Imatges de pàgina


injunctions of Mahmood, offered to pay the sums as the work went on; but Firdousee preferred waiting till he had completed his engagement, and receiving the whole at once, as he had long indulged the hope of being able to do something of importance for the benefit of his native city.

20,000 to the seller of refreshments, and 20,000 to the slave who brought them. The Sooltan shall know," he said "that I did not bestow the labour of thirty years on a work, to be rewarded with dirhums!" When this circumstance came to the knowledge of the King, he was exceedingly exasperated at the disgraceful conduct of the Minister; who had, however, artifice and ingenuity enough to exculpate himself, and to cast all the blame upon the Poct. Firdousee was charged with disrespectful and insulting behaviour to his Sovereign; and Mahmood, thus stimulated to resentment, and not questioning the veracity of the Minister, passed an order that the next morning he should be trampled to death under the feet of an elephant. The unfortunate Poet, panicstruck and in the greatest consternation heard the will of the Sooltan. He immediately hurried to the presence, and falling at the feet of the King, begged for mercy, at the same time pronouncing an elegant eulogium on the glories of his reign, and the innate generosity of his heart. The King, touched by his agitation, and respect


It appears that Firdousee was of an independent spirit, and not of that pliant disposition which was necessary to satisfy the expectations and demands of the prond Wuzeer, who offended at his unbending manners, did every thing in his power to ruin his interest with the King, Several passages in his poems were extracted and invidiously commented upon, as containing sentiments contrary to the principles of the true faith! It was alleged that they proved him to be an impious philosopher, a schismatic, and follower of Ulee. But in spite of all that artifice and malignity could frame, the poet rose in the esteem of the public. Admiration followed him in the progress of the work, and presents were showered upon him from every quarter. The Poems were at length completed. The compo-ing the brilliancy of his talents, at length sition of sixty thousand couplets* appears condescended to revoke the order. to have cost him the labour of thirty years. The Sooltan was fully sensible of the value and excellence of that splendid monument of genius and talents, and proud of being the patronizer of a work which promised to perpetuate his name, he ordered an elephant-load of gold to be given to the author. But the malignity of the Minister was unappeased, and he was still bent upon the degradation and ruin of the Poet. Instead of the elephant-load of gold, he sent him 60,000 silver dirhums!§ Firdousee was in the public bath at the time, and when he found that the bags contained only silver, he was so enraged at the insult offered him, that on the spot he gave 20,000 to the keeper of the bath,


But the wound was deep and not to be endured without a murmur. He went home and wrote a Satire against Mahmood, with all the bitterness of reproach which insulted merit could devise, and instantly fled from the court. He passed some time at Mazinduran and afterwards took refuge at Bagdad, where he was in high favour with the Caliph Ul Qadur Billah, in whose praise he added a thousand couplets to the Shabnamu, and for which he received a robe of honour, and 60,000 deenars. He also wrote a poem called Joseph during his stay in that city.

Mahmood at length became acquainted with the falsehood and treachery of the Wuzeer, whose cruel persecution of the unoffending Poet had involved the character and reputation of his Court in dis grace. His indignation was extreme, and the Minister was banished for ever from his presence. Anxious to make all the reparation in his power for the injustice he had been guilty of, he immediately dispatched to Bagdad, a present of 60,000 deenars, and a robe of state, with many apologies for what had happened. But Firdousee did not live to be gratified by this consoling acknowledgement. He had returned to his friends at. Toos, where he died before the present from the King arrived. His family however scrupulously devoted it to the benevolent purposes which the poet had originally intended,

In a dissertation called Yaminee, it is said that the ancient Poet Rodukee, who flourished half a century before Firdousee, had written one million and three hundred


§ This conduct is more than paralleled by the Cardinal Farnese. Annibale Caracci devoted eight years of study and labour in painting the series of pictures in the Farnese Gallery at Rome, which do honour to his name and country, and when he expected to be rewarded with the munificence which they merited, he received little more than £200, and to add to the indignity, the amount is said to have been sent to him in copper money!

viz. the erection of public buildings, and the general improvement of his native city.

This brief biographical notice is the sum of all that is known of the great Firdousee. The Poet seems to have lived to a considerable age. When he wrote the satire against Mahmood, according to his own account, he was more than seventy:

When Charity demands a bounteous dole,
Close is thy hand, contracted as thy soul;
Now seventy years have marked my long


Nay more :-but age has no protection here! Probably about ten years elapsed during his sojourn at Mazinduran and Bagdad, after he quitted the Court of Ghuzneen, so that he must have been at least eighty

when he died.


[Concluded from page 814.]

