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them by yourself, and present them to the public afterwards.”
“ Your advice, sir, is very good, and I would follow it with all my heart; but, as I told you before, nothing that's English, though ever so well executed, will be relished by the beau-monde. Once, indeed, I painted a landscape for a dealer, who gave me two guineas for it, and sold it for fifty, by telling every body it was a Poussin: I also finished a few heads for him, which he put off for the productions of Rembrandt; but he gave me so paltry a sum for them, that I could not afford to supply him. I should be glad to take a trip to Italy, merely for a name, but cannot think of leaving my Peggy and her children, whom I fondly love, and would work for with pleasure night and day, because they are good creatures, and can make themselves happy without the superfluities of life.'
This last speech of Tom's affected me very much: I agreed immediately to sit for my own picture, and ordered two landscapes for my library, which were soon painted and paid for ; and, with the money, Tom clothed his family in a decent manner, and took a first floor in Covent Garden, to which I send all my acquaintance.
If you are desirous of being thought an encourager of merit in your countrymen, you will warmly recommend them, and endeavour to convince men of fortune and fashion, that England produces excellent painters as well as France, Italy, and Flanders.
By complying with this request, you will be admired and esteemed by a great many deserving young fellows, and particularly oblige
I am so well pleased with my correspondent's true English spirit, and his generous behaviour, that I shall cheerfully comply with his request, and recommend the artists of my own country, without dreading the appellation of a tasteless Prater; and I hereby give public notice, that I expect all my relations, friends, acquaintance, and readers, who would be thought sound pa. triots, and encouragers of merit and industry, to sit immediately for their pictures to English painters only, and to order houses, horses, dogs, parks, and gardens, to be drawn by the same hands.
PRATER, No. 11.
The complaint in this paper of the preference given to the productions of foreign artists, to the exclusion of the labours of our own countrymen, has been lately repeated in a very energetic manner, both in verse and prose, by Mr. Shee. The subsequent lines, descriptive of the modern amateur, and the closing exclamatory couplets, are peculiarly animated, and but too applicable :
Look round his walls--no modern masters there,
Shame on the man, whate'er his rank or state,
The establishment of the British Institution, however, since the first edition of Mr. Shee's poem, will, it is hoped and expected, lead to a more extended and efficient protection of native genius.
An me ludit amabilis
Dost hear? or sporting in my brain,
I see the living scene display'd,
The operations of the human mind are at all times extremely subtile; and, while we compound, vary, and associate our ideas into so many different combinations, the workings of the soul are not attended to, and the traces they leave are so delicate, that they are after wards scarcely to be perceived. I do not think this phenomenon in the ideal world, is at any time so surprising, as in those moments, when the faculties of bodily sensation are lulled in sleep; then the imagination calls forth her abstracted train, and, being free from the incumbrance of flesh, disports herself in the most
whimsical manner, and is at liberty to form what appearances, what scenery, what imagery, and what reasoning she thinks proper. This I experienced, in a lively manner, the other night; and, as I cannot help believing that any of my readers would have been glad to enjoy the same visionary scene, I shall, instead of a formal
my dream the subject of this day's paper.
I retired home to my chambers a few evenings since, in a very poetical mood; and, to gratify the present course of my ideas, took into my hand Virgil's Georgics, which has always been considered by the critics as the most perfect poem of the most accomplished poet. The delicacy of expression, and every refined beauty in the turn of the style, have been finely treated by the elegant Mr. Addison; and, for my part, I never look into it, but I perceive some concealed stroke which had before escaped me. But the enthusiasm which animates the following passage, struck me the other night in a manner which had never happened to me before:
Me quoque Parnassi deserta per ardua dulcis