him to save some money; he therefore
proceeded with a degree of confidence in the great work which he had for
some years meditated, and on which he was now actively employed,--the
pictures which were to form the "Milton Gallery." In aid of these
means, however, he expected to be able to maintain himself, during the
execution of the work, by painting occasionally small pictures for the
printsellers and booksellers, on whom the historical painters of this
country have principally depended for support. But in this he was in a
great measure disappointed, for his competitors in the art raised a
report, that his time was so much occupied in a scheme of such magnitude
from Milton, that he had no leisure for any other subject,--hence their
usual commissions began to decline, and at length almost ceased.

Fuseli felt this disappointment of his hopes, and in a letter to Mr.
Roscoe says, "I am convinced that of all the lies Nero told, that in
which he asserts art was supported by all the earth, was the most
atrocious; and although _laudatur et alget_ seems to be intended for my
motto, and though despondence often invades my pillow, yet my head and
hand still keep on steady in the prosecution of my great work. May the
hope which carries me on, not prove delusive."

The monotony of painting from one author, however, was in a degree
broken by the variety of subjects which Milton's poetical works afford,
for he could at will turn "from grave to gay:" this transition, Fuseli
often acknowledged, afforded him considerable relief and pleasure.

In the year 1793, the Rev. R. A. Bromley, rector of St. Mildred's in the
Poultry, issued proposals for publishing by subscription, two large
quarto volumes of "A Philosophical and Critical History of the Fine
Arts, more especially Painting;" and at the instance of Mr. West, the
Royal Academy subscribed for a copy. The first volume appeared early in
1794, and the author, after having discussed and criticised the works of
Michael Angelo and Raphael, thus expresses himself:--"The dignity of
moral instruction is degraded whenever the pencil is employed on
frivolous, whimsical, and unmeaning subjects. On this head, it is to be
feared, there ever will be too much cause for complaint, because there
ever will be persons incapable of solidity, although very capable of
executing this art with power: strength of understanding, and ability in
art or science, are very different things; they are derived from
different sources, and they are perfectly independent of each other. The
one can no more be instrumental to the communication of the other, than
either can communicate temper or disposition. The finest art in the
world may therefore be combined with the lightest and most superficial
mind. Books are written of a light and fantastic nature by those who
cannot write otherwise, and yet will write something. And so it is with
painting; the mind of the artist can but give such subjects as are
consecutaneous to its turn.--_The Nightmare_, _Little Red Ridinghood_,
_The Shepherd's Dream_, or any dream that is not marked in authentic
history as combined with the important dispensations of Providence, and
many other pieces of a visionary and fanciful nature, are speculations
of as exalted a stretch in the contemplation of such a mind, as the
finest lessons as were ever drawn from religion, or morals, or useful
history; and yet the painter who should employ his time on such
subjects, would certainly amuse the intelligent no more than the man who
should make those subjects the topics of a serious discourse. But what
good has the world, or what honour has the art, at any time derived from
such light and fantastical speculations? If it be right to follow
Nature, there is nothing of her here,--all that is presented to us is a
reverie of the brain. If it be allowable to cultivate fancy, that which
has little or nothing of nature in its composition becomes ridiculous. A
man may carry the flights of imagination even within the walks of the
chastest art or science, till they become mere waking dreams, as wild as
the conceits of a madman. The author of Observations on _Fresnoy de
Arte_ very properly calls these persons, 'Libertines of painting:' as
there are libertines of religion, who have no other law but the
vehemence of their own inclinations, so these have no other model, he
says, but a rodomontado genius, which shews us a wild or savage nature
that is not of our acquaintance, but of a new creation.

"If not in subjects altogether, yet in manner, one of the first examples
of this kind, if not the very first, appeared about the latter end of
the sixteenth century, in a Neapolitan, who is commonly known by the
name of Giuseppe d'Arpino."

After having thus openly condemned some of the subjects painted by Sir
Joshua Reynolds and Fuseli, the author shortly after launches out in
unqualified praise of the works of West, particularly his "Death of
Wolfe," of which he gives an elaborate description, and concludes by
considering it as "one of the most genuine models of historic painting
in the world." The series of pictures painted by Barry, which adorns the
great room of the Society of Arts in the Adelphi, are also eulogized by

It was generally known to the academicians, that Mr. Bromley had
assisted Mr. West in arranging and getting up the discourses which the
latter delivered to the Royal Academy; and it was conjectured that Mr.
West had given his friend some of the observations on modern art, even
those in praise of his own works. These circumstances, and Mr. Bromley's
strictures upon a living artist (Fuseli), disgusted many of the members
of the Royal Academy, and they requested Fuseli not only to animadvert
upon them, but to prove (what he broadly asserted) that Mr. Bromley did
not understand the subject, and that he was equally ignorant of the
classical authorities which he quoted in his Dissertation upon Ancient
Art. Fuseli immediately undertook the task, and published in a journal,
a letter addressed to Mr. Bromley, pointing out a variety of errors in
his work. I regret, after having employed much industry to find this,
that I have not succeeded. Mr. Bromley answered it by publishing two
letters in the Morning Herald of the 12th and 18th of March 1794, in
which he deeply complains of the injury he sustained, as an author, by
the observations of Fuseli; admits that several of these are correct
which regard classical quotations, but shields himself by stating that
his manuscript was right, and that the errors are to be attributed to
the printer.

Fuseli's letter, however, made so deep an impression, that the Academy
were about to reject the book altogether, as unworthy a place in their
library; but after some debate, they came to the resolution to allow the
first volume to remain there, but to withdraw the subscription for the
second. And on the 20th of February, 1794, at a general meeting of
Academicians, they came to this resolution, "That Mr. Fuseli has
conducted himself properly in his remarks on Mr. Bromley's book." In
consequence of the opposition of Fuseli, the second volume was never

In 1794, Fuseli painted for Mr. Seward "The Conspiracy of Catiline."
This gentleman was so much pleased with the picture, that he wrote the
following verses, which were published in the "Whitehall Evening Post,"
in the December that year, and copied into the "European Magazine, for
January 1795."



        Artist sublime! with every talent blest,
        That Buonarroti's great and awful mind confest;
        Whose magic colours, and whose varying line
        Embody things, or human or divine;
        Behold the effort of thy mastering hand,
        See Catilina's parricidal band,
        By the lamp's tremulous, sepulchral light,
        Profane the sacred silence of the night;
        To Hell's stern King their curs'd libations pour,
        While the rich goblet foams with human gore.
        See how, in full and terrible array,
        Their fatal poignards they at once display,
        Direly resolving, at their Chief's behest,
        To sheath them only in their Country's breast.
        Too well pourtray'd, the scene affects our sight
        With indignation, horror, and affright.
        Then quit these orgies, and with ardent view
        Fam'd Angelo's advent'rous track pursue;
        Let him extend thy[44] terrible career
        Beyond the visible diurnal sphere,
        Burst Earth's strong barrier, seek th' abyss of Hell,
        Where sad Despair and Anguish ever dwell;
        In glowing colours to our eyes disclose
        The monster Sin, the cause of all our woes;
        To our appall'd and tortur'd senses bring
        Death's horrid image, Terror's baneful King;
        And at the last, the solemn, dreadful hour,
        We all may bless thy pencil's saving power;
        Our danger from thy pious colours see,
        And owe eternity of bliss to thee.
        Then to the Heaven of heavens ascend, pourtray
        The wonders of th' effulgent realms of day;
        Around thy pallet glorious tints diffuse,
        Mix'd from th' ethereal arch's vivid hues;
        With every grace of beauty and of form,
        Inspire thy mind, and thy rich fancy warm.
        Cherub and seraph, now, in "burning row,"
        Before the throne of Heaven's high Monarch bow,
        And, tun'd to golden wires, their voices raise
        In everlasting strains of rapt'rous praise.
        Blest[45] commentator of our Nation's Bard,
        Long lov'd with every reverence of regard,
        Whose matchless Muse dares sing in strains sublime,
        Things unattempted yet in prose or rhyme!
        The critic's painful efforts, cold and dead,
        Merely inform the slow and cautious head;
        Whilst thy effusions, like Heaven's rapid fire,
        Dart through the heart, and kindred flames inspire,
        And at one flash, to our astonish'd eyes,
        Objects of horror or delight arise.
        Proceed, my friend; a Nation safely trust,
        To merit splendidly and quickly just;
        She the due tribute to thy toils shall pay,
        And lavishly her gratitude display;
        The Bard himself, from his Elysium bowers
        Contemplating thy pencil's plastic powers,
        Well pleas'd, shall see his fame extend with thine,
        And gladly hail thee, as himself, divine. S.

In the years 1793 and 1794, Fuseli painted four pictures for
"Woodmason's Illustrations of Shakspeare,"--two from subjects in the
Midsummer Night's Dream, and the other two from Macbeth. Three of these
are known by engravings, namely, Oberon squeezing the juice of the
flowers into Titania's eyes while she sleeps,--Titania awake, attended
by fairies, and in raptures with Bottom wearing the ass's head,--and
Macbeth meeting the Witches on the heath.--The fourth, Macbeth with the
Witches at the cauldron, was chosen by Sharpe, and some progress made by
him in the engraving of it, when the scheme was abandoned. Fuseli was
much gratified by my having subsequently purchased this picture, and
remarked, "You have another of my best poetical conceptions. When
Macbeth meets with the witches on the heath, it is terrible, because he
did not expect the supernatural visitation; but when he goes to the cave
to ascertain his fate, it is no longer a subject of terror: hence I have
endeavoured to supply what is deficient in the poetry. To say nothing of
the general arrangement of my picture, which in composition is
altogether triangular, (and the triangle is a mystical figure,) I have
endeavoured to shew a colossal head rising out of the abyss, and that
head Macbeth's likeness. What, I would ask, would be a greater object
of terror to you, if, some night on going home, you were to find
yourself sitting at your own table, either writing, reading, or
otherwise employed? would not this make a powerful impression on your
mind?" Fuseli always complained of not being able to effect all he
wished in these pictures, in consequence of being limited to shape and
size, as it was stipulated by Woodmason, that those painted for his
gallery should be 5 feet 6 inches high, by 4 feet 6 inches broad.

It was not until his own means were exhausted that Fuseli could bring
himself to solicit pecuniary assistance from others for the
accomplishment of his plan of the "Milton Gallery." As soon, however, as
it was understood that he must either give it up, or be supported in it,
six of his intimate friends (in 1797) immediately came forward, and each
agreed to advance him fifty pounds per annum, until the task was
completed. It gives me pleasure to place the names of these gentlemen on
record. Messrs. Coutts, Lock, Roscoe, G. Steevens, Seward, and Johnson.
It was stipulated that they were to be paid out of the proceeds of the
exhibition of the Milton Gallery, or take pictures or drawings to the
value of their contributions. Mr. Coutts, in addition to his annuity,
with that characteristic spirit of true liberality which ever marked his
conduct, and with that modesty which generally accompanies such
feelings, made a donation of a hundred pounds, under the injunction that
his name should not appear in the transaction; and Mr. Roscoe gave
proofs of the sincere friendship which he entertained for the artist, by
not only buying pictures to a considerable amount, but also by inducing
his friends and connexions at Liverpool to make purchases. The interest
which Mr. Roscoe took in Fuseli's labours is shown in the following

        "MY DEAR FRIEND,

       "I am much mortified that I shall not have the pleasure of seeing
     you in Liverpool; but, at the same time, if your bringing your
     works before the public next Spring depends on your close attention
     to them at present, it will, I confess, in a great degree reconcile
     me to my disappointment. I look upon this as the period which will
     shew you to the public in your true light, and obtain for you that
     universal suffrage which will secure you a great and lasting
     reputation. Inclosed is a bill from Clarke's for a second hundred
     pounds, of which you will be pleased to acknowledge the receipt by
     a line, when it comes to hand. I consider you as connected in
     London with friends of more liberality than are generally met with,
     and I esteem you as a cautious and provident man, for an artist;
     notwithstanding which, I may be excused in suggesting to you, that
     this exhibition should be wholly on your own account, and should
     not be connected with any subsequent plan that may be proposed for
     publication of prints from the pictures, &c. With respect to the
     mode of exhibiting the pictures, I still think the least expensive
     will be to stucco the room with pannels, with broad mouldings, in
     imitation of frames, which may be painted in a bold style, to suit
     the pictures. If this could be done in imitation of bronze, it
     would have a grave and better effect for such subjects, than if you
     even went to the expense of gilding, which would be enormous. I
     mention this, because, if you think the plan likely to answer, the
     work should be done some time before, that it may be sufficiently
     dry. Perhaps all this may be unnecessary, and you have already
     decided on a better plan; but I know you will attribute it to its
     proper motive.

     "My wife has been unwell for some time past, owing, I believe, to
     nursing too long. Apropos--I have just translated a poem on this
     subject, in two capitoli from the Italian of Luigi Tansillo, in
     which he endeavours to prevail on the ladies to undertake that
     important duty to their children. Tansillo was contemporary with
     Ariosto, &c., and for purity of style is excelled by few of his
     countrymen. I have sent my version to Shepherd, to revise, &c.; but
     am yet undecided whether I should publish it.[46]--Adieu, my dear
     friend, and believe me very truly and affectionately yours,

                              "W. Roscoe."

     "Liverpool, 12th Dec. 1797."

The assistance afforded by these friends enabled Fuseli to carry on
steadily the grand work on which he was engaged, and to this, most
probably, the public owe many of the pictures of which the Milton
Gallery was composed. After acknowledging his gratitude to one of them
(Mr. Roscoe), he thus expresses himself, "I shall now endeavour to carry
through a work which I consider a monument of myself; whatever I may be,
_magnis tamen excido ausis_, if I do not succeed to give it excellence."

In 1795, Fuseli assisted his friend Mr. Seward by contributing several
articles to an amusing and instructive work known by the appellation of
"Seward's Anecdotes."

In 1796, he painted a picture for Macklin's Gallery, "The Vision of the
Candlesticks," from the Revelations of St. John. For this he chose what
may be considered the most sublime moment, the sudden appearance of the
apparition and the trance of the saint; but he always regretted that he
was limited to size, and tied too much to biblical precision by Mr.
Macklin, instead of being allowed to exercise the full range of his
fancy on a canvass of larger dimensions.

In the autumn of this year (1796), Mr. and Mrs. Fuseli, with Messrs.
Opie and Bonnycastle, passed a few days at Windsor; the object of the
two artists was not only to have some relaxation and to see the
pictures, but to examine critically the cartoons of Raphael, which were
at this time in the Castle. An anecdote or two will show the disposition
of the three men. In their journey down by the stage-coach, they were
much annoyed by an outside passenger placing his legs over one of the
windows. Opie at first gently remonstrated with him; this, however, not
producing the desired effect, he pinched his legs, but yet the nuisance
continued; at length the coach stopped at an inn. Opie, being enraged,
exerted his Herculean strength, and pulled the person to the ground; but
this did not produce any rencontre.--When at Windsor, the two painters
endeavoured to palm the Scriptural subjects of West upon Bonnycastle for
the cartoons of Raphael; but although he was not a competent judge of
works of art, yet he was too well read not to detect their intentions.
Bonnycastle, however, wished to show his critical knowledge, and
ventured upon the observation usually made on the cartoon of "The
Miraculous Draught of Fishes," that the boat was not sufficiently large
for the men, much less for the lading. Fuseli instantly answered, "By
G--d, Bonnycastle, that is a part of the miracle." Being at Windsor,
they went to Eton College: here the youths assembled about them, asking
the usual questions; "Do you wish to see the Library, Gentlemen," and
such like. Fuseli amused himself by answering them in Latin; but Opie,
in his usual gruff manner, said to the most prominent among them, "What
do you want? I cannot make out to what class of beings you belong, being
too little for a man, and too large for a monkey." This was resented as
an insult by the mass; and it was only by the great physical powers of
Bonnycastle and Opie, that they disengaged themselves and their
companion from the crowd of boys who surrounded them. Fuseli was highly
provoked, and was apprehensive also of personal violence; and when he
got without the barrier, almost breathless with rage, he sat on a large
stone by the side of the road and exclaimed, "I now wish I was the Grand
Sultan, for I would order my vizier to cut off the heads of these
urchins from the rising of the sun until the going down thereof."

By indefatigable industry, Fuseli had now made considerable progress in
the pictures which were to compose the "Milton Gallery," and those
friends, as well as many of the artists who had been allowed to see them
as he proceeded, felt confident of the ultimate success of the
exhibition. With such feelings his intimate friend Sir Thomas Lawrence
offered to contribute a picture gratuitously, and Mr. Opie tendered his
services, not only to paint some pictures, but to manage the concern;
under the condition, however, that he was to be a sharer in the profits.
These offers Fuseli politely but prudently declined, being determined
not to have any assistance whatever in a work, which he wished should be
a monument of himself, and feeling, perhaps, that contrarieties of style
would not be beneficial to the exhibition as a whole; for his aim was
more to give the sublime, quiescent, and playful imagery of the poet in
his own powerful manner, than to engage attention by colour or a
brilliant execution of the pictures. These observations are not however
intended to depreciate the merits of the splendid picture painted from
Milton by Sir Thomas Lawrence, of "Satan calling up his Legions," which
for a long period was a prominent feature in the collection of his Grace
the late Duke of Norfolk, at his house in St. James's Square, and which,
by the style of drawing as well as its tone of colour, abundantly prove,
that this artist would have been equally distinguished for his powers in
treating epic subjects as in portraits, if he had employed his pencil
exclusively thereon.

As soon as the intended exhibition was announced by the daily prints,
but before the doors of the "Milton Gallery" were opened, the public
mind was attempted to be biassed very unfairly by paragraphs in the
newspapers calumniating the subjects as well as the execution of the
pictures. These critics considered that he had attempted to represent on
canvass scenes adapted only to poetic imagery, and thus transgressed the
limits of the imitative art, and that his figures were distorted, and
his colouring wanting both in force and brilliancy. As it was evident
that these observations could have proceeded only from some persons who
had seen the pictures through the kindness of the painter, Fuseli
considered his confidence betrayed and interests injured by those who
came under the mask of friendship; and he always held the opinion that
the paragraphs in question were written by or at the instance of one or
more of the then members of the Royal Academy.

As the mass of the public form their judgment of works of art more by
what they are told by the diurnal prints, than by what they feel or
know, there is no doubt that these unwarrantable criticisms had their
effect in checking the desire of many persons to visit the exhibition.
Fuseli, however, was sanguine as to the ultimate success of the "Milton
Gallery," for he had yet to learn that he who had delineated the sublime
and playful imagery of the poet, was like the poet himself to accomplish
his design under every discountenance, and in the end to gain little or
nothing by his performance. For, with feelings strongly in opposition to
the opinion of Dr. Johnson, that "we read Milton for instruction, retire
harassed and overburthened, and look elsewhere for recreation; we
desert our master and seek for companions;" Fuseli wrote in large
letters in the margin of a copy of the "Lives of the Poets," now in my
possession, in allusion to the passage in question, "I DO NOT." Some of
the judicious friends of Fuseli formed a more correct notion of the
feelings of the public than himself, and were not therefore so sanguine
as to the success of his exhibition; this is manifest by the following
letter from Mr. Roscoe.

                                              "Allerton, 24th May, 1799.

        "MY DEAR FRIEND,

       "My friend and neighbour Mr. Shepherd, who is already known to you,
     being about to take his departure with Mrs. Shepherd and her sister
     on a journey to London, I avail myself of the opportunity it
     affords of informing you, without being questioned on the subject,
     that I am yet in existence, and, what I know you will be glad to
     hear, in better health, and consequently better spirits, than when
     I last wrote to you. From the experience I have hitherto had of my
     new residence, it promises to be productive of every advantage
     which I expected to find from it:--good air, opportunity or rather
     necessity of exercise, and a degree of retirement which is
     indispensably necessary to my peace of mind. The latter you will
     perhaps believe when I tell you that I am a mile and a half from
     any neighbour; but, at that distance, I have on every side of me
     some of my most intimate and valuable friends. Such being the
     advantage I enjoy here, you will not wonder that I am exerting
     myself to secure the means of remaining here, without the necessity
     of further interference in the tumult of the town, which I hope in
     a short time I shall be able to do. I consider it as one great
     secret in the art of living, especially at a time when all the
     necessaries of life are so high, to obtain subsistence immediately
     from the earth, and, accordingly, I am surrounded with cows, hogs,
     turkies, geese, cocks, hens, and pigeons, which, according to the
     good old maxim, (take, Peter, kill and eat,) I plunder and
     slaughter without mercy; and shall be very angry with you if you
     tell me (as is not unlikely) that I am keeping up my paltry
     existence at the expense of the lives of a number of beings, each
     of which is ten times happier than myself.

     "I was struck with the sight of an advertisement in the Courier,
     which announced to me, in common with all the world, that the
     Exhibition of the Pictures of Milton would be opened in a few
     days. I rejoice to find your exertions so nearly brought to a
     conclusion, and I hope I may say, so nearly crowned with success. I
     have sometimes regretted that your intention of painting a series
     of pictures from Shakspeare was frustrated; but, after what I have
     seen of Milton, I am convinced that it was he alone could have
     afforded sufficient scope for your powers. I will not pretend to
     prophesy, _nor, to say the truth, have I any very high opinion of
     the taste of the present day_; but if the public are insensible to
     the feast which will now be spread before them, I shall be wholly
     hopeless of their amendment. That they will see with indifference
     is impossible; and this circumstance alone is favourable, however
     they may be induced to decide.

     "Believe me, my dear friend, I do not turn a deaf ear to the claims
     you have on my friendship and affection; and if I should be able to
     produce a few lines worthy of the subject, there is nothing I
     should do with so much pleasure as to express the opinion I have of
     your talents.

                         "I am affectionately your's,

                              "W. Roscoe."

In 1798, Mr. Johnson was brought to trial for selling the Reverend
Gilbert Wakefield's political works, and being found guilty was
sentenced by the Court to pay a fine to the King of £50, and to be
imprisoned in the King's Bench for nine months. Johnson employed Mr.
Erskine (afterwards Lord Erskine) as his counsel; and Fuseli, in common
with most of Mr. Johnson's friends, considered that the prosecution was
an arbitrary act on the part of the Government, because every bookseller
sold the works in question, and all with impunity, except Johnson; and
that Erskine, in his defence, lost sight of the interest of his client,
in the wish to shew his own political opinions, and to make a display of
his oratorical powers.

Mr. Johnson, on his removal to the King's Bench, occupied the Marshal's
house, and gave there his usual weekly dinners to literary and
scientific men. Fuseli was warned by his friends of the existence of the
Alien act, and advised not to visit a man in the King's Bench Prison who
had been so marked by the Government. But his friendship for Johnson was
greater than any prudential motives of this nature; and he therefore
visited him as frequently as he had previously done in his own house.

The following anecdote respecting Lord Erskine, who subsequently was
intimate with Fuseli, was told me by Mr. Bonnycastle. He and Johnson
were, just previously to the trial, walking through Lincoln's Inn on
their way to dine with Fuseli, and met Erskine there accidentally, who
had several dogs with him, animals of which he was particularly fond. As
soon as he saw them, he cried out, "Johnson, I have something particular
to say to you," and then occupied him in close conversation, apart from
Bonnycastle, for nearly a quarter of an hour.

At length Mr. Johnson took his leave; and when he joined Bonnycastle,
said, "You cannot even guess the topic of our conversation."
"Doubtless," said the latter, "your forthcoming trial." "Not a bit,"
said Johnson; "he never even alluded to it, and the time was wholly
occupied with his opinions about Brothers the Prophet, and in asking
questions respecting a book 'on the Revelations,' lately offered me for

When Johnson was liberated, he, Fuseli, and Mr. Sturch, went to
Liverpool together to enjoy, for three or four weeks, that relaxation
which was considered necessary for Johnson's health.

On the 20th of May, 1799, the rooms in Pall Mall, formerly occupied by
the Royal Academy, were opened for the exhibition of the "Milton
Gallery:" these Fuseli rented at 210_l._ per annum. This exhibition
consisted of forty pictures of different sizes; but, to give an idea of
the extent of the undertaking, the following are the dimensions of some
of the principal ones. "Satan starting from the touch of Ithuriel's
spear," and "Satan calling up his Legions," each 13ft. by 12.--"Satan
encountering Death, Sin interposing;" "Adam and Eve first discovered by
Satan;" "Satan flying up from Sin and Death in his enterprise;" and "The
Vision of Noah:" each 13ft. by 10. "Death and Sin bridging the waste of
Chaos," and "The Vision of the Lazar House," each 11ft. by 10. "The
Creation of Eve;" "Christ on the Pinnacle of the Temple;" "The Fall of
Satan;" "Adam resolved to share the Fate of Eve;" and "Eve at the Tree
of Knowledge:" each 10ft. by 7.

To those who had a feeling for the highest class of art, epic subjects,
treated with dramatic power, this exhibition afforded a high treat. But,
that some judgment may be formed of its extent and variety, the
following descriptive catalogue of the pictures drawn up by Fuseli
himself, is here given, to which is added, as far as I can ascertain
them, the names of the persons in whose possession these pictures now

                              A CATALOGUE

                                OF THE





     SATAN risen from the Flood, BEELZEBUB rising.

        Forthwith upright he rears from off the pool
        His mighty stature; on each hand the flames
        Driv'n backward slope their pointing spires, and roll'd
        In billows, leave i' th' midst a horrid vale.
                  ----Him follow'd his next mate,
        Both glorying to have 'scap'd the Stygian flood
        As Gods----
                             Book I. v. 221, 238.

     In the possession of Sir Thomas Lawrence.


     SATAN calling up his Legions.

                                 ----On the beach
         Of that enflamed sea he stood, and call'd
         His legions, Angel forms, who lay entranc'd
         Thick as autumnal leaves, that strow the brooks
         In Vallombrosa.----
         He call'd so loud, that all the hollow deep
         Of Hell resounded.----
         Awake, arise, or be for ever fall'n.
         They heard, and were abash'd, and up they sprung----
                             Book I. v. 299, 314, 330.

     In the possession of His Grace the Duke of Wellington.


     SATAN haranguing his Host.

        He spake: and to confirm his words, out flew
        Millions of flaming swords, drawn from the thighs
        Of mighty Cherubim.----
                             Book I. v. 663.


     Figures from a simile in allusion to the contracted form of the
     Spirits assembled in the new-raised Hall of PANDÆMONIUM,
     illustrated by a simile from

                  ----Fairy elves,
        Whose midnight revels by a forest side
        Or fountain some belated peasant sees,
        Or dreams he sees, while over head the moon
        Sits arbitress, and nearer to the earth
        Wheels her pale course, they on their mirth and dance
        Intent, with jocund music charm his ear;
        At once with joy and fear his heart rebounds.
                             Book I. v. 781.


     SATAN encount'ring DEATH, SIN interposing.

                              ----And now great deeds
        Had been achiev'd, whereof all Hell had rung,
        Had not the snaky Sorceress that sat
        Fast by Hell gate, and kept the fatal key,
        Ris'n, and with hideous outcry rush'd between.
        ----She finish'd, and the subtle Fiend his lore
        Soon learn'd, now milder.----
                              Book II. v. 722, 815.

     In the possession of Sir Thomas Lawrence.


     The Birth of SIN.

        All on a sudden miserable pain
        Surpris'd thee, dim thine eyes, and dizzy swam
        In darkness, while thy head flames thick and fast
        Threw forth, till on the left side opening wide,
        Likest to thee in shape and count'nance bright,
        Then shining heav'nly fair, a Goddess arm'd
        Out of thy head I sprung.----
                             Book II. v. 752.

     In the possession of Samuel Cartwright, Esq.


     SIN pursued by DEATH.

                  ----I fled, and cry'd out Death;
        I fled, but he pursued----
                              ----And swifter far
        Me overtook.----
                             Book II. v. 787.

     In the possession of John Knowles, Esq.


     LAPLAND ORGIES, the Hell-hounds round SIN compared to those that

              ----follow the night-hag, when call'd
        In secret, riding through the air she comes,
        Lur'd with the smell of infant blood, to dance
        With Lapland witches, while the lab'ring moon
        Eclipses at their charms.----
                             Book II. v. 662.

     In the possession of John Knowles, Esq.


     SATAN'S ascent from Hell.

                        ----At last his sail-broad vans
        He spreads for flight, and in the surging smoke
        Uplifted spurns the ground.----
                             Book II. v. 927.

     In the possession of Sir Thomas Lawrence.


     A GRYPHON pursuing an ARIMASPIAN. A comparison of SATAN'S exertions
     to force his way through the realm of CHAOS.

        As when a Gryphon through the wilderness
        With winged course, o'er hill or moory dale,
        Pursues the Arimaspian, who by stealth
        Had from his wakeful custody purloin'd
        The guarded gold: so eagerly the Fiend----
                             Book II. v. 943.

     In the possession of John Knowles, Esq.


     SATAN bursts from CHAOS.

        He ceas'd; and Satan stay'd not to reply,
        Springs upward like a pyramid of fire.
                             Book II. v. 1010.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     ULYSSES between SCYLLA and CHARYBDIS. An exemplification of SATAN
     straitened in his passage to Light.

                                ----Harder beset
        Than when Ulysses on the larboard shunn'd
        Charybdis, and by th' other whirlpool steer'd
        So he with difficulty and labour hard
        Mov'd on, with difficulty and labour he.
                             Book II. v. 1019.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     ADAM and EVE first discovered by SATAN.

        Under a tuft of shade that on a green
        Stood whisp'ring soft, by a fresh fountain side
        They sat them down.
        Nor gentle purpose, nor endearing smiles
        Wanted, nor youthful dalliance as beseems
        Fair couple, link'd in happy nuptial league,
        Alone as they----
                     ----aside the 'Spirit' turn'd
        For envy, yet with jealous leer malign
        Ey'd them askance.----
                             Book IV. v. 325, 337, 502.


     SATAN surprised at the ear of EVE, starting from the touch of
     ITHURIEL'S Spear.

        Him thus intent Ithuriel with his spear
        Touch'd lightly;----
                        ----up he starts
        Discovered and surpris'd. As when a spark
        Lights on a heap of nitrous powder,----
                            ----the smutty grain
        With sudden blaze diffus'd inflames the air:
        So started up in his own shape the Fiend.
        Back stept those two fair Angels half amaz'd
        So sudden to behold the grisly king.
                             Book IV. v. 810.

     In the possession of John Angerstein, Esq.


     SATAN discovering his fate in the Scale aloft, flying from GABRIEL
     and the Angelic Squadron.

                  ----On th' other side Satan alarm'd
        Collecting all his might dilated stood.----
                  ----The Fiend look'd up, and knew
        His mounted scale aloft: nor more; but fled
        Murm'ring, and with him fled the shades of night.
                             Book IV. v. 985, 1013.


     The Dream of EVE, fancying to have tasted the fruit from the Tree
     of interdicted Knowledge, with

        One shap'd and wing'd like one of those from Heaven.
                      ----Forthwith up to the clouds
        With him I flew, and underneath beheld
        The earth outstretch'd immense----
        My guide was gone, and I, methought, sunk down,
        And fell asleep;----
                             Book V. v. 55, 86, 90.

     In the possession of Wm. Young Ottley, Esq.


     The creation of EVE, as related by ADAM.

        Abstract as in a trance methought I saw,
        Though sleeping, where I lay, and saw the shape
        Still glorious before whom awake I stood;
        Who stooping open'd my left side, and took
        From thence a rib----
        Under his forming hands a creature grew,
                         ----So lovely fair,
        That what seem'd fair in all the world, seem'd now
        Mean, or in her summ'd up.----
                             Book VIII. v. 462, 470.


     EVE, new created, led to ADAM.

                ----On she came,
        Led by her heav'nly Maker,----
        And guided by his voice,----
        Grace was in all her steps, Heav'n in her eye,
        I overjoy'd could not forbear aloud.
        This turn has made amends.----
                             Book VIII. v. 484.

     In the possession of John Angerstein, Esq.


     EVE at the forbidden Tree.

                  ----Her rash hand in evil hour
        Forth reaching to the fruit, she pluck'd, she eat;
                  ----Back to the thicket slunk
        The guilty serpent.----
                             Book IX. v. 780.


     ADAM resolved to share the fate of Eve; the Guardian Angels leaving
     the Garden.

                                   ----if death
        Consort with thee, death is to me as life;
        Our state cannot be sever'd, we are one,
        One flesh; to lose thee were to lose myself.
          So Adam, and thus Eve to him reply'd.
        O glorious trial of exceeding love,
        Illustrious evidence, example high!
        So saying, she embrac'd him, and for joy
        Tenderly wept----
        Up into Heav'n from Paradise in haste
        Th' angelic guards ascended, mute and sad
        For Man----
                             Book IX. v. 953, 958, 990.--Book X. v. 17.


     EVE, after the Sentence and departure of the Judge, despairing,
     supported by ADAM.

              ----With swift ascent he up return'd.
        She ended here, or vehement despair
        Broke off the rest; so much of death her thoughts
        Had entertain'd, as dy'd her cheeks with pale.
        But Adam with such counsel nothing sway'd,
        To better hopes his more attentive mind
        Lab'ring had raised.----
                             Book X. v. 224, 1007.


     DEATH and SIN bridging the 'waste' of CHAOS, and met by SATAN on
     his return from Earth.

                            ----The aggregated soil
        Death with his mace petrific, cold and dry,
        As with a trident smote,----
                ----and the mole immense wrought on
        Over the foaming deep high arch'd, a bridge
        Of length prodigious.----
                             ----when behold
        Satan in likeness of an Angel bright----
                                            ----Sin, his fair
        Enchanting daughter, thus the silence broke:
        O Parent, these are thy magnific deeds.
                             Book X. v. 293, 300, 326, 352.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     SATAN discovered on his Throne, after his return from Earth.

                            ----Down a while
        He sat, and round about him saw unseen:
        At last as from a cloud his fulgent head
        And shape star-bright appear'd----
                                   ----all amaz'd
        At that so sudden blaze the Stygian throng
        Bent their aspect----
                         ----loud was th' acclaim:
        Forth rush'd in haste the great consulting peers,
        Rais'd from their dark Divan.----
                             Book X. v. 447, 452, 455.


     The Vision of the Lazar-house.

