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THE SONG OF THE PRESS.
(à la Hood.)
BY WILLIAM CHEETHAM, BROCKVILLE.
WITH body weary and worn,
With weary and aching head,
In poverty's cold caress,
He sings the Song of the Press.
Morning, noon and night; Think-think-think,
Longing to reach the light.
Doubt and feeling and thought,
And dreams the process out.
0! men of wealth and power,
0! men in a Christian land, Think sometimes of the aching brain,
And the trembling, falt'ring hand That writes—writes—writes
In poverty, hunger and pain, Weaving a song for others' joy,
And thought for others' gain.
Ere the birds begin to sing ; Write-write-write,
For the wages that thought may bring, What does he get for it? Empty thanks,
A chill he has felt before,
And God's · Well done'-no more.
GREEK ORNAMENTAL ART.
BY MRS. FRANCIS RYE.
O attic shape ! Fair attitude ! with brede
Of marble men and maidens overwrought, With forest branches and the trodden weed;
Thou, silent form! dost tease us out of thought As doth eternity : Cold Pastoral !
When old age shall this generation waste,
Than ours, a friend to man, to whom thou says't,
THE older the world gets, the more
loving eyes and humble hearts to the customs and taste of the ancients. Like old men who live mostly in the past, thinking but little of what events are stirring around them, or what may be still to come, the modern connois. seur prefers trusting to the recognized laws of art as it existed amongst its generators, to indulging in romantic dreams of what we may one day achieve. Certain laws that obtained amongst the Greeks with regard to the beautiful exist still for us, and in vain would it be for even a Burke to try to give us new ones. Dreamers, like Hogarth with his line of beauty,' have arisen since, but they have not proved law.givers. Still art lives and moves and derives its being from the old Greeks.
What their painting was we cannot say; we can only conjecture from the perfection they arrived at in other branches that it must have been equal. ly admirable. What their sculpture was every art student knows. Who has not gazed at those splendid torsos, headless busts, and armless figures, and been marvellously moved ? It is impossible to describe what one feels when contemplating these marbles, and it is equally impossible to tell
why we are so much moved, and yet it is true— undeniably true—that many persons on first beholding these wonderful remains of ancient art have actually wept.
The perfection of harmony is in these mutilated marbles, a harmony without restraint, and far removed from the cold, unimpassioned rules of
proportion,' which we are taught by moderns to regard as a necessary ele. ment in works of art. This harmony, with its entire freedom from all perceptible machine like regularity, distinguishes not only Greek sculpture, but all Greek art whatsoever, and it pervaded the home and the domestic life of the Greeks. Their love of congruity and fitness was seen not only in their public life, and in the doings of the outer world, but in the daily round' of their common task ;' in their dress, their wearing ornaments, and their domestic utensils. This is the sort of harmony that we all need, that we all ought to want, and this is within the reach of every house-father and house-mother, and it has an influence on ourselves and those we live amongst not to be repudiated or despised, a telling though secret influence. We often acknowledge in words, though, alas, seldom by deeds, how strong an influence one life, however insignificant, has upon another, for evil or for good, and it is a painful side of the question, and one that we cannot avoid shuddering at, when we think what an effect is produced upon an entire household, when the mistress, mother, and wife, does not cultivate her taste, and will buy her bonnet in oblivion
of her walking dress, and directly inous, in appearance and also in the afterwards purchase gloves regardless manner it was worn. The material of her bonnet's hue; when she will and colour of each garment differed wear silver filigree ornaments at the according to the rank of the wearer. same time as she dons her cooking- White was the full dress colour of apron, and permits her darling young- those of noble or princely birth ; est to sport in the mud in a coral neck. purple was considered a military collace and dirty print pinafore ; when
In winter the favourite colours she will allow the beer to be put on were puce, scarlet, violet and crimson, the table in elegant cut glass jugs and and the robes of the richest colours place hot-house flowers in common were imported from Egypt and Sidon. mngs; when she will persistently and The outer robe was often magnifi
on principle' allow every object that cently embroidered with gold, and comes daily and hourly into contact must have been a very handsome and with the eyes of her husband, children striking garment. The vest, too, was and servants to be of the ugliest pat- similarly ornamented, often with delitern and the clumsiest shape.
