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in the Louvre, painted by himself, is scarcely to be distinguished from those of the Protector; yet, could they have had one feeling in common? The head of Epicurus is another anomaly: he looks the most forlorn of mankind, and so he should have been perhaps, were we to conclude from the natural result of his philosophy; but the light in which he is handed down to us by history, forms a curious contrast with his long melancholy visage.
The countenances of the ancients, like their characters, had much national, but little individual variety, which fact strongly corroborates the doctrine of the effect of sentiment upon feature. Their cast of visage, therefore, still remains the ideal of a public personage; heroes and legislators we expect to see moulded after the Greek and Roman. But the arts have carried this reverence too far, in assigning the same form to female beauty and manly sensibility-the Grecian outline is perhaps the most inexpressive a human face can be well confined in, that is, the most incapable of expressing individual passion. The Mars' and Venuses of painting are very marble; the attempt to illumine those hard-bound faces with tenderness and passion is always a ludicrous failure. In the famous picture by Guerin, of Æneas relating his adventures to Dido, the Trojan hero seems as if he were snarling-the artist meant to have made him extremely pathetic. The only successful mode of depicting on canvass the private passions of those nations, is to do it negatively-to shew them suppressed, and leave them to supposition; such is the scene of Coriolanus before his wife and mother ere he yields; Brutus, Leonidas, &c. To represent the ancients with modern aspects would be more ridiculous-the Brutuses of David are all Frenchmen and assassins, there is not a spark of Roman grandeur visible. The Tatius of the same painter is also a French head, which does not at all seem to fit the shoulders of the wearer. His Romulus is of no nation under the sun, it is for all the world like a cock crowing. What applies to our neighbours, applies to us-there must be a revolution in the principles of art with respect to the human head, ere any thing great can be produced in painting.
It is surprising that physiognomy, as connected with the arts, has not been more studied. Theorists are in the habit of contemning portraitpainting, and esteem all representations of the face as portraits; consequently, their researches have been directed towards the rules of general outline and the combination of colour. There is little to be hoped from inquiries, where the only foundation for any thing like a principle is in appeals to a refined and rare species of taste. Lavater's physiognomical researches are far less fantastic, but they are more laughed at, because to perceive their gist is easy. Any doctrine or philosophy that is obscure, should take care to be so in all its parts-it will then at least be respected, for, when people absolutely know nothing, they must be silent. But let them comprehend the smallest particle, they think themselves entitled to form a judgment, and an aspect of simplicity and candour is sure to incur the ridicule of the many.
THE HAUNCH OF VENISON.
AT Number One dwelt Captain Drew,
(The street we'll not now mention) The latter stunn'd the King's Bench bar, The former, being lamed in war,
Sung small upon a pension.
Tom Blewit knew them both-than he
From Turtle soup to Stilton cheese,
Benson to dine invited Tom :
A host who "spread" so nicely,
Blewit, with expectation fraught,
But, ere he reach'd the winning-post,
"Hey! Zounds! what's this? a haunch at Drew's ? I must drop in: I can't refuse:
To pass were downright treason:
To cut Ned Benson 's not quite staunch ;
But the provocative-a haunch!
Zounds! it's the first this season!
"Ven'son, thou'rt mine! I'll talk no more-" Then, rapping thrice at Benson's door,
"John, I'm in such a hurry!
Do tell your master that my aunt
Is paralytic, quite aslant,
I must be off for Surrey."
Now Tom at next door makes a din
"Is Captain Drew at home?"-" Walk in”— "Drew, how d' ye do?"—" What! Blewit!"
"Yes, 1-you 've ask'd me, many a day,
To drop in, in a quiet way,
So now I'm come to do it."
"I'm very glad you have," said Drew, "I've nothing but an Irish stew-"
Quoth Tom (aside) "No matter,
'Twon't do my stomach 's up to that,— "Twill lie by, till the lucid fat
Comes quiv'ring on the platter."
"You see your dinner, Tom," Drew cried, No, but I don't though," Tom replied:
I smok'd below,"
A haunch"-" Oh! true, it is not mine;
My neighbour has some friends to dine :-"
Your neighbour! who?"-" George Benson.
"His chimney smoked; the scene to change,
While his was newly polish'd:
The Ven'son you observed below,
TABLE TALK.-NO. JI.
On great and little Things.
"These little things are great to little man."
THE great and the little have, no doubt, a real existence in the nature of things: but they both find pretty much the same level in the mind of man. It is a common measure, which does not always accommodate itself to the size and importance of the objects it represents. It has a certain interest to spare for certain things (and no more), according to its humour and capacity; and neither likes to be stinted in its allowance, nor to muster up an unusual share of sympathy, just as the occasion may require. Perhaps if we could recollect distinctly, we should discover that the two things that have affected us most in the course of our lives have been, one of them of the greatest, and the other of the smallest possible consequence. To let that pass as too fine a speculation, we know well enough that very trifling circumstances do give us great and daily annoyance, and as often prove too much for our philosophy and forbearance, as matters of the highest moment. lump of soot spoiling a man's dinner, a plate of toast falling in the ashes, the being disappointed of a ribbon to a cap or a ticket for a ball, have led to serious and almost tragical consequences. Friends not unfrequently fall out and never meet again for some idle misunderstanding, some trick not worth an egg," who have stood the shock of serious differences of opinion and clashing interests in life; and there is an excellent paper in the Tatler, to prove that if a married couple do not quarrel about some point in the first instance not worth contesting, they will seldom find an opportunity afterwards to quarrel about a question of real importance. Grave divines, great statesmen, and deep philosophers, are put out of their way by very little things: nay, discreet, worthy people, without any pretensions but to good-nature and common sense, readily surrender the happiness of their whole lives sooner than give up an opinion to which they have committed themselves, though in all likelihood it was the mere turn of a feather which side they should take in the argument. It is the being baulked or thwarted in any thing that constitutes the grievance, the unpardonable affront, not the value of the thing to which we had made up our minds. Is it that we despise little things; that we are not prepared for them; that they take us in our careless, unguarded moments, and teaze
us out of our ordinary patience by their petty, incessant, insect warfare, buzzing about us and stinging us like gnats; so that we can neither get rid of nor grapple with them, whereas we collect all our fortitude and resolution to meet evils of greater magnitude? Or is it that there is a certain stream of irritability that is continually fretting upon the wheels of life, which finds sufficient food to play with in straws and feathers, while great objects are too much for it, either choke it up, or divert its course into serious and thoughtful interest? Some attempt might be made to explain this in the following manner.