                             ----Immediately a place
        Before his eyes appear'd, sad, noisome, dark,
        A lazar-house it seem'd, wherein were laid
        Numbers of all diseas'd, all maladies.
        Demoniac phrenzy, moping melancholy,
        And moon-struck madness, pining atrophy.
        Dire was the tossing, deep the groans;
        And over them triumphant Death his dart
        Shook, but delay'd to strike, though oft invok'd.
                              Book XI. v. 477, 485.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     The Vision of the Deluge.

                       ----the thicken'd sky
        Like a dark ceiling stood; down rush'd the rain
                         ----Sea cover'd sea,
        Sea without shore----
        How didst thou grieve then, Adam, to behold
        The end of all thy offspring----
                             Book XI. v. 742, 754.

     In the possession of John Angerstein, Esq.


     The Vision of Noah.

                                    ----from his ark
        The ancient sire descends with all his train;
        Then with uplifted hands, and eyes devout,
        Grateful to Heav'n, over his head beholds
        A dewy cloud, and in the cloud a bow.
                             Book XI. v. 861.

     In the Church at Luton, Bedfordshire.


     The dismission of ADAM and EVE from Paradise.

        In either hand the hast'ning Angel caught
        Our ling'ring parents, and to th' eastern gate
        Led them direct, and down the cliff as fast
        To the subjected plain; then disappear'd.
        They looking back, all th' eastern side beheld
        Of Paradise, so late their happy seat,
        Wav'd over by that flaming brand, the gate
        With dreadful faces throng'd and fiery arms:
        Some natural tears they dropt.----
                             Book XII. v. 637.

       *       *       *       *       *



     JESUS on the pinnacle of the Temple.

        There on the highest pinnacle he set
        The Son of God, and added thus in scorn.
          There stand, if thou wilt stand; to stand upright
        Will ask thee skill.----
          To whom thus Jesus; also it is written,
        Tempt not the Lord thy God: he said and stood:
        But Satan smitten with amazement fell.
                             Book IV. v. 549, 560.

       *       *       *       *       *



     MARY and JESUS. The ruin of Paganism.

        The Oracles are dumb,
        No voice or hideous hum
          Runs through the arched roof in words deceiving.
        Apollo from his shrine
        Can no more divine, &c.
        The Libyc Hammon shrinks his horn;
        The brutish Gods of Nile as fast,
        Isis and Orus, and the dog Anubis haste.
                              Stanza xix. xxii-iii.

     In the possession of John Knowles, Esq.

       *       *       *       *       *



     Faery Mab.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     The Friar's Lanthorn.

     In the possession of Watts Russell, Esq.


     The Lubbar Fiend.

        With stories told of many a feat,
        How faery Mab the junkets eat,
        She was pinch'd, and pull'd she said,
        And he by friar's lanthorn led
        Tells how the drudging Goblin swet,
        To earn his cream-bowl duly set,
        When in one night, ere glimpse of morn,
        His shadowy flail hath thresh'd the corn,
        That ten day-lab'rers could not end;
        Then lies him down the lubbar fiend,
        And stretch'd out all the chimney's length,
        Basks at the fire his hairy strength. V. 101.

     Picture XXXI. receives still better light from the following lines
     in Paradise Lost, Book IX. v. 634, &c.

                             ----as when a wand'ring fire,
        Which oft, they say, some evil Sp'rit attends,
        Hovering and blazing with delusive light,
        Misleads th' amaz'd night-wand'rer from his way
        To bogs and mires, and oft through pond or pool,
        There swallow'd up and lost, from succour far.

       *       *       *       *       *




        Some still removed place----
        Where glowing embers through the room
        Teach light to counterfeit a gloom. V. 78.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.


     CHREMHILD meditating revenge over the Sword of SIGFRID.

        Or call up him that left half told
        The story of Cambuscan bold----
        And if _aught else_ great bards beside
        In sage and solemn tunes have sung----
                                          V. 109, 116.

       *       *       *       *       *



     The Palace and the Rout of COMUS; the LADY set in the enchanted
     Chair, to whom he offered his Glass; the Brothers rushing in with
     Swords drawn, wrest the Glass out of his hand; his Rout flying.


     Orgies of COTYTTO. BAPTÆ preparing a Philtrum. See the Vth Epode of

        Venus now wakes, and wakens Love.
        Come let us our rites begin----
        Hail Goddess of nocturnal sport,
        Dark-veil'd Cotytto----
        Stay thy cloudy ebon chair,
        Wherein thou rid'st with Hecat', and befriend
        Us thy vow'd priests, till utmost end
        Of all thy dues be done.----
                              V. 124, 128, 134.

       *       *       *       *       *



     Solitude. Twilight.

        Under the opening eyelids of the morn,
        What time the gray-fly winds her sultry horn.
                              V. 26-8.

     In the possession of the Countess of Guilford.

       *       *       *       *       *


     MILTON, as a Boy with his Mother.

     In the possession of Sir Francis Burdett, Bart.


     MILTON, when a Youth.


     MILTON, dictating to his Daughter.

     In the possession of the Marquis of Bute.

The Vision of the Lazar-house was justly considered by the best judges
in the art, to be the _chef-d'œuvre_ of the Gallery. It is a
composition of seventeen figures, and parts of figures, in which the
painter creates both terror and pity in the spectator, by judiciously
excluding most of those objects represented by the poet as suffering
under bodily diseases calculated to create disgust, and confining
himself chiefly to the representation of the maladies of the mind, which
are so forcibly described by the passage,

        "Demoniac Phrensy, moping Melancholy,
        "And moon-struck Madness----"

It would be a vain attempt, by words, to describe this Gallery, so as to
do justice to the grandeur of the ideas and of the drawing, more
particularly in the pictures of 'Satan calling up his Legions;' 'Satan
encountering Death, and Sin interposing;' 'Satan surprised at the ear of
Eve;' 'Death and Sin bridging of Chaos,' or, in that of 'Sin pursued by
Death;'--they must be seen to be appreciated. But Fuseli shone not only
in the grand, the sublime, and pathetic scenes, but also in the playful
ones. How rare a quality it is for the same mind to direct its efforts
to the _Pensieroso_, and, at command, to divert its attention to the
_Allegro_, and succeed in both!--But such were the powers of the
painter in question, as well as of the poet.

Unfortunately for Fuseli, some of the newspapers of the day were so
inimical to this exhibition that it was difficult for him to get an
advertisement inserted, and even money would not induce the editors to
give a place to any paragraph which his friends wished to insert in its
favour. The beautiful lines (which will be found in the Appendix) from
the pen of William Roscoe, Esquire, lay in the hands of the editor of a
popular paper for some weeks before he gave them insertion.

The sum charged the public for viewing this Gallery was one shilling,
and for the descriptive catalogue, sixpence. The receipts of the
exhibition during the first month amounted only to one hundred and
seventeen pounds, and the two succeeding ones were each even less than
this sum; so that when it was closed, at the end of July, the whole of
the money taken at the doors was not adequate to the payment of the rent
of the premises and the expenses incurred for advertisements and
attendants. Fuseli was somewhat dismayed by this, and thus expressed
himself: "I have dreamt of a golden land, and solicit in vain for the
barge which is to carry me to its shore." But the consciousness of his
own merit did not allow him to sink under the disappointment; he
determined to try the effect of another season, and laboured diligently
upon pictures to be then added to the Gallery.

Barry, who was at this time professor of painting to the Royal Academy,
had for a long period made himself obnoxious to the members, first by
his undeserved attacks upon the works of his earliest and best friend in
the art, Sir Joshua Reynolds, and afterwards by occasionally delivering
in his lectures the most severe criticisms upon the works of living
artists, and among others upon those of West, the then President, and
Fuseli. The latter were, however, in some degree provoked by the
frequent although just sallies of wit, which Fuseli employed on Barry's
pretensions to learning. The President and Council of the Academy
pointed out the impolicy of such proceedings, and indeed reprimanded
Barry; but this, instead of checking, had the effect of increasing the
violence of his abuse. A meeting of the whole body of the Academicians
was consequently summoned, and they not only dispossessed him of the
Chair as Professor, but expelled him the Academy. The Chair of the
Professor of Painting being by this resolution vacant, Opie intimated
an intention of offering himself as a candidate; but, upon being told
that Fuseli intended to do the same thing, he immediately withdrew his
name, paying at the same time this merited compliment to his genius and
talents: "I would not," said he, "have surrendered my pretensions to any
other artist but Fuseli," who was therefore elected on the 29th of June
1799. The powers which he had displayed in the pictures of "The Milton
Gallery," his learning and well-known critical knowledge, were the
causes which influenced the Academicians in their choice.

It has been insidiously asserted, that after Fuseli left Zurich in 1779,
he was not on friendly terms with the members of his family; and that
they took little or no interest in the success of his efforts in the
Fine Arts. The following translation of a letter from his eldest
brother, Rodolph, proves the assertion to be unfounded.

                                                 "Vienna, May 7th, 1799.


       "Benedetti, the engraver, brought me last year, (in _September_,) a
     letter from you, in which you assured me of your unchanged,
     brotherly affection, and invited me to write to you sometimes, and
     to acquaint you with an opportunity of sending over to me some
     works of art. In October I answered your letter, and named at the
     same time two London printsellers, with whom the printsellers here,
     (Artaria and Co., and Mollo and Co.) are in correspondence. Half a
     year, however, has already elapsed, without my having heard from
     you. I can well understand that, pending the great work which you
     have undertaken, and will, I now hope, soon have finished, you may
     have had but little time for letter-writing; but I do not ask a
     formal letter of you, but only a line or two, to assure me you are
     well, and have not quite forgotten me. If, therefore, your
     fraternal love is not chilled, I hope to be gratified in this
     respect, before the scythe overtakes me, of which, at my time of
     life, when we are continually fancying we hear it behind us, one
     cannot be too distrustful.

     "Much as I value your works of art, you must not think that what
     you promised me is the occasion of my now writing. No, my dear
     brother, I am not so selfish; your good health, and the success of
     your great undertaking, are to me matters of far greater concern
     than any works of art you could send me; and upon these two points
     I beseech you to set my mind at ease, be your letter ever so short.

     "The affairs of our country wear a lamentably gloomy aspect; and I
     much fear that our fellow-countrymen will act as imprudently, and
     as awkwardly in the sequel, as they did at the commencement of the
     _Swiss Revolution_, thereby drawing a foreign power into the
     country. They then played a wretched part, and I only hope they
     will not do the same again. I do not know whether the new German
     books upon matters of art are to be had in London, or not; if you
     should meet with the first part of my Critical Catalogue of
     Engravings after classical masters, peruse it with indulgence. The
     second part will be better managed. In characterising Rafael,
     Correggio, and Titian, I have made use of the writings of Mengs;
     because I know that he has studied all his life after these three
     masters, and (in my opinion) writes philosophically on their styles
     of art; but for the rest, I confess, I do not consider Mengs to be
     that great artist which the world makes him, as laborious study is
     too evident in his works, and (according to my feeling) there is a
     _something_ in them of an undecided and timid character.

     "We have materials here for the advancement of art, which are no
     where to be had better--the Court spends (even now in war-time)
     twenty-six thousand florins yearly on the Academy; we have casts of
     all ancient statues of importance, which were to be seen in Rome,
     Florence, or Portici; also of more than a hundred of the most
     beautiful busts; models of individuals distinguished for beauty of
     person, taken from the life; skeletons; moveable anatomical
     figures. The great rooms, like halls, are filled with collections
     of these kinds; stipends, premiums are given; and, in short, every
     thing that can be desired for the encouragement of a school of art
     is here; and, nevertheless, hitherto without having produced any
     apparent advantage; for, where there is no susceptibility for the
     beautiful, every thing is to no purpose, and will probably be
     always to no purpose.

     "Your London publications are every where held in the highest
     esteem, especially on account of the elegance of their execution,
     and the typographical splendour of the impressions. But they are
     all so high in price, that a private individual of moderate means
     cannot buy any of them, and must content himself with looking at
     the best in the collections of the great and rich.

     "_Füger_, whom you may perhaps have known in Rome, is now director
     of the Academy of Arts here. He has exhibited a series of twenty
     designs from Klopstock's 'Messiah;' amongst which, some of
     particular interest. Our engravers, with the exception of
     Schmüzer, who has published four good prints from Rubens, are of no
     importance, and are for the most part to be looked upon as mere
     mechanics; and even if some of them have talent, they are obliged
     to engrave from insignificant things, in order to earn their bread.

     "The other day, I found many people collected before the shop of my
     printseller, and staring at something in the window. I pressed
     through the crowd, and found your representation of "Hamlet's
     Ghost" was exposed in the window, of which all present, each in his
     way, were expressing their admiration. Now that I have prosed on to
     you of different things, I will spare you any more
     prosing.--Farewell, and be happy, and think sometimes, when in a
     good humour, of your ever-loving brother,


     "If it should ever come into your head to write me a line, direct,
     Füessli, on the Nienn Laurenzer-House, No. 34, on the first floor,
     in _Vienna_.

     "N. B.--The _Nienn_ is a little river which flows by my house."

The "Milton Gallery" was re-opened on the 21st of March 1800; but as it
did not attract the public, and as many of the members of the Royal
Academy lamented deeply the ill success which attended it, and
considered the apathy which was shown towards these grand specimens of
art would in the end be fatal to the progress of history painting in
this country, so they induced the Academy to which they belonged to come
to the resolution of patronizing the undertaking, which caused the
following circular to be issued:--

                                            "Royal Academy, May 2, 1800.

     "Messrs. Dance, Banks, and Opie, the Stewards, request the favour
     of your company to dine with the President, Council, and the rest
     of the Members of the Royal Academy, at the 'Milton Gallery,' on
     Saturday, the 17th of May, at five o'clock.

     "Tickets, price fifteen shillings, to be had at the 'Milton
     Gallery,' and at the 'Freemasons' Tavern,' till Saturday, the 10th
     of August. Any Member desirous of introducing a friend, may be
     accommodated with a ticket for that purpose.

     "The favour of an answer is desired as soon as possible."

This dinner was numerously attended; the seven pictures which had been
added to those of the last exhibition were much admired; but all that
Fuseli got on the occasion, to use his own terms, was "mouth honour."
The following are the subjects of the pictures which were not in the
exhibition of the former year:--



     SIN receiving the Key of Hell.

        ----Down they fell,
        Driven headlong from the pitch of heav'n, down
        Into this deep, and in the general fall
        I also: at which time this powerful key
        Into my hand was giv'n.
                              Book II. v. 771.

     In the possession of Samuel Cartwright, Esq.


     SATAN'S first Address to EVE.

        ----Eve separate he spies,
        Veil'd in a cloud of fragrance, where she stood,
        Half spy'd, so thick the roses blushing round
        About her glow'd, oft stooping to support
        Each flower of tender stalk, &c.
        He bolder now, uncall'd, before her stood,
        But as in gaze admiring--
        His gentle dumb expression turn'd at length
        The eye of Eve----
                              Book IX. v. 424, 523.


     ADAM and EVE meeting after her Seduction.

                     ----By the tree
        Of knowledge he must pass, there he her met,
        Scarce from the tree returning; in her hand
        A bough of fairest fruit----
        ----in her face excuse
        Came prologue, and apology too prompt,
        Which with bland words at will she thus addressed.

                     ----The Serpent wise
        Hath eaten of the fruit, and is become
        Endued with human voice, and human sense.
        Have also tasted, and have also found
                            ----opener mine eyes,
        Dim erst, dilated spirits, ampler heart,
        And growing up to Godhead----

                        On the other side, Adam
        Astonied stood and blank----
        From his slack hand the garland wreath'd for Eve
        Down dropt----
                              Book IX. v. 848.

       *       *       *       *       *



     WINTER carrying off a Maid.

        O fairest flow'r, no sooner blown but blasted!
        Soft silken primrose, fading timelessly!
        Summer's chief honour, if thou hadst out-lasted
        Bleak Winter's force that made thy blossom dry;
        For he, being amorous, on that lovely dye
        That did thy cheek envermeil, thought to kiss;
        But kill'd, alas! and then bewail'd his fatal bliss.

       *       *       *       *       *



     EUPHROSYNE, or Mirth, with FANCY and MODERATION hovering over her,
     tripping forward--

        On the light fantastic toe;

     accompanied by

                                  Wanton Wiles;
        Sport, that wrinkled Care derides;
        And Laughter, holding both his sides,

     with the Group of FALSTAFF and DOLL in the fore-ground: the
     distance exhibits the Meeting of ZEPHYRUS and AURORA, allusive to
     the Birth of EUPHROSYNE, in the words--

        Zephyr with Aurora playing,
        As he met her once a maying, &c.

     In the possession of the Duchess of St. Alban's.

       *       *       *       *       *




     Reclining on her throne--

        Her rapt soul sitting in her eyes,

     with the attendant GENII of TERROR and GRIEF at her Feet, and
     behind her the Shadow of UGOLINO and his dead Son.--The whole dimly
     illuminated by a Moon-beam.

     This picture was destroyed accidentally.

       *       *       *       *       *



     The SHEPHERDESS of the ALPS watering her Plants.--An Evening Scene.

        Qual in colle aspro, &c.

As an exhibition opened for the second time has not the charm of novelty
to attract the public; so, unfortunately, at its close the Milton
Gallery, notwithstanding the patronage of the Royal Academy, was found
to be even less productive during this than the previous season; and
after four months of anxiety and disappointment, Fuseli closed it on the
18th of July 1800. Thus terminated the exhibition of one of the greatest
efforts of genius ever executed by one artist. It is lamentable to
contemplate that, after the labour of so many years, the energies
exerted by the painter, and the privations which he endured during the
time he was executing these pictures, they should have been met with so
much of neglect from the public[47]. Upon the closing of this Gallery,
Fuseli thus expressed himself to a friend, "I am fed with honour, and
suffered to starve, if they could starve me."

Fuseli sometimes lounged about the Milton Gallery to hear the critical
and other remarks of the visitors. On one occasion, a coarse-looking man
left his party, and coming up to him, said, "Pray, Sir, what is that
picture?" Fuseli answered, "It is the bridging of Chaos: the subject
from Milton."--"No wonder," said he, "I did not know it, for I never
read Milton, but I will."--"I advise you not," said Fuseli, "for you
will find it a d--d tough job."

His friends felt in how embarrassed a situation Fuseli must be placed by
these unsuccessful exhibitions; and they determined to relieve him by
becoming purchasers of some of the pictures. The Countess of Guilford
bought the "Lycidas;" Lord Rivers, "Satan calling up his Legions;" Sir
Mark Sykes, Bart., "The Lubbar Fiend;" Thomas Coutts, Esq., "The Lazar
House;" John Julius Angerstein, Esq. (at the recommendation of W. Lock,
Esq.) "Satan starting from the touch of Ithuriel's spear;" "The Vision
of the Deluge," and "Eve, newly created, led to Adam;" William Young
Ottley, Esq., "Sin pursued by Death," and "The Dream of Eve;" and
William Roscoe, Esq. with that friendship and liberality which he always
exercised towards Fuseli, purchased pictures to the amount of £300;
which, however, did not form a part of this exhibition.

Prior to the purchase of the picture of "The Deluge," by Mr. Angerstein,
Fuseli wrote the following letter to Mr. William Lock.

                                             "London, 11th August, 1800.

     "As it may be expected, and indeed necessary, that I should
     inspect, and perhaps correct the pictures sent under Mr. Wyall's
     direction to Mr. Angerstein's, I take the liberty of applying
     through you to Mr. Lock, to be informed when my admission for that
     purpose may be attended with the least inconvenience to Mr.
     Angerstein's arrangements.

     "The greater part of my exhibition, the rejected family of a silly
     father, are now again rolled up, or packed together against the
     walls of my study to be seasoned for dust, the worm, and oblivion.
     Τι γάρ μοι καὶ μακροῖς αὐλοῖς,[48] said Otho when in possession of
     his wish; I have been punished by obtaining mine. It cannot be
     supposed, however, that I should be quite indifferent to the fate
     of my bantlings; and as 'the expectations of ignorance are
     indefinite,' I venture to ask, whether you think it quite
     impracticable to persuade Mr. Angerstein to find a place for 'The
     Deluge?' It is not quite so wide as the smaller picture in his
     possession; and though, if placed on the other side of the Satan,
     it would be less honourable to me than the company of Rubens; it
     would be more in tune with the rest.

     "It would be presumption in me, without authority from you, to
     congratulate you on what more than rumour has told me, of your
     intended change of state: of this, however, you are sure, that
     nothing conducive to the happiness of William Lock can be more
     interesting to any man than his


    "To William Lock, Jun. Esq.
    Norbury Park."


     Fuseli's Lectures at the Royal Academy.--Letters respecting them
     from Mr. Farington.--Letter from Sir Henry Englefield, on the
     subject of the ancient Vases.--Death of Fuseli's friend,
     Lavater.--Fuseli's Visit to Paris in 1802.--His Letter from thence
     to Mr. James Moore.--His acquaintance with the French Painters
     David and Gerard.--Results of his Visit.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Fuseli's Remarks on some of the Paintings in the
     Louvre.--Letter from Mr. Smirke.--Fuseli elected Keeper of the
     Royal Academy.--Incidental Anecdote.--Letter to Mr. Joseph Johnson.

In March 1801, Fuseli delivered three lectures on painting, at the Royal
Academy, which were numerously attended, and he gained much applause.

The feelings of the Academicians, the students, and the public, with
respect to the lectures, will be shewn by the following letters from
Joseph Farington, Esq. R.A. the friend of Fuseli, and a gentleman who at
this time took a lead in all the affairs of the Royal Academy.

                                               "Tuesday, March 17, 1801.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "Though I did not attend your lecture last night, I was not the
     less interested for you, and, before the evening closed, had the
     satisfaction to receive, from one who was present, an account that
     was equal to my wishes. Be assured that you have made a due
     impression on the minds of the members, and have added to the
     credit of the Academy, and to your own reputation.

               "I shall hope to see you soon.
                    "Believe me to be, dear Sir,
                         "Your's most sincerely,
                              "Jos. Farington."

    "To Henry Fuseli, Esq."

                                               "Tuesday, March 24, 1801.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "I have still more reason to congratulate you on the effect of your
     last night's discourse, which made a still stronger impression in
     your favour. Go on, for the honour of the Academy, your own credit,
     and, I hope, interest.

                    "Dear Sir,
                         "Your's truly,
                              "Jos. Farington."

     "To Henry Fuseli, Esq."

                                                        "March 31, 1801.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "Last night I saw Mr. Daniell, and this morning another person who
     was at the Academy last night. The room, I am informed, was more
     crowded; a proof of spreading reputation, and the satisfaction

     "More encouragement to succeed cannot be required.

                    "Dear Sir,
                         "Your's very sincerely,
                              "Jos. Farington."

     "To Henry Fuseli, Esq."

These lectures Fuseli published in the month of May 1801, in a quarto
volume, which was dedicated to his friend, William Lock, Esq. of Norbury
Park. As they have been long before the Public, it is unnecessary now to
speak of their merit; suffice it to say, that they have been translated
into the German, French, and Italian languages.

The publication of Fuseli's lectures having made a great sensation among
artists, and that on ancient art in particular having been much
canvassed by them as well as by antiquaries, he wished to gain, and, if
he saw fit, to embody in future editions, as much information as could
be obtained on this subject; he therefore made application to his friend
the late Sir Henry Englefield, Bart. for his observations upon the Vases
of the ancients, commonly called Etruscan, which that gentleman gave him
in the following letter:

                                        "Tilney Street, August 24, 1803.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "At your desire, I communicate to you such observations on the
     ancient Vases, commonly called Etruscan, as a minute examination of
     many of the finest specimens in the magnificent collection of Mr.
     Thomas Hope, and the select and very beautiful one belonging to Mr.
     Edwards, have enabled me to make, particularly with respect to the
     mechanical process used in the decoration of them.

     "The material of these vases is clay of a very fine and close
     quality, extremely light, and of a colour nearly the same in all, a
     light and agreeable orange red.

     "They all, without exception, are covered with a varnish or glazing
     of a dark colour, but not in all of the same tint; in some, it has
     a greenish hue, and a lustre of a metallic appearance; this is most
     striking in those found near Nola. In many, the varnish is of a
     brown black, like asphaltum.

     "The vases may be ranked in four classes.

     "1. Those covered with varnish without ornament or painting of any

     "2. Those which bear on the natural ground of the ware, figures in
     black varnish.

     "3. Those whose figures are left in red, the vase being covered
     with varnish.

     "4. Vases covered entirely with varnish, on which ornaments are
     painted in colours.

     "Of the first sort it will be necessary to say but little. Many of
     the most exquisitely formed Nolan vases are of this sort. The
     varnish appears to have been laid on while the vase was on the
     lathe. The parallel strokes visible on the surface of the varnish,
     and its extreme equality of tint, prove this. No better mode can be
     devised for varnishing, except dipping the ware into the liquid
     varnish; and this was not done in these vases, as the varnish never
     covers the hollow of the foot, nor descends deep within the neck. I
     cannot at all say whether the vase was varnished while yet wet, or
     first suffered to dry, or even baked a first time, as is the
     process in much of our common modern glazed earthenware.

     "The second sort bear in general marks of the most remote
     antiquity. The figures are universally of a stiff and meagre form,
     the drapery close, and the folds few and hard. Yet in many the
     composition is good, and the action of the figures vigorous. They
     exactly resemble in style the bronzes still remaining of Etruscan

     "The mode pursued in painting them was this:

     "The intended figure was painted without any previous discoverable
     outline in varnish, and then resembled exactly those figures so
     common under the name of Silhouettes. When the varnish was quite
     dry and hard, the features, the limbs, and the folds of the
     drapery, &c. were scratched through it with a pointed tool, which
     was applied with such force as to cut some depth into the clay of
     the vase. This sort of outlining was sometimes carried round parts
     of the contour, which appeared to the artist not sufficiently
     distinct without it. The hands and fingers are often thus partially
     scratched out. Parts of the drapery and ornaments on the heads of
     the figures were then covered with a coat of coloured paint. Violet
     occurs most frequently; often a green, and sometimes white. In some
     vases of the most ancient and rudest appearances, animals,
     particularly birds, are coloured not only with these colours, but
     also red and yellow; and the appearance and style of these vases
     have a great resemblance to the Egyptian paintings on their mummy
     chests. The vases of this sort are said to be universally found in
     the deepest graves, so deep indeed, that over them sepulchral
     chambers of a later date, with vases of a totally different
     character are often found. That the colours above-mentioned were
     put on after the outline was scratched in, is ascertained by the
     circumstance of the colours having in many instances run into, and
     partially filled up, the strokes engraved in the vases. This
     species of painting is evidently the first improvement on the
     simple Skiagrams.

     "The vases of the third description, namely those whose figures are
     left in red, on a ground of dark varnish, are by much the most
     common of any, and are found of all degrees of excellence, from the
     most careless and slight finishing, to the most exquisite work; but
     in all, the style of design is essentially different from those
     described above, with the figures in black. In the red figures,
     however negligently executed, there is a fulness of form, and a
     freedom of drapery perfectly similar to the remains of Greek art
     which have reached us, whether in sculpture or coins.

     "The process also of this execution is entirely different from the
     second sort, and will be now minutely described from repeated
     observations of many of the most exquisite of them, made not only
     with the naked eye, but with glasses of high magnifying power.

     "The first thing painted on these vases was an outline of the
     figures, not only of their contour, but the markings of the
     features, muscles, folds of the drapery, ornaments, &c. This
     outline, in those vases which are of fine execution, was made with
     an instrument which carried a very fine and equal point, and at the
     same time left a very full body of the colour used on the vase. The
     colour itself appears to have been of a thick consistence; for if
     the strokes, even the finest, (which are as fine as could be made
     by a good pen,) are carefully examined with a magnifier in a side
     light, it will be distinctly perceived that there is a slight
     hollow in the middle of each, owing to the colour having flowed
     round the point which traced it, and met behind it,--just as we see
     in a road where the mud is of a semi-fluid consistence, that the
     track of a wheel is filled in with the pasty mire, leaving a
     depressed line in the centre of the rut.

     "It is impossible to say whether the instrument used for these
     outlines was of the nature of a pen or a brush; yet I am inclined
     to think from the flowing appearance of the lines, that a firm and
     finely pointed brush or pencil was used. Whichever it was, the
     hands which guided it possessed a steadiness and freedom of
     execution, almost incredible. Lines of a great length and difficult
     curvatures are carried over the convex surface of the vases,
     without the least wavering or indecision, or any lifting the point
     from the vase, or any repetition, or filling up of the stroke. An
     attentive examination of the outline will ascertain this fact
     beyond a doubt, and a further proof of it may be drawn from the few
     instances in which strokes of very great length have been done at
     twice, particularly in a vase of great size and admirable execution
     in the collection of Mr. Hope, representing probably the story of
     Triptolemus, where the long parallel lines marking the feathers of
     the wing of a Genius have been suspended about half way; and no
     particular care has been taken to conceal the junction of the

     "This vase also furnishes a very rare and instructive instance of
     what, by artists, are called _pentimenti_, or changes of design.
     The wheel of a chariot and part of the arms of a figure, with a
     patera or cup in the hand, have been considerably varied; and the
     first outline is still visible like a faint red chalk stroke, but
     without any appearance of enlargement or smearing, so that it
     should seem that the false stroke was scraped off by a sharp edge,
     carefully applied to the surface of the vase when the varnish or
     paint was nearly dry.

     "That the outline was performed with this freedom and celerity, and
     scarcely ever altered, may be further inferred, from the great
     inaccuracies of drawing so frequent even in those vases whose
     design and execution are of the very highest class. Perhaps an
     absolutely unerring precision of hand has never been the lot of any
     artist, however excellent. The drawings of the greatest masters
     prove that they found many things to alter in their most careful
     first lines; and the union of excellence and defect on the vases
     can, I think, only be accounted for in the supposition of an
     unaltered line.

     "What has been hitherto said of the mode of outlining this sort of
     vases is applicable only to the finish of them. In those of
     inferior finish, the outlines are much thicker, and laid on with a
     less body of colour; and in many of the coarsest, there is reason
     to think that no outline at all was made, but that the figures were
     merely left red in the general wash of the vase, with the
     dark-coloured varnish, and the outlines of the features, folds of
     the drapery, &c. were put in with a large brush, and in a very
     careless manner. Indeed, on the very finest of the vases, the
     subordinate decorations, such as the honeysuckle (as it is called)
     ornament so frequent under the handles, were simply left red in the
     general wash of varnish over the body of the vase; at least no
     outline of them is now discoverable. To return to the painting of
     the finest vases. The outline already described being perfectly
     dry, the artist with a brush or other similar instrument which bore
     a full body of colour and made a stroke of about a quarter of an
     inch in breadth, went carefully round the contours of the outlined
     figures. In this operation, an opportunity was given to make slight
     alterations in the design, and in some degree to amend the contour.
     This seems to have been often done; for the original outline is
     often covered in parts by this wash, and appears projecting from
     the surface of the vase under it; affording also a proof that the
     outline was dry and hard before this wash was laid on. Frequently,
     also, this wash does not come quite up to the original outline;
     but in general the wash follows the outline in a most steady and
     masterly manner. Probably at this time the hair of the figures was
     put in with a thin wash of the same varnish or colour, managed with
     peculiar freedom and dexterity, and so washed out to nothing at the
     extremities of the flowing curls of the tresses, as to have the
     lightest and at the same time the most finished effect. It is to be
     observed that the hair, which in some parts is as dark as the
     ground of the vase, is not carried quite to the ground, but that a
     small space is left red round the hair, in order to relieve it from
     the ground of the vase.

     "The truth of the contour being thus secured by this narrow border
     of ground carefully laid on the covering, the remaining surface of
     the vase with its varnish, might be safely entrusted to an inferior
     hand. That the varnish was laid on at twice, is evident by
     inspection of any well-finished vase, where the first narrow line
     of varnish is distinctly visible under the general wash.

     "This process finished the greater part of the vases, even the
     finest; but on some, particularly those of the largest size, when
     every thing else was quite dry, some parts of the design were
     coloured with washes of two different tints. The horses and parts
     of the armour are painted with white, which when dry is opaque, but
     when wetted becomes nearly transparent. Parts of the drapery and
     ornaments round the necks and on the heads of the figures, and some
     of the shields, are painted yellow, and several small flowers and
     ornaments of foliage, which are interspersed among the figures, are
     painted in white and yellow. The internal outlines and muscles of
     the horses are painted with lines of a light orange on the white;
     and the white shields are ornamented in the same manner. That the
     white horses were painted after the original black outline of the
     human figures was dry, is evidently seen in the magnificent vase in
     the possession of Mr. Edwards. In that vase a leg of one of the
     horses comes across the thigh and drapery of a figure, and the
     original outline of that figure is visible under the white colour
     which forms the horse's leg. All these colours are so fixed on the
     vases, probably by fire, that they resist the action of aquafortis.

     "The vases of the last sort, namely, those which have ornaments in
     white and other colours painted on a black ground, which covered
     the whole surface of the vase, are very rarely to be met with. Mr.
     Hope possesses several, which Sir William Hamilton told me were
     all found in one sepulchral chamber, in which none of any other
     sort were placed. The cause of this singularity it were vain to
     enquire. No figures are represented on these vases, but the
     ornaments are light wreathes of ivy, or vine-leaves, with masks and
     other bacchanalian symbols. The execution is careless, but
     spirited; the paint used seems of the same quality with that above
     described as covering the horses, &c. in vases of the third sort;
     and the mode of applying it appears in no wise to differ from what
     would be now pursued. It is not, therefore, necessary to say any
     thing further on this subject.

     "It is singular that on vases so profusely adorned with painting,
     scarcely an instance of any thing like bas-relief or sculpture of
     any kind occurs; on the handles of Mr. Edwards's great Vase, two
     full faces in very flat relief are seen; but, con rispetto
     parlando, is it quite certain that these handles are entirely

     "These are the observations which a very careful examination has
     enabled me to make on the mechanical process used in adorning the
     ancient earthern Vases called Etruscan. To your judgment, Dear Sir,
     I submit them, confident that you will, _Si quid novisti rectius
     istis, Candidus_--rectify my errors.