VII. Of the Blacks and Browns of the

There is one chamber in the baths of Titus of which the ground work is black. 1 have found several fragments of stucco painted black both in the baths of Titus and in the vineyard above mentioned, and also in some ruins near the Porta del Popolo.-I scraped off some of these colours and submitted them to experiments: they were not acted on by acids or alkalies, they deflagrated with nitre, and had all the properties of pure carbonaceous mat



I found no blacks, but three different shades of brown in the vase of mixed colours; one was snuff-colour, one deep red brown, and the third a dark olive brown. The two first proved to be ochres which had been probably partially caleined; the third contained oxide of manganese, as well as oxide of iron, and afforded chlorine when acted on by muriatic acid.



body mixed with gelatine. Pliny speaks of ivory-black as invented by Apelles; he says likewise that there is a natural fossil black, and another black prepared from an earth of the colour of sulphur. Probably both these substances are ores of iron and manganese.

That the ancients were acquainted with the ores of manganese is evident from the I have use made of it in colouring glass. examined two specimens of ancient Rotinged with oxide of manganese.-Pliny man purple glass, both of which were speaks of different brown ochres, and particularly of one from Africa, which he names Cicerculum, which probably con


manganese and Theophrastus mentions a fossil † which inflamed when oil was poured upon it, a property belonging to no other fossil substance now known but the black wad, an ore of manganese, and which is now found in Derbyshire.

The Browns in the paintings in the baths of Livia, and in the Aldobrandini picture, are all produced by mixtures of ochres with blacks. Those in the Aldobrandiui picture yield oxide of iron to muriatic acid, but the darker shades were not touched by that acid, nor by solution of alkalies.

VIII. Of the Whites of the Ancients.

The white colours in the Aldobrandini picture are soluble in acids with effervescence, and have the characters of carbonate of lime.

The principal white in the vase of mixed colours appears to be a very fine chalk. There is another white with a tint of cream colour, which is a fine aluminous clay.

The whites that I have examined from the baths of Titus, and those from other ruins, are all of the same kind.

I have not met with ceruse amongst the ancient colours, though we know from Theophrastus, Vitruvius, and Pliny, that it was a common colour: and Vitruvius describes it as made by the action of lead upon vinegar.

Several white clays are mentioned by Pliny as employed in painting, of which the Paratonium was considered as afford

All the ancient authors describe the artificial Greek and Roman blacks as carbonaceous, and made either from the pow-ing the finest colour. der of charcoal or the decomposition of resin, (a species of lamp black,) or from the lees of wine, or from the common soot of wood fires. Pliny mentions the ink of the cuttle fish, but says, "ex his non fit*. Some years ago I examined this substance, and found it a carbonaceous

i. c. the atramentum.

IX. Of the Manner in which the Ancients applied their Colours.

It appears from Vitruvius that the colours used in fresco painting were applied

†Theophratus says it is like decora posed wood.

moist to the surface of a stucco *formed of powdered marble cemented by lime: he states that the wall or ceiling had three distinct coatings of stucco made of this material, of which the first contained coarse powder of marble, the second the finer powder, and the third the finest powder of all, and that after this the wall was polished before the colour was applied. The stuccos that remain in the ruins of the baths of Titus and Livia are of this kind, and so is the ground of the Aldobrandini picture: they are beautifully white, and almost as hard as marble, and the granular marble of different degrees of fineness may be distinguished in them. This circumstance indeed offers a test of the antiquity of ruins at Rome. In the houses that have been built in the middle and latter ages, decomposing lava has been mixed with the calcareous cement instead of granular marble, and the stuccos of these houses are gray or brown, and very coarse in their texture.

Pliny says that purple, orpiment, ceruse, the natural azure, indigo, and the meline white,were injured by application to wet stucco, which is easily explained in the case of orpiment, carbonate of copper, ceruse, and indigo, from their chemical composition.

Vitruvius states that in fresco painting vermilion changed if exposed to light, and he recommends the encaustic process for fixing the colour under this circumstance, namely, laying over it a coat of punic wax, and liquefying the wax so as to make a varnish for the colour.

Pliny states that gluten (our glue) * was used in painting with blacks: and this specific mention of its application would induce the belief that it was not employed with other colours, which adhered without difficulty to, and were imbibed by, a surface so polished and well prepared as the Roman stucco; and the lightness of carbonaceous matter alone probably rendered this application necessary.

The pot of colours to which I have already referred, found at Pompeii, was blackened by smoke, as if it had been recently on a fire of wood. Ithought that this might be owing to some process for dissolving gluten or varnish in the preparation of the colour; but I could detect no substance of this kind mixed with the colouring matter.

*Lib. vii. cap. 2, 3, & 4.

X. Some General Observations.

It appears from the facts that have been stated, and the authorities quoted, that the Greek and Roman painters had almost all the same colours as those employed by the great Italian masters at the period of the revival of the arts in Italy. They had indeed the advantage over them in two colours, the Vestorian or Egyptian azure, and the Tyrian or marine purple.