cate flowery patterns. Embroidery Well might Gladstone say that 'as was also displayed on the sandals of à people we are, in the business of the rich. The Greeks, in their love of combining beauty with utility, singu- the beautiful, appealed apparently to. larly uninstructed, unaccomplished, all the senses, for they loved delicate maladroit, unhandy. Who can tell perfumes of all kinds, many of which what influence for evil the ugly things came from Syria. Their clothes were in commonplace homes may have upon kept in perfume, and they also used those who daily see them, and who rose water to their beards. They wore can tell what bright thoughts and their hair, which was generally of a pure ideas may be engendered in a light colour, below the ears, and some home where the most useful thing is times they rejoiced in ringlets. A also shapely, and where ugliness has round cap, the shape of the head, and not set its stamp upon the articles we almost exactly like the round hat worn most frequently handle.
by the English peasantry at the presSimplicity is in itself a beauty, and ent time was worn by some, and the in the dress both of the men and the lower classes had caps of fur and hair. women amongst the Greeks, simplicity These last simplified their costume was a leading characteristic. Their by keeping to the vest alone, the madresses can be explained and under- terial of which was generally of goatstood by us now, as easily as if they skin. They also wore buskins of hide, were at present in fashion, which I which came half-way up the leg. fear could not be said of some costumes Gloves were also in use, but were rein wearing now-a-days, and which are garded as protections for the hands really beyond all knowing of them, when rough work was to be done, wonderful.' In future times if ever rather than for show, our successors return to simplicity of There seems to have been little room apparel they will find some difficulty for foppish display amongst the young in understanding what manner of Greeks, no jewellery being worn with dress the women of the 19th century the single exception of the more or
less handsome clasp of gold and gems Let us begin with the costume of employed to fasten the flowing mantle, the men of ancient Greece. Their and yet we can imagine that the
young raiment consisted of an undergarment Athenian, with his richly coloured vest or vest with or without sleeves and a and embroidered cloak, from which flowing cloak, not altogether unlike a delicious scents were faintly suggested Scotch plaid, only much more volum. rather than actually perceived, as he
walked forth cane in hand and with carefully arranged hair, to enjoy some thrilling performance of Sophocles, or a laughable piece by Aristophanes, must have been a great swell in his way, and no doubt was regarded with all due admiration and envy by the Athenian sans culottes of that day.
The ladies of Greece were as simple in their costume as were the men, their garments, however, varying slightly in different countries and at different epochs. In Athens, the centre of civ. ilization—the Athens of Pericles--the women confined themselves to a long tunic reaching to the ground, open at the throat and sleeveless, and a full over garment belted in at the waist. Of course, this dress could be of the simplest description, merely consisting of the plainest materials, and yet retain its gracefulness, or it admitted of being enriched to the highest degree by means of embroidery and costly textures.
White was most used by the higher classes, and it must have set off to advantage their beauties of face and form, for the Athenian women in their youth were remarkably slender of figure.
It is not difficult to call up to the mental view a vivid picture of a beautiful Grecian woman in her home life. We can imagine her seated on a softly and richly cushioned chair in a latticed aviary in an Athenian house, in which may be seen birds that live only in countries of the South; she is bending gracefully over her peacocks, which are feeding from her hand. Let us imagine what she would be like. Her light hair is drawn back from off the low forehead and tied in its place, and ornamented with a delicate piece of cyclamen or a branch of berries from the arbutus ; her long tunic or chiton touching the ground, the over-dress clasped at the shoulders with a golden ornament, and belted in at the waist with a zone of gold set with emeralds.
Her sandals are exquisitely jewelled, for the women were vainer of their
sandals and bestowed more thought upon them than on almost any other part of their dress, and their feet must have looked very beautiful glittering in and out of their long, full robes. What a number of delightful pictures one could paint in fancy of those Athenian homes and their inmatestheir fires of cedar-wood, how fragrant they must bave been !—their gardens blooming with cyclamen and oleander, and shaded by olive trees, their very food had something more artistic and ideal than ours. Kid, locusts, white pineseed from the cone, quail, with every variety of sweet and aromatic herb. The employment of the women too, was picturesque. Whether they were botanizing, or embroidering, working at tapestry, spinning, weaving, or studying the medicinal properties of herbs, there is an indescribable charm about all they do.