                    "I am, with sincere regard,
                         "Your obliged and faithful,
                              "H. Englefield."

     "To Henry Fuseli, Esq. R. A."

Early in the year (1801) Fuseli was much dejected by the intelligence of
the death of his old and esteemed friend and fellow-student, Lavater.
This singular man fell a sacrifice to what he considered his clerical
duty; for, when Zurich was occupied by the French, in an attempt to
afford consolation and alleviation to the sufferings of his townsmen,
which usually accompany the presence of an invading army, he was stabbed
by the bayonet of a soldier, under which wound he languished for some
months, and closed a valuable and useful life on the 2nd of January,

The treaty of peace which was signed at Amiens in 1802, afforded the
English an opportunity of visiting France, and examining those treasures
of art which Buonaparte had torn by violence from Italy, Germany, and
Holland, when those countries were subjected to him, in consequence of
the conquests of the French armies. Fuseli being determined to view
them, went to Paris, accompanied by some friends, with the intention
also of collecting materials for publishing, for the information of
travellers, a critical account of the principal pictures and statues
which then adorned the Louvre. The party consisted of Mr. Farington,
R.A. Mr. James Carrick Moore, Mr. Halls a young artist, and himself.

Urgent business compelled Mr. Moore to return to London earlier than he
had anticipated; but the remainder of the party passed six weeks in
Paris, during the months of September and October, whence Fuseli wrote
to Mr. Moore the following letter:--

        "DEAR MOORE,

       "I had once a valuable friend in the Rev. Mr. Whalley, who took
     great pains to improve me by his correspondence; he was able at all
     times to write faster than he could think; from which you probably
     might be led to surmise that his epistles would have been fuller of
     news than observations--you would be mistaken; they were essays
     crammed with trite observations, such as delight in a
     magazine;--news I never heard from him. If I except _you_, I must
     own that all my correspondents on your side of the water are very
     like him. Your letter from Dieppe gave me some useful information,
     such as might preserve my knee from another _synovia_,[49] or my
     neck from a crick; and if you took more delight to penetrate my
     character than to fit me for a trip across the water, in your last,
     you have at least convinced me that you thought more of _me_ when
     you wrote, than of _yourself_,--a phenomenon that at once decides
     your character in my mind, and furnishes me with a master-key for
     _your_ heart; in any other way you would have found poor Harry

        'Too shallow, much too shallow,
        To sound the bottom of his Jemmy's mind.'

     "I am, I hope, in the last week of my stay in this paradise of mud,
     and fricandeaus. God! what additional ecstasies you have lost by
     your precipitate flight! So many pictures, which would have
     exercised your critical faculty; the _Apotheosis of St.
     Petronilla_, by Guercino, in which a colossal dowdy on this side of
     the grave is transformed to a celestial beauty on the other; the
     _Fontana d' Amore_, by Titian, a picture which transports you to
     the plains of Arcadia, or the vale of Enna; the whole-length of
     Cardinal _Bentivoglio_, by Vandyck--a soul personified--a male
     soul, I mean: for the mirror of all female spirit, soul, mind, and
     graces, would have been held up to you by Titian again, in the
     portrait of _his Mistress_ untwining her ringlets, or, as Petrarch
     would have called them, her

        '_Crespe chiome d'or puro lucenti._'

     "_Madame, dont je baise les mains_, will explain this to you: and
     so much for what you have lost at the Museum.

     "Since your departure, we have been joined by Mr. Robert Smirke,
     than whom no young man I ever liked more, and only wish and fondly
     hope he will say the same of me, when he talks of old men. I have
     been with him to see the house of Madame Ricamier, the ultimate
     standard of Parisian taste, whose enchanting bedchamber he has not
     only measured, but drawn with a taste which improves it. As Harriet
     loves Latin as well as Italian, I will gratify you both with the
     inscription on the pedestal of a small marble figure of Silence at
     the head of the bed. 'Tutatur amores et somnos conscia lecti.'
     Halls, who sees, observes, says little, laughs more, is frequently
     indisposed, and looks forward to England, requests to be remembered
     to you, and may be sure of his request. The inquisitive traveller,
     my other companion and manager, does the same, but has not
     forgotten that you would not let him stretch his legs on one of the
     beds at St. Juste.[50] He and I have been presented to the
     "_Section des belles lettres et des beaux arts_" of the Institute
     at the Louvre, where we were equally tired, I by understanding, and
     he by not understanding, what we heard.--My love to Graham--adieu,
     till you see me in Grosvenor-street.

                              "Henry Fuseli."

    "10 Vendemiaire, in Christian,
    2d October, 1802."

     "I have not yet heard from my wife: if you should be led by your
     calls into the neighbourhood of Queen Anne-street, and would tell
     them I am coming, you will do a kind thing."

The society of Fuseli, while he was in Paris, was courted by the
principal painters of the French school. David, whom he had known at
Rome, paid him much attention, and wished to introduce him to the First
Consul; this he however declined, as well as many other civilities
which this eminent painter offered, for he frequently said, "When he
looked at David, he could never divest his mind of the atrocities of the
French Revolution, nor separate them from the part which he had then
acted, for they were stamped upon his countenance."[51] Gerard also
showed Fuseli great respect, and on every occasion expressed a high
admiration of his genius.

Every one who visits the galleries of the Louvre to examine its pictures
and statues critically and with care, is convinced that much of their
effect is lost (particularly that of the pictures) in consequence of its
being generally lighted on each side by windows, and only a small
proportion of the picture-gallery by sky-lights. Fuseli, who had seen
and recollected most, if not all, of the celebrated pictures, of the
Italian schools in particular, in the churches or palaces for which they
were painted, and to which the artists had accommodated their light and
shadow, was particularly struck with the difference in their effect, and
deplored their removal. He likewise perceived with great regret, the
injury which they had sustained and were sustaining from the hands of
the French picture-cleaners, or, as they are generally called,
picture-restorers; and that, among others, the celebrated
"Transfiguration," by Raphael, although it had suffered less than most,
was in some degree impaired.

As the peace between England and France was of short duration, one of
the objects of Fuseli's visit was lost, and his observations on the
works of art then in the Louvre were not therefore published. The
memoranda which he made were afterwards incorporated either in his
"Lectures on Painting," in his "Fragment of a History of Art," or in the
observations on the works of artists, in his editions of "Pilkington's
Dictionary of Painters."

In the year 1803, he gave a picture to "The Union" Society at Liverpool:
which he presented to the members, to use his own words, "as a trifling
pledge of gratitude to a country which has reared the humble talents
which I possess." Mr. Roscoe acknowledged the receipt of this picture by
the following letter:--

        "MY DEAR FRIEND,

       "I have waited, day by day, for the last month, in expectation of
     either seeing you or hearing from you; and my patience being now
     quite exhausted, I can no longer refrain from enquiring what can be
     the reason of this alteration, or, at least, long protraction, of
     your intended visit to this place.

     "In my last, I endeavoured to express the pleasure I felt in the
     hope of seeing you so soon, and only requested that I might have a
     line before you left London, that I might arrange matters (being
     now a man of business) so as to enjoy as much of your company as
     possible. We are now near the middle of November; the fine weather
     leaving us, and winter fast approaching; yet I still flatter myself
     that I may see you, and shall do so, till I hear from you to the
     contrary. Why not spend your Christmas with us, when days are
     short, and little professional time can be lost by it? At all
     events, let me _hear_ from you, that I may either continue to enjoy
     the hope of seeing you, or reconcile myself as well as I can to my

     "It is now two or three weeks since the large case of pictures came
     safe to hand; "The _Union_" is placed in its proper station, where
     it has an uncommonly fine light, and looks extremely well. The
     printer of one of our papers wants to say something fine about it,
     and has called upon me for a description. Can you suggest what I
     shall say as to the _allegorical_ part of it, or shall I try to do
     the best I can, both with respect to that and the execution? which
     could not have been more suitable, or had a better effect, if you
     had seen the place. I know no method that would have so direct a
     tendency to encourage the high style of painting in this country,
     as the introduction of good pictures into public buildings, and
     even churches; on which last subject, I hope to show you some
     remarks, which will appear in my Life of Leo X. now almost ready
     for the press. I allow this would be little satisfaction to the
     artist, if he was to give his time, talents, canvass, and paint, as
     some people do. You and I will, however, settle this point, I doubt
     not, to our mutual satisfaction.

     "Having read thus far, take up your pen without delay, and let me
     at least once more see your _magnanimous pothooks_ on the back of a
     letter, addressed to your ever faithful and affectionate friend,

                              "W. Roscoe."

    "Liverpool, 12th Nov. 1803."

     "P.S. The Allegro and Penseroso are safe at Liverpool, but are much
     too large for any situation I can give them at Allerton."

In order to give some notion of Fuseli's projected work, for which
chiefly he went to Paris, the following criticisms upon some of the
pictures then in the Gallery of the Louvre may be acceptable: these he
was kind enough to offer to me when I was about to visit France in the
year 1814.


     This picture, which is known from the print published in Crozat,
     deserves rather to be considered as a curiosity than as the work of
     a great master; its composition bears some resemblance to the
     cartoon of "Peter and John healing the Lame Man," of Raphael; but
     the simplicity and dignity of the master are lost in the crowd with
     which the pupil surrounded the ceremony. Though the columns occupy
     full as much space, and are as prominent and as full of ornament in
     the cartoon as in the picture, and although the principal actors
     are placed in both between them, they are not perceived in the work
     of Raphael, till we have witnessed the miracle, whilst in that of
     Julio, they lead us to the ceremony, which eclipses the actors in
     its turn.


        1. The Nuptials of Cana.
        2. The Feast of Levi the Publican.
        3. The Madonna, St. Jerome, &c.
        4. The Martyrdom of St. George.
        5. Jupiter launching his Thunder on the Crimes.
        6. Christ carrying his Cross.
        7. The Crucifixion.
        8. The Pilgrims of Emaus.

     The two first, the third, and last of these pictures, are perhaps
     the fullest models of that ornamental style by which a great critic
     has discriminated the Venetian from the rest of Italian
     styles,--"monsters to the man of native taste, who looks for the
     story, for propriety, for national, unartificial costume,--mines of
     information to the student and the masters of art." The most
     technic comprehension of a magnificent whole, and supreme command
     over the infinite variety of its parts, equal suavity, energy, and
     ease of execution, go hand in hand with the most chaotic caprice in
     the disposition and the most callous tyranny over the character of
     the subject. Whatever relates to the theory of colours, of solid,
     middle, and aërial tints, to the opposition of hues warm or cold,
     and the contrast of light and dark masses, is poised here with
     prismatic truth; the whole is a scale of music. It is more by
     following the order of nature and of light in the disposition of
     the whole, that Paolo attained that illusion, which approaches to
     deception, than by the attempt of making _fac similes_ of the
     parts. He knew that dark, juicy, and absorbent colours come
     forward, that white recedes, and that the middle parts partake of
     both, and hence, uniting the two extremes by the intermediate tint,
     he obtained that superior harmony on which the Venetian school
     rests its superiority of colour, and which Rubens sought with
     unequal success in the capricious disposition of a nosegay or a
     bunch of flowers.


     None who has seen this picture at Foligno, will recognize it here.
     Whatever praise the ingenious and complicated process of
     restoration may deserve, that of having restored to the picture its
     original and primitive tone makes certainly no part of it: as well
     might the ingredients of a dish ready-dressed by a _restaurateur_
     of the _Palais Royal_, be said to resemble the unprepared viands of
     which it is composed. I am far from ascribing the want of
     resemblance to the restoration; it could only give what
     remained--the bleak crudity of its aspect. The comparative
     imbecility of some of its parts accuse another hand that
     succeeded.[52] Pictures _ex voto_ can claim little merit from
     composition. "The Madonna" of Foligno, and the "St. Cecilia" of
     Raphael; the "St. Sebastian" of Titian, &c. are discriminated from
     each other by little else than by a more or less picturesque
     conception of the ground on, or before which the figures are
     placed: it is expression, therefore, which makes their chief merit,
     and this is the great loss which we have suffered in the "Madonna
     of Foligno." Neither the "St. John," the "St. Jerome," nor the head
     of "St. Francis," acknowledge the hand, the eye, or the feelings of
     Raphael. The "St. John," though perhaps not even in its original
     state sufficiently dignified, is become a savage, and what is
     worse, a French one. The "St. Francis," and "St. Jerome," have been
     tinted into insipidity; but the head of "Sigismond Conti," the
     "Madonna and Child," appear to have suffered less, and the angelic
     countenance of "The Cherub with the Tablet," beams with its
     primitive radiance the impasto of Raphael.


     Tradition has persevered to give this admirable picture, known from
     the print in Crozat, to Raphael. It does not, however, require more
     than a comparison with his other portraits, from the first to that
     of Leo the Tenth, to see that the donation is gratuitous; if it
     were to be given to any other master, Giorgione has undoubtedly the
     first claim upon it, and there is no known work of his which can
     dispute its precedence, though it agrees with them in style. That
     conscious purity of touch which, exclusively, scorns all
     repetition, visible chiefly in the nose and nostrils of the Maitre
     d'Armes, the unity of tone in the whole of the colour, and that
     breadth, which, without impairing the peculiarity of character or
     the detail, presents the whole at once,--dualities never attained
     by the dry and punctiliory Roman principles, speak a Venetian
     pencil. The forefinger of the right arm is perhaps not designed, or
     foreshortened, with the energy or correctness which might be
     expected from the boldness of the conception, or from the power of
     either Raphael or Giorgione: but the character of the hand as well
     as its colour, is in unison with the head. Why the principal
     figure should be called a Maitre d'Armes is not easily conceived;
     it is certainly the most important of the two, and the leading
     figure of the picture. The second, although full-faced, is
     subordinate, and can by no courtesy of physiognomy be construed
     into the head of Raphael, unless the heads in the Tribuna at
     Florence, in this gallery, in Vasari, in the school of Athens, &c.;
     as well as the head of the figure wrapped in a _Ferrajuolo_, and
     sitting in a painter's study, as meditating, by M. Antonio, be
     spurious. It bears indeed some resemblance to a head etched by W.
     Hollar, and subscribed with his name; but the authority on which
     that appellation rests, is too futile to be admitted.


     If these be the works of John ab Eyck, there is not only an
     additional proof, that he could not be the inventor of
     oil-painting, but likewise that, for near a century after him, the
     colour of the Flemings continued in the same retrograde taste which
     checked the Italian design, from the time of Lorenzo Ghiberti to
     that of Leonardo da Vinci. The pictures here exhibited as the works
     of Hemelinck, Metsis, Lucas of Holland, Albert Durer, and even
     Holbein, are inferior to those which are ascribed to Eyck, in
     colour, execution, and taste. Compared with their composition, the
     pictures of Andrea Mantegna are nearly reduced to apposition; and
     the draperies of the three figures on a gold ground, especially
     that of the middle figure, could not be improved in simplicity or
     elegance by the taste of Raphael himself. These three figures,
     indeed, are in a style far superior to the rest; but even these,
     whether we consider each figure individually, or relatively with
     each other, their masses, depth, and relief, cannot be surpassed by
     those which are ascribed to the German, Dutch, and Flemish masters
     of the succeeding century. The three heads of God the Father, the
     Virgin, and St. John the Baptist, are not inferior in roundness,
     force, or sweetness, to the heads of Leonardo da Vinci, and possess
     a more positive principle of colour; the harmony of _chiar' oscuro_,
     at which Leonardo aimed, admitted of no variety of tints than what
     might be obtained by the gradation of two colours. His carnations
     appear to have been added by glazing; such is the head of Mona Lisa.


     The title of this picture is not accurate. It is an intermediate
     figure of Apostolic gait, and in garments of legendary colours,
     that shews the saints arrayed in white, who themselves seem less
     occupied by the errand for which they came, than by the place which
     they had left. Whatever in this picture is not vision is admirably
     toned, solemn, dim, and yet rich, the colours of a sacred place,
     and cloistered, devout meditation. Of these, St. Ambrose himself
     partakes; but the Apostle who addresses the Bishop, and the two
     Saints themselves, are by far too ponderous, and their outlines far
     too much defined for celestial beings, and for the clouds on which
     they are placed: their drapery, although admirably folded, recalls
     in the saints too strongly marble, and in the Apostle too palpably


     This figure, which has much of the genuine stern Italian colour,
     resembles the Dead Christ, as he is called, in the library at Basle
     by Holbein, in attitude perhaps,--is inferior to it in truth, but
     certainly much superior in style: it has much of Carravaggio; the
     head in shade has a mysterious effect, but the fore-part of the arm
     with the hand wants the rigid truth of the Italian master whom he
     seems to have imitated.


     The countenance of this figure is as unlike Cato, as the style of
     colour is to all other works of Le Brun: it is a common man with a
     beard, powerfully drawn, and painted in an austere Italian tone.


     From the extensive list exhibited, we shall select four to make a
     few characteristic observations--"The Martyrdom of St. Erasmus,"
     formerly an altar-piece at St. Peter's in Rome; "The Philistines
     struck by the Plague;" "The Death of Saphira;" and "Winter, or the

     The actual martyrdom of St. Erasmus is one of those subjects which
     ought not to be told to the eye--because it is equally loathsome
     and horrible; we can neither pity nor shudder; we are seized by
     qualms, and detest. Poussin and Pietro Testa are here more or less
     objects of aversion, in proportion to the greater or less energy
     they exerted. This is the only picture of Poussin in which he has
     attempted to rival his Italian competitors on a scale of equal
     magnitude in figures of the size of life; and here he was no
     longer in his sphere; his drawing has no longer its usual precision
     of form, it is loose and Cortonesque; his colour on this scale has
     neither the breadth of fresco, nor the glow, finish, or impasto of

     In "The Plague of the Philistines," he has again laid too great a
     stress on objects of aversion;--instead of the effects of
     infection, he has personified the effluvia of putrefaction; he has
     indeed discriminated his story from all others of the same species,
     by the introduction of the mice, the temple of Dagon, the arch, and
     the fall and fragments of the Idol: and the variegated bustle of
     the colours is covered by that frowning tone, which ought to
     preside where "Jove hangs his planetary plague into the murky air."

     In "The Death of Saphira" it is unnecessary to treat here what has
     been observed in another place,[53] that it is neither told with
     perspicuity nor adequate dignity. We shall only observe, that if
     the drawing and drapery of his figures be in his best style, the
     colour is in his worst. It presents to the eye neither light nor
     shade, and might furnish a definition of tints that never ought to
     approach each other. That austerity of unbroken colour which has
     been considered as a characteristic of the Roman school to which
     Poussin properly belonged, and of which the best specimen is given
     in the Transfiguration, admits of an euphony unattainable by the
     dim crudity adopted by Poussin in this picture.

     For all the aforegoing defects, the last picture to be noticed,
     "The Winter, or Deluge," makes up twenty degrees, which, in every
     requisite of real painting, places Poussin in the first rank of
     art. It is easier to feel than to describe its powers; it is,
     compared with the former, the most palpable part of the astonishing
     difference of effect between the works of the same man when
     inspired by sentiment or suggested by cold reasoning. What we see
     before us is the element itself, and not its image; its reign is
     established, and by calm degrees ingulphs the whole; it "mocks the
     food it feeds on." Its lucid haze has shorn the sun of his beams;
     Hope is shut out, and Nature expires.


     "The Mother of Pity" appears to me the most impressive of Vandyck's
     pictures in point of expression. The face of the mother, though
     not ideal, has elegance, and grief tempered by dignity. The Christ,
     extended from her lap, has less of attitude than his other Christs,
     and a truer colour. The bodies of the dead Christs of Vandyck, in
     general, appear rather transparent, silver leaf over some dark
     substance, and sometimes, especially in the legs, resemble some
     stained marble more than a body: but here we see real substance, a
     frame of flesh forsaken by circulation: it seems an imitation of
     the Christ of Caravagio, but handled with greater delicacy. The
     whole would, in my opinion, have possessed greater pathos, and
     perhaps produced a stronger effect, had he sacrificed the Angel and
     St. John to the solitary group of the Mother and Son.

     The composition of St. Martin resembles that of Albert Durer. The
     countenance of St. Martin is not that of a man who will readily
     part with his own comforts to alleviate the sufferings of others.
     That of his companion has more mind, more dignity, and better
     forms. The paupers are excrescences of deformity; but in colouring,
     the picture unites every power of Vandyck and of Rubens, in a very
     high degree.

     "Charles the First, &c." This picture may be considered in two
     different lights; as a picturesque composition, and as a
     representation of character. In the first, there cannot perhaps be
     conceived a more happy combination of the different materials,
     whose concurrence is required to constitute a harmonious whole.
     Nothing can surpass the comprehension which balances its masses of
     light and shade, equally lucid and juicy, deep and aërial, various
     and united; its colour at once soothes and invigorates our eye; but
     when we recover from the enamoured trance of technic enjoyment, we
     look for the character and the sentiment embodied by such art; we
     find, instead of Charles, a cold, flimsy, shuffling figure, with
     pretension to importance, but without dignity,--a man absorbed by
     his garment.

     "La Kermesse, ou fête de Village--Kermis, or Village

     This is rustic mirth personified. Rapidity of conception and
     equality of execution equally surprise in this composition; variety
     and unity separate and combine its numerous groups; the canvass
     reels; the satiated eye might perhaps wish for a little more
     subordination, for a mass more eminently distinguished by white or
     black, to give a zest to the clogging sweetness of the general
     form. But Rubens worked under influence, and his pencil roamed
     through the whole without predilection: he was not here a painter;
     he was the instrument of untameable mirth. There is a group in this
     picture which seems to have been suggested by the struggling group
     of two soldiers in the cartoon of the horsemen, by Leonardo da
     Vinci. This may be judged a cold observation; but artists must
     judge coldly.

     Zustris.--"Venus on her bed waiting for Mars, playing with Cupid
     and her Doves."

     This wanton conceit is a singular phænomenon on the Dutch horizon
     of art. We know no more of Zustris than what the catalogue chooses
     to inform us; but his work proves, that if he could conceive
     amorously, or what might be better styled, libidinously, he grew
     cold in the progress of execution. The face of Venus does not
     assist her action. The picture wants shade, and glow, and keeping;
     but there is an idea of elegance in the lines, and the flesh wants
     only shade to become Venetian.


     The full value of this picture cannot perhaps be appreciated better
     than when it is considered after the examination of a portrait by
     Rubens. The unaffected breadth, the modest, unambitious reflexes,
     an air of suffusion rather than penciling, a certain resignation
     even in the touch, shew us Nature, rather than its image. This
     charming female displays a mind superior to the cares of the toilet
     she is engaged with, sees beyond the mirror which her lover holds,
     and at which her lover, if it be her lover, assists. The great
     merit of Titian, and perhaps his exclusive merit as to execution,
     is to be totally free from all pretence, from all affectation. His
     vehicle conveys the idea of the thing, and passes unobserved. To
     Tintoret, to Paolo--the thing in general served to convey the
     vehicle. The Miracle of St. Marc derives all its merit from that
     whirlpool of execution, which sweeps undistinguished all individual
     merit into one mighty mass. As a whole, of equal comprehension,
     energy, and suavity, it astonishes the common man of organs, and
     the artist who enters into the process of this amalgama, equally;
     but when the first charm is over, and we begin to examine the
     parts, we shall not find they were drawn forward, distanced, or
     excluded by propriety and character."

The intimacy which commenced in Paris, in the year 1801, between Fuseli
and Mr. Robert Smirke, the celebrated architect, was kept up; and when
he left England for Italy, the former gave him letters of introduction
for Rome, which he found very useful. This kindness on the part of
Fuseli, was acknowledged by Mr. R. Smirke in the following letter:

                                                  "Rome, March 20, 1803.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "I have, you see, a second time availed myself of your permission
     to write to you; but as it is now above two months since I sent my
     last letter, you will not find the intrusion, I hope, troublesome.
     There is, I always feel, a sort of pleasure in communications of
     this kind with a distant friend, which is extremely agreeable; when
     writing, at the moment, I forget the distance of 1500 miles, and am
     talking with him. You desired I would endeavour to write to you in
     Italian; I must confess, however, that as yet I feel such a
     deficiency in my knowledge of that language as to make me afraid of
     venturing upon so bold a task; and as I have been so neglectful as
     not to attend regularly to instructions in it, I am afraid it will
     be yet some time before I can venture. In justification,
     nevertheless, I have to say that I never avoid the opportunity of
     being obliged to make use of it; and in the house I live, no
     language but Italian is spoken.

     "It was a considerable time after my arrival in Rome that I
     succeeded in finding Signor Ven. Gambini, though doubtless only
     from want of more proper application. I found that his memory of
     you and your friendship with him had not failed in the slightest
     degree; he enquired with much kindness after you, and showed me
     immediately a book, in which he has preserved with care a sketch
     you made upon one of the leaves; the only memorial, he told me,
     that he had of your work. He has a bust of you, which he has placed
     in his principal room, between those of Clio and Melpomene; it gave
     me really much pleasure to see the remembrance of a friend, absent
     between twenty and thirty years, so warmly preserved. His reception
     of me was, as you may suppose, extremely kind and civil; but as I
     find him surrounded with books, probably in a busy employment, and
     that so different to mine, I have not seen much of him, nor cannot
     but be afraid always of being troublesome.

     "It is now nearly two months since I arrived in Rome, having
     scarcely stopt on the road after leaving Pisa, whence my last
     letter to you was dated, except for two or three days at Sienna.
     Florence pleased me very much, from the slight view I had of it. I
     was there but a day, as I purpose spending a month there, at least,
     on my return from the southern parts of the country. The Gallery, I
     suppose, must be much less interesting since the French have taken
     so much from it; but as it is, it struck me particularly. I was
     much pleased with the arrangement; for though it has nothing of the
     astonishing _coup d'œil_ of the Louvre, I should think it was
     better calculated to shew the statues and pictures, and still more,
     to assist the artist who studies from them.

     "I have been very highly gratified with what I have seen in Rome.
     The numerous remains of excellent Roman art, both in sculpture and
     architecture; the magnificent appearance of many of the modern
     buildings; the splendour of the churches, and many collections of
     paintings, cannot fail to make it always a most interesting place
     even to those who at other times have felt but slightly the
     excellencies of art. It has, I imagine, suffered a good deal during
     the last eight years. What the French have taken, (though perhaps
     the finest works,) is not the only loss, for the distress and
     poverty attending the confusions of the country have caused the
     sale of the best pictures in many of the collections, and a sad
     neglect in general of their palaces. St. Peter's did not quite
     equal my expectations. I never anticipated _much_ from the
     architecture; but it was in the general appearance to the eye that
     I was in some degree disappointed. The grandeur of the approach
     (the circular portico, fountains, and vestibule) is certainly most
     striking; but in the interior particularly, there appears to me a
     great want of proportion, and from the colossal boys and
     decorations crowding about it, the just scale much destroyed;
     neither do I think the richness of the finishings, or the strong
     glare of light admitted into the building, quite appropriate to the
     solemnity of its character. In the Vatican adjoining, I believe but
     little alteration has taken place since you were here, except in
     the rooms containing the statues. They are chiefly small, but have
     been fitted up with much elegance. The wonderful picture of Michael
     Angelo in the Capella Sistina is quite uninjured. Those in the
     ceiling will not, I am afraid, (as they ought,) resist for ever the
     injuries of weather. One small piece affected by damp on the
     outside has fallen. What a pity it is they did not observe the
     precaution made use of by the ancients, by which many of their
     fresco works remain as perfect as when first painted! A space of
     two or three inches was left between the wall and tile on which the
     stucco was laid, so that it was completely defended from all
     exterior damps. I was disappointed in the Arabesque paintings of
     Raphael in the Galleries; of course not in the design, but in the
     present condition; they are so injured by being exposed to the open
     air, as to be much obliterated. His fresco paintings in the same
     palace are in good preservation. Of Michael Angelo and Raphael,
     though I had seen but very few of their works, and certainly among
     the least able to appreciate their merits till I came here; I had
     no idea of what painters they were, nor how they could so represent
     Nature in all its actions.

     "I have seen most of the modern artists of Rome--they are chiefly
     young. They have many large, bold undertakings in hand; several
     subjects I have seen, twenty-five feet long, either for churches,
     or for the Earl of Bristol, an old nobleman here of singular
     character, who gives sometimes much encouragement, and often
     beyond, I believe, even his power. The manner of painting is very
     like what I think I have observed among the French: much attention
     and minuteness in detail, while the great principal object of the
     story is perhaps failed in. There is not however, I think, so much
     extravagance in the representation of action, as I often observed
     in the modern French pictures. Among the best historical painters
     here are Camuccini, Landi, and Benvenuti. Of the sculptors, Canova,
     of course, holds by far the highest rank; many of his works are
     certainly very beautifully designed and executed. Next to him, one
     of the name of Maximilian is placed as the best. With respect to
     the modern architecture, both in its churches and palaces, I must
     confess myself somewhat surprised that the excellent models of
     ancient art constantly before them have not been more successfully
     studied. In general, I think the taste is of rather a heavy,
     disagreeable kind, but often a sort of magnificence in the whole
     effect which is imposing. I purpose now leaving Rome for a time,
     intending on my return to devote some time to more attentive and
     diligent study. My time hitherto has been employed, for a great
     part, in seeing all the different antiquities and buildings
     contained within the extensive walls of the city and in its
     suburbs. You may not perhaps have heard of my intention of spending
     two or three months in Greece, as it is within so short a time that
     I have determined upon it, and consequently since I communicated
     it to my family at home. I have been making many inquiries here,
     and find it a journey practicable, and as little subject to
     difficulties as one can expect; I think too that one may derive
     more advantage from a study of the ancient works there, which are
     less known, and which have perhaps been the models of the finest
     here, than from any in this country. When writing my last letter
     home, in which I mentioned my intention, I thought of going by way
     of Ancona, where I should embark in a vessel that went to any part
     of Greece; since then, I have somewhat changed my plan, purposing
     now to go by way of Naples and Otranto, and there embarking for
     Corfu. It may still be nearly a fortnight before I set out, as some
     preparation is necessary. Greece, it appears, does not afford the
     little conveniences found in this country for travellers. I am very
     well provided with letters there from the kindness of some English
     I have met with here. There is one family from whom I have received
     much kindness, (the Earl of Mount Cashell's,) with whom I believe
     you are acquainted, as I have often heard you spoken of in it.

     "My paper leaves me no more room than to say, if you should ever
     have leisure to write me a few lines, they will be received with
     the greatest pleasure; and wishing you the best health,

                         "Believe me, your very sincere friend,

                              "Robert Smirke."

     "Henry Fuseli, Esq. R.A."

     "My direction will be at Mr. Fagan's, Piazza Colonna, Rome."

In the year 1803, Fuseli left Queen-Anne-Street, and took the lease of a
commodious house, No. 13, Berners' Street, which had been built by Sir
William Chambers for his own residence; here he remained until December
1804, when he was elected Keeper of the Royal Academy, Mr. Rigaud being
then his competitor. The salary and commodious apartments allotted to
this office placed him in such circumstances as to render him, in a
degree, independent of fortuitous commissions. Although now in his
sixty-fourth year, he retained great mental and bodily activity, and
from his taste and extensive knowledge in the higher branches of the
fine arts, a more judicious choice could not have been made by the
Members of the Royal Academy; this opinion was expressed by his late
Majesty, George the Third, when the President, Mr. West, laid before
him the resolution of the Academicians for his approval.

The following anecdote connected with his election has been told, but
not correctly. When Fuseli tendered himself for the office of Keeper of
the Royal Academy, Northcote and Opie voted against him; but being
conscience-stricken, not only on account of his abilities, but from
having received favours at his hands, they considered it right to call
upon him the day after the election to explain their motives. After
having heard them, and in their explanation they in some degree blamed
each other; he answered, in his usual sarcastic manner, "I am sorry you
have taken this trouble, because I shall lose my character in the
neighbourhood. When you entered my house, the one must have been taken
for a little Jew creditor, the other for a bum-bailiff; so, good

This year (1804) Fuseli visited Liverpool for the last time, and passed
a great deal of his time while there with Mr. Roscoe: on his return to
London, he wrote the following letter to Mr. Joseph Johnson, the nephew
of his much respected friend of that name:--

                                                 "London, June 21, 1804.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "Give me leave to return you my warmest thanks for your kindness.
     Though my circumstances did not permit me to spend as many hours as
     I could have wished under your hospitable roof, every moment I
     passed with you and Mrs. Johnson, added some new obligation to
     those which you had already heaped on me and mine, and it will be
     one of my warmest wishes to be able to shew, at some time or other,
     that my gratitude lies deeper than my lips.

     "I have spent a day or two at Purser's Cross, which is the name of
     your Uncle's place; though in the neighbourhood of London, it is a
     sweet retired and healthful spot, and if he could be persuaded to
     spend more of his time at it, must be eminently conducive to his
     health. I hope Mrs. Johnson has not forgot her promise, to come and
     reside and nurse him there, as soon as it is in her power.

       *       *       *       *       *

     "Please to present my best compliments to all the friends I saw at
     your house, or in your company.

                    "I am, dear sir,

                         "Your obedient friend and servant,

                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "Joseph Johnson, Esq."


     The Biographer's Introduction to Fuseli.--New Edition of
     Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters, superintended by
     Fuseli.--Establishment of the British Institution, and Fuseli's
     limited Contributions to the Exhibition there.--Subject from
     Dante.--Fuseli's Remarks on Blake's Designs.--His Lectures on
     Painting renewed.--Tribute of esteem from the Students of the
     Academy.--Letter.--Death of Mr. Johnson, and Fuseli's sympathy on
     the occasion.--Fuseli re-elected to the Professorship of Painting
     at the Royal Academy.

In June 1825, Mr. Bonnycastle, late Professor of Mathematics to the
Royal Military College at Woolwich, who had then been the intimate
friend of Fuseli for twenty-five years, introduced me to him, having
observed previously to this introduction, that I should find him a man
of the most extensive knowledge, quickness of perception, ready wit, and
acuteness of remark, that I had ever met with. This introduction was
soon followed by daily intercourse between Fuseli and myself, which
ripened into the sincerest friendship, and was the cause of my passing
with him many of the happiest hours of my life.

