Page:Life of William Blake 2, Gilchrist.djvu/207

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149
DESCRIPTIVE CATALOGUE.

character will often say, Of what interest is it to me to do so and so? I answer, of none at all, but the contrary, as you well know. It is of malice and envy that you have done this; hence I am aware of you, because I know that you act not from interest but from malice, even to your own destruction. It is therefore become a duty which Mr. B. owes to the Public, who have always recognised him and patronised him, however hidden by artifices, that he should not suffer such things to be done, or be hindered from the public Exhibition of his finished productions by any calumnies in future.

The character and expression in this Picture could never have been produced with Rubens' light and shadow, or with Rembrandt's, or anything Venetian or Flemish. The Venetian and Flemish practice is broken lines, broken masses, and broken colours: Mr. B.'s practice is unbroken lines, unbroken masses, and unbroken colours. Their art is to lose form; his art is to find form, and to keep it. His arts are opposite to theirs in all things.

As there is a class of men whose whole delight is in the destruction of men, so there is a class of artists whose whole art and science is fabricated for the purpose of destroying Art. Who these are is soon known: 'by their works ye shall know them.' All who endeavour to raise up a style against Raphael, Michael Angelo, and the Antique; those who separate Painting from Drawing; who look if a picture is well Drawn, and, if it is, immediately cry out that it cannot be well Coloured—those are the men.

But to show the stupidity of this class of men, nothing need be done but to examine my rival's prospectus.

The two first characters in Chaucer, the Knight and the Squire, he has put among his rabble; and indeed his prospectus calls the Squire 'the fop of Chaucer's age.' Now hear Chaucer:

'Of his Stature, he was of even length,
And wonderly deliver, and of great strength;
And he had been sometime in chivauchy,
In Flanders, in Artois, and in Picardy,
And borne him well as of so litele space.'

Was this a fop?

'Well could he sit a horse, and faire ride,
He could songs make, and ekè well indite,
Joust, and eke dancè, portray, and well write.'

Was this a fop?

'Curteis he was, and meek, and serviceable;
And kerft before his fader at the table.'

Was this a fop?