To return to their dress, besides those articles of apparel we have mentioned, they had as an occasional garment a half-mantle, flowing in folds down the back, and fastened in front of each shoulder by a clasp. Perfumes were freely used, the Athenians seeming to have had a great love for sweet scents of all descriptions. Not only their clothing, but their limbs were scented, fragrant oils being used after bathing, and a lady, when dressed and moving about her house or garden, wafted delicious gales of perfume before her Veils were often worn both in and out of doors ; they usually covered the back of the hair, and were taken off when active movement was required. The texture of the veil varied very much ; sometimes it was quite transparent, and sometimes of richly coloured material. Flowers and ornaments of gold were also worn in the hair, and embroidered fillets to fasten it up securely, and to give a finish to the whole dress. Sometimes, also, a tiar of folded linen was placed on the head, and no doubt each Athenian consulted her mirror, if she was fortunate enough to possess one, and had
her own way of decorating her hair to be large hearted and public spirited ; suit her features, and no one fashion it was their theatres, their temples prevailed entirely to the exclusion of and their markets that they made all others.
lasting and admirable, not their homes. The women of Greece, as do those In their eyes art was degraded by of Europe in our own day, indulged being employed to satisfy their private more freely in the display of jewellery vanity, so their dwelling-houses and than the men. Ornaments of gold, set gardens were left una lorned with with precious stones, adorned the hair, pillars, and statues, and paintings, deear-rings were also worn, though not pending on the innate taste of their very generally. They had necklaces inmates to make them pleasing to the of gold and amber, bracelets of great eye. beauty and costliness, zones for the The millionaire of these days did waist, which were frequently inlaid not drudge early and late in the prime with gems, ankle belts, and, above all, of his life in order that in his old age jewelled sandals of every description, he might have accumulated enough but they never disfigured themselves riches to build him a palace, and his with nose or lip rings as was custom- palace being obtained, give unheard ary among the Hebrew and Syrian of prices for paintings and porcelains women.
to adorn it. He did not shut himself The Greeks excelled in cutting gems up in his own domain and there inand stones, as
we may see by the dulge in a private chapel, a private gems themselves which yet remain to concert-room, private theatre. us-thanks to their indestructibility, Strange to say he could enjoy noble and by the reproductions of them in works of art when they were not his plaster casts in so many public and alone, by the divine right of possesprivate collections. It would well re- sion, but were public property; he pay any one to visit the Normal could revel in beauty that was visible School in Toronto for the purpose of to the most vulgareye, and could apprestudying the casts of the Poniatowski ciate the drama, which his own wealth gems, some of which are of great had put upon the stage, at the same beauty and delicacy, more especially time that it was being enjoyed by the the series illustrative of the life of the lowest citizen in Athens. It does not goddess Ceres. These gems were pro- seem to have done him any harm, nor bably used for rings which were in- do we hear anything about the statues troduced in the time of Alexander the being chipped and bits being carried Great, and many of the stones remain away, or the frescoes being spoiled by for us still to admire the extrinsic the mob of ancient Athens. It is value which they derived from the la- more than likely that no such sacribour of the lapidary not running the lege occurred, as owing to the fact same risk as did the art, lavished upon that the noblest works that Grecian ornaments of gold and silver, of being genius produced were attainable to sacrificed to the melting pot for the daily and hourly inspection, the pubmere intrinsic value of the material. lic eye was turned to admire, and the
Ornamental art in private life was public taste raised to endeavour to imichiefly confined to the dress of the in- tate them. dividual, the houses of the Greeks Leaving the often described temples being small and wholly insignificant, and public buildings whose perfect and totally unfit for decorative pur- beauty every one is acquainted with, poses.
Occasionally a house was either from models or pictures, there frescoed on the outside, but this was remains but little other ornamental rare and considered an innovation. art to mention, for the vases of such Everything around inclined them to wonderful and delightful shapes that