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CHARACTERS in which the affections and the moral qualities predominate over fancy and all that bears the name of passion, are not, when we meet with them in real life, the most striking and interesting, nor the easiest to be understood and appreciated; but they are those on which, in the long run, we
repose with increasing confidence and ever-new delight. Such characters are not easily exhibited in the colours of poetry, and when we meet with them there, we are reminded of the effect of Raffaelle's picture. Sir Joshua Reynolds assures us that it took him three weeks to discover the beauty of the frescos in the Vatican; and many, if they spoke truth, would prefer one of Titian's or Murillo's Virgins to one of Raffaelle's heavenly Madonnas. The less there is of marked expression or vivid colour in a countenance or character, the more difficult to delineate it in such a manner as to captivate and interest us: but when this is done, and done to perfection, it is the miracle of poetry in painting, and of painting in poetry. Only Raffaelle and Correggio have achieved it in one case, and only Shakspeare in the other.
When, by the presence or the agency of some predominant and exciting power, the feelings and affections are upturned from the depths of the heart, and Aung to the surface, the painter or the poet has but to watch the workings of the passions, thus in a manner made visible, and transfer