Imatges de pÓgina

Italy, set up in little road-side cha- and in the commencement we showed pels;

that there are characteristic differences " And where, within some deep shy wood,

in superstitions, and that they are not And seen but half through curving bough, all in their nature alike odious. We In silent marble Dian stood,

love and would encourage the child's Behold! a holier Virgin now

superstition that spares the robin-redHath sanctified the solitude ; And thou, meek Mary-mother ! thou

breast, because he covered the babes Dost hallow each old pagan spot,

in the wood with leaves, and detest Or storied stream, or fabled grot."

the religiously assumed cruel supersti-Shrine of the Virgin, Poems by John tion of the boy who filipped a cockKENYON, 1838.

chafer, stuck through with a pin and What traveller in Italy has not seen

a thread, in order that he might make these little chapels, with kneeling wor

him “preach the gospel.” This is no shippers before them, and, seeing a fabrication. But if any choose to repeasant population not ashamed of ceive it as a fable, it may be worth their religion, felt even a reverence for while to ask if there be not a moral in a superstition, and indisposed to in- it as good as any to be found in Æsop. terrupt it with feelings of meddling There are superstitions of Suttees and controversy ? Had he nothing but Juggernaut that should be treated as poetry, which has, or ought to have crimes, and there are superstitions in it, an ingredient of tender charity

that are of the nature of gentle inin bis heart, he would do this, and stincts, and impose a horror of crueljoin in the sentiment so well expressed

ties. We should fear to catalogue by the author of the Shrine :

some of the superstitions growing up * The traveller, passing unawares,

among ourselves, religious and politicoShall stay his step, but not too nigh,

religious. Rationalism, Communism, And, hearkening to those unforced prayers,

and Mormonism, are no very light Albeit the creed he may deny,

superstitions. Shall own his reason less averse,

But to return. The painters bringAnd spirit, surely not the worse.”

ing down, as we have shown, the -Ibid.

sacred to the domestic scenes, have Protestant reader, be not alarmed; particularly delighted in the subjects we attempt not to change your creed, of "The Repose.” Every one is faminor our own ; but be sure it will do liar with the innumerable pictures of neither of us much harm to step aside this class, but they do not date earlier into some cool and quiet shade, afar than the sixteenth century. It must from the burning glare of controversy, be confessed that variety in treatment and even with a religious patience, or was not very easy. The attempts, with a poetical sentiment, if you please, however, led to a strange lowering of that may not be the worse for its soft- the subject, as if painting also would ening influence, look upon a supersti- claim with poetry the power of bathos, tion, with a blessing upon its gentle- or the act of sinking. We may inness, and a hope that it may contain stance pictures where the infant is something more. We love not the learning to read. In one, we have torch of truth itself, if it burst upon the mother mending a little coat, while mankind like a firebrand. There are the infant, without it, at her feet is quiet spirits in the world that must playing with a bird. We know not turn away from such a light. We are that the following treatment has been quite aware of the evils of Popery, undertaken in art: “I remember," and that the setting up the mother as says Mrs Jameson, “reading a little Divinity above the Redeemer-Son, Italian hymu, composed for a choir of blessed though all generations shall nuns, and addressed to the sleeping call her, is an evil-in fact, though Christ, in which he is prayed to awake; denied as an intention, obliterating or, if he will not, they threaten to pull more or less the doctrine of the one him by his golden curls until they rouse intercession; and, controversially, we

him to listen." There is, however, cannot too strongly oppose it. Yet, one scarcely less objectionable. Mary be it remembered, we are not discuss- is seen washing linen at a fountain ing religion, but superstitions, in this (which, according to a legend, mirareview of the Legends of the Virgin ; culously springs up near the village of Matarea); “the little Christ takes the creed of that church, as undoubtedly linen out of a basket, and Joseph the present Pope means it to be, we hangs it on a line to dry." The well- do not see what can be done with the known picture by Correggio, wherein existing creeds. In fact, with that the Virgin dips a bowl in this fountain, dogma, the Romish Church must be a (one of his most beautiful works), if it Quaternian, not a Trinitarian Church is deficient in the sacred and divine, at all; and then the Redeemer, and does not descend to the vulgar. the one Intercessor, is removed farther