In the year 1805, some of the booksellers wishing to publish an improved
edition of Pilkington's Dictionary of Painters, applied to Fuseli,
through Mr. Johnson, to be the editor. In consequence of the
solicitation of this friend, he accepted the task, but with reluctance,
as he had a mean opinion of the work, and constantly designated its
author a driveller. To the original he added a great number of names,
and either re-wrote the lives, or inserted in notes the characters of
most of the principal painters of the several schools.

At this period, a number of noblemen and gentlemen, zealous for the
encouragement of the fine arts in England, especially historical
painting, established the British Institution, and Fuseli was solicited
to send thither some pictures for exhibition and sale. He, however, had
no high opinion of the scheme; for although, in common with other
artists, he wished it to succeed--for he held that "the man who
purchases one picture from a living artist, which may have some
pretensions to the highest class of art, does more real service to the
fine arts than he who spends thousands upon the works of the old
masters;" yet he thought, to use his own words, "from the colour of the
egg, it was more likely to produce an ichneumon than a sphynx;" and
expressed reluctance to be a contributor. Mr. Coutts, who used every
endeavour to promote the establishment and the prosperity of the British
Institution, advised him to become an exhibitor, and to send, among
other pictures, "The Lazar-house," observing, "I never intended to
deprive you of this, it is yours, and therefore sell it, if you can." In
addition to this picture, the price of which was fixed at 300 guineas,
Fuseli sent "The Nursery of Shakspeare," for which he asked 150 guineas;
and "Christ disappearing at Emaus:" the price he put upon this was 100
guineas. The leading members of the Institution hesitated to admit that
admirable production of his pencil, "The Lazar-house," considering the
subject too terrible for the public eye; and they had three meetings
before they came to the resolution of exhibiting it. This hesitation on
their part, a slight degree of damage which "The Nursery of Shakspeare"
sustained in its removal from the rooms, and the not finding a purchaser
for either of the pictures, made Fuseli resolve never to exhibit there
again, to which resolution he pertinaciously adhered.[54]

In 1806, he painted from Dante, Count Ugolino being starved to death
with his four sons in the Tower, which, from that circumstance, was
afterwards called, "Torre della Fame;" this picture, as it came in
competition with that well known subject from the pencil of Sir Joshua
Reynolds, was admired and censured more than any other he had previously
produced. Fuseli took the moment when Ugolino is petrified by his
situation,--"bereft of tears, his heart is turned to stone;" he has
represented him in a sitting posture with his youngest son stretched
dead over his knees, while the other three are either writhing under the
agonies of hunger, dying, or given up to despair. This picture (now in
my possession) is as superior in drawing, in truth to nature placed
under such circumstances, and to the story, as Sir Joshua's soars above
it in colour, in manual dexterity, and in chiaroscuro.

Mr. Blake, who was not only a celebrated engraver, but known also for
his original designs, distributed this year (1805) a prospectus for
publishing an edition of the poem of "The Grave" of William Blair, to be
illustrated with fifteen plates designed and engraved by himself. This
work was patronized by the names of the principal artists of the day;
but before he entered upon its publication, he submitted his drawings
to the judgment of the then President of the Royal Academy (Mr. West),
and also to Fuseli. The latter, in particular, being pleased with the
wildness of the invention, wrote his opinion thereon in the following

"The moral series here submitted to the public, from its object and
method of execution, has a double claim on general attention.

"In an age of equal refinement and corruption of manners, when systems
of education and seduction go hand in hand; when Religion itself
compounds with fashion; when, in the pursuit of present enjoyment, all
consideration of futurity vanishes, and the real object of life is
lost--in such an age, every exertion confers a benefit on society which
tends to impress Man with his destiny, to hold the mirror up to life,
less indeed to discriminate its characters, than those situations which
shew what all are born for, what all ought to act for, and what all must
inevitably come to.

"The importance of this object has been so well understood at every
period of time, from the earliest and most innocent to the latest and
most depraved, that reason and fancy have exhausted their stores of
argument and imagery, to impress it on the mind: animate and inanimate
Nature, the seasons, the forest and the field, the bee and ant, the
larva, chrysalis and moth, have lent their real or supposed analogies
with the origin, pursuits, and end, of the human race, so often to
emblematical purposes, that instruction is become stale, and attention
callous. The Serpent with its tail in its mouth, from a type of
Eternity, is become an infant's bauble; even the nobler idea of Hercules
pausing between virtue and vice, and the varied imagery of Death leading
his patients to the Grave, owe their effect upon us more to technic
excellence than allegoric utility.

"Aware of this, but conscious that affectation of originality and trite
repetition would equally impede his success, the Author of the moral
series before us has endeavoured to wake sensibility by touching our
sympathies with nearer, less ambiguous, and less ludicrous imagery, than
what mythology, Gothic superstition, or symbols as far-fetched as
inadequate could supply. His invention has been chiefly employed to
spread a familiar and domestic atmosphere round the most important of
all subjects, to connect the visible and the invisible World, without
provoking probability, and to lead the eye from the milder light of
time to the radiations of Eternity.

"Such is the plan and the moral part of the Author's invention; the
technic part, and the execution of the artist, though to be examined by
other principles, and addressed to a narrower circle, equally claim
approbation, sometimes excite our wonder, and not seldom our fears, when
we see him play on the very verge of legitimate invention; but wildness
so picturesque in itself, so often redeemed by taste, simplicity, and
elegance, what child of fancy, what artist would wish to discharge? The
groups and single figures on their own bases, abstracted from the
general composition, and considered without attention to the plan,
frequently exhibit those genuine and unaffected attitudes, those simple
graces which Nature and the heart alone can dictate, and only an eye
inspired by both, discover. Every class of artists, in every stage of
their progress or attainments, from the student to the finished master,
and from the contriver of ornament to the painter of history, will find
here materials of art and hints of improvement!"

This opinion he allowed Blake to publish as recommendatory of his work.

In the early part of the year 1806, the Council of the Royal Academy
requested that Fuseli would again deliver a course of lectures on
painting, which he accordingly did, as Mr. Opie had not prepared his.
This course he prefaced by the following address:


       "I once more have the unexpected honour of addressing you in this
     place, at the request of the President and Council, with the
     concurrence, and at the express desire of the Gentleman whom the
     Academy has appointed my successor, and whose superior ability,
     whenever he shall think proper to lay his materials before you,
     will, I trust, make ample amends for the defects which your
     indulgence has, for several years, connived at in my recital of
     these fragments on our art."

Fuseli had now been more than two years Keeper of the Academy, which had
afforded the students sufficient time to appreciate the value of his
instructions, particularly in the antique school. And in order to mark
their sense of the advantages which they had derived from his talents,
they presented him, by the hands of Mr. Haydon, then a student, with an
elegant silver Vase, the design for which, at their solicitation, was
given by that eminent artist Flaxman; it bears the following


The Vase, by the desire of Fuseli and the kindness of his widow, is now
in my possession; and I not only value it as a beautiful work of art,
but regard it as a tribute paid to the genius and talents of my honoured
friend, whose memory will ever be held most dear in my recollection.

In the summer of 1809, Fuseli wished me to accompany him into the
country for a short time; but as I had promised to pass three or four
weeks with a relation and friend (who was much esteemed by him), the
Reverend Thomas Rackett, at Spettisbury, in Dorsetshire, I could not
accede to his solicitations. The following letter written to me while
there, as it shews the disposition of his mind, and gives some account
of his pursuits, may not be uninteresting in this place.

                                     "Somerset House, 31st August, 1809.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "Your letter of the 26th, which I found on my desk at my return
     from Fulham, gave me equal surprise and pleasure; nothing but
     yourself could have been more welcome, and I should not have waited
     till now, to present you in answer with a scrawl of mine, had I not
     been desirous of obliging Mr. Cavallo by adding a specimen of
     Lavater's hand-writing: several old parcels of letters did I turn
     over, but that which contains the chirognomic characters of my
     departed friend, I have not yet been able to light on, and am
     afraid it is in some bundle of papers at Purser's Cross, to which
     place I shall probably return on Saturday, and on finding what I
     want, take care to remit it to you for Don Tiberio.[55]

     "The spirit in which you wrote your letter, makes me happy; a mind
     like yours, fraught with all the requisites for genuine pleasure,
     is sure to find it or to make it in every place; how much must you
     enjoy then in the friendly mansion which separates you from me and
     those real friends you have left here!

     "Your account of the Nunneries you have visited, confirms Hamlets
     verdict: 'Frailty, thy name is woman!' How self-contradictory, that
     the 'animal of beauty,' as Dante calls woman, should exchange her
     claims to social admiration and pleasure, and the substantial
     charms of life, for the sterile embraces of a crucifix or some
     withered sister, by the dim glimmer of cloistered light,--lost to
     hope, and marked by oblivion for her own! Tyranny, deception, and
     most of all, that substitute for every other want, 'the
     undistinguished space of woman's will,' can alone account for such

       *       *       *       *       *

                                                         "September 1st.

     "So far I went yesterday, when luckily some one prevented the
     process of my letter, and opening to-day a parcel I had not thought
     of before, I found some letters, &c. of Lavater's: what I have
     enclosed, is the address of one written to me when I lived in St.
     Martin's Lane; be so kind to present it to your friend.

     "What you say of Mr. Rackett's politeness, is extremely flattering,
     and I beg you will return my respects and best wishes to him and
     the ladies. As the weather has been so unpropitious, I do not
     expect to hear of many entomological captures or discoveries: I beg
     to inform him, that of some pupæ of _Sphinx euphorbiæ_, found on
     the spurge of the Devonshire sands, I have reared, perhaps for the
     first time in England, two beautiful moths.

     "My wife is still at Woolwich. Mr. Haughton's respects attend you:
     and I,

                    "My dear Sir, remain

                         "Affectionately and sincerely yours,

                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "To John Knowles, Esq."

I have already noticed the social intimacy which subsisted for so long a
time between Fuseli and Mr. Johnson the bookseller; the latter had been
afflicted with an asthma for many years. In the month of December, 1809,
he had an alarming attack of this disorder, which increasing rapidly, a
message was sent to Fuseli, intimating that if he wished again to see
Mr. Johnson, he must come without delay. A carriage was instantly
ordered, and as it drew up, Mr. Carrick Moore the Surgeon, of whose
abilities, Fuseli had the highest opinion, accidently arrived at the
Academy. Fuseli, who was in tears and in violent agitation, cried out,
"Come with me, I beseech you, Moore, and save, if possible, my valued
friend, Johnson." On their arrival at Mr. Johnson's house, in St. Paul's
Church-yard, they found him breathing with difficulty, his countenance
ghastly, his limbs cold, and his quivering pulse hardly perceptible; he,
however, recognised Fuseli, and expressed pleasure at seeing him. But no
means which were tried could restore the sinking energies of the vital
functions, and the patient in a short time ceased to live.

As Fuseli had been on terms of intimacy and of the strictest friendship
with Johnson for nearly forty years, this sad event shocked his
sensitive heart. He wrote the day after to Mr. Joseph Johnson, the
nephew, in the following terms:--

                                "London, Somerset House, 21st Dec. 1829.

        "MY DEAR SIR,

       "As the present melancholy occasion must bring you, and perhaps
     Mrs. Johnson, to London, permit me to request the favour of your
     remaining with us, and taking a bed at our house during your stay.

     "If my grief for the loss of my first and best friend were less
     excessive, I might endeavour to moderate your's; but I want
     consolation too much myself to offer it to others.

     "My wife joins in my request to you and Mrs. Johnson, and we both
     remain ever your faithful but disconsolate friends,

                              "Sophia and Henry Fuseli."

     "Joseph Johnson, Esq."

Mr. Johnson was regretted not only by a numerous circle of private
friends, but by the literary world in general. Many authors now living,
and others who have paid the debt of nature, were fostered by his
bounty, and but for his encouragement the world would have been deprived
of most of the beautiful poems of Cowper; for, when "The Task," not
being appreciated by the public, met with a very tardy sale, its author
had made up his mind to write no more. Mr. Johnson, who was well aware
of the merits of this poem, urged him to proceed, stating, that he had
no doubt it would finally receive that favour from the public which it
so justly merited. This expectation was afterwards realized to its
utmost extent, and the author received from his publisher a handsome but
unexpected gratuity.[56]

Mr. Johnson was a man of probity, liberality, and sound sense, with an
acute judgment. The author of this memoir, who witnessed the urbanity of
his manners, and partook of the hospitality of his table at least once
a-week for some years, can bear testimony to these, as well as to the
good sense which he exercised, and the prudence with which he allayed
the occasional contests of his irritable guests, many of whom were
distinguished men of letters, of various characters, and conflicting
opinions. And although the conversation took a free range, yet the
placid equanimity of their host regulated in some degree its freedom,
and kept it within due bounds. Fuseli was always a favoured guest at
this table; when absent, which rarely happened, a gloom for the time
pervaded the company: but, when present, his acute taste in poetry,
oratory, and the fine arts; his original opinions, singular ideas, and
poignant wit, enlivened the conversation, and rendered him a delightful
companion. On these occasions, however, Johnson was rather a listener
than a contributor; but he enjoyed the animated remarks and retorts of
his amusing friend, and in his will left him a handsome legacy.

Fuseli wrote the following epitaph, which gives a just and unvarnished
character of this amiable man, and which is placed on his tomb in the
church-yard of Fulham:--

                 HERE LIE THE REMAINS OF
             DECEMBER, 1809, AGED 72 YEARS.
                         A MAN

The death of Opie, which took place rather unexpectedly, in 1807, after
he had delivered only four lectures at the Royal Academy, in which he
availed himself of several remarks of Fuseli in his unpublished
discourses, caused a vacancy in the Professorship, which was filled by
the election of Mr. Tresham. This appointment he held until the early
part of the year 1810, and then tendered his resignation, declining to
lecture under the plea of indisposition. The Academicians met for the
purpose of electing a Professor of Painting; but no one offering
himself, all being aware of the great talents of Fuseli in this
particular, they came to a resolution, that a law which forbids the same
person to hold two situations, should be dormant in his case; he was
therefore re-elected Professor of Painting on the 10th of February,
1810, and was allowed to retain the joint offices of Keeper of the
Academy and Professor of Painting during the remainder of his life. A
higher compliment than this could not have been paid to any man, and it
marked in an extraordinary manner the estimation in which his talents
were held.


     Fuseli's prefatory Address to his resumed Lectures.--His second
     Edition of Pilkington.--He suffers from a nervous fever, and visits
     Hastings in company with the Biographer.--His Picture of Marcus
     Curius, and Letter relative to it.--Letter from Mr.
     Roscoe.--Canova's Intercourse with Fuseli.--Anecdotes of Fuseli and
     Harlow.--Letters from Fuseli to the Biographer.--Republication of
     his Lectures, with additions.--Death of Professor Bonnycastle, and
     Anecdote concerning him.--Death of Fuseli's friend and patron, Mr.
     Coutts.--An agreeable party at Fuseli's house.

On the 26th of February 1810, Fuseli resumed his course of lectures, and
prefaced them by the following address:--

        "Mr. President, and Gentlemen,

       "Sincere as my gratitude and pleasing as my emotions must be on
     being, by the indulgence of the Academy, appointed to address you
     again, I should feel myself unworthy of this honour were I not to
     regret the infirm state of health, the unfortunate cause which
     occasioned the resignation of the Professor of Painting, and
     disappointed the expectation you had a right to form from the
     display of his brilliant talents. Severely, however, as this
     disappointment may be felt by you, it is a consolation to reflect
     that we still possess him, and that the Academy may still profit by
     his advice and practical abilities: but what can I offer to
     mitigate our grief on the awful decree which snatched from us his
     predecessor, your late lecturer, my departed friend? In him society
     has lost one of its best members, our Art one of its firmest
     supporters, the Academy one of its brightest ornaments, and you a
     solid, experienced, forcible, and lucid instructor. The innate
     vigour of his mind supplied every want of education; his
     persevering energy ruled circumstances, and made necessity the
     handmaid of the art; his judgment, at a very early period,
     discriminated the art itself from those vehicles of which he
     possessed, in a very high degree, the most splendid; add to these,
     that insatiable curiosity, which not only stimulated him to examine
     every system, and to collect every observation on art, but to court
     all relative knowledge, and whatever, though more distant, might
     tend to illustrate his argument, enforce his proofs, or assist his
     researches; and you have an aggregate of qualities, which, if he
     had been suffered to complete his course, would have enabled him to
     present you with a more connected series of instructions for your
     studies than perhaps ever fell to the lot of any other school, and
     might have conferred on England the honour of having produced the
     best combined, least prejudiced, if not the most lofty or extensive
     system of art.

     "Such was your teacher:--to expatiate on the artist before his
     companions, admirers, rivals, and scholars, within these walls,
     which have so often borne testimony to the splendour and
     versatility of his powers, would be equally presumption and waste
     of time: that characteristic truth, that unaffected simplicity and
     air of life which discriminate his portraits; the decision, the
     passion, the colour, the effects that animate his history; the
     solidity of his method, his breadth and mellowness of touch, now
     fresh before us, with his writings, will survive and consecrate to
     memory the name of OPIE."

Fuseli, this year (1810), gave a second edition of his "Pilkington's
Dictionary of the Painters;" to this he added more than three hundred
names and characters of artists, chiefly of the Spanish school, enlarged
the notes given in the previous edition, corrected some mistakes in
dates, and gave in an appendix a few names which had been omitted in the
alphabetical order, and also many particulars of the great masters of
the Italian school; the last he considered as too prolix for the body of
the work.

In the summer of 1813, Fuseli was attacked with a considerable degree of
fever on the nerves, attended with great depression of spirits: this he
considered a similar disease, but much milder in its effects than that
with which he had been afflicted in 1772, at Rome. This indisposition he
felt the more, from having enjoyed for the last forty-three years, an
uninterrupted state of good health. His medical friends advised change
of air, and more particularly for that of the sea-side. He accordingly
determined to pass a month at Hastings, and prevailed upon the writer of
this memoir to accompany him thither. The frequenters of this salubrious
bathing-place, called by some the _Montpelier_ of England, will hardly
recognise, from its present improved state, the description given of it
by Fuseli in a letter to a friend; but it was a true picture of the town
at that time. "Hastings appears to me to have been constructed by a
conspiracy of bone-setters, surgeons, and dissectors, as the most
commodious theatre of all possible accidents in contusions, falls,
dislocations, sprains, and fractures. The houses of one side of the
High-street, _i.e._ the most inhabited part of the town, are built on
what they misname a terrace; but, in fact, it is a mass of stony
fragments gathered from the shore, without any other polish than what
the wave had left behind; raised four or five feet above the road,
unguarded on the edge, and consequently, without the perpetual
interference of miracles, fatal to every stranger who approaches them at
night, in winter thaws, when spangled with ice, or flooded from the
tremendous ridge that beetles o'er the house-tops."

To form an adequate and correct opinion of the extent of Fuseli's
talents and information, and a proper notion of his feelings, it was
necessary to be an inmate of the same house: from the experience of this
and a subsequent opportunity, I can, with truth, assert, that he was not
only a most intellectual, but a pleasant and accommodating companion.
After a month had been spent at this pleasant watering-place, I had the
satisfaction of returning to London with him, he being restored to
perfect health.

This year (1813) he painted a picture for Mr. Joseph Johnson, of
Liverpool, "Marcus Curius preparing his frugal repast." When Mr.
Johnson gave the commission, he said, "I wish the subject to be some
mentally heroic action, taken either from the English or Roman History."
When this picture was finished, Fuseli addressed the following letter to
his friend:--

                                                  "London, Oct. 8, 1813.

        "DEAR SIR,

       "I have not been unmindful of what you so kindly commissioned me to
     undertake for you, and the picture which I have painted now only
     waits your commands. The _subject_, though not English, is
     congenial with your own mind, and selected from the most virtuous
     period of Rome. If I remember rightly, you approved of it when we
     discussed the subjects here; but as you may not perhaps have since
     had leisure to reconsider it, you will permit me to repeat it as
     concisely to you as I can, and nearly in the words of Valerius
     Maximus. 'Marcus Curius, who had repeatedly smitten the Samnites,
     seated in his rustic chair, preparing his simple meal in a wooden
     bowl, exhibited to the admiring Legates of the Samnites at once,
     with the proof of the most rigid frugality, his own superiority.
     Commissioned by the state, they spread before him treasure, and
     humbly solicited his acceptance. With a smile of disdain, scarcely
     deigning to look at it, Curius replied--Take back these baubles to
     those who sent you, and tell them that Marcus Curius prefers
     subduing the rich to being rich himself, and that you found him as
     impregnable by bribes as irresistible in arms.'

     "Such is the subject, my dear Sir, which I have endeavoured to
     compose and execute for you, as well as my capacity and practice
     permitted; I wish they had been greater. I remain, with my wife's
     and my own warmest wishes for your own, dear Mrs. Johnson's, and
     son's health and happiness, dear Sir,

                         "Your obliged and sincere friend,

                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "Joseph Johnson, Esq."

Fuseli kept up a constant intercourse with his friends at Liverpool, and
particularly with Mr. Roscoe. The correspondence which passed between
this gentleman and him sometimes had relation to literature, but more
frequently to the fine arts; the following is a specimen of the

                                             "Liverpool, 24th May, 1814.

        "MY DEAR FRIEND,

       "When my son Robert left us, about ten days since, I sent by him a
     slight outline of a frieze, under a picture of a Holy Family, by
     Ghirlandajo, desiring him to give it you, and to enquire whether
     you agree with me in thinking it likely to be the production of
     Michelagnolo, who is said to have painted in the pictures of
     Ghirlandajo, whilst a student with him. Slight as it is, being, in
     fact, only the copy of a copy, you will be able to form an opinion
     of it at first sight. The picture is in distemper as well as the
     frieze, which is executed in chiar' oscuro, in a sort of oblong
     broken touches, producing on the whole a good effect. The
     superiority of the style of the frieze to that of the picture is
     evident, and demonstrates to a certainty that they are the work of
     different hands.

     "I think I also told you, some time since, that I had a picture of
     Leo X., with the Cardinals de' Medici and Rossi, which I have
     reason to believe is the copy made by Andrea del Sarto, from that
     of Raffaelle, and which was first sent to Mantua, afterwards went
     to Parma, and thence to Capo di Monte, where it is now no longer to
     be found. Many persons who had seen it there, assure me this is
     undoubtedly the same picture. I have had it some years, and having
     been frequently asked whether I had taken it out of the frame to
     look for the mark mentioned by Vasari, I determined, a few months
     since, to examine it, and sending for two or three friends, we took
     it out, and on the _edge of the pannel_, near the shoulder of the
     Cardinal de' Medici, found the remains of an inscription, in large
     letters, which I conjecture to mean, "_Andrea Florentinus Pinxit_,"
     with the date, which is so far obliterated as to be wholly
     illegible. At all events, there undoubtedly has been an inscription
     on the edge of the pannel, a circumstance in itself highly
     favourable to its being the very picture which Vasari has
     described. This picture is most highly finished, has an
     indescribable force of colouring, and is in as fine a state of
     preservation as the day it was painted. Those who have seen the
     picture of Raffaelle in the Louvre, assure me that this is in every
     respect equal to it. I long to have your decision on these two
     pictures, but hope it will be on the spot.

     "I lately got a fine picture by Bernardino Lovini, which confirms
     in every point the account which Lanzi and you have given of him.
     It is a Holy Family, with two attendant pilgrims, saints, small
     life. I think you will admire it for its simplicity, pathos, and
     beautiful colouring.

     "I have a friend in Liverpool, who is a good chymist, and prepares
     colours, which I believe to be of a superior quality. His name is
     Strahan, and his agent for the sale of them in London, is _Mr.
     Thos. Clay, No. 18, Ludgate-hill_. I shall esteem it a favour if
     you will make a trial of them, and if they should be found to
     answer better than those you are already supplied with, would
     recommend them to your friends. I believe they are already in some
     degree known amongst the artists; but Mr. Strahan is very desirous
     that you should make a trial of them; and I have promised him _all
     my interest with you_ for the accomplishment of his wishes.

     "I hope Robert will have called on you before you receive this: for
     your kindness and friendship both to him and Richard accept my best
     thanks, and believe me, my dear friend, unalterably yours,

                              "W. Roscoe."

Canova visited England in the summer of 1816, and was then very much
struck with the pictures, as well as pleased with Fuseli's society. This
eminent sculptor remarked, that he not only showed the brilliancy of
genius in his conversation, but that he spoke Italian with the purity of
a well-educated native of Rome. And on his return, the Academy of St.
Luke, at Rome, at his request, sent a diploma, constituting Fuseli a
member of the first class, an honour which was conferred also, by the
like recommendation, upon Sir Thomas Lawrence and Mr. Flaxman.

In the year 1817, Fuseli sat, at my request, to Harlow for his portrait,
which is on pannel, of a cabinet size. This eminent painter was highly
gratified by the compliment, and exerted every faculty to do his best.
Fuseli obliged him and me by giving for this picture twelve sittings of
two hours each; and a more perfect resemblance, or characteristic
portrait, has seldom been painted. I attended Fuseli at each sitting,
and during the progress of this portrait. Harlow commenced and finished
his best and most esteemed work, "The trial of Queen Katherine," in
which he has introduced many portraits; but more particularly those of
the Kemble family; in the performance of this work, he owed many
obligations to Fuseli for his critical remarks; for when he first saw
the picture (chiefly in dead colouring), he said, "I do not disapprove
of the general arrangement of your work, and I see you will give it a
powerful effect of light and shadow; but you have here a composition of
more than twenty figures, or I should rather say parts of figures;
because you have not shewn one leg or foot, which makes it very
defective. Now, if you do not know how to draw legs and feet, I will
shew you;" and taking up a crayon, drew two on the wainscot of the room.
Harlow profited by these remarks, and the next time we saw the picture,
the whole arrangement in the foreground was changed. Fuseli then said,
"So far you have done well; but now you have not introduced a back
figure, to throw the eye of the spectator into the picture;" and then
pointed out by what means he might improve it in this particular.
Accordingly Harlow introduced the two boys who are taking up the
cushion; that which shews the back, is altogether due to Fuseli, and is
certainly the best drawn figure in the picture. Fuseli afterwards
attempted to get him to improve the drawing of the arms of the principal
object (Mrs. Siddons), who is represented as Queen Katherine, but
without much effect, particularly the left; and after having witnessed
many ineffectual attempts of the painter to accomplish this, he
desisted, and remarked, "It is pity that you never attended the Antique

Harlow proved himself, on many occasions, to be among the vainest of
men, and generally wished it to be believed that he possessed
information to which he was a stranger. On one occasion he said to me,
"It is extraordinary that Fuseli, who is so fine a scholar, should
suffer engravers to place translations under the plates taken from the
classical subjects painted by him;" and remarked, "I was educated a
scholar, having been at Westminster school, and therefore wish to see
the subjects given in the original languages," and then imprudently
instanced the print taken from his picture of the death of Œdipus.
When Fuseli appointed the next sitting, on our way to Harlow's house, I
mentioned this conversation to him, and added, I really think he does
not understand one word of Greek or Latin, to which he gave his assent,
and remarked, "He has made, I think, an unfortunate choice; for, if I
recollect rightly, the Greek passage, as well as my translation of it,
are scratched in under the mezzotinto. But before we part, I will bring
his knowledge to the test." After he had sat the usual time, he asked
for a piece of chalk, and wrote in large letters, on the wainscot, the
following passage:--

        "κτύπησε μὲν ζεὺς χθόνιος, αἱ δὲ παρθένοι
        ῥίγησαν ὡς ἤκουσαν· ἐς δε γουνάτα
        πατρὸς πεσοῦσαι, κλαῖον."[57]

After having done so, he said to Harlow, "Read that," and finding by his
hesitation that he did not understand a letter, he resumed, "On our way
hither, Knowles told me you had said that I ought not to permit
engravers to put translations under the prints taken from me, and that
you had instanced the Œdipus; now that is the Greek quotation whence
the subject is taken, and I find you cannot read a letter of it. Let me
give you this advice: you are undoubtedly a good portrait painter, and I
think in small pictures, such as you are painting of me, stand
unrivalled; this is sufficient merit; do not then pretend to be that
which you are not, and probably from your avocations never can be--a

Unfortunately for Harlow, he was very unpopular with the Royal
Academicians, and when he offered himself as a candidate for an
Associate of the Academy, there was but one vote in his favour. On the
evening of the election, Fuseli was taxed by some of his friends with
having given it, and he answered, "It is true, I did,--I voted for the
talent, and not for the man." This was not a solitary instance in which
Fuseli exercised his judgment as to the fitness of men to fill offices
in the Academy; and accordingly voted for them, distinct from any
private consideration. On a vacancy happening for the Professorship of
Anatomy, Mr. Charles Bell was among the candidates: this gentleman was
unknown to Fuseli, except by his works: his vote was requested by one of
his best and most intimate of friends (Mr. Coutts) for another person:
"I cannot," said he, "oblige you; I know of no man in England who is a
better demonstrator than Bell; and for a surgeon, he is a good artist;
such a man therefore the Academy wants for their Professor, and, as
such, I _must_ vote for him."

The month of September 1817, I passed with my relation and friend,
Richard Wilson, Esq. of the Cliff-house, at Scarborough; on this
occasion, as was always the case when out of London, Fuseli corresponded
with me; two of his letters are preserved, and I cannot refrain from
giving them to the public, as they shew the kindness of his disposition,
and the terms of friendship which subsisted between us. Understanding
that my apartments were about to be repainted, he wrote as follows:--

     "To any other person an apology might be necessary; to you, whose
     friendship can neither be heated or cooled by correspondence or
     silence, I despise offering any: if by remaining mute, I have
     deprived myself of one source of pleasure, it has reserved to me
     another, when we meet: your letter made _me_ happy, because you
     could not have written it, had you not been so _yourself_.

     "Hammond has perhaps told you that I went to Luton with him and
     Roscoe: I spent some happy hours there; and, of course, but few.
     Since my return, I have been riding or crawling in a kind of
     daylight-somnambulism between this place, Brompton, and
     Putney-hill. Whether I shall continue so to do the remainder of the
     month, or go to snuff in some sea air, will depend upon my wife's
     success or disappointment at Cheltenham.

     "The chief reason why I send you this scrawl, is to offer you a bed
     here at your return, on the same floor with myself, and a chamber
     as pleasant and as well furnished as my own, viz. with demigods and
     beauties. I earnestly request you to accept of it, and not to
     persist in the foolhardy resolution of sleeping in a newly painted
     room. If Hammond is obliged to have his house painted, pray oblige
     me with your compliance, and, in giving me the preference, you will
     be at home, and your brother can surely not except against it,
     considering the distance at which he lives. I will not take a

     "I feel my head so stupid, my hand so disobedient, my pen so
     execrable, my ink such a mudpond, that I ought in mercy to save you
     the trouble of deciphering more. Adieu, love me as I do you,
     neither more nor less, and hasten your return.

                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "Somerset House, September 12, 1817.
     To John Knowles, Esq."

I accepted of his kind offer, and in my letter doing this, gave him a
transcript of an epitaph in Latin, inscribed on a brass plate which is
affixed to a pillar in the north aisle of Scarborough Church, and which
is not only admired there for the expression of feeling which it
contains, but for its Latinity. This epitaph is as follows:--

        "Dum te, chara Uxor, gelido sub marmore pono,
          Illustret vigili lampade funus amor;
        Heu! periit pietas dulcissima, casta cupido,
          Teque omnis virtus quæ negat esse meam.--
        Oh! quàm felicem nuperrima Sponsa beâsti!
          Nunc pariter miserum reddis amata Virum.
        Iste dolor levis est charos ubi casus amicos,
          Mors ubi disjungit, sola tremenda venit."

     "In piam Memoriam Annæ charissimæ Uxoris, hæc dedicavit
     mæstissimus Maritus J. North: Obiit die Xmo 4to Augusti, Anno
     Dom. 1695, Ætatis suæ 22."

In answer to this letter, he wrote to me as follows:--

                                       "Putney-hill, September 20, 1817.

        "MY DEAR SIR,

       "You have given me the greatest pleasure in accepting the offer
     which I took the freedom of making to you; and my wife, the moment
     she hears of it, will as much be flattered by your kindness as
     myself,--for, before she went off, she earnestly desired me to make
     the request.

     "Thanks for the epitaph,--but with all possible respect for Mr. J.
     North's Latinity and feelings, and notwithstanding the very free,
     correct, and scholastic manner in which you have transcribed his
     effusion; bowing likewise to the taste and discrimination of the
     "Learned" where you are; I must own that the sense of the fourth,
     and construction of the seventh and eighth lines are not very clear
     to me.

     "I am rambling about here in the charming thickets of this villa,
     deliciously asleep, if fancy wake me not now and then with the
     thunder of the wave beneath your feet. You cannot now stay long

                         "Yours, ever,
                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "John Knowles, Esq."

The month of September 1818, was passed by me with Fuseli and Mrs.
Fuseli at Ramsgate; he was then in excellent health and spirits, and
although in his seventy-eighth year, had considerable bodily strength
and activity. Our constant practice was, to leave the house about five
o'clock in the morning, and sometimes earlier, to walk until eight,
breakfast, and employ ourselves during the middle of the day in reading
or writing. We walked for an hour before dinner, and did the same in
the evening before we retired to rest, the usual hour for which was
about ten o'clock. It was at this place that I collated his aphorisms in
their present form, under his inspection, and then made a fair copy of
them for the press.

In the year 1820, he published a quarto volume, containing three
additional lectures, reprinted the three which appeared in the year
1801, with some alterations and additions, and wrote an introduction,
which he called "A Characteristic Sketch of the Principal Technic
Instruction, Ancient and Modern, which we possess." This work was
purchased by Mr. Cadell the bookseller, for three hundred pounds.

Mr. Bonnycastle, the Professor of Mathematics to the Royal Military
College at Woolwich, died this year (1821), in the seventieth year of
his age;[58] he had been for more than forty years the intimate friend,
occasional companion, and always a great admirer of the talents of
Fuseli. Bonnycastle was a mathematician of celebrity, independently of
which he had a fine taste for poetry and English literature in general;
his memory was retentive, his knowledge extensive, and he was ever ready
to communicate what he knew. His conversational talents were of the
first order, and he occasionally enlivened his remarks with apposite
anecdotes. As he was the friend of my youth, I feel much satisfaction in
recording here my gratitude for instruction and many acts of kindness
received from this amiable man.

