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“First what kind of person HomeR was, saith Spondanus, his statue teacheth, which Cedremus describeth. Then was the Octagonon at Constantinople consumed with fire, and the bath of Severus that bore the name of Zeuxippus: in which there was much varietie of spectacle and splendor of arts; the workes of all ages being conferred, and preserved there, of marble, rockes, stones, and images of brasse; to which, this onely wanted; that the soules of the persons they pre
sented were not in them.
“Amongst these master-pieces, and all-wit-exceeding workmanships, stood HoMER, as he was in his age, thoughtfull and musing: his hands folded beneath his bosome; his beard untrimmed, and hanging downe; the haire of his head in like sort thinne on both sides before; his face with age and cares of the world (as these imagine) wrinkled and austere; his nose proportioned to his other parts; his eyes fixt or turned up to his eye browes, like one blind (as it is reported he was), not born blind, saith Well. Paterculus, which he that imagins is blind of all senses. Upon his under coate me was attired with a loose robe; and at the base beneath his feet, a brazen chaine hung. This was the statue of Homer, which in that conflagration perished.” -
Such is the truly graphic record of a statue worthy, we may be sure, of the mighty subject. I have used the attraction of Shakspeare's name, as a vehicle to recommend such an effort to our native sculptors; and should indeed triumph, were I so fortunate as to elicit a work, which even in degree might compensate so great a loss.
An author is usually fuller upon the pains than the pleasure of
his task. The delight with which Shakspeare inspires his sincere votaries, makes “all their labours pleasures.” But I have, I confess, indulged a decided partiality (I dare not call it taste) in striving to render Chapman better known among us. Mr. Lamb, in his curious and most valuable work, “The Specimens,” had spoken of Chapman in that happy distinctive way, that marks his characters of all the early dramatic poets. What he says of his Homer in particular, is as bold as it is true. But I think he might have extended his commendation so as to assert, what I am sure he will never deny, the amazing harmony and sweetness of Chapman's lighter efforts, and the tender and graceful images that sometimes floated before his fancy. I will not refuse myself the pleasure of laying one such passage before
my readers; it is from a very scarce poem, and describes the flight of Andromeda.
Her most wise mother yet, the sterne intent,
Vow’d with her best endeavour to prevent.
- And tolde her what her father did addresse;
Still where shee went, her beauties dide the ayre,
And with her warme blood, made proud Flora blush:
Printed for Laurence Lisle, and are to be sold at his shop in St. Paule's
On a matter so purely incidental, I do not chuse to occupy more space; I therefore close my remarks with the declaration, that George Chapman, in my opinion, was the author of the verses
on Shakspeare, subscribed, “The friendly Admirer of his Endowments.” As a slight coincidence, still to be noted, when, in 1594, he dedicated his two hymns to his “worthy” friend Master Matthew
Roydon, he closes by terming himself, “The true Admirer of his Virtues.”
IN the Critical Review for December 1770, the print by
Earlom is thus noticed:
King Lear, 8vo. price 38-A mezzotinto of the author, by the ingenious Mr. Earlom, (whose industry and abilities do honour to the rising arts of Great Britain), is placed at the head of it. We should have been glad indeed, to have some better proofs concerning the authenticity of the original, than a bare assertion that it was painted by Cornelius Jansen”, and is to be found in a private collection, which we are not easily inclined to treat with much respect, especially
as we hear it is filled with the performances of one of the most contemptible
daubers of the age.
* Walpole says, Jansen's first works are dated in England about 1618; this picture bears date in 1610. The only true picture of Shakspeare supposed to be now extant, was painted either by Richard Burbage, or John Taylor the player, the latter of whom left it by will to Davenant. After his death, Betterton bought it; and when he died, Mr. Keck of the Temple, gave 40 guineas for it to Mrs. Barry the actress. From him it descended to Mr. Nicholl of Southgate, by whose daughter it afterwards came to the present Marquis of Caernarvon, in whose possession we believe it still remains.—Note of the Reviewer.