We do not attempt to follow the from sight. The new creed interposes divisions of the subjects relating to a veil between the people and his the life of the Virgin Mary, nor to dis- glory—which is thus shrouded, if not criminate the dogmas supposed to be denied—not as with the veiled proconveyed in the representations. A phet, to conceal his humanity, but to complete knowledge of them doubtless pass a cloud over divinity itself. will greatly assist the collector of “ Here (in the church of the Anworks of art, and enhance his plea- nunciation at Florence), in the first sure ; for it must be true of pictures chapel on the left as we enter, is to that those will please most whose in. be found the miraculous picture of the tentions are visibly carried out. The Annunciation, formerly held in such Legends of the Virgin are uot so nu- veneration, not merely by all Flo

as might have been ex- rence, but all Christendom-found, pected, when we take into account but not seen, for it is still concealed the fabricating spirit of the days of from profane eyes, and exhibited to legends, and that historic outlines the devout only on great occasions." were given as tasks to be filled up ad Nothing among the many strange libitum, as the taste, or the want of it, mysteries strikes us as more strange might direct. Perhaps less license than the credit which seems to be at was given, as the sanctity may have this day given to miraculous pictures, been thought most honoured by being the very materials of which may be less approachable. It was necessary so easily tested-and therefore, perto the idea of the Immaculate Concep- haps, "found, but not seen.So retion that the parents of the Virgin cently as about a year since, a mirashould appear in a peculiar character culous picture has been exhibited in in the legend of the life. The revival Roman Catholic chapels, and been of letters supplied the Franciscans made the text of the preacher's (a with the legend of Epaphus, born of convert's) sermon, sent to this counthe immaculate Io. "The Franciscans, try to obtain contributions from the those enthusiastic defenders of the Im: faithful. The story was of this kind : maculate Conception, were the authors That a poor woman, somewhere in of a fantastic idea, that the birth of Italy, was desirous or instructed to the Virgin was not only immaculate, build a church; but her means failed but altogether miraculous, and that her, and only a few feet of wall were she owed her being to the joyful kiss erected. To her surprise one mornwhich Joachim gave his wife when ing, a miraculous picture of the Virgin they met at the gate. Of course, the was found upon the wall, and to this church gave no countenance to this the faithful flocked with their contristrange poetical fiction, but it certainly butions. There is a pertinent episode modified some of the representations.” in the tale, of two priests who sudWe confess we do not see the distinc. denly found themselves transported tion between immaculate and miracu- from Jerusalem or some distant counlous. Nor do we see how the church try (for the certainty of place does can give countenance to the one with not affect the story) to Italy, who out admitting the other. If the Church appeared to attest the miracle of the of Rome has enthroned the Virgin, picture, which they were commisascribed to her divinity, erected to her sioned to recognise. We refer by mean altar, side by side with the Father mory to a report of the sermon, as it and Son; and if, practically, the was given in a highly respectable greater worship is paid to her-in paper, as a fact of which the writer short, if the Immaculate Conception was witness. It is the practice of is to be an established article in the new converts to make up for their


previous want of faith ; and it is a by Nanni over the south door of the wily wisdom in that church to put Duomo at Florence, representing St them forward when anything very Thomas kneeling outside the Aureole, extraordinary is to be advanced; and, and receiving the girdle. After being as if to punish the converts for old lost for a thousand years, the relic is scoffing and obstinacy, the fables they found by a certain Michael, of the promulgate seem made for a double Dagomari family in Prato, and in the purpose of gaining greater credence city of Prato it is deposited. Henceto the greater absurdities, or, failing forth the “Sacratissima Cintola della in that, to inflict upon the new preach- Madonna" "c was famous throughout ers a general ridicule. Should a new the length and breadth of Tuscany, book of " Aurea Legenda” be wanted and Prato became a place of pilgrimfor the better promulgation of Popery age.” in this country, there is doubtless We cannot approach the last scenes many a tale that may easily be turned in this sacred drama, or legends of the to good account; nor need, as we have Virgin, without an awe and revershown, any be rejected for supposed ence, arising both from the nature of absurdity. We can furnish Cardinal the subjects, their deep and sanctified Wiseman with one for his own pro- sorrows, their grandeur, their celestial vince of Westminster, which may, termination, and the consummate gelike a net, draw all the watermen nius which has bestowed upon them over.