The following anecdote will afford a proof of the delicacy and feeling
of Bonnycastle's mind, and also of his excellent disposition. When his
"Introduction to Astronomy" was published, it was reviewed with a
considerable degree of asperity in a popular work of the day. Several of
his scientific friends, and Reuben Burrow in particular, considered that
it had not been fairly dealt with by the reviewer, and they determined
to discover the writer: they at length found out that it was Mr. Wales,
Mathematical Master of the School of Christ's Church Hospital. Burrow,
who was a man of quick sensibility, and an excellent mathematician, was
determined to avenge the cause of his friend, and constantly expressed
anxiety for the appearance of some new book by Wales; at length one was
published, upon "The Method of Finding the Longitude at Sea by
Chronometers." Burrow procured a copy of this work, had it interleaved,
and wrote numerous remarks on, and confutations of many parts of it,
which he carried to Bonnycastle, and said, "As you have a more polished
pen than myself, use these observations of mine, and make up a sharp
review of this paltry book for the public." Bonnycastle lost no time in
doing this, and was on his road to London, with the review in his pocket
for publication, when he accidentally met Wales, who was then in so bad
a state of health that he appeared to be in the last stage of a
consumption. This affected the mind of Bonnycastle so strongly that, on
his arrival in London, he immediately burnt the manuscript review, being
determined not to hurt the feelings of a man labouring under disease,
and thus perhaps to accelerate his death.

In the year 1822, Fuseli was bereft of another old and valued friend,
Mr. Coutts, the opulent banker, with whom he had been acquainted nearly
sixty years. This gentleman had on many occasions afforded him valuable
proofs of his sincere friendship. With him, and with his family during
the latter period of his life, in particular, Fuseli was almost
domesticated. By them, his very wishes were anticipated, and he received
from their hands, such attentions as can arise only from feelings of
respect and regard, accompanied by those comforts and elegancies which
wealth alone can bestow. And I cannot refrain from expressing my
conviction, that these attentions, which were afforded without the least
ostentation, not only contributed to make the winter of his life
pleasant, but really prolonged the existence of a man to whom the public
are so much indebted as an artist, critic, and teacher of the Fine Arts.

It has been often remarked, that old men do not feel so acutely the loss
of relations and friends, as those who are of a less advanced age. But
this was not the case with Fuseli; for, although now in his eighty-first
year, his faculties were unimpaired, and he still possessed a great
degree of sensibility. As one friend dropped into the grave after
another, he felt the loss of each, and constantly exclaimed, "It is my
turn next," advising me at the same time, as I advanced in life, to
cultivate the friendship of men younger than myself, that I might not be
left without friends in old age. Although when a younger man he appeared
to his acquaintances to cling much to life, yet now when he spoke of
death, it was without fearful forebodings. "Death," he used to say, "is
nothing; it is the pain and feebleness of body under a lingering
disease, which often precedes death, that I dread; for, at my time of
life, I can look forward but to a day, and that passes quickly." The
following extract of a letter to the Countess of Guilford, dated the
17th of November 1821, and written on his return to London with Mrs.
Fuseli, after they had passed some time at Brighton, will further show
his feelings on this subject.

        "Taciti, soli, e senza compagnia.

     "We jogged on, though at a swifter pace than Dante and his guides,
     sympathising (one at least,) with autumn's deciduous beauty, and
     whispering to every leaf the eye caught falling, _Soon_ shall I
     follow thee!

     "Indeed, were it not for those I should leave behind, I would not
     care _if now_."

Mr. Roscoe this year (1821) visited London. From Fuseli's advanced age,
and Mr. Roscoe's weakness of body, the former anticipated that it would
be the last time they should meet--which anticipation, I believe, was
realized. A day or two after Mr. Roscoe's arrival, I received the
following note from Fuseli.

                                           "Sunday, 11th February, 1821.

        "MY DEAR SIR,

       "Old Mr. Roscoe is in town for a few days at his son Robert's
     house, No. 6, Dyer's Buildings, Holborn: I am to dine with them on
     _Tuesday_, at five: Robert came to invite you to the party, but
     finding you were out of town to-day, requested me to do it for him.
     You cannot do a thing more agreeable to them or me than comply with
     our request, if disengaged; and as it probably may be the last time
     you will see Mr. Roscoe in London, I hope you will suffer no
     trifling engagement to deprive us of you.

                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "We may go together."

     "To John Knowles, Esq."

A few days afterwards I had again the pleasure to meet Mr. Roscoe at
Fuseli's table; there were also present, Sir Thomas Lawrence, Mr. Lock,
Mr. Howard, R.A., Mr. J. Symmons, and Mr. Robert Roscoe. The
conversation was desultory, sometimes upon literature, at others upon
art; and at two more intellectual dinner-parties I have seldom been
present. Fuseli was animated and energetic, and shewed that he then
possessed a mind of the greatest vigour, with an unimpaired memory.


     Decline of Fuseli's Health.--Letter from Mr. James C.
     Moore.--Fuseli's Bust by Baily, and Portrait by Sir Thomas
     Lawrence.--His last Academical Lectures.--Particulars of his
     Illness and Death.--Proceedings relative to his interment, with an
     account of the ceremony.--Copy of his Will.

The intimates of Fuseli had observed, with much concern, that for two or
three years, although his general health did not appear to be materially
affected by age, yet there was a predisposition to water in the chest,
which usually manifested itself when he took cold, by his being
occasionally affected with some difficulty in breathing, irregularity of
pulse, and also by the swelling, in a slight degree, of his feet and
ancles. These symptoms were repeatedly removed, in a few days, by the
appropriate remedies, but after intervals they recurred. On the 23d
August, 1823, he sent a note to my house, early in the morning,
expressing a wish to see me immediately, which summons I promptly
obeyed. On my arrival, he said, that although when we parted at ten
o'clock the preceding evening, he did not feel at all indisposed; yet,
shortly after he had retired to bed, he found a difficulty in breathing,
such as he had never before experienced, and that his legs were much
swollen, and wished therefore to consult a friend of mine, Dr. Maton. I
told him that the Doctor was absent from London, and therefore advised
him to send for a physician with whom he and I were well acquainted,
(Sir Alexander Crichton,) to meet his friend and usual medical adviser,
Mr. Richard Cartwright; to which proposal he assented. Mrs. Fuseli was
at this time at Brighton, for the benefit of her health; and he gave me
strict injunctions not to inform her of his indisposition. But as his
medical advisers told me the disease was water in the chest, and that
the symptoms were alarming, I wrote to Mrs. Fuseli, informing her in
some degree of the facts; and, although much indisposed herself, she
came immediately to London.

His case, for some time, was considered to be almost hopeless; and Sir
Thomas Lawrence, in anxious solicitude for the safety of his friend,
advised that Dr. Holland should also be consulted. This gentleman was
fully aware of his danger, but coincided in every respect in the
propriety of the previous treatment, and said that nothing more could be
done. After three weeks of suffering, which Fuseli bore with patience
and fortitude, his spirits never having forsaken him, nature made a
great effort, and he, contrary to the expectations of his medical
attendants, rallied, and in a few weeks more was restored to a state of
comparative health.

During this illness, he received the visits of his particular friends in
the evening, and conversed with his usual energy; and it must have been
highly gratifying to his feelings to see the anxiety which they
manifested for his safety; more particularly the Countess of Guilford
and her two amiable daughters, the Ladies North, and also Sir Thomas
Lawrence,[59] who, with the writer of this account, allowed no
engagement to interfere, and were his constant companions every
evening. His friends who were absent from London amused him with their
letters, one of which is here transcribed.

                                              "Stranraer, Aug. 10, 1823.

        "DEAR FUSELI,

       "I wrote you a few days ago; but as you've got a new doctor, I'll
     scribble again. Dr. Holland seems to be Lady Guilford's,[60] and
     every Lady thinks her's the best. Besides, she may deduce from high
     authority, 'that when two or three are gathered together,' the
     curer may be amongst them. Independently of their instructions,
     communicate to her Ladyship, that, from my knowledge of your
     constitution, I am sure that a glass of hock and soda will be both
     salutary and agreeable. Half a dozen of the best from Hochheim will
     then be transmitted to you.

     "I say nothing of physic, of which plenty will be prescribed: but,
     however nauseous, swallow it all. Pour out execrations on the d--d
     drugs, rail with wit and spleen on the ignorance of your doctors,
     and obey them implicitly; by all which you will obtain all the
     relief from physic and physicians that is possible.

     "Mr. Knowles sends us frequent bulletins, for which we are most
     grateful. He acts like your warm and constant friend.

     "Friendship was a quality you often extolled: the affection of
     relations you used to hold cheap, as a mere instinctive sensation;
     whereas friendship is a rational selection. It was that quality
     which humanised Achilles, who without it would have been a brute.
     Bestow some of it, then, upon me, and dictate a few words of
     comfort; for I have long been, before you knew Knowles, your
     faithful friend,

                              "James Carrick Moore."

After his recovery, it was evident that this severe illness had made an
inroad on his constitution; for, although it had no apparent effect upon
his mental energies, yet it was apparent that his bodily exertions were
enfeebled; for, when he was enabled to resume his accustomed exercise of
walking, it was not performed with that long stride and firm step for
which he had been before remarkable.

In the year 1824, Fuseli sat to Mr. Baily for a bust, which was
executed in marble: he had always a high opinion of the talents of the
sculptor, and on this occasion said to me, "I assure you, as an artist,
that there is much more of truth, expression, and feeling, in Baily's
work than in that of his competitors, however much they may enjoy the
public favour." On this bust he had the following line chiselled:--


Sir Thomas Lawrence also entertained a high opinion of Mr. Baily's
talents as a sculptor; and, in addition to the bust of Fuseli, had those
of Flaxman, Smirke, and Stothard chiselled by him. These were placed
among the exquisite specimens of ancient and modern art which adorned
his dining-room.

In the early part of 1825, he sat for a half-length portrait to Sir
Thomas Lawrence, which this great artist executed admirably. At this
time the Earl of Eldon was also sitting for his likeness, and Fuseli,
not recognizing the countenance, asked Sir Thomas who it was? who
answered, "It is the Chancellor." Fuseli took a piece of chalk, and
immediately wrote on the picture--

                       ----[61]"Quia me vestigia terrent
        Omnia te adversum spectantia, nulla retrorsum."

When Lord Eldon saw this, he was much amused; and on being told that it
was written by Fuseli, laughed heartily.

In the spring of 1824, I persuaded him not to lecture, which it was his
intention then to do, being apprehensive that the exertion which he must
employ would be too great for his diminished strength; in the early part
of 1825, he however delivered his last course of lectures, with
certainly less of energy of manner, but without much apparent fatigue:
he had also prepared some pictures for the ensuing exhibition at the
Royal Academy.

Notwithstanding these proofs of remaining powers, on Sunday, the 10th of
April 1825, Fuseli, being then on a visit to the Countess of Guilford
at Putney Hill, complained of indisposition, while walking in the
pleasure-grounds. He was engaged on that day to dine in St. James's
Place, with Mr. Samuel Rogers; and Lady Guilford had ordered her
carriage to convey him thither; but as his illness continued, Mrs.
Fuseli prevailed upon him (with difficulty) to remain in the house, and
he gave up the engagement. It was an affecting coincidence, that on the
evening before, being out on the lawn with the Ladies North, and looking
at the stars, which shone with great brightness, he said, (possibly from
the consciousness of symptoms which he considered dangerous,) "I shall
soon be amongst them." On the Monday, it was evident to all about him
that he was much worse, and he expressed a strong desire to see me;
being informed of his illness, I immediately went to Putney, and from
his altered appearance had great fears of what would be the issue. The
opinions of Sir Alexander Crichton and Dr. Holland, who arrived there
shortly after, confirmed my apprehensions, for they said, when
questioned by me, that "they could not give any specific name to the
complaint; for it appeared to them, that all the functions of nature
had given way, and, in their opinion, he could not last many days."

The attentions of the Countess of Guilford and her family to Fuseli were
unremitting; every thing was done by them to promote his comfort, and
even to anticipate his wishes; the question constantly asked was, "Can
nothing further be done to keep him a little longer with us?" but it was
too apparent, notwithstanding these kindnesses, and the skill and
attention of his physicians, that life was fast ebbing. I saw him every
day, and I have reason to believe that, from the commencement of his
illness, he did not expect to recover; for, on the Wednesday, he put his
hand into mine, and said, "My friend, I am fast going to that bourne
whence no traveller returns." But he neither expressed regret at his
state, nor, during his illness, shewed any despondency or impatience. I
left him at a late hour on the Friday (the evening before he died); he
was then perfectly collected, and his mind apparently not at all
impaired, but his articulation was feeble, and the last words which he
addressed to his physicians, the death guggles being then in his throat,
were in Latin: so perfect was his mind at this time, that he said to me,
"What can this mean? when I attempt to speak, I croak like a toad."

On Saturday morning, at seven o'clock, he was told that Mr. Cartwright
was in the house: as he knew two gentlemen of that name, he was
uncertain which it was. On Mr. Cartwright approaching his bedside, he
put out his hand, and exclaimed, "Is it you, Samuel?" This gentleman
raised him in his bed, and moistened his mouth and lips with liquid, by
means of a feather, for which he feebly thanked him.[62]

On Mr. Cartwright's arrival in London, he immediately wrote to me,
saying, "he feared ere I received his communication that Fuseli would be
no more;" this apprehension of his was shortly afterwards confirmed by a
letter from Lady Guilford, informing me that he had breathed his last
that morning, (Saturday, the 16th of April, 1825,) at half-past ten
o'clock, without much apparent pain, and in complete possession of his
faculties; and that, in consequence, my presence, as an intimate friend
and executor, being immediately required, both by Mrs. Fuseli and
herself, at Putney, she had sent her carriage to enable me to come down
without delay.

On my arrival at Putney Hill, I found the Countess of Guilford and the
Ladies Susan and Georgina North in deep grief. Fuseli was highly
esteemed by these ladies, and reciprocally felt towards them the warmest
friendship. He entertained for Lady Susan great regard; but he had for
Lady Georgina, that affection which a master usually feels towards an
amiable, accomplished, and highly promising pupil. This young lady had
devoted much time to the study of the Fine Arts, and, assisted by the
occasional hints and instructions of Fuseli, has arrived at eminence in
the highest branch, that of historical design. After some preliminary
observations, Lady Guilford observed, that she considered it a duty to
act upon this melancholy occasion as she was sure her father (Mr.
Coutts) would have acted were he alive; and she said, "As to
arrangements, I give you, Mr. Knowles, a _carte blanche_; but observe,
it is my wish, as Mr. Fuseli has died here, that his remains should be
so placed as will not disgrace a public funeral; for I feel convinced
that the Royal Academy will pay that tribute to his memory." Her
Ladyship added, (with her usual feelings of generosity,) "but if they
fail to do so, then I request you will order such a funeral as is due to
the high merits of the deceased; and any additional expense which may be
incurred by my wishes, I will gladly reimburse. Remember, my desire is,
to have every respect shewn to his remains." A few hours after I had
returned to London, Lady Guilford sent me in writing her instructions to
the above effect; and said in her note, that "she was induced to do so,
that her wishes and intentions might not be misunderstood."

Early on the Sunday morning, I called upon Sir Thomas Lawrence, not only
as a friend of the deceased, but in his official capacity as President
of the Royal Academy, to inform him of Fuseli's death, and to ask what
he considered would be the notions of the Members of the Academy with
respect to his funeral. Sir Thomas, who had been for many years the
friend and companion of Fuseli, and an admirer of his talents, met this
question with feeling and great candour, and remarked that, he knew of
no precedent for any public honours being paid to the remains of a
Keeper of the Royal Academy. I urged that there could not be a precedent
to operate in this case, for, on account of the great talents of the
deceased, the Royal Academy had rendered an existing law of theirs
nugatory, by allowing him to hold the situation not only of Keeper, but
also of Professor of Painting, a compliment which had fallen to the lot
of no other man, nor was such an occurrence likely again to take place.
Sir Thomas acknowledged that he had strong claims to some distinguished
attention being paid to his remains, and promised, under this view of
the case, to convene a meeting of the Council immediately, to take the
matter into consideration.

After this interview, I went to Putney Hill, for the purpose of removing
the corpse to Somerset House; and in the evening, followed the remains
of Fuseli there, where Mr. Balmanno, the other executor named in the
will, was ready to receive the body. It was, at our desire, placed in a
room, around the walls of which were arranged "The Lazar-house," "The
Bridging of Chaos," and other sublime productions of his pencil, the
subjects being chiefly from Milton.

The Council of the Royal Academy met, in conformity to the summons of
their President, and came to the resolution,--to "recommend to the
Academicians, at their general assembly about to be called for the
purpose, that the President, the Secretary, and Council, should be
desired to attend the funeral of Mr. Fuseli." The feeling, however, of
many of the Academicians at this general meeting is said to have been,
that this recommendation was not a sufficient honour to the memory of so
distinguished an artist and professor; for "the remembrance of his gibes
and his quillets," which had annoyed many while he lived, was now sunk
in death. But as the Members did not wish to disturb the resolution of
their Council, it was confirmed.

A curious coincidence took place at this meeting, with that convened in
the year 1792 for the purpose of considering how the funeral of Sir
Joshua Reynolds should be conducted. I allude to an objection of one
member only, in each case, to the honours proposed. With respect to the
funeral of Sir Joshua, an architect of considerable abilities and great
celebrity, (Sir William Chambers) considered it a _matter of duty_ to
object to the body lying in state, and a public funeral taking place
from Somerset House, without the sanction of the King; for, said he, "My
instructions, as surveyor of the building, are, that the Academy cannot
let or lend any part thereof, for any other purpose than that for which
it is appropriated." This objection, it is well known, was referred to
and overruled by the King. In the case of Fuseli, an Academician, a
portrait painter, objected both in the council and at the general
assembly to any honour being paid by the Academy, as a body, to the
remains of Fuseli. But the observations of this person, I have been
credibly informed, created feelings little short of disgust in many of
the Academicians present.

As the funeral was, by this resolution, to be considered a private one,
measures were immediately taken by the executors, to meet the wishes of
the relative and a friend of the deceased, by ordering such preparations
to be made at their expense as they considered due to his merits; and
invitations were accordingly sent, by their desire, to the President,
Secretary, and other members of the Council of the Academy, and to
several of his private friends, to attend the solemnity.

The funeral of Fuseli took place on Monday the 25th of April: it moved
from Somerset House at eleven o'clock in the morning, for St. Paul's
Cathedral, in the following order:--

    Pages bearing funeral feathers, with attendants.

    Four Porters in silk dresses.


    (Drawn by six horses decorated with velvet
    and feathers)

Containing the Body enclosed in a leaden coffin; the outer wooden one
was covered with black velvet, ornamented with gilt furniture, and bore
the following inscription:

        A.M. R.A.
        DIED THE 16TH APRIL, 1825,
        AGED 86 YEARS.[63]

The hearse was followed by eight mourning coaches drawn each by four
horses, the first with the two Executors, Mr. Knowles and Mr. Balmanno.
In the others were the President, Secretary, Treasurer, and Council of
the Academy, and the private friends of the deceased, in the following
order:--Sir Thomas Lawrence, President; Henry Howard, Esq. Secretary;
Robert Smirke, Jun. Esq. Treasurer. Sir William Beechy, R.A.; T.
Phillips, Esq. R.A.; A. Chalon, Esq. R.A.; William Mulready, Esq. R.A.;
G. Jones, Esq. R.A.; R.R. Reinagle, Esq. R.A.; J. Wyatville, Esq. R.A.

Lord James Stuart, M.P.; Vice Admiral Sir Graham Moore, K.C.B.; The Hon.
Colonel Howard, M.P.; Sir E. Antrobus, Bart.; The Very Reverend Dr.
Charles Symmons; William Lock; Samuel Cartwright; Samuel Rogers; Henry
Rogers; William Young Ottley; William Roscoe, Jun.; Henry Roscoe; M.
Haughton; T. G. Wainewright, and R. B. Haydon, Esqrs.

The procession was closed by the private carriages of the following
persons, the intimate friends of the deceased. Mrs. Coutts (now Duchess
of St. Alban's), Marquis of Bute, Countess of Guilford; each drawn by
four horses, with the servants in state liveries. Lord Rivers; Lord
James Stuart; Honorable Colonel Howard; Sir Edmond Antrobus, Bart.; Rear
Admiral Sir Graham Moore; Sir Thomas Lawrence; Dr. Symmons; Mr. Lock;
Mr. Richard Cartwright; Mr. Smirke, and Mr. Wyatville.

The body was deposited in a small vault formed for the purpose, in the
crypt of St. Paul's Cathedral, between those which contain the remains
of his friends, Sir Joshua Reynolds and Opie.

On our return to the Royal Academy, the will was opened, with the
contents of which I was previously acquainted, as Fuseli consulted me
when he made it; and the following is a copy:--

     "I, Henry Fuseli, Keeper of the Royal Academy, of London, being in
     health and of sound mind, do make this my last will and testament.
     I do hereby leave and bequeath unto my wife, Sophia Fuseli, all
     money and every other description of property that I may be
     possessed of at the time of my decease, to be for her own and sole
     use. And I do hereby constitute and I appoint, John Knowles of the
     Navy Office, and Robert Balmanno, of Mornington Place, Hampstead
     Road, Esquires, as Executors to this my last Will and Testament,
     revoking all other Wills and Testaments. Given under my hand and
     seal, this twenty-first day of November, in the year of our Lord
     One thousand eight hundred and twenty-two.

     "Henry Fuseli," (L.S.)

     "James Jones,    }
      William Church, } Witnesses."

In carrying this Will into execution, a difference of opinion arose
between Mr. Balmanno and myself respecting the propriety of disposing of
some of the property by private contract; and the matter was accordingly
referred to Mrs. Fuseli. As this lady gave her assent to the view which
I had taken of the affair, Mr. Balmanno, in consequence, renounced the
trust. The Will was therefore proved by me, solely, in the Prerogative
Court of Canterbury, on the 7th September 1825.


     Fuseli's personal appearance and habits.--Existing Memorials of him
     in Pictures and Busts.--His method of dividing his time.--Anecdotes
     exemplifying his irritability.--His attainments in classical and in
     modern Languages.--Instances of his Powers of Memory.--His intimate
     knowledge of English Poetry and Literature.--His admiration of
     Dante.--His Passion for Entomology.--His opinions of some
     contemporary Artists.--His conversational powers.--Anecdotes.--His
     deficient acquaintance with the pure Physical Sciences.

It may now be proper to give some description of Fuseli's person and
habits. He was rather short in stature, about five feet two inches in
height, his limbs were well proportioned, his shoulders broad, and his
chest capacious. His complexion was fair; his forehead broad; his eyes
were large, blue, and peculiarly expressive and penetrating; his nose
large, and somewhat aquiline; his mouth was rather wide; and although
his features were not strictly regular, yet his countenance was, in the
highest degree, intelligent and energetic; the expression of his face
varied in a remarkable manner with the quick impressions of his mind. He
was clean and neat in his person and dress, and very particular with his
hair, which was carefully dressed every day with powder.

In youth, Fuseli was exceedingly temperate in all his habits: until the
age of twenty-one years he had never tasted fermented liquors; and in
more advanced age, his usual beverage was Port wine, in a moderate
quantity, or Port wine mixed with water; and during the whole of his
life he had never even tasted beer. He was habitually an early riser. In
London, during the summer months, he usually left his bed-room between
six and seven o'clock; but when in the country, he arose between four
and five. To these, and to the practice of standing while he painted, he
attributed the more than usual good state of health which he had
enjoyed. He possessed his faculties in an extraordinary degree to the
last period of his life: his fancy was vivid, his memory unimpaired, and
his eye-sight so good, that he could read the smallest print without the
aid of glasses: if any one of them had failed, it was his hearing; but
this, if impaired at all, was only so in a slight degree; and, in my
opinion, his complaint of this proceeded rather from inattention, on
his part, to any discourse which did not interest him, than from a
defect in the organ; for, when his attention was drawn to a subject, or
excited, this was in no degree apparent.

Although Fuseli had a great dislike to sit for his portrait, there are
the following busts and pictures of him:--A bust in marble, chiselled
when he was in Italy; of the merits of this he always spoke in high
terms, and it is supposed to be now in Rome. A portrait in profile, by
Northcote, taken at Rome in 1778, in the possession of James Carrick
Moore, Esq. A drawing by Sir Thomas Lawrence, in 1787, made for the
translation of Lavater's physiognomy. A portrait by Williamson, of
Liverpool, in 1789, in the possession of William Roscoe, Esq. A picture
by Opie, in 1800, which Mrs. Fuseli now has. A very characteristic
miniature, by Haughton, taken in 1808, in the collection of the Countess
of Guilford; and there are two or three subsequent miniatures by the
same artist. An elaborate portrait in oil colours, by Harlow, painted in
1817, in the possession of the writer of this memoir; and one less
wrought, by the same artist, for Mr. Balmanno. A bust in marble,
executed by Baily, in 1824, for Sir Thomas Lawrence. A portrait by Sir
Thomas Lawrence, taken in 1825, a few weeks before Fuseli's death, is
now in the possession of that gentleman's executor. And a bust in clay,
modelled from a cast of the face, taken after death, by Mr. Baily, for
the Countess of Guilford.

Notwithstanding some eccentricities, Fuseli was a man of method: his
daily occupations, which were almost unalterable, will give some notion
of this. If the weather were favourable, he usually walked for an hour
or two before breakfast; if otherwise, he read some classic author. At
breakfast (which generally occupied an hour), he was engaged in looking
over drawings of entomology, or in reading some book on that science.
After he had breakfasted, and while under the hands of the hair-dresser,
he read Homer in Greek. At half-past ten o'clock he went to his study,
and engaged himself in painting until four; then dressed, and walked
till the time appointed for dinner. In the evening, if not in society,
he amused himself in examining prints, executing drawings, or reading
the popular works of the time. When out of London, the middle of each
day was spent either in drawing, writing, or reading.

From infancy, Fuseli possessed very impetuous passions, which required,
when a boy, some degree of coercion, on the part of his parents, to
control. This irritability, in one instance, nearly cost him his life.
At Lyons, when a young man, he had a dispute with a person, which
aroused his feelings to such a height, that in a momentary fit of
passion he made use of that agility which he possessed in a considerable
degree, and kicked his antagonist in the face. The man coolly drew his
sword, and immediately inflicted a very severe wound upon the offending
leg. Notwithstanding this violence of disposition, when his anger was
aroused even to a high pitch, a kind word or look appeased him in a
moment. In the several relations of husband, friend, and master, he was
most affectionate and kind; but he required to be sought: if neglected,
he ceased to think of the objects whom he had before loved or esteemed;
and his constant theme was on such occasions, "I can live without them
who can do without me."

He possessed such a degree of pride and self-love in this particular,
that if he thought himself slighted, he would resent it, whatever might
be the rank or condition of the man: this has been witnessed on several
occasions, one of which now recurs to my memory. I accompanied him to a
private view of a picture, "The Trial of Queen Caroline;" after we had
been in the room a few minutes, he pointed out a clergyman, and said,
"That is Howley, the Bishop of London; he and I were very intimate.
Before he became a dignitary of the church, he used to come to my house
frequently, and sit there for hours together; but for some years he
seems to forget even my person." Shortly after, Lord Rivers came into
the apartment, and accosted Fuseli in his usual jocular manner, and
perhaps not knowing that he had been acquainted with the Bishop, took an
opportunity of introducing him. Fuseli immediately said, "I have seen
his Lordship before now," and turned upon his heel.

It has been shewn, that Fuseli was educated for the clerical profession,
and as a requisite for this, he studied the classics in early life, in
order to attain a knowledge of what are called the learned languages:
taste led him to continue this study, in which he afterwards proved so
eminent; he wrote Latin and Greek accurately, and has often puzzled
learned Professors in their attempts to discover whence the passages
were derived, when he clothed his own original thoughts in classical
language. He was not ignorant of Hebrew; but in this, when compared with
Greek and Latin, his knowledge was superficial. In modern languages he
was deeply skilled; for he wrote French, Italian, German, and English,
with equal facility. On one occasion, when I saw him writing a letter in
French, I made the remark, "With what ease, Sir, you appear to write
that language!" he answered, "I always think in the language in which I
write, and it is a matter of indifference to me whether it be in
English, French, or Italian; I know each equally well; but if I wish to
express myself with power, it must be in German;"--in which he has left
several pieces of poetry. For the pleasure of reading Sepp's work on
insects, he gained, late in life, a competent knowledge of Dutch:
indeed, he had a peculiar facility of acquiring languages; for in this
particular his capacity was most extraordinary. He has told me, that,
with his knowledge of general grammar, and with his memory, six weeks of
arduous study was quite sufficient time to acquire any language with
which he was previously unacquainted. This capacity was evidently owing,
in a great degree, to his quickness of perception, and to his possessing
a most retentive memory; not of that kind, however, that easily commits
to it particular passages for _vivâ voce_ repetition, and are lost as
soon as the object for which they were gotten is passed by; on the
contrary, what he once attained was seldom or never forgotten. It was a
recollection of words as well as things: one or two examples of this
will suffice. His friend Bonnycastle also possessed great powers of
memory, and he, at Mr. Johnson's table, challenged Fuseli to compete
with him: this was immediately accepted. The best mode of trial was
submitted to Johnson, who proposed that each should endeavour to learn
by heart, in the shortest time, that part of the eleventh book of
Paradise Lost which describes a vision shewn to Adam by Michael. Fuseli
read this description of the cities of the earth, which is long, and,
from the words having little apparent connexion, difficult to be
remembered, only three times over, and he then repeated it without an
omission or error. Bonnycastle immediately acknowledged himself to be
vanquished. When "The Pursuits of Literature" were published, the public
were anxious to discover the author, and a friend said to Fuseli, "You
ought to know who it is, because he quotes you as authority for one or
two of his remarks," and mentioned the passages. Fuseli instantly
answered, "It must be Mathias; for I recollect that particular
conversation;" and stated the time, the place, and the occasion which
drew it forth, although many years had elapsed.

Fuseli's acquaintance with English poetry and literature was very
extensive; few men recollected more of the text, or understood better
the works of Chaucer, Spenser, Shakspeare, Milton, and Dryden. In
Shakspeare and Milton he was deeply read, and he had gained some
knowledge of the merits of the former in early life from the
translations into German of some of the plays of Shakspeare, by his
tutor Bodmer, who was well read in English poetry, and who subsequently
gave a translated "Paradise Lost." Notwithstanding the predilection
which Fuseli had for the ancients, particularly Homer, yet he considered
the three first acts of "Hamlet," and the second book of "Paradise
Lost," to be the highest flights of human genius. Indeed, he had a
decided preference for poetry and works of imagination. "England," he
once said, "has produced only three genuine poets, Shakspeare, Milton,
and Dryden." A friend asked, "What do you say of Pope?"--"Ay, ay," he
interrupted, "with Broome, Cawthorne, Yalden, Churchill, Dyer, Sprat,
and a long list of contemptibles. These are favourites, I know, and they
may be poets to you; but, by Heaven, they are none to me." Another
gentleman who was present, maintained the genius of Pope, and thought
the "Dunciad" his best production. Fuseli denied this, and added, "Pope
never shewed poetic genius but once, and that, in the 'Rape of the
Lock.'--A poet is an inventor; and what has Pope invented, except the
Sylphs? In the Dunciad, he flings dirt in your face every minute. Such a
performance may be as witty as you please, but can never be esteemed a
first-rate poem."--He then called his "Eloisa to Abelard," "hot ice."

For Gray, however, he had a high admiration; and when his opinion was
asked by one who imagined that he held him cheap, he said, "How! do you
think I condemn myself so much as not to admire Gray? Although he has
written but little, that little is done well."

When Addison was mentioned, he exclaimed, "Addison translated the fourth
Georgic of Virgil, except the story of Aristæus; you may thence know
what his taste was. How can you ask me about a man who could translate
that Georgic, and omit the most beautiful part?"

Of the more modern poets, Lord Byron was his favourite; and he always
read his writings as soon as they were published, with great avidity.
When pressed to read the works of those writers in verse who are admired
merely for the beauty of language and smoothness of versification, he
exclaimed, "I cannot find time, for I do not yet know every word in
Shakspeare and Milton."

He was well versed also in the works of foreign poets; but of these,
Dante was his favourite, for his imagery made the deepest impression on
his mind, and afforded many subjects for his daring pencil. "There was
but one instance," he said, "in which Dante betrayed a failure in moral
feeling. It is when Frate Alberigo, lying in misery in Antenora,
implores him to remove the ice from his face. Dante promises to do so,
on this condition--that the sinner shall first inform him who he is, and
for what crime he is punished. But after Alberigo has fulfilled the
conditions, the poet refuses to render him the service he had promised.
That is bad, you know; faith should be kept, even with a poor devil in
Antenora." After a pause, he burst out with Dante's description of the
Hypocrite's Punishment--

        "O in eterno faticoso manto!"

        "How well this is! I feel the weight, though I'm no hypocrite."

He did not accord with the feelings of Rousseau, in an epithet bestowed
on Metastasio, _"Le bouillant Metastasio!"_--"I do not know where he
discovered this fire; I am sure Metastasio never burnt my fingers, yet
he is sometimes beautiful." Fuseli continued, "_I tuoi strali terror de'
mortali_, _&c._ (the Coro in the Olimpiade.) These are grand lines."

His knowledge of history and its attendant chronology, was accurate and
extensive, and few men understood and remembered better the heathen
mythology, and ancient and modern geography.

