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to know that the consequence of requesting his aid to illustrate “ All the World 's a Stage,” induced him to paint the subject on a more extended scale, which now forms one of the ornaments of the rich collection of modern paintings of Mr. Sheepshanks.
During the progress of this work through the engraver's hands, two of its kind and valuable contributors have “made their exit." John Constable, R. A. and William Hilton, R.A. The interest which the first-named artist took in the trifling affair required of him, is best evinced by the fact that he had made nearly twenty sketches for the “ melancholy Jaques,” which, by the kindness of C. R. Leslie, Esq. R. A. now accompanies this work ; that gentleman having selected the design he judged most appropriate, and careful of the reputation of his deceased friend, took the additional trouble upon himself of transferring it to the wood. Without his assistance, this effort, however trifling, of one of our true painters of English scenery, would not have appeared—a matter which would have caused deep regret to the Editor, in being prevented exhibiting this tribute of respect to the talent and memory of one in whose society he has enjoyed many pleasant hours.
Mr. Hilton's subject was completed but a very short period before death deprived this country of one of its most distinguished artists. The writer of this humble tribute to his memory and grateful acknowledgment of his aid to this undertaking, had the melancholy pleasure of an interview shortly before his departure, and of hearing him express his satisfaction at the mode in which his subject had been treated; and he can never forget, in allusion, it is feared, to the sparing patronage his department of art had received, his expression of “poor fellow !"* in reference to the wishes of a young aspirant desirous of pursuing and cultivating the same branch.
To Mr. Thompson and Mr. Williams, for their anxiety to render their execution of the engravings as perfect as possible, he begs to return his thanks.
JOHN MARTIN. Woburn Abbey,
April 21, 1840.
* It is curious to observe, on the death of these two distinguished artists, the anxiety evinced to secure specimens of works so little sought after in their life-time, for the National Collection. Mr. Constable's picture of the Corn-field was purchased by subscription for three hundred guineas ; and a subscription is now in progress for Mr. Hilton's picture
66 All the world's a stage, And all the men and women merely players : They have their exits, and their entrances ; And one man in his time plays many parts, His acts being seven ages. At first, the infant, Mewling and puking in the nurse's arms; Then, the whining school-boy, with his satchel, And shining morning face, creeping like snail Unwillingly to school: And then, the lover ; Sighing like furnace, with a woful ballad Made to his mistress' eyebrow : Then, a soldier ; Full of strange oaths, and bearded like the pard, Jealous in honour, sudden and quick in quarrel, Seeking the bubble reputation Even in the cannon's mouth: And then, the justice ; In fair round belly, with good capon lined, With eyes severe, and beard of formal cut Full of wise saws and modern instances, And so he plays his part : The sixth age shifts Into the lean and slipper'd pantaloon ; With spectacles on nose, and pouch on side; His youthful hose well saved, a world too wide For his shrunk shank ; and his big manly voice Turning again toward childish treble, pipes And whistles in his sound : Last scene of all, That ends this strange eventful history, Is second childishness, and mere oblivion ; Sans teeth, sans eyes, sans taste, sans everything."