Page images
PDF
EPUB

ings, humility and majesty, despotic command, and divine love, are at once seated in his celestial aspect. The figures of the eleven apostles are all in the same passion of admiration, but discover it differently, according to their characters. Peter receives his master's orders on his knees with an admiration mixed with a more particular attention: the two next with a more open ecstacy, though still constrained by the awe of the divine presence; the beloved disciple, whom I take to he the right of the two first figures, has in his countenance wonder drowned in love; and the last personage, whose back is towards the spectators, and his side towards the presence, one would fancy to be St. Thomas, as abashed by the conscience of his former diffidence: which perplexed concern it is possible Raphael thought too hard a task to draw, but by this acknowledgment of the difficulty to describe it.

The whole work is an exercise of the highest piety in the painter: and all the touches of a religious mind are expressed in a manner much more forcible than can possibly be performed by the most moving eloquence. These invaluable pieces are very justly in the hands of the greatest and most pious sovereign in the world; and can not be the frequent object of every one at their own leisure: but as an engraver is to the painter what a printer is to an author, it is worthy her majesty's name that she has encouraged that noble artist, Monsieur Dorigny, to publish these works of Raphael. * We have of this gentleman a piece

This paper was intended by Steele to promote a proposed subscription to enable Signor Nicola Dorigny (who

of the Transfiguration, which, I think, is held a work second to none in the world.

Methinks it would be ridiculous in our people of condition, after their large bounties to foreigners of no name or merit, should they overlook this occasion of having, for a trifling subscription, work which it is impossible for a man of sense to behold, without being warmed with the noblest sentiments that can be inspired by love, admiration, compassion, contempt of this world, and expectation of a better.

It is certainly the greatest honour we can do our country to distinguish strangers of merit who apply to us with modesty and diffidence, which generally accompanies merit. No opportunity of this kind ought to be neglected; and a modest behaviour should alarm us to examine whether we do not lose something excellent under that disadvantage in the possessor of that quality. My skill in paintings, where one is not directed by the passion of the pictures, is so inconsiderable, that I am in very great perplexity when I offer to speak of any performances of painters of landscapes, buildings, or single figures. This makes me at a loss how to mention the pieces which Mr. Boul exposes to sale by auction on Wednesday next, in Chandois-street. But having heard him commended, by those who have bought of him heretofore, for great integrity in his dealing, and overheard him himself, though a laudable painter, say nothing of his own was fit to come into the room with those he had to

had been invited from Rome) to copy and engrave the cartoons of Raphael.

sell; I feared I should lose an occasion of serv ing a man of worth in omitting to speak of his auction.

T

STEELE.

No. 227. TUESDAY, NOVEMBER 20.

Ω μου εγω τι παθω; τι ο δυσσοος; ουχ υπακουεις;
Ταν Βαιταν αποδυς εις κυματα τηγα αλευμαι
Ωπερ τως θυννως σκοπιαζεται Ολπις ο γριφευς"
Κηκα μη ωοθανω, το γε μαν τεον άδυ τετυκλαι. THEOCR.

cas.

In my last Thursday's paper, 1 made mention of a place called The Lover's Leap, which I find has raised a great curiosity among several of my correspondents. I there told them that this leap was used to be taken from a promontory of Leu

This Leucas was formerly a part of Acarnania, being joined to it by a narrow neck of land, which the sea has, by length of time, overflowed and washed away; so that at present Leucas is divided from the continent, and is a little island in the lonian sea. The promontory of this island, from whence the lover took his leap, was formerly called Leucate. If the reader has a mind to know both the island and the promontory by their modern titles, he will find in his map the ancient island of Leucas under the name of St. Mauro; and the ancient promontory of Leucate under the name of the cape of St. Mauro.

Since I am engaged thus far in antiquity, I must observe, that Theocritus, in the motto prefixed to my paper, describes one of his despair

ing shepherds addressing himself to his mistress after the following manner: “ Alas! what will become of me? wretch that I am! Will you not hear me? I'll throw off my clothes and take a leap into that part of the sea which is so much frequented by Olpis the fisherman. And though I should escape with my life, I know you will be pleased with it.' I shall leave it with the critics to determine whether the place which this shepherd so particularly points out, was not the above-mentioned Leucate, or at least some other lover's leap, which was supposed to have had the same effect. I can not believe, as all the interpreters do, that the shepherd means nothing farther here than that he would drown himself, since he represents the issue of his leap as doubtful, by adding, that if he should escape with life, he knows his mistress would be pleased with it; which is, according to our interpretation, that she would rejoice any way to get rid of a lover who was so troublesome to her.

After this short preface, I shall present my reader with some letters which I have received upon this subject. This first is sent me by a physician.

MR. SPECTATOR,

• The lover's leap, which you mention in your 223d paper, was generally, I believe, a very effectual cure for love, and not only for love, but for all other evils. In short, sir, I am afraid it was such a leap as that which' Hero took to get rid of her passion for Leander. A man is in no danger of breaking his heart who breaks his neck to prevent it. I know very well the wonders which

ancient authors relate concerning this leap; and in particular, that very many persons who tried it, escaped, not only with their lives, but their limbs. If by this means they got rid of their love, though it may in part be ascribed to the reasons you give for it, why may we not suppose that the cold bath into which they plunged themselves had also some share in their cure? A leap into the sea, or into any creek of salt waters, very often gives a new motion to the spirits, and a new turn to the blood; for which reason we prescribe it in distempers which no other medicine will reach. I could produce a quotation out of a very venerable author, in which the frenzy produced by love is compared to that which is produced by the biting of a mad dog. But as this comparison is a little too coarse for your paper, and might look as if it were cited to ridicale the author who has made use of it, I shall only hint at it, and desire you to consider whether, if the frenzy produced by these two different causes be of the same nature, it may not very properly be cured by the same means. I am, sir, your most humble servant, and well-wisher,

ÆSCULAPIUS.'

MR. SPECTATOR,

*I am a young woman crossed in love. My story is very long and melancholy. To give you the heads of it: A young gentleman, after having made his applications to me for three years together, and filled my head with a thousand dreams of happiness, some few days since married another. Pray, tell me, in what part of the world your promontory lies, which you call the lover's leap, and whether one may go to it by land? But

« ՆախորդըՇարունակել »