He was not ignorant of natural history; but that branch which was
cultivated by him with the greatest ardour, was entomology, in which he
was deeply informed, particularly in the classes _lepidoptera_ and
_coleoptera_, but in the former he took the greatest delight; and in
acquiring a knowledge of the habits of insects, he was naturally led
into the consideration of their food; hence he was not unlearned in
botany. By skill and care, he sometimes reared in his house some of the
rarer English insects, among them, the _Sphinx atropos_, _Sphinx
uphorbiæ_, and others. His great love for entomology induced him
occasionally to introduce moths into his pictures, which he painted with
great care and fidelity, and when much taken with the subject, he made
them frequently incongruous. Thus, in a picture of Lycidas, from the
passage in Milton,

        "Under the opening eye-lids of the morn,
        What time the grey-fly winds his sultry horn,"

which is in the possession of James Carrick Moore, Esq., where the
shepherd and shepherdess, (exercising the licence of a painter, he has
introduced the latter,) are only ten inches in length, happening to find
in Mr. Johnson's garden at Fulham, a beautiful moth, he was so delighted
with the insect, that in spite of all propriety and his better
knowledge, he painted it the size of nature, hovering above the figures,
with expanded wings. This singular appearance in the picture attracted
the notice of the celebrated Dr. Jenner, who was skilled also in
entomology; and being invited to dinner to meet Fuseli, he consequently
enquired the subject. Mr. Moore informed him, that it was from Milton's
Lycidas, and from the line,

        "What time the grey-fly winds his sultry horn."

"No, no," replied the Doctor, "this is no greyfly, but a moth, and winds
no horn; it is a mute." Fuseli, who heard this remark, knew well its
accuracy, and therefore said nothing; and the respect which he had
already entertained for Dr. Jenner, in consequence of his well-known
discovery, which has been so useful to mankind, was heightened, by
finding that he possessed also a knowledge of his favourite study; and
each was amused during the evening by the other's singularities.

It must be acknowledged that Fuseli was fully sensible of his various
acquirements, and never underrated his own powers; although apt to
undervalue those of others, particularly of some of his brother artists,
and also to speak of them slightingly, because they were unacquainted
with literature and even deficient in orthography: after talking with
them, he has said, "I feel humbled, as if I were one of them." Mrs.
Wollstonecraft was alive to this weakness in Fuseli's character, and on
one occasion emphatically exclaimed, "I hate to see that reptile Vanity
sliming over the noble qualities of your heart." This feeling with
regard to several of the artists,--for he esteemed the acquirements of
others,--was not given in reference to their powers as painters, for he
had a high opinion of the English school of art in some of its branches.
Of Sir Thomas Lawrence he has said to me, "The portraits of Lawrence are
as well if not better drawn, and his women in a finer taste, than the
best of Vandyck's; and he is so far above the competition of any
painter in this way in Europe, that he should put over his study, to
deter others, who practise this art, from entering,

       'Lasciate ogni speranza voi ch' entrate.'"

Of Turner, he has observed, "he is the only landscape-painter of genius
in Europe." Wilkie, he considered "to have most of the qualities of the
best painters of the Dutch school, with much more of feeling and truth;"
and that "some of the fanciful pictures of Howard have poetic feeling
with fine colouring."

Fuseli seldom or never concealed his sentiment with regard to men, even
to their faces. Calling upon him one evening, I found Mr. Marchant and
Mr. Nollekens in his room: although I was well-known to these gentlemen,
he formally took me up to them, and said, "This, Mr. Knowles, is Mr.
Marchant, that, Mr. Nollekens, two of the cleverest artists in their
way, I believe, in Europe, but in every thing else, two old daddies."
Every one knows, who is acquainted with art, the powers which Northcote
displays when he paints animals of the brute creation. When his picture
of "Balaam and the Ass" was exhibited at the "Macklin Gallery,"
Northcote asked Fuseli's opinion of its merits, who instantly said, "My
friend, you are an Angel at an ass, but an ass at an Angel."

The conversational powers of Fuseli were extraordinarily great, and it
was his constant aim to shine in company. He was, however, very averse
to protracted discussions, and for a short period would sometimes take
the weaker side of the argument, in order to shew his powers; but if he
then found his antagonist too strong for him, he often resorted to some
witty retort, and dropped the conversation. In society he could not bear
a rival; and was dissatisfied if he were prevented from taking a part in
the conversation. Shortly after Mrs. Godwin's marriage, she invited him
to dinner to meet Horne Tooke, Curran, Grattan, and two or three other
men of that stamp; he had no objection to their political opinions, but
as they engrossed the whole conversation, and that chiefly on politics,
he suddenly retired from their company, and, joining Mrs. Godwin in the
drawing-room, petulantly said to her, "I wonder you invited me to meet
such wretched company."

His sentiments in society were delivered with an extraordinary rapidity;
his language was nervous, and his words well chosen. He possessed much
wit, sometimes of the playful but more frequently of the caustic kind;
and his ideas were often uncommon, and generally amusing, which being
poured forth with an enunciation and energy peculiar to himself, very
much increased their effect. Fuseli was quite aware that he expressed
himself sometimes too acrimoniously, and, after due consideration, he
frequently regretted it. In a letter to his friend Roscoe, he thus
expresses himself:--

     "It was not necessary that I should be informed by our mutual
     friend, that your affection for me continues unabated, although,
     perhaps, you were a little startled by the _ferocity_ of my
     conversation during your last visit in town. Affection built on the
     base which I flatter myself ours is founded on, cannot be brushed
     away by the roughness or petulance of a few unguarded words."

Again, to Mr. Ottley, he writes:--

        "MY DEAR OTTLEY,

     "My wife tells me I behaved ill to you last night, and insists upon
     my making an apology for it: as I suspect she may be right, accept
     my thanks for your forbearance and good-humour, and grant me the
     benefit of Hamlet's excuse for his rashness to Laertes.

     "Let us see you as soon as possible again. Respects to Mrs. Ottley.

                         "Ever yours,
                              "Henry Fuseli."

     "Tuesday, July 27th, 1813."

Some anecdotes, in addition to those already given, will illustrate
better the nature and force of his conversational talents, than any
farther description. Discoursing one day with a gentleman at Mr.
Johnson's table upon the powers and merit of Phocion; a stranger, who
had apparently listened with attention to the conversation, interrupted
him by putting this question, "Pray, Sir, who was Mr. Phocion?" Fuseli
immediately answered, "From your dialect, Sir, I presume you are from
Yorkshire; and if so, I wonder you do not recollect Mr. Phocion's name,
as he was Member for your County in the Long Parliament;" and he then
resumed the discourse. Bonnycastle and another mathematician were
conversing upon the infinite extension of space, a subject in which
Fuseli could take no part, so as to shew his powers: he instantly cut it
short, by asking, "Pray, Gentlemen, can either of you tell me how much
broad cloth it will take to make Orion a pair of breeches?" Calling one
morning upon Mr. Johnson, he found him engaged in bargaining with an
author for the copyright of a book; after a time, the gentleman took
leave; when he was gone, Mr. Johnson said, "That is Mr. Kett, and his
work is to be called the 'Elements of Useful Knowledge.'" "In how many
volumes?" said Fuseli. "In two octavos," was the answer. "No, no,
Johnson," said he, "you cannot be serious; the Ocean is not to be
emptied with a tea-spoon." Meeting with a gentleman in society, who
piqued himself upon his knowledge of poetry, and boasted of being
thoroughly versed in Shakspeare, he exclaimed, in a sonorous tone,

        "O, for a Muse of fire, that would ascend
        The brightest Heaven of invention!"

"Pray, Sir, do you happen to recollect where these lines are to be
found?" He took some time to consider, and then answered, "Somewhere in
Pope."--"I find you are well read in the Poets," said Fuseli.--
Discoursing with a lady upon sculpture, who, however, was too well read
in the classics to be a subject of his mischievous pleasantry, he
pretended to inform her of a fine bas-relief which had been received
by the Royal Academy from Rome. "What is the subject?" sheasked.--
"Hector and Andromache," said he, "dashing out against a wall, the
little Astyanax's brains." "Poh! why do you tell me such stuff?"
said she. "Ay! _you_ may laugh," replied Fuseli, "but it would go down
with many a one. I have often said such things in company without
detection; only try it yourself at the next lord's house you may visit,
and see how many fine ladies and dandies will detect you."

His powers in conversation were usually greater than those displayed in
his writings, for in the latter he was always hesitating, and generally
aiming at terseness, to convey his meaning in the fewest possible words;
hence he was sometimes ambiguous, and often obscure. I ventured once to
hint this to him, and he answered, "I endeavour to put as much
information into a page, as some authors scatter through a chapter; and
you know, 'that words are the daughters of earth, and things, the sons
of heaven;' and by this sentiment I am guided."

Little can now be gathered, after such a lapse of years, of his
oratorical powers in the pulpit. But his friend Lavater says, "Nature
designed him for a great orator:" we must then bow to the authority of a
man of his eminence, who had frequently heard Fuseli preach. He,
however, delivered the powerful language in which his lectures are
written in a strong voice, with proper emphasis, and with precision.
Their effect, however, was in some degree lost to those who were not
accustomed to his German pronunciation.

His want of taste for mathematics and the pure physical sciences, and
consequent ignorance of them, has been noticed, and this led him into
some incongruities in his paintings. In a picture of Lycidas, which he
was executing for Mr. Carrick Moore, he introduced the sun just rising
above the horizon, with a full moon, not in opposition to the sun, but
upon the same side. Mr. Moore attempted to convince Fuseli that the moon
never appeared full but when she was diametrically opposite to the sun:
but failing in this, he advised him to consult his friend Bonnycastle,
the Astronomer, upon the point. Some time after, Mr. Moore saw the
picture again, and found that the full moon was changed to a
crescent.--"Ho! ho!" said he, "so, Bonnycastle has convinced you of your
error?" "No such thing," answered Fuseli. "He did not say the full moon
was wrong; but, as she appears inclined to her quadrature, that it was
as well to paint her so; and I have done it."


     Fuseli's inherent shyness of disposition.--His opinions of various
     noted individuals, viz. Dr. Johnson, Sterne, Sir Joshua Reynolds,
     Gibbon, Horne Tooke, and Thomas Paine.--His cultivation of English
     notions and habits.--His attachment to civil and religious
     liberty.--His intimacy with theatrical matters.--His adventure at a
     Masquerade.--His powers as a Critic, both in Literature and Art,
     with various illustrative examples.--His impressions of
     Religion.--One of his Letters on Literature.

The professional excellence, ready wit, great learning and acquirements
in the classics and general literature, which Fuseli possessed, made his
society coveted; and he might have associated with men of the highest
rank and greatest talents of his time. But from childhood, he was of a
very shy disposition, and not apt to make new acquaintances. When a boy,
if a stranger happened to visit at his father's house, he would run away
and hide himself; and with a similar feeling, through life, he
contented himself with the association and attentions of old and tried
friends, without attempting to make new acquaintances; and has often
refused a pleasant dinner-party to meet some known friends, if he
understood that one or two strangers were invited to be of the party.
This shyness gave to many the notion that he was a man of morose
disposition, of severity of conduct, and of uncouth manners. But they
who enjoyed his friendship, witnessed his domestic habits and happiness,
and thus had opportunities of forming an accurate opinion of the good
qualities of his heart and mind, know well the erroneousness of these

Fuseli would often be very amusing by giving anecdotes, and sometimes
his opinion, of the merits of several of the literary characters whom he
had met in company, or with whom he had associated. A few of his
remarks, in addition to those already given, recur to memory. Of Dr.
Johnson, whom he sometimes saw at Sir Joshua Reynolds' table, he said,
"Johnson had to a physiognomist a good face, but he was singular in all
his movements; he was not so uncouth in appearance and manners as has
been represented by some; he sat at table in a large bushy wig and brown
coat, and behaved decently enough. On one occasion, the conversation
turned upon ghosts and witches, in the existence of which he believed,
and his only argument was, "that great and good men in all times had
believed in them." My fingers itched to be at him, but I knew, if I got
the better of the argument, that his celebrity was so great, it would
not be credited.--"You know," he continued, "that I hate superstition.
When I was in Switzerland, speaking with Lavater upon the appearance of
the spirit after death, it was agreed between us, that if it were
allowed by the Deity to visit earth, the first who died should appear to
the other; my friend was the most scrupulous man in existence, with
regard to his word; he is dead, and I have not seen him."--Of Sterne he
said, that "he was a good man, knew what was right, and had excellent
qualities, but was weak in practice. When I was invited to meet him at
Johnson's, I expected to hear from the author of 'The Sentimental
Journey,' (which I esteem the most original of books,) either wit, or
pathos, or both; when I saw him, he was certainly nearly worn out, and I
was miserably disappointed, as nothing then seemed to please him but
talking obscenely."--The description which he gave of Sir Joshua
Reynolds was, "that he had an insignificant face, but he possessed
quickness of apprehension; he was no scholar, and a bad speaker. In his
art, he took infinite pains at first to finish his work; but afterwards,
when he had acquired a greater readiness of hand, he dashed on with his
brush. "There is a degree of arrogance," said he, "in Sir Joshua's
portraits, for all his boys are men, his girls women. Sir Joshua,
unassisted with a sitter, had no idea of a face; he copied nature, and
yet there is a perfect degree of originality in his paintings; he had
the affectation to deny genius." Of Gibbon he remarked, "that he had a
good forehead, but a measured way of studying whatever he said." Of
Horne Tooke,--"Tooke is undoubtedly a man of talents; but he is the
greatest chatterer I ever sat down with; one cannot, in his company, put
in a word edgewise; he, however, wishes to be thought a good German
scholar, but in this he is very superficial." He sometimes met Thomas
Paine in society, and has remarked to me, "that he was far from being
energetic in company; to appreciate his powers, you must read his works,
and form your opinion from them, and not from his conversation. Paine
knew less of the common concerns of life than I do, who know little; for
when he has had occasion to remove from lodgings, he hardly knew how to
procure or make an agreement for others, and our friend Johnson[64]
latterly managed these concerns for him. When the popular cry was much
against Paine, it was thought prudent by his friends, that he should
remove from his apartments; and others were taken for him by Johnson,
about four miles distant from those which he inhabited. They went there
in a hackney-coach, for such a vehicle could contain them, with all the
moveables which Paine possessed. On their arrival at the new abode,
Paine discovered that half a bottle of brandy was left behind; now
brandy being an important thing to Paine, he urged Johnson to drive back
to fetch it. 'No, Mr. Paine,' said he, 'it would not be right to spend
eight shillings in coach-hire, to regain one shilling's-worth of
brandy.' Paine was an excellent mechanic; when Sharpe was about to
engrave my picture of 'The Contest of Satan, Sin, and Death,' he
employed a carpenter to construct a roller to raise or fall it at
pleasure; in this, after several ineffectual attempts, he did not
succeed to the expectations of Sharpe, who mentioned the circumstance in
the hearing of Paine; he instantly offered his services, and set to work
upon it, and soon accomplished all, and indeed more than the engraver
had anticipated."

In his notions and habits, Fuseli was completely an Englishman; and
although, when he spoke, no one could take him for such, yet he disliked
to be thought a foreigner; and he has sometimes said to me, "When I
speak in any of the established languages of Europe, I am every where
considered a foreigner, even when I discourse in German, our language at
Zurich being a _Patois_; but I can assure you that this is nervous, and
not without its beauties." No man was a greater stickler for civil and
religious liberty than Fuseli, and no man had a deeper horror of the
slave trade, or a greater dislike to impressing seamen. Paying a visit
to his friend Roscoe, at Liverpool, in the year 1804, this gentleman
pointed out to him all the improvements which had been made in the town
since he was there last, which was within a few years. He observed, "I
do not wonder that you look upon these with some degree of
self-complacency; for they may be considered as the work of your hands,
and as such I view them with interest; but methinks I every where smell
the blood of slaves."[65]

Fuseli esteemed the English character more highly than that of any other
country, and was much pleased with their amusements. The theatre was a
constant source of gratification, and his criticisms on plays and
players were usually severe, but generally acute and just. Meeting
Macklin at Johnson's table, he shewed such deep knowledge in the art in
which that celebrated man was so successful, not only as a writer, but
as an actor, that when Fuseli took his leave, Macklin exclaimed, "I
could sit all night to discourse with that learned Theban." Of Miss
O'Neill he always spoke favourably, and considered that her merits as
an actress, however highly they were esteemed, had been undervalued
rather than overrated. Of Mr. Betty, in 1822, he said, "If his face, on
the whole, do not sanction a prophecy of unrivalled excellence, it does
not exclude him from attaining eminence. Mrs. Pritchard was the allowed
Lady Macbeth of her day, without one tragic feature, or one elegant
limb. It is indeed a little provoking, that he who in Dublin inthralled
the general female eye, when his golden locks inundated his neck,--he
whose kerchief the _ladies_ at Bath of late cut out into a thousand
amulets of love, should be less than the theatric sun of London;--but

       'Principibus placuisse _Feminis_
       Non ultima laus est.'--

If I have murdered Horace's verse, I have improved the sense. As to
former actors, the pupils of Betterton and Booth would probably have
turned up their noses at Barry and Garrick--'But to praise the past,'
has always been a characteristic of age." He was an admirer of Kean in
some characters which he played, particularly in his Shylock. But he
considered that this actor took too wide a range. In writing to a
friend, he says, "I have seen Kean and Mrs. West in Orestes and
Hermione, and desire to see _them_ no more. What could excite the public
rapture at his first appearance in this part, I am at a loss to guess:
if his figure is not absolutely irreconcileable with the character, his
action and expression are balanced between the declamation of Talma, the
ravings of a bedlamite, and sometimes the barking of a dog. Mrs. West is
something of a slender Grecian figure, tall, not ungraceful, and a face
something like Mrs. Madyn's: she was well dressed, and has a good voice,
but no rule of it, and tore her part to tatters in one uninterrupted fit
of raving." In the Italian opera, and in operas in general, he did not
take much delight; for in music his ear was certainly imperfect; but
notwithstanding this, some few simple airs affected him strongly. In
speaking of music, he said, "All your complicated harmonies of Haydn and
Beethoven are fine, I know; because they are esteemed to be so by the
best judges; but I am ignorant, and they say nothing to me. They give to
me no more pleasure than a fine anatomical foreshortened drawing by
Michael Angelo would to an unpractised eye. But the song, 'How imperfect
is expression,' is the key to my heart. How could a Frenchman write it?
Lady Guilford once sang it to me so exquisitely, that I only wished to
hear it over and over again, and to die when it ceased." He always held
an opinion, that the English and French, as nations, possessed no genius
or taste for music, and that their apparent attachment to this science
was assumed, and not natural. Of masquerades, he considered that
Englishmen neither possess the animal spirits nor quickness of repartee
requisite for this amusement, but are apt to drop the fictitious
character they assume, and take up their real one. He instanced this by
the following anecdote:--"At the request of young Lavater, when he was
in England, I went to a masquerade at the Opera House: we were
accompanied by my wife, Mrs. Wollstonecraft, and some others, and were
endeavouring to be amused by the masks, when a devil came howling about
us, and tormented some of the party to such a degree, that I exclaimed
in a loud voice, 'Go to hell!' but the dull devil, instead of answering
in character, 'Then I will drag you down with me,' or making some bitter
retort, put himself into a real passion, and began to abuse me roundly.
So I, to avoid him, retired from the place, and left the others of the
party to battle it out."

As a critic, Fuseli's powers can be best estimated by his writings. In
art--his "Lectures," "Notes to Pilkington's Dictionary," his
"Aphorisms," and "The Fragment of a History of Art," may be instanced.
In the classics--but more particularly in Greek,--by the written
opinions of Cowper, and the oral testimony given in society, by Porson,
Parr, Burney, Symmons, and others. In consequence of his extensive
knowledge in the dead languages, the situation of "Professor of Ancient
Literature" to the Royal Academy became nearly a sinecure, as he
afforded information upon all classical subjects, and furnished the
mottoes for the annual catalogues of the exhibition, which were usually
in Greek, but sometimes in Latin. He, however, kept up the most friendly
intercourse with the Professor of the time, and frequently corresponded
with him, particularly so with Dr. Charles Burney, upon disputed points
or doubtful passages. I am favoured by Dr. Charles Parr Burney with the
following letter, which Fuseli wrote to his father:--

                                          "Somerset House, July 7, 1805.

        "MY DEAR SIR,

       "You have so often answered my questions, whether pertinent or
     idle, that I hope you will do the same now.

     "At what period of Greek literature did the word Ῥεεθρον,
     'fluentum,' change its gender, and from a neuter become a
     masculine? In Homer, I believe, it is uniformly neuter, καλα,
     ἐρατεινα ῥεεθρα: what then do you say to the following

        Παρ κελαδοντα ῥεεθρον
        ὁ μελαγχλαινος ανηρ, &c.?

     page 250, of an Analytical Inquiry into the Principles of Taste, by
     _Richard Payne, Knight_; which is so much the more puzzling, as in
     a preceding page, 144, he seems to allow, or to know that it is
     neuter, by talking of ἀγραφικον Ῥεεθρον? I am afraid the Ῥεεθρα of
     the Scamander were not the only ones to boil an eel in.

               "I am, with great sincerity,
                    "My dear Sir,
                         "Devoutly yours,
                              "Henry Fuseli."

Fuseli corrected many editions of Clarke's Homer, for the use of
students, as they passed through the press, and gave some notes in
Latin, to which the initial letter F. is affixed. An instance may be
offered, not only of his knowledge of this language, but of his power in
recalling words to his recollection. In a Greek Lexicon which he had,
several leaves were wanting, and as an exercise to his memory, he
endeavoured to supply these in his own hand-writing, without reference
to another work.

In general literature, his critical knowledge may be estimated by the
numerous articles which he wrote for the Analytical Review, which are
easily to be distinguished by the peculiarity of their style; and they
generally have the initials Z. Z. affixed; but if it be necessary to
point out any in particular, for the guidance of the reader, the reviews
which have been inserted, page 81, of Cowper's Homer, and Roscoe's
Lorenzo de' Medici, may be instanced. He was not less powerful in _vivá
voce_ criticisms than in his written ones; one or two instances of this,
with regard to works of art, will suffice. In Northcote's picture of
Hubert and Arthur, painted for the Shakspeare Gallery, Hubert is
represented with one hand on his brow, undetermined, and apparently
melted with the touching supplications of Arthur, who, kneeling at his
feet, is shewn clasping his knees.

Fuseli on seeing this picture, said, "He has taken the wrong moment, for
whoever looks at that hesitating Hubert must see that the boy is safe,
the danger past, and the interest gone. He should have chosen the
moment when Hubert stamps with his foot, and cries, 'Come forth; do as I
bid you;' and two ruffians should have appeared rushing in with red-hot
irons; then the scene would have been such as it ought to
be,--terrible." Condemning in general terms a large historical picture,
which a person at table had admired; he was asked for some specific
fault: "Why," said he, "the fellow has crammed into his canvass fifteen
figures, besides a horse, and, by G--d! he has given only three legs
among them." "Why, where has he hidden the others?" was asked. "How
should I know?" he answered, "I did not paint the picture; but I wonder
how any one can talk of a painter and praise him, who has given fifteen
men and a horse only three legs."

Shortly after the first exhibition of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds,
at the British Institution, he wrote the following criticisms,[66] among
others, upon his pictures of Ugolino, of Dido, and the Infant Hercules,
which may probably be perused with interest, as they have not appeared
in print.


        "Δαιμόνι' οὔτ' ἄρ τι μεγαλίζομαι οὐδ' ἀθεριζω
        Οὐδὲ λίην ἄγαμαι μάλα δ' ἐῦ οἰδ' οἷος ἔησθα."[67]
                              Od. p. [23.] 174.

     "From whatever cause this face became that of Ugolino,--whether its
     original were that of a noble or a pauper, it is a standard of
     grief;--but, more habitual than sudden, the grief of one whom
     "sharp misery had long worn to the bones,"--not of him whom
     fortune's quick reverse dashed headlong on to despair. The manner
     in which he is grouped with his infant son, as it increases the
     contrast, adds to our sympathy,--which is however obtained not only
     at the expense of the story, but of nature. The whole family were
     shut up together in the cage; and when the vigorous partners of the
     father in arms writhe in the agonies of hunger, or, unable to
     support themselves, droop in languor, is it natural to see a
     blooming stripling, unaffected by either, at his ease console the
     petrified father?"

     THE DIDO.

     "This is one of the few historic compositions any where, and
     perhaps a solitary one in this collection, of which the principal
     figure is the best and occupies the most conspicuous place. Riveted
     to supreme beauty in the jaws of death, we pay little attention to
     the subordinate parts, and scorn, when recovered from sympathy and
     anguish, to expatiate in cold criticisms on their unfitness or
     impotence. He who could conceive this Dido, could not be at a loss
     for a better Anna, had he had a wish, or given himself time to
     consult his own heart, rather than to adopt a precedent of
     clamorous grief from Daniel di Volterra. That Iris was admitted at
     all, without adequate room to display her, as the arbitress of the
     moment, may be regretted; for if she could not be contrived to add
     sublimity to pathos, she could be no more than what she actually
     became, a tool of mean conception.

     "The writer of these observations has seen the progress of this
     work,--if not daily, weekly,--and knows the throes which it cost
     its author before it emerged into the beauty, assumed the shape, or
     was divided into the powerful masses of chiar' oscuro which strike
     us now; of colour it never had, nor wants, more than what it
     possesses now,--a negative share.

             ----'Non rem Colori
       Sed colorem Rei submittere ausus.'

     "The painter has proved the success of a great principle, less
     understood than pertinaciously opposed."


     "No eminent work of art that we are acquainted with ever proved
     with more irresistible evidence, the truth of Hesiod's axiom, that
     "the half excels the whole," than the infant Demigod before us;
     whose tremendous superiority of conception and style not only
     scorns all alliance with the motley mob of whom the painter
     condemned him to make a part, but cannot, with any degree of
     justice, be degraded into a comparison with any figure which has
     reached us, of an Infant Hercules on ancient or modern monuments of
     art. Whatever homage conjecture may pay to the powers of Xeuxis,
     whose "Jupiter Enthroned," and "Infant Hercules," tradition joins
     as works of equal magnificence, it will be difficult for fancy to
     seek an image of loftier or more appropriate conception than that
     of the heroic child before us, whose magnitude of form,
     irresistibility of grasp, indignant disdain, and sportive ease of
     action, equally retain his divine origin, and disclose the germ of
     the future power destined to clear society and rid the earth of

     "This infant, like the infants of Michael Angelo, and of what we
     possess of the ancients, teems with the man, but without that
     sacrifice of puerility observable in them. Modern art has allotted
     the province of children to Fiammingo; it seems to belong, with a
     less disputable title, to Reynolds, who inspired the pulpy cheeks
     and milky limbs of the Fleming with the manners, (ἬΘΗ) habits, and
     the mind of infancy, when first emerging form, instinct to will,
     sprouts to puerility, displays the dawn of character, and the
     varied symptoms of imitation; but above all, that unpremeditated
     grace, the innate gift and privilege of childhood, in countenance,
     attitude, and action."

Notwithstanding his great acquirements in the classics, acuteness of
mind, and knowledge of some of the branches of natural philosophy,
Fuseli neither solicited nor was offered any literary or other honours
(except those of the Royal Academy) in this country. Expressing one day
my surprise at this, he answered, "What are such things worth? for I
have known men on whom the honorary degree of Doctor of Laws has been
conferred by the University of Oxford, which prides itself for classical
knowledge, who cannot read correctly a line in the classics; and you
know those who are Fellows of the Royal Society, who do not possess a
philosophical knowledge even of the material on which they work."

Fuseli was seldom induced to speak on religion; but, as he attached
himself to no particular form or sect, which is frequently the case with
foreigners, it would be difficult to give a precise idea of his tenets.
In religion, however, as well as on all other concerns, he thought for
himself, unshackled by those restraints which forms, ceremonies, or
opinions, often impose on the mind. No man that I have ever conversed
with had a higher or more sublime notion of the attributes and
benevolence of the Deity, and no one a better knowledge of the Bible. In
this book he was deeply read, and recollected, when in conversation, not
only those parts which, for historical facts, sublimity, pathos, or
poetic beauty, are impressed on most minds, but also the minor
circumstances, for he could from memory trace the several tribes, and
tell you accurately the genealogy of any particular person. He seldom
took up the Bible, which he frequently did, without shedding tears. One
evening, when talking in a serious mood to a young lady, he related to
her, in his own peculiar and forcible manner, the story of "Joseph and
his Brethren," and with the greatest pathos; and at that part where
Joseph falls on Benjamin's neck and wept, he burst out, while tears
trembled in his eyes, "How finely that is expressed, there are beautiful
things in that book! It's an exquisite book!" He had a perfect reliance
on a future state of existence. "If I had not hope in this," he said, "I
should hang myself, for I have lived and still live for nothing. I am
certain I shall exist hereafter, for I feel that I have had powers given
to me by the Deity, which time has not allowed me to exert or even to
develope. I am capable of doing ten times more than I have done."

This prevailing impression broke forth on many occasions. He had
accompanied Sir Thomas Lawrence to see a collection of fine casts from
the antique, which had recently been formed by Jens Wolff, Esq. then
Consul to his Danish Majesty, and which were arranged in a gallery built
for the purpose by Mr. Smirke, at Sherwood Lodge, Battersea.

In a niche, at the end of the gallery, was placed the colossal statue of
the Farnese Hercules, and by a novel arrangement of the lamps (the rest
of the gallery being in total darkness), a very powerful effect was
given to the statue, which had been turned with its back to the
spectator, and thus presented a vast mass of shadow, defined only by its
grand outline and the strength of the light beyond it; the source of
which was concealed by the pedestal. Its appearance being singularly
striking, in the course of the evening, Mr. Fuseli was taken down to see
it. Sir Thomas Lawrence attended him, and for a few moments was
disappointed by the silence of his friend; but on a servant bringing a
light into the entrance-room, he perceived Fuseli excited even to tears,
as he exclaimed with deep tremulous energy, "No man shall persuade me,
that these emotions which I now feel are not immortal."

In farther corroboration of his opinions on this point, I may give the
following conversation which I heard. Fuseli was maintaining the
immortality of the soul; a gentleman present said, "I could make you or
any man of sense disbelieve this in half an hour's conversation." Fuseli
immediately answered, "That I am sure you could not, and I will take
care you shan't."

Being pressed one day by his friend, the Reverend John Hewlett; upon his
belief in the resurrection of Christ, that gentleman informs me, he
answered, "I believe in a resurrection; and the resurrection of Christ
is as well authenticated as any other historical fact." Although he was
averse to religious controversy, and seldom entered into it, yet, if his
forbearance made others press the subject, he soon shewed that he was
not ignorant of the respective merits of the polemics in the Christian
Church, who have in all times broached and supported contrary opinions
upon disputed points. He has more than once said to me, "There are now
no real Christians, for the religion of Christ died with its great
Author; for where do we witness in those who bear his name, the
humility, self abasement, and charity of their master, which qualities
he not only taught, but practised?"

A detection of parallel passages in authors, or of similar figures in
the pictures of painters, was a favourite amusement of Fuseli's, and he
would sometimes indulge in these to the gratification and instruction of
the company by the hour together, for no man was more acute in
discovering plagiarism. I have been indulged by the kindness of a lady
of great literary attainments with the following letter, which will give
some notion of his power in this respect, as far as literature is

                                                          "Norbury Park.

       "Some one, who had a right to write what he liked, even
     nonsense;--Tiberius, I believe, began a letter to the Roman senate
     thus: 'Conscript Fathers, you expect a letter from me; but may all
     the gods and goddesses confound me, if I know on what to write, how
     to begin, how to go on, or what to leave out:' his perplexity arose
     certainly from a cause very different from that which occasions
     mine, though the result appears to be nearly the same. Had I
     brought my eyes and mind with me, I might perhaps offer some
     tolerable observations on the charms that surround me, to one who
     is all eye and all mind; but she who is really possessed by one
     great object, is blind to all others; and though Milton could never
     have been the poet of 'Paradise Lost,' had he been born blind,
     blindness was of service to him when he composed it.

     "When I saw you last, you wished me to point out the passage in
     Tasso, which appeared to me copied from the Homeric description of
     the Cestus of Venus, in the Fourteenth Book of the Ilias; I have
     transcribed it from one which I found here in the library:--

        "Teneri sdegni, e placide e tranquille
        Repulse, cari vezzi, e liete paci,
        Sorrisi, parolette, e dolci stille
        Di pianto, e sospir tronchi, e molli baci:
        Fuse tai cose tutte, e poscia unille,
        Ed al foco temprò di lente faci;
        E ne formò quel sì mirabil cinto,
        Di ch' ella aveva il bel fianco succincto.'

     "These ingredients have been tried, they have been tasted, they are
     the fruits of a lover's paradise; yet, here they are nothing but an
     empty catalogue; and if they have a charm, it lies in the melting
     genius of the language: compare them with the following lines from
     the Vision of Arthur, in Spenser.

        "Caresses sweet, and lovely blandishment,
        She to me made, and bade me love her dear,
        For dearly sure her love to me was bent,
        As when meet time approached, should appear;
        But whether dreams delude, or true it were,
        Was never heart so ravished with delight.

        "When I awoke and found her place devoid,
        And nought but pressed grass, where she had lyen,
        I sorrowed as much as erst I joyed,
        And washed all the place with watery eyn;
        From that day forth I cast in careful mind,
        To seek her out----

        "Thus, as he spoke, his visage waxed pale.

     Here is soul, action, passion.

                              "Henry Fuseli."


     Character of Fuseli as an Artist.--His early style.--His ardent
     pursuit of excellence in design.--His neglect of mechanical means,
     particularly as regards Colours.--His professional independence,
     unmixed with obstinacy.--His preeminent faculty of invention, and
     success in the portraiture of the ideal.--His deficiencies as to
     correctness, and disinclination to laborious finish.--Causes of his
     limited popularity as a Painter.--His felicity in Likenesses.--His
     colour and chiar' oscuro.--His qualities as a Teacher of the Fine
     Arts.--His ardent love of Art.--Arrangements as to the disposal of
     his Works, &c.--List of his Subjects exhibited at the Royal
     Academy, from 1774 to 1825.

