University of Virginia Library




Effecting a counterturn, the Marquis evokes—and from the Shades, as would seem—an inconclusive debate as to the exact import of a current term significant of that one of the manifold aspects of life and nature which under various forms all artists strive to transmit to canvas. A term, be it added, whereof the lexicons give definitions more lexicographical than satisfactory.

Ay. But the Picturesque, I wonder—
The Picturesque and Old Romance!
May these conform and share advance
With Italy and the world's career?
At little suppers, where I'm one,
My artist-friends this question ponder
When ale goes round; but, in brave cheer
The vineyards yield, they'll beading run
Like Arethusa burst from ground.
Ay, and in lateral freaks of gamesome wit
Moribund Old Romance irreverent twit.
“Adieu, rosettes!” sighs Steen in way
Of fun convivial, frankly gay,
“Adieu, rosettes and point-de-vise!”
All garnish strenuous time refuse;
In peacocks' tails put out the eyes!
Utility reigns—Ah, well-a-way!—
And bustles along in Bentham's shoes.
For the Picturesque—suffice, suffice
The picture that fetches a picturesque price!


Less jovial ones propound at start
Your Picturesque in what inheres?
“In nature point, in life, in art
Where the essential thing appears.
First settle that, we'll then take up
The prior question.”
“Well, so be,”
Said Frater Lippi, who but he—
Exchanging late in changeable weather
The cowl for the cap, a cap and feather;
With wicked eye then twinkling fun,
Suppressed in friendly decorous tone,
“Here's Spagnoletto. He, I trow
Can best avail here, and bestead.—
Come then, hidalgo, what sayst thou?
The Picturesque—an example yield.”
The man invoked, a man of brawn
Tho' stumpt in stature, raised his head
From sombre musings, and revealed
A brow by no blest angel sealed,
And mouth at corners droopt and drawn;
And, catching but the last words, said
“The Picturesque?—Have ye not seen
My Flaying of St. Batholomew—
My Laurence on the gridiron lean?
There's Picturesque; and done as well
As old Giotto's Dammed in Hell
At Pisa in the Campo Santa.”
They turn hereat. In merriment
Ironic jeers the juniors vent,


“That's modest now, one hates a vaunter.”
But Lippi: “Why not Guido cite
In Herod's Massacre?”—weening well
The Little Spaniard's envious spite
Guido against, as gossips tell.
The sombrous one igniting here
And piercing Lippi's mannered mien
Flared up volcanic.—Ah, too clear,
At odds are furious and serene.
Misliking Lippi's mischievous eye
As much as Spagnoletto's mood,
And thinking to put unpleasantness by,
Swanevelt spake, that Dutchman good:
“Friends, but the Don errs not so wide.
Like beauty strange with horror allied,—
As shown in great Leonardo's head
Of snaky Medusa,—so as well
Grace and the Picturesque may dwell
With Terror. Vain here to divide—
The Picturesque has many a side.
For me, I take to Nature's scene
Some scene select, set off serene
With any tranquil thing you please—
A crumbling tower, a shepherd piping.
My master, sure, with this agrees,”
His turned appeal on Claude here lighting.
But he, the mildest tempered swain
And eke discreetest, too, may be,
That ever came out from Lorraine
To lose himself in Arcady


(Sweet there to be lost, as some have been,
And find oneself in losing e'en)
To Claude no pastime, none, nor gain
Wavering in theory's wildering maze;
Better he likes, though sunny he,
To haunt the Arcadian woods in haze,
Intent shy charms to win or ensnare,
Beauty his Daphne, he the pursuer there.
So naught he said whate'er he felt,
Yet friendly nodded to Swanevelt.