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of the sailors and the vexation of his father. It was idle to contend against the determined disposition of this wilful boy; his father sent him back to his mother, and he resumed his books and crayons. In the happier moments of his manhood he has been heard to allude jocularly to his marine apprenticeship,
Painting was the natural rather than the accidental direction of his mind-he sketched and drew at an earlier age than his sister, who long survived him, could name. When the rough sailor returned and saw his son's colossal outlines in black and red chalk, on walls, floors, and furniture, he spoke with great bitterness, and said, the boy had abandoned a trade which produced daily bread for wild and unprofitable nonsense. He sought shelter behind his mother's chair, who protected him and encouraged him in his pursuits.
On returning from sea he was sent to schoolwhere his quickness of parts, and his stubborn and solitary disposition attracted notice. During the hours of leisure he read or drew. Whole nights, his sister said, were taken from sleep; he spent all his pocket-money on pencils and candles; and when, alarmed for his health, the servants, in arranging his room, secreted his candles, he would not allow them to go there any more, but locked the door and made the bed for himself. His bed became hard and uncomfortable-his mother wished to render it softer, and to introduce order into his apartment-but he resisted her also'; even in these early days he exhibited a spirit intractable and capricious, and declared his love for those ascetic and self-denying habits which assume the name of virtues in the legends of the Romish church..
He sometimes, however, mingled in school-boy amusements; and on one of those occasions, wish. ing to conceal himself from his companions in the favourite game called “ hide and seek,” he entered a ruinous house in an obscure lane, which had nei
ther doors nor windows, and was said to be haunted. On running up the half-rotten stairs, and entering an upper room, he saw two old and withered figures sitting in rags and wretchedness beside a handful of expiring embers, tearing each other's faces, and accompanying every tug with grimaces which demons might have envied. They heeded him not, but tore away, and he retired, making, he said, two reflections on what he had seen—"That man is malicious in proportion as he is impotent," and "that age and want add to their inherent miseries evils all their own.” The moral inference which he seeks to draw from this sad scene is unjust to human nature. The evils, indeed, of weakness and want are not little; they are an ill-matched pair, though often seen together; but weakness of body is frequently accompanied by great benevolence of mind, and there is a philosophic or devout spirit of endurance in those afflicted with poverty and old age which Barry might have discovered wherever he went on the earth. But from his earliest years he indulged in curious opinions, and affected singularity of dress-as those often do who are resolved to become noticed for something. He sought the company only of the old and the educated --listened to all they said showed anxiety after knowledge—and wore a garb so coarse and so plain, that it seemed as if he were suffering under a rule of religious mortification. His school-fellows considered his learning so extraordinary, that, in letters yet extant, they speak of him as a prodigy of knowledge, from whom they were accustomed to receive opinions as from a master..
His mother, a zealous Catholic, and whose affection for the old faith was increased by a sense of the loss of family wealth and importance, exercised a strong and a lasting influence over him. His father, a Protestant, committed all domestic matters to his wife, and probably thought of doctrinal disputes with the lightness of a sailor: she, in her turn, committed her son to the care and conversation of two Catholic priests, who, to learning, added the zeal which thirsts for proselytes—and that enthusiasm which, directed with prudence against the youthful and the imaginative, is sure to triumph. He was artfully involved in the mazes of religious controversy, and had to seek his way out in the company of those who coveted his conversion-other temptations were held out, of notice and preferment, and he was soon hailed as a stray sheep won back to the fold. A report was diligently circulated, that his learning and talents were to be dedicated to the service of the suffering church; but as soon as he had openly committed himself as a Catholic, his nomi. nation to the priesthood was heard of no more.
To the Romish church he was much attached in youth, but his residence in Rome made him waver not a little. There he saw more than he wished to have seen, and was about to seek refuge from superstition in infidelity, when he was saved, as he always acknowledged, by a book sent to him by Edmund Burke. The work which did this good deed was that precious one—“Butler's Analogy of Religion, natural and revealed, to the constitution and course of nature.” In after-life he rewarded the author by placing him high among those divines whom he admitted into his painting of Elysium, But he was far too ardent and unbalanced to remain steady at the wholesome point of belief where Bishop Butler had left him. He became, as life advanced and vexations thickened, a blind and bigoted follower of the creed of Rome, and somewhat stern and uncharitable towards those who differed from him in matters of faith: but we are anticipating.
When he was some twelve or fifteen years old tradition is no accurate observer of dates-a bookseller in Cork had such confidence in his powers, that he employed him to make the designs-some add the etchings—for a small volume of tales which he was publishing. Of these, if they ever existed, no account is given, and the book has been sought for in vain; nor, indeed, is there any precise information to be had concerning the subjects which employed his boyish pencil: he probably retained his sketches till ripening judgment condemned them, and then committed to the fire those witnesses of an undisciplined hand and an ill-regulated fancy. He had no one to guide him in art as he had to mislead him in religion-he had to grope his own way to excellence, and attain it as he best might. We know that ere he left Cork, he had painted in oil colour, “ Eneas escaping from the burning of Troy," - A dead Christ,"%Susanna and the Elders," “ Daniel in the Lions' Den,”—and “ Abraham's Sacrifice;" but whether these were copies or original compositions it is not mentioned. Such subjects are frequently chosen by young and presumptuous men, who imagine that it is grand and daring to single out a sublime or splendid scene from history or poetry—they have yet to learn, and they will soon discover it, that a lofty subject requires to be as nobly handled. Those early attempts of Barry were long afterward to be seen on the walls of his father's house.
His name had not yet been heard of beyond Cork ; it was soon to be known in remote parts, and received with a favour which must have fallen on Barry like a shower upon a summer drought. There is a tradition in the Irish Church concerning the conversion of a king of Cashel by the eloquence of St. Patrick. The barbarian prince, when the apostle concluded his exhortation, called loudly to be baptized, and such was the hurry of the one, and the fortitude of the other, that though the Saint, implanting his iron-shod crozier in the ground, struck it unwittingly through the royal convert's foot, he uttered not one murmur, nor yet moved a muscle, but conceiving it to be a part of the ceremony, stood and was baptized. " The moment of baptism," says Dr. Fryer, “ rendered so critical and awful by the circumstance of the king's foot being pierced with the spear, is that which Mr. Barry chose for the display of his art; and few stories, it is presumed, have been selected with greater felicity, or with greater scope for the skill and ingenuity of the artist. The heroic patience of the king, the devotional abstraction of the saint, and the mixed emotions of the spectators, form a combined and comprehensive model of imitation, and convey a suitable idea of the genius of one, who, self-instructed, and at nineteen, conceived the execution of so grand a design.”
With this work in his hand, Barry went to Dublin, and placed it among the paintings collecting for exhibition by the Society for the encouragement of Arts, Manufactures, and Commerce. He was at this time utterly unfriended and unknown, coarsely clad, and with something of the stamp of one enduring poverty upon him. The picture was exhibited and admired; but so little was such a work expected from a native artist, that when the name of the painter was demanded, and he stept modestly forward, no one would believe him-his brow glowed, he burst into tears, and hurried out of the room. All this was observed by Edmund Burke, one of the greatest and best-hearted of all the sons of genius. He sought the young artist out, commended and encouraged him, laid down the natural rules of composition, and directed his attention to what was pure and poetical. One of those incidents which biographers love to relate, and the world indulgently believes, is said to have happened at the very first interview between those two youthful adventurers. . They had plunged into controversy in the first hour of their friendship, and Barry, in aid of his argument, quoted a passage from the