It now remains to speak of Fuseli as an artist, and on this subject it
is not necessary to be very diffuse, having been favoured with the able
article, to be found in the Appendix, from the pen of William Young
Ottley, Esq., a gentleman who was for many years the intimate friend of
Fuseli, whose talents as an _amateur_ artist, whose knowledge, taste,
and judgment in the Fine Arts are so eminently conspicuous, and whose
claims to distinction are so well known to the public by his various

It has been shewn throughout this memoir, that the Fine Arts was the
ruling passion of Fuseli, but that his father took more than ordinary
pains to prevent his becoming an artist, and even checked his wishes to
practise in the Fine Arts as an amusement; hence, the benefits which are
considered to arise from that early education which artists usually
receive, were altogether withheld from him. His style of drawing in
early life was formed from those prints, which he could only consult by
stealth, in his father's collection, and these were chiefly from the
German school. From this circumstance, his early works have figures
short in stature, with muscular, but clumsy limbs. But in the invention
of the subject, even in his youth, he took the most striking moment, and
impressed it with novelty and grandeur; hence some of his early
productions tell the stories which they are intended to represent, with
a wonderful felicity, and, in this respect, are little inferior to his
later works; a circumstance which he himself was not backward to
acknowledge. Fuseli always aimed to arrive at the highest point of
excellence, particularly in design, and constantly avowed it. When
young, he wrote in the Album of a friend, "I do not wish to build a
cottage, but to erect a pyramid;" and to this precept he adhered during
life, scorning to be less than the greatest. Until he was twenty-five
years of age, he had never used oil colours; and he was so inattentive
to these materials, that during life he took no pains in their choice or
manipulation. To set a palette, as artists usually do, was with him out
of the question; he used many of his colours in a dry, powdered state,
and rubbed them up with his pencil only, sometimes in oil alone, which
he used largely, at others, with an addition of a little spirit of
turpentine, and not unfrequently in gold size; regardless of the
quantity of either, or their general smoothness when laid on, and
depending, as it would appear to a spectator, more on accident for the
effect which they were intended to produce, than on any nice distinction
of tints in the admixture or application of the materials. It appears
doubtful whether this deficiency in his early education, and his neglect
also of mechanical means, will be detrimental to his fame as an artist,
particularly in the minds of those who can penetrate beyond the surface;
for if he had been subjected to the trammels of a school, his genius
would have been fettered; and it is then probable that we should have
lost those daring inventions, that boldness and grandeur of drawing,
(incorrect, certainly, sometimes in anatomical precision,) so fitting
to his subjects, and that mystic _chiar' oscuro_, which create our
wonder and raise him to the first rank as an artist. He was always proud
of having it believed that, in the Fine Arts in particular, in some of
the languages, and in many branches of literature, he had arrived at
celebrity and eminence, more by his own unassisted endeavours than from
the instructions of others. And, in reference to this, he on one
occasion exclaimed, in the words of Glendower, with a considerable
degree of self-complacency--

        "Where is he living, clipped in with the sea
        That chides the banks of England, Scotland, Wales,
        Which calls me pupil!"[68]

After quitting his paternal roof, the first work of art which, as I have
before stated, appeared to impress his mind with the grandeur of its
proportions, was Rëichel's colossal figure of St. Michael, over the
gateway of the Arsenal at Augsburg; and he afterwards, from having seen
this, altered in some degree the proportions of his figures. But still,
most of the faults of the German school, in this particular, remained,
until after he had visited Italy. The works of the ancients in
sculpture, the frescoes of Michael Angelo and Raphael, and the oil
paintings of the great masters of the Italian school which he studied
there, particularly the two first, produced a still greater change in
the proportions of his figures, and he founded his future works upon
them: if, however, any figure or group of figures may be quoted to have
had a greater influence in this, or to have impressed his mind with more
than ordinary notions of grandeur, the two colossal marble statues[69]
by Phidias and Praxiteles upon Monte Cavallo, may be instanced; these
chiefly regulated his proportions and influenced his style, although it
must be acknowledged that, in the length of limbs, he frequently
exceeded them. I have heard him dilate upon the sensations which were
produced upon his mind when he has sometimes contemplated these grand
works of art, on an evening, when the sky was murky for some distance
above the horizon, and they were illuminated by occasional flashes of
vivid lightning.

Fuseli paid much attention, and gave due consideration to the
suggestions of others, respecting his own performances, particularly
with regard to the proportions of his figures, and indeed courted the
observations not only of the learned, but of those also who are
unskilled in the art, and usually profited by their remarks. When Mr.
Ottley, then a very young man, and always an admirer of the Fine Arts,
was introduced to him by Mr. Seward, in the year 1789, he was painting
the picture of "Wolfram introducing Bertram of Navarre to the place
where he had confined his wife with the skeleton of her Lover,"[70]
which was exhibited the following year, this gentleman observed, "I like
your composition much, but I think the proportions of the figures in the
back-ground, those, I mean, of the Baron and his friend, too long in the
lower limbs." Fuseli paused for a time, and then answered, "You are
right," and immediately reduced them in height.

In invention, which is not within the rules of art, and therefore may
be considered the highest quality of a poet or a painter; no man has
gone beyond him, and perhaps he possessed this quality in a higher
degree than any other artist, since the restoration of the Fine Arts in
Europe. The _portfolios_ of drawings which he left, fully establish his
claim, in this respect, to his being considered a genius of the first
class, and as such place him in the highest rank of artists, Michael
Angelo and Raphael not excepted. These drawings were made with wonderful
felicity and facility; and a spectator would be astonished to see with
what ease and power he invented and executed them. In telling the story
of the subject, he was never deficient; and the designs made by him
would be enough to occupy the lives of many painters to put them upon
canvass; for there was no very striking incident in the poets in
particular, or in the historians, from Hesiod down to our own times,
which, at some period of his long life, had not been the subject of his
pencil. On his drawings, he usually put the time when, and place where
made; but I know of no instance of his having placed either his name or
a monogram upon a picture.

No artist had a more vivid fancy than Fuseli, or was more happy in
pourtraying superhuman and ideal beings: thus, the visions of Dante and
Spenser, and the poetic flights of Shakspeare and Milton, were stamped
even with originality by his pencil; and those scenes which, from their
difficulty to be represented on paper or on canvass, would deter most
artists from attempting them, were his favourite subjects; and in his
delineation of them, he may generally be placed on a par with, and he
occasionally soars above, the poet. Perhaps to no man can the following
lines be more aptly applied than to Fuseli:--

        "The poet's eye, in a fine frenzy rolling,
        Doth glance from heaven to earth, from earth to heaven;
        And, as imagination bodies forth
        The forms of things unknown, the painter's brush
        Turns them to shapes, and gives to airy nothing
        A local habitation, and a name."

It is, therefore, in these visionary scenes in which he shone most, and
which defy competition; for "the daring pencil of Fuseli transports us
beyond the boundaries of nature, and ravishes us with the charm of the
most interesting novelty."[71] In works of this nature, an occasional
extravagance of drawing rather tends to encrease than to diminish their
interest; so he was thus enabled to introduce therein those heroic and
epic forms so peculiar to himself, which do not so well accord with
subjects of sober history. Fuseli frequently invented the subjects of
his pictures without the aid of the poet or historian, as in his
composition of "Ezzelin," "Belisaire," and some others; these he
denominated "philosophical ideas made intuitive, or sentiment
personified." On one occasion he was much amused by the following
enquiry of Lord Byron:--"I have been looking in vain, Mr. Fuseli, for
some months, in the poets and historians of Italy, for the subject of
your picture of Ezzelin; pray, where is it to be found?" "Only in my
brain, my Lord," was the answer; "for I invented it."

In composition, which has been not inaptly termed "the painter's
invention," he was very happy; for in his productions there are never
"figures to let;" but there is a general link, and one and all tend to
tell the story, and influence the spectator. The disposition and folding
of the drapery were always appropriate and good. He had a high feeling
of grandeur in his male, and of beauty in his female forms: although, in
the former, strength of muscular action is often exaggerated, and in the
latter there is occasionally a degree of apparent voluptuousness; yet
he gave to both great truth of physiognomic expression, being always
intent upon the intellectual part of his art. He was well acquainted
with osteology, or the form and position of the bones in the human body;
in these he seldom erred, although, perhaps, they were often too
strongly marked. He was also skilled in the theory of the anatomy of the
muscles; but as he never painted from, and seldom consulted, living
models after he quitted Italy, except when he occasionally acted as
"visitor in the Life Academy;" so, when he put a figure on paper or on
canvass into a position which he had never seen it assume, either in a
statue or in nature, he was occasionally incorrect in its muscular
action. The models in the "Life Academy" did not tend to correct him in
this, he being more intent upon the progress of the pupils than his own
information: they were therefore usually placed by him in attitudes to
correspond with the antique figures. As no individual form has been
found, in all its parts, to approach, in point of symmetry, to the
celebrated works of the ancient sculptors, so, when Fuseli has been
solicited to paint frequently from life, he has said, "Nature puts me
out;" meaning to convey this notion, that he searched in vain in the
individual for that beauty or grandeur which he had mentally
contemplated. Although he was happy in delineating playful scenes, yet
those which create terror or sympathy in the mind, were his general and
favourite subjects, and these he treated with great power; yet, in
carrying the terrible to its utmost limits, I know of no subject from
his pencil calculated to create horror or disgust. He invented and
composed his pictures with great rapidity, and if he thought of a
subject, and had not a canvass of a convenient size, it was frequently
his practice to rub in the new idea upon a finished picture; hence some
of his ablest productions are lost. As his mind was ever intent upon
something new, it cost him an effort to finish a picture; which
disposition, it appears, he inherited; for, in speaking of an ancestor,
Matthias Füessli, who died at Zurich in the year 1665, he thus expresses
himself:--"His extensive talent was checked by the freaks of an
ungovernable fancy, which seldom suffered him to finish his work. His
subjects, in general, were battles, towns pillaged, conflagrations,

In painting his pictures, Fuseli used indiscriminately the right hand
or the left; but as the latter was more steady, if he were executing
subjects on a small scale, which required more than ordinary neatness of
touch, they were usually performed with the left. And although some of
his small pictures were highly finished, and touched with great
neatness, yet he excelled in those where the figures were of or above
the size of nature.

The subjects of his pencil were never very popular; because they were
generally drawn from poetic imagery, or from classical authors, which
require a poetic eye and mind in the spectator, or a deep knowledge in
the classics, to appreciate properly. He gloried in never having made
his pencil a pander to the public taste, and that he had lived by
painting what pleased himself, and was content to trust to time for a
correct appreciation of his merits. "For when," as he said, "envy shall
no longer hold the balance, the next century will become just, and the
master impede no more the fame of his works." In going home with him one
evening, in a coach, to Somerset House, after having left Mr. Johnson's
house, Bonnycastle being present, Fuseli put to him the following
question:--"Pray, Bonnycastle, what do you consider the reason that I am
not popular as a painter, in a country which has produced Shakspeare
and Milton?" Bonnycastle answered, "Because the public like familiar
subjects, in which there may be individual beauty with fine colouring."
"Is that their taste?" said Fuseli hastily: "then, if I am not their
painter, they are not my critics."

He had a happy method of giving likenesses, from memory, of those
persons whose physiognomic cast of countenance took his fancy; but the
only portraits which he painted regularly from life, were those of Dr.
Priestley, and Mrs. Neunham, a niece of Mr. Johnson's. The portrait of
Dr. Priestley is very characteristic; and Fuseli always felt convinced
that he should have succeeded as a portrait painter, beyond the
expectations of his contemporaries, if he had turned his attention to
that branch of the art.

It has been considered by some, who mistake style for manner, that
Fuseli was in all respects a mannerist. That his pictures always have a
marked and distinguishing character is true; but if he had a manner, it
was peculiarly his own, and it belongs to no other artist. It must
however, in justice, be confessed, that a sort of family-likeness runs
through many of his figures. But if the pictures which composed his
greatest work, the Milton Gallery, be critically compared, one with the
other, it will be found that, in the invention of them in particular,
few painters have made greater deviations than he has done; no two being
composed or painted upon precisely the same principles.

As a colourist, Fuseli has never ranked high; for in his works there is
generally nothing of that splendour which captivates us in the Venetian
and Dutch schools, as they usually have the sobriety of tone which is
more peculiar to fresco than to oil-painting; he was not unaware of
this, and expresses himself thus, in one of his lectures on colour:--"Of
this it is not for me to speak, who have courted, and still continue to
court--colour, as a lover courts a disdainful mistress." But if, by the
term colouring, be meant an adaptation of hues and general tone to the
nature of the subject represented, then he may be considered, in the
strictest sense of the word, a colourist. Yet, if we take a wider range,
we shall find many examples in his pictures which must be acknowledged
by every one to possess fine colour: thus, the back figure of a female
(Sin) in "The bridging of Chaos," the child in "The Lapland Witches,"
and the figure of Sin in the picture of "Sin pursued by Death," may be
adduced as unanswerable proofs of this fact.

When the excellence of particular pigments to produce fine colouring has
been the topic of conversation, he has said, "The colours, as now
prepared in England, are sufficently good; it only requires the mind and
eye to adapt, and the hand to regulate them."

In _chiar'oscuro_, or the art of giving a single figure, or a
composition of figures, their true light and shadow, Fuseli was a
perfect master, and deserves unmixed praise for the breadth of his
masses, and for directing the eye of the spectator to the principal
figures or features in his pictures. In this, perhaps, no master in the
British school has gone beyond him; for in his productions we witness
that union of subject and tone, brought about by a skilful adaptation
and disposition of light and shadow, which we look for in vain in the
works of many other painters.

As a teacher of the Fine Arts, whether Fuseli be considered in his
capacity of Professor of Painting, or in that of Master in the schools
of the Royal Academy, his knowledge stands unrivalled; in the first, for
critical acumen; and in the second, which now more properly comes under
consideration, for the soundness of his judgment, for the accuracy of
his eye, and for the extensive knowledge which he possessed of the works
of the ancient and modern masters. To the students he was a sure guide
and able master, ever ready to assist by his instructions modest merit,
and to repress assumption; and if he felt convinced that a youth was not
likely to arrive at eminence as an artist, he was the first to persuade
him to relinquish that pursuit, rather than proceed in the path which
would only end in ruin or disappointment. He always held the opinion,
however liable to objection, that there is no such thing in the universe
of mind as

            ----"a flower born to blush unseen,
        And waste its sweetness on the desert air;"

for every man, he considered, would shew what is in him, and do all that
his nature has qualified him to do. To those who presumed upon a talent
which they did not possess, no man was more severe. It was no uncommon
thing with him, if he found in the Antique Academy a young man careless
about the accuracy of his lines, and intent only upon giving a finished
appearance to his drawing, to cut in, with his sharp thumb nail, a
correct outline, and thus spoil, in the opinion of the student, his
elaborate work. That the English school of design gained great
advantages by his appointment of Keeper of the Academy, cannot be
doubted; and, to be convinced of this, it is only necessary to refer to
the able works of living artists, Hilton, Etty, Wilkie, Leslie,
Mulready, Haydon, Briggs, and others, who were his pupils.

Notwithstanding the variety of his acquisitions, and his profound
knowledge in, and love for, literature, his "ruling passion" was the
Fine Arts; but he never intruded them as the subject of conversation,
unless pressed to do so. He evinced this "ruling passion strong in
death;" for, just before his last illness, he had sent two pictures for
the then ensuing exhibition of the Royal Academy; the larger one, "A
Scene from Comus," finished; the smaller, "Psyche passing the Fates," in
an unfinished state, intending, as is the common practice with the
Academicians, to glaze and harmonize this picture in the situation where
it was to be placed. Its unfinished condition frequently occupied his
thoughts during his illness, and he, but two days before his death,
spoke of it with great solicitude to Sir Thomas Lawrence, wishing it
either to be withdrawn, or that some painter of talents would harmonize
it for him. The last work on which his pencil was employed, and on
which he painted a few days previously to his death, was a scene from
Shakspeare's King John: in this picture, the figure of Lady Constance in
particular, is finely designed, and grief is admirably depicted in her
countenance; he was painting this for James Carrick Moore, Esq., and it
was nearly completed when he died.

The works of art, and the library, which Fuseli left, were disposed of
as follows:--His drawings and sketches were purchased at a liberal
price, by Sir Thomas Lawrence.[73] The Marquis of Bute, the Countess of
Guilford, and other friends, bought pictures and books, at prices named
by myself, to a considerable amount, and the remaining pictures, and the
sketches in oil, were sold by Mr. Christie, and the prints and books by
Mr. Sotheby. A large collection of beautiful drawings, of entomological
subjects, chiefly by Mr. Abbot, of Georgia, in North America, a small
part of which cost him two hundred guineas, were the only articles
reserved, as no sum was offered which was considered as at all adequate
to the value of these, which had been Fuseli's favourite study and

The following is a list of the pictures and drawings exhibited by Fuseli
at the Royal Academy, from 1774 to the year 1825 inclusive, making a
total of sixty-nine pictures.

     1774--The Death of Cardinal Beaufort (a drawing).

     1777--A scene in Macbeth.

     1780--Ezzelin Bracciaferro musing over Meduna, slain by him for
     disloyalty during his absence in the Holy Land.--Satan starting
     from the touch of Ithuriel's lance.--Jason appearing before
     Pelias, to whom the sight of a man with a single sandal had been
     predicted fatal.

     1781--Dido, "Illa graves oculos, &c." (Æneid 4.)--Queen
     Katherine's Vision. (Vide Shakspeare's Henry VIII. Act 5.)--A

     1782--The Nightmare.

     1783--The Weird Sisters--Perceval delivering Balisane from the
     enchantment of Urma. (Vide Tale of Thyot.)--Lady Constance,
     Arthur, and Salisbury. (Vide Shakspeare's King John.)

     1784--Lady Macbeth walking in her sleep.--Œdipus with his
     Daughters, receiving the Summons of his Death. (Sophocles.)

     1785--The Mandrake; a charm. (Vide Ben Jonson's
     Witches.)--Prospero. (Vide Tempest.)

     1786--Francesca and Paolo. (Vide Dante's Inferno.)--The
     Shepherd's Dream. (Vide Paradise Lost, Book I. line
     781.)--Œdipus devoting his Son. (Vide Œdipus Coloneus of

     1788--Theseus receiving the clue from Ariadne (a finished

     1789--Beatrice. (Vide Much Ado about Nothing.)

     1790--Wolfram introducing Bertram of Navarre to the place where
     he had confined his Wife, with the Skeleton of her Lover. (Vide
     Contes de la Reine de Navarre.)

     1792--Falstaff in the Buck-basket. (Vide Merry Wives of
     Windsor.)--Christ disappearing at Emaus.

     1793--Macbeth; the Cauldron sinking, the Witches vanishing.
     (Sketch for a large picture.)--Amoret delivered from the
     enchantment of Busirane, by Britomart. (Vide Spenser.)

     1798--Richard the Third in his Tent, the Night preceding the
     Battle of Bosworth, approached and addressed by the Ghosts of
     several whom, at different periods of his Protectorship and
     Usurpation, he had destroyed.

     1799--The Cave of Spleen. (Vide Rape of the Lock.)

     1800--The Bard. (Vide Gray.)--The Descent of Odin (ditto).--The
     Fatal Sisters (ditto).

     1801--Celadon and Amelia. (Vide Thomson's Seasons.)

     1803--Thetis and Aurora, the Mothers of Achilles and Memnon the
     Ethiopian, presenting themselves before the throne of Jupiter,
     each to beg the life of her Son, who were proceeding to single
     combat. Jupiter decided in favour of Achilles, and Memnon fell.
     (Vide Æschylus.)

     1804--The Rosicrusian Cavern. (Vide Spectator.)

     1805--The Corinthian Maid.

     1806--Count Ugolino, Chief of the Guelphs, of Pisa, locked up by
     the opposite party with his four sons, and starved to death in
     the Tower which from that event acquired the name of _Torre della
     Fame_. (Vide Inferno.)--Milton dictating to his Daughter.

     1807--Criemhild, the Widow of Sivril, shews to Trony, in prison,
     the head of Gunther, his accomplice in the assassination of her

     1808--Cardinal Beaufort terrified by the supposed Apparition of
     Gloucester. (Vide Henry VI. Part 2d, Act 3rd, Scene 3.)

     1809--Romeo contemplating Juliet in the Monument. (Vide
     Shakspeare's Romeo and Juliet.)--The encounter of Romeo and Paris
     in the Monument of the Capulets (ditto).

     1810--Hercules, to deliver Theseus, assails and Wounds Pluto on
     his Throne. (Vide Iliad, Book V. v. 485.)

     1811--Macbeth consulting the vision of the armed Head. (Vide
     Shakspeare's Macbeth.)--Sarpedon slain in battle, carried home by
     Sleep and Death. (Iliad, Book XVII. v. 682.)--Richard the Third
     starting from the Apparition of those whom he had assassinated.
     (Vide Shakspeare.)--Dion seeing a female Spectre overturn his
     altars and sweep his hall. (Vide Plutarch's Life of Dion.)

     1812--Lady Macbeth seizes the daggers (a sketch for a large
     picture).--The Witch and the Mandrake. (Vide Ben Jonson.)--Eros
     reviving Psyche. (Apuleius.)--Ulysses addressing the Shade of
     Ajax in Tartarus.

     1814--Sigelind, Sifrid's mother, roused by the contest of the
     good and evil Genius about her infant son. (Vide Liet der
     Nibelunge XI.)--Queen Mab.

        "She gallops night by night through lovers' brains."

     (Vide Romeo and Juliet.)--Criemhild mourning over Sifrid. (Vide
     Liet der Nibelungen XVII.)

     1817--Perseus starting from the cave of the Gorgons. (Hesiod's
     Shield of Hercules.)--Theodore in the haunted wood, deterred
     from rescuing a female chased by an infernal Knight. (Vide
     Boccaccio's Decameron.)--Criemhild throwing herself on the body
     of Sivril, assassinated by Trony, (Das Nibelungen Lied.)--Sivril,
     secretly married to Criemhild, surprised by Trony on his first
     interview with her after the victory over the Saxons (ditto).

     1818--Dante, in his descent to Hell, discovers amidst the flight
     of hapless lovers whirled about in a hurricane, the forms of
     Paolo and Franscesca of Rimini. (Vide Inferno, Canto 5.)--A scene
     of the Deluge.

     1820--An Incantation. (See the Pharmaceutria of
     Theocrites.)--Criemhild, the Widow of Siegfried the Swift,
     exposes his body, assisted by Sigmond her father, King of
     Belgium; in the minster at Worms, and swearing to his
     assassination, challenges Hagen, Lord of Trony, and Gunther, King
     of Burgundy, his brother, to approach the corpse, and on the
     wounds beginning to flow, charges them with the murder. (Lied der
     Nibelungen, Adventure 17. 4085, &c.)--Ariadne, Theseus, and the
     Minotaur in the Labyrinth. (Vide Virgil, Æn. 6.)

     1821--Amphiaraus, a chief of the Argolic league against Thebes,
     endowed with prescience, to avoid his fate, withdrew to a secret
     place known only to Eriphyle his wife, which she, seduced by the
     presents of Polynices, disclosed: thus betrayed, he, on
     departing, commanded Alcmæon his son, on being informed of his
     death, to destroy his mother. Eriphyle fell by the hand of her
     son, who fled, pursued by the Furies.--Jealousy (a
     sketch).--Prometheus delivered by Hercules (a drawing).

     1823--The Dawn,

       "Under the opening eye-lids of the morn:
       What time the gray-fly winds his sultry horn."
                              Vide Milton's Lycidas.

     1824--Amoret delivered by Britomart from the spell of Busyrane.
     (Vide Fairy Queen.)

     1825--Comus. (Vide Milton.)--Psyche.

Such were the labours of Fuseli, for exhibition at the Royal Academy of
Arts; but these are only a small part of the pictures executed by him,
during a long and arduous life,--works which will shew to posterity the
energies of his mind, the richness of his invention, and the profundity
of his knowledge.


The following article upon the character of Fuseli, as an artist, is
from the pen of William Young Ottley, Esq. F.S.A.

     "A very slight comparison of the works of Sir Joshua Reynolds with
     the portraits habitually produced by the painters of this country
     during the first half of the last century, and whose merits, for
     the most part, as pictures, now fit them only for the housekeeper's
     room or the garret, will suffice to establish his claim as a
     restorer of art and a reformer of public taste. Somewhat later, Mr.
     West produced his 'Death of Wolfe,' and some other pictures
     representing subjects of our national history, which much surpassed
     what had before been done among us in that way; and in landscape,
     we had the now justly admired Wilson.

     "In the highest department of painting however, which not
     improperly may be termed poetic or epic painting, we had still no
     artist of any eminence; when in the year 1779, Mr. Fuseli, after a
     stay of eight years in Italy, came and settled among us. Of
     Mortimer, who had shortly before died young, great expectations, it
     is true, had been formed; and we had then also Cipriani, a
     Florentine, who, in his way an excellent draughtsman, long
     continued uninterruptedly to furnish our portfolios with pretty
     designs of sporting Nymphs, Cupids, and Graces. But the former,
     although conversant with the human figure, was too easily led to
     imitate the deformed and squalid in nature, and was deficient in
     greatness of style; and the genius of the latter wanted the nerve
     requisite to fit him for subjects requiring force and expression.

     "The genius of Mr. Fuseli was of a very different class. An
     intimate acquaintance with the learned languages had early enabled
     him to fill his mind from the rich storehouses of ancient poesy; he
     was all energy and imagination. But in his youth, not then
     intending to practise painting professionally, he had not subjected
     himself, as an artist, to the restraints of an academic education.
     To curb his genius afterwards was impossible; and to this
     circumstance we must attribute much of that fine wildness of
     character which distinguishes his performances; not unmixed, it is
     true, with a certain exaggeration of manner in the drawing and
     action of the figures, but which still no person of fancy would
     consent to exchange for the regulated but cold manner too often
     learned in schools. Had it been the intention of Mr. Fuseli to
     devote his pencil to the representation of subjects of real, sober
     history, the every-day occurrences of life, this peculiarity in his
     style, often amounting to extravagance, would have been
     inapplicable. But it has ever been his aim, especially in his
     larger works, to soar in the sublime regions of Poetry; and what,
     it may be asked, is Poetry, if entirely divested of amplification?

     "A style founded upon ordinary nature, such as we see every day, is
     certainly ill-fitted to subjects of the above elevated description;
     and should it be objected, as a consequence of this fact, that such
     subjects are therefore not the proper subjects for painting at all,
     may it not be asked, what is then to be said of many of the
     greatest works of Michelangiolo, of several of those of Raffaelle,
     of the admired performances of Giulio Romano at Mantua, and of many
     of the most extensive compositions even of Rubens? Nor can it be
     insisted that such cases are not in point, inasmuch as those
     artists did not use the same exaggeration of style in their naked
     figures as we see in those of Mr. Fuseli: for, although they did
     not exaggerate in the same manner, yet they all did exaggerate;
     Michelangiolo, by giving to his figures that immensity of
     character, which has occasioned them to be appropriately styled 'a
     race of giants;' Raffaelle and Giulio, amongst other things, by
     encreasing in thickness the limbs of their figures beyond what
     nature will commonly be found to justify; and Rubens, by a mixed
     augmentation of muscle and obesity, which, were his figures alive,
     might, perhaps, be found to have given them, in most cases, the
     appearance of encreased strength, without the reality: to say
     nothing of Parmigiano, whose works, though deservedly esteemed,
     often display, in the outlines and proportions of the figures, a
     far greater degree of extravagance than can generally be detected
     in those of the respected Professor of Painting to our Royal
     Academy.[74] But enough has been said to shew that the greatest
     artists have not thought that a style of drawing strictly imitative
     of common nature, was well adapted to subjects of an ideal
     character. It may be proper that we should now add a few words upon
     the style of Mr. Fuseli in particular.

     "It is well known that the human figure, trained and disciplined by
     gymnastic exercises, presents to the eye an appearance very
     different from that which we perceive in the bodies of persons of
     inert habits accidentally seen naked, or stripped for the purpose
     of being drawn from. The frequent opportunities of viewing the
     human figure naked, which were afforded to the ancient Greek
     artists, by the public games and festivals used among them, could
     not fail to render this familiar to them; and accordingly, besides
     the correctness of proportion which we admire in their works, we
     find in their statues the nicest distinctions of this kind, exactly
     suited to the age, dignity, and habits of life of the different
     personages they were intended to represent. To their figures of
     Gods and Heroes, it is well known they were accustomed to give
     proportions more or less differing from those which they commonly
     adopted when representing the figures of ordinary men; and this
     variation from any thing like a common standard is especially
     observable in the celebrated colossal statue upon Monte Cavallo, of
     the sublime excellence of which all men may now form a judgment
     from the bronze cast of it lately erected in one of our parks:
     for, besides that the arch formed under the breast by the ribs, and
     the divisions of the abdominal muscles are more strongly marked in
     that statue than in almost all others, the lower limbs bear to the
     rest of the figure a greater proportionate length than we find in
     perhaps any other example of ancient sculpture. A figure like this,
     uniting in the fullest manner strength and activity with dignity,
     was peculiarly adapted to subjects of an elevated and energetic
     character, such as at all times pressed upon the imagination of Mr.
     Fuseli; and accordingly he made its proportions the basis of his
     style. If it be urged that he too constantly kept to the
     proportions of the above model, it may be answered that few or none
     of the painters of modern times have shewn a disposition to imitate
     the ancients in that nice discrimination of character in their
     naked figures, which has been noticed above; and it is well known
     that it has been objected, even against Michelangiolo, the greatest
     designer of all, that the numerous figures in his stupendous 'Last
     Judgment,' however varied in attitude, are all of nearly the same
     character of form. The fact is, that Mr. Fuseli's style of design
     is of the most elevated kind, and consequently best suited to
     subjects of a very elevated character.

     "In respect of invention, composition, clair-obscure, the works of
     Mr. Fuseli generally merit unmixed praise; and although in the more
     technical parts of colouring, they have not equal pretensions,
     still in this also they deserve commendation; being commonly
     painted in that solemn tone of colouring which we admire in the
     works of the greatest fresco-painters, and which Sir Joshua
     Reynolds observes to be so well adapted to the higher kind of
     pictorial representation. As an inventor, he equals the greatest
     painters that have lived since the restoration of the art. No one
     was ever more fully gifted with the rare faculty of at once
     discovering, in the writer he is perusing, the point of the story,
     and the moment of time, best calculated to produce a forcible
     effect in painting. The loftier his subject, the more easily he
     reaches it; and when he undertakes that at which another artist
     would tremble, he is the most sure of success. The truth of this
     was especially made manifest in the year 1799, when Mr. Fuseli
     exhibited publicly a large collection of his works, under the title
     of 'The Milton Gallery;' the subjects of by far the greater part of
     the pictures having been taken by him from the 'Paradise Lost.' The
     magnificent imagery of this poem, the beautiful, the sublime, or
     the terrific character of the personages represented in it, and of
     the actions described, all combined to fit it for the display of
     the artist's surprising genius in its fullest force; besides which,
     the style of Mr. Fuseli was here exactly suited to his subject. But
     although the series, as a whole, was one of the greatest works of
     painting ever produced, which (certainly in its kind the most
     perfect,) elevating the painter to the same rank as the poet; it
     failed, as the poem itself had originally done, to ensure to its
     author that immediate share of public favour which was his due, and
     which is sure to be attendant upon successful endeavours in those
     inferior branches of the art which are more within the range of
     public capacity.

     "But the fashion or opinion of the day, in matters of taste, is
     not always the judgment of posterity; and it cannot be too much
     regretted that the principal pictures of the series, at least, have
     not been kept together for the future advantage of our artists, and
     the gratification of those whose studies might hereafter qualify
     them to appreciate their excellence. For be it remembered, by such
     persons as might otherwise be too readily induced to undervalue
     that which they do not understand, that Sir Joshua Reynolds became,
     in the latter part of his life, 'clearly of opinion that a relish
     for the higher excellencies of the art is an acquired taste, which
     no man ever possessed without long cultivation, great labour, and





        Spirit of him who wing'd his daring flight
        Towards the pure confines of primæval light,
        Say, whilst this nether world thy powers confin'd,
        Weak child of dust, frail offspring of mankind,
        Thy station'd barrier this terrestrial mound,
        Th' incumbent vault of heaven thine upward bound,
        Thy means the common energies of man,
        Thy life a shadow, and thy years a span;
        How couldst thou, struggling with opposing Fate,
        Burst through the limits of this mortal state?
        Thence, soaring high, pursue, with stedfast gaze,
        The opening wonders of th' empyreal blaze,
        Where countless Seraphs pour, in burning zone,
        Concentric glories round th' eternal throne?
        Or hear, and hearing live, the dread alarms
        Of heavenly war, and Cherubim in arms;
        See in th' abyss the proud apostate hurl'd,
        And rising into light, the infant World?
          Fav'rite of Heaven! 'twas thine, on mortal eyes
        To pour these visions, rich with rainbow dyes,
        Peopling the void of space with forms unseen,
        Rising from being to what might have been!--
        Nor he not breathes a portion of thy fire,
        Who "bids the pencil answer to the lyre;"
        Marks the bright phantoms at their proudest height,
        And with determin'd hand arrests their flight;
        Bids shadowy forms substantial shape assume,
        And heaven's own hues in mortal labours bloom.
        For toils like these, whate'er the meed divine,
        That glorious meed, my Fuseli, is thine,
        Who first to Truth's embodied fulness wrought
        The glowing outline of the Poet's thought.
          Artist sublime! whose pencil knows to trace
        The early wonders of the kindred race!
        Not thine to search th' historian's scanty page,
        The brief memorial of a fleeting age;
        Not thine to call, from Time's surrounding gloom,
        High deeds of cultur'd Greece, or conqu'ring Rome;
        Not thine, with temporary themes to move,
        Of Hope, Aversion, Pity, Rage, or Love.--
        Beyond whate'er the Drama's powers can tell,
        Beyond the Epic's high, impetuous swell,
        Alike by clime and ages unconfined,
        Thou strik'st the chords that vibrate on mankind;
        Op'st the dread scenes that Heaven suspensive eyed,
        A world created, or a world destroy'd;
        Recall'st the joys of Eden's happier prime,
        Whilst life was yet unconscious of a crime,
        Whilst Virtue's self could Passion's glow approve,
        And Beauty slumber'd in the arms of Love;
        Till, dread reverse! on man's devoted race
        Th' insidious serpent work'd the dire disgrace.
          Then first, whilst Nature shudder'd with affright,
        Of Sin and Death was held th' incestuous rite;
        Then first, o'er vanquish'd man, began their reign,
        The fiends of Woe, the family of Pain:
        Disease the poison'd cup of anguish fills,
        And opes the Lazar-house of human ills--
        See Frenzy rushes from his burning bed;
        See pining Atrophy declines his head;
        See mute Despair, that broods on woes unknown,
        And Melancholy gaze herself to stone!
          Then, pouring forth from Hell's detested bound,
        Revenge, and Fraud, and Murder stalk around;
        Till opening skies declare th' avenging God,
        And Mercy sleeps, whilst Justice waves the rod.
        Yet, whilst the bursting deluge from the earth
        Sweeps the rebellious brood of giant birth,
        One proud survivor rolls his vengeful eyes,
        And with last look the living God defies.
          But now the waves their silent station keep,
        And Vengeance slumbers o'er the mighty deep;
        Again, rejoicing o'er the firm fix'd land,
        The favour'd Patriarch leads his household band;
        With sacred incense bids his altars blaze,
        And pours to God the living song of praise.
          Thus, as th' immortal Bard his flight explores,
        On kindred wing the daring artist soars;
        Undazzled shares with him Heaven's brightest glow,
        Or penetrates the boundless depths below;
        Or on the sloping sun-beam joys to ride,
        Or sails amidst the uncreated void;
        Imbibes a portion of his sacred flame,
        Reflects his genius, and partakes his fame.