The azure, of which the excellence is proved by its duration for seventeen hundred years, may be easily and cheaply made; I find that fifteen parts by weight of carbonate of soda, twenty parts of pow dered opaque flints, and three parts of copper filings strongly heated together for two hours, gave a substance of exactly the same tint, and of nearly the same de gree of fusibility, and which, when pow. dered, produced a fine deep sky blue.

The azure, the red and yellow ochres, and the blacks are the colours that seem not to have changed at all, in the ancient fresco paintings. The vermilion is darker than recently made Dutch cinnabar, and the red-lead is inferior in tint to that sold in the shops. The greens in general are dull.

Pliny describes this process as applied in painting ships; and we know from his authority that several pictures of the great Greek masters were painted in encaustic, and that the different colours were laid on mixed with wax. I have examined several pieces of the painted stuccos found in the different ruins, and likewise the Aldo-cape of elastic matter from it, or the debrandini picture, with a view of ascer- composing action of the elements; this is taining if any application had been made a species of artificial lapis lazuli, the coto fix the colour; but neither by the test louring matter of which is naturally in of alcohol, nor by heat, nor by the action herent in a hard siliceous stone. of water, could I detect the presence of any wax varnish, or animal or vegetable glu

The principle of the composition of the Alexandrian frit is perfect; namely, that of embodying the colour in a composition resembling stone, so as to prevent the es


It is probable that other coloured frits may be made, and it is worth trying whether the beautiful purple given by oxide of gold cannot be made useful in painting in a densely tinted glass.

Where frits cannot be employed, metallic combinations which are insoluble in water, and which are saturated with oxygen or some acid matter, it is evident from the proof of a duration of seventeen

Lib. xxxv. cap. 25. “ Omne atramentum sole perficitur, librarium gummi tec. torium glutino admixto."

centuries, are the best pigments. In the red ochres the oxide of iron is fully combined with oxygen, and in the yellow ochres it is combined with oxygen and carbonic acid; and these colours have not changed. The carbonates of copper which contain an oxide and an acid have changed very little.


Massicot and orpiment were probably the least permanent amongst the ancient mineral colours.

Of the colours, the discovery of which is owing to the improvements in modern chemistry, the patent yellow is much more durable than any ancient yellow of the same brilliancy; and chromate of lead, an insoluble compound of a metallic acid with a metallic oxide, is a much more beautiful yellow than any possessed by the ancients, and, there is every reason to believe, is quite unalterable.

Scheele's green (the arsenite of copper), and the insoluble muriatic combination of copper, will probably be found more unalterable than the ancient greens; and the sulphate of baryta offers a white superior to any possessed by the Greeks and Romans.

I have tried the effects of light and air upon some of the colours formed by the new substance iodine. Its combination with mercury offers a good red; but it is, I think, less beautiful than vermilion, and it appears to change more by the action of light.

Its compound with lead gives a beautiful yellow, little inferior to the chromate of lead; and I possess some of this colour which has been exposed to light and air without alteration for several months.

In many of the figures and ornaments in the outer chambers of the baths of Titus, where only outlines or spots remain, or shades of ochre, it is probable that vegetable or animal colours, such as indigo and the different dyed clays, were used.*

Pliny speaks of the celebrated Greek painters as employing only four colours. "Quatuor coloribus solis immortalia illa opera fecere: ex albis Melino, ex silaceis Attico, ex rubris Sinopide Pontica, ex nigris atramento, Apelles, Echion, Melanthius, Nicomachus, clarissimi pictores†: but as far as Apeiles

Some excellent pictures have suffered very much in modern times from the same cause; the lakes in the frescos of the Vatican have lost much of the brilliancy which they must have possessed originally. The blues in many pictures of Paul Veropese are become muddy.

+ Lib. xxxv. c 32.

and Nicomachus are concerned, this is a mistake; and it is not unlikely that Pliny was misled by an imperfect recollection of a passage in Cicero, who describes the earlier Greek school as using only four colours, but the later Greek painters as perfect masters in all the resources of colouring. "Similis in pictura ratio est: in qua Zeuxim, et Polygnotum, et Timantem, et eorum, qui non sunt usi plus quam quatuor coloribus, formas et lineamenta laudamus: at in Aetioue, Nicomacho, Protogene, Apelle, jam perfecta sunt omnia. Cicero, Brutus, seu de claris ora. toribus, c. 18. Pliny himself describes with enthusiasm the Venus Anadyomene of Apelles: and in this picture the sea was represented, which required azure.

The great Greek painters, like the most illustrious artists of the Roman and Vene tian school, were probably, however, sparing in the use of the more florid tints in historical and moral painting, and produced their effects rather by the contrasts of colouring in those parts of the picture where a deep and uniform tint might be used, than by brilliant drapery.

