I'd be an ass, a hog, a worm, a chair, a stool!
Give pensions to the learned pig,
Or the hare playing on a tabor;
Anglus can never see perfection
But in the journeyman's labour.

On Sir Joshua Reynolds' disappointment at
his first impressions of Raphael

Some look to see the sweet outlines,
And beauteous forms that Love does wear;
Some look to find out patches, paint,
Bracelets and stays and powder'd hair.

Sir Joshua praisèd Rubens with a smile,
By calling his the ornamental style;
And yet his praise of Flaxman was the smartest,
When he called him the ornamental artist.
But sure such ornaments we well may spare
As crooked limbs and lousy heads of hair.

Sir Joshua praises Michael Angelo.
'Tis Christian mildness when knaves praise a foe;
But 'twould be madness, all the world would say,
Should Michael Angelo praise Sir Joshua --
Christ us'd the Pharisees in a rougher way.

Can there be anything more mean,
More malice in disguise,
Than praise a man for doing what
That man does most despise?
Reynolds lectures exactly so
When he praises Michael Angelo.
   To the Royal Academy
A strange erratum in all the editions
Of Sir Joshua Reynolds' lectures
Should be corrected by the young gentlemen
And the Royal Academy's directors.

Instead of `Michael Angelo,'
Read `Rembrandt'; for it is fit
To make mere common honesty
In all that he has writ.

Florentine Ingratitude
Sir Joshua sent his own portrait to
The birthplace of Michael Angelo,
And in the hand of the simpering fool
He put a dirty paper scroll,
And on the paper, to be polite,
Did `Sketches by Michael Angelo' write.
The Florentines said `'Tis a Dutch-English bore,
Michael Angelo's name writ on Rembrandt's door.'
The Florentines call it an English fetch,
For Michael Angelo never did sketch;
Every line of his has meaning,
And needs neither suckling nor weaning.
'Tis the trading English-Venetian cant
To speak Michael Angelo, and act Rembrandt:
It will set his Dutch friends all in a roar
To write `Mich. Ang.' on Rembrandt's door;
But you must not bring in your hand a lie
If you mean that the Florentines should buy.
Giotto's circle or Apelles' line
Were not the work of sketchers drunk with wine;
Nor of the city clock's running . . . fashion;
Nor of Sir Isaac Newton's calculation.
No real style of colouring ever appears,
But advertising in the newspapers.
Look there -- you'll see Sir Joshua's colouring:
Look at his pictures -- all has taken wing!

When Sir Joshua Reynolds died
All Nature was degraded;
The King dropp'd a tear into the Queen's ear,
And all his pictures faded.

   A Pitiful Case
The villain at the gallows tree,
When he is doom'd to die,
To assuage his misery
In virtue's praise does cry.

So Reynolds when he came to die,
To assuage his bitter woe,
Thus aloud did howl and cry:
`Michael Angelo! Michael Angelo!'

   On Sir Joshua Reynolds
O Reader, behold the Philosopher's grave!
He was born quite a Fool, but he died quite a Knave.

I, Rubens, am a statesman and a saint.
Deceptions both -- and so I'll learn to paint,

   On the school of Rubens
Swelled limbs, with no outline that you can descry,
That stink in the nose of a stander-by,
But all the pulp-wash'd, painted, finish'd with labour,
Of an hundred journeymen's -- how-d'ye do neighbour?
   To English Connoisseurs
You must agree that Rubens was a fool,
And yet you make him master of your School,
And give more money for his slobberings
Than you will give for Raphael's finest things.
I understood Christ was a carpenter
And not a brewer's servant, my good Sir.

  By PanEris using Melati.

Previous chapter/page Back Home Email this Search Discuss Bookmark Next chapter/page
Copyright: All texts on Bibliomania are © Ltd, and may not be reproduced in any form without our written permission. See our FAQ for more details.