On Art and Artists
Advice of the Popes who succeeded the Age of Raphael
Degrade first the Arts if you'd mankind degrade,
idiots to paint with cold light and hot shade,
Give high price for the worst, leave the best in disgrace,
with labours of ignorance fill every place.
On the great encouragement given by English nobility and
gentry to Correggio, Rubens, Reynolds,
Catalani, Du Crow, and Dilbury Doodle
As the ignorant savage will sell his own wife
a sword, or a cutlass, a dagger, or knife;
So the taught, savage Englishman, spends his whole fortune
a smear, or a squall, to destroy picture or tune;
And I call upon Colonel Wardle
To give these rascals a
dose of caudle!
I askèd my dear friend Orator Prig:
`What's the first part of oratory?' He said: `A great wig.'
`And what is
the second?' Then, dancing a jig
And bowing profoundly, he said: `A great wig.'
`And what is the third?' Then
he snored like a pig,
And, puffing his cheeks out, replied: `A great wig.'
So if a great painter with questions
`What's the first part of painting?' he'll say: `A paint-brush.'
`And what is the second?' with most
He'll smile like a cherub, and say: `A paint-brush.'
`And what is the third?' he'll bow like a
With a leer in his eye, he'll reply: `A paint-brush.'
Perhaps this is all a painter can want:
But, look yonder --
that house is the house of Rembrandt!
`O dear Mother Outline! of wisdom most sage,
first part of painting?' She said: `Patronage.'
`And what is the second, to please and engage?'
like a fury, and said: `Patronage.'
`And what is the third? She put off old age,
And smil'd like a siren, and
On the Foundation of the Royal Academy
When nations grow old, the Arts grow cold,
settles on every tree;
And the poor and the old can live upon gold,
For all are born poor, aged sixty-three.
These are the idiots' chiefest arts:
To blend and not define the parts
The swallow sings, in courts of
That fools have their high finishings.
And this the princes' golden rule,
The laborious stumble of a fool.
To make out the parts is the wise man's
But to loose them the fool makes his foolish game.
The cripple every step drudges and labours,
And says: `Come, learn to walk of me, good neighbours.'
Joshua in astonishment cries out:
`See, what great labour! pain in modest doubt!
`He walks and stumbles as if he crep,
And how high labour'd is every step!'
Newton and Bacon cry `Being
He is all experiments from last to first.'
You say their pictures well painted be,
And yet they are blockheads you all agree:
Thank God! I never
was sent to school
To be flogg'd into following the style of a fool.
The errors of a wise man make your
Rather than the perfections of a fool.
When you look at a picture, you always can see
If a man of sense has painted he.
Then never flinch,
but keep up a jaw
About freedom, and `Jenny sink awa'.'
As when it smells of the lamp, we can
was owing to the skilful man;
For the smell of water is but small:
So e'en let ignorance do it all.
The Washerwoman's Song
I wash'd them out and wash'd them in,
And they told me it was a great sin.
English Encouragement of Art:
Cromek's opinions put into rhyme
If you mean to please everybody
Set to work both ignorance and skill.
For a great multitude are ignorant,
And skill to them seems
raving and rant.
Like putting oil and water in a lamp,
'Twill make a great splutter with smoke and damp.
there is no use as it seems to me
Of lighting a lamp, when you don't wish to see.
When I see a Rubens, Rembrandt, Correggio,
I think of the crippled Harry and slobbering Joe;
then I question thus: Are artists' rules
To be drawn from the works of two manifest fools?
Then God defend
us from the Arts I say!
Send battle, murder, sudden death, O pray!
Rather than be such a blind human