If red and yellow ochres, blacks and whites, were the colours most employed by Protogenes and Apelles, so they are likewise the colours most employed by Raphael and Titian in their best style. The St. John and the Venus, in the tribune of the Gallery at Florence, offer striking examples of pictures in which all the deeper tints are evidently produced by red and yellow ochres, and carbonaceous substances,

As far as colours are concerned, these works are prepared for that immortality which they deserve; but unfortunately the oil and the canvas are vegetable materials, and liable to decomposition, and the last is less durable than even the wood on which the Greek artists painted their celebrated pictures.

It is unfortunate that the materials for receiving those works which are worthy of passing down to posterity as eternal monuirents of genius, taste, and industry, are not imperishable marble or stone. and that frits, or unalterable metallic combinations, have not been the only pig

Copper, it is evident, from the specimens in the ruins of Pompeii, is a very perishable material, and therefore, even enamels made on copper will yield to time. Canvas, by being impregnated with bitumen, is rendered much more durable, as is evident from the duration of the linen impregnated with bitumen aud asphaltum used for infolding the Egyptian mummies.

ments employed by great artists; and that
their varnishes have not been sought for
amongst the transparent combinations of
the earths with water, or amongst the cry-
stalline transparent compounds unalterable
in the atmosphere †.
Rome, January 14, 1815.

National Register:



† The artificial hydrat of alumina will probably be found to be a substance of this kind: possibly the solution of boracic acid in alcohol will form a varnish.-The solution of sulphur in alcohol is likewise worthy of an experiment. Many other similar combinations might be named.


Fire in the woods. The Abeona, arrived at Pool, from St. John's, Newfoundland, brings intelligence, that a most alarming and destructive fire had happened on the west side of Placentia Bay, and that its ravages in the woods had extended a course of fifteen leagues.-Great distress was anticipated therefrom, by the inhabitants, for want of fuel.

Emigrants: condition of.

St. John's Newfoundland.--July S, 1815. -The number of unfortunate and deluded Irishmen, who have been, I may say, vo

AMERICA: UNITED STATES. The New York Gazette of July 19, gives an extract of a letter from New Or-mited upon us this year, almost exceeds leans, dated the 20th May, mentioning a belief and the manner they are brought here great overflow of the river Mississippi. commands pity, and excites abhorrence. The damage done is said to be incalcula- They are frequently brought out without ble; entire settlements are said to be many water sufficient for half the voyage, with feet under water at Palmyra, Concordie, damaged provisions, and not a sufficiency and a part of poiut Coupee. Many sugar of even them-the consequence is, that and cotton plantations were entirely generally they help themselves to whatruined. ever liquids may be found on board. There is now in the harbour a vessel, in which it is said, upwards of sixty tierces of porter have been used, and many barrels of pork eat, and several beds cut to pieces, which them to get at it-the consequence of such were over the porter, in order to enable treatment is, that the wretches land here


British Trade with South America. Philadelphia paper in an article relative to the state of South America, makes the following observations on the intercourse between Great Britain and the Spanish Colonies:-" The commerce that Eng. land has been, and is now, enjoying with those countries, is of far greater impor-in tance than has been generally known. The peculiar situation of Europe and the United States, has given to England for

a state very unfit to be employed—that many have died in a few days after their arrival-that our hospital has been crowded with them-that now there are num

some time past, an entire monopoly of thisbers prowling about the streets, without a valuable trade. The amount of British fa- place to shelter them at night, but they lie brics that have been shipped from London either on the wharfs, or they have not a 2nd Jamaica, through the Isthmus of morsel to eat, or wherewith to procure it, Darien, to every part of the Pacific Ocean, but such as the humanity of the public, and the consumption of British merchan especially of the lower order of the dize at Buenos Ayres, New Grenada, people, supplies them with. On Friday Venezuela, the Bay of Campeachy, and last about forty of them arrived in a Mexico, may be computed at least to be small sloop from Youghall (the first twenty millions of dollars, per annum; the vessel ever from thence), of forty tons returns of these exports, with considerable burden, not, you would suppose, worthy of augmentation of profit, are made generally being trusted across the Channel, and yet, in specie and bullion, and other valuable it is but justice to say, she brought her commodities." passengers in better health than any vessel which arrived this season, and had fewer in number, according to her tounage, than any of them."

Public Buildings: restoration. The American National Intelligencer states that architects are employed to rebuild the Capitol, and the President's House in their former splendour.

This distress has been aggravated by an opinion of the Justices, that whoever employs a labourer is bound_to take care of him, if he falls sick. To employ these people, therefore, for a single day, is to become liable to the chance of their really falling sick, and to the much greater probability of their assuming the guise of sickness under protection where they may be well taken care of. It has been found

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