Josephus tells of a river in all the glories of art. Were these subJadea which runs swiftly all the days jects totally unconnected with our reof the week, but stands still all the ligion, we should reverence them as Sabbath. Let this be applied to the

made sublime by the highest poetry, legend of Chelsea Reach. The water whether the worker be poet, strictly at Chelsea Reach is always agitated, speaking, sculptor or painter. And the watermen say, because many years with such feeling, and with her heart ago a set of fiddlers were drowned lifted far above theology into love, there, and the waters have been danc- and, we would almost say, sympatheing ever since. There will be little tic or poetic devotion, Mrs Jameson difficulty in fitting, if not all, at least conclades—"Thus, in highest heaven, the principal performer with a saint- yet not out of sight of earth, in beatiship. Should the Cardinal fail to tude past utterance, in blessed fruition persuade the Protestant or the old of all that faith creates and love deRoman Catholic population and both sires, amid angel hymns and starry are ready to believe much-he may at glories, ends the pictured life of Mary, least impose upon his own converts, MOTHER OF OUR LORD." and merit the applause which Voltaire But let us not imagine that the bestowed upon Mahomet. The phi- Book of Legends of the Madonna is losopher said he despised his miracles, complete. It is not finally closed. but respected him for being able to The spread of infidelity within the impose on his own wife.

sovereignty of the Roman pontiff will Among the legends there is one demand a reaction of superstition. wbich includes in its dramatic effect The system must be continued in the the thief upon the cross. The Holy adopted line, or the populace will Family, travelling through wild places, think the whole abandoned. There has encountered thieves, who would have been manifest, since this decadence maltreated them; but one of the thieves of religion has been too notorious defended them, promising to his com- for denial, a readiness to catch hold rade forty groats and his girdle. This of any delusion which particular fanarobber conveyed the Holy Family to ticism may commence, and to give to his rocky stronghold; and Mary pro- it as much as possible a legitimate mised to him in return, that which authority. Bleeding pictures and holy afterwards happened to him, when he coats are not the isolated miracles of went before the Saviour into Paradise. modern times. That new legends of

According to another legend, the the Madonna will be fabricated, we Virgin, at her assumption, bestowed have little doubt, since the encourageher own girdle upon St Thomas ; of ment to, if not the enforcement of, which subject there is a fine bas-relief the doctrine of the “immaculate con


ception" by Pio Nono. The super- think the greater part of them prefer-' stitious mind of every people in able to that lethargic life of religion Roman Catholic countries is now more of more than the last century, which especially directed. It is true new built not, painted not, sculptured not, legends will have to struggle less suc- to the glory of God. The state of cessfully with the common sense of our wondrously beautiful cathedrals this scrutinising and publishing age. throughout England, shows to us even But the sources of fabrication are also now the lamentable apathy of that enlarged, and there are prodigals who, period of formal and frigid worship, having expended the substance of to enter upon the causes of which their faith, are ready to devour the would lead now to too wide a discushusks. We must expect a deterio- sion. How little was done for rerated manufacture.

storation, or even the decent keeping It is but a few years since a new up of these noble edifices! We are saint was discovered in the catacombs happy to acknowledge a revival of at Rome, and the history of the un- reverence for sacred places, and would known relics discovered to a dreaming even wish that they were more acpriest. The saintship was admitted, cessible. We do not see why it and in modern times, and even in should be looked upon jealously as a Paris itself, churches have been dedi- superstition, if a desire is expressed cated to her. Every one knows the that at least our cathedrals were conrecent attempt to bring the Virgin stantly open. We believe all who within the legendary pale, in the story enter must feel a beneficial influence. of her appearance to the peasant chil- The “religio loci" is no mean thing. dren. Were there not multitudes who We wish it were in every one's power believed, or affected to believe, the to turn aside in their daily passage miracle of that visit? Had the origi- through the ways of the world's businal propagators of the tale spared dess, and to seek refuge from its persome absurdities, Pio Nono himself plexities in the calm-inspiring repose might have adopted the legend. But and solemn sanctity of the grandest the assertion that the Virgin mother edifices which piety and the genius of did not understand the patois, was so architecture ever raised to the wordamaging to the notion of her divinity ship of the Maker of us all. Were as to spoil the legend. But we may opportunity given, we believe it would judge by these specimen attempts of not be lost upon the people; and so the quality of any new manufacture. far from encouraging superstition, we The dignity, the beauty, the senti- feel assured that it would be a preserment, the poetry of superstitions, are vative against superstitions in general, not likely to be revived. They began and mostly against those so generally with, and were adopted by, a zealous feared-the superstitions of Rome. people. They have died out long The wood-cuts and plates in this since, and any new attempts will be work are very interesting, and entirely like the pictures of the painters of illustrative. We are sorry to find legends—will be from bad to worse. that Mrs Jameson has been unable, It will be difficult to make the higher through want of health, to employ as personages among Roman Catho- heretofore the skill of her own hand lics father them. From the cba- throughout. One word as to the anracter of the times, there must be a nouncement of the coming volume of necessity to take them from the worst the series : We wish we could prevail quarters. The real charın of legends upon Mrs Jameson to recovsider the is broken.