        Mighty magician! who on Torneo's brow,
          When sullen tempests wrap the throne of night,
          Art wont to sit and catch the gleam of light,
        That shoots athwart the gloom opaque below,
        And listen to the distant death-shriek long,
          From lonely mariner foundering in the deep,
          Which rises slowly up the rocky steep,
        While weird sisters weave the horrid song:
          Or when along the liquid sky
          Serenely chant the orbs on high,
          Dost love to sit in musing trance,
          And mark the northern meteor's dance;
          (While far below the fitful oar
          Flings its faint pauses on the steepy shore,)
          And list the music of the breeze,
          That sweeps by fits the bending seas;
          And often bears with sudden swell
          The shipwreck'd sailor's funeral knell,
          By the spirits sung, who keep
          Their night-watch on the treacherous deep,
          And guide the wakeful helms-man's eye
          To Helicé in northern sky,
          And there, upon the rock inclined,
          With mighty visions fill'st the mind,
          Such as bound, in magic spell,
          Him[75] who grasp'd the gates of Hell,
        And bursting Pluto's dark domain,
        Held to the day the terrors of his reign.

        Genius of horror and romantic awe,
          Whose eye explores the secrets of the deep,
          Whose power can bid the rebel fluids creep,
        Can force the inmost soul to own its law;
          Who shall now, sublimest spirit,
          Who shall now thy wand inherit,
          From him,[76] thy darling child, who best
          Thy shuddering images express'd?
          Sullen of soul, and stern, and proud,
          His gloomy spirit spurn'd the crowd;
          And now he lays his aching head
        In the dark mansion of the silent dead.

        Mighty magician! long thy wand has lain
          Buried beneath the unfathomable deep;
          And, oh! for ever must its efforts sleep,
        May none the mystic sceptre e'er regain?
          Oh, yes, 'tis his!--thy other son;
          He throws thy dark-wrought tunic on,
          Fuesslin waves thy wand,--again they rise,
          Again thy wildering forms salute our ravish'd eyes;
        Him didst thou cradle on the dizzy steep,
          Where round his head the volley'd lightnings flung,
          And the loud winds that round his pillow rung,
        Woo'd the stern infant to the arms of Sleep,
          Or on the highest top of Teneriffe
        Seated the fearless boy, and bade him look
          Where far below the weather-beaten skiff
        On the gulf-bottom of the ocean strook.
        Thou mark'dst him drink with ruthless ear
          The death-sob, and, disdaining rest,
        Thou saw'st how danger fired his breast,
        And in his young hand couch'd the visionary spear.
          Then, Superstition, at thy call,
          She bore the boy to Odin's Hall,
          And set before his awe-struck sight
          The savage feast and spectred fight;
          And summon'd from the mountain tomb
          The ghastly warrior son of gloom,
          His fabled Runic rhymes to sing,
          While fierce Hresvelger flapp'd his wing;
          Thou show'dst the trains the shepherd sees,
          Laid on the stormy Hebrides,
          Which on the mists of evening gleam,
          Or crowd the foaming desert stream;
          Lastly, her storied hand she waves,
          And lays him in Florentian caves;
          There milder fables, lovelier themes
          Enwrap his soul in heavenly dreams;
          There Pity's lute arrests his ear,
          And draws the half-reluctant tear;
          And now at noon of night he roves
          Along th' embowering moon-light groves,
          And as from many a cavern'd dell
          The hollow wind is heard to swell,
          He thinks some troubled spirit sighs;
          And as upon the turf he lies,
          Where sleeps the silent beam of night,
          He sees below the gliding sprite,
          And hears in Fancy's organs sound
          Aërial music warbling round.

          Taste lastly comes, and smooths the whole,
          And breathes her polish o'er his soul;
          Glowing with wild, yet chasten'd heat,
          The wonderous work is now complete.

          The Poet dreams:--the shadow flies,
          And fainting fast its image dies.
          But lo! the Painter's magic force
          Arrests the phantom's fleeting course;
          It lives--it lives--the canvass glows,
          And tenfold vigour o'er it flows.
        The Bard beholds the work achieved,
          And as he sees the shadow rise,
          Sublime before his wondering eyes,
        Starts at the image his own mind conceived.

        H. K. White.

       *       *       *       *       *

The following verses were sent to me anonymously, by the post; as they
shew the author to be well acquainted with the works of Mr. Fuseli, I
trust the reader will think with me, there needs no apology for
inserting them in this place. It is conjectured that they are from the
pen of a young lady, who is alike distinguished for personal attractions
and amiability, as for her taste and knowledge; the daughter of a
gentleman who has been frequently mentioned in this Memoir.

     A VISION.

        Last night I sunk to sleep's soft power resign'd,
        When wizard Fancy's wand, before my mind,
        Conjur'd in dreams a visionary shew,
        That seem'd with vivid Truth's warm tints to glow.
        By young Favonius' fragrant pinions fann'd,                    5
        Amidst Elysian groves I seem'd to stand;
        Here, when th' immortal spirit quits its clay,
        The sons of Genius dwell in endless day:
        Not they who empires founded, or o'erthrew,
        Who conquer'd worlds, or who discover'd new;                  10
        Not Philip's headlong son, not Scipio's foe,
        Nor Julius, guilty of his country's woe;
        In these fair fields the scourges of mankind
        Reap'd not the meed to virtuous fame assign'd.
        Here Music sweeps her lyre; her heav'nly lay                  15
        The Passions hear, enraptur'd, and obey:
        Here dwells th' immortal Virgin Poesy,
        A noble wildness flashing in her eye;
        Inspired Bards around the Goddess throng,
        And catch the accents flowing from her tongue.                20
        Entranced, whilst gazing on the blissful scene,
        I mark'd a Deity of matchless mien,
        Her port majestic, in each motion grace,
        Fairer she shone than nymphs of mortal race:
        I recognis'd the Sov'reign of that art,                       25
        Which through the eye finds entrance to the heart;
        Plac'd on an eminence, she sat alone,
        Below her vot'ries press'd around her throne.
        Great Vinci first, with greater Angelo,
        Sublime expression frowning on his brow,                      30
        Led on the daring Tuscan band severe:
        Next Raphael with calm dignity drew near,
        Who join'd to grand conception just design,
        Conducting the majestic Roman line;
        Then Titian with a gay and brilliant throng,                  35
        Sprung from the sea-born city, mov'd along;
        Corregio in succession next pass'd by,
        Leading the graceful School of Lombardy.
        A genius vast, original, and bold,
        The numerous band of Holland's sons controll'd;               40
        And with his Flemish train, of pomp profuse,
        The gorgeous Rubens dazzled e'en the Muse.
        In order due arranged on either hand,
        Beside the silent Queen they take their stand;
        Before whose throne Helvetia stood, to claim                  45
        For an aspiring votary of Fame
        Admittance to these realms:--"O Muse," she cried,
        "The Master's works contemplate, and decide."
        While speaking thus, her wand on high she rear'd,
        And lo! a train of pictur'd groups appear'd;                  50
        Heroic phantoms seem'd to start from night,
        And forms of beauty floated 'fore my sight;
        From ages past reflected scenes arose,
        Of human passions, and eternal woes.
        There I beheld pourtray'd the lofty story                     55
        Of Man's first fall, and Satan's tarnish'd glory.
        There rose the spectre Prophet from the tomb,
        To Saul announcing his impending doom.
        Of Ilion's tale a vision seem'd to speak,
        And the long wand'rings of the prudent Greek.                 60
        There Eriphyle bleeds upon the ground,
        While Furies fly t' avenge the impious wound.
        In horror plunged, deplor'd Jocasta's son
        The fated crimes he strove in vain to shun.
        Here stalk'd the shadow of the murder'd Dane;                 65
        Appall'd, methought I saw th' astonish'd Thane
        Hail'd by each wither'd hag;--From Helle's tide
        Th' enamour'd youth rush'd to his Sestian bride.
        There, lost to hope, the lovers mourn for ever!
        Whom not th' infernal whirlwind's rage can sever.             70
        The traitor Guelph, too, 'midst his famish'd brood,
        Expects in Death th' eternal feast of blood.
        In knightly guise th' heroic Virgin's arm
        Redeems fair Amoret from magic charm:
        And Arthur slept; who woke but to deplore                     75
        The Beauty lov'd for ever, seen no more.
        On the aërial portraiture, amaz'd,
        In pleasing wonder lost, intent I gaz'd;
        As Sorrow, Guilt, Despair, the scenes express'd,
        Awe, Terror, Pity, sway'd by turns my breast;                 80
        When, suddenly, I saw the heaven-born Maid
        Of sacred numbers, from a neighbouring glade,
        'Midst the great masters of immortal song,
        Toward the throne of Painting move along.
        Now blind no more Mæonides, and he,                           85
        The daring Bard of Man's apostasy,
        With buskin'd Sophocles, and lofty Gray,
        Spenser, sweet master of the moral lay;
        Severely grand, the Florentine sublime,
        And Avon's Bard, unmatch'd by age or clime,                   90
        All crowd the visionary scenes t' admire,
        Pleas'd that such scenes their genius could inspire.
        While onward the poetic Virgin press'd,
        And her who reign'd o'er Painting, thus address'd:--
        "O Muse! who charmest silently, attend                        95
        To Poesy, thy Sister, and thy friend.
        No vot'ry of that art o'er which you reign,
        The nobler walks could ever yet attain,
        Unless I urged him proudly to aspire,
        And kindled in his breast poetic fire.                       100
        Belgia, without my aid, may tint the scene
        With golden hues, and mimic Nature's green;
        Immortalize the Peasant and his can,
        Without selection, imitating Man;
        Or through transparent veins life's tide may gush,           105
        Tinging Venetian canvass with the blush
        Of glowing Nature; uninspir'd by me,
        The Rose of Merian may deceive the bee;
        At Rembrandt's touch the shining robe may flow,
        The diamond sparkle, or the ruby glow;                       110
        But he whom I inspire disdains such praise;
        The soul's emotions, ardent, he displays;
        Fearless he wields Invention's magic wand,
        Sprites, fays, and spectres rise at his command;
        Unveil'd, the Passions at his will appear,                   115
        E'en Heavenly essences he dares t' unsphere;
        As, from Promethean touch each image glows,
        And what the Poet thought the Painter shews.
        While 'midst Helvetia's native hills, before
        This foster-son of Britain sought her shore,                 120
        I mark'd the future promise in the child;
        The fire of genius, vigorous, and wild,
        Sparkled in infancy, in manhood blaz'd;
        You won his youthful fancy, as he gaz'd,
        Th' enthusiast strove your favour to attain,                 125
        And I propitious, smil'd, and pointed to your Fane.
        On Leban's brow the cedar tow'ring high
        Boasts not the lowly flow'ret's gaudy dye;
        Others may in the humbler parts excel,
        But, Queen, did ever artist think so well?                   130
        Is not the highest merit of your art,
        T' exalt the fancy, and to touch the heart?
        Then welcome the poetic Painter, Muse,
        Nor to my fav'rite deathless fame refuse!"
        She ceased; nor vainly pled the Heavenly fair;               135
        Th' assenting Muse approv'd her sister's prayer:
        "Enter these realms," she cried; "th' award be thine,
        Amidst the sons of Genius here to shine,
        Where Envy's tongue no longer shall prevail:
        Hail Fuseli! Immortal artist, hail!"                         140
        Resounding acclamations, as she spoke,
        Burst on my ear, I started, and awoke.


[1] Those who may be curious to see Fuseli's early style in German, may
consult the Life of Chevalier Hudlinger, in the preface to the
translation of "Mengs' thoughts on Beauty;" and also a letter "from
Switzerland to Winkelmann;" both of which were written by him without
alteration, although they bear his father's signature.

[2] At this time, Rösel's "Insects' Banquet" was his favourite study.

[3] The public are indebted for many of the particulars of Fuseli's
early life to this gentleman, who died in 1816, and was a canon of

[4] Fuseli ever considered Richardson a man of great genius, and one who
had a key to the human heart, and was very indignant, in the latter
period of his life, with a gentleman who spoke contemptuously of
Clarissa Harlowe. This person said in his presence, "No one now reads
the works of Richardson." "Do they not?" said Fuseli, "then by G----d
they ought. If people are now tired of old novels, I should be glad to
know your criterion of books. If Richardson is old, Homer is obsolete.
Clarissa, to me, is pathetic--is exquisite; I never read it without
crying like a child."

[5] "The Frank Intelligencer."

[6] The late Mr. Henry Füessli, of Zurich, from whom the writer has
received much information. Just as this Memoir was completed, this
gentleman closed his mortal career. He died on the 1st of May, 1829, in
his seventy-fifth year. Mr. Füessli was a landscape painter, and held
the honourable situation of President of the Society of Artists at
Zurich. He had been labouring for some years under occasional attacks of
asthma, and died therefrom much regretted.

[7] Mrs. Fuseli died at Zurich, 11 April, 1759, aged 44 years. She was a
woman of a most amiable disposition, and respected by all who knew her.

[8] "Do but the seventh part of what thou canst."

[9] This charter, however, was never granted; the artists received the
patronage of the King, and were by his command associated under the
title of "The Royal Academy." Among its early members we find the names
of Sir Joshua Reynolds, Gainsborough, and Wilson, who for talent in the
several departments of the art in which they practised, have rendered
their names immortal.

[10] Fuseli wrote in pencil, under this figure, "Fuseli amor mio."--Mr.
Ottley saw this still remaining in the year 1792, when he was at
Bologna, and added "anche amor mio."--W. Y. Ottley.

[11] This was a satirical drawing of the Painters in England at that

[12] Doctor Armstrong died in September 1779.

[13] Mr. Füessli died at Zurich the 6th of May, 1781.

[14] I beg here to acknowledge my gratitude to Mr. Roscoe for having
allowed me to peruse the letters which he had received from Fuseli
during a period of more than forty years, from which I have gleaned much
useful information, and have only to regret, I am sure, in common with
every reader of this memoir, that he did not accede to my wishes of
being the biographer of his friend.

[15] The omissions in this and the succeeding letter, where asterisks
are placed, relate only to the names of subscribers to the translation
of Homer.

[16] Samuel Johnson.

[17]    Ἀνδρασι πυγμαιοισι φονον καὶ κηρα φερουσαι·
                              Iliad, iii. v. 6.

[18]    Των αυθ' Ὑρτακιδης ηρχ' Ἀσιος, ὀρχαμος ἀνδρων
        Ἀσιος Ὑρτακιδης.----
                              Iliad, ii. v. 837-8.

[19] Iliad, v. v. 722-31.

[20] Iliad, xi. v. 15, seq. Conf. Iliad, ii. v. 42, seq.

[21] Iliad, xiv. v. 170, seq.

[22] Iliad, xviii. v. 478-607.

[23] Iliad, iv. v. 105-111.

[24] Iliad, ii. v. 101-8.

[25] Clarke, who has preserved this name in his marginal version,
contends strenuously, and with great reason, that Outis ought not to be
translated; and in a passage which he quotes from the _Acta Eruditorum_,
we see much fault found with Giphanius and other interpreters of Homer,
for having translated it. It is certain that, in Homer, the word is
declined, not as ουτις -τινος, which signifies no man, but as
ουτις -τιδος, making ουτιν in the accusative, consequently, as a proper
name. It is sufficient that the ambiguity was such as to deceive the
friends of the Cyclops. Outis is said by some (perhaps absurdly) to have
been a name given to Ulysses, on account of his having larger ears than

[26] 'Outis as a _name_, could only denote him who bore it; but as a
_noun_, it signifies, _no man_, which accounts sufficiently for the
ludicrous mistake of his brethren.'

[27] _Vos_, the admirable translator of the Odyss. in German hexameters,
well aware that the question here lay not between grammar and licence,
puerility of conceit, or dignity of fiction, but between sense and
nonsense, without deigning to notice the contest of commentators, has
rendered ουτις, by "Niemand," in the first instance, and afterwards
varies it with "Keiner."

        "Niemand ist mein Name; denn Niemand nennen mich alle.

               *       *       *       *       *

        Niemand würgt mich, ihr Freund', arglistig! und Keiner gewaltsam!
        Wenn dir denn keiner gewalt anthut."--

[28] The first, in ΠΥΘ. A. v. 28.
        γαν τε και ποντον κατ' ἀμαιμακετον

The second, in ΠΥΘ. P. v. 57-8.
        Πεμψε κασιγνηταν μενει;
        Θυοισαν ἀμαιμακετῳ·

where the scholiast explains it by ἀκαταμαχητος, and the notes deduce it
from a compound of the A ἐπιτατικη and μαιμαω: a derivation more
probable than that of our translator from ἁμα, and the Doric μακος;
unless we suppose that Homer made use for his substantives, of the
Ionic, and for his compound adjectives, of the Doric dialects!

[29] Plin. L. xxxiii. c. 4. 'Electro auctoritas, Homero teste qui
Menelai regiam, auro, electro, argento, ebore fulgere tradit.' Helen, he
continues, consecrated a cup of electrum at Lindos, 'mammæ suæ mensura,'
and adds, 'electri natura ad lucernarum lumina clarius argento

[30] Την δε μετ' Ἀλκμηνην ἸΔΟΝ----Και Μεγαρην (_sc._ ΙΔΟΝ) κρειοντος
ὑπερθυμοιο θυγατρα Την εχεν Αμφιτρυωνος ὑιος.----

[31] Bayle is mistaken in supposing that the marriage of Lorenzo took
place in 1471. Speaking of Machiavelli, he says, Il ne marque pas
l'année de ce mariage, ce qui est un grand défaut dans un écrivain
d'histoire; mais on peut recueillir de sa narration que ce fut l'an
1471. _Dict. Hist. art. Politien._ In correcting Bayle, Menckenius falls
into a greater error, and places this event in 1472. _Menk. in vitâ
Pol._ p. 48.

[32] 'How grateful to our sensations, how distinct to our imagination
appear the

        "Speluncæ, vivique lacus, ac frigida Tempe,
        Mugitusque boûm, mollesque sub arbore somni."

[33] 'Published for the first time at the close of the present work.'

[34] If Virgil has given us a highly-finished personification of Rumour,
if Horace speaks of his _atra Cura_, if Lucretius present us with an
awful picture of Superstition, their portraits are so vague as scarcely
to communicate any discriminate idea, and are characterized by their
operation and effects, rather than by their poetical insignia. Of the
ancient Roman authors, perhaps there is no one that abounds in these
personifications more than the tragedian Seneca; yet what idea do we
form of Labour, when we are told that

        "Labor exoritur durus, et omnes
        Agitat curas, aperitque domos:"

'Or, of Hope or Fear, from the following passage:

        "Turbine magni, spes solicitæ
        Urbibus errant, trepidique metus."

'The personification of Hope, by Tibullus, (Lib. II. Eleg. 6.) is
scarcely worthy of that charming author; and if he has been happier in
his description of Sleep, (Lib. I. Eleg. 1.) it is still liable to the
objections before mentioned.'

[35] 'It is commonly understood that the idea of a systematic
arrangement, for securing to states, within the same sphere of political
action, the possession of their respective territories, and the
continuance of existing rights, is of modern origin, having arisen among
the Italian States, in the fifteenth century. _Robertson's Hist. of Ch.
V._ v. i. sec. 2.--But Mr. Hume has attempted to shew that this system,
if not theoretically understood, was at least practically adopted by the
ancient states of Greece, and the neighbouring governments. _Essays_, v.
1. _part 2. Essay 7._--In adjusting the extent to which these opinions
may be adopted, there is no great difficulty. Wherever mankind have
formed themselves into societies, (and history affords no instance of
their being found in any other,) the conduct of a tribe, or a nation,
has been marked by a general will: and states, like individuals, have
had their antipathies and predilections, their jealousies, and their
fears. The powerful have endeavoured to oppress the weak, and the weak
have sought refuge from the powerful, in their mutual union.
Notwithstanding the great degree of civilization that obtained among the
Grecian States, their political conduct seems to have been directed upon
no higher principle: conquests were pursued as opportunity offered, and
precautions for safety were delayed till the hour of danger arrived. The
preponderating mass of the Roman Republic attracted into it's vortex
whatever was opposed to it's influence: and the violent commotions of
the middle ages, by which that immense body was again broken into new
forms, and impelled in vague and eccentric directions, postponed to a
late period the possibility of regulated action. The transactions in
Italy, during the fourteenth and fifteenth centuries, bear indeed a
strong resemblance to those which took place among the Grecian States:
but it was not till nearly the close of the latter century that a system
of general security and pacification was clearly developed, and
precautions taken for insuring its continuance. Simple as this idea may
now appear, yet it must be considered, that, before the adoption of it,
the minds of men, and consequently the maxims of states, must have
undergone an important change: views of aggrandizement were to be
repressed; war was to be prosecuted, not for the purpose of conquest,
but of security; and, above all, an eye was to be found that could
discern, and a mind that could comprehend, so extended an object.'

[36] 'Objects of horror and disgust, the cold detail of deliberate
barbarity, can never be proper subjects of art, because they exclude the
efforts of genius. Even the powers of Shakspeare are annihilated in the
butcheries of Titus Andronicus. Yet the reputation of some of the most
celebrated Italian painters has been principally founded on this kind of
representation. "Ici," says M. Tenhove, "c'est S. Etienne qu'on lapide,
et dont je crains que la cervelle ne rejaillisse sur moi; plus loin,
c'est S. Barthélémi tout sanglant, tout écorché; je compte ses muscles
et ses nerfs. Vingt fleches ont criblé Sebastien. L'horrible tête du
Baptiste est dans ce plat. Le gril de S. Laurent sert de pendant à la
chaudière de S. Jean. Je recule d'horreur."--_Mem. Gen. lib._ x. May it
not be doubted whether spectacles of this kind, so frequent in places
devoted to religious purposes, may not have had a tendency rather to
keep alive a spirit of ferocity and resentment, than to inculcate those
mild and benevolent principles in which the essence of religion

[37] Our author has given ample opportunities to Mr. Tenhove, a Dutch
writer on nearly the same subject with his own, to display a disparity
of manner singularly contrasting with his own sober and authentic page.
Mr. T. is apparently a wit and a man of feeling, but at all times ready
to sacrifice matter to whim, or to substitute assertion for proof: thus,
in talking of the celebrated cameo representing the punishment of
Marsyas, once the property of Lorenzo, he tells us, that of old it
belonged to Nero, who used it as the seal of his death-warrants, and who
probably assumed the attitude of the Apollo engraved on it, whilst he
assisted at the flogging of one Menedemus, a singer who had excited his
jealousy; a tale partly invented, partly perverted from Suetonius, who
tells something similar of Caligula and Apelles. In another place, (p.
178, note b.) after ridiculing with somewhat prolix propriety the
Florentine custom of substituting, even in grave writing, the nicknames
of their countrymen to their real ones, he adds, that it is a custom
laughed at and disapproved by the rest of Italian writers, though
undoubtedly he had read of Cola di Rienzi, Massaniello, Titta Borghese,
Giorgione, Il Tintoretto, Frà Bastiano, and Titian himself. "Pauperis
esset numerare pecus."

[38] Giorgio Vasari and Ascanio Condivi. Our author, though a patient
admirer of the first, is offended at the "insufferable minuteness" of
the second. It would be unfair to consider Condivi as the literary
competitor of Vasari, yet great respect is to be paid to a narrative
composed under the immediate eye of Michaelagnolo himself. His "Otto
scudi al mese poco più o meno," whether they reflect much or little
honour on the liberality of Lorenzo, have at least a right to rank with
the "quattro mazzi, che erano quaranti libbre da candele di sego,"
which, the knight of Arezzo informs us, he sent as a present to
Michaelagnolo. Vasari Vita di M. A. B. tom. vi. p. 328.

[39] This lady is called Mrs. Wollstonecraft, instead of Mary
Wollstonecraft, throughout this Narrative, in conformity to the memoirs
which have hitherto appeared of her.

[40] This and subsequent quotations respecting Mrs. Wollstonecraft are
taken from her letters to Fuseli.

[41] "Memoirs of the Author of a Vindication of the Rights of Woman, by
William Godwin."

[42] Mrs. Bysshe Shelly.

[43] Mr. Meyer was a painter of reputation, both in miniature and

[44] La Terribil Via, applied by Agostino Caracci to Michael Angelo.

[45] This alludes to Mr. Fuseli's proposals for a gallery filled with
pictures painted by him from subjects taken from Milton's Paradise Lost.

[46] This elegant translation, in verse, was published under the title
of "The Nurse."

[47] Sir Thomas Lawrence, in a discourse which he delivered as President
of the Royal Academy, on the 10th December 1823, says, in reference to
the Milton Gallery, "the many sublime designs by the great author of
this, whose unapproached invention and high attainments enforce this
tribute to living genius."

[48] For an elucidation of this passage, refer to Suetonius, edit.
Burmanni, v. 2. p. 171.

[49] A name which Fuseli gave to a sprained knee.

[50] This alludes to a contest which occurred on the way to Paris: the
"inquisitive traveller," Mr. Farington, was disposed to sleep at St.
Juste; the rest of the party desired to push on. Mr. Moore, who had the
regulation of the journey, decided the question by ordering out the

[51] Fuseli made this observation not only in reference to the
physiognomic cast of David's countenance, but his face was also
disfigured by a hare-lip.

[52] The writer of this saw the picture in the year 1779, and made
observations on the spot.

[53] In my Lectures.

[54] The British Institution was opened for the first exhibition, on the
18th of January, 1806.

[55] A name by which he generally designated the amiable and ingenious
Tiberius Cavallo, a gentleman well known for his numerous and able works
on Natural Philosophy, who was also on a visit to Mr. Rackett at this
time: at whose hospitable house he usually passed three or four of the
summer months.

[56] Mr. Johnson made Cowper a present of one thousand pounds over and
above their agreement.

[57] The passage is thus translated by Franklin:--

                                        -----"A dreadful clap
        Of thunder shook the ground; the virgins trembled,
        And clinging fearful round their father's knees,
        Beat their sad breasts and wept."
                              Sophocles Œdipus Coloneus, Act. 5, Scene 1.

[58] Professor Bonnycastle was born at Aylesbury, in Buckinghamshire, in
January 1752, and died at Woolwich, 15th of May, 1821.

[59] While these pages were passing through the press, Europe and the
fine arts have been bereaved of the splendid talents of Sir Thomas
Lawrence. This gentleman died, after an illness of a few days
continuance, on the 7th of January, 1830, in the sixty-first year of his

Shortly after Sir Thomas's arrival in London, Fuseli saw "the future
promise" in the youth, and was therefore gratified in making remarks
upon his portraits for his improvement. This kind notice, from a man
whom Sir Thomas held in the highest esteem for talents and various
acquirements, made a deep impression on his mind: he sought an intimacy
with him, which, upon more mature knowledge of the individual, ripened
into the closest friendship. The world is now deprived of these two
great artists, and there can be no other than feelings of deep regret
for their loss. These, however, with regard to myself, are not unmingled
with those of satisfaction, when I consider the many happy hours passed
in their society, and that this pleasure was enjoyed for more than
twenty years.

At the death of Mr. West, in the year 1820, Fuseli was among the most
forward of the Academicians to propose that his friend, Sir Thomas, who
was then on the Continent of Europe, should fill the chair. This honour
he felt due to him, not only for his unrivalled powers as a portrait
painter, but for the elegance of his mind and the urbanity of his
manners. Few men had so pleasing an address; and fewer the happy method
of making this acceptable to the particular persons with whom he

Although Sir Thomas Lawrence was not, in the usual acceptation of the
word, a scholar, being unskilled in the dead languages; yet he was well
versed in English literature, had a fine taste for poetry, and I have
heard him recite some lines of his own composition, (full of merit) with
great taste, feeling, and judgment.

Sir Thomas is known to the public chiefly as a portrait painter,--the
only lucrative branch of the art in England. In this, his style was
truly English. In the countenances of his men we see faithful
likenesses; sometimes certainly given with some degree of flattery; but
he was always the more intent in shewing "the mind's construction in the
face." In his portraits of heroes there is always dignity; in those of
statesmen, depth of thought, with firmness of character. In the
delineation of females, in which he chiefly shone, beauty and delicacy
were combined with great taste of attitudes, and which was heightened by
the elegance and disposition of their drapery. His backgrounds were
always appropriate to the portraits; and when his pencil was employed on
large pictures, these were introduced with great taste and power.

The drawings of the human face in black lead pencil, frequently
heightened with a little colour, which he sometimes made to present to
his friends, exceed all praise, for truth, delicacy, and fine finish.

Had public encouragement gone hand in hand with the powers of the man,
we should, no doubt, have possessed some fine epic and dramatic subjects
from his pencil. As a proof of this, I may again be permitted to advert
to the sublime picture of "Satan calling up his Legions," which was
purchased by the late Duke of Norfolk, and came again into the
possession of Sir Thomas, when his Grace's effects were sold: here we
see an epic subject of the highest class treated with invention, great
power of drawing, and brilliancy of colouring. This, with "Homer
reciting his Verses to the Greeks," are the only historical pictures
from his pencil that I am acquainted with, and perhaps the only ones
known. In this advanced stage of my work, I may be excused for giving
only a brief sketch of my friend, whose loss every admirer of the fine
arts in Europe deeply deplores;--a man whose name will go down to
posterity coupled with those of the great masters who have preceded him
in the pictorial art; and as the present high appreciation of his merits
does not rest upon adventitious circumstances, time will rather add to
than detract from his fame.

[60] In this particular, the writer is in error, as Dr. Holland was kind
enough to give his gratuitous attendance, at the earnest request of Sir
Thomas Lawrence.

[61] The passage is as follows:--

        "Olim quod vulpes ægroto cauta leoni
        Respondit, referam: quia me vestigia terrent
        Omnia te adversum spectantia, nulla retrorsum."
                              Horatii Flacci Epistolarum, 1. i.

It is thus imitated by Pope:--

        "Faith I shall give the answer Reynard gave;
          I cannot like, dread Sir, your royal cave;
        _Because I see, by all the tracks about,
          Full many a beast goes in, but none comes out_."

[62] Among the more recent acquaintances of Fuseli, there was no one for
whom he entertained a higher regard than for Mr. Samuel Cartwright; he
has said to me, "Cartwright is a friendly, liberal man, and has the mind
of a gentleman."

[63] At this time, his age could not be accurately ascertained: he was
in his eighty-fifth year, having completed his eighty-fourth on the 7th
of February preceding his death.

[64] At this time, his age could not be accurately ascertained: he was
in his eighty-fifth year, having completed his eighty-fourth on the 7th
of February preceding his death.

[65] Fuseli made this remark in reference to the capital employed, and
the encouragement given to the Slave Trade by some of the merchants of
Liverpool, and the consequent wealth which was derived by many from this
traffic. Every one who is acquainted with the parliamentary history of
this country knows the arduous struggle made for its abolition, and the
part which Mr. Roscoe took, when member of parliament for Liverpool, to
effect this measure. In these efforts he was cordially joined by many of
his intelligent and liberal townsmen.

[66] This and other remarks on the pictures of Sir Joshua Reynolds, were
written at Hastings, in the year 1813, shortly after the first
exhibition of Sir Joshua's works at the British Institution, and sent
thence by Fuseli in letters to Sir Thomas Lawrence.

[67] The passage is thus rendered by Cowper:

        "My temper, Sir, inclines not me t' extol
        Or to depreciate much, or much admire,--
        Full well I recollect thee as thou wert."

[68] First part of Shakspeare's "King Henry the Fourth," Act 3rd.

[69] These statues, which have been named Castor and Pollux by some,
(and by an absurd anachronism, Alexander, by others,) were considered by
Fuseli to be the work of Phidias, and designed for a monument. He was of
opinion that they are duplicate figures; and the subject, "Achilles
curbing and addressing his steed, and astonished at the answer of his
prophetic courser."

[70] This picture is lost: his celebrated work of "Sin pursued by
Death," being painted over it. On this canvass there are no less than
three finished pictures.

[71] Darwin.

[72] See Pilkington's Dictionary, by Fuseli, second edition, page 191.

[73] They are now the property of the Countess of Guilford.

[74] This character of Fuseli was written a short time previously to his

[75] Dante.

[76] Ibid.


Dorset Street, Fleet Street.

       *       *       *       *       *


1. Accents and breathings in the Greek quotations have been left
unchanged (both are included somewhat at random). The one exception is
the rough breathing before Ἀνδρασι in footnote 17, which should be a
smooth breathing, and has been corrected.

2. Obvious typos have been silently corrected.

3. Alternative spellings have been left unchanged. This includes words
in poetry such as "ravish'd" for "ravished", words sometimes hyphenated,
and the various spellings of painters' names (there are at least four
different spellings of Michelangelo, and three of chiar'oscuro, for

4. Chapter headings (in chapters II, VIII, XIII and XV) vary slightly
from the wording of the Table of Contents. These variants have been left
unchanged, with one exception: the date 1703 in the heading for Chapter
II has been corrected to 1763.

5. Words in italics are marked _like this_.

6. The position of the apostrophe in Italian quotations varies, but no
changes have been made.

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