Page:English Caricaturists and Graphic Humourists of the nineteenth century.djvu/321

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233
"THE DYING CLOWN."

ever-increasing popularity brought him. The state of his mind appears to us clearly indicated by his design of The Dying Clown, one of the last drawings which he etched for the "Pickwick Papers," and for which we must refer the reader to the original edition only; anything more truly melancholy we can scarcely imagine. Entirely appropriate to the story, it seems to tell its own tale of the morbid state of mind of the man who designed it; it is a pictorial commentary on the sad story we have attempted to tell.

A too zealous application to work has destroyed many men both of talent and genius; it produces different effects in different individuals, according to their respective temperaments: while it drove Robert Seymour to frenzy, it killed John Leech—a man of far finer imaginative faculties—with the terrible pangs of angina pectoris. Differently endowed as they were, both belonged to the order of men so touchingly described by Manfred:—

 
 "There is an order
Of mortals on the earth, who do become
Old in their youth, and die ere middle age
Without the violence of warlike death;
Some perishing of pleasure, some of study,
Some worn with toil, some of mere weariness,
Some of disease, and some insanity,
And some of wither'd or of broken hearts;
For this last is a malady which slays
More than are numbered in the lists of fate."[1]

The coadjutorship of distinguished artists and authors has led to more than one strange controversy. Those who have read Forster's "Life of Dickens" will remember the curious claim which George Cruikshank preferred after Dickens' death to be the suggester of the story of "Oliver Twist," and the unceremonious mode in which Mr. Forster disposed of that pretension. We have referred elsewhere to the edifying controversy between George Cruikshank and Harrison Ainsworth, in relation to the origin of the latter's

  1. Act 3, Scene 1.