One is always more vexed at losing a game of any sort by a single hole or ace, than if one has never had a chance of winning it. This is no doubt in part or chiefly because the prospect of success irritates the subsequent disappointment. But people have been known to pine and fall sick from holding the next number to the twenty thousand pound prize in the lottery. Now this could only arise from their being so near winning in fancy, from there seeming to be so thin a partition between them and success. When they were within one of the right number, why could they not have taken the next-it was so easy: this haunts their minds and will not let them rest, notwithstanding the absurdity of the reasoning. It is that the will here has a slight imaginary obstacle to surmount to attain its end; it should appear it had only an exceedingly trifling effort to make for this purpose, that it was absolutely in its power (had it known) to seize the envied prize, and it is continually harassing itself by making the obvious transition from one number to the other, when it is too late. That is to say, the will acts in proportion to its fancied power, to its superiority over immediate obstacles. Now in little or indifferent matters there seems no reason why it should not have its own way, and therefore a disappointment vexes it the more. It grows angry according to the insignificance of the occasion, and frets itself to death about an object, merely because from its very futility there can be supposed to be no real difficulty in the way of its attainment, nor any thing more required for this purpose than a determination of the will. The being baulked of this throws the mind off its balance, or puts it into what is called a passion; and as nothing but an act of voluntary power still seems necessary to get rid of every impediment, we indulge our violence more and more, and heighten our impatience by degrees into a sort of frenzy. The object is the same as it was, but we are no longer as we were. The blood is heated, the muscles are strained. The feelings are wound up to a pitch of agony with the vain strife. The temper is tried to the utmost it will bear. The more contemptible the object or the obstructions in the way to it, the more are we provoked at being hindered by them. It looks like witchcraft. We fancy there is a spell upon us, so that we are hampered by straws and entangled in cobwebs. We believe that there is a fatality about A demon our affairs. It is evidently done on purpose to plague us. is at our elbow to torment and defeat us in every thing, even in the smallest things. We see him sitting and mocking us, and we rave and gnash our teeth at him in return. It is particularly hard that we cannot succeed in any one point, however trifling, that we set our hearts on. We are the sport of imbecility and mischance. We make another desperate effort, and fly out into all the extravagance of im
potent rage once more.
Our anger runs away with our reason, because, as there is little to give it birth, there is nothing to check it or We take up recall us to our senses in the consequences. prospect and rend in pieces the mere toys of humour, as the gusts of wind take up and whirl about chaff and stubble. Passion plays the tyrant, in a grand tragic-comic style, over the Lilliputian difficulties and petty disappointments it has to encounter, gives way to all the fretfulness of grief and all the turbulence of resentment, makes a fuss about nothing because there is nothing to make a fuss about-when an impending calamity, an irretrievable loss, would instantly bring it to its A man may be in recollection, and tame it in its preposterous career. a great passion and give himself strange airs at so simple a thing as a game at ball, for instance; may rage like a wild beast, and be ready to dash his head against the wall about nothing, or about that which he will laugh at the next minute, and think no more of ten minutes after, at the same time that a good smart blow from the ball, the effects of which he might feel as a serious inconvenience for a month, would calm him directly
"Anon as patient as the female dove,
His silence will sit drooping."
The truth is, we pamper little griefs into great ones, and bear great ones as well as we can. We can afford to dally and play tricks with without of the the one, but the others we have enough to do with, wantonness and bombast of passion-without the swaggering of Pistol, or the insolence of King Cambyses' vein. To great evils we submit, we resent little provocations. I have before now been disappointed of a hundred pound job, and lost half-a-crown at rackets on the same day, and been more mortified at the latter than the former. That which is lasting we share with the future, we defer the consideration of till tomorrow: that which belongs to the moment we drink up in all its bitterness, before the spirit evaporates. We probe minute mischiefs to the quick; we lacerate, tear, and mangle our bosoms with misfortune's finest, brittlest point, and wreak our vengeance on ourselves and it for good and all. Small pains are more manageable, more within our reach; we can fret and worry ourselves about them, can turn them into any shape, can twist and torture them how we please :-a grain of sand in the eye, a thorn in the flesh only irritates the part, and leaves us strength enough to quarrel and get out of all patience with it :-a heavy blow stuns and takes away all power of sense as well as of resistance. The great and mighty reverses of fortune, like the revolutions of nature, may be said to carry their own weight and reason along with them they seem unavoidable and remediless, and we submit to them without murmuring as to a fatal necessity. The magnitude of the events, in which we may happen to be concerned, fills the mind, and carries it out of itself, as it were, into the page of history. Our thoughts are expanded with the scene on which we have to act, and lend us strength to disregard our own personal share in it. Some men are indifferent to the stroke of fate, as before and after earthquakes there is a calm in the air. From the commanding situation whence they have been accustomed to view things, they look down at themselves as only a part of the whole, and can abstract their minds from violence. They are very the pressure of misfortune, by the aid of its
VOL. IV. NO. XIV.