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Did not great Rubens 1 here first see the day?
And ere th' enthusiast boy had sprung to man,
Such scenes as came within his narrow span,
An enthusiast boy.
Fair promise of those wonders to be done,
With Guido's grace, and tint of Titian.
1 Rubens' family was of Antwerp, but he was born at Cologne in 1577, and died in the first mentioned city in 1640. The house is still shewn (the house of Ibach in the Rue de Tival of Cologne), where that painter first saw the day; and there is an old legend yet current, that when he, an infant, was brought to the font to be baptized, he smiled. He was educated with infinite care, and early in life evinced a peculiar turn for landscape-paintingWhen more advanced he studied under Otho Veni, a painter of Leyden, who had settled at Antwerp, and subsequently travelled into Italy, where he was fascinated by the colouring of T'itian, and all the striking beauties of Julio Romano, Raphael, and others. His Crucifixion of St Peter, which he painted for the Church of St Peter at Cologne, in which he was baptized, was said by David to be his masterpiece, and was on that account sent by Bonaparte to Paris; but it is inferior to the famous Descent from the Cross, by the same hand, in the Ca. thedral at Antwerp. Rubens was, no doubt, the great luminary of the Flemish school, and withal a learned and excellent man; so much so, that LXXV.
When at the sacred font the infant child
Was brought by holy hands, within the pale Of th’ Apostolic Church—'tis said he smild ;
At least so fondly runs the Rhenish tale,
(What greater cause for joy in this dark vale ?) 'Twas in memorial of the hallow'd rite,
The painter grateful gave, what still we hail, A master-piece of art for power and might(Of all, save one , devotion's saddest sight)
Saint Peter crucified !—The Martyr chose,
In great humility, to sink and die,
Crucifixion of St Peter.
he was respected and honoured by several of the crowned heads of Europe. Sir Joshua Reynolds bestows on him great praise.“ His mind,” says he,“ was inexhaustible; his hand never varied, and the exuberant fertility of his imagination was ever accompanied with a correspondent execution of his work.”-See Opie's Letters on Painting, pages 104–166.
1 The painting of the Descent from the Cross at Antwerp, by the same
Not like his Lord—though like him scorn'd by foes
But, with head prostrate, rent by agony.
What solemn sounds are those which reach the sky,
More mournful grow, as we the Fane draw nigh?
For one who soon must find his narrow home.
But enter'd once the portal of the pile,
Where is the tongue can tell, or poet paint,
The heavenly requiem for the honor'd saint ?
1 This splendid edifice is noticed in another part of this Poem, and there is no doubt but that it is one of the noblest buildings in the world. I cannot here refrain from citing what is said of it by Lendroy, in his Voyage du Rhin, (p. 405.) “Un Pantheon Romain, un Temple de Minerve à Athenes, peuvent bien exciter la surprise et l'etonnement; mais ravir le cæur à un tel point d'exaltation, le porter à de tels sentimens religieux, le transporter au pied du trone de la Divinité, ceci n'etait reservé qu'à ce eul, qu'à cet unique edifice de l'architecture Teutonique !"
Rever'd by all-Fonke ? was a pious priest,
And long, even when with sore affliction bent, Had worshipp'd at the shrine, where now, at rest, His mortal ruins lie.-So sleep the bless'd !
Death where is thy sting?
Say, who that kneeling form, so wan, so pale,
Why that heart-rending moan and bursting tear ? Eyes, ah! how lovely, spite the envious veil !
Ay! spite of fortune's scowl, and sorrow's sear;
'Tis Madelane, the best the justly dear, And once the fairest flower of our fair state.
may she mourn o'er his funereal bier, Who sooth'd her in her earliest orphan'd fate, And sav'd the child, who'd else been desolate !
Here let me pause, and, as the organ's peal,
my rapt senses to the realms on high,
2 Fonke was the name of the priest for whom the funeral ceremony
One last, long look upon the mourner steal,
And contemplate her mortal agony !
Her every glance,-her every struggling sigh,
For ever broke her only earthly tie,
The classic fire which warm’d Cologne of old,
We joy to think still lives—though faint the flame.
Nor Imhove's ? varied sculpture void of fame :
was performed. He had long officiated in the Cathedral, and was much beloved. Some of the choir singers of great excellence had come from the King's Chapel at Berlin for the occasion, and the scene altogether was at once most solemn and impressive.
i Kaatz and Grein are the two most eminent landscape painters in Cologne.
2 There are no less than three brothers of the name of Imhove, sculptors in Cologne, and who also work with much ingenuity in wood and plaster.
3 Noel is a tasteful painter of ornaments. The best portrait-painters