title. We do not like the word And here we pause; and shall “Life," perfectly aware of its sober add but this, in reference to remarks and religious use in another work ; with which we commenced this review but to our ear there is something -indeed, to its whole tenor as regards rather offensive in its being coupled superstitions—that, as upon some we with its adjective " Legendary." may look not without respect, upon

Would this be avoided by this slight some with pity, and on many with alteration-Scriptural and Legendary pardon, so we are almost inclined to Art respecting Our Lord ?



The coming of Lady Lee to Lans- broadest sunshine; but Josiah (in cote parsonage always shone on the this instance much the greater owl of dreamy impressionable mind of its the two) scarce turned his cheek to occupant, Josiah, like the rising of her salute. Having, therefore, touched the full moon.

Stately clouds at- with her lips the edge of his shirt coltended her pare effulgence; deep sha- lar (for only her nose reached his dows seemed to lie on objects not cheek), she remained looking down directly smitten by her radiance; and, over his shoulder, on which her hand though not averse to cheerfulness, she rested, at the flower that occupied his could command thoughts solemn and attention. still. In her presence familiar objects “ What is it, Josiah ? " grew unfamiliar, and the Curate's "Observe, my child," said the world was idealised.

Curate, who was very patriarchal to Rosa, on the other hand, came Rosa—" observe that this flower, a dancing into the household like a native of the antipodes, which you summer morning. Shadows fled away now see unfolding itself, is perhaps till everything was seen only in out- the first of its race that ever saw the line and colour, whatever it had of light of an English sun. I got the brightness starting into view. Her seed from the Heronry, where there very tears, when they chanced to fall, are other plants of the kind, but mine were merely refreshing, not chilling has been the first to flower." nor melancholy ; and the little thing “Dear me,” said Rosa, “how curiwould shine out again from behind a ous! But it's not very pretty, is it?passing cloud like the very personifi- not half so pretty as this moss-rose, cation of early June.

or this tulip.” Josiah's soul, not naturally by any “But it's very rare," returned the means cloudy, caught, therefore, an Curate, “and has some curious quaadditional beam of cheerfulness, as, lities. Don't let your bonnet hang looking up from his flower-bed, he over it, Rosa, so as to screen it from beheld his rosy sister coming down the sun, or it will be longer in blowthe lane, her bonnet hanging by its ing." strings on her arm on account of the After pretending a little more inheat; her hair, as usual, somewhat terest than she felt in the flower, just dishevelled, as if the zephyrs took an to gratify the Curate, she removed impudent delight in sporting there both her bonnet and herself from their more than elsewhere; and her lips neighbourhood without even asking parted as her breath came through, its name, which, indeed, if told her, quickened by the exercise of walking, would have been forgotten in two diversified by desultory runs and minutes. rushes.

But the Curate remained absorbed As Rosa bent over her brother's in his opening flower.

This was a stooping form, an additional freshness kind of event in which he took vast and perfume seemed to him to be ex- interest-an event that had occupied haled from the flower-bed. Her rea- a prominent place in his thoughts for son for so stooping was to give him a many previous days and nights. Over sisterly kiss. But the kisses of sis- this flower he had bent till his spine ters, though capable of driving ado- was getting stiffened like the joints of lescent bystanders to frenzy, are a Hindoo devotee, only moving as the among the class of sweets that waste moving sun threw his shadow on the themselves on the desert air. The object of his devotion. prospect of kissing Rosa would have Rosa ranged the garden after her made the very owl that dwelt in the own fashion, hopping into forbidden belfry of Lanscote church fly hither, spots to admire, face to face, some reand hop winking in her walk in tiring floral beauty that had caug!

« AnteriorContinua »