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After a little bye-scene between Van Dyke, and Franz Hals of Mechlin, an old topic is by the company, here and there, discussed anew. In which rambling talk Adrian Brouwer, tickled undesignedly by two chance-words from a certain grandee of artists, and more waggish than polite in addressing Carlo Dolce and Rembrant whimsically delivers his mind.

'Twas Hals began. He to Vandyck,
In whose well-polished gentle mien
The practiced courtier of Kings was seen:
“Van, how, pray, do these revels strike?
Once you'd have me to England—there
Riches to get at St. James's. Nay—
Patronage! 'Gainst that flattering snare,
The more if it lure from hearth away,
Old friends—old vintages carry the day!”


Whereto Vandyck, in silken dress
Not smoother than his courteousness
Smiled back, “Well, Franz, go then thy ways;
Thy pencil anywhere earns thee praise,
If not heapt gold.—But hark the chat!”
“'Tis gay,” said Hals, not deaf to that,
“And witty should be. O the cup,
Wit rises in exhalation up!”
And sympathetic viewed the scene.
Then, turning, with yet livelier mien,
“More candid than kings, less coy than the Graces,
The pleasantness, Van, of these festival faces!—
But what's the theme?”
“The theme was bent—
Be sure, in no dry argument—
On the Picturesque, what 'tis,—its essence,
Fibre and root, bud, efflorescence,
Congenial soil, and where at best;
Till, drawing attention from the rest,
Some syllables dropt from Tintoretto,
Negligent dropt; with limp lax air
One long arm lolling over chair,
Nor less evincing latent nerve
Potential lazing in reserve.
For strong he was—the dyer's son,
A leonine strength, no strained falsetto—
The Little Tinto, Tintoretto,
Yes, Titan work by him was done.
And now as one in Art's degree
Superior to his topic—he:


“This Picturesque is scarce my care.
But note it now in Nature's work—
A thatched hut settling, rotting trees
Mossed over. Some decay must lurk:
In florid things but small its share.
You'll find it in Rome's squalid Ghetto,
In Algiers at the lazaretto,
In many a grimy slimy lair.”
“Well put!” cried Brouwer with ruddled face,
His wine-stained vesture,—hardly new,—
Buttoned with silver florins true;
Grime mark and slime!—Squirm not, Sweet Charles.”
Slyly, in tone mellifluous
Addressing Carlo Dolce thus,
Fidgety in shy fellowship,
Fastidious even to finger-tip,
And dainty prim; “In Art the stye
Is quite inodorous. Here am I:
I don't paint smells, no no, no no,
No more than Huysum here, whose touch
In pinks and tulips takes us so;
But haunts that reek may harbor much;
Hey, Teniers? Give us boors at inns,
Mud floor—dark settles—jugs—old bins,
Under rafters foul with fume that blinks
From logs too soggy much to blaze
Which yet diffuse an umberish haze
That beautifies the grime, methinks.”


To Rembrandt then: “Your sooty stroke!
'Tis you, old sweep, believe in smoke.”
But he, reserved in self-control,
Jostled by that convivial droll,
Seemed not to hear